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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a old points and distributor guy from way back. Heck a HEI was hi-tech for me. Don't get we wrong here. I love computers. We have 3 laptops, 2 desktops, X-Box downstairs, a Playstation II upstairs and two tablets. Wife has a Blackberry and I use a Iphone.

But electronics in a auto? Forget it. I'm talking about O2 Sensors, Mass air flow Sensors, etc. And even simple stuff like WTH is a ECT? (Engine coolant temperature readings) LIVE Gee simple da. I have always shied away from such things. Mostly because of cost. You know, when a carb goes bad you can take it apart and fix the trouble. Or a set of points get burned. You can clean them up and you are on your way again. But when a check engine light goes on a newer vehicle and it's running like crap. What do you do. Keep driving it, take it to a shop for costly repairs you don't even understand or heard of before. There talking in Chinese to you about this error code, that sensor did this because of some other crazy thing.

Long story I will make short. Wife and signed for the boy to get a pickup a few years ago. He didn't keep up with the payments so we took it back. And guess what? There was a check engine light on. It's a 2004 5.3 (OBD2 compliant). Plan was to sell it to get are money back for all the payments we had to make and the final payout.

How do you sell something that runs like crap? We thought about taking it to a GM dealer to get it repaired. After some discussion we decided to go out and buy a code reader. Had no idea what to pick. The young guy that helped us out in the store at first scared the heck out of me because no one really new much about code readers (go figure) lol. But the young fellow starts talking about one his dad uses. So we laid down 180 bucks and walked out not knowing what we really had.

When we got home I plugged it into 2004 5.3 and it turned it's self on, cool. In less than 10 mins we found the problem. A P0171 code. I understand it's a common error code. Code reader said it was a O2 sensor on Bank1 Sensor1. Looked it up on the internet and found what and were it is. Back downtown I go and 95.00 lighter I have a new O2 sensor. Replaced the old with the new one. 2004 5.3 Silverado runs like brand new again. I'm hooked on my new code reader tool.
 

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They're kind of cool. There is one available that works via Bluetooth with your smartphone...that can transmit live engine data from the obd port to your 'phone'....along with reading codes.

Did you know that most auto parts stores will hook up their code reader for free and give you a printout describing the codes it read along with repair advice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They're kind of cool. There is one available that works via Bluetooth with your smartphone...that can transmit live engine data from the obd port to your 'phone'....along with reading codes.

Did you know that most auto parts stores will hook up their code reader for free and give you a printout describing the codes it read along with repair advice?
That does sound cool. Baby steps for this guy for a bit. That would be handy if he wife was out and about though.
 

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I was always skeptical about OBD II ... until last fall. The Mercedes started throwing a CEL light when it was cold, but would clear after a restart. Car ran fine, as it always does. On the advice of a friend, I bought one for about $95. Code came up as a problem with the air injection system not activating when cold( It's an electrical pump on my M-B) Poked around a bit and looked the pump over and didn't see anything obvious, but on further inspection, found that the switch to activate it was vacuum activated. Long story made short, there was a crack in the vacuum line to the switch...cut off about an inch of the hard-dry hose and pushed it back on. Problem solved !! No more CEL s. Heck I couldn't even get a M-B mechanic to sneeze near my car for $95. Money well spent.
 

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I bought a little 50 dollar unit 8 years ago and it is such a convenience. My vehicles are not very advanced but when the computer can tell you what cylinder is misfiring you have to be impressed. That visit to a dealer would have been 200 bucks easy for the labor to diagnose and put in the co so you're even. For more advanced stuff that the basic ones can't figure out I take it to the dealer and pay 120 bucks to have them hook up the octopus and tell me what i'm missing.
 

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I bought a wifi adapter that plugs in to the obd2 port and synchs to my iPhone or iPad. Besides diagnostics, it will also log track information and give you performance feedback. Here's a picture of it mounted in my CTS-V when I was first playing with it.
 

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Is it too late to return the $200 reader? You can get them for $20 online.

Yep, what he said.

The one I have it part of a phone app called "Torque-Pro" (costs $5 bucks) and uses a Blue-Tooth adapter that plugs into your OBD-2 port under the dash.
It uses Blue-Tooth to wirelessly link to the adapter and access all kinds of your vehicle's parameters.

Not only will it look up any DTC (diagnostic trouble codes), but it'll also clear them for you, AND search out the part #s for you if you intend to repair it yourself!

Now here's where it really gets cool.

Not only is it a OBD-2 DTC reader, it's also a performance meter too. It will display your vehicle's critical functions like
- throttle position
- coolant temp
- air intake temp
- left/right cylinder fuel trim
- injector pressure
- RPM
- MPH

AND cool/fun stuff like

- your HP
- acceleration 0-60, 1/4 mile, top speed, ect...

All based on your vehicle's weight using a GPS/accelerometer.

It's about the best $21 bucks I ever spent ($5 for the app and I got the OBD adapter on Ebay for like $16 bucks shipped)

Anyone who uses an Iphone or Android smartphone should highly consider this setup if you have an OBD-2 vehicle.
Even if you don't do your own maintenance it's still a blast to play with just for the performance features it includes.

Here's a link to the type of Blue-Tooth adapter I bought, works great.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ELM327-v1-5..._Automotive_Tools&hash=item2a1a61680c&vxp=mtr
 

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That does sound cool. Baby steps for this guy for a bit. That would be handy if he wife was out and about though.

Mikey that's the one (or one of them) that I just posted about. They're SO easy you'll laugh at yourself for not wanting to do it when you see hoe they really are to use.
If you can use an Iphone you can run this app, I promise!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is the unit I bought. Like I had said in my earlier post. Didn't know what we had just bought when we picked it up. All I know is now I have the problem fixed and very happy.:yes:
http://www.autel.us/Products/al439.htm

Now that I have gotten my feet wet. I will look at what posters have posted and get educated. lol
Thanks for all the replies.
 

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I have had a Actron for 10 or more years, with obd 1 and 2, and a bunch of adapters.

Its wonderful, I updated it once and need to do it again, or get another.

I usually wont guess on neighbors cars until I scan them, and it pays off.
 

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They aren't bad. I use one in my shop when I want to pull a code quickly and don't feel like breaking out the expensive scan tools. I will say that on some cars they do not work, even though they are OBD II, and also may not give you all the codes, or even the correct code as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They aren't bad. I use one in my shop when I want to pull a code quickly and don't feel like breaking out the expensive scan tools. I will say that on some cars they do not work, even though they are OBD II, and also may not give you all the codes, or even the correct code as well.
Which one you talking about :confused:
 

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I've also got a bluetooth adapter I bought on Amazon.com; just make sure it's ELM-327 compliant. And bought the Torque-Pro app for the droid for $5. Best $5 I've ever spent. So far have used it on my son's Saab, our Tahoe, father in law's Chrysler minivan, sister-in-law's Jeep Cherokee, and my buddy's mom's Impala. Felt good to tell the elderly lady she needed a new gas cap v/s having the stealership charge her a $52 'diagnostic fee'!

Really good for diagnosing problems. Very versatile too-can custom program different sensors and produce graphing if you are into performance tuning.
 

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Now if only I could find the "Tech 2" equivalent for the smart phone!! Need to reprogram a bunch of stuff on son's Saab, and the only way I can change things is to pay the dealer. $80 to program a new key? $50 or more to turn on the 'aux' input on the factory radio? Or reprogram how the fog lights can come on. What a racket
 
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