I bought the truck in 2004 from a contractor with about 90,000 miles on it. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best decision. The outside of the truck was pretty scratched up, so there’s probably a good chance he didn’t maintain it very well either.
I’ve taken decent care of it – usually changing the oil every 4K-5K miles, occasionally going to 6K if I forget.
The only major repair I had before was in March ’07 after it had sat unused for about 5 months (not sure if that was related). The idle air control valve had gone bad (causing high idling) and I had it replaced. A throttle body flush, air induction flush, and throttle body cleaning were also part of this repair.
The check engine light first went on about a year ago, but then it continued to cycle on and off – often staying off for days or weeks at a time – there were no other symptoms, so I didn’t worry too much about it. At some time after that, the idle started to stick a little high at times also (around 1,100 rpm).
In June ’09, after having an oil change, I noticed a very slow drip of oil for the first time. I took it back to the mechanic who said it looked to be coming from the oil pan. He said the new oil might be getting through a hole that could have developed a while ago which the older, thicker oil could not escape through. I believe the drip stopped after a week or two.
In August ’09, I had it emission-tested and it passed no problem.
In September ’09, I finally had the check engine light diagnosed which said that the throttle position sensor was bad. I had that replaced and the throttle body cleaned, and the check engine light stayed off after this. My mechanic recommended that after doing this work, I should have the sparkplugs and fuel filter replaced ASAP.
In October ’09, he replaced the AC/water pump belt, sparkplugs, wires, and fuel filter (immediately prior to this work, I put in a bottle of Lucas fuel injector cleaner, per his recommendation). It turned out the wires and fuel filter had never been replaced before! At this time he also did a compression check, I think because spark plugs 1 and 2 showed signs of mis-firing (slightly blackened). On the first check, the pressure was:
#1 – 70 PSI
#2 – 60 PSI
#3 – 180 PSI
#4 – 170 PSI
He sprayed some fluid in, and rechecked 1 and 2, which had then raised to:
#1 – 80 PSI
#2 – 100 PSI
At this time, the check engine light was still off, but about a week later, it came back on. He diagnosed it again. This time, the computer indicated a “random misfire" on cylinders 1 and 2. This brings us up the present and his final recommendation that the engine be replaced because either the piston rings are bad or something is possibly cracked.
I haven’t noticed any drop in power or any other symptoms, although I think my fuel economy is down. I switched from regular to premium gas for a few tanks to see if that would make a difference, but I haven’t noticed anything. On the last tank, I was averaging about 14 mpg, although it was mostly city driving, often with heavy loads – but that still seems low.
The only noises I’ve noticed are the same ones that have always been there since I bought the truck:
-knocking for the first 20 seconds or so after starting on very cold mornings
-occasional squeaking – maybe a belt?
The check engine light is still on, and a few times it has started flashing, seemingly related to high revving – either accelerating or engine braking.
So thank you if you’ve made it this far! Any insights to the problem and possible solutions would be greatly appreciated! If it seems likely to be a major expense (in the $1,000s), I’m considering selling the truck as is and upgrading. But it would be nice to keep it if a relatively inexpensive repair could remedy the problem.
have the same problem?
Sunday, December 13th, 2009 AT 2:09 AM