OT - code reader for a Neon

Sorry for posting here, but my question posed over on alt.autos.neon on the 10th has gone unanswered.
Wife's 2000 neon has the stoopid check-engine idiot lite on. After a day or two
... or nine ... it goes out only to come back on again a few days later. Where about's is the harness to connect to a code reader ....... and before I go out and buy one of those critters does the obd work with neons? I see as far as the OBD series goes there seems to be one for every sized pocketbook.
Also, Wot's the difference between the '2-in-1' unit and the 'scantool' unit - both are priced the same .... ?
Thanks Garnet
Good news is that my '91 Dodge diesel is still going strong after 375,000 and still getting about 30 mpg if the speed is kept reasonable.
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I think the best is the free read you can get down at most parts stores...Advance Auto etc.
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The code readers should work with all cars made after 1996,as far as i know they all have OBDII on board. The readers are not too expensive nowadays,I got one on Amazon.com for like 40 bucks. There's one here for $32 (Amazon.com product link shortened)Šfea4c111c256ee0111dca9b45902d6&itemPosition=8&qid17176649&sr=8-8
The socket to plug it in is usually hidden just under the the dash by the steering wheel,you'll probably have to bend your head under to see it. It looks like this :
http://www.littlemini.us/gallerypix/mth/DSCN0773.jpg
They are easy to use. Or like someone else said,you can go to Autozone and ask them to connect a reader to get the trouble codes for you,which they should do for free. Although they are not allowed to clear the codes,you have to have that done yourself,which you can do with your own reader
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On Sun, 27 Jul 2008 09:42:29 -0700, "Motorman"

Some vehichles (if not all) can display the ODBII codes on their odometer by turning the ignition key from off to on 3 times and leaving it in the on position on the 3rd time, or other little tricks to activate it.... Check around and see if someone knows the trick for yours....
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Thanks to both of you for your replies.

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TheBornLoser wrote:

Basically with code readers you are deciding on what features you want by the price you pay. If you want a tool that ONLY shows you the generic code and allows you to clear it than the cheapest OBDII readers do that. http://www.actron.com/product_detail.php?pid 298 http://www.autoxray.com/product_detail.php?pid ’
Want to be able to read/clear the codes and not need to look up the code explanation? Then there is a version of the above tool with that option in it. Be advised that both of these ONLY show the basic codes, they don't cover the manufacturers specific codes. http://www.actron.com/product_detail.php?pid 309 This one also covers some manufacturers codes. http://www.autoxray.com/product_detail.php?pid ‘
Then if you want to be able to read codes, PLUS read live data (limited coverage) ability to read captured data and be able to read manufacturer specific codes then you need to step up a bit more. This unit also can cover non OBDII vehicles with the correct cables. http://www.actron.com/product_detail.php?pid 150 http://www.autoxray.com/product_detail.php?pid —
Now if you want to go the next step BUT don't want to go to a high dollar unit but would like a much more advanced tool the latest unit they have is nice. http://www.actron.com/product_detail.php?pid 317 http://www.autoxray.com/product_detail.php?pid ”
You can find similar levels of tools from other makers. These are just some examples of DIY type units.
What separates these from the dealer type units is that these can read most codes, and can see some of the data. However they cannot be used to read data other than engine related information. So for instance if the ABS light comes on they are not usable for that. Or if the transmission acts up they may not read those codes. The other item is that the dealer type machines also can be used to test certain items or cycle different controls on the vehicle. (for instance the SEL light on that Neon sounds like it is probably emissions related, a standard code scanner may tell you that it is a code P0442- EVAP system small leak. However that small leak could be anywhere in the EVAP system. There are a few solenoids and valves along with some simple tests that can be used to isolate the fault. A code reader and most of the DIY code scanners do not allow you to control those items. The dealer unit does.)
Does that mean that the DIY units are worthless. NOPE. Because 99% of repairing the fault lies with detective work on the part of the tech. Anyone who has worked for a few year on autos will say the same thing, DON'T TRUST THE CODES, the are not always true.
An example: The code reader says code P0300 - Random/multiple cylinder misfire detected. Some folks would read that code and say "YUP, it's bad plugs and wires". Others might say "Sounds like a failing coil" and others might say "Check the cap/rotor". Who's correct? Maybe one of them OR maybe NONE of them. Random misfires could be caused by the above, they could also be caused by faulty injectors, a dirty or blocked fuel filter, a bad fuel pressure regulator, bad fuel pump or even just a bad tank of fuel.
That is when you get to be a detective and look for the real problem. Do the codes help, YES. Do they always point out the correct solution to the problem. NOPE.
The amount of help relates to what info the scanner gives you. Also don't buy more tool than you will be able to use. If you plan on not doing your own ABS work or plan on taking it to a dealer for any major faults you could get by with a lower end tool. You might even be able to help a neighbor/friend when they have a problem.
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Steve W.

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Well, I bought a reader and it showed a code of p0139 - 02 circuit slow response Bank 1, sensor 2 ......... just what I thought ..... cigarette lighter isn't getting enough oxygen!! Without a service manual I guess I'm still bogged in the mud, but since clearing the code it hasn't returned in a couple of days use now.
Garnet

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TheBornLoser wrote:

Why? It sounds like you have a sluggish O2 sensor. Sensor 2 is the one past the converter. Replace it.
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Steve W.

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Thanks for the info Steve. Without a service manual I wouldn't have a clue.
Garnet

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