Diagnosing Problems with Used Chevy Van

We bought a 1998 Chevy Venture Van. The only dealer on the island wants $100.00 per hour at a minimum of 2 hours to plug into their diagnostic computer. The radio doesn't work. The dome lights don't come on. The air blows only warm air. I can buy the reset code online for the radio for $5.00, but as for the rest, I am not sure how to proceed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Aloha.

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Kerry from Hakalau, HI

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November 28, 20080 found this helpful

Sounds like spark plugs. Really cheap to repair. Pull one out and put another in... like a fuse box. Try that first before costly diagnostics.

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November 28, 20080 found this helpful

I would check online maybe google a diagnostic site. If that doesn't work then I would go to the local auto parts store. They usually will have an idea and can steer you in the right direction. And don't forget to check the fuses. In the owners manual you will have a diagram. If all else fails, I would just leave it for a while. It doesn't seem to be anything that would hurt the van and maybe you could ask around before handing over a couple hundred dollars to the dealer.

Hope it helps, SonyaAnn

PS if any of this helps send me some warm thoughts from HI. I'm on the IL/WI border and its cold!

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November 29, 20080 found this helpful

Spark plugs have nothing to do with your problem what so ever. The dome light could be a burnt out bulb to a short in the line. The radio could be taken out and have a radio shop look it over and the air conditioner may need to be recharged with freon. I don't think you need a diagnostic test. The dealer will charge you for the test and then tell you either everything is fine or most likely try to sell you other unneeded repairs.

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November 29, 20080 found this helpful

Check the radio fuse. The fuse box will usually tell you where the fuse is. If that doesn't work, live without the radio. The dome light may also have a fuse associated with it. Check the fuse first, then change the bulb. If neither works, live without the dome light. The A/C can be a big problem. If it only needs a recharge then your expenses shouldn't exceed $100. If the compressor or condenser needs replacing, your looking at big money. So recharge the a/c and pray for no leaks or faulty equip. If that doesn't work, live without the a/c.

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November 29, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with the auto part store advice. I don't know what you have over there, but in Texas, Advanced Auto Parts advertises that they will hook up their diagnostic machine and read the codes for you. That would at least give you some place to start.

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December 2, 20080 found this helpful

Check local parts stores. My husband manages a local Auto Zone and they check parts and offer solutions for your problem. They will even contact local auto mechanics for advice and suggestions. They run all the test the dealers do except they run them one at a time not a complete diagnostic setup and their test while time consuming are totally free. I also know that they do have stores in your area. I checked. Good luck

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December 2, 20080 found this helpful

Check the fuses first. Possible the dome light needs a bulb if the fuse is okay. If the fuse for the radio is okay, check to see that the antenna wiring is hooked up. Perhaps someone had another system in before you bought it and just didn't hook the old radio back up correctly. Your AC probably needs recharging. Call around and ask if the shop can test for leaks BEFORE adding freon, most can. If it needs another condensor canister (or other part), you can buy the parts yourself from Auto supply store and then have the mechanic put them on, You can save alot of money in parts if you buy them yourself Nothing you mentioned would be related to spark plugs

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December 2, 20080 found this helpful

I had a recurring problem so I bought my own diagnostic reader for $40 at Pep boys.

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December 3, 20080 found this helpful

With our Jeep Wagoner, the whole problem was caused by fuses. It occurred it seemed like all at once.

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December 4, 20080 found this helpful

Yes, by all means ask at your local Auto Zone for their free diagnostic tests. The folks at our local Auto Zone (here in Ohio) are always happy to help, and can narrow down the possible problems or, better yet, pinpoint the issue.

btw, the guest poster who said "live without the ..." is heartless! No a/c inHawaii? Unthinkable!

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December 6, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you everyone who has responded. I love the generosity of this community. Greatly appreciate that so many took the time to point me in a clearer direction. And warm thoughts to everyone. Aloha.

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December 13, 20080 found this helpful

My 1997 chevy venture engine cranks but won't stay on.

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