on board computer glitch?

I took my recently purchased 1997 Ford F150 in for a California smog check. It failed, although the emission levels were good. The failure was due to
two items on the truck's computer system reading wrong. (The Check Engine light is on.) Examination by several mechanics has suggested that all that's in order is a reset of the onboard computer, and that nothing ACTUALLY is wrong. However, I've been getting quotes from $400 to $750 to straighten out the problem. Is this typical and is there a cheaper way around it? I can't finish registering the truck until I get a clear smog certificate, which I can't get until this computer glitch is resolved. Any ideas? I'm in the L.A. area.
Jim Beaver
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Seems to me you're asking for help in focussing on the problem. You have NO idea why the light was set. Nor what problem set them... and it's not really a 'glitch' but an event at one time or other that set a diagnostic code
If there's "nothing really wrong", it cant cost that much to fix.... in fact, if there's nothing wrong, unhooking the battery for a few minutes should do it. But, on the OTHER hand, MOST insignificant problems reset themselves.
Here's a tip. When you go to a mechanic and he tells you that, ask him for the codes.
I think you have autozones out there, right? have the codes read out and bring them back.
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
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Backyard Mechanic wrote:

I ditto what backyard says but want to add a little info. If you reset the light you must drive the car around quite a bit (on the freeway cruising, stop and go, ect....)because your Ford will have a code in it telling the ca smog equip that you just reset the light and it will fail again. I suggest this-pull the neg battery cable for a few minutes to reset the light and drive it around for a few days and if the light doesn't come back on, you will most likely be ok. If the light comes back on, tell us the code(s)
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Autozones in California are not allowed to read DTCs. (no smog license)
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Some good advice offered already.... but I am having a real concern with your "examination by several mechanics".... If your vehicle has been examined correctly, why didn't one of these "mechanics" clear the DTC(s) for you to see if they returned? What I mean... if they have "examined" the concern, they must have scanned for codes.... (read "must" as "MUST")... without this step, we will never know of we are dealing with a viable concern or a "nuisance" code). At the same time, you state that "someone" is giving you quotes for repairs..... We have a conumdrum....
As it stands.... there is nowhere near enough info to offer any reasonable amount of advice...
FWIW, clearing codes will leave a P1000 in memory.... this isn't so much of a DTC as a status indicator that tells us that one or more emissions systems montors have not "completed".

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Finally -- FINALLY -- resolved this. Did the disconnect battery thing, cleared the computer, but within seven miles, the check engine light was back on. Repeated process, same results. Took the truck to five different mechanics, each of which wanted between $450 and $750 to diagnose and repair the problem. Finally, I took the truck to my oil-change guy, who read the codes, replaced the spark plugs and the fuel filter. The check engine light went off and stayed off, and after driving 30 miles to reset the computer, I took the truck in for its smog check. It passed, and no code problems showed up. Mission accomplished. Total cost for the actual repairs: $145.
Jim Beaver
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Except that now the Check Engine light has come back on, fifty miles later. No codes, just the light.
Jim Beaver
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Jim Beaver wrote:

Where there's a light, there's a code. You've spent $145 and still have a problem. You got lucky that it didn't trigger between the lube jocky and the smog check station.
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Sounds like your "oil-change guy" sold you the most expensive set of plugs on the planet. As that didn't help you anymore than the battery disconnect trick, perhaps he will read the trouble codes for free now, so that you can post them here and FINALLY get some clues what to do next? (Rest assured that if the CEL is on, there are codes to read).

later.
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He will. And the cost I mentioned included other things I didn't mention. I can see why it was misleading the way I wrote it.
I'll post the codes so I can FINALLY get some clues what to do next. ;-)
Jim Beaver
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