The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Zumo, Jul 28, 2008.
And for what?
When they finally put more sensors, blackboxes, electronics, etc., than they had room for gauges in the dash.
early to mid eighties. on some cars. it became a standard in about 89 under obd1 and then in 96 it all got standardized to obd2 with unified connector for the comps and a centralized location of the connecter within 2 feet of the steering colum. basically its a way for the computer to let you know what the sensors of the engine are saying. and if one is bad whats going on.
Packard had them in the very early 50's. For generator and oil pressure. Did not say "check engine" just GEN & OIL.
Idiot lights are great, all you need to fix the problem is a little electical tape . . simple!
GM started CCC in 78 on some Buicks, across the board in 80.
Mopar had the lean burn in the late 70s.
Ford had EECIII by 1980.
The Check Engine light or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) is used to indicate computer issues.
I first seen them on GM cars in 81.
And they are almost entirely separate from the traditional oil, temp, and charge problems. Cars with check engine have separate gauges for those, the actual engine failure/walk home types of problems. CE specifically covers electronic control issues that generally do not cause car to stop moving or scatter connecting rods about.
I remember the 1978-79 Monza 4 cylinder had the very first basic feedback system, pretty archaic now by todays standards. They ran like crap.
Check Engine Light irritates the shit out of me for many reasons, but the main reason is this-it dumbs down the owner because it does not tell the owner what the real problem is. If owners were actually informed of what the problem was, they might (I stress MIGHT) actually have a chance to start to understand the mechanical issues good-and-bad that make up their cars and how amazing a high-technology device their cars are...Think about it-the same people who know zero about their cars tend to know EVERY little tip and trick about their PC, Blackberry or Whiz-Bang new Cellphone/Mp3 player/ Camera/PC/Cuisinart, yet when it comes to their cars, they either don't care, have no interest or even abhor their car-some are even anti-car people who hate cars but own them begrudgingly...
Today's cars have uber-high-tech computers that run their systems, have multi-gigabyte digital jukeboxes and large LCD screen displays for their infinite amount of entertainment options. Yet, these same cars have a stupid 'check engine light' to 'inform' the owner as to what the problem is...Why? Why not have the problem code translated and displayed in clear language on the LCD display or instrument cluster? Then the owner is better informed and more likely to understand what their car needs.
The purpose is not to inform owner of details but to deliver the important message:
Take it to dealer.
Try not to annoy dealer with your whimpering.
Exactly....you are CORRECT Sir...once you get the bill you and your checking account will both be whimpering.
And...the little thing that looks like a sparkplug with one wire sticking out of it really did cost $482.50...
Studebaker started using them in the Larks and Champ trucks starting in '59/60 for AMP and OIL, but still had the temp gauge and also fuel of course. A lot of people would then add them because they didn't trust the new fangled technology.
GM's early systems came out in 1979, called the Min-T system. In 1981, it was expanded to more carlines, as well as more features.
Interesting thing - when my friend's mom was the head sec'y for the CEO of McQuay-Norris, her company car was a new 1979 Impala with the full (not Min-T) system.
It ran good until we took it apart one weekend.
Let's not forget the mid '70s Cadillacs with Bosch electronic fuel injection.
Come to think of it, lets forget those. Horrible multi-port fuckers!
My favorite idiot lights were on a 1970 Lotus +2S... whenever either of the brake fluid levels got low (front and rear were separate) a red light came on. I never saw them light up except when forcing them to, but always thought it was kinda nifty... albeit kinda stupid.
In the past 30 years I have spent over $10000 on computers scanners & up dates & next year it will something else. tiring to get out of the late model cars but my customers all drive them, Gotta keep them happy to make a living. Larry Henry
I agree. It's a ploy from the dealers to get your money.
I figured the light was put there to eliminate the use of guages originally. Now days it's there to tell me I am an idiot.
I always liked the "COLD" light on a few earlier GMs. Like on a '66 Impala. Thought that was cool.
I'm almost certain that my mom's 77 Buick Regal had the "check engine" light, although I think it may have been "service engine soon"
Pintos had them or the equivelent, it may have just said engine.
It either ment you were overheating or out of oil so you didn't know if you should shut it off or get it moveing.
MY wife's S10 used to come on when ever it went up over long hills. I had it checked out and nothing was wrong. It kept on doing it so I put a piece of black tape over the thing as my wife always thought the engine was going to blow up or something equally horrible.
Yeah, and the way my '59 Lark used to burn oil, I saw that light go on many a time.
That's about it, DLC (data link connector) and emissions regulations. Although "taletale" warning lights in general have been around a lot longer.
I found this accidentally, and remembered this post:
The instrument panel of the 1932 Essex featured the first use of "warning lights" instead of gauges. These differed from the later developments and present use in that this was before semiconductors.
Yeah, it's mostly a scam to get you to take the car to the dealer for every little problem. I got one of those code readers, and I've used it to check what was going on a bunch of "check engine" cars of mine, my kids, relatives, friends, and most of the time it's something insignificant, like they left their gas cap loose once, or sometimes because a certain mile on the odometer arrived where you're supposed to replace the O2 sensor or something. Most of the time you can reset it and the problem goes away. It saves everybody from getting ripped off at the dealer. Sometimes it'll be something like a slipping transmission, and then at least with the reader you know what the problem is. That's a big scam that people should have to take their car to the dealer every time some code pops up on the computer. It seems like it would be easy to build a little LCD display into the dashboard so you can see the code in real time while you're driving in the same space that's occupied by the stupid "check engine" light.
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