OBD2 and fighting progress

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by comfortablynumb, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    I picked up a little 96 ford for the gas mileage, and to my horror I discover it is subject to a different emission testing standard.... they take the queen bee borg and plug into my car, and read the OBD2 codes... they dont really test for emissions per se, they check to se if the car is "intact" as it came from the factory and working within normal peramiters.

    there is something really really commie about this but i had to do some reserch and learning... Ive nebr had one quite so "newfangled".

    a 1965 doesnt have a puter port plug to be anylized... i like that.
    but it also is a gas hog.

    now, the little ford i got is suppose to get 35-45 mpgs. and unless all the various computer monitirs and switches are in tact and working ok, it will get about half that. SO, in the interests of maintaining mpgs.... i am forced to evolve. :no:

    on the surface it looks like a horror show. 5000 codes and 100's of thousands of reasons it doesnt work.
    but... the check engine light pops on when the first one fails, and if you scan the codes immediately, you know just what made it come on, and if you ignore it it can cause a cascade of failures to keep you busy till hell freezes.

    this obd2 system the more I play with it is.... kinda cool. it trips up codes for simple stuff like pinched vac lines and worn plugs or clogged injectors I cant hear or feel.

    I could get to like this.... it took me about 5 min to trace a code back to a stuck vac switch, which cost me 160 bucks, and thats about the only real PITA, is the extream cost of thses parts!

    any other old car I had, a check engine light could be fixed with a piece of tape over it.... and no ill ever shown for the action.

    these newer cars you cant do that! ignore a failed sensor and it makes all the other bits and pieces go bad.... and your MPGs go along with them.

    so, along with my compression tester and vac meter and other tools I take in my mechanics JuJu bag, I have to add an OBD2 scanner, when going to check a used car.... if your going to hunt a used car newer than 96.... get one! plug it in the car before you get to like it to much on the lot... and beware, the car dealers clear the codes when they part the little gems... so get in writing that the check squirrel light wont pop on for at least 30 days.... if they are hoest and didnt clear them, they wont blink. the suggestion of such a warranty will turn a crooked dealer pale. :haha:
    I found a dealer who said "go ahead do what you like just put it back together".

    In PA, we have a "lemon law", even if the car says "no warranty", if the window price is over 1000 bucks, the MUST by law warrant the car for 30 days... it isnt an option. the only way they can get around it is mark the sticker AS IS. if it doesnt say "as is" with the "no warranty", be very aware of the seller.... they know better.

    with your trusty OBD2 scanner and a 30 day warranty, you will at least be ahead of the game. if its a private seller in someones front yard, chances are they dont know how to clear the computer to make it "look good" and your scanner will be even more a help to you.... as the check squirrel light doesnt always come on for all errors it find..... you can discover 20 problems and the light still be off!

    yep... I might get to like this technology thing. if it wasnt so friggin expensive!!

    I'm still not selling my 65... :haha: I just aint driving it till I have to haul something.
     
  2. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    Enjoy it!

    And, when the thing doesn't run right - but won't show a code - enjoy it even more! (Wait until the check squirrel light pops on for a loose gas cap; that one's "fun".) :no:
     

  3. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    It is also 'fun' when you replace the part that the scanner says is bad, and the problem don't go away. The dealer replaced the sensor and the ECM under warranty, and it was still showing the code. When I went into the dealership a third time for this code, the mechanic said he was replacing the wiring harness. The Czech engine light didn't come back on, so I figured everything was good. After a while, I started to notice that the light wasn't coming on at all, not even when I start the car. I pulled the dash to replace the bulb, and discovered that it wasn't there anymore. After pulling the code, it was the same one that was there before. Now, I have to second guess the dealer that did the original work, in case they didn't bother doing anything at all while I was still under warranty.
     
  4. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Actually,I think its pretty cool.Yes I had the loose gas cap,part of the learning curve.Also it showed a bad fuel pump relay replaced under warranty.Finally it showed an engine temp sender unit failure.

    The problem I have with them is the car manufacturers treating the code as propriatory,which is illegal.They get around it by making the definition of the code nonsensical.My temp sensor was something like 'short failure level 2,bank 4'

    What the heck is that supposed to mean????? Trust me,VW sure wont tell you,and thats a fact!

    Went online to the VW Vortex website.The Gurus there told me it was temp sensor,and even had pics on what to do to replace it,and the part number for the new improved(ie:non trash) part.

    Moral is,they are helpful if you have the resource to properly decode the darn things.

    I also like how the computer sets idle and fuel mixture and timing accurately under all temp,altitude,and driving conditions.They really run very pure,optimal under all conditons.Thats nice.

    Of course,lots more to go wrong too.
    But so far hasnt scared me yet from making repairs,2nd OBD2 vehicle for us.Actually have found it helpful,knock on wood.

    Have to admit though,just replaced the coil,plugs,wires,distributor and guts,all for less than a 100 bucks on the 1959 VW truck.You have to love that too.

    BooBoo
     
  5. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    Having fun with OBD2 I see. Have you played with the new CAN systems yet? I agree that when you buy a 96 or newer, it is wise to get the scan tool that your wallet can handle.

    Have you looked at pending codes yet? Those are the codes that store info about things that have gone wrong, but not wrong enough to set a hard code and turn the light on.
     
  6. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    Fast forward ten years. Used to be a family could buy an older car and the ole man could fix it. Do you think the computer stuff will be fixable by those that can afford the cheap used cars ten years from now?

    I don't know about you folks but I'm always looking for good pre 87s (no computerized tranny) and earlier. I don't ever plan on buying a new car or truck. If I can make it another twenty years, I won't need a vehicle anyway.
     
  7. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Just wait for OBD III it's even more fun. It's little wonder that there are fewer and fewer independant repair shops. Forget about Dad fixing the car, most people's tried and trusted mechanic can't fix them either. There is no way a shop can keep up with the required equipment to diagnose all vehicles and make a profit.
    An OBD II code reader is almost useless without a data reader and all of the diagnostic charts for the codes. AutoZone will read the code for you for free, and then what? They'll sell you a part that probably won't fix the car.
     
  8. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    Well, the SnapOn OBD II reader that my mechanic has explains in plain english what most of the codes mean. Of course, it's a bit pricey for the average shade-tree mechanic, coming in at over $2,000.00 with all of the software modules, jacks, etc. Even if all I had was the $100.00 AutoZone special, I could still make sense of the code with either the factory service manual or the Chilton's manual. I've heard somewhere that people are working on javascript code scanner software that will work on a cellphone or PDA. It would be very interesting if they could get that to work.

    My mechanic recently had a problem with the proprietary codes. Somebody came in to his shop with a newer Honda (out of warranty) with the airbag light on. All his scanner could tell him about the airbag light is that the owner would have to go to the dealer for service. He couldn't reset the code or do anything else to help this woman.
     
  9. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    even with a code reader sometimes electrical faults wont show. had a taurus that would die and not restart.put it through diagnostics and no luck . after trying many things another mechnic noticed a frayed wire to the cooling fan .once patched every thing worked.welcome to the computer age. after three years you trade for new anyways!! presently looking for a 1960 chev half ton ,power nothing ,pewter nothing,non fuel infected.
     
  10. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    PROGRESS??

    I'm going to keep my '73 Chevy 1/2-ton 4x4 and '48 Ferguson tractor.
    I needed a bigger truck, so just bought a '51 Chevy 1-ton.

    Now to get rid of the computerized '91 Isuzu piece of crap.

    THAT'S PROGRESS!
     
  11. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    That's the old, last years model Snapon scan tool. Ask him how much those little cartridges cost that he plugs in when he changes vehicles or wants to access another system. there are seperate modules for ABS, transmission, and air bags. They also all usually have to be updated every year. I don't know if there rae any paper written manuals for the last few years of production cars. If there are they are outdated and incorrect the day they are printed, nothing like trying to fix a car with bad information. The manual companies have all gone to computer manuals that you can't buy, you have to subscribe to their service and pay the fees every month to have access.
     
  12. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    He was saying that he had to pay $1,800.00 for the latest modules which covered everything up to 2004. I have the manual for my 2000 Hyundai and it covers everything but an transmission rebuild (which I wouldn't try to do on my own anyway). I don't have anything newer, so I wouldn't know if the print manuals are available or not. It seems that the dealer mechanics would have to have a print manual to work on the car, unless they were expected to print out the relevant pages. I know some dealers were trying to tell me that the manual that I paid $85.00 for would cost me upwards of $300.00. They also said that just opening the hood would void the warranty due to ESD sensetive components, but I just turned around and went elsewhere.
     
  13. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    I look at it like... windows 95.

    full of bugs. so far looking thru the books and manuals at the 1000's of codes, each one points to a spacific part, so thats good... no real crypitic messages.

    40 mpg has a price i guess this is it...
    when i gather enogh bread to buy a good beetle again, we can sell the scanner with the car.

    the aspire is an orphaned car, ford or kia no longer make parts for it. (this should be illegal its only 9 yrs old) so on top of everythig else i will have to find one or 2 organ donor cars to keep for parts.

    but it runs so well...thats probably why they orphaned it.
    in PA, they are getting so strict if its not a pre 74, it will fail just on a visual check of the equipment if you remove or alter anything.
    unless you keep it under 5K a yr.... and thanks to the VSS in the speedometer, you cant cheat that either by yanking the cable.
    (well there is a way to do it easy but being a good american i would never do it... HA!)

    theres a sneeky sensor for everything. I'm viewing the car as a a bic lighter.... when it burns out, toss it for scrap if I cant find the parts.

    my 65 truck has a 74 block, 76 heads, part of the wire system is handmade from spools of multicolor wire, the brake light is a spring loaded toggle switch on the gear shift (temp of course)

    its a psychobilly cadilac.
    that isnt even thinkable with this aspire...to many tattle tale sensors to tell on you.
    the only GOOD light on the dark cloud is I found a clause in the pa emissions law that ways IF you can prove a vital emissions part is no longer made for the car due to it being orphaned or obsolete, you can obtain a waiver for that spacific failed code.

    yes the more i read it the more i want a beeetle again... i'll take the 25 mpg and the low stress over the 40 mpg and the suspense.