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Old 10-27-2006, 17:00   #1 (permalink)
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2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

Good evening!

I bought a used 2003 Ford Crown Victoria recently. The "check engine" light on board is on when I am driving. I think there might be some problem. Could you give me some suggestions about where to get some information about the car and its repairing?

Thanks a lot!

Joey
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Old 10-27-2006, 22:30   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

The check engine light in itself isn't very helpful. What it means is that your computer has triggered a diagnostic code, and has stored it in it's memory. It could mean anything. Some vehicles have a "trick" where you can get the computer to tell you what the code is by having the computer flash a light, or lights, on the dash. Certain series of flashes indicate certain codes. From there you can cross-reference a manual. Unfortunately for your vehicle, which uses OBD-II (I think there's a newer supplement to OBD-II, but I don't know which year that came into affect), this method doesn't retrieve all codes that can be stored.

For the do-it-yourselfer, there are several options available to you. You can take it to a shop and have them read the codes using their diagnostic equipment. Naturally there's a fee for this. Hopefully you'll deal with a reputable shop that will be nice enough to tell you precisely which codes have been triggered and what they mean. Armed with this knowledge, you can attempt the repairs yourself.

Alternately, you can purchase your own OBD-II scanner. There are a number of different makes & models on the market, and the prices vary widely. Here in Canada we can pick up such a scanner for $150 when it's on sale at Canadian Tire. I've seen higher-end scanners available online at various automotive web sites ranging from $200 to well over $1000. You will also need to get your hands on a manual which lists the codes & what they mean for your particular make & model vehicle. Naturally, you will need to know where the diagnostic connector is in order to connect it to the scanner.

Once repairs are complete, you'll need to know the correct procedure for clearing the computer. You'll then need to road test the vehicle for a period to see if any further error codes are returned. Hope this helps...
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Old 10-28-2006, 06:46   #3 (permalink)
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Smile Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

Thanks for your help. I learn a lot from your message. Since it is a used car, so I do not have the manual.

There is a manual available for online shopping <2003 Ford Crown Victoria Owners Manual Portfolio> Product Code: 81880 , I do not know if it is what you refered to. Shall I buy this one?

The service departments of Ford Dealers I called today doesn't open on
weekend, so it is more difficult to check it now. Probably I need to wait until Monday.

Hope you to have a nice weekend!

Joey
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Old 10-28-2006, 06:53   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

The owner's manual, while helpful for the type of oil your car uses, etc., will be of no value for repairs and diagnosis. You need a shop manual. Since I've never seen the shop manual for your vehicle, I am not certain that it contains the engine codes. There are several different manuals relating to different areas of the vehicle, and there's a possibility the codes are in a separate publication from the standard factory shop manual.
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:27   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

Thanks for your help. It seems quite difficult for me to figure out which scanner to buy and how to connect it without a manual. Probably I have to wait until the dealers open next week to fix it.

Do you think lack of "coolant" or "long time no change of oil" will cause the check engine light to be on? How can I know whether coolant or oil is OK? I openned the hood yesterday but I can not identify which is for coolant and which is oil. Is there any other information I can get except for the manual?

By the way, could you let me know which type of oil shall I use?

Thanks a lot!

Joey
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Old 10-30-2006, 02:51   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

Go to Autozone, they will diagnois it for free.
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:56   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

Quote:
Go to Autozone, they will diagnois it for free.
Good to know.

I have a $70.00 OBD-II scanner from Walmart which has worked fine so far. It also allows you to clear stored codes in case some problems were temporary or have already been fixed.

mac
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:45   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

Go to Auto Zone is a good idea, thank you for letting me know. Will they told me which kind of fuel and oil the car use?

Have a good day!
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Old 10-30-2006, 05:32   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

I have found three manuals for sold on ebay:

<Ford repair service Crown Victoria Manual 2002 2003 03> $18.99+$4.99(Shipping);

<2003 03 Ford Crown Victoria Service Manual CD EVTM PCED> $9.99+$3.00(Shipping);

<2003 03 FORD CROWN VIC VICTORIA OEM SHOP REPAIR MANUAL> $19.99 + $1.00 (Shipping).

Could you give me some suggestions about which one shall I purchase?

Thanks a lot!
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Old 11-02-2006, 11:59   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Crown Victoria "Check Engine" light is on when I am driving.

While you are at AutoZone, ask them if they have a manual covering CEL(CheckEngineLight) codes. Buy only if necessary and if it covers the codes, but seriously, let them get the codes and explain them for free if they can. I haven't looked in my Haynes manual to see if they cover all the codes or not. But, the reason AutoZone reads your codes for free is, they can look up the code, and tell you what parts you need, which makes them money. So one trip to AutoZone should do it. If they can't read the codes, have them direct you to a CodeReader that WILL work with your car. Most will have documentation telling you what codes mean what on your car.
Further, if you don't know a coolant resevoir from an oil dipstick, then you will most defininately need the most simple to use manual in order to attempt ANY repair yourself. Again, ask before you buy, which manual is the best for you, as most manuals assume that you have some experience with cars and repair. While at AutoZone, make sure that you have any specialty tools that you need to install / remove the parts that need replacing (if any). Some fuel and hydraulic components require special tools. If you buy any parts, ask them to come out to your car and show you where they go, and any tricks to repair. (NAPA is usually good for this if you buy your parts there).
Any parts store will sell you the correct antifreeze for your year and model, although it is getting easier these days to use one coolant. You can buy a hydrometer (If I recall right) to test your coolant to see if it is weak. Read the instructions. If it is brown and muddy like chocolate milk, you have a major problem and should proceed directly to a certified mechanic to have it diagnosed. This is not something you can fix with your experience level. If it is green and fairly clean (or orange and clean, although I don't think ours cars use that orange antifreeze), test it for how much protection it gives (how cold it can get before it freezes). If not cold enough, then take it to a 30 minute lube place and let them drain and recycle a little of your coolant, and add antifreeze until it does protect to the right temprature for your region.
Oil? Ask the AutoZone, NAPA, or 30 minute oil change place to look up which viscosity is right for your vehicle. If you just bought the car, have the oil and oil filter changed so that you KNOW that what is in there is good. As for brand of oil, that is personal preference although many will tell you that you should go with a 100% synthetic oil. Such as Mobil One or Pennzoil, or even Castrol Syntec. Do some reading on the subject and come to your own conclusions as to which brand is best for you. Good luck.
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