My first post. I found the VWVortex doing Google searches and it seems like the best collection of information for my "new" vehicle. I'm looking forward to all the good help available.
2001 VW Jetta 2.0L 4-cyl AVH, 100 050 miles
Failed Georgia Emissions Inspection with following codes:
DTC1 = P1296 - Manufacturer specific code.
DTC2 = P0420 - Catalyst Sys Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
DTC3 = P1296 - Manufacturer specific code.
*Technician also informed me that the test would have failed automatically since the CEL (MIL?) is on. Mileage at time of test was 99710.
I took the car into my local dealership. They did a diagnosis for $50 and then quoted $500 for repairs. As much as I need to pass my emissions inspection, $500 is money we don't have right now so I declined service.
I searched the archives for P0420 and P1296 and read every single thread in the IV forum. 2 hours later I feel much smarter but I still don't feel like I'm smart enough to attack this DIY. Need tips.
Here's what I learned (any comments & corrections would be really helpful):
P1296 - Most replies indicate that this is either a bad Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor -OR- a bad thermostat. Engine appears to already have a "Green-Top" but I bought a new one ($13) and intend on installing myself. Even with CEL on (~2 months), vehicle runs smoothly. I have not noted any problems with vehicle temperature. I'm not sure why the code P1296 appeared twice on the EI report.
P0420 - Most replies indicate that this is either a bad cat -OR- bad O2 sensors. I have also seen remarks about MAF and O2 sensor spacers. I checked prices for the O2 sensors at NAPA today and they were about $120 each (ouch). I've also learned about a 10-year, 120k cat warranty that applies only for the AEG and possibly a 10-year, 100k warranty appies for the AVH. Found the links on the EPA.gov web site. I'm currently at 100,050. When I asked a 2nd dealership about running a reflash or checking the VIN or checking the warranty all they said was "We can't really tell anything until you bring it in and we run a diagnosis. Even if it is the cat... and even if it is under warranty... we won't provide a cat replacement at no cost until we determine that everything else with the car is correct."
I'm at the point where I want to attempt this myself and try to save as much money as possible. My general engine knowledge is pretty poor... but my DIY skills are decent. Any tips?
*Here in Georgia, we can get an emissions re-test for free at same location as original (within 30 days). There is a "Owner Self-Repair" section to be filled out. I need as many tips as possible about which engine components to start replacing. And then, after I make repairs, how long do I have to drive it to clear codes?
Modified by mnshewch at 3:55 PM 2-24-2010
Modified by mnshewch at 3:59 PM 2-24-2010