Thousands of heads are better than one

The clock is ticking and your customer is coming to pick up the car soon. You've spent way too much time troubleshooting the vehicle and nothing is working. You're stumped.

Before you get to this point, wouldn't it be nice to have a community of experienced technicians to reach out to for ideas and a quick answer? That's the basis for the interactive SureTrack community, one of the many resources in the new experience-based diagnostic solution from Mitchell 1.

For a peek at how the community works, below is an actual exchange that took place among technicians inside the SureTrack Community.

First, let's set the scene. Community member TechGuy* had a truck in his shop that would set a P0440 over and over. It had already been to several other shops with no fix. TechGuy reached out to the SureTrack community for feedback. Here's the information he provided:

Vehicle

2001 Chevrolet Blazer, 4.3L

Symptoms

DTC P0440 only sets after a long period of operation and drive cycles; cat monitor never readies. Vehicle has been to several shops for two years.

Diagnostic steps performed/parts replaced

We used a scan tool to command canister purge and vent valve operation. Passes bay test, as far as turning components on. Several smoke tests have revealed nothing; no leaks. Changed cat and all O2s with the same result. Changed the fuel pump for hard start (good pressure, low volume), which fixed the starting problem, but did not help the evap or cat problem. Replaced gas cap twice — both times used aftermarket. Filler neck seems fine. Techs assure me vacuum hoses are okay as well as vacuum to purge and vent valve.

And here's the question TechGuy posed to the community: Does anybody know what we're missing here? Anybody have a similar experience? Perhaps vacuum?

A dialog among community members followed. Here's a snapshot of the actual responses:

ABC-Automotive: Hey TechGuy, I have repetitively had issue with the FTPS (fuel tank pressure sensors) on the trucks. Make sure there's no less than 15 percent and no more than 85 percent fuel level in tank or evap test while not run on its own. As far as the cat issue: are you getting a code or just an unready problem? Sometimes it takes a very long time for the ECM to throw a P0420 code?

AndyMechanic: Check the vent valve very closely… while smoking the system.

Mike MotorHead: Have had lots of problems with FTPS on aftermarket fuel pumps after replacement; wrong calibration.

TechGuy was able to read the responses, give them a try, and then rate the best one. He gave the nod to AndyMechanic's response as the best, "Check the vent valve very closely while smoking the system." And then he posted what he did to actually correct the problem: "Found small crack in hose from gas tank to purge valve — fixed it."

It takes a village

Sometimes it really does take a village. TechGuy got several good ideas and a solution to his tricky vehicle issue. You can take advantage of the SureTrack Community, too — and get ideas and quick fixes by email, often within minutes of posting your question. And every time you ask a question or contribute to the Community, you're adding valuable information that will help thousands of technicians to fix cars faster.

SureTrack is available as a special free preview in ProDemand, Mitchell 1's comprehensive OEM repair information solution.

*Actual technician names have been changed in compliance with Mitchell 1 privacy policies.

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