Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The bright side.....

7:54 am - Wednesday - January 18th - GNHS - 43° F, humidity 75%, wind 4 mph out of the northwest.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 62° F.  On this date in 2013 TLE and I were having lunch in downtown Cedar Key, FL at a 50's style diner which is no longer that hat.......↴ 

We had simple plans for Tuesday.  I would wash a couple of the rentals from Sunday, and then we would drive into Mecca to do a small shopping, then have lunch at a local taqueria, then drive home.  We left GNHS in the Beetle around 11 am to make the 25 minute drive into Mecca, but 3.5 miles later, just as we were turning onto Highway 111 the car began to misfire, then the check engine light began to flash.....flashing check engine lights are not good....solid ones are not great either, but better than the ones of the flashing variety.

I quickly found a place to pull off the road, and park, then shut down the engine.  Sometimes that works.  I then turned the engine back on, and the flashing light was gone, and the car was running smoothly again.  I eased back onto the highway hoping whatever was wrong had cured itself, but then just 60 seconds later the car began to misfire again, and the flashing light returned.....doh!  Houston, we have a problem.

Fortunately, we were only 3.5 miles from home, so I turned on the hazard lights (flashing lights), turned around and began to limp back to GNHS.  When you're only going 10 mph it seems to take forever to drive 3.5 miles, but within 20 minutes we had made it home.  I pulled out my Foxwell code reader, plugged it in, and found two separate codes P0301 and P0302.  I went on YouTube to find a video about those codes and found one with a guy diagnosing the same issue on a VW Beetle of the same generation.  The first code indicate a misfire in cylinder #1, and the second on #2.  The description read "random/multiple misfires detected".  According to the video it can mean either there is something wrong with the spark plugs, or the ignition coils.  He showed how to find the four coils, and where cylinder #1 is....I didn't take pictures, but here is the video I watched.... it turns out the video was spot on, and it really is just that easy to get at the ignition coils, and sparkplugs.  I had the two coils removed, as well as the spark plugs within 30 minutes.  As far as I could tell the spark plugs looked fine, but the gap looked too big, so I looked up the proper gap (.040"), borrowed a 'feeler gauge' to re-gap them, reinstalled them, only to get the same misfire, so it must be the coils.  Since I have no spare coils on hand....why would I?.....I'll either have to order replacements off Amazon ($79 for 4, shipped), or drive the COA van into town Wednesday to buy them at a local auto parts store (probably O'Reilly's).  I will also buy new NGK spark plugs since I'm going to be in there anyway, and replace them.  At any rate, by 3 pm, I had gone as far as I could go, so I kind of buttoned things up, and went on about what was left of my day.  At least it appears it is something I can fix myself....we'll see.

It is always a bummer when your car doesn't work, however, looking on the bright side we were close to home, and did not end up stranded on the side of the highway for 3 to always look on the bright side, and not being stranded, awaiting the arrival of a tow truck, is a very important bright side.  We've done the later before, and it is not fun.

That was pretty much our day. The skies are clear again, the park is virtually empty right now after a big weekend, and the lovely quiet of the SoCal desert has returned.

Thanks for stopping by!

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