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Q: how do I get the "check engine" lamp to flash trouble codes on a 1996 villager on 1996 Mercury Villager

I'm trying to find the location of the DLC that is supposed to be under the hood on the drivers side. it is used to put the pcm into "diagnostic test mode" wherein the MIL (check engine lamp) flashes the diagnostic codes
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its under the left side of the dash and you need a code reader to bring them out. get a free code check from autozone or pepboys to get the codes.

I don't have access to a "reader". It is supposed to be possible to "put the PCM into diagnostic test mode and it will use the "check engine" light to blink the codes that are stored in it" You are talking about the OBD access port for the reader that is below the steering wheel. I'm wanting to find the connector described in this link:

thats why i told you to go get a free check from a shop that does have it. the other connector is a factory connector under the hood that hooks up to the factory scan tool. dont see any info on jumping that one out.


ok, new info. you did not say this before.
you need to see if it has the 3 basics to run, spark, fuel pressure and compression. 1 of them will be missing.

thanks, if the vehicle ran I would take it the 25 miles to the nearest shop.

It ran fine until it was parked Thursday evening and then would NOT start Friday morning. Engine cranks but no spark. Primary side of ignition coil has no signal. on an old car I'd check the points but... on this one the next suspect in the chain is the Ignition Control Module which is controlled by the PCM (brainbox) which gets input from camshaft position sensor, crankshaft position sensor etc... I am hoping the PCM will have error codes that will indicate which component is at fault.
Roy is correct the only way you can get codes is with a scanner. You will need to have it scanned with a OBD1 scan tool.
did you look at the link I posted ? Autozone and Chiltons both give the same info on the subject. Supposedly it is possible to get some of the codes without the scanner on vehicles manufactured before 2000. but the chart for finding the specified connector is generic and does not seem to apply. The chart shows "near washer bottle" and it says "drivers side of engine compartment"... my washer bottle is on the passenger's side, and there are no connectors like the one shown near it.


1993-98 Vehicles
Although the use of a scan tool is highly recommended, DTCs can be retrieved on 1993-98 vehicles using the following procedure:

If a scan tool is not available, trouble codes may be retrieved by placing the PCM in diagnostic test mode and observing the MIL.

I have used the MIL (check engine) flash sequence instead of a "reader" on other vehicles in the past. So I KNOW it's possible to use this method. The flash sequence does not contain nearly as much info as the "reader" will provide... But when your nearly broke and can't get a "reader" and you don't want to gamble on which $60 - $200 part might be bad...

BTW. it's a "trigger" problem. There is battery voltage at the ignition coil connector. Using a 12v test lamp at the ignition coil connector did NOT produce any flashes when the engine was cranked.

AND... on this vehicle the 4 wires coming from distributor (camshaft position sensor) are black, green, white & red... and if I had an oscilloscope I'd check for the presence of that 5v square wave... all I've got is a DMM
I was incorrect. There are two DLC one is the standard OBD2 connector and a Nissan connector. You do know that your Villager is in fact a Nissan Quest. There's no self diagnostic mode to retrieve trouble codes. You have to have a scanner. The tech that retrieves the codes should use the Nissan connector not the OBD2 connector. The DLC that is the nissan connector is on top of the fuse panel.
You need to verify if you have battery voltage at the coil. Then take a test light to the other wire. The test light should flash when someone cranks the engine. If it doesn't then you have a trigger problem, meaning it be either the distributor or PCM. The distributor is where the cam and crank sensor are. The signal from the distributor sends a signal to the PCM.

Customer Concern: No start, no spark.
Tests/Procedures: 1. At the distributor, back probe the Red/White (R/W) and Red/Blue (R/BL) wires and check for a good 0-5v square wave on each wire when cranking the engine.

2. If either wire does not have a good signal, disconnect the distributor and verify there is 5v on each wire with key on from the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). Then check the Red/Black (R/BK) wire for battery voltage from the PCM power relay and the Black (BK) wire for good ground.

3. If the power and ground are good and the signal wires have 5v with the distributor disconnected, verify the distributor is turning and that the optical sensor inside is not dirty or damaged. If OK, replace the distributor and recheck operation.
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