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Old 08-26-2010, 02:20 PM   #1
snicknc
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2002 VUE 3.0L
Default P0421 Code

Hi,

I just picked up an 02 Vue 3.0L that popped the SES light literally driving it home after I signed the title-- fun stuff

This code caused me to fail the emissions part of my safety check.

After a lot of googling and searching the forums here, I can't seem to find anyone else that just has this one code. It seems like it's usually paired up with 0431 or a specific O2 sensor code.

My plugs were replaced about 20k miles ago by the previous owner at a dealership.

With just this code popping up, is it probably that post-cat O2 sensor on the front, or the cat itself?

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Old 08-26-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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2003 VUE 3.0L
2007 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: P0421 Code

Quote:
Originally Posted by snicknc View Post
With just this code popping up, is it probably that post-cat O2 sensor on the front, or the cat itself?
This is a good read even if it isn't a good fix . . .
http://www.club3g.com/forum/performa...t-5-bucks.html

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Old 08-26-2010, 05:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: P0421 Code

It's worth a shot-- I'll try it and report back. I'm going to check those O2 sensors as well.

Thanks!

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Old 08-27-2010, 11:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: P0421 Code

Ironically I had P0431 (the same code you got, only for bank 2) go on me about 25 kms after leaving the dealership where I bought it. I promptly returned and asked for some clarification on what they would do. Their garage was packed so I couldn't get in at the moment and couldn't leave the truck for an extended period of time.

The initial response from the Service Agents was that I must have filled the truck while it was running or that I must have left the gas cap off. After I politely told them to eff off because this wasn't my first "rodeo" they gave me some other solutions.

Apparently if the gas is somewhat poor or has been sitting for a while, it can sometimes give the cat issues leading to this code. They also stated that if it had sat for a while, there may be something stuck to the sensor. I then left and cleared the code at home. I added a fuel injector cleaner to my tank and hit the highway for some "spirited" driving.

The code did come back but only for a short while and then went off again. It hasn't been back on for at least two weeks now.

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Old 08-27-2010, 12:02 PM   #5
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2002 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: P0421 Code

That's an interesting point. The light came on shortly after my wife put gas in it driving home from the folks we bought it from. I don't think we've gassed it up since then, so it could be bad gas. It also slung the evap canister (aka gas cap loose) code, but that cleared up when I cleared the codes a couple of times.

I'll go ahead and try this non fouler trick, gas it up and drive it an hour or so to get the ready code.

Hopefully I can pass the emissions this weekend to get this thing registered and then finish up with the rest of the maintenance I'm wanting to do.

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Old 08-28-2010, 01:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: P0421 Code

Alright, so I pulled both bank 1 O2 sensors. The pre-cat sensor looked normal. The post-cat sensor had a dark ring (I'm guessing carbon) around the base and a grey-white stripe going from the base over the tip and down the other side.

So maybe some non-sensor safe RTV at some point poisoned it, in addition to running a little rich? I don't think it's still running rich, as I roughly calculated my gas mileage during the 100 miles to be around 23-25 at highway speeds.

It doesn't look like water contamination, as the white is just limited to that one stripe, but I'll probably do a compression check tomorrow just to make sure the head gaskets are good.

I swapped that sensor out with a new OEM one and drove it 100 miles, turning the engine off and starting it back up a couple of times, making turns, braking, etc. No SES light, so that's good I reckon.

At this point, I'm hoping I drove enough to get that "ready" code so I can slam this thing through emissions and get it registered.

For those interested in the non-fouler trick, be aware that it looks like our stock sensors are wider than 1/2", so you'll probably have to use a universal sensor. I couldn't get the sensor to fit in the fouler. I'll throw the picture of my bad sensor on here at some point this weekend just for thoroughness.

To be honest, I'll probably wind up just picking up two universal sensors as well and using the non fouler on both post-cat sensors as I'm honestly pretty aggravated that I'm failing the safety check for f'ing emissions-- especially something as dumb as this code. Over half the counties in NC don't require emissions, but mine does-- lucky me

Thanks for the help so far guys.

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