The cause of my check engine light illuminating.

It seems as though I have been reactively fixing a lot of things these days. Last weekend, it was the garbage disposal. This weekend, the problem child was my truck.

I was on the way to facilitate communications for a disaster drill sponsored by Rockwall County CERT, and after just entering the on-ramp for I-30, my check engine light came on. This would be the first time since I have owned the truck that it has happened (amazingly, the first time in 5 and a half years). The truck seemed to be running perfectly fine. Voltage, oil pressure, temperature…. all fine. I continued to my destination. Upon finishing, I went to go get the trouble code pulled off of the computer. (FYI: A lot of auto parts stores and oil change shops do this at no cost now) P0442 was the code. I had dealt with this code before on our old Mazda and knew it was something to do with the Gas Evaporation Control System. Just to be sure, I went online to and verified that it was due to a small vacuum leak in the system. It’s usually a problem of the gas cap not being on tight enough, but I’m very sure about making sure it is on tight. I called my step-father, Victor (a lifelong and AWESOME automotive technician), to get his opinion on it, and he said the vacuum hoses were very defective (read: total crap) in these model trucks (2003 Dodge Dakota), and became brittle after a while. The end result was splitting at the end of the vacuum lines, rendering a leak.

After doing some maintenance on my sister-in-law, Julie’s car on Saturday, which involved taking half of the front end of her Hyundai Tiberon apart to get to where the headlight bulbs go, I was ready to concentrate on this.

I opened the hood and traced the vacuum hose from the EVAP charcoal canister and sure enough:

(Click for full size image)

A HUGE split in the hose where it meets the purge. So, I pulled the hose off and got 3 feet of it from the auto parts store. It involved a lot of careful routing, since Dodge decided to strap it to the other hose pulling vacuum from the engine. These were both taped with electrical tape and routed under the fuse box. I had to loosen it to get down to where I could free the damaged hose.

So, after all of that, I am back up and running, for now.

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