Friday 25th August – Code 35

I woke up in no hurry and as soon as I was up I was enlisted to help D&K go pick up a rental car to replace theirs which had recently been written off thanks to a rear end by a guy in a truck. It was a game of car shuffle with me taking Derek over to the car rental place to pick up the car, then doing the same with Kylie so she could go and register her license. The result was a black Chrysler 300C in the driveway and Derek was quickly off to work. Kylie played with the kids for a bit before taking them over to the park.

Once the Chrysler was out of the way, I moved D&K’s broken car into the driveway and moved in to the garage. This is exactly what I’d done nearly a year ago when I built the Astro. Now I would take it apart in the same place.

Before handing the Astro over to its new owner, I had an engine code to get rid of. I knew there was a problem with the idle because the code had been appearing consistently during idle ever since I replaced the fuel pump. Despite the code, the engine was running perfectly so I saw no reason to fix it straight away. Now though, I needed to pass a smog emissions test (thanks California) to transfer ownership so it was imperative I fix it. I’d picked up a new IAC (Idle Air Control) valve yesterday so was hoping that would be my easy repair, though I was sceptical. I pulled the engine tunnel off and swapped the existing valve for a new one.

With the new IAC valve installed but unplugged, I started the car. When I plugged the valve in, the idle level changed so I knew the valve was working. I took it for a spin around the block to see if the codes would return. After one key cycle of no codes, the bloody thing came back. Bugger. I thought maybe after a key cycles and some driving, the control module would learn what it had to and clear the codes. I did a lap around some highways, but nothing changed so I ended up at an O’Reilly’s for a brainstorm session. I told the guy there about all the codes I was having and we talked about how I could test the MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor and TPS (Throttle Position Sensor). Out in the carpark, with the car running, I unplugged the MAP sensor and the idle changed so the MAP sensor was working. I did the same with the TPS and the car violently changed its idle so that was definitely working. Plugging and unplugging the IAC though, nothing happened. Maybe something had happened to it after that first key cycle since I know it changed the idle initially.

My O’Reilly’s guy couldn’t help me anymore so I went back to D&Ks place. After having some lunch, I got back in the garage and fiddled around with the IAC. I plugged in the old one and the issue was still present. Curious to see if the thing was operating, I unscrewed the valve from the engine block and turned the engine on. The pindle on the end of the valve creeped out, one step at a time so it seemed to be working properly. When I did the same with the new one, it acted the same way. So there’s nothing wrong with the valve?

After a few key cycles, the TPS engine code was still there which confused me. I thought the codes should clear after three cycles. Knowing that I had to have a certain amount of driving history stored on the control module before going for a smog check, I disconnected the battery to clear the codes. I was happy to learn something here. The codes never clear unless the battery is disconnected. After reconnecting and checking codes, I had only one code instead of 6. It was Code 35 – “Idle Air Control System Fault”. Well that narrowed things down! Unfortunately there wasn’t much else I could try. I decided to give myself a break from trying to fix that issue and moved on to other things.

Next on my list was the passenger side window motor since that was the most likely thing to require a parts order. I took the door trim off and tried operating the motor. I saw instantly that the motor was barely hanging on to the bodywork. It had once been attached with four bolts but now there were only two remaining and they were incredibly loose. Ha ha, at least that was an easy fix! I fished down the bottom of the door for the two missing bolts and found them, but couldn’t find the nuts. I tightened the two that were still there then drilled out a hole big enough for a third nut and bolt that I had lying around. It wasn’t going anywhere now. I can just imagine how it had worked its way loose after all those rutted dirt roads I drove down.

I still needed to do an oil change and replace the top radiator hose, but the engine was much too hot for that so I decided to start emptying the van. I only did this for a couple of hours before I was sick of it and dinner was ready so that was a good excuse. Kylie had returned from the park around lunch time and spent the rest of the afternoon with the kids and Derek had got home just as I was finishing. After dinner we were playing outside when unfortunately Emma fell over and smacked her nose hard on the patio. There was blood and plenty of tears but she did ok, another drama that Derek & Kylie didn’t really need.

No last minute concert plans tonight, after the kids went to bed I did some chores on my computer before hanging out with D&K a bit then retreating into my pen for the night.

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