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OBD II Scan tools

rdelucardeluca Member Posts: 1
Does anyone know where I can find one of these things for less than $200? I have priced them locally and found no other alternatives. I drive a 1998 Ford escort and for no reason whatsoever the Check engine light came on about 2 days ago. thanks for the help!


  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Well, if it was for No reason whatsoever, then the light would NOT be on. Just because you don't know why it is on, doesn't mean there isn't a problem.
    Also, your system is OBD2, not OBD. There is a major difference.

    If the light is on, there is a problem somewhere.

    Could be as simple as a loose gas cap or as complicated as an ECM problem. The thing you have to realize, is that the computer will try and compensate for a problem.

    Now, for the scanners.....
    Depends on want you want to do, what you want to work with, how much you want it to do and how much you want to spend.

    There are handhelds that vary in price from $199-up. Most of these are basic code readers and nothing else.

    Then there are the PC based scanners, that if you have a laptop, they are the best buy. They will pull the codes and some will do some diagnostics. These range from $79-$2,000.

    Then there are the full on diagnostic scanners, OTC, Mac and Snap-On. These are in the several thousand dollar range.

    Cheapy handhelds,

    Actron - - -KAL

    PC based,

    AutoXray - - - CarCode - - - AutoTap - - - OBD Diagnostics

    If you want to see what the CarCode one will do, here is a Product Review on that PC scanner.

  • rgdelucargdeluca Member Posts: 4
    I appreciate your help! All that I want to do is find out why the light is on, fix the problem, and clear the code. Nothing fancy. I do own a laptop and a palm pilot. Any suggestions as to what gives me the best bang for the buck? I looked at the computer based scanners and couldn't really determine which was better. If you have any experiences with either model please inform. Thanks again.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Well, to be honest, I am biased.
    The Carcode Scanner and the one from OBD Diagnostics are the best buy.
    CarCode will do alot more than the one from OBD Diagnostics, but the one from OBD Diagnostics is really inexpensive.
    Again, this is biased, but for my money, I would go with the CarCode unit, as their support is much better.
    The only one of the scanners I listed that I haven't used is the AutoTap, but that was because the cost of it was considerably high compared to the other PC based scanners.
    If you are unsure, then I would recommend that you go to the CarCode site
    (obd-2.com) and e-mail Alex with any questions you have about his product. Read the article posted and then decide if it is what you want.
    There is a download on obd-2.com that you can demo the program, see if it is something that you want to tackle.
    It usually takes 3-5 days from when you order it from them, until you recieve it.
  • sandywillsandywill Member Posts: 7
    I was all prepared to purchase the Carcode scanner system for the PC for hubby for Xmas, then I began to wonder if it covered the vehicle I'm buying it for, I assumed it did but now I'm not sure if the vehicle even requires a scanner to pull codes. It's a 98 Dodge Ram Quad Cab pickup. According to my research I need the Iso 9141 interface, does anyone know where I find out if the scanner is required for this vehicle and if it's covered in the carcode software?
    Thanks bunches!
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Well, I can tell you without a doubt, that the CarCode scanner is ISO9141 compliant. Although, you must make sure you purchase the correct unit. The options are to purchase the VPW protocal (GM), PWM protocal (Ford), ISO9141 (Chrysler and imports) or all three protocals.

    Personally, for the $212, I would purchase all 3.

    Alex has the ISO9141 listed as ISO. The TRICOM or INDO-3 is the best buy and will allow scanning of 96 and later vehicles of Ford, GM, Chrysler and some imports.

    I posted this before, but here is a product review on the Carcode scanner. Scanner review
  • sandywillsandywill Member Posts: 7
    I've been researching the OBD and OBD2 business and scanners for awhile and quite coincidently had previously decided on the Carcode software because of the review you mention above. I decided to look into buying a scanner for 2 reasons, one it's a techy cool thing, always a hit for my hubby and two, we ran into a brick wall trying to troubleshoot and diagnose an ABS problem on our 92 LeSabre because we couldn't pull those codes without a scanner. Now, I chose to buy a simple code puller for the LeSabre because we own the shop manuals and we probably won't own it much longer. But thought what an awesome toy/tool for the 98 Ram. As an afterthought, just thought I'd better check that trucks also need scanners to pull codes. The truck is still under warranty so he's never worked on it, nor had to attempt to pull codes. Helms doesn't sell shop manuals for Chrysler, so I don't have anything to reference that would tell me yeh or nay a code scanner is needed for this vehicle. You see we've always pulled codes with the count the flash game and first ran across the need for a scanner on the ABS system. Now that I have you all confused, I guess my question is simply should I assume a 98 truck will require a scanner to pull codes? Is there anyway for me to verify that outside calling a dodge service department?
    Thanks again for you help!
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Yes, your Dodge will require a scanner.
    The ABS system requires a different scanner and is quite expesive.
    The scanners available will only retrieve trouble codes for the powertrain (engine, trans and emissions).
    The diagnostic port will be under the dash on the driver's side.
    If it is a diesel, the capabilities of the scanner will be quite limited, but will pull basic codes.
    All automotive vehicles built after 1996 require a scanner to retrieve the trouble codes, with exception of a few imports and Chrysler vehicles with digital dashes.
  • sandywillsandywill Member Posts: 7
    Thank Again!
    That's a bummer about the ABS, kinda got that suspicion during my research tho. We lucked out on the LeSabre ABS problem, decided to try swapping what we knew to be a good relay with one of the 2 on the ABS and wah lah, problem solved, replaced both as a matter of preventative maintenance. Our luck with garages has been 0/4 in 17 years, if hubby can't find it, neither has the garage. He eventually found and repaired all 4 problems on his own. So the thought of being dependant on garages mortifies us.
    The Ram is not a diesel so sounds like this software will be perfect.
    Thanks Again for all your input! Have a great Holiday!
  • rgdelucargdeluca Member Posts: 4
    I would just like to say that using the kit from OBD Diagnostics (link in message number 2 above) I was able to identify and clear all code on my 98 Ford Escort. You have to be sort of an electronics geek to put the kit together but as my wife can attest to, I enjoyed it. (They also sell completed kits). They were definitely the least expensive kits on the internet.

    The plans are complete and concise and tech support answered all of my questions.

    Now all I have to do is figure out how to fix a lean condition.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Scanner can be fun to play with, huh? :o) For the lean condition, start by looking for vacuum leaks or any unmetered air entering the intake manifold through damaged intake ducting downstream from the airflow sensor.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    Who, besides HyperTech, makes a tool that will scan AND adjust parameters such as tire size, shift points, remove speed limiter, etc...
This discussion has been closed.