I have been asked my opinion about the usefulness and quality of AllData DIY several times over the years on this forum and could never give any advice because up until this weekend I had never personally used it. Now I have and here is my professional opinion, but first the history of why I used it. Let me also make it clear up front that this is only one experience, so your results may vary.
An acquaintance of mine had a problem with his '94 Delta 88 and instead of paying a shop to have the car repaired he wanted to pay me to teach him how to repair it. Okay, fair enough, all I had to supply was my experience, knowledge, time and a basic scan tool. He was going to do the rest. So...
As anyone who has ever read my writings/rants knows, the first thing you need when working on an OBD vehicle with DTC's and an obvious symptom is to pull codes, then code descriptions and then a diagnostic/troubleshooting tree. The first two are completely taken care of with the scan tool. For the third item above you need some form of vehicle service information. Chilton’s and Haynes manuals don't have the info we needed (pinouts, connector locations, wire color codes and specific voltage/resistance values etc). This is when the subscription to AllData DIY came up.
I currently use Mitchell1 in my shops and have used AllData in the past... This is why we’re using Mitchell1 now. He paid for the subscription ($24.95) and began to look around. Navigation is okay but not great. Maybe with some time using it you could get the hang of it but the professional series is much easier. First we wanted wiring diagrams which were essentially unavailable. The ones that were there were very basic and for simple systems... Lighting circuits mostly. Strike one.
Then we looked for the diagnostic trees. They were there, but... The information contradicted itself from one table/figure to another. They also had incorrect values so when we tested a good component it might check bad and bad components might check good. Lovely. Note: I have to let you know that the way AllData presents their info is simply to copy and paste OE service info so they didn't make the mistakes, they just passed them on. Strike two.
Finally we called the "tech helpline". Ha! Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM PST only. And here's the kicker. They don't provide technical help, they only help you to find the existing information. And if they can't find it because it isn't there, there's nothing they can do to help you. Strike three, you're out, cancel the subscription NOW.
So, a quick look at my M1 got us the info we needed, first try. Diagnosis complete, PCM replaced, repair verified. Moral of the story. In my opinion you'll save time and aggravation if you can get the latest updated factory manual or find someone who will access M1 for a small fee. Happy fixing.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that to add insult to injury, the "tech helpline" is a long distance number (not toll free) in California, so you get to pay about $2 a minute to be placed on hold for 10-15 minutes. Good job.
Thanks for the pic, jedimario.
"Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence."
Frank Vincent Zappa, 1940-1993
Last edited by vwhobo : 06-27-2006 at 01:43 AM.