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What scanner to buy

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by joker89blazer, Jan 12, 2003.

  1. joker89blazer

    joker89blazer 1/2 ton status

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    Looks like I need a scanner,hard to understand all the problems from the "codes".

    Alot of people talk about autoxray.
    Is the basic gm obd-1 able to give you info while plugged in and driving? Info like O2 voltage,knock counts,tps voltage,sensor tempatures?

    Or is it better to buy a old cheap laptop computer and build patch cord and use the free download program.

    http://w1.601.telia.com/~u60113744/software/winaldl/winaldl.htm

    Hmmmmmmmmmm.I hope dorian looks at this /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  2. milspecjimmy

    milspecjimmy 1/2 ton status

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    paper clip across the a and b terminal on the diagnostic port with the hey off, turn the key to run, DO NOT START. the SES light(check engine) will blink an acceptance code of like 12. and it will do it 3 times, (12 would be flash pause flash flash pause)then after the acceptance code, it will blink out the codes teh same manor. (say 43 was a code, the pattern would be flash flash flash flash pause flash flash flash pause) and it would repeat this 3 times per code before moving on to the next code. then just look up the code # in the book. scanners do the exact same thing as the paper clip, they just cost 20 bucks and have a plastic handle on it. /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
     
  3. milspecjimmy

    milspecjimmy 1/2 ton status

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    never mind, i need to read more than the freakin subject line.
     
  4. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    He's talking about real scanners, not those stupid things that they sell at K-mart. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif The Auto X-Ray plugs into the ALDL connector and does provide real time data, though you can only read the data from one item at a time. You can step through all of the items easily. It's a very handy tool to have for factory EFI systems.

    I bought mine at Checker auto parts for $150. That's way cheaper than I've ever seen it anywhere else. They're known as Kragen or Schucks (sp?) auto parts in other sections of the country.
     
  5. RockyRider13

    RockyRider13 1/2 ton status

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    is the only reason that you do not want to start the car while reading from the port because it will start giving you afr, or will it screw up the ecm??
     
  6. milspecjimmy

    milspecjimmy 1/2 ton status

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    i am not sure what it will do, i have always been told not to and i dont want to try it just to see.
     
  7. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Those who have used winALDL and a scanner such as the autoxray are much more pleased with the winALDL.

    The real problem is if you don't have a laptop, if you need a laptop anyway, then you have one more excuse to buy one /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Another option is if you have a friend that has a laptop that you could borrow.

    The only advantages a scanner has I think is the cost, and the ability to be used on at least Ford, GM, and Dodge. Mine came with cables for all three, and I've used it on all of them already. Amazing how needy friends are when you have one of these.
     
  8. joker89blazer

    joker89blazer 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the reply Dorian.

    Have you used both the computer program and the scanner tool?
    Which one works better?
    Does the computer version give you more info?

    I only want the GM version,I only have GM vehicles

    Can I plug either one of these into the vehicle and drive down the road and read all the diferant sensor inputs?
     
  9. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I have not used the winALDL, but I have friends that have, and like it MUCH more than a scanner, though the same person will tell someone that a scanner is a great purchase for troubleshooting, simply because some people can't justify a laptop, or don't really want to get that far into it. winALDL can get you started on burning your own PROM's after making any mods, or at least get data so someone else can do it for you, besides saving the data to your hard drive I believe.

    The scanner will let you see live data, also record data for a period of time. You have to be careful, some of the scanners apparently don't do the "live monitoring", but I know my autoxray240 does.

    You may look into one of the newer autoxray's if a scanner sounds more to your liking, especially if all your vehicles are GM, and you have some that are OBD2. The newer scanners are OBD1 and OBD2 compatible, the 240 is only OBD1, although some of the other autoxray's can be "upgraded" to OBD2 compliance, I'm not sure which.

    One thing I don't like about the scanners though is that sometimes they don't spit out the right data...you enter the engine VIN, make a selection if required (such as speed density or not...some VIN's it will ask you things like this) and still get *some* garbled output. Changing to another VIN seems to cure the problem, but it seems kind of hokey.

    I haven't heard of any such thing with winALDL, probably because it is so brand (GM) specific.
     
  10. Kyle89K5

    Kyle89K5 1/2 ton status

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    I have used winALDL and will swear by it. The info that it puts out can sometimes be a little overwelming, but there are lots of people that can make good sense of it. It was the $8 I ever spent. The software is free, you just need to make or buy a cable to plug into the aldl on your truck. If you just want #'s while idleing, you can always drag your desktop to your truck and use a long extension cord /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  11. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    From what I've read about winALDL, it works ONLY with certain ECM's. I think I read somewhere that it doesn't support the newer ECM's that are used on trucks with electronic transmissions (4L60E, 4L80E, etc). I like the Auto Xray because it works with all of my stuff, even my wifes '94 Sub with the 4L60E. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

    I have downloaded winALDL and plan to start playing with it as soon as I take the time to build a cable. But my laptop isn't nearly as easy to read while driving. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif I like that I can hold the Auto Xray in my hand and see it without taking my eyes completely off the road. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  12. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Well if I'm not mistaken, ALDL is a misnomer for the newer stuff, it changed names, so hopefully anything that actually *had* an ALDL is useable with winALDL.

    You are right that its harder to read the laptop while driving, but can't you record large blocks of drive time with it?

    The only real complaint I have with the autoxray is the problem I had with the '88 or '89 celecrity I was scanning, I entered in the right engine VIN/injection type, and it was still spitting out garbage for some sensors. Switching over to another injection type solved the problem.

    Of course, dealing with GM this won't matter, but Fords stupid system doesn't let you see "live data" anyways (the early EEC stuff I think it is) so you just end up replacing parts that it SAYS are bad. Of course, the GM stuff says what the voltage is, RPM, etc., so you can actually use it to troubleshoot individual components.
     
  13. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Our '94 Sub is OBD I and has the standard ALDL connector. But from what I understand, it runs at a faster baud rate than the earlier ECM's so winALDL can't read it. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  14. Thunder

    Thunder 3/4 ton status

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    I have a Auto X ray scanner. It works good. You can monitor all operating paramaters while driving down the road and do a 30 second data capture if there is a drivabiltiy problem at a certain speed/RPM then view the stored dats on its screen. Or You can buy a software package to run on your PC. Then download the stored data in the scanner and it will make charts and graphs very similar to WinALDL. You can also down load upgrades to the scanner off the net /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
    I orginally bought the GM OBD1 scanner. But I have upgraded it with the PC software package and to read OBD 2 also. It has saved me a lot of money.
    It is a very versatile little unit.
    More Info:
    autoxray.com
     
  15. Marshall

    Marshall 1/2 ton status

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    i was wondering if my ECM would work with the WinALDL.I have an 87 Gmc jimmy.How much are the cords and were to get em....i might want to make one(are they complicated to make?
     
  16. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    Hey guys, if you ever read the whole site where you get the winALDL the guy says if you have a problem using it or if your ECM isn't compatible with it let him know. He is updating it with all the input that people provide.
    Let him know your issues, he is using people as guinea pigs that is why he offers it free.
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  17. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    As I recall, it says that he'll try to update it for any 160 Baud ECM. That's the baud rate of the earlier ECM's. I read somewhere that the ECM's that control the engine and tranny have a faster baud rate, that winALDL doesn't currenlty deal with. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  18. Marshall

    Marshall 1/2 ton status

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    I just bought a lap top on ebay for 10 Bucks ....what a deal now i just need to figure out how to make that cord /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif. If anyone has any advice please let me know thanks.
     
  19. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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  20. Kiqman

    Kiqman 1/2 ton status

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    I have an 89 and it's 160 baud. Just plugged in WinALDL for the first time today. If I'm reading the aldl sites correctly 8192 baud started in the early 90's.
     

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