Our Kia Sedona’s Check Engine Light

Our Kia Sedona’s check engine light started coming on intermittently a few weeks ago. AutoZone provides a free diagnostic service, so I took the car to AutoZone today to find out what the OBD-II scanner had to say. The codes I received were: P0171, P0174, and P2187. All of them indicated the engine was running lean.

CEL - Nooooo!

CEL – Nooooo!

P0171

P0171

P0174

P0174

P2187

P2187

A lean mixture means either a.) too much air, or b.) too little fuel. Given there were three codes related to a lean mixture while the engine continued to develop what appeared to be full power, I figured the issue had to be related to air intake rather than fuel. I started looking for the simple things first, and it didn’t take me long to find out what was wrong.

Downstream of the air filter box, there is a large hose that carries intake air to the throttle body. The center section of the hose is designed to flex. Flex implies movement, and where there is movement, there is usually wear or fatigue. And wear there was! I discovered an enormous crack in the hose. The crack was allowing excess air to bypass the standard airflow pathway as well as the Mass Airflow Sensor.  In fact, most of the flexible section of the hose was degraded and there were several “alternate” airflow pathways. Eek!

The excess air flow from outside the normal intake pathway fouled up the closed-loop air metering system and confused the engine’s ECU. It is the ECU confusion that led to the check engine light.

Intake hose

Intake hose

That sucks

That sucks

That sucks a lot!

That sucks a lot!

The hose needed to be replaced, and it was a special order item no matter who I opted to source it from. I decided to purchase the part through an eBay seller because they had the best price. Now, since the new hose wouldn’t be delivered for around a week and the idea of a lean running engine didn’t sit well with me, I decided to do what I could to repair the existing hose until the new part arrives.

I found some self-fusing rubber tape at AutoZone, and I also picked up some foil duct tape that is rated to 325 F at Home Depot. I figured the rubber tape would help seal up the large hole while remaining reasonably flexible, and the duct tape would serve as an overall patch for the entire flexible section of the hose.

  • Rubber tape: $6.99
  • Foil duct tape: $7.88
  • Using duct tape to repair an air duct: Priceless! 🙂

As planned, I wrapped the major tear with the rubber tape first, then I covered the entire flexible section with the foil tape. Once I was happy with the tape application, I re-installed the hose.

Sealed

Sealed

Re-installed

Re-installed

All back together

All back together

After everything was back together, I started the van and ran an ops check – everything seemed to work well. I pulled the negative battery cable for a moment to clear the check engine light, then I took the van out for a test drive – all good! Not bad for an hour’s worth of wrenching in the garage.

No CEL - nice!

No CEL – nice!

A final note: The cost of the repair tape and the new hose was just a bit more than $65. If I had asked Kia to do this work, it would have cost us over $400 in parts and labor. I’ve had several folks ask me why I work on my own cars instead of just taking them to the shop. Well, I can think of at least 335 reasons in this particular case!

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