Thursday, June 16, 2011

Let the troubleshooting begin: The Teal Terror fails emissions

Living in Oregon, I have to bring my cars through emissions testing (DEQ or Department of Environmental Quality). I brought my Sidekick into DEQ for the test yesterday and, to my surprise, failed. My hydrocarbon levels, which were tested twice, were 324 and 395. Oregon's limit is 220 (measured in parts per million, or PPM). I never expected to fail with the recent tune-up I just did. However, it looks like there's more to this story.

According to the DEQ's sheet, this failure could be caused by a myriad of things including but not limited to a misfire, vacuum leak, EGR malfunction, spark timing, air pump not working, catalytic converter not working, worn vales/seals/guides/piston rings, fuel injection system malfunction, act of God, locusts, famine, alien invasion, or shear lunacy.

After some research, I'm leaning toward the catalytic converter and/or bad O2 sensor. Ah, let the troubleshooting begin.


darnold87 said...

Hey Andy~
I'd say catalytic converter, EGR, or O2 sensor. EGR (and EGR system) needing to be cleaned is common in the Sidekicks/Trackers. Cheap fix. O2 sensor is just something to replace, not too spendy. Catalytic Converter is the final option I'd try. Not sure how to test really? They get plugged and just need replacement eventually. Anyway, good luck! I know you can find more info at!
ps - it was good meeting you in Moab! Looking forward to wheeling with you sometime. I'll be in contact with Eric at ZW.
~Davey Arnold

Andy Lilienthal said...

Hey man, good to hear from you.

I did the quick "push up on the EGR" test to see if it'd stall, and it certainly comes close, so I'd say the valve itself is working.

New O2 is about $60, so that's not too bad. However, I don't want to spend the cash if I don't have to.

I believe I have one of the hard-to-clean early '95 EGR systems, too. (According to

And yes, I'm really wanting to take this thing into the dirt! I've been out to Sand Lake with it, and it was a blast.

Andy Lilienthal said...

Took the EGR off last night (there was, oddly no gasket; just some left-over gasket maker). I'll need to get a gasket.

EGR ports on the valve itself did not look clogged at all. I ran a wire through the internal EGR ports on the manifold. Didn't seem too dirty.

I doubt the O2 sensor was ever replaced, so I'll probably replace it anyway, but not sure if that's root cause or not. I should probably have it check out to get an idea of what the sensors are measuring.

darnold87 said...

Sounds like you're on the right track Andy. I have a '94 sidekick and still need to clean the egr system... I get a stumble at stoplights occasionally. We don't have DEQ down in Salem so I'm not sure if mine would pass or not... Good luck on getting yours fixed and passed DEQ!