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Old 05-19-2018, 04:20 AM   #1
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Default Check Engine Light

Finally got my battery hooked up and started the engine. The 'Check Engine" light came on.


It was not on when I disconnected the battery last fall. I hate to drive all the way into town if there's something I can do to get it to turn off.


Any suggestions?
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Old 05-19-2018, 03:55 PM   #2
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.

Make

Model

Year

Engine
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Old 05-19-2018, 05:15 PM   #3
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Default Check Engine Light

Make: Coach House (on Dodge chassis)

Model: wide body

Year: 1997
Engine: ?


Does that help?
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:41 PM   #4
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Did you Google it?
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:01 PM   #5
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Have you checked all the fluids?

Engine oil
anti-freeze
etc.,
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:03 PM   #6
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:56 AM   #7
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Default Check Engine Light

I'll check the fluids and see if that's it. That engine code reader is probably beyond my comfort zone, but thank you for suggesting a solution.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:50 AM   #8
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I'll check the fluids and see if that's it. That engine code reader is probably beyond my comfort zone, but thank you for suggesting a solution.
The engine is probably either the 5.3L 318 V8 or the 5.9L 360 V8. If the levels for oil, radiator and transmission are where they are supposed to be it's unlikely that the check engine light involves fluids.


Before getting into the clutches of a repair shop that might charge $75-100 to just identify the trouble code, I suggest you purchase a very inexpensive basic OBD 2 code reader, for example:

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/w...saAhi_EALw_wcB

Your coach has the receptacle to plug in a OBD2 code reader underneath the dashboard. With this reader you just plug it in, enter the make and model of the engine, let the engine run briefly and the reader will spit out the trouble code which you can google to get detailed information on what the problem is. Also with the code reader you can clear the trouble code and see if it recurs or if it was just a one shot event.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:33 PM   #9
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It's been a while (we now have our own reader), but it used to be that you could go to an auto parts store and leave a credit card deposit for a 24 hr code reader rental. They didn't charge for the reader (hoping you would come back to buy parts) and you got the deposit back when you returned the reader. Might be faster than ordering one.

We lived in such a small town that if you could drive to the store and they weren't busy, the guy behind the counter would come out and read it for you. (Especially if you were, as I was, old enough to be his mother).
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:35 PM   #10
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Oh, yeah, forgot to add that our check engine light would come on if the gas cap wasn't screwed on right. So you might check that.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:42 PM   #11
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not sure if this is related. but recently had to charge battery on a 2005 318 Dodge due to leaving the key on. after charging van would not run at all. would attempt to start but would not stay running. thanks to the internet I discovered that after charging the battery I needed to reset the engines computer. I believe it involved removing the negative cable, pressing gas pedal to floor while holding key in the start position for 30 secs, but yours may be different. hope this helps
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:27 PM   #12
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With my Libero (chev 3500), the light was on for about 3 of the 4 years I owned it. The Chev truck dealer told me that if it runs fine, it is something that is related to the gas/exhaust system and doesn't really matter. It could wait until the next oil change and they would check and shut it off. Finally I read somewhere that topping off the tank sets off a sensor at the top. duh... I stopped topping off and the sensor stopped coming on. Had to overcome my desire to always have a round number with no pennies...

It has only come on once in my current Chevy, but it was set off by a gas pump that didn't shut off properly.

Obviously this is not the case for this '97 Dodge. I didn't even know that they had the readers back then... didn't realize that computers had already taken over our engines.
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Old 05-20-2018, 03:12 PM   #13
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runnin-rich has a good idea in his/her post above. I would simply disconnect the battery, turn on the ignition, mash the accelerator and turn on the lights and mash the horn. No, the horn won't sound and the lights won't shine but like a desktop computer there is residual power to drain. Then, I would let it sit for several hours or over night, hook up the battery and see what happens. If it was still on I would drive it in my driveway, stop, turn off the engine and restart it. Do that a few times and see if the light stays on.

Also, I had the light come on once because I got some poor quality gas at a remote station out west. Since your engine has been idle (I assume from your post) for some time, you might be able to just drive it down to a low gas gauge level and fill up with fresh gas. That reset mine for me.

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Old 05-20-2018, 03:22 PM   #14
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Ya know, guys, I don't think it makes a lot of sense trying to guess what the CEL means. A five-minute inquiry with most any scanner will tell the tale with 100% accuracy. If you don't want to buy one, most of the auto-parts chains will do it for free.

Consider buying a Scan Gauge II. Simple, fairly cheap, and useful as a full-time performance monitor as well as a scanner.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:21 PM   #15
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Oh, yeah, forgot to add that our check engine light would come on if the gas cap wasn't screwed on right. So you might check that.
Yep, if the gas cap doesn't fully close and seal, the computer will typically generate a trouble code that indicates a leak in the evaporator control system.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:39 PM   #16
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With my Libero (chev 3500), the light was on for about 3 of the 4 years I owned it. The Chev truck dealer told me that if it runs fine, it is something that is related to the gas/exhaust system and doesn't really matter. It could wait until the next oil change and they would check and shut it off.
Well, doing this invites the attendance of Murphy's law and the law of unintended consequences. A check engine light triggered by an emissions issue is generally without any damaging consequences other than failing a smog test. The problem is that once the CEL is on, if the computer subsequently throws a code for a new serious problem that deserve immediate attention, because the CEL is already lit off, there is no visible indication of this.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:43 PM   #17
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Ya know, guys, I don't think it makes a lot of sense trying to guess what the CEL means. A five-minute inquiry with most any scanner will tell the tale with 100% accuracy. If you don't want to buy one, most of the auto-parts chains will do it for free.

Consider buying a Scan Gauge II. Simple, fairly cheap, and useful as a full-time performance monitor as well as a scanner.
The Scanguage is a great tool but if all you're interested in doing is reading the code that has provoked a CEL, a $25 basic code reader can both identify the trouble code and allow you to cancel it.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:01 PM   #18
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I'll check the fluids and see if that's it. That engine code reader is probably beyond my comfort zone, but thank you for suggesting a solution.
You mentioned that you do not feel comfortable using a code reader. That leaves you to have someone do it for you. AutoZone will read the code for you or go to a local garage.

With all due respect to the other posters, once you have the code it will probably mean gibberish to you. Even if you are an experienced mechanic, having the code still requires diagnostic skills, unless it is so basic as a loose gas cap.

Trying to have all the posters guess what is wrong with your engine when you say my check engine light is on and you don't know the code is like going to Facebook and posting that you don't feel good and don't specify your symptom. Everyone has an opinion and, quite frankly, they are all wild guesses.

Your best course of action is to bring it to a mechanic to get a proper diagnosis. They have the proper tool and the training. In the end it will be cost efficient and save you a tremendous amount of time. And you won't be chasing everyone's blind hypothesis.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:06 PM   #19
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Obviously this is not the case for this '97 Dodge. I didn't even know that they had the readers back then... didn't realize that computers had already taken over our engines.
I think the earliest computer was introduced by VW in the late sixties but it was limited to regulating their fuel injectors. More comprehensive computers showed up in the late seventies on Fords and Chryslers. But the big change occurred in the late eighties when the OBD protocol for communicating to and from the computer arrived. The first generation was OBD-One. Annoyingly, each OEM used different hardware for connecting the OBD code reader to the computer, requiring multiple connection cords. But around 1995 OBD-Two arrived which standardized both the code reader plug and it's under dash receptacle which is still in use today and if you look under your dashboard you'll see a 16 pin code reader receptacle.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:12 PM   #20
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With all due respect to the other posters, once you have the code it will probably mean gibberish to you. Even if you are an experienced mechanic, having the code still requires diagnostic skills, unless it is so basic as a loose gas cap.
Well, there certainly are many possible codes that would be obscure or ambiguous. But there are also a lot of them (including many common faults) that are pretty straightforward. It is not at all uncommon to get a result like "Left bank upstream O2 sensor heater line open." (just a random example). This may or may not be directly useful to OP, but it certainly would help us help.
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