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Tool Time Discussions here pertain to the use of tools you use while fabbing and wrenching in the garage

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Old 09-13-2009, 05:50 PM   #1
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best economical OBD1 scanner / code reader

I have a 95 4Runner and would like to have a diagnostic trouble code reader. I have a few questions:

1. Short of the paperclip method, what is the best, lowest priced code reader for my OBD1 vehicle? I prefer a scanner with a screen, but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars. Scan Gauge? Innova? another?

2. Is the OBD1 port more limited than a OBD2 port (1996 and newer vehicles)on the amount of information it can give you? I assume OBD1 would offer less info, as it's older technology. Perhaps OBD1 technology doesn't review as many sensors/circuits, etc. ?

3. Is it worth investing in a OBD1 scanner for my 95 4Runner? This answer will largely depend on your answer to question number 2. With a 15 year old vehicle, the number of mechanical problems is (expectedly) growing each year.

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Old 09-13-2009, 06:15 PM   #2
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1- none.
2- yes, OBD-I is more limited. OBD-II can isolate events to a particular cylinder, etc.
3- Nope. A carton of paperclips is far cheaper than the scanner.

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Old 09-13-2009, 06:18 PM   #3
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But then again, the diagnostic port on the trucks lets you sample O2 sensor signals, fuel trim, and other engine parameters ... mostly useless stuff unless you have a problem that's difficult to diagnose.
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:37 PM   #4
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Jump the te1 and e1 connectors with a paper clip... theres your diagnostics tool
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:51 PM   #5
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What if you do not have a working check engine light or anything in the dash? I have a 1990 and it doesnt have any factory dash lights in it and is off road truck only? I am trying to find a scanner as well since i do not have check engine light paper clips do not help:-(
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:40 PM   #6
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how does the paper clip thing work
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:16 PM   #7
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how does the paper clip thing work
usually when u jump the correct ports it will start a morse code almost using your check engine light it will put off a series of short flashes or long holds of the light and basically you write down what it showed and their is a list of what each thing means
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:30 PM   #8
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In theory, a true "OBD I scanner for this vehicle" could provide a lot of information, like real time injector interval. But OBD I is very non-standard, and I've never found a scanner (short of a $3,000 SnapOn one) that could read that data stream from my truck.

The scanners I've seen that claim "OBD I" capability are really just glorified paperclips; they jumper E1 to TE1 and flash a light. Which you could do faster with a real paperclip.

If you find a scanner that will read the Toyota OBD I datastream, I would be interested.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:24 PM   #9
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wiseguy, Im where in MS are you located. Im in tupelo. Also, I love you avatar. OLE MISS all the way!!! GO REBS
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:37 PM   #10
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Hell yyea... Hotty Toddy!!! I go back down to school at Ole Miss tomoro, start class on Monday unfortunately
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:00 PM   #11
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Maybe we can help each other out on our trucks sometime. I should have my 89 going in a couple of weeks
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:56 AM   #12
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I'll throw in another Hotty Toddy as a Rebel alumnus. There is a good bit of data flowing between the sensors and the ECU to manage injectors and mixture and idle etc. However, the really important ones are the Airflow sensor, TPS, timing, rpm and then the O2 sensor. There are some temp-related sensors that also come into play but are more emissions oriented and not vital to smooth running. A couple of the vacuum ports also make a difference. One thing that really has an effect is the throttle body adjustments and wear. Make sure the throttle-body is adjusted to spec, including the TPS and a good gasket, before chasing anything else. Money well-spent to let a shop with the right equipment get that set and then don't touch it!

Speaking of Airflow, that sensor influences a lot so if you have air leaking into the plenum or TB downstream of that sensor it can make all kinds of weird things happen. Hence the mention of a good TB gasket.

Ask me how I know? Chased many non-existent gremlins that were fixed by some of the basics outlined above.
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:29 AM   #13
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O2 is emissions. Not real important. It's only used in minor fuel trim calculations when in the motor's at operating temp. AFM, distributor signals, coolant temp sensor, and TPS are the most important. Even then, a vehicle can operate without a TPS......albeit poorly. Without the first three, though, the vehicle will not run at all.

Purehobby, if you do not have a working CEL and the vehicle is running, then it's the bulb or the ECU is malfunctioning.
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freckles, shmeckles... that was your acne reflecting on my pearlescent skin.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:12 AM   #14
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THOOK,
If I took the wires from the dash check engine light and rigged my own light would that work for checking codes?
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:51 PM   #15
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I've never thought about that or have even tried it. I don't see why not, though.
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Oh...that was me thinking...then stopping mid sentence...then some more babbling and such. LOL
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:36 PM   #16
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how does the paper clip thing work

A Factory Service Manual is a real good thing to have along with your truck...

Chiltons or Toyota... A Haynes makes really good toilet paper, or a fire starter.
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:43 PM   #17
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Haynes does NOT make good TP, but it;s OK for fire starter!
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:46 PM   #18
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Ok, that was meant more for principal... I must admit, I've never tried...

lol, you wouldn't wipe your ... with a Haynes manual


Ok, I guess fire and paper airplanes... hours and hours of fun!
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:48 PM   #19
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Spend enough time "outside the wire" and you will get McGyver fast! LOL
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:27 PM   #20
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wiseguy, Im where in MS are you located. Im in tupelo. Also, I love you avatar. OLE MISS all the way!!! GO REBS
Hotty Toddy! I'm in Gulfport. I get back to campus a few times a year. I can't go too long without the great food (Abner's, the Ravine, etc.) and beautiful women. Katrina took out a lot more than just the houses down here...
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:27 PM
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