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Engine Light Stays On
Old 07-30-2008, 10:23 PM   #1
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Engine Light Stays On

Anyone have the problem of the engine light staying on? My 1998 Tacoma engine light came on and I was wondering if anyone had any ideas. I have heard about a lose gas cap causing it to stay on, mine was tight. I have to believe it has something to do with the fuel system ass I filled up today when I was down to 1/8th of a tank. About 26 miles later the light comes on. Any ideas.

Thanks Runnerr
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:10 AM   #2
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It would be just shooting in the dark without knowing what the stored code is that is turning on the CEL.

Go to an AutoZone or other local auto parts store that has an OBD-II reader. They will plug it in to the OBD-II port under the dash. Then you can get the code(s).

It's free.
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:53 AM   #3
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Autozone is a good choice.

Isn't one near me, so I read codes (unfortunately, often) via a wee OBDII code reader I got from HarborFreight.com -- $40 or so. Works nice and beats the $99 the stealership likes to charge. Also can delete/reset service notices and check engine light, though if problem persists the check engine comes back on of course.

Good luck.
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:39 AM   #4
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We recently went through a similiar experience with our Subaru and used a reader from a local shop to check the OBD code. It turned out to be the catalytic converter which had to be replaced. Luckily, it was under warranty so didn't cost anything.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:58 AM   #5
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Go read the codes and see. My light was a burned out oxygen sensor. Could be anything, but the codes should show it pretty specifically.
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runnerr View Post
Anyone have the problem of the engine light staying on? My 1998 Tacoma engine light came on and I was wondering if anyone had any ideas. I have heard about a lose gas cap causing it to stay on, mine was tight. I have to believe it has something to do with the fuel system ass I filled up today when I was down to 1/8th of a tank. About 26 miles later the light comes on. Any ideas.

Thanks Runnerr
on my moms mini van its when the *amn gas cap is loose. check that...
or maybe the cap does not seal well anymore..
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:27 PM   #7
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Did you get your Tacoma's frame checked out by Toyota?
They are buying them back for 150% of book if the frame is rotted.
My friend had a $2500 97 tacoma with 138k miles that didn't pass the
test and he was given a check for $10,800.

This does have nothing to do with the check engine light though.
J
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:37 AM   #8
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My "check engine light" was on due to a gas cap that wasn't put back on tightly enough when refueling.

I didn't notice that the check engine light was on until several days after refueling (I only get gas ever six weeks). At the time, I did not know what to do but I knew I did not want to pay anything, if I could even find a mechanic in New Orleans so soon after Katrina, so I asked my friends and started reading on the internet about what could cause it.

About a week after I noticed it, as a result of my research I tightened the gas cap. It took a week or so after that before the light went out, but it did and has never come back on.

That's what happens when you are distracted while filling your gas tank! That was only a couple of months after Katrina, and there were some pretty scary characters hanging around my gas station. I was frightened and very distracted... nearly locked my keys in the car while getting gas that same time. Some days are like that.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:05 AM   #9
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It takes some cars a certain number of startups before they'll clear a CEL from a transient thing like a loose gas cap. I think its 5 starts for my honda.

I'd check the oil level, make sure the air filter is clean, and the gas cap is tight. Then if its nothing obvious, get the code read. Could be anything from a vacuum problem to a clogged fuel filter to a bad sensor.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:33 AM   #10
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Do what I did:

1. Take it in
2. Be told that there's a small part deep in the engine that's sick and turning the light on
3. Have the part replaced for several hundred dollars
4. Find that the light still comes one
5. Cover light with .05 cents worth of black electrical tape.

Might consider buying one of these:

ScanGaugeII - Trip Computers + Digital Gauges + Scan Tool

which will display mileage and other info as well as codes.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:40 PM   #11
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A couple other things to check: make sure the oil dipstick is shoved all the way in (no jokes, please!) and the oil filler cap is screwed on tightly. These can effect the Positive Crankcase Ventilation system. Remember, the check engine light is only there to tell you about an emissions-related problem. The EPA doesn't care about the longevity of your engine.
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Tacoma's frame checked
Old 08-02-2008, 08:24 PM   #12
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Tacoma's frame checked

Quote:
Originally Posted by ikonomore View Post
Did you get your Tacoma's frame checked out by Toyota?
They are buying them back for 150% of book if the frame is rotted.
My friend had a $2500 97 tacoma with 138k miles that didn't pass the
test and he was given a check for $10,800.

This does have nothing to do with the check engine light though.
J
Thanks for the information. My 98 has been rust proofed and did not see the first 3 Michigan winters and I believe it is in good shape. But after reading your post I will have it checked. Even thou it is a 98 and 10 years old it only had 71,000 on it and no body dents or necks. Almost looks new when it is cleaned and polished. But then a new one (their money plus some) would eliminate a lot of needless worries.

Thank you,

Bob

Oh it was the lose gas cap
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Do what I did:

5. Cover light with .05 cents worth of black electrical tape.
I hope this was posted in your 'always joking' mode.

A CEL coming on could be an indication of a problem that will get worse over time. It may very well be cheaper , safer, more convenient *and* better for the environment to get it fixed now than to be stranded with a dead vehicle or have your vehicle sputter while maneuvering in traffic.

99 time out 100, it probably will be something minor like the gas cap in this case, but better to get the codes read for a hint at the problem.

-ERD50
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:11 PM   #14
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In theory, I agree.

But I spent $342 to have the VVT dohickey replaced with a new one, and the light still comes on. Same code. Says the dohickey is bad. This is two years ago, so I don't remember the exact info.

I actually didn't cover the light, I've just learned to ignore it. It goes on and off every 300 miles or so.

I could spend another $500 at the dealer to have them work on it. The purpose of the device is to improve mileage by 1 MPG. The $342 was a total waste of money.

The engine checklight concept has a major flaw -- it only says that there's some problem. So I don't know if the light is coming on for the same problem, or for "Problem #72 -- Explosion Imminent!" Much better would be a two digit code that appears.

At some point, I'll buy a code reader so I'll know if some new problem is asking for attention.
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Old 08-08-2008, 01:11 PM   #15
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I agree T-Al, an actual code would be much better. Of course you can get the readers, or get them read for you. I sure hope they go to a USB port in the near future.

Of course the diagnostic code sometimes can only point to the symptom, not necessarily the exact cause of the problem (depends on the problem and what it is sensing).

In your case, it could be the wires or something going *to* the dohickey, but the computer can't tell the difference.

We recently had a problem with the leveling system on my daughter's car. I'm glad I checked it myself. From the troubleshooting info I found on the web, I'm sure that a good garage would have read the codes from the system that would have told it the leveling sensor ( a sealed computer circuit of it's own) was bad. After I opened it up, and could not find anything obvious, I looked at the connector and found a corroded wire. I spliced in a new wire and all was good. Probably would have cost me $1000 at the dealer....

-ERD50
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Old 08-08-2008, 01:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I spent $342 to have the VVT dohickey replaced with a new one, and the light still comes on. Same code. Says the dohickey is bad.
So therefore the sensor that tries to figure out if the doohickey is bad is whats broken?
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:59 PM   #17
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Probably, yes. Or there's something else that's wrong, that causes the doohickey to behave badly.
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