Purchasing a scanner....

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89 Chevy Silverado 1500 series 1/2 Ton Truck w/ a 5.7L engine & a 700r4 auto transmission...it is not a 4x4

I would like to be able to pull the codes on my truck myself, (I already know I can go to Autozone and have them do it) and I have no clue where to begin. I have done a search on scanners hoping to increase my knowledge. The prices for a new scan tool range from approx $50 to $3000. I also don't understand some of the additional features.

My wish is to be able to pull codes that will allow me to recieve help from this forum. I am looking for an inexpensive scan tool to do this. I do not want to puchase an inadequate scan tool, but I also will only be using it for my truck (and as a learning experience). I would appreciate any suggestions on what may work for my intended application, Thanx

posted by  Cantesoleares

That's a pretty huge price range to work with. I don't know where you're going to find a decent scan tool for less than $1k. I've invested in several scan tools between my shops because they all have something special to offer and different techs have different favorites.

My personal scan tool (I carry it everywhere religiously) is this one; http://www.genisysotc.com/ . I'm considering changing over to this one; http://www.nemisysotc.com/ just because I can and it's smaller to drag around. It has less features but I think the ones I use the most are still there. If nothing else it's a new toy and I can always go back to my Genisys.

posted by  vwhobo

VWHobo or BraniffAutoSpa may have ideas.

The first question I would ask is what am I going to do with the scanner?

If you are looking for just codes, a 2 cent paperclip or a $25.00 light blinker will give the codes for a 1989 GM with further diagnosis being made with a $30.00 digital multimeter. OBDII readers are as low as $150 again, with the diagnosis and trouble shooting being done with a digital voltmeter. An OBDII scan tool meeting legal requirements for pollution control board emmissions testing runs about $350-$400

If you are looking for amature quality with freeze frame capability, one can buy a $125 data recorder and PC software which records between 60 and 90 min of data.

Professionals typically have higher quality equipment with data logging and freeze frame data capability (and often with the ability to reprogram the ECM). This stuff runs anywhere from $1800 - $4000 + subscription to ECM calibration databases

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Get a MODIS ya bum :mrgreen:

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

how did you know i posted anything, get outa my brain ya freakin psycho :banghead:

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

I already have three. I'm sorry, that's not a tax write off. My SHOPS already have three. Ka-ching!

posted by  vwhobo

just a good guess

VW posted when I was writing and you were writing @ the same time.

In figured since both you and VW own shops, you would have some additional insights.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

the brain invader over there is right though, it all depends on what you wanna do,just get codes, or be lookin at data streams, my dad could do damn near anything with his multimeter,damn radio techs and there know it all bs. but it was usually on older cars.pre 96, gets a little more complex if your just a prober

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

i don't own a shop im just a bitch, have done my dues of cleaning floors and doing tires now onto the good shit

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

Yeah, like oil changes and transmission servicing. Hoopty dooo! :doh:

posted by  vwhobo

experience does count.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

naw oil changes and transmission services are all good stuff, but nothing like diagnostics, not much money being the oil change bitch either, you know this hobo :wink2:

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

I don't even change my own oil anymore. That's what offspring are for.

posted by  vwhobo

Bah, you're all wrong, the new Mac Tools scanner is THE scanner to go with, though definately not practical for home use to say the least with a 5k price tag. I'd suggest an old snap-on one if you absolutely have to have one, they may have used ones on eBay or something for cheap. Other than that, I wouldn't waste my cash for a scanner if you're only going to use it for one vehicle.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

well your wanting a scanner your a home mechanic and you want it just for your truck to pull code's and point you in the right area this scanner will work for this purpose but if you plan on doing the testing of the sensors or coils or wiring your going to need a multi meter too.

posted by  osborste

Did not know that I could pull codes w/a paperclip or a light blinker. Yeah I just want to be able to pull codes for now. Once i can successfully do that then I'll move on.

Funny you should mention using a paperclip. I tried that once on another car I owned. I did not get good results :laughing: I will try with a light blinker this time (and buy a multimeter). If for some reason I cant even pull this off, I will break down and go to autozone or a repair shop, and have them spoon feed me directions on how to do this whilst I videotape them.

But if I can get my monkey brain to spin its wheels fast enough....it will be the first SUCCESSFUL time I have pulled codes on a vehicle. I have extra fuses just in case. Thanx for all the info on the scanners as well. I plan to own one in the near future. $1000 is steep for me though vw, if I am ever in need of THAT scanner I will just have to pay a pro who has the right tool.

I am tired of being scared of the electrical sections of my vehicle, you guys have been alot of help.

posted by  Cantesoleares

can ya back that up? that the mac is the best?

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

No, he just saw them advertising on one of the Sunday morning car shows and figured he's say it to sound important. And for those of you who didn't know, MAC doesn't "make" a scan tool. ALL of their diagnostic equipment is re-packaged, re-graphiced, re-priced equipment made by somebody else depending on the model.

posted by  vwhobo

A couple of resources with the procedure - Haynes techbook Computer Codes and Engine Management systems or the Haynes or Chiltons book for your car/truck

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Update.....while asking about scanners @ Autozone one of thier service guys gave me a code key (looked like a glorified paperclip). The diagnostic box on this truck is located directly below the steering wheel, underneath the dash. It was a black box. The chilton manual outlines the procedure for pulling the codes enough for even we laymen. I actually managed to do it.

As a side note, my check "service engine soon" light did not illuminate when I turned on the key. I had to take apart the dash and replace the bulb before I could use it to pull codes.

Bottom line...The fix for me was a GM Code Key (so you dont go sticking the paperclip in all the wrong connecting points like I have done before) from Autozone for free, and a $0.63 dash bulb + some help from the folks on this forum, Thanx again.

posted by  Cantesoleares

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