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curious thing about codes

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Old 14 Jul 2019, 08:16 am
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: southeastern PA
Posts: 365
Default curious thing about codes

Fot the last couple of weeks my Cruiser would ocassionally have a brief stumble, like the ignition cut out but only momentarily, and mostly almost imperceptibly. I was suspicious of the crankshaft sensor because it's the original (142k miles, 19 years). It did something similar a few years ago and that was the camshaft sensor, which I replaced.

I was waiting for the check engine light to come on so I could get a code to help diagnose the situation. The check engine light never came on.

For some reason, I decided to do the "key dance" to check for codes. Low and behold, I had a P320 code. Then I checked it with my cheapo ($30) pocket scanner. The pocket scanner indicated no check engine light, no codes.

I asked my brother, the mechanic about this. He explained the car's computer monitors for faults, and in some cases sets a pending code. With a pending code the check engine light is not lit, but the computer is monitoring the situation. If the fault occurs with enough frequency, the computer turns on the check engine light and sets a hard code. If the fault doesn't reoccur, it's a false alarm, and the computer clears the pending code.

Pending codes are not picked up with those cheapo scanners, however, it seems you can access them with the "key dance".

Anyway, I pulled the crankshaft sensor. The electrical connector was filled with oil, not a good sign for the sensor. I cleaned the connector and installed a new crankshft sensor. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 15 Jul 2019, 08:17 am
Fk5 Fk5 is offline
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Default Re: curious thing about codes

I have been saying this for years. The key dance is useful. On my car, I have a P0517 (I think that is the code which hits for battery temp sensor) on my key dance. Scanners have not picked it up, though I haven't used a particularly good one lately. The ultra-gauge doesn't pick it up. Also, despite what others say, my ultra-gauge will not reset the CEL. I think there was a change at some point. The button/drop down is there, but it does nothing. A half-way decent code reader should have gotten the code, but there are often codes with no CEL.
2003 GT 5 speed
162,000 miles
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