HELP! Clearing codes through a 'Drive Cycle'?

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24
Location
Chattanooga, TN
*Long* ... I recently purchased a 2016 Ford Transit Connect Wagon, LWB, Titanium. 2.5 i4 engine, 6f35 transmission. It's the little van (not the big transit), you see them a lot as fleet vehicles, but mine is a passenger van. A little backstory so I can get to the point and to my questions for the experts on this forum: I did a LOT of research on these vans before I bought one. I asked all the right questions, searched the internet, joined online forums etc... (hence my presence here now). I did a lot of price searching and finally found one that met my needs and the features that I wanted in the van. The van was out of state but close to my parents, so my dad went and looked at it. We determined together that it was a nice vehicle. I decided to send it to a local shop near the dealership to have a pre-purchase inspection. I gave the owner of the shop a list of specific things to look for and he looked over it in detail and with a fine toothed comb, as I asked him to. I was so specific with him that he jokingly offered me a job at his shop when we were on the phone because I knew so much about these particular vans. Point is, I did everything you should do when purchasing a used car right. All checked out, I drove down (about 400 miles) to get the van. This was Nov. 14th. I really loved the van. I've been driving it pretty frequently, daily driving and a few longer trips for work or recreation. It's been great *until recently* [insert used car buying horror story]... On Monday this week, I ran an errand at lunch. I got an emergency message saying the van engine was overheating. I immediately stopped the vehicle, looked under the hood. It seemed the coolant was pretty low. I let it cool, topped off the coolant, and drove to my shop immediately. I trust my shop a LOT, it's my best friends brother who owns the shop, and he's always been straight with me. They found a small leak in the water pump, which is why the coolant was leaking (apparently very slowly). They replaced the water pump, flushed the system, refilled/recharged etc... I went and picked it up. I noticed the next morning that the coolant still seemed low, got in, started it up, and sure enough, the check engine light is on again. I took it back in. They said there was air in the pressurized system (common problem). They flushed it, recharged again and I picked it up and it seemed OK. Needless to say, it sucks to lose confidence in a new vehicle that you just bought. I've been less than happy about it, the new car joy is 100% gone. My shop gave everything a look while it was in for the second time and told me to stop worrying, it was all fixed up, and to enjoy my new van. (Side note: I have continual car repair PTSD because of my old Subaru, that's had TONS of expensive work done on it). Amongst all this trouble, I've also had a terrible time with the dealership getting out of state paper work and taxes correct. mad So I have very little time left to get it registered and needed to take it to get the emissions test done today. When I started the van this morning to head to emissions, it did have a strange idle and RPMs were fluctuating. So I took it over to emissions and the van DID NOT PASS EMISSIONS. mad It's throwing typical emissions codes (oxygen sensors, EGR etc). They said because I'd recently had a repair done and the van had a check engine light on, it likely didn't pass because it needs to be driven to clear codes. That I should take it through a "drive cycle", which as far as I know, for Ford is 150 miles!!! The check engine light is no longer on. And it's been starting up fine. except for the initial start up this morning (cold) as I was headed to the emissions place. Sooo, for all the experts on here: -Would you be concerned about the strange idle? Or could this just be related to the work that's been done and the codes? -Is the need for a "drive cycle" probably the best explanation for not passing emissions, or should I be concerned about the van otherwise? -Is the water-pump slow leak something that could have been easily missed in an inspection? -Did I get completely screwed on this van? -What would you do? My only good news/consolation prize is, the dealership does a 3000 mile/3 month limited warranty which is still valid (paid for most of the water pump replacement) and the van is still technically under the Ford Powertrain for another 9,000 miles as well. Anyway, your advice or knowledge would be greatly appreciated...even if it's just to reassure me that I did not knowingly purchase a [censored] LEMON.
 
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2,007
Location
Somewhere in time
The drive cycle is the series of events the ECM needs to progress through to prove your van is working correctly. You can Google your engines particular drive cycle and read through exactly what is required to complete the process. Alternatively, someone may post your drive cycle requirements here if you're lucky. The check engine light will not go off until the drive cycle is complete and most state smog checks cannot be completed without the check engine light off. I can't speak to your idle problems, but you should probably head back to your mechanic and have him reinspect.
 
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Messages
551
Location
st louis, mo
It's pretty tough to talk about the check engine light if you don't know what the code is. You can take it to a place like Autozone and find out the code(s).
 

drh214

Thread starter
Messages
24
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Sorry I wasn't clear. The check engine light is off and has been off since the second trip to the shop when I brought it home. It did sit in my driveway for more than 24 hours after that. So it was a rough start this morning and that's when the rough/strange idle happened too. It's not had any rough starts since and starts right up, no problem now. I don't have much to base this assumption off, but I've found in my Subaru, that the first start up after codes have cleared can be rough... Not sure if that could be the same here... Anyway, it's not currently showing any indicator lights nor is the check-engine light on.
 
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pa
i read that it takes about a 50 mile drive in varying conditions. if everything is good "readiness" codes can be seen with the right equipment. good luck! buying a scanner or having your local wrench or auto zone check it may be smart as i have seen pass or fail signs at various shops.
 

drh214

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Messages
24
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Originally Posted by benjy
i read that it takes about a 50 mile drive in varying conditions. if everything is good "readiness" codes can be seen with the right equipment. good luck! buying a scanner or having your local wrench or auto zone check it may be smart as i have seen pass or fail signs at various shops.
Thanks! Yeah, I've read anywhere from 50 to 150, and has to be a mix of stop and go city and highway driving... smirk2 Honestly, I just wish I didn't feel like after all the work and research of finding it, I could feel like I love the van again and didn't get completely screwed... It's been stressful to say the least.
 

drh214

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Messages
24
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Originally Posted by Wolf359
It's hard to find specifically but this one will probably do. You need to have at least 1/2 to 3/4 of a tank of gas. http://www.obdii.com/drivecycleford.html
Thanks, I appreciate this. Also, sorry to everyone if I posted this long thread in the wrong forum! eek I realized after the fact that maintenance questions go elsewhere...
 
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Somewhere in time
Originally Posted by Imp4
The check engine light will not go off until the drive cycle is complete and most state smog checks cannot be completed without the check engine light off.
I'd like to correct this statement. Your CE light will likely be off, however, you still won't pass an emissions test until the OBD codes are cleared by means of completing the drive cycle.
 
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9,967
Location
MA
Originally Posted by Imp4
Originally Posted by Imp4
The check engine light will not go off until the drive cycle is complete and most state smog checks cannot be completed without the check engine light off.
I'd like to correct this statement. Your CE light will likely be off, however, you still won't pass an emissions test until the OBD codes are cleared by means of completing the drive cycle.
Just to clarify, the OBD codes are probably stored at this point and don't need to be cleared. They're not active so that's why there's no light. The readiness monitors are not set so those need to be set by going through the drive cycle. Looks like it'd probably take an hour or so to go through all those cycles. Probably need to find an area that doesn't have too much traffic.
 

drh214

Thread starter
Messages
24
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Originally Posted by Imp4
Originally Posted by Imp4
The check engine light will not go off until the drive cycle is complete and most state smog checks cannot be completed without the check engine light off.
I'd like to correct this statement. Your CE light will likely be off, however, you still won't pass an emissions test until the OBD codes are cleared by means of completing the drive cycle.
Thanks, yes I've learned these are likely the "readiness" codes that are referred to in this post: http://www.obdii.com/drivecycleford.html I guess no use in being worried about anything else until I find out if these readiness codes are the reason it's not passing emissions, or if I have a larger issue that needs to be fixed.
 
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Suburban Washington DC
Coincidentally I almost bought one of these wagons this week from Super Shuttle, a 2017 with 320,000 miles. It went for what the 200,000 mile ones sold for, so [censored] no. The emissions monitors must me completed before it can pass but depending on the model year, one or two may still be incomplete and you can pass. You can check with a cheap OBDII scan tool every now and then to see if they have been completed so you don't go to the inspection for nothing.
 

drh214

Thread starter
Messages
24
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Originally Posted by Wolf359
Originally Posted by Imp4
Originally Posted by Imp4
The check engine light will not go off until the drive cycle is complete and most state smog checks cannot be completed without the check engine light off.
I'd like to correct this statement. Your CE light will likely be off, however, you still won't pass an emissions test until the OBD codes are cleared by means of completing the drive cycle.
Just to clarify, the OBD codes are probably stored at this point and don't need to be cleared. They're not active so that's why there's no light. The readiness monitors are not set so those need to be set by going through the drive cycle. Looks like it'd probably take an hour or so to go through all those cycles. Probably need to find an area that doesn't have too much traffic.
When you say the ODB codes "are not active", do you mean because the repair was done and the codes cleared?
 
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Texas
Assuming that there isn't something wrong with the vehicle, when you do a drive cycle properly the readiness codes can be made ready on most vehicles in less than 10 miles, and it takes roughly 30 minutes from start to finish. I have done it at least 100 times. If you just drive the vehicle around it can take weeks. The procedure needs to be followed EXACTLY. It needs to be done first thing in the morning when the vehicle has been sitting all night and the engine is cold. If it is hot outside in the summer (like it gets where I live) and the engine doesn't get cold enough overnight, the computer will never be ready. Fortunately, I had an air conditioned garage that i could leave the vehicles in overnight. Something else that I found out from experience is that if the battery is weak or if there is something wrong with the charging system, the computer will NEVER be ready. This is something that they don't tell you. When I put the vehicle in the garage overnight I always put a battery charger on it to top it off.
 
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USA
You said you are under warranty. Take it to a Ford dealer and let them take care of everything, smog and all. Part of the emission warranty is that it passes I think. Also isn't a vehicle that new exempt from a smog test?
 
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Location
MA
Originally Posted by drh214
Originally Posted by Wolf359
Originally Posted by Imp4
Originally Posted by Imp4
The check engine light will not go off until the drive cycle is complete and most state smog checks cannot be completed without the check engine light off.
I'd like to correct this statement. Your CE light will likely be off, however, you still won't pass an emissions test until the OBD codes are cleared by means of completing the drive cycle.
Just to clarify, the OBD codes are probably stored at this point and don't need to be cleared. They're not active so that's why there's no light. The readiness monitors are not set so those need to be set by going through the drive cycle. Looks like it'd probably take an hour or so to go through all those cycles. Probably need to find an area that doesn't have too much traffic.
When you say the ODB codes "are not active", do you mean because the repair was done and the codes cleared?
OBD codes which trigger the check engine light are engine and emissions codes for active problems with the car. When you clear the codes, it resets the emissions monitors and they end up in a not ready state. Once you go through the drive cycle the various emissions monitors will go into a ready state and you'll pass the emissions. Reason is that in the old days you could just clear the error codes and you'd pass, but the not ready state is to stop you from doing that. So when you don't have the check engine light on, it's either because you cleared the codes or they're no longer active. The readiness monitors don't have anything to do with setting a CEL, either they will be ready or not, they won't trigger the light. You basically need the light off and the readiness monitors to be in a ready state before you can pass emissions. You're at step one which is no CEL, but you're in a not ready state for several of the monitors. Do the drive cycle to get into the ready state.
 
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Texas
Originally Posted by Farnsworth
You said you are under warranty. Take it to a Ford dealer and let them take care of everything, smog and all. Part of the emission warranty is that it passes I think.
Negative. A new car dealer is not going to do this and they are not required to. Ask me how I know.
Originally Posted by Farnsworth
Also isn't a vehicle that new exempt from a smog test?
Only for the first two model years. The OP has a 2016.
 

drh214

Thread starter
Messages
24
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Originally Posted by wag123
Assuming that there isn't something wrong with the vehicle, when you do a drive cycle properly the readiness codes can be made ready on most vehicles in less than 10 miles, and it takes roughly 30 minutes from start to finish. I have done it at least 100 times. If you just drive the vehicle around it can take weeks. The procedure needs to be followed EXACTLY. It needs to be done first thing in the morning when the vehicle has been sitting all night and the engine is cold. If it is hot outside in the summer (like it gets where I live) and the engine doesn't get cold enough overnight, the computer will never be ready. Fortunately, I had an air conditioned garage that i could leave the vehicles in overnight. Something else that I found out from experience is that if the battery is weak or if there is something wrong with the charging system, the computer will NEVER be ready. This is something that they don't tell you. When I put the vehicle in the garage overnight I always put a battery charger on it to top it off.
This is super helpful. Thank you. I am actually thinking that maybe the battery is going, because last weekend I was vacuuming it out with the key in turned back and it killed the battery. I am wondering if I charge or change the battery this would take care of the cold start RPM problems too. I drove it this afternoon, kinda very split second slow start to turn over, then drove for a bit, parked shortly then drove again, no problem on the start... then we went to see Star Wars, so it was parked for over 2 hours, cold start and it took several seconds to start and the RPM needle bounced a bit. Going to troubleshoot the battery tomorrow and then if that doesn't fix it, start looking into the Throttle Body, OCV, airflow issues etc...
 
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