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Discussion Starter #1
Some questions on getting fault codes...

Is there a scan tool that will plug in and read the pre-96 Dakotas (OBD 1?)?? I ask because I've never been able to count the flashes accurately, they just don't flash right on my truck. I've noticed 2 smaller plugs hanging below the driver's dash on my '94, also on a '95 I checked out today, are those plugs for a scan tool, if so, where can i find it?

On a 96 Dakota, how complete are the codes that show up through the OBD 2 port? Last week I scanned a 96 and it showed "no codes," even though 2 vacuum lines were unplugged and the truck was stalling. Is the 96 code bank incomplete because it was the first year or something?

Thanks for any help
 

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There are scan tools that can access the OBDI vehicles, for example I have an older SnapOn MT2500 that has cables for the two connectors on the OBDI Chrysler vehicles. The problem is OBDI was not standardized so a tool for those vehicles had a more limited market (or was very complex if it covered many vehicles) so cost was higher.

OBDII was pretty comprehensive even in 1996, but not everything sets a code even if there is a stall.
 

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The factory scan tool for 1993 and earlier was the DRB II. The DRB III with the Supercard will do 1994 and up. There is a Body connector cable and an Engine connector cable that plug into the scan tool.
The engine diagnostic connector for the Dakota is in the engine compartment. The one located under the dash would be for ABS, Instrument cluster (MIC), Airbag control module (ACM) and Central timer module (CTM), if equipped.
Look for an open-ended connector like in this image: 0900c15280215f05.gif
A disconnected vacuum line may not set a fault code on any vehicle. The computer diagnostics will sense electrical faults like a disconnected sensor. If the vacuum leak is bad enough and is there long enough, you may eventually get a P0171 'fuel system lean' code. Not everything that makes a vehicle stall will set a fault code.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for explaining that. Looking on ebay the Snapon MT2500 or DRB2 scanners sell for $500-up? ...and DRB3 is $1,000-up?? ...Then an adaptor, card, code book, cost $100-up?? By the time I got one for my truck it would cost more than the truck is worth. Considering the scanners are 20 years old, this sounds pretty crazy!! ...considering my $50 OBD2 will scan any vehicle from 96-up and tell me the faults in English... ... ... thanks again for the help!!! that explains a lot.


So... does anyone knows if a plow from a 96-down Dakota will fit on a 97-up? Basically if the front crossmembers are the same, with the oval holes underneath, and the same distance to the front bumper and frame ends?? I have an old plow, but my truck is getting tired, and the old Dakotas are getting scarce. And $1000-up for an old scan tool is crazy! thanks again for any help....
 

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These $1000 scan tools can do far more than just read fault codes. You get what you pay for. OBD 1 systems varied too much with different protocols and different connectors to make it feasible for most companies to market a 'universal' scan tool. Only a couple did.
It would be economical for a repair shop to buy a good scanner as it get used often and eventually pay for itself. In a busy shop with just one scan tool, many times you have to wait your turn to use it.
A highly capable scanner for occasional personal use would just not make sense.
It would be more worthwhile to borrow (if you know someone who has access to one) or buy time with one. Having a technician do it also costs money. A diagnostic fee or minimum charge is what the shops call it.
If you have your codes read at a shop, get your money's worth by having them write down the 'freeze frame' or 'snapshot' event data that is stored along with each fault code. The freeze frame will tell you what everything else was doing at the time of the fault. This may aid in diagnosis.
1994 and up PCMs are flashable to newer software at the dealer if Chrysler has released improved software updates for your particular application.
OBD 1 test equipment is fast becoming obsolete around here as most of the vehicles have rusted out and gone away. This may be good for dropping the used market price of OBD 1 equipment as demand falls off.
The Dakotas were still AN bodies, so the frame dimensions may be the same. There may be other differences though. Maybe go to a plow manufacturer website like Meyer and look at the various year plow package part numbers for similarity.
 

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Counting the flashes with the key dance should not be difficult at all. The pause between the two digits of each code is shorter than the pause between codes. So for instance, if there is a code 24 (which usually trips a code 12, at the beginning of any stored code; and a 55 end of message):

Turn key ON-OFF-ON-OFF-ON and leave it ON.
FLASH (short pause) FLASH FLASH (long pause) FLASH FLASH (short pause) FLASH FLASH FLASH FLASH (long pause)
FLASH FLASH FLASH FLASH FLASH (short pause) FLASH FLASH FLASH FLASH FLASH.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey thanks for the link to the scan tool. It is on Amazon for under $200. It says it will read all Chryslers 84-95. Would you mind checking the link to see if it has the right plug to connect to my 94? http://www.amazon.com/INNOVA-3140-Diagnostic-Reader-Vehicles/dp/B000R3SNJU

Sorry i didn't see your posts earlier, i don't get email notes about responses for some reason, after a week or so i forget to check back on the forum. thanks again-
 

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If all you want is the code itself, it's very, very expensive to spend nearly $200 for what you can get for free per the above technique.
 

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Your truck may flash fine for you but mine doesn't work for me. If you want to come see for yourself that would be great. But there's no way you can do it for me on a computer screen and frankly I'm tired of debting this issue. I'm not the only one who feels this way as I see people spending upwards of $2000 for vintage Chrysler scan tools. As attested to in the posts above. That makes $200 look like a bargain.

I'm willing to spend that to be able to read my codes, also to open up the whole pre-96 range of Dakotas as a replacement now that mine's getting tired. I've spent more than that paying shops to (mis)diagnose my truck, and would rather scan it myself.

Again, can anybody tell me if the tool I posted above on amazon.com has the proper cable(s) to plug into the pre-96 Dakotas? thanks
 

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Ah, see, you said before that you just had trouble counting the flashes, not that it didn't work. So I'm unclear as to what the issue is. But you can still go to any auto parts store and have them read the codes for free.

People spending $2,000 are NOT buying simple code readers. They are buying diagnostic tools which read the engine and sensor parameters dynamically. And they must be getting equipment that can read every car ever made for that money. You can buy diagnostic software and hardware for under $300 which reads the parameters. But again, you can get the codes for free anywhere. OBD I is VERY limited as to what else you can get out of it.

If you post your symptoms and what you are trying to diagnose, we can probably help quite a bit - again, for free.
 
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