From hand-held, dedicated scanners
and code readers to software that turns
PCs and Palm Pilots into powerful
diagnostic scanners, auto enthusiasts
today have a variety of methods
available to make use of on-board
diagnostic (OBD) systems. Beginning
with why scanners and code readers are
needed to work effectively on modern
cars, this book teaches you how to
choose the right scanner or coder
reader for your application, how to use
the tool, and what each diagnostic
trouble codes means.
How to Use Automotive Diagnostic
Scanners is illustrated with photos and
diagrams to help you understand OBD-I
and OBD-II systems (including CAN) and
the scanners that read the information
they record. Also included is a
comprehensive list of codes and what
they mean. From catalytic converters
and O2 sensors to emissions and
automotive detective work, this is the
complete reference for keeping your vehicle EPA-compliant and on the road!
In this book, the first generation of on-board diagnostics (OBD-I) will be discussed in chapter
one and chapter two will cover OBD-II, the diagnostic monitoring system in all vehicles sold in
the United States since 1996, and the system that code readers and scan tools interface with.
Also included is a brief history of automobile air pollution and how this problem has driven the
automotive industry to produce these systems in the first place. Chapter three covers
electronic fuel injection, oxygen sensors, and catalytic converter operation. Code readers are
discussed in chapter four with scan tools following in chapter five. How an engine works, and
especially how to separate engine mechanical problems from OBD-II system diagnostics, is
discussed in chapter six and chapter seven provides some practical applications for using a
scan tool to diagnose emission related problems.
The Appendix has information for the following; OBD-I and OBD-II domestic vehicle
applications, OBD-I domestic codes, vehicle manufacture contact information, OBD-II
automotive terminology, standard OBD-II acronyms, nonstandard diagnostic link connector
locations and diagnostic trouble codes and their definitions.
Chapter 1 – Onboard Diagnostics, a Brief History
This chapter discusses early air pollution problems, how they have been dealt with in the
past and where we are now. OBD-I diagnostic systems are discussed including details on
how to retrieve information and trouble codes from Ford, GM and Chrysler vehicles. The
use of electronic carburetors is also explained.
Chapter 2 – OBD-II -- The Onboard Emissions Monitor
The chapter discusses why OBD-I systems could not meet modern emissions
requirements and the transitions to OBD-II. Scan tool communication and CAN systems
are explained. Diagnostic trouble codes are broken down and explained as well as all of
the OBD-II system monitors.
Chapter 3 – Catalytic Converters, Oxygen Sensors, and Electronic
This chapter discusses how catalytic converters and oxygen sensors operate. Upstream
and downstream oxygen sensor wave forms are discussed. A short history of automotive
fuel injections systems is covered and to help the reader understand how modern EFI
systems operate, an interview with a power control module is included.
Chapter 4 – Professional Scanners and Code Readers
Professional scan tools are discussed as well as OEM diagnostic equipment. Five Code
readers are discussed including examples of to use them to retrieve and erase
diagnostic trouble codes. Freeze frame data capture is also covered as it relates to code
Chapter 5 – Scan Tools
Five Scan tools ranging in price from $200 to $600 are discussed including features and
benefits. Laptop/PC OBD-II hardware and software interfaces are covered as well as
OBD-II software for hand-held devices, or PDAs.
Chapter 6 – Automotive Detective Work
This chapter helps separate mechanical engine problems from OBD-II related problems
and trouble codes. How a four-stroke engine operates and how diagnostic mechanical
problems with vacuum and compression testing are covered. Simple battery and
charging systems tests as well as ignition misfire testing is explained. Engine no-starts
conditions are explained as well as time-saving testing procedures.
Chapter 7 – Scanner Operation
DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes), live data streams, parameter identifications (PIDs) and
OBD-II dive cycles are all explained. Also, where to find information on OBD-II systems is
covered. Examples of trouble codes and how to repair their causes is also featured in
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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