Dealer turned it off once, but said it's going back on means a sensor within distributor is blown, and entire distributor needs replacement to the tune of +$600. Car runs fine now without replacing. Do I need to replace? Is after market product ok if I do need to replace? Thanks.
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Re: Check engine light stays on
Dealers are out of this world with their prices. If the part you need isn't a dealer item, yes, you can use an after market part, I do all the time, and have had no complaints. If the car acts up at all, then replace it.
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If your dakota wont start and the computer says its the camshaft position sensor you will need to look for a "distributor pickup plate" not a "camshaft position sensor. Advance Auto etc has these usually in stock for about $50 you do not need to go to the dealer. Looking for a cam pos sensor on the 1999 dakota is a dead end its called the dist pu plate. Its so easy to install. Find the distrubutor behind at the top back of engine near firewall. Two screws are phillips head. You will have to unplug some of the spark wires (be sure you know exactly which wires go back to where. You can remove only one side of wires to remove the distributor. Take out the rotor the plate just lies down on the distributor. Replace it the pickup plate magnet is towards the firewall and down. It has two places on the plate that catch the distributor phillips screws. Install in reverse of removal. Disconnect battery pos or neg. Turn ingnition on for 10-30 seconds to reset check engine light. Back on road.
What fault codes do you have? to check for fault codes using the check engine light blink method do the following, turn the key to run and then off, then to run and then off, then to run and watch the check engine light, count the blinks, there will be a pause and then more blinks, that is the code(s) So lets say it blinks 2 times and then 5 times, that is code 25. Google the code or codes under the heading: "Dodge OBD1 fault codes"
The metal flap should not trigger the sensor. Once you tighten the gas cap you should clear the code and see if it comes back. Otherwise it will take a while to go away.
If it does come back even though the gas cap is tight it could be the rubber seal around the gas cap replacing that can sometimes fix this issue also.
Your cam sensor is inside the distributor. Problem is they list it as a Stator, not a sensor. on newer models, the sensor replaces the entire distributor. To remove it, you need to take the distributor out of the engine and remove the center shaft etc.
it is alwas best to replace shocks/struts as a set per the axle. it seems that you have a high idle problem. the check engine light is probably related but what do you mean when you say that you "unplug the slow run sensor" that will turn the light on also.
Does not sound right to me. What does he say is wrong with distributor? There are not two of them. If he means crankshaft position sensor, several sensors can be tested by one hour of labor by a good mechanic. You can even test them yourself with a $20 volt/ohmmeter. I would check both the crank and cam sensors. If those tested good, I would check fuel pressure at the injector rail. Test procedures are available online at the link below. Repair Guides Electronic Engine Controls Crankshaft Position Sensor...
If you turn the key on and the check engine light comes on then its not blown. If you start the car the light should go off within a few seconds. This desnt mean a code is not stored in memory. All it means is the problem may not of been seen twice in order for the light to stay on. You will need a data scanner to see whats going on with all your sensors. Its the only way to diagnose this. Also if you have a vacuum leak on the engine like a gasket leaking or a vacuum line not hooked up the cruise will be a problem. It could be a small crack in a vacuum line that only opens under certain conditions.
The best way to find out is to use the onboard ECU (computer) and it will tell you which code. There is a terminal connector for the ECU under the dash on the driver panel side or in some cases under the hood. I havent done much work on the 2003 MPV. You can go to Pep Boys or an autoparts store and purchase the Engine Diagnostics code reader. Plug this into the terminal, turn to On position, and it will tell you all the codes registered. Go online and find out what code# is for what sensor. Or if you have the Chilton book, it may list the engine code#'s. This could be a list of >10 sensors, so you dont want to guess and spend money changing them all. Typically, the sensors to go bad are Air Solenoid valve sensor, temp sensor, oxygen sensor, fuel regulator sensor, distributor or sensor for electronic coil to send the spark.......Some computers, like GM and earlier Toyota's have onboard computer where you use a paperclip and jump two terminals, then turn the key to the on position and the engine light will flash a number of times to reveal the code. If your model has this, then you dont need to buy the diagnostic reader. Once you know the code...then just change the sensor, and disconnect the neg. on your battery to clear the code and reconnect.
I would definately take it back to the dealer and tell them they have not fixed the problem. The Dealer will hook the car up to the ODB II tester to get the codes from your cars computer as to what the computer thinks the problem is. Typically there is more than one oxygen sensor on the exahust system and the dealer ship may have replaced one and need to replace both - or they may have replaced one that was not faulty.
IF the check engine light went out when you left the dealer it is likely because they disconnected the battery when they worked on the car. The computer will then check a problem that shows up several times before lighting the check engine light (typically three cycles I believe - i.e. at least three consecutive starts and stops where the computer sees the same problem) so seeing the light out when it leaves the dealership does not mean they have fixed it, it merely means they have disconnected the battery. You should be well within your rights to go back and tell them they have not solved the problem and your not paying additional money for replacements of parts that didn't fix the problem.
As a check you should also take the car to a local Autozone (Car parts shop) and ask them to check the codes using the ODB II meter. At least then you can go to the dealer with the knowledge of what the computer code is and sound more knowledgable and less likely to be ripped off for poor workmanship.