Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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My minivan has failed a smog test. Not by very much, and the guy at the test-only station where I took it said that many vans of my type are classed as "gross polluters," but mine is only a borderline failure and probably won't take much to bring back into compliance. So this coming week I need to take it for diagnosis and repair. The shop next to the test station quoted $98 minimum diagnosis charge plus whatever it will take to repair it. I will also call the guy who put the engine in and ask for his opinion. He may not be able to work on it -- I think you need to be a licensed smog center for this -- but he may have a recommendation to a particular repair shop, and given how well he's treated me over the years, I would take his recommendations very seriously.

I'd done things right for this smog check scenario. I'd run Guaranteed to Pass engine treatment through the previous tank. I'd taken it out for a run on the freeway to warm it up, since when the engine is cold, it's likely to fail the test. But it was to no avail. Now I get to figure out how to collect on the guarantee on the fuel treatment.

I had to release the "doghouse" engine cover in order for them to do the smog check. This involves removing the between-seats console that Lisa built to hold the ham and CB radios (and also a couple of cup-holders), and also removing the glove compartment console, which sits over the engine cover. Then you have to loosen a pair of captive screws inside the engine compartment and two latches inside the van itself. When I got in the van to leave, the cover seemed to be back in place -- the latches were strapped down -- but as I drove away, I realized that something was not right and the cover was not completely secured.

The smog shop is only a couple of blocks from my apartment, so I opened the windows (to make sure there wasn't a buildup of engine fumes inside and limped back home and opened things up. Turns out the smog shop hadn't re-secured the captive screws. Worse, because they forced it back into place, they'd bent the holding bracket for one of the screws. Fortunately, I was able to eventually bend it back where it belonged, and after twenty or thirty minutes of poking around, got the engine cover secured again. I won't reinstall the glove compartment until after repairs are made, because I'd just have to remove it again or pay a mechanic to do so.

At least I still have more than a month before the registration is due, so I've got time to get the repairs done.

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