Tuesday, April 22, 2014

One Small Example How State And Corporations Screw You

Lord knows there's no one who more than I covet a clean and healthy environment. No, I'm not going to beat anybody up over the crap the jets are spraying everyday making the fake clouds nor things like Fukushima spewing radioactivity throughout the northern hemisphere. I want to tell you about a little thing known as a P1390 code that thus far has cost me about $500.

Before going forward, I must alert you young-ens that things were not always as you see them today. You know back in the 1960's and 1970's the pollution was very bad around DC. Besides most of the fish floating down the Potomac with loads of suds from the detergents of the day, which you only took notice of beginning about 1/2 mile from the waterway when the smell hit you, the noticeable thing everybody saw was the thick, brown air pollution during the summer months. As soon as the warm moist air hit DC it combined with the exhausts of cars getting 3 or 4 miles to the gallon back then to brew up a soup that blocked out the view of the Washington Monument.

So I'm down with the better air plan that is the result of the federal government's illegal overreach using the unconstitutional EPA powers to implement standards that could have just as easily been done legally by the states as California does with its emission's car laws. Be that as it may, these central plans always have a way of morphing into cash cows for state and corporate America/world too.

My son spun a bearing on his Eclipse. So I rebuilt the engine replacing the crank, cams and lots of parts. The car runs like a Swiss watch. It get's fantastic fuel mileage. The car does not knock, miss, ping or do anything but purr like a kitten. But the check engine light is on.

After doing a bit of research I discover that this code, like most, could mean a number of things like the timing belt is off a notch. But this is impossible on an engine that is running smoothly. Through the DSM underground of Eclipse enthusiasts I discover the actual problem which I think I can verify later today by replacing the car's computer. Apparently, when new parts like I've installed are timing checked by the old computer the computer throws the P1390 code meaning "Hey wait a split second! That crank and those cams don't line up exactly like they use to." Then the only way to rid ones car of the P1390 is go to the dealer and be raked over the coals.

All this because, despite the car emitting no pollutants, it fail emissions due to that little light holding me over the dealer's barrel. It's a swindle pure and simple. I don't have the fancy $3,000 Chrysler code machine that can tell the old computer, "Okay, these will be the new relearned crank and cam positions so relax and shut that damn check engine light off so Tomas can pass emissions."

What will that cost? Well I don't have a clear picture about that from Fitzgerald's Mitsubshi in Annapolis. That's because I couldn't get through to their service department because after waiting 15 minutes on hold the line went dead. So I complained to my wife that we'd have to do something before the 24th of April when the emissions deadline was up. She took it upon herself to go to Fitzgerald and be charged $124 to tell me that I had a P1390 code and for another $499 they could tell me if my engine was timed correctly - then go from there. I felt like I was stuck in a Seinfeld episode.

But here's the rub. Fitzgerald claims they need to take off the timing cover even thought it has a view window to see the timing marks. If the cover did have to come off the charge would be understandable as it's a big job. However, can't that fancy Chrysler code read write gizmo that cost 3 grand tell if my car is timed correctly? The dealership claims they must dived into my engine to establish that. I am held over a barrel they believe.

But here's my thinking. Today a replacement computer arrives (another $260) that has never had any sort of intimate relations with my crank that would get me screwed by emissions and Fitzgerald's. It has no idea how my crank and cams align on any given Sunday. So I suspect the dreaded P1390 error will mysteriously vanish allowing me to pass effortlessly through emissions. If not I can return that computer and try one that comes with software to install the thing.

The important thing to remember here if my solution works, is the car does not produce emissions that should get it to fail the test. But the test is not like the original tests that actually checked your tailpipe for smoke. Now you must get a note from the dealer in the form of loads of cash dumped their way to have this stupid light turned off that has ZERO to do with actual emissions in this case.

This is just one little way the government and corporations gang up on us using excuses like fighting pollution to gouge the public in ways that do absolutely nothing to improve air quality.

Updates to come.

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