While I was optimistic that I’d found a fix for the speedo, it started mis-behaving again.
Dot & I drove to Sacramento for the smog referee inspection. We took I80, because we wanted to get there in plenty of time.
Driving I80 to Sacramento. Note the temp gauge – not good.
Dot, not too happy in a helmet
Dave the driver
Got my helmet on
We both wore helmets to protect from getting hit with flying debris. It was not so comfortable as the seat back headrest gets in the way of the helmet & you’re forced to tilt your head downwards. Also quite claustrophobic with helmet & gloves inside a tiny car. But, the car behaved well & the speedo worked fine for the first 60 or 70 miles until the engine/day started warming up (more about this later). The engine coolant temp was at around 50C for the first 40 or so miles and then it came up to the normal range 90C-95C. I wonder if that big radiator is over-cooling the engine especially in lower temp weather. Come to think of it the fan very rarely turns on.
We found the referee office at the American River college fairly easily, 30 minutes early, so we went out to McD’s for some breakfast & coffee.
I called the referee phone number in the office as instructed and he showed up a few minutes later with his assistant. He wanted to see the paperwork (DMV, CHP, receipts etc.) which I provided. He wanted to see the VIN. Then he took lots of pictures and excused himself for 45 minutes to inspect the paperwork and make copies. When he finally came back, he said they needed more time to review the information and provided a letter stating that I need to reschedule another appointment at a later date. I was shocked, no reason given, no advice on whether the car was plumbed OK, no defective items pointed out. So a day wasted and a 250 mile round trip for nothing. Bummer.
Referee at work
So we left and headed for Placerville, where we met up with my old buddy Sal Dioro at Starbucks and spent an hour or so catching up.
We then headed home via Mormon Emigrant trail to Hwy 88, on to South Lake Tahoe & then home on Hwy 89 along Tahoe West shore. The first 2 roads had almost no traffinc and were windy in places, so it was a great drive back. The traffic started as we got close to South Lake Tahoe and the fun was mostly over.
Now, most of this time the speedo had gone from intermmittant to non functional (pegged at 0). So, think, think – it only goes wrong when it gets hot. So to try and prove this, after we got home, I waited a couple of hours and set out at 7pm – speedo working fine!
I slept on it and decided to go out in the heat of the day armed with a can of freeze spray (used for diagnosing electonics circuits).
This afternoon (hottest part of the day), I went for a drive up to Cisco Grove on old Hwy 40. As usual, when cold the speedo worked fine and continued to do so for about 25 miles, then started to go intermittent. I drove another 5 miles to make sure it was truly intermittent, then pulled over and thoroughly doused the speedo with freeze spray. Turned around to head home and the speedo was working fine, for about 6 or 7 minutes, then it started to go intermittent. More freeze spray, and its OK again. Repeated 4 or 5 times on the way home.
So I think, I’ve proven that there is some heat sensitive component in the speedo, that is failing when it gets to a certain temperature. This is a typical IC failure symptom, as I’ve used freeze spray to identify faulty components on circuit boards in the past.