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Worth Buying a Cheapo OBD2 Scanner? Would it Even Work With Earlier Model Colorados / Prados?

stuzbot

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I'm just wondering whether it's worth getting hold of one of those cheapo [email protected] scanners for my pre-purchase Land Cruiser hunting expeditions?

Unfortunately, as with a lot of these things, the intarwebs is throwing up contradictory information. I've read in some places that they'll work with pretty much any vehicle built after 1996. But then, elsewhere I've also read that in Europe ODB2 was only made mandatory after 2004.

So, given that any Land Cruiser I go to look at is likely to date from the late 1990s [I've enquired about a couple of '98s and a '97]...

1: Will an ODB2 Scanner work on one that old?

2: Would it tell me anything useful anyway? From reading this thread on Pradopoint....


...it doesn't really seem like the 1KZ-TE engine provides *that much* useful information via fault codes, if everything seems to be running normally. But might be useful diagnosing issues that come up, when it's not running well.

3: Would it tell me anything useful anyway? [2] Having never driven anything new enough to have an ECU before, is being able to read fault codes during a pre-purchase check any use anyway? As I understand it, anyone with one of the readers can just have reset any fault codes that came up. Which is what I'd expect an unscrupulous seller to do anyway.
 

TonyP

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The general consensus is that these won't work on earlier land cruisers as Toyota used their own proprietary protocols. These don't work on my 2005 120, and I'm not sure which point Toyota changed. Techstream software is what you need.
 

stuzbot

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OK. Thanks. I'l not bother then. I'll just have to rely on my in-built 'Lemon Detector' when scoping out my next motor [although it seemed to be malfunctioning a bit, when I bought my last one!]

I can't use Techstream as I don't do Windows. Unless there's a Mac or Linux version?
 

Dave_S

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I bought a cheapo OBD scanner from Ebay a few years ago - worked fine on the 2001 MR2 I had at the time, so I guess its down to model years.

For £15 or so, I thought it was worth a punt and it definitely paid for itself (actually identified one misfire issue more accurately than my mate's £2,000+ Snap On kit, oddly enough).
 

goodoldboy

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I can't use Techstream as I don't do Windows. Unless there's a Mac or Linux version?
you could use Oracle VM vurtualbox & run Win 7 inside it ? A PITA to get running , an older version - 4.3.12 is a better bet
 
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karl2000

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You really want a dedicated computer (or VM with no network access) for Techstream, as it's all hacked versions on ebay
 

SteveJB

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And a disc player if laptop or other device does not have one so budget 20 to 40 quids on top
 

AdventureWagon

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OBD2 does not work on my Australia model, but on the plus side all you need for diagnosis is a paperclip

Dont get fooled by the OBD 2 style plug under the dash, this just has the Toyota mOBD connections on it.
 

stuzbot

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on the plus side all you need for diagnosis is a paperclip...

Yeah. I've read about the trick with shorting the pins on the plug. I just thought the person selling the wagon might fret a bit, if I started poking bits of wire into the plug. Whereas a fancy looking reader device would make me look professional and almost like I knew what I was doing.

Maybe I can try the pin shorting trick while he's looking the other way.
 

AdventureWagon

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I think it only has any codes stored if the check engine lamp is on. So if the lamp comes on with the key on engine off, then goes out with key on engine running then you should be OK. And I think this just covers engine and tranny codes.

If you have airbags or ABS then I think these systems have their own similar lights.
 

Crispin

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I bought a cheapie one off ebay like this one
This, along with the Torque app on your phone (paid-for version) works quite well. It's hit and miss on the 55 and earlier diesels. It did not work on my 50 plate 120.
 

AdventureWagon

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Yeah I think there is only about 40 or 50 old paperclip codes, but many more OBD2 ones including many warnings or notifications.

Worth scanning for codes though for either if not to just check the function of the check engine lamp.
 

stuzbot

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I bought a cheapie one off ebay like this one...

I like the idea of the Bluetooth Dongle + App approach as it means you're not tied to yet another hardware gadget. I've heard they can be a bit flakey to get working though, even with a supposedly compatible vehicle. Mind you, that's pretty par for the course with most Bluetooth gadgets in my experience. If it did work, it would also offer the possibility of re-purposing an old Android phone or tablet as a permanent "nerdy stats" display screen in the cab, which would be pretty cool.

I may buy one anyway. Even if it may not work on a particular motor I went to look at. I can imagine it would be a handy thing to have in the toolbox anyway. And, for a tenner and a couple of quid for the app, you can't really go wrong.
 

Crispin

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Careful with the friends thing :icon-lol:
Friend: I have the check-engine light come on. Can you use that gismo to tell me what it means?
Me: Yes, Yes, I could. Checks and tells friend.
Friend: Can you clear it?
Me: Urm, sure, but that's not a resolution.
Friend in 2 weeks: It's come back. Why has it come back. You said you would clear it. I don't have money to fix it. You said it would go away.
 

AdventureWagon

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"Sorry mate my wife drove over it"

But then next thing you know they mention that to your wife who has no memory of it.
 

stuzbot

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Friend in 2 weeks: It's come back. Why has it come back. You said you would clear it. I don't have money to fix it. You said it would go away.

At which point you have to patiently explain that turning the warning light off didn't magically fix what was wrong.
 
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