From Endurance to Dressage
If it would help to cry, I would. Since it doesn't, I just have to laugh instead. Insert maniacal lighter here.
My check engine light is on again. I am not even going to give you links to all the posts I've written about my friend Newt. Newt, which stands for New Truck, is not exactly pulling her figurative weight this past two years. While I have complained loudly about all of her faults, the truth is that each and every thing has been taken care of by my local Ford Service Departments, plural because there are two. I am pretty sure they hate me. Anyhoodle, Newt is going back in next week for yet another round of diagnostic work.
When the check engine light came back on more than a week ago, I first took Newt to my oil change place. They used two different scanners to try and diagnose what the issue might be. Since neither one seemed to be working, we couldn't read the code(s). They suggested I take it to O'Riley's Auto Parts where they actually offer free scans that come with a print out of the codes.
While the scan is always free, the box of DEF that I bought most certainly was not. Neither were the fuses and fuse tester/puller that I also bought. You see why the scan is free. Anyway, the guy plugged the scanner in, but nothing happened. Whoops! The two scanners that the guys at the oil change place had used hadn't malfunctioned after all. It was Newt's On Board Diagnostics II (OBD) port that wasn't working.
The OBDII port's job is to monitor emissions and other data about your vehicle. It's connected to the check engine light, which illuminates when the computer detects a problem. Here's the thing. The OBDII port needs power to work, so if your check engine light comes on but there is no power to the port, the scanner can't generate a code to tell you what's wrong with your vehicle. Excuse me while I have a short Chevy Chase moment. Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?
When the very kind employee at O'Riley's explained that the scanner wasn't working because there was no power to Newt's OBDII, I dug out my vehicle manual and flipped to the page on fuses. Believe it or not, I had tabbed it with a sticky note and even labeled the sticky note, fuses. Such a teacher thing to do; we love highlighters, tabs, and sticky notes, and when used together, we've found the Holy Grail.
According to my now reluctant helper, the OBDII most often uses the same fuse as the cigarette lighter. Weird fact: I told him that I didn't have a cigarette lighter. Do they even make cars with cigarette lighters? Yes, but now they call it an auxiliary power outlet. Oh, that thing? Why didn't you say so? Of course Newt has one of those. We found out it works just fine.
I could tell the guy was putting in some serious effort to try and ditch me and probably go back to work, but I just kept giving him jobs to do. Before he knew it, the hood was up, and I was pointing out the fuse box and letting him open it. We identified which fuse was the most likely one, Newt has three auxiliary power fuses, and tried to pull it out. Unfortunately, the fuse puller I had just bought wasn't big enough to pull the larger fuses, so my helper quickly returned inside and left me to fend for myself.
Not one to quit, I gave my mom a call - she kicks butt when it comes to engines and vehicle maintenance, and asked how to pull a hard to reach fuse. Her advice was to grab a very long set of needle nose pliers, which I found in my husband's tool box, and yank it out like a tooth. Done and done. As a side note, I do have a work bench and tool box but it isn't filled with nearly as many fun tools as is my husband's which he inherited from his grandpa many years ago. That toolbox came loaded with stuff you don't always see anymore.
With this truck, I never know if finding the problem is better than not finding a problem. I pulled the fuse and saw that it was good. Since I was already dirty, I decided to start pulling more fuses just to get my money's worth out of the fuse tester. I pulled the first five fuses, 80 - 84, and saw that they were all black. I didn't need the tester to tell me those had blown. For the fuses that looked good, I did use the tester to verify that they truly hadn't blown.
Using the fuse tester (a fancier name that my mom taught me is continuity tester) is pretty easy. You push the two points of the tester down into the corresponding holes on the fuse. If the tester lights up, you're good. In small fuses like the ones below, if that curve of metal is broken or there is black on the fuse's prongs, the fuse has blown.
Fuses blow for lots of reasons, but before replacing one, it's often times a good idea to figure out WHY it blew. In Newt's case, I found five in a row that had blown. Eventually, I put the tester away and left the blown fuses where they were. While I love to solve my own problems, I want the guys at Ford to see the blown fuses and then check for more. I don't know why my check engine light is on, and I don't know why there is no power to my OBDII port, but it sounds like I might have an electrical problem. And if I do, that is a job way, way above my pay grade.
Once I know what's wrong with Newt, I'll fill you in.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: