Here's a weird question about car oxygen sensors...

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by rabid_granny, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. My neighbour is a retired civil engineer. He has an oxygen sensor that is faulty. But he did some internet research and found out that oxygen sensors usually fail because the sensor tip gets dirty...he went on to list a bunch of possible contaminates such as lead (from gas), oil ash, silicon, water...

    The sensor tip is encased and not accessible but he thinks he can clean the sensor tip but submerging it in a solvent: fuel injection fluid. He thinks that's the safest solvent.

    Question: Is he crazy?
  2. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Do you mean fuel injector cleaner.

    I think he's crazy no matter what.
  3. Ya, he's pretty far out-there. He's into conspiracy theory and the like.
  4. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    He can try it but probably wont bring it back to life. And even if it does start working again, it may not respond quickly enough to changes in exhaust oxygen content, and that can turn on the "check engine" light. Also, theres more than just the sensor tip in todays sensors: most sensors have heater elements in them(to heat the sensor so it starts working) which have a higher failure rate than the sensor itself(and that will also turn on the "check engine" light.

    In short, replace it.
  5. I've done it once with injector cleaner (which is essentially very high quality petrol gas) and a soldering torch. It'll burn the coal out of the sensor chamber. The sensor can withstand up to somewhere around 1200 degrees celsius, and normal work temperature is 600 deg celsius or so, so don't worry about burning it.
  6. Those things are the invention of the Devil. Really. Nasty little useless things put there to make you spend money. :spit:

    Good ol' cars rule! :smug:

    Edit: I know, I'm not thinking about the environment and blah, blah, blah...
  7. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    That's very interesting.

    I ran across some of your old posts some time ago, and then checked your website. Good stuff.

    I didn't know you were still around!

  8. I'm still around, but not very often. I'm always working on the car (I got 2 of'em now!), building a cabinet, painting the house, expanding the kitchen, fixing other stuff, and... ehrrrr.... there was this other thing.......

    playing bass!!! :D :bassist:
  9. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Did anyone else notice that the word "Working" is missing. Now I know you're not a motor mechanic, and I know you quit your cab building business. Handyman work around "the house" implies you're not a tradesman. You must make all your income playing Bass? That's cool!
  10. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Just replace them. Theyre not that expensive.
  11. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I hope we'll get to know each other better,


    Expatriate Icelander
  12. :D

    Work isn't that important for me, so I subconsciously left it out. I work to live, I don't live to work. Especially now I have someone to come home to, and a cat and a doggy. I don't think it'll be a surprise to you that I'm a technician by profession. I'm changing jobs right now, and at my new job there'll be no more hard labour and overtime. Leaves me more time to ehrr... play bass. And all the other things.
  13. Funny thing happened. The car started up fine and in fact, sounded a lot better after the dunking experiment. However, when we parked the car later and tried restarting, it stalled. A couple tries later and a bit of gas, it started going again.

    I don't know about those things being inexpensive. In his case, he had a 1986 K-car that only had one sensor. But new cars have anywhere between 2-4 sensors and they're charging nearly $90 each!
  14. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    A faulty oxygen sensor wont cause a no start or a hard start, it will make the computer run in "open loop", and while the car's gas mileage will suffer, it will start and run.

    Is this K-car EFI or carb?
  15. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I think one of the mechanics we took my car to said that i need a new oxygen sensor or something along those lines. He also said it isn't vital to the car running but since you made that comment about gas mileage that sure does explain a lot. That's all
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    "Not that expensive" is relative;)

    BTW I just had a crank sensor leak on my PT Cruiser. Repair cost... $360. The sensor itself is okay, it has a bad o ring... which is not sold seperately.

    $360 is not that expensive for a nice bass:D
  17. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    I find it hard to believe they couldnt have found an o-ring to match up to the one on your crank sensor.

    Methinks they didnt want to put a little effort into looking for one......
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Heck Mike, I could've found an o ring, could oif bought a bag real cheap:D. The dealer's story was that it wasn't sold seperately and that they redesigned the crank sensor (they obviously had problems with the type in mine) and also changed the connector which required a new cable. They didn't do a recall on it so it was up to the customer to pay for the bad design.

    Hey, that's me. I don't think so;)

    I talked to the sales manager about it (I was looking at a Crossfire at the time), he told me to talk to the service manager and voila, I got it it repaired as a goodwill repair.

    Got to love service departments. On the same initial visit, they diagnosed a rough idle problem as needing new plugs and wires. The service tech said he even looked at the plugs to verify this. Cost of diagnostic for both issues... $44. Cost to replace plugs and wires... $240.

    Apparently it's very labor intensive to get to the spark plugs... but much less so to get at them to check them out prior to replacing them. What a joke.

    I went to a PT Cruiser forum, found the guide for changing the plugs without dismantling the entire intake system (very, very cool... had large photos for every step, just took the laptop out in the garage and followed the steps), bought the special plugs (Champion 7440, very hard to find, usually only sold in sets of 6, which is very convenient when you have a 4 cylinder) at Autozone and replaced them in 45 minutes. My cost for the repair? $16 plus maybe 2 hours buying and then installing the plugs.

    At 38,000 miles these are the first problems I've had and they were relatively minor unless I had let the dealer fix them, then it would've been $600 for basically an o ring, 4 spark plugs and some spark plug wires I didn't need.
  19. I used to drive a Fiat Uno, which has a single point injection system. One day, it started hickuping and smoking as if it were injecting more fuel than air. It clogged up the spark plugs, lambda probe and cat. So I had the dealer take a look at it. They diagnosed the injection computer as faulty: $700! I didn't have it fixed, and wanted to look at it one more time myself. Diagnose costs: $100. Anyways, I came to pick up the little bugger and it ran fine, no more smoke, no more hickups etc. I changed the spark plugs and cleaned the lambda probe and have been driving in it for 4 more, injection wise, trouble free years.

    So ever since I diagnose problems myself, and just make clear what has to be repaired. I've never been wrong.