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Code Reader Help


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10 replies to this topic

#1 wahoo

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 03:59 PM

Hi all,

I recently ordered the cheap $39 OBD II code reader from Harbor Freight, and it just got here today. We have two Subarus, a 98 Forester and a 96 Legacy, both with the Check-Engine light on, so I giddily went out to the car and plugged the reader in.

The code reader is very basic, and is just supposed to pop up with 4 numbers, repeat the numbers 4 times, and then clear the CEL. Unfortunately, this isn't what happened. I inserted the reader, turned the ignition on (also tried in the reverse sequence just in case), and waited for the codes to appear. Instead of getting a code, the reader just read "--- " paused for a second, read " -", and then read "E " (error?). The same exact thing happened on both vehicles.

Am I doing something wrong? The reader's manual makes no mention of what the "E" might mean.

Thanks for any help!!

#2 ShawnW

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 04:10 PM

So the car is off when you plug the reader in and then you turn the key to on and it does this? Or are you plugging the reader in after you have turned the key to on?

#3 wahoo

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 04:13 PM

So the car is off when you plug the reader in and then you turn the key to on and it does this? Or are you plugging the reader in after you have turned the key to on?


I've tried it both ways... first I tried plugging it in after the car was on (per the instructions that came with the code reader). When this didn't work, I tried turning the car off, plugging the reader in, and then turning the ignition on. Both ways produced the same result.

#4 ferret

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 07:01 AM

My Neighbor had the same results. Returned for replacement...Same....returned for credit. Now he comes to see me and I read his for free using the adapter I purchased 4 yrs ago for $75. Hooks to an old 486 laptop I have. works great on ALL OBDII protocols.

http://obddiagnostics.com/

#5 friendly_jacek

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 09:00 AM

I would also recommend this OBD2 interface. It is now $88 but worth it! You can see status of the sensors in addition to codes. You need a laptop of course.

#6 Legacy

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 11:17 AM

Would you be able to see what the oil pressure, water temperature, etc readings are? Or would you only whatever the output is (eg millivolt)

#7 frag

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 11:52 AM

From this kind of scanners, you get readings sent by the different sensors to the ECU. Water temperature is one of them but not oil pressure. Water temp is needed by the ECU to monitor fuel but oil pressure does'nt serve any purpose of that kind. Would be nice though for the ECU to monitor oil pressure and sound an alarm when too low. Would also be nice if the ECU would sound an alarm when the engine's temp exceed a pre determined threshold.

#8 wahoo

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 12:31 PM

I was afraid the $39 price was too good to be true... Guess I'll try to return it, and think about getting one of the $88 ones you mention.

Thanks for all the advice.

#9 Spiffy

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Posted 30 September 2004 - 11:02 PM

I tried the Harbor Freight Universal Code Scanner on my 2000 Legacy with no luck... this thing just doesn't seem to like Subarus... will have to return it... the local Schucks (Kragen/Checker) says they have a good one that you can borrow for a $200 refundable deposit... I'll probably go that route...

#10 hohieu

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 08:54 PM

My Neighbor had the same results. Returned for replacement...Same....returned for credit. Now he comes to see me and I read his for free using the adapter I purchased 4 yrs ago for $75. Hooks to an old 486 laptop I have. works great on ALL OBDII protocols.

http://obddiagnostics.com/


I am resurrecting this thread because I would like to know what else this BR OBD II Interface can do. I just purchased one, and it works great for pulling trouble codes. It will take me some time to learn about the different functions, but how else do you use it?

For example, is it possible to monitor the oxygen sensors and replace them before a check engine light is triggered?

#11 ferret

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 07:32 AM

Yes, with the latest software, you can monitor full screen up to 4 sensors at once. I have an old 486 laptop and 12v adapter, so I can set it on the passenger seat while I drive a vehicle and monitor it.
Freeze frame data also shows what all the sensors were at when the last code triggered. Very good also.
Yes I did see quite a few slow O2 sensors using monitor mode. But under warrenty, the dealers will usually not replace them unless they trigger a code. I mean GM, Subaru and Toyota to name those I and my neighbors have delt with.




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