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Old 22 Nov 2017, 12:03 pm
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Default Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

My '06 Touring Edition threw a check engine light this morning when I fired it up. Not surprising (it's got 104,000 miles on it and gets driven one mile twice a day), but I'm going to need to figure out why. So... where's the OBD port on this thing (my Miata had the port hidden under the dashboard) and what generation OBD reader do I need (my '99 Miata was OBD II, is there a more current or different generation reader?)?
While we're on the subject, I'm tempted to just go to Harbor Freight and get a cheap reader, but is there a better alternative? Something that costs maybe $5 more than a cheap Chinese scanner but allows for more complete diagnostics, shows pending codes, etc? Any other suggestions/caveats?
Thanks!
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Old 22 Nov 2017, 12:26 pm
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

The OBDII port is under the dash above where your left foot is while driving.

Any OBDII reader that reads routine powertrain "P" codes will likely do the job. Harbor Freight isn't that cheap on readers. Amazon has better pricing and much better selection. If you've followed the scanner debates before, then you know I'm a big fan of cheaper scanners. The fancy ones are nice but have very little application for the guy or gal fixing their car in the driveway. 95% of the time, a reader that costs less than $20 will do. Here's my choice:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you want something a little better, there's this among others:

https://www.amazon.com/Autel-AL319-A...49M4Y5JTDRNHYS

There's lots of them on Amazon and you can compare features and prices. Forum member Myckee has one he recommends as well that's pretty nice and doesn't cost that much. One of the best-liked full featured units on Amazon is the BlueDriver. You can go to their website and it will tell you specifically what it reads on PT Cruisers. It even allows you to data log fuel trim on many cars.

https://www.amazon.com/BlueDriver-Bl...stic+scan+tool


However, the truth is that you DON'T even need a reader to diagnose most codes. Simply use the "Key Dance", record the codes. Disconnect both battery cables and touch them together. Wait about ten minutes, touch them together again and then put them back on. That will clear most codes and then you can drive the car until the check engine light comes on again and them use the key dance to retrieve the codes again. No matter how you retrieve the codes, you do this check, clear, check because driving a car with a problem that sets a code will often eventually set other false codes over time due to second order effects from the real problem.

Here's a link to the key dance. There's lots of PT Cruiser Key Dance videos. But this one comes with cool "Nickleback-like" music:



PS: Just found it. The name of the band is "32 Leaves".
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Old 22 Nov 2017, 01:52 pm
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

You can also go to Autozone and they will check it for free.
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Old 22 Nov 2017, 02:00 pm
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by GotToGo View Post
You can also go to Autozone and they will check it for free.
+1 Yeah. And there's that too.
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Old 22 Nov 2017, 03:21 pm
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

Key dance reveals a P0456, so time to get out the Vaseline and assure a smooth, well-lubricated, mutually pleasant and satisfying interface between the gas cap and the filler neck.
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Old 22 Nov 2017, 04:30 pm
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

That's my favorite code !

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Old 24 Nov 2017, 12:21 am
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

I got this one for $69
its the Bomb it's my go to Machine
.
.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian Moose View Post
Just answer one simple question. Do you own any of the following?: Opel, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lada, Yugo, Kia, Daewoo, Volvo, SAAB, Jaguar, Land Rover, Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep, Lancia.

If you answered “yes” then parts car is a really good idea.
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Old 28 Nov 2017, 07:39 pm
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

Okay, next dumb question- how do you clear codes on this thing? I hooked up my super cheap scanner that used to work just fine on my Miata. Got suspicious when the scanner couldn't locate any codes, despite the fact that the key dance reveals one. Hit the "clear code" button anyway, but the next time I started the PT it still showed a CEL with the same loose gas cap code (despite my having cleaned and lubed up the whole damned gas cap, as well as the filler neck, with silicone based vacuum grease).
So my assumption at this point is that my code reader isn't interfacing with the PT's sophisticated (some might say excessively complicated) diagnostic system. Is there another "key dance" procedure for clearing codes?
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Old 28 Nov 2017, 07:56 pm
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

What super cheap scanner do you have?
All my OBDII scanners and interfaces (even the $20 Wifi and Bluetooth dongles) can read and clear codes. If you have low pressure in the fuel tank, the code might not go away by simply clearing it.

The fact that your super cheap scanner does not even read the code makes me suspicious that if it can't read the code, it may not be able to clear it.

Other causes could be:

A small leak in any of the EVAP hoses or fuel tank hoses
A small leak in the purge valve or vent valve T
he EVAP Canister may be leaking

But you should be able to read and clear the code first. You can test this by disconnecting the camshaft sensor which should throw a code like P0340. If you don't see this on your scanner, get a new scanner.
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Old 28 Nov 2017, 07:56 pm
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Default Re: Today's Quick, Dumb Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceMouse View Post
Okay, next dumb question- how do you clear codes on this thing? I hooked up my super cheap scanner that used to work just fine on my Miata. Got suspicious when the scanner couldn't locate any codes, despite the fact that the key dance reveals one. Hit the "clear code" button anyway, but the next time I started the PT it still showed a CEL with the same loose gas cap code (despite my having cleaned and lubed up the whole damned gas cap, as well as the filler neck, with silicone based vacuum grease).
So my assumption at this point is that my code reader isn't interfacing with the PT's sophisticated (some might say excessively complicated) diagnostic system. Is there another "key dance" procedure for clearing codes?
PT Cruisers use a very common PCM. And most code readers seem to able to communicate with them with no issue unless theirs a wiring or PCM problem.

See if the code reader will give you the PT's serial number. Even the cheap ones usually do. And here's the deal. If the Check Engine Light stays on and you get a code with the key dance, then the code reader should pick it up. And it should be able to clear the codes as well. What brand and model of reader did you get?

Try this. Hook up the reader with the key in the on position. Then try to read the codes. If you get a code, try clearing it with the reader. Then before starting the engine, perform the key dance to assure the code is gone. You see, some codes will return quickly when the engine is started. So without checking before you start the car, it may be hard to tell the original code was cleared.
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