Feb 20, 2007: Ed writes:

"Just to finish off the car saga, I brought the car to the dealer shop. Since the little incident with the starter, the "service engine soon" light had been on constantly. They asked "when was the last time you got gas?", which is a standard reason the light might come on steady - bad gas whacks out the engine fuel controls and makes it think it's not tuned properly. But I'd just tanked up with clean, supreme fuel, just that morning. They compared the event record to my story about the bad starter under the trolley tracks. Sure enough the malfunction codes checked out. They reset the computer and the light went out.

"The other thing that was bothering me was the sunroof. The roof would tilt correctly, but not retract. Very strange, but the two functions are on two different switches, so I thought maybe a circuit breaker had gone bad. Thought I'd checked them all... Well, the guy pressed on the down button for about 10 seconds and the other switch now worked to retract the sunroof. So now I know their super secret reset technique for a Nissan Maxima sunroof control console.

"And they didn't even charge us anything. Big props to Pacific Nissan of Pacific Beach, CA."

Feb 14, 2007: Michelle and Ed had their first date on Valentine's Day, nine years ago. And they're still madly in love! Happy Valentine's Day to all our regular readers!


Feb 11, 2007: Well, we had a run-in with Electromagnetic Interference today. Our car is equipped with a security feature that prevents the ignition from starting the car without the proper security code broadcast from a keychain fob. The fobs have a boost feature and we carry spare fob batteries following the unfortunate incident back in January where the fob died - good thing we were only a kilometer from home. So today we went to a store and the car wouldn't start. Again, we were only a kilometer from home, so we walked back.

Ed returned with the "bypass" chip, given to us by the dealer in case anything should happen (note to self - if someone gives you something "just in case", think twice about the implications. Especially if electricity is involved). Ed was able to get the car started after only a few back-and-forths with the various cowlings and covers in the engine compartment. He drove around the rest of the day, starting and stopping with narry a problem.

Then, just to tempt fate (actually to make a purchase), he went back to that same parking lot, but parked WAY away from the first fateful parking spot. After making his purchase, and confident in the car's ability to start as advertized, he turned the key. Nothing. This time, the opening up the engine and inserting the crypto chip did nothing, but he DID hear some clicking noises from lower down in the engine, near the starter itself - while attempting to insert the chip. It was at this point he noticed his proximity to the San Diego trolley tracks. Ed's theory is that the EMI from the high voltage overhead trolley lines fritzed out the ignition system.

After a few pulls and inserts of various crypto and bypass chips, he found a combo that started the car. Buttoning up, he drove home, put the crypto chip back into the circuit breaker box, and VOILA! The car started fine fine fine. We are going to monitor the car's starting behaviour for a few more weeks (unless "anything should happen" first). And we are certainly NOT going back to that store down by the tracks.

[extra notes from Ed: "I forgot to mention in the story that it was RAINING. We walked home and our feet were really wet, etc. Bleh. Not fun.

Hopefully it was an isolated incident. I was laughing at myself because I had intentionally parked away from the scene of the first incident out of paranoia about EMI. But then I parked closer to the only visible source of EMI around...

I read in the Harry Potter book that the headmaster considered himself more clever than the average person, but said that meant his blunders were also more spectacular. Seems to fit me. At least the blunders part."]

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