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I have a 2000 Acura 1.6 EL (Only sold in Canada, but this doesn't matter in this case)


Does anyone know how or what to read codes with on new cars nowadays? I used to own a 1991 Honda Civic, and there was an LED diode which would blink you codes which were listed in the workshop manual. Now, as an effort, I assume to make you come to the dealership to open your wallet to them in a more constant flow whenever the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) comes on. I would much rather keep the $65 I beleive it is in Canada, right now, the charge for going in to the Dealership and having these people fumble around in your car and disassemble things and sometimes even break things.

I would much rather save myself this whole dealership hassle (I am and always have been a pescimist of anyone at a dealership -- the car salesman knows your reaction toward the car, and tries to make you buy it, and get every dollar out of you possible, next to the long road of servicing. These are the people who work on your car and take something originally assembled with four screws, they'll put it back on with two or three screws. They'll charge you three times the actual cost of the part, and try to make you think either that the car is actually running is a miracle, or there are a million things that need changing. I remember on my Honda, they told me they needed to change two bolts which were cracked, then I originally sent it in for changing the timing belt because I couldn't change it myself, because of its location, and other stuff, but for the two bolts, they wanted to charge me $500. I told them to show me the bolts on the car when I cam to pick it up, becuase I didn't have the money and didn't understand how two bolts could cost $ 500. I came into the dealership and they told me it wasn't really bolts, it was actually the springs on the car. I took it home, and did eveything -- jumped on the car even -- and it showed no sign of springs being damaged... but, back to the subject!

I like working on cars myself and relying as little as possible, unless necessary, becuase I don't have any heavy-duty stuff really required to do really big things. I enjoyed the ability of being able to diagnose problems myself, but now, I see on my new Acura that I have no blinking LED. There is nothing to help me out in diagnosing already on the car. I need to buy an expensive OBD II handheld system. There are a few of these available, but there is quite the price range in them. The cheap ones have relatively few options or features, whereas the really expensive ones can calculate things I've rarely even heard of. The price range of OBD Scanners, as far as I've seen, is (in Canadian Funds) ranging from about $300 to about $750. The $ 300 one is called the OBD Scan offered on the internet, using a computer such as a laptop, or else you can use a PalmPilot for it. I can use my Palm Vx, but I want to know what I'm getting. I'm kind of leery of buying over the Internet still (visit http://www.ghg.net/dharrison ). I would rather have a product which I can buy at a store, look at, test out, and return if I either don't like it, or worse, it doesn't work. My car is OBD II compliant, I found in my workshop manual. Armed with this, I proceeded to my nearest auto parts store, which happenned to be a Canadian Tire. This store offered few OBD Scanners, but they were the ones I found for $500 (for the unit) and then another $ 250 for the cartridges with the information for the car.

All I need is something which can read the codes to me. I don't need anything fancy, like the distributor setting, or the temperature of the cylinder head. I really don't care what the temperature of the cylinder head is, as long as it isn't busy frying itself. I don't usually tackle the big things, but as well, I like to know what the problem is with the car before having to bring it to the dealer, so they don't start randomly replacing things.

I read on some other threads about an SCS (Service Check Connector) which, in my car, is located on the passenger side of the dashboard. I think I may be able to use this for something, but my workshop manual offers little insight.

Could any one tell me either what OBD II system they use, if anyone does own one, or what does this SCS Service check Connector do? If you do use an OBD II scanner, could you please tell me what made you particularly purchase the one you did, in place of the other ones avaiable, or how I would get a code out of the SCS piece?

Sorry about the length of this post, but I wanted to include as much information I could, especially for my first post on this site.

I hope someone has some advice,
Thanks in advance
 

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Thanks a lot... I know enough about computers, and can manipulate them quite well, but, I was wondering about something which was contained in one unit, but a computer hookup is a possibility. The other unit I mentioned involved a Palm Handheld System, but, there are so many different types available, I was wondering how these worked out for people... Did you in fact buy this one, and has it worked really well for you?


Also, it was listed in the review about Workshop Manuals for the MDX, that the SCS Service Check Connector could be jumped to get codes, I assume... As long as I have something which will read the codes and tell me what's wrong, I would like that. It talked about being able to jump a wire, and I looked in my workshop manual, and it tried, as mentioned in that thread, that they are very secretive about it. They in fact are, but as well, they try to sell you a connector which has a wire coming from the left, or right side of the connector, and making a 180 degree turn back around, and just goes back into the connector. I'm not really in the mood to either go into the garage and test this theory of just sticking a wire in between the two connectors, because it's so cold, and I'm not really in the mood of frying my car's ECU. If someone knows what the result is when you try this method, could you please tell me?

Thanks for your reply, henry_atwork!
 

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I own an OBDII scanner, it is an AutoXray EZ-LINK OBD-II SCANNER. It does more than scan codes it can collect information and display that info on your computer in Graph form. You are talking about a tradition scanner, one that just grabs the code information. I will tell you a little about OBDII, it is used on all cars from 1996 to the present and all the codes are standarderized, before that they had OBDI. All cars have the same interface, unlike OBDI which had different connectors based on the model of car you had. Having said that you can use the same scanner on all cars 1996 to present. You can get code readers that just read the codes, such as Autoxray's EZ-LINK OBD-II CODE READER. It is upgradeable to a scanner. The code reader lists for $159 US and I have seen it for $139. You can look at it on the web site at http://www.autoxray.com . The scanner just gives you the ability to record data to the unit as the car runs and with some optional software display graphs on the PC. I like mine, it works on OBDII and OBDI cars if you have the proper cable.


Greg in Atlanta
 

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khany2002,

i personally do not have the unit. i just happen to be reading http://www.dashpc.com when i also read your post. lots of cool stuff done at dashpc.com, i'm thinking of doing something similar in another car.

-henry
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your help!

Anyone ever use the SCS connector (Service Check Connector) to get codes?

Thanks again for all your advice again !
 

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Does the dealership use the OBDII port or do they use another port to get their data.

I was thinking of getting a data logger for the OBDII port and it would be nice to have a record of what heppens to the car when it is in their care!
 

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I recently bought the Innova 3100 - $129 at Kragen, you can find it cheaper online.

See http://www.iequus.com/item.asp?cid=10&pid=3100

I bought it for use with the other car but 2 days later got the chance to try it out on the MDX as the wife had not tightened the gas cap, resulting in the MIL coming on.

It is easy to use and comes with a well written manual. That plus the Acura service manual and you can find out just about anything. The loose gas cap resulted in a P1491 (EGR valve insufficient lift.)

The OBDII (or DTC as Acura refers to it) connector is under the dash on the driver's side, next to the center console. Sitting in the driver's seat, put your hand on the panel in front of your knee and slide your hand down until your fingers can reach under the bottom edge, you will feel the connector just forward of the bottom edge.

I was thinking about getting one of units to use with my laptop but find that it is handy to have the small handheld unit. Then today O was at Sears and saw the CarChip

http://www.davisnet.com/drive/products/drive_product.asp?pnum=8210

which was $100 as I recall. Seems to be the cheapest and best integrated of all the scanner type products I have seen so far.
 

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Scanner Purchase

I just purchased an AutoEnginuity OBDII code reader from http://www.autoenginuity.com/index.html . I got the version that connects to a laptop, but they have ones for PDA's or Palm handhelds. It works great and seemed like a good company to deal with. They are selling approx 3600 per year.
They have a neat download (large file) so that you can see the software readouts from a real vehicle.
In addition, it includes a "Spead Tracer" program to give you the following data:
0-60ft time
0-60 MPH
1/8 mile time
1/8 mile speed
1/4 mile time
1/4 mile speed
G Forces
SAE Horsepower
Torque
SAE Horsepower and Torque vs RPM graphing
Speed vs Time graphing
 

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khany2002 said:


Does anyone know how or what to read codes with on new cars nowadays? I used to own a 1991 Honda Civic, and there was an LED diode which would blink you codes which were listed in the workshop manual. Now, as an effort, I assume to make you come to the dealership to open your wallet to them in a more constant flow whenever the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) comes on. I would much rather keep the $65 I beleive it is in Canada, right now, the charge for going in to the Dealership and having these people fumble around in your car and disassemble things and sometimes even break things.
If all you're looking for is a code, just take the car to AutoZone, they will scan it for free and give you the code(s) present.

I'm sure you already know, however, that simply obtaining codes from your vehicle won't necessarily give you the solution to whatever problem the vehicle is encountering. A code which is present is simply there to tell a technician where to begin looking for a problem. Codes very often can be misleading, and if you aren't familiar with diagnostic procedures, can lead to unnecessary purchase of costly parts that don't fix the problem. For example, you may pull a code that says "crankshaft position sensor out of range" which may lead you to go buy a new camshaft position sensor, when actually the problem is that the timing belt jumped a tooth!

There is a reason independent shops and dealerships charge anywhere from $59 on up for diagnostic fees. It's the difference between a kid working at AZ after school hooking a code-puller up to your car in the parking lot, and a technician with years of training, who hooks up a scanner, gets a general idea for where the problem is, and then begins diagnosing the root cause of the problem to give you the true cost of repair.

My advice: have fun pulling codes and trying to fix the problem, but be prepared to possibly spend a lot of money on parts that may not solve the problem!
 

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RobK

Good points about codes. They may or may not lead you to the real problem.
Good code scanners also give you the "freeze frame" engine paramater data that is captured when the codes are set. ie like a flight recorder. Often that helps find the problem.

In the end it is is training, experience and good old common sense!!!
 
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