checking for error codes

garnetkid

Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
When I went to check for error codes for some rough idling I used the instructions for using a jumper wire on the ALDL diagnostic terminal. The "service engine soon" light flashed but did not flash code 12 which from the instructions is to indicate that the ECM diagnostics are working. Have I done this right? Or if there are no codes to read is that is what happens? Prior to this I had changed the plugs and wires as they were getting old but that did not change the rough idle. I have owned the car since new and I follow this site frequently for the excellent advice for the few problems that I have had. I just hope that this problem is not related to the ESC module as they appear to like "hens teeth". What is the correct OBD reader for this year? Thanks, Leon
 
lots of choices...ScanMaster is great tool, however, it would be dedicated to the Buick. Scanmaster cost is around $250 + tax + shipping.

for me, I did not want or need a dedicated scan tool fixed about the instrument cluster on a street car that would never be raced competitively.

so, I choose a scan tool that would read the OBD-1 data from our turbo Buicks as well as reading other mfgr OBD-1 data, OBD-II data, and later CAN stuff for any car. mind you this was some 20 years ago when I choose the AutoXray EZ-SCAN 5000 and EZ-SCAN 6000 tools for this purpose. They appear on ebay here and there and are great scan tools for less than $200. original price when new was $400+ for the EZ-SCAN 5000 and $550+ for the EZ-SCAN 6000. both tools have nice freeze frame data recording for analysis.

Actron bought AutoXray in 2008 and promptly discontinued the AutoXray products so as not to compete with their current scantools. As such, the Bosch-Actron CP9690 scan tool became what I recommended for a multipurpose scan tool for both the buick and your other daily driver vehicles. it has nice recording / graphing capabilities which makes it sort of a "powerlogger" device.

today, it seems the CP9690 is out of stock at both Jegs and Summit.

there are some good listings on ebay for the EZ-SCAN 6000 and 5000. one link below for the 6000 looks like a really good buy. I have no association with any of these products. data sheet and user manual for the AutoXray 5000 / 6000 scan tools are attached so you can compare your choices and what each does.

nice AutoXray EZ-SCAN 6000 on ebay now =>



Bosch-Actron CP9690 scan tool at summit link =>

 

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  • AutoXray AX6000.pdf
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  • AutoXray EZ-Scan 5000_6000 User Manual.pdf
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I should add that the only difference between the AutoXray EZ-SCAN 5000 and 6000 model scan tools is that the 6000 model had the ability to activate "enhanced" OBD-II data parameters as noted in the manual if purchase an activation code for $50 from AutoXray to unlock those additional data parameters. Since the product is no longer made since 2008, it's a mute point now if the scan tool was not previously upgraded to unlock those enhanced OBD-II parameters noted in the manual.

this has no bearing on the OBD-1 data from the Buick factory ECM. so, the 5000 and 6000 scan tools would act the same on the turbo buicks.

there is a nice AutoXray EZ-SCAN 5000 on ebay for $125 now. an nice option to the 6000 scan tool link I noted above....

 
When I went to check for error codes for some rough idling I used the instructions for using a jumper wire on the ALDL diagnostic terminal. The "service engine soon" light flashed but did not flash code 12 which from the instructions is to indicate that the ECM diagnostics are working. Have I done this right? Or if there are no codes to read is that is what happens? Prior to this I had changed the plugs and wires as they were getting old but that did not change the rough idle. I have owned the car since new and I follow this site frequently for the excellent advice for the few problems that I have had. I just hope that this problem is not related to the ESC module as they appear to like "hens teeth". What is the correct OBD reader for this year? Thanks, Leon
So, what code did it flash if not 12?
 
It never flashed any numbers just the service engine light flashed. I have a retired mechanic friend with an OBD2 scan tool that will have a look at it.
 
It isn't an OBDII. You need something like Anthony P noted that can do the earlier stuff. Snap On brick is another cool unit when working correctly. I have the AutoXray and really like it for my stuff.
I did my scanmaster up with a cigar lighter plug and some ins to plug into the aldl so it can be removed easily and used on multiple vehicles too.
 
It never flashed any numbers just the service engine light flashed. I have a retired mechanic friend with an OBD2 scan tool that will have a look at it.

Hey... I hope I am not out of left field here... You understand that it wont actully flash a number, it flashes a number of times... That's the number. You count the flashes between pauses. Just confirming that you get that. Loads of cars do this, including earlier Ferraris.
 
Here are the instructions that I was referring to. Doesn't seem to be working like that for me.
Malfunction Codes Reference doesn't make sense to have to count up to some of those fault code numbers.. Thanks for the info on the scan tools.
 
As shown it will flash the cel once, then a pause then flash twice, then a pause(this indicates a 12) and it does those flashes two more times for a total of three sets of flashes. This will indicate the twelve code.
For example a code 51 will flash the cel five times the pause, then flash cel once. Then will do that five flash and one flash cycle two more times to indicate the 51 code.
Does this make sense?
 
Did the check today for codes and none showed up. so will have to check further for other issues like maybe the coil pack. It is still original so after 36 years it would be a good suspect and should be replaced anyway!
 
I'm pretty sure the cel needs to be illuminated for the computer to have set a code. If not there wont be any codes to see.
I'm not sure where you are with things but if you haven't replaced all the vac hoses I would start there before digging in deeper. Might also clean the iac and the passages with some carb cleaner. Be careful with that iac as you can goof up the spring and have it not want to idle at all. Just needs to be sprayed off.
 
Do you have any mods to the motor , if so post them up . If the MAF is stock , tap on it with a screw driver handle and see if the motor stumbles , if it does replace it with a translator & LT1 MAF .
Do like TexasT said and check all vacuum hoses , a smoke test would be best for locating leaks . It could also be bad plug wires or plugs , check all electrical connections and clean with contact cleaner too . Keep it simple and check the easy / cheaper stuff first .
 
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