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Motors diagnostics code reader

Discussion in 'General' started by OneSeventeen, 8 Aug 2003.

  1. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Oooh Shiny!

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    I'm driving a '93 Oldsmobile Cutlass that has gone bad (so, I gues I'm not really driving it... I'm riding my bike and passing by my '93 Olds!) and it was suggested by Dad to get a diagnostics code reader for about $60.

    I am a car Newbie! I found a coupon to get my diagnostics code read for $30, and figured I might as well buy my own reader, since it was mentioned to be the same price as two reads!

    My question is, How do they work? Do they work on all cars after a certain year? Can I plug in my 2000 Chevy S10 Pickup to the reader as well? Does it have sounds and flashy lights?

    I guess I want something that is going to last, but I really don't need all the super amazing bells and whistles, I just want to be able to tell what's wrong with my car.

    What do you all suggest? Know of any good online stores in the US, or even offline, that I might be able to find. I know autozone/checker marks up prices almost double sometimes, but if there are other places...

    Favorite brands? Advice? tips? Requests for fewer question marks? In my threads?
     
  2. Dad

    Dad You talkin to me?

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    Hahaha...

    Yes, like I said in the tranny thread, a code reader is a very good tool to have. The one you will need for your '93 Cutlass SHOULD work with any model GM from '87 through '02, but double check the package. There are seperate ones for Ford and Mopar vehicles (the expensive ones will do all cars including imports).

    In order to use it, you will need to find the interface under the dashboard which is usually next to the steering column. Plug the code reader into it and turn the ignition to ACC without the engine on. What will happen is an led or two will flash in sequence like Morse code. You mark down what it's reading and cross-reference the code with a book that's included with the reader. That will show you the error or fault the computer is reading. It's REAL simple to do! There will be more comprehensive instructions within the manual.

    You can get them at nearly any automotive store like AutoZone or Parts America and I have seen them at Walmart before.

    In addition to this, I would suggest getting a Hanes repair manual for the specific car and year. It will have troubleshooting flowcharts and detailed repair instructions (with pictures). That's how I learned to fix cars.

    EDIT::
    Actually, wait... I think the less expensive GM code readers will work with model years '82 - '95. If I remember correctly, the interface from '82 - '95 was ALDL and '96 - current is OBD-II. OBD-II is standard on all make and model cars now.
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2003
  3. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Oooh Shiny!

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    well poo...

    I'm only going to get one that will work with both of my cars. This sounds simple, is there a way to make one from scratch?

    Does zap browse these threads? :p
     
  4. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Oooh Shiny!

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    Well, this one costs the same as having it read, would this work?
     
  5. Dad

    Dad You talkin to me?

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    :)

    Don't know the ease or difficulty in building one, but I imagine it could be done. Actually, the pro's use a special cable that connects to a laptop with disgnostic software installed. That's a bit more than the handheld readers though ;)

    Yea, I imagine that the linked reader would work. Never used something like that before, but as long as it displays the codes somehow, I don't see why it won't work. Hell, for $25, I'd give it a shot ;) All the ones that I've owned have had LCD displays which will display a certain number to cross reference.
     
  6. DeLorean5000

    DeLorean5000 New Member

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    ive looked into you can make one for a gm that plugs into a laptop and free software... theres only 3 connections, but i have no Gm:clap: :rock: , so i couldnt test it... but it looked great.. ill see if i can find the link...
     
  7. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Oooh Shiny!

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    I'm still interested in building my own, so if you find the link, please post!
    I did, however, run down to Check Auto Parts & pay $31 on the GM code reader, and it told me there was nothing wrong!

    But at least I didn't pay someone else the same amount to tell me that!

    So now I'm getting worried it might really be the trannie...

    Dad, do you think it still may be the ECU?
     
  8. Dad

    Dad You talkin to me?

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    Without driving it or hearing it, I'm inclined to think it's the ECU. That's a pretty common ailment with GM cars.

    The problem you're going to run into with the inexpensive code readers is what you ran into. It may not read the fault code. They don't always work 100%, that's why they're for DIYers and that inexpensive. If you're real concerned about it, you may want to bring it to a GM dealer who can put it on a diagnostics computer and tell you everything and anything that's wrong with the car. It costs about $60 or $70 where I live and I do it whenever I can't diagnose a problem or whenever I buy a different car.
     
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