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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-19-2008, 03:33 PM
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Diagnostic Tools

Hey guys,
Whats the best and affordable diagnostic tool on the market for new cars? What years do they range in?
thank you

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Old 07-20-2008, 05:58 AM
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If you have a Laptop, it can only cost $50 and thats for the R232 cable (or is it R323, cant remember).

Download VAG COM free software and away you go. Search the codes on the net and 'bobs your uncle'.
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Old 07-20-2008, 06:31 AM
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Isn't Vag Com only for VW and Audi? Do they have a generic code reader now? BTW, you're not going to fix much with codes only. You should really have a scan tool that can read computer inputs and outputs. Do you have one or two car lines in mind or are you opening a repair shop and want to work on everything?

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Old 07-20-2008, 08:10 AM
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Its not just for VW,Audis and its only a DIAG software. PCMSCAN is a complete recovery, DIAG, ECU tuner software.
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Old 07-20-2008, 08:21 AM
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do you have a link to the cable you need?
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Old 07-20-2008, 11:19 AM
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We must be talking about 2 different things. The Vag Com I'm familiar with is made By Ross Tech and it's a PC based, factory equivalent, scan tool for VW/Audi's. I went to their web site and all I see for free is some older software, but it's still for just VW's and Audi's. Do you have a link to the product you're talking about?

Last edited by ernkazern; 07-20-2008 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:06 PM
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I'm looking more into the hand held one that you plug into the dash.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:52 PM
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Most of the economy one's you'll find connect to the OBD2 DLC. They work on some 1995 and all 1996 to present vehicles. Prior to 1995 there were many different connectors in many different locations and some gave you lots of data and some didn't give you much except codes. Is there a particular vehicle you want to test or a broad range of them? My son has one that works on his Dodge Stealth, but it's designed for Stealths and a few other Mitsubishi based vehicles. I'm not sure what he paid for it. Are you just looking for code reader or something more? I recently read that Sears is marketing some sort of hand held scan tool. I'm not sure how much it is or exactly what it's capabilities are.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:57 PM
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A broad range of cars domestic and foreign, starting from 96. Code reader would be good. This tool will basically give me a code,that code is the problem with the car?
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:06 PM
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Once you know what the code is that's only the beginning. One of the other posters mentioned googleing the code after you know what it is. You'll find that there are many different things that can set the same code. That's where the fun begins! I googled a P0171. That's a lean front O2 sensor on bank 1. Try doing that and see what you come up with. I think it was the AutoZone web site that I thought would be the most helpful for a rookie. Good luck.
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:54 PM
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A tool is not going to help you diagnose anything unless you understand how things are supposed to work. Code readers alone are pretty useless unless you have experience with what the codes can actualy mean. With most of the newer stuff you need a scope or a graphing scanner at a minimum to properly diagnose drivability issues.
A good example is egr codes. They are almost never the result of a defective EGR valve but it is amazing how many are needlessly changed. We fix so many cars that someone has attempted to fix by scanning codes and throwing parts at it that the codes pointed to. Eventually they give up and bring it to be fixed. Usually the final repair is less than what they spent trying to fix it themselves.

Chet
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:06 AM
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The most useful hand held, generic, scan tools are arguably made by Snap On and OTC. (Personally I think Snap On makes the best generic ones.) But, their cost is out of reach for most do it yourselfers. If you search ebay you can probably find a good deal on an older model.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:22 AM
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As long as these computer cars have been around it still seems that most people think that a code for a certain part means that part is bad but that is not true. For instance if a scan produces a code for that EGR that was mentioned far too often the reaction is "OK the scanner says the EGR needs to be replaced" or maybe a code for the O2 sensor and the same thing happens "the O2 sensor is BAD". What that code means is that sensor or part is out of range or not WORKING properly but it may very well be good and is not working due to any one of several different causes. Quite often more than one code will appear due to the same problem, directly or indirectly, affecting more than one function and sensor so would that mean ALL those sensors are bad? Just having the code will point you in the right direction and can give an idea of where the problem is but contrary to all the sales hype BS it will not pinpoint the problem, not by a long shot!
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
As long as these computer cars have been around it still seems that most people think that a code for a certain part means that part is bad but that is not true. For instance if a scan produces a code for that EGR that was mentioned far too often the reaction is "OK the scanner says the EGR needs to be replaced" or maybe a code for the O2 sensor and the same thing happens "the O2 sensor is BAD". What that code means is that sensor or part is out of range or not WORKING properly but it may very well be good and is not working due to any one of several different causes. Quite often more than one code will appear due to the same problem, directly or indirectly, affecting more than one function and sensor so would that mean ALL those sensors are bad? Just having the code will point you in the right direction and can give an idea of where the problem is but contrary to all the sales hype BS it will not pinpoint the problem, not by a long shot!
I couldn't have said it better myself... I do this stuff every day for a living, and I cant tell you how many customers come in, with new parts on their cars that have been either diagnosed by themselves or by the counter guy at the local fast food parts store part jockey....Only to need me to fix it properly.

I use a Master Tech for my everyday scan tool= Approx $7500.00 new with approx $2000.00 each year for the updates. OTC is a very good tool for a lot less money= Approx $2800.00

Just a cheapy code reader will spit out codes on most OBD2 vehicles, its what you can do with the codes that will fix your cars problems.

Just my .02

Steve
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:38 AM
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1931steve, did you ever try a Snap On Modis? They're about the same money as a Mastertech and the updates are less. I have both and think the Snap On is a lot more useful. The exception being the Mastertech is the OEM scan tool for Toyota's to 2007 and Honda's up to 2003, so it excels for those applications. You should try a Modis if you have a chance to, I'll think you'll like it.
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