Found a way to save money fixing the car - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-19-2011, 04:13 PM   #1
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Found a way to save money fixing the car

I thought this might be something to tell anyone interested in saving some money fixing their tow vehicle. I'm thinking of taking it on long trips with the trailer.

The item is a Elmscan 5 usb OBD-II scan tool. What is it? It is a small tool that hooks into a slot under the dash to diagnose car problems and turn off that stupid engine light. I got mine online for $39.00. It comes with software to put on your laptop. You connect the device to your vehicle, attach it to your laptop thru a USB cable and the software will tell you what’s going on.

I had a neighbor that has his engine light go on sometimes when he fills up for gas because it senses air in the system. He has to go to a mechanic and gets charged $20 to turn it off. I figured after I'm done he can use this also.

How I used it.
I had a stupid engine light coming on and off on my VW golf. I wanted to just turn the silly thing off. Everything installed fine and when I hooked up the device I was able to turn off the engine light, yea. After one week it went on again to I actually looked at what was going on. It named an engine code that I did a Google search on. The code was for a front Oxygen sensor. I then looked online for the part price, $89 locally, and called VW to see what it would be to fix it. I was quoted $250 for the part (they would not accept it if I provided it) and $300 to put the part in. I got online and found a great pictured diagram that showed how to install the part and what tools you needed and problems you might have doing it. I bought a $16 dollar articulated bar and $6 oxygen sensor wrench head. It took me about an hour to fix and I saved over $400.

What I like about this is it's small and I plan to use it all the time. I can easily see what the engine problem is, then decide if I want to tackle the problem or call around and see what it will run me. Even if you don't want to do any work on your car, being able to turn of that stupid engine light was nice. I haven't had the engine light come on in 3 weeks now.,
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:37 PM   #2
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Hey Dan........can I borrow it????
Just makes no sense at all to purchase one since you already have one!

;>)
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:28 PM   #3
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Dan, come over to my house with your tools!

No seriously, sounds like a good tool. Tell your neighbor if he's got problems after he fills up, to check the gas cap. Sometimes re-seating it is all it takes. Ask me how I know...
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:52 PM   #4
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Maybe I should start a trailer/ car repair at my place. The condo police would just love that!
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:57 PM   #5
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Donna, my neighbors engine light will go on within a couple of minutes of getting a fill up. Even if he adjusts the cap, the light will stay on until turned off electronically. Usually the gas station attendant screws it up. You seem to be experienced in many problem solving scenario’s, I like that.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
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Danny, I have a whole box of "lessons learned" stuff! Knowledge is power but only if shared...
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:49 PM   #7
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I now own two of these decoders. I bought one 4 years ago at HF when I saw on sale for $20. I now have an UltraGauge and that does the same function as you're driving.

I will say the UltraGauge has been interesting. We used to get 26 mpg around town. With the UltraGauge I now get 29-30 mpg.

Norm
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:55 PM   #8
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Donna, my neighbors engine light will go on within a couple of minutes of getting a fill up. Even if he adjusts the cap, the light will stay on until turned off electronically. Usually the gas station attendant screws it up. You seem to be experienced in many problem solving scenario’s, I like that.
Hey Dan.....tell your neighbor to remove the positive cable from the battery for 20 seconds and then hook it back up. That will reset the light, but the code will still be in the computer.

have a great day!
Lew
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:23 PM   #9
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Hey Dan.....tell your neighbor to remove the positive cable from the battery for 20 seconds and then hook it back up. That will reset the light, but the code will still be in the computer.

have a great day!
Lew
In some vehicles when you disconnect the positive the anti theft radio will need to be reprogrammed.

Norm
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:16 PM   #10
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Biglew, thanks, I'll tell my neighbor.
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:29 PM   #11
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Danny, tell your friend to put black electrical tape over the flippin' light bulb. There, done Spend the $20 on fuel.....
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:57 PM   #12
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Danny, tell your friend to put black electrical tape over the flippin' light bulb. There, done Spend the $20 on fuel.....
This talk about a light bulb reminds me of Eastern Flight 401 that crashed in the Everglades because the pilots were fiddling with a burned out light bulb.
Eastern 401 air crash
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:23 PM   #13
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Hey, look what I just stumbled across... good article and they even stole my idea about the gas cap! check-engine-light-mystery-bankrate: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:29 PM   #14
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The more I read post like these the more I like my 97 Jeep
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:02 PM   #15
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Hi: All...Why is it when I try to repair something on the cheep it always ends up costing me mucho money???
At the moment I'm having gas cap problems with my new truck. I think the grain alcohol in the gas is making the truck belch...loosening the cap!!! I've seen the "Light" many times.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:52 AM   #16
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Alf,
when you put your gas cap back on make sure you tighten it so it clicks three times.

Bill K


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alf S. View Post
Hi: All...Why is it when I try to repair something on the cheep it always ends up costing me mucho money???
At the moment I'm having gas cap problems with my new truck. I think the grain alcohol in the gas is making the truck belch...loosening the cap!!! I've seen the "Light" many times.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:59 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Alf S. View Post
Hi: All...Why is it when I try to repair something on the cheep it always ends up costing me mucho money???
At the moment I'm having gas cap problems with my new truck. I think the grain alcohol in the gas is making the truck belch...loosening the cap!!! I've seen the "Light" many times.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie

hey Alf.......throw a couple Beano in the tank!
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:30 PM   #18
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An ODB reader can be a great tool. We keep an older one in our Ford Ranger TV and a more modern ODB II/ECR unit in my shop. They can help you pinpoint certain problems, but they're not a panacea. A "misfire on cylinder 1," could, for example, be caused by a loose spark plug wire, fouled plugs, or a bad capacitor in the ignition circuit, amongst a host of other causes, and knowing your transmission is overheated is one thing, knowing why is another. You still need a mechanic's eye, ear, and experience to find the problem. I've done a lot of mechanicing, but it's not my profession, so I still miss things. For me the ODB reader is a win some/loose some proposition.

This was highlighted a few months back. I forget the code, but our Santa Fe was acting up, accelerating and decelerating randomly without our changing the accelerator pedal position; the ODB reader code was for something like a "throttle position out of range" code. When I went online I found the most obvious reason for such a code was the throttle position sensor wearing out, so I replaced it for $50 or so,and the problem went away.

For a while. Then it came back. I took it to our mechanic, and he found a frayed cruise control throttle cable. The throttle position sensor had nothing to do with our problem at all.

The reason why the code went away? The car stores recent throttle position information in memory and uses it and other information to calculate how much fuel to send through the fuel injectors. When I disconnected the battery, the historical information was lost, so the faulty readings had been erased and the anomalous data hadn't yet reappeared. Then the cruise control cable hung up again for a moment, the erroneous data re-appeared and the problem recurred.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alf S. View Post
Hi: All...Why is it when I try to repair something on the cheep it always ends up costing me mucho money???
At the moment I'm having gas cap problems with my new truck. I think the grain alcohol in the gas is making the truck belch...loosening the cap!!! I've seen the "Light" many times.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
I had an unidentified "gross leak" in my TV's evaporative emissions system a while back. Usually that's due to a loose or aging gas cap, but it turned out that there was an actual hole in the vapor return line where some frame attachments had been welded on for our 5th-wheel hitch.
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:02 PM   #20
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Good info Peter. When I went online with my code, it showed 3 possible solutions to the code. The main one was the oxygen sensor, one I can't remember, and another was that the main computer could be out. That would be lots of money, so I replaced the sensor. If it was the computer, I figured if I brought it in to VW they would have replaced the oxygen sensor, then a week latter when the engine light went out again they would have tried something else. I don't think they would spent the time to test any sensor.
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