Advise on a OBD-2 code scanner

My check engine light is lit on the dashboard of my Ford Taurus 2000 wagon.
I'm considering purchasing an OBD-2 code scanner for diagnosing what is
wrong. There are three brands that I checked on with my local car parts dealers.
They are Auto Xray by Car Quest, KAL and Actron.
They cost in the neighborhood of about $165
I need some advise as to whether these are reliable brands and if anyone has suggestions to give me on other brand names. Also is it a good idea for a do it yourselfer to use a OBDcode scanner to diagnose check engine light on problems?
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On Wed, 19 Nov 2003 18:01:02 GMT, Ed wrote:

Go to the local parts store (Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, etc.) and they'll scan the codes and look up the reason for free.

I think that's about right. (Advance has only one on the shelf, the same one they use, and I think the sticker said $150)

On at least some vehicles you can do something to make the light flash to give you the codes. I did this, with instructions from the clerk at Autozone, for my girlfriend's '89 Oldmobile (not OBD-II, btw).
-D
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"Go to the local parts store (Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, etc.) and they'll scan the codes and look up the reason for free."
I'm from New Jersey the land of Pep Boys and R & S Strauss as well as local auto parts stores such as Straco, Padiks, Debs etc.
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Derrick,
Would you know I did find an Autozone store in Rockaway, N.J.
I'm taking the car there tomorrow.
Thanks for the info. Ed
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On Thu, 20 Nov 2003 02:05:05 GMT, Ed wrote:

Cool. I don't know about the other shops in your area, but around here (upstate NY) I talked with both Advance Auto Parts and Autozone clerks which is why I know for certain both of them will scan an OBD-II vehicle for free.

You're welcome. I hope it turns out not to be serious.
-D
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Derrick,
Went to AutoZone this AM and the man used an Actron CP9135 OBD ll Code Scanner. The read out listed code PO402 - EGR Flow excessive. The scanner sells for $149.95 at AutoZone
Again thanks for your help.
Ed
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Now that you have retrieved that code, the most likely cause is a bad DPFE Sensor, "Delta Pressure Feedback EGR." This is a very easy fix. Remove two small screws(7 mm hex nut), quick connect electrical connector to wiring harness, and two hose to the pipe from the exhaust tube to the EGR valve

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Ed wrote:

It's old technology I know, but let your fingers do the walking. ( hint) Yellow pages!!!!!!!!
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Derrick, The Rockaway Autozone store uses an Actron GlobalOBD II scanner it costs $149. The one on the link below is $159.
http://www.toolsource.com/ost1/product.asp?sourceid=&dept%5FidP0&pf%5Fid=9 1488&mscssidMUQ5NN32T12GVU00J74FSAN12PBCT8
Farleys' post mentions an AutoXray EZ Link for $375. I'm sure it's like comparing apples with oranges. I don't think I want to put out that much dough if I ever decide to buy one. Maybe I'll just depend on Autozone's free service. I'll see how I make out tomorrow.
Ed
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Ed wrote:

AutoXray must have added some bells and whistles. I think I paid about $220. Does everything I need it to accomplish.
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Ed wrote:

The advice I would give you is that if you are going to take your problem in for someone else to handle, don't erase the codes. When you erase the codes, there's other info in there that your tool doesn't show you that gets erased as well. I had to take my car in for a problem and a tech showed me the tool they use there- much, much more functionality than the code scanner I was using. He told me that when I erase the codes, I erase the other data that their tool uses.
If you know you're out of your league (or you're just tired of messing with it) and you're going to take it somewhere, just use the tool to check for the "car about to self destruct" code to make sure you aren't driving to certain death while you drive it to the shop, but don't erase.
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I have the AutoXray EZLink. I bought it before auto stores were doing free scans. The price, at the time, was over $200. But I don't regret the purchase because it paid for itself the first time and I've had to use it several times since. The purchase price notwithstanding, I guesstimate that it has saved me upwards of $1000 to $2000 or more.
The scanner will report the alphanumerical code as well as supply text indicating the defective system or part. It also can read engine operating characteristics while the engine is running. And, of course, you can reset the fault codes.
If you have adequate electro-mechanical skills and distrust service departments half as much as I then, yes, a do-it-yerselfer should be quite comfortable using a code scanner. But, MANUFACTURER service manuals are essential. My experience has been that Chilton's and other one-size-fits-all manuals are about worthless.
Ed wrote:

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Would you believe $375 for the EZ-Link Pro Pack Scan Tool - OBD I & OBD II http://www.toolsource.com/ost1/product.asp?sourceid=overture&dept%5FidP0&p f%5Fid822&mscssidMUQ5NN32T12GVU00J74FSAN12PBCT8
That's a bit steep.
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If you have a laptop, you can get an OBD-II device for it here:
http://www.scantool.net/software.htm
It's cheaper than any of the alternatives mentioned (except going to AutoZone) and give you all the information that you could ever want.
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Ed,
You can get a decent one for about $125 or less on e-bay. I just picked up an Innova Equus 3100 for $117 and free shipping.
Scott

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