TIP # 96 Diagnostic Computer for Electronic Engine Management Systems is Cheap $

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 19, 2006 at 17:48
ThreadID: 122617 Views:3315 Replies:1 FollowUps:2
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As you would know if you have done much reading of this Forum, the “Lone Ranger” is not a fan of the new style technology of full electronic engine management for diesel engines; when the application of a very remote setting of exploration in the Outback could mean a long towing job to a Dealer… Ha! For that reason, I often advise people to explore the idea of secondhand vehicles, like a couple of years old Toyota 100 Series with the naturally aspirated diesel, non electronic, all manual, and friendly to service by Bush Mechanics….. And then do as I have done and have the Aftermarket Turbo and Intercooler if you want more power… More on this topic if you want, by email to me at Bushtracker and I will send out the advice. But mind you, the new Toyota Electronic Turbo is still the most common vehicle towing Bushtrackers… Back to the topic:

Anyway, the trend these days is to go with a larger van for Lifestyle. With a larger van over say 20’ or 21’; the huge advantage of the larger tow vehicles for safety of long wheelbase leverage on the van at high speed traffic hazard avoidance situations on the highway, and better fuel economy and power with the larger diesels, you have little practical choice but to go with something like the F-250 or Dodge Cummins, or Chev trucks and their full electronic engine management. And there are not older non electronic diesel ones widely available... Very rare.. So what to do?? Well, I like the Fords the best, not because they are the best as much as the fact that there is wide spread Dealership support and parts and trucks and wreckers all over Australia.. So, in experimenting with mine, and spending considerable time on the American Forums, and talking with the Ford “Techies” they call themselves… I have found out that the F-250 engines run an incredibly long time. They are talking about 300,000 miles with poor care and 600,000 miles (900,000km) with good regular service and frequent oil changes.. One of the Ford Professionals told me that in his shop they have a regularly serviced Ford that is in good running order at 960,000 miles!!! Unbelievable!! But I do believe him as he has been right on the button on a number of things. Anyways, the point is that the 7.3 litre PowerStroke motor goes on much farther than its electronic sensors and controls, of which there are about a dozen pain in the *** to deal with. One of them is the Cam Position Sensor on the front of the engine. According to the Techies it is likely to go out, maybe 50% of the time, somewhere in the 80,000 miles onward, or even earlier. Motor is just erratic to start, or could die all together at any time with a bad CPS.. About $400 here in Oz, or about $90 U.S. by Airmail if you do your research. Or you could have something else go out, accelerator sender, or some other of a dozen widgets that I would have a hard time even finding…! Anyway the point is that a Mechanic with the Manual in Augathella would not have a hope unless he had the Diagnostic Computer to tell him which widget it was!!

So my research discovery, and what to do? Well first, a DVD Shop Manual or better yet possibly the Paper version, would tell you what part to order by airmail to Woop-Woop, and how to put it in….. But how do you tell which electronic widget went off the edge? There are a number of performance enhancing little computers, like the one I have, a SuperChips MicroTuner, that plug right into the Ford on board Computer to reprogram it for better efficiency, more power, etcetera. Mind you, if left on the performance enhanced setting, it could possibly get you into a Warranty mess with Ford, so we are not going there… If you are out of Warranty on an older Ford, setting number one does improve fuel economy when towing according to various reliable Sources.. However, that is not the “Beauty of the Beast”, the beauty is that it will read the Ford Computer Fault Codes, DTC codes, and you get a manual that tells you what they mean!!!! You can have the diagnostic computer for around the $400-$500 (A$) or cheaper… And now I am not telling you that the SuperChips MicroTuner is the best diagnostic computer, it is what I have; but I have been told that there are even better ones available. Go to the PowerStroke Forums, ask the questions, and choose for yourself… But I am telling you that this offers a great deal of comfort and security, when you are 1,500 kms from the nearest Ford Dealer. You could get the little widget mailed out, and with a manual put it in, if you only knew what it was. I believe this is the answer to my dislike of the modern electronic run engines and preference for the manual mechanical ones you can work on yourself.. If you have the Toyota IFS, you might research it to see if something similar is available, I have not had the time to do that bit of R&D yet. I do know that the aftermarket Code readers for Ford work, are affordable, and it is comforting to have one on board… I like the feeling of self-sufficiency and independence… In everything.

Regards from the Ranger, always looking for a better way…
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2006 at 22:35

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2006 at 22:35
By request,
I have Posted on one of the larger Ford Forums to see what their recommendations for the best Code Reader for the money is....

Here is a SAMPLE of the kind of information you can get on the Codes:

2003 F-Series and Excursion Long Crank When Hot and/or Code P1211:
Some 2003 7.3's may exhibit a long crank time when hot and/or trouble code P1211 (ICP pressure above or below expected) during a hard acceleration. This may be due to the high pressure oil pump. To test the engine needs to be warmed up to operating temperature (engine oil temp above 170 degrees). Perform a hard acceleration while monitoring ICP and IPR data. The IPR duty cycle should not exceed 50%. A lower than normal ICP reading or higher than normal IPR reading may indicate oil leakage in the head. Each head should be isolated and the high oil pressure checked in each, looking for an imbalance in pressure. If the pressure in the heads are the same and the IPR duty cycle is above 55% under load, and the ICP pressure builds slowly while cranking, replace the HP oil pump. Broadcast Message 3837.
Note: Air in the HP oil system or a faulty IPR valve can cause similar symptoms. High ICP and IPR may indicate a fuel delivery problem. If the high oil pressure is lower in one head, suspect injector o-rings.

Other ones will read "XXX intermittant failure or faulty wiring" that sort of thing... Like the following:
00238- Turbo Boost Sensor (A) Circuit, High Output.
1249- Wastegate Control Valve Performance.
0344- Camshaft Position Sensor Circuit Intermittent.
1212- Injector Control Pressure Not At Expected Level. Possibly air in lines.
0470- Exhaust Pressure Sensor Malfunction.

This kind of information can be an easy fix, possibly just a minor wiring problem, broken wire or something, or at least an outcome of knowing what to have mailed out to you to get back on the road... I will post the results of what they recommend when it comes back to me as far as the most cost effective Code Reader...

Regards from the Ranger...
AnswerID: 568386

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 21:15

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 21:15
My "Techie" contacts on the "Powerstroke" Ford Forum got back to me....
Here is the most comprehensive one with the leads to the Codes:

Hi there Bushtracker
Good to hear from you.The OBDII Diagnostic Fault Code book I have can be purchased on the following web site: www.kotzigpublishing.com. There is also a book on there called the OBDII Bible. It's like a text book all about the history of vehicle emissions and OBDII. Now keep in mind that everything you read and learn in this book pertains to gasoline engines. Diesels are a little different. There's not near as many emissions restraints on diesels as there are on gasoline engines. But they (EPA) are getting tougher on diesels. That's why Ford had to drop the 7.3 psd and go with the 6.0 psd and in 2007 they are coming out with a 6.4psd to meet emissions regulations. I accidentally stumbled on the diesel codes in the Fault Code book. It doesn't actually list them as diesel codes but they are in there.
As for code readers or scanners, I use the Predator hand held tuner from Diablosport. www.diablosport.com . You can get on this web site: www.dfuser.com and see this one and many others as well. I like the Predator because it also serves as a code scanner and reader and you can view live data from various sensors and it gives a description of the fault codes and is updateable through the internet. There are several different ones out there that are probably as good or better but this one was in my price range and had all the features that I was looking for. Also, try www.OBDII.com.
I hope this will help you out and I hope you can click on these web sites ok. It's been a while since I've been on them so some of them might have changed.
P.S. Actron OBDII scanners won't work on our PSD's. They are fantastic on gasoline engines though. Good to hear from ya and good luck in your search. E-mail me anytime.
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FollowupID: 845744

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:57

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 22:57
Have looked at three different Tuners now, and almost all of them can read out the Diagnostic Codes... They come with a little book, to tell you what the DTC means (Diagnostic Trouble Codes).... Standardised by the Government imposed OBDII standards. I guess the long and short of it all, is this should be a standard issue with any fully electronic managed engine... It is nice to feel snug and secure with a warranty on a new vehicle, but trust me they have their problems now and then and the Dealer can be a long way aways... At least for me, and I would assume any "hands on" sort of mechanical person, the way to read the DTC fault codes to know what to fix would be a must have...

Prices are on the www.dfuser.com website, but I hear they can be beaten if you shop.

Regards to all...
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FollowupID: 845745

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