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Discussion Starter #1
Never thought I'd say that, but after years of being envious of professional mechanics who can afford the fancy computer diagnostic scanners that are needed for newer vehicles, I've FINALLY got one! An OTC 4000E, which is obsolete but still works on my daily driver (a 92 Olds minivan). These things sold for nearly $2 grand when new, I got mine for a little over a $100! Never more will I be at the mercy of those mechanics who used to charge me $60 just read my dang engine codes. This scanner even has built in trouble shooting software. Way cool!

I also found out that for REALLY new cars which have OBD II, there is software and adapter cables that use Palm Pilots and other PDA's -- so you don't even have to buy a specialized scanner. Is it possible we're heading back to the days where shade tree mechancis will be common place again?
 
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You [email protected][email protected]*! I need one too! I have the '90 and a '94 Olds van. dealership just called me with a $350 bill on the '94 to replace the Throttle Position Sensor. Now they want $800 to clean out the valve body in the tranny. NOPE! I'm about to call a transmission shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ouch! I love my Silhouette and so far it's been "fairly" reliable. Tranny went out three years ago, and mass air flow sensor went out this summer. The Mass Air Flow sensor was only an $80 part, and after I paid to have my codes read, I knew exactly what needed to be replaced.

The throttle positioning sensor (can't picture where it is) shouldn't cost anywhere near $600. Yikes, I'd see how much the part is then take a long look at a service manual to see if it's something that we shadtree mechanics could handle. My brother's Caravan had a bad Throttle Positioning Sensor and he replaced his with no problem.

I got my scanner on Ebbayy, by the way. It was missing the GM cable but I just found one at a parts store today so I'm good to go. Important thing on these scanners to make sure they have software to support your vehicle and also the cables. Sellers often don't know what they have and can't answer your questions. I just had to cross my fingers that it had everything I needed. Except for the missing cable (a $35 part) it is pretty complete.

My next daily driver will be new enough to have an OBD II interface and my trusty palm pilot will have a new purpose in life!
 

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Just some guy
67 coupe, 69 Sportsroof, 86 hatchback
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I usually just get a Haynes/Clymer manual at the parts store. Though I don't recall reading the codes on an APV in particular, most older GM codes can be read by sticking a paperclip into 2 certain terminals and counting how many times the "check engine"light blinks. Most of the GM repair manuals cover this procedure and have a code list too.
I've never had a whole lot of luck with GM codes, they have yet to point out the actual problem for me. It's always been something completely unrelated. IE -code says "oxygen sensor" and the actual problem is a bad water temperature sensor. Can't count how many times I saw that on 80's GM cars.
The procedures for checking Ford's EEC II and EEC III codes are available on the internet. I've found Ford's codes to be slightly more useful than GM's.
Having stopped working on cars professionally some time ago, I haven't had a chance to play with an OBD 2 car . But I've seen it done and it it beats the old style code-reading hands down. OBD 2 is in fact very useful. I had to restrain myself from grabbing the guy's laptop and punching keys to see what was what instead of politely looking over his shoulder.
 
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