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Diagnostic tools


Big Landy Fan
Just seeing if I can pick some brains on this.

I won't be meddling for a while but I was thinking that if I want to continue my DIY car repairing the day is eventually going to dawn when I need to sort out something that the electronics tell me about rather than a basic mechanical fault. I know about Testbook and T4 and they're prohibitively expensive. There are a few other systems around e.g. Rovocom that would just about be affordable if I could avoid a big garage bill with them but they're still a lot of cash. Would a basic fault code reader be of any use for getting engine and emissions faults info out of the system and resetting the MIL light?

Main vehicle that is of current interest is a Freelander TD4 mid 2003 build date but I'm also interested in whether I could get start to get set up with something fairly universal to do other vehicles in the extended family fleet without spending thousands. The Freelander build date seems to be right on the EOBD standardisation changeover for diesel vehicles so I'm not too sure what sort of basic tool would work although I see some that claim to be ok for petrols back to 2001.

It sounds like from 2008 all vehicles will have to use the CAN diagnostic protocol and that maybe then a single bit of eequipment will work with all of them. What a great thing that would be. A multimeter seems good enough for my old series 3 but modern vehicles are a different story. :(

Any advice for a madman considering this?
I have one of these, Geniscan GS400 http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Geniscan-GS40...ryZ14968QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

It is easy to use, gives basic info, reads fault codes and allows you to erase codes and reset the MIL. Only works on later cars 2000> with OBDII 16 pin plug but seems to work with most VW/Aud etc from around 1996.

I have customers who have £5K+ diagnostic equipment but unless you want to see loads of live data there is not much difference in what the basic machione can do.

Mine was much more than that a few years ago, trouble is I could really do with one that works with MB's but cannot justify the cost.
From what I can gather, all petrol cars sold in the UK since Jan 2001 must be EOBD compliant and should work with a scanner that conforms to ISO 15031. For diesels date was Jan 2003 for new models sold after date of directive and 2004 for existing models that were already on sale. So I reckon my 2003 Freelander wouldn't have had to be compliant to the OBDII standard but beign built mid 2003 probably is if LR were up to speed at all. It certainly has the right socket and the workshop manual says it uses the ISO 9141 protocol so I think I'll ask the dealer whether my particular car is EOBD compliant or not.

Being able to acces the full works and see things real time would be great but its too expensive for a single vehicle use. It looks like the Rovocom package is about £500 for the hardware plus anywhere from £80 - £300 for each software modules. For full cover I'd need ones for engine, ABS/TC, SRS, instrument pack and immobiliser (not yet available) Most of them are specific to the Freelander (or cars using the same control modules), and don't even cover all Freelanders. A bargain compared to the price of Testbook or T4. I wish we could just plug a laptop into a USB port on the dash and do it all with £30's worth of software.

Anyway the scanner looks like its as good as it gets for the DIYer and for £49 its got to be worth it even to get codes out for pals. (in return for beer) I think it will only read engine module codes though as the EOBD standard only requires them to be available. If its the ABS/TC or SRS light I wouldn't be able to interogate those modules without a more sophisticated system would I? Have I got that right?

The Omitec site has a lot of great tech info on diagnostic systems for the long sleepless hours between 1 and 4am.
Strange thing Google! I have it set to update me whenever it finds anything on Testbook hence picking up this thread!

I have two MG ZTs and a Rover 75, I was pretty much in the same boat, with the collapse of MGR most of the dealers switched franchises and as a a result Testbook availability and the knowledge of how to use it started to dry up.

I also looked at Rovacom but was put off by the individual software module prices however Rovacom offers facilities especially re car coding (the GM SA and VN codes) that Testbook simply does not have, great if you are retrofitting things like Cruise Control.

However I decided to wait until a T4 came along and I bought one from a Landrover service centre a few months ago for a good price.
In and ideal world I would also buy a base Rovacom Lite unit as the coding software is included in the price

Testbook is a good tool but very simplified and very biased towards replacement rather than repair understandable I suppose as there is money to be made from the dealer if the need parts. With a properly configured XP Laptop I can run either RDS 6 for Landrover diags or RDS 5.06 for MGR diags

I ended up with a few Landrover data cds and leads but so far have only used it on MGR Cars but I expect it will be useful as I am considering buying a Freelander.

In the spring I will be making it available at evenings etc (for a nominal fee as I hope to recover the purchase cost over time) to people in the North Shropshire area as I know people are naturally curious and many members of the forums I belong to have said they would like to have a play with it which is not always something you can do at a Dealers
Oops too much Waffle!

I forgot what I was going to say, I looked at several obd scanners and I have been sent several to play with not been impressed with any of the basic Elm based units.

Most will only read engine fault codes and the biggest problem is the codes they display can't easily be translated into anything meaningful

The other problem is they don't talk to anything else e.g the BCU, Airbag ECU, AirCon etc. and in reality we need tools that do the jib properly hence why I ended up firstly resurrecting a T1 for a local garage and then buying my own T4
I too have been looking around, but at the moment if I have a Land Rover with a problem - its a company owned vehicle and as I work for Land Rover I'll phone someone to sort it out. My vehicle is a Skoda Octavia, and the wifes Seat Arosa - both work with VAG-Com which someone I know has so problem sorted.

If I was to buy my own Land Rover, then that would be a different story I would want to be able to sort it at home.
Land Rover dealer tells me that my mid 2003 Freelander TD4 is likely to be EOBD compliant but I haven't tried it yet. I hope I'll never need to. As Keith says even if it is that will only get me fault codes on the engine systems. But at least for £60 or so that would be something. At least it will work with other cars too.

Rovacom looks like the best option as I suspect T4 will be VERY expensive. If I did get the Rovacom I'd really need to do some commercial work with it to justify the cost. Just having it in case I get trouble isn't really an option and needing to get different software modules for virtually every system on each model limits how easy it would be to offer my services. - "Freelander TD4 owners only need apply" sort of stuff. I wonder if it will work with other makes of car using the same control modules?

Is T4 is limited to Rover vehicles too?
May be some help to you, but I've been looking at diag tools for months,, the only ones that work are;

Launch x431 Tool http://www.bba-reman.com/content.aspx?content=launch_x431_scanner

DEC Superscan II http://www.mavericktechnology.co.uk/main.htm?http://www.mavericktechnology.co.uk/dec.htm

Autologic http://www.autologic-diagnos.com/products/lrhome.htm

Rovacom http://www.rovacomlite.com/

Rovacom is the cheapest!


Simonaries on bumpstops ;)

How do you know these are the only ones that work? I thought anything that is EOBD compliant would work on petrols after 2001 and diesels after 2003/04?
Is T4 is limited to Rover vehicles too?

Effectively yes it will do all MGR and Landrover vehicles to do the very latest Range Rover requires an additional diagnostic interface as well

How do you know these are the only ones that work? I thought anything that is EOBD compliant would work on petrols after 2001 and diesels after 2003/04?

That list represents products that can go one step further by properly translating fault codes and by being able to do other ECUs

A standard EOBD tool will produce a generic fault code read out which if you are lucky you can look up a translation of but most basic Eobd readers can't then physically test anything.

One missing above the SP ACR4

For a Diyer if considering looking after a few vehicles I think Rovacom becomes expensive

I suppose none of you were bidding on this?
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