Polishing a t*rd

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Yesterday, I took my 1992 Dodge Dakota's passenger side door apart to see if I could fix it so that my key would work the lock button again. Sure enough, I discovered that a rod coming out of the back of the key
tumbler had become disconnected from a lever which operates the lock button and door lock. It had become disconnected because it was originally held on with a cheap, plastic keeper that was doomed from the start to fail at some point due to its inevitable material decomposition. I replaced it with a suitably sized and slightly modified metal throttle linkage keeper and now it will never come apart again. However, while I had the door apart, I noticed that there are other such plastic keepers used in other places, so this is probably going to be an ongoing problem over time with other connections.
Chrysler could just have easily have used a metal part. That they didn't shows me just how truthful that "Quality Engineered by Chrysler" label on the floor really is. I know, I know, I can hear the standard reply now, "It was done to save weight and contribute to improving mileage." Bullshit. The total amount of weight saved couldn't have been more than a couple hundred milligrams. It was done to contribute to planned obsolescence and for no other reason.
<rant> As the friend who traded this thing for my Husky dirtbike said when I told him I was repairing such problems, "John, you can only polish a turd so much."
He refuses to buy any more Dodge products and has moved over to being a Ford man. Don't know if that's any better but he hasn't complained about either his pickup or his new Focus.
It's doubtful that it will be possible to get the Dakota's emissions down to a level that will pass I&M without having to spend several hundred dollars or even over 1k to do so. That being the case, I would then be stuck with an immovable white elephant taking up space unless I were able to sell it to a junkyard.
I hope Dodge is building their rigs a lot better these days. If they're not, they're going to head the way of the dodo. Word spreads and they seemed to have totally forgotten this back in 1992. Maybe they've wised up since. I certainly hope so. </rant>
By the way, I read somewhere that you can reset the "Check Engine" light on these particular models (my '92 Dakota) by disconnecting the negative terminal on the battery, then turning on the ignition key for 20 seconds. Has anybody else heard or done that?
TIA.
--
John Corliss

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Don't look now, but they use the same plastic clips on their door linkages, too...

Just disconnecting the battery for a few minutes will do it, but I suppose turning on the ignition circuits will bleed out the capacitors in the electronics quicker.
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Tom Lawrence wrote:

Yep, as I said:

That was what I meant. Sorry I wasn't clearer.

'Fraid not. I just cleaned and treated the battery terminals and cables the other day. In the process, the cables were both disconnected for about 45 minutes. When I reconnected them and started the truck, that damned light was still there.

I figger the same. Then the error codes (of which there are some at this point) should re-establish themselves once I drive the truck somewhere.
--
John Corliss

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Well, if the condition still exists that caused it to trip in the first place, then it's going to come back on. Pull the codes, and see what it's complaining about.
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Tom Lawrence wrote:

I messed up. It's not the Engine light on the left, it's the light that tells you to replace the Oxygen sensor, "Maintenance Needed" on the right.
There is only one Fault Code present at this time, and it's 12 (that the battery has been disconnected recently). I'll check the fault codes again after I drive the truck some more.
--
John Corliss

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You'll need a scan tool to turn that light off.

If the check engine light wasn't on before, why would you expect new fault codes?
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aarcuda69062 wrote:

Thanks for that. Sometimes the obvious eludes me. Bear in mind though, I'm a total newbie at this computerized vehicle stuff. Up to now, the newest rig I've owned is my '81 Ford F-150.
And you're right, the check engine light WASN'T on before.
--
John Corliss

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That light's got absolutely nothing to do with the O2 sensors, nor any other part of the emissions system. It's triggered by time, and it just a dumb "reminder" to bring the vehicle in for service. It's pretty much useless.
If an O2 sensor were failing, that would indeed light up the "Check Engine" light. IIRC, those codes are somewhere in the twenties on the OBD-I systems.
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Tom Lawrence wrote:

Thanks Tom. That's good info to know. And the OBD-I system is what the truck is running then. Too bad, because Harbor Freight has an OBD-II code reader on sale for $40 right now. But I expected that, since OBD-II dates from 1996 and on, I believe.
An OBD-I code reader is mighty spendy. And I'm not even sure there's a generic version of them, or is there? Might be that the '92 Dakota's ECM has a proprietary plug.
However, since there are no fault codes present at this time, I guess my concerns at this point are limited to figuring out why the motor races whenever the rig is rolling downhill (either direction) and I have my foot off of the accelerator. When I come to a complete stop, the motor races a second and then suddenly starts idling at a normal rate.
That and the weird way that my friend was dealing with the radiator and fan. I'm going to get some more info from him and see if I can figure that one out though.
--
John Corliss

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Yeah, but they're pretty much unnecessary - you can just cycle the key and count the number of times the Check Engine light flashes. This procedure should work on your truck, if it becomes necessary:
http://www.dodgeram.org/tech/gas/Trouble/pcm_fault_code.htm
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Tom Lawrence wrote:

That's what I've been doing (instructions are in the Haynes manual my friend gave me with the truck.) But as aarcuda69062 pointed out, if the Check Engine light hasn't been coming on (and it hasn't) I don't really need to check for error codes anyway.
--
John Corliss

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Well, not entirely true. There are codes that can get set that won't illuminate the CE light.
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Tom Lawrence wrote:

Well, I know that the 12 code (battery has recently been disconnected) won't light the CE indicator. My Haynes manual lists all the fault codes, but doesn't say which ones do or don't turn on that light.
--
John Corliss

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Try the link I posted. It does.
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Tom Lawrence wrote:

I just learned last night that my friend has been running the truck without a thermostat. That's why he was blocking the radiator off with pieces of cardboard. He took it out because the truck kept blowing head gaskets by cyl. 2. His theory was that the backpressure from the operational thermostat contributed to the head gasket blowing.
But first, he had the head boiled while it was off and left the coolant temperature sensor in it. Shortly after he put the head back on, he noticed that the fan refused to come on so he bought a new CTS that was made in Mexico. It made no difference, so he bought another one made in Pennysylvania. It's in there now, but the fan still didn't come on and the truck would overheat. After he figured out this was happening, he removed the thermostat and started using the cardboard system.
This has GOT to be generating some kind of code, but when I disconnected the battery I wiped any codes out for the time being.
--
John Corliss

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John Corliss wrote:

Should be cheaper than OBDII. My EQUUS OBD-II reader was around $100, works decent, so I checked their site to see what they might have for you.
http://www.iequus.com/products.php?category_id=1_10_3 There's a reader for GM, one for Ford, one for Imports, and... the one for Chrysler isn't merely a code reader, it's a "Code Reading System"! Oh boy.
http://www.iequus.com/product_info.php?product_id165&category_id=1_10_3 I clicked "enlarge image", zoomed in on that some more, and could read on the packaging that the procedure is to "Cycle Vehicle's Ignition Key" then "Read Fault Codes" then refer to booklet to "Pinpoint Problems" There's no code reader at all, it's just a pamphlet with the codes listed. And you can find that info for free.

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Beryl wrote:

Thanks for finding this site. I've sent them a message on their contact page asking for clarification regarding why I should spend $39.86 on that item, and what is included in addition to a description of fault codes. I'll be very surprised if I get a reply from them.
--
John Corliss

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On Mon, 03 Mar 2008 07:00:28 -0800, John Corliss

Because the problem was detected again on the restart?
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Move to NC....nothing older than 95 has to get an emissions inspection.

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John, We benefit greatly in the price we pay for inovations like these most wonderful plastic clips. They can't be that bad. The vehicle is a '92 and this is the first one to fail? I can remember rusty set screws in my Fords and Oldmobiles in the 50's. Don't look now, but everybody is using these things, not just Chrysler. Even the exotic and really expensive cars use plastics extensively today and today's cars ARE better than yesteryear's and guess what... ...the number one reason is improvements in material technology. Steve

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