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ransom
ransom Dork
4/17/12 3:57 p.m.

My new-to-me 2001 Dodge van is showing me an orange picture of an engine.

I do not find this particularly informational.

But I get the gist... And I figure there are only more OBDII vehicles in my future, so it must be time to get a tool.

Looking through old threads, it sounds like some people have been reasonably happy with the Cen-Tech (Harbor Freight)/Autel units, though reading the reviews on HF's site suggests that support is nonexistent, and updating the tool will likely turn it into a paperweight, in addition to the included software not being compatible with Windows 7...

Then there's the Innovate Motorsports OT-2. Sounds intriguing, though I'm faintly apprehensive about having to use a phone or a laptop to actually get the info. Not sure why I feel like a dedicated tool would be more reliable... Guess I'm scared the tool will fall out of compatibility with newer computer/phone stuff and render itself obsolete. With the rate of churn in hardware these days...

In any case, just wondering whether anybody has a scan tool they're particularly happy with. Right this second I mostly need to find out what the van's complaining about, but I would prefer to have one tool that does everything OBD-related that I could need for the foreseeable future...

Ranger50
Ranger50 SuperDork
4/17/12 4:06 p.m.

I had a $400 reboxed OTC version that was able to capture the datastream from the local friendly Cornwell dealer.

But for right now, a quick trip to Advance to use theirs is the best bet. Then post up the code. I'm pretty sure I have ran across it at one time or another.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH UberDork
4/17/12 4:29 p.m.

This:

http://www.elm327-bluetooth.com/

plus free software on whatever platform (available for pretty much everything).

And the interface is open so an upgrade won't make it useless.

bgkast
bgkast New Reader
4/17/12 5:58 p.m.

I have had great luck with one of those Bluetooth adaptors and "Torque" for Android.

ransom
ransom Dork
4/17/12 6:14 p.m.

I dropped by Carquest and they said that it was left bank O2 reading high. The guy I was talking to (my favorite local seemingly sane and competent counter guy) and I agreed that since I've only owned the van about 50 miles and that the CEL only came on upon leaving the tire shop today that the thing to do was to reset it, drive it a bit more, and see whether it gets set again.

In the meantime, for the spectacular cheapness, I have an ELM 327 arriving tomorrow from Amazon, and have just installed Torque Pro on my phone. For about $30 including next-day shipping and the full-featured version of Torque, I figured it was worth trying even if something about it ends up being insufficient later.

internetautomart
internetautomart SuperDork
4/17/12 6:21 p.m.
bgkast wrote: I have had great luck with one of those Bluetooth adaptors and "Torque" for Android.

I've had fine luck with mine also. Though just in case I have an MT-2500 snap-on scanner for back up. the snap on scanner can cover more than OBDII though so it was worth it to me to buy it a couple years back.

Twin_Cam
Twin_Cam UltraDork
4/17/12 6:37 p.m.

I went to Harbor Freight about the cheapest one when I was having readiness monitor problems. It actually works...

mw
mw Dork
4/17/12 6:59 p.m.

I've got one of those bluetooth things coming to me on a boat from china. I'm excited to try it with my galaxy tab.

ransom
ransom Dork
4/18/12 5:30 p.m.

My ELM 327 showed up a little while ago. Five minutes later Torque was showing the realtime stats on the dodge.

Got a pending code (looks like it will get re-thrown) of P0138, or bank 1, O2 sensor 2 reading high. The interwebz aren't very helpful on diagnosis, unless it really is just a failing sensor: first thing I've found suggests, in order of likelihood:

1: dying O2 sensor
2: battery voltage shorted to O2 sensor wire
3: high fuel pressure causing over-rich condition. (on half a V8; right)

Without puzzling over it a bunch more, I'm not clear why, if it was really rich on bank 1, why it wouldn't be having the same issue on the pre-cat sensor...

So, looks like I probably need an O2 sensor. Nice they're fairly cheap, and I need to order a bunch of front-end suspension bits anyhow... Ach, though I think I will be a good boy and get the O2 sensor from the CarQuest that pulled my codes yesterday before I had my new gagdet...

Ranger50
Ranger50 SuperDork
4/18/12 7:10 p.m.

The post cat sensor isn't switching properly. You could try the almost no dollar trick of burning the carbon off with a propane torch and retrying the sensor before buying another.

ransom
ransom Dork
4/18/12 7:22 p.m.

I drove around a little bit, and while paying more attention to where I was going than the phone on the dashboard, I did see the post-cat O2 sensor spend time both above and below 1V.

Not sure how the Dodge handles warmup, but it showed pretty much just 1V fixed 'til it warmed up. Interesting that it seems to sub in an "ignore me" value instead of quietly ignoring whatever the sensor actually reads...

Unfortunately I'm both super-crunched at work and am on a deadline to get it fixed well enough to go through DEQ so I can get the title transferred before the grace period comes up and it's expired as well as out-of-state.

Guess I'll gamble the $20 that at 140k miles it was due for an O2 sensor anyhow...

foxtrapper
foxtrapper UberDork
4/19/12 4:56 a.m.

As much as it seems neat to have a code reader tell you in words what the code means, I've invariably found it much more helpful to simply take the code number and go to the factory manual, or surf the web.

I do use the laptop on the wife's Volvo, because it's a Volvo, and you have to do this. Otherwise, I'd much rather use a small easily held reader. Never tried a phone yet, but they are also easily held.

Beware dirt cheap readers that can't reset the light. Those are kinda pointless, imo.

Try to find a unit that can read the manufacturer specific code, not just the default generic codes. Not crucual, but it's nice to see the manufacturer codes, it helps troubleshooting.

failboat
failboat Dork
4/19/12 6:05 a.m.

I have a scangauge II. I guess now a days they are more expensive then other options that can perform all the same functions. I have it mounted at the bottom of my gauge cluster and mostly use it to track fuel economy, I like the instant mpg readout, as well as you can show averages per trip and per tank. Some fancier cars have that stuff built into them already.

It comes in just as handy as anything else when I have a code to pull/clear. It just pulls generic codes though I am pretty sure.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper UberDork
4/19/12 7:52 a.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: This: http://www.elm327-bluetooth.com/

So if I have android phone (LG Optimus), is there any additional hardware I'd need to use this? Donglie things or such?

Or is it just go to the android market and download Torque and I'd be good to go?

N Sperlo
N Sperlo UberDork
4/19/12 8:11 a.m.

Yesterday weren't used car shopping with a friend. I brought my android and bluetooth obdii hookup.

5 bucks for Torque on Android.
25 bucks for the obdii tool

Try one, Eclipse, had a "vacuum leak." after seeing the five codes, we walked. The next car, Thunderbird, also had a "vacuum leak." it showed no codes. Torque for Android is phenomenal.

EDIT: Got the Thunderbird for 800. Needs motor mount.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
4/19/12 8:17 a.m.

Torque + an OBD2 dongle is by far the cheapest way to go, it's working great for me. I used this dongle on my truck: http://www.amazon.com/BAFX-Products-Bluetooth-diagnostics-compatible/dp/B005NLQAHS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334841378&sr=8-2

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH UberDork
4/19/12 9:35 a.m.
foxtrapper wrote:
GameboyRMH wrote: This: http://www.elm327-bluetooth.com/

So if I have android phone (LG Optimus), is there any additional hardware I'd need to use this? Donglie things or such?

Or is it just go to the android market and download Torque and I'd be good to go?

The device needs to have a bluetooth adapter, almost all phones and most laptops nowadays have one built in - a bit of googling shows that the LG Optimus has it. So you don't need any other hardware.

Keith
Keith MegaDork
4/19/12 10:15 a.m.

First decision to make: is it useful for you to have datalogging or real-time display? It can help a lot in diagnosis, especially if you like to mess with cars. That'll cut out the cheapest options.

We've got a few different ones at the shop. The fastest to use is some old-school one from the late 90's. It doesn't read the newest vehicles, but it's quick and simple.

I've got an OT-2 myself, and I use an iPod Touch with it. While later phones may not be able to run the software, this iPod always will so I'll hang on to it This setup is actually really convenient and will log and graph your readings. I can also email the logs instantly to a PC. You can also tie it into other Innovate products, but I've never done that. For real analysis, it's the bomb. Super easy to use, no wires and a real-time display of just about any parameter you want. Never tried Torque on Android so I can't comment.

We also have some logging scanner that reads to SD cards. It's my least favorite.

I agree with other suggestions - use the actual code number and check it against the manufacturer's definitions. There's a lot more information available that way than the usual "your cat has failed".

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke Reader
4/19/12 11:13 a.m.
Tom_Spangler wrote: Torque + an OBD2 dongle is by far the cheapest way to go, it's working great for me. I used this dongle on my truck: http://www.amazon.com/BAFX-Products-Bluetooth-diagnostics-compatible/dp/B005NLQAHS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334841378&sr=8-2

I was doing a bit of research on these cheap bluetooth OBDII dongles and it seems that BAFX is the best of them. From the comments I read dongles with the Blue\Orange label on them are a 50/50 gamble. Half work fine, the other half are total crap.

jonnyd330
jonnyd330 Reader
4/20/12 1:53 p.m.
N Sperlo wrote: Yesterday weren't used car shopping with a friend. I brought my android and bluetooth obdii hookup. 5 bucks for Torque on Android. 25 bucks for the obdii tool Try one, Eclipse, had a "vacuum leak." after seeing the five codes, we walked. The next car, Thunderbird, also had a "vacuum leak." it showed no codes. Torque for Android is phenomenal. EDIT: Got the Thunderbird for 800. Needs motor mount.

Does anyone know if there is anything like this for iphone? I might just buy a used android phone to use with the cheaper obd tools. the only iphone one i have seen is kwik

mw
mw Dork
4/21/12 7:25 p.m.

Are you guys using torque or torque pro? My elm just showed up and I want to get the right app.

peter
peter Reader
4/21/12 8:10 p.m.

I'm using "Torque (Free)". It seems to do everything I want it to and it's free. Maybe it's AKA "Torque"?

Ninja edit:

This is what I use Torque Lite. Am happy with it.

Canute
Canute Reader
4/22/12 8:52 p.m.
mw wrote: Are you guys using torque or torque pro? My elm just showed up and I want to get the right app.

Start with lite and see if it does it for you. But it's always good to support developers and the software isn't that expensive .

peter
peter Reader
4/22/12 9:00 p.m.

Addendum - I've actually used the datalogging (with email-this-to-me feature) on TL. I'm impressed.

blizazer
blizazer Reader
4/23/12 6:09 a.m.

Once you have Torque, be sure to download the 'track recorder' plugin for it. The plugin is free, but you may need the pay version of Torque to use it. Here's the results:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbN6gP79E8E http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JeEeosl_Kk

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