Return of the Yellow Engine Light

This week sure has had some highs and lows already. The highs mainly from surfing and the frustrating lows from the engine light that lit up again… This is the story so far.

Running out of propane

Already a couple of weeks ago the first of the two propane bottles I have with me got empty. And no matter how I calculated, the other one wouldn’t be enough for the rest of the trip. So there was a need for a solution for this problem. “I did my own research” (that phrase has been spoiled by antivaxxers and other nuts) and decided that filling a Finnish bottle with LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) would be the easiest option. There are some things that you need to take into account. 1. Never ever overfill 2. Find a place that can fill Finnish bottles and 3. Leave some of the propane for the trip back.

The first rule is easy to follow. My bottles have a volume of 22 liters when completely empty. I decided that playing it safe and not going over 20 liters would be a good idea. The second rule was a bit more work, but Park4Night saved me again. There’s a place in Lourinhã, about half an hour from Baleal that can fill even Finnish bottles. So I took a drive there on Tuesday and everything went smoothly. Until I started Naranja at least, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

The third consideration is a bit more theoretical and may not be something that I should worry about. But the LNG apparently does not work very well in cold environments, so I’m going to try to save some of the propane for the last couple of days of my trip. Otherwise I may have a cold night ahead of me.

My old yellow friend “Check Engine” said hello again

As I started up Naranja in Lourinhã after filling up the empty gas bottle, my old friend from Riga reappeared: the yellow Check Engine light lit up again. The error message was the same as before (Secondary fan fault), I had a local repair shop check it. They didn’t have much time for me, but they said it most likely has something to do with a relay. I told them that this is what they presumed in Riga too. They pointed out a relay and said it wasn’t working properly. The shop didn’t have the exact same one, but they replaced it with what they called a temporary solution. They were right about that at least since it just barely got me back to Baleal and the light lit up again…

I got the new relay on Thursday and replaced it, but this is where I got active with my old friend Google. I found out that most likely the guys at the repair shop just wanted to get rid of me quickly, or they just had no idea. The relay I replaced is for the primary fan, not the secondary one. I checked the relay for the secondary fan, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. This is not a professional opinion, but what I read online is that this fault code is often caused by a broken wire somewhere (not necessarily even connected with the secondary fan). And apparently that’s not something easy to fix.

The fuse and relay box in the engine compartment. The big black one in the middle is for the secondary fan.

There are two things that give me comfort in this situation. First of all, the fan seems to be working normally. And even if it wasn’t that wouldn’t be a catastrophe. It only fires up when the engine temperature is high and the car is not moving. So avoiding idling especially when the engine and the temperature is hot should be enough. And of course paying attention to the heat gauge.

On Friday I took Naranja to a local repair shop in Baleal to clear the error code. As I said earlier, I’m not convinced the problem is really fixed, but I’m hoping I can keep the light away at least for some time. But honestly I’m getting mentally prepared for living with this until I get back home.

Surfing update

For the first time ever this past week I actually felt like I might be able to learn how to surf properly still. I went surfing five days out of the last seven and I’m really feeling I’m making a lot of progress too. Especially the last few days I went in the waves weren’t really big, but I took them anyway and didn’t worry too much about them closing out on me. It’s the practice that counts, not the perfect waves.

On Thursday I looked at both the surf forecast and the weather one and the wind seems to be getting really bad this weekend. Also, I’m really feeling the long sessions in water from the last days so I decided that this would be a good weekend for a visit to Lisbon.

Waves are too big for me in Baleal and the wind is really picking up too.
Straight from repair shop to Lisbon

I drove straight from the repair shop to a municipal campsite in Lisbon and booked two nights here and found a cool spot to park Naranja under the trees. This is by far the biggest campsite I’ve ever been to. I had a good sleep and now I’m getting ready to head for downtown for the day. Just waiting for the dryer to finish and then I’m jumping in the bus.

There’s a cool pool here too, but it was closed last night and this morning it hadn’t opened yet.