E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > General E46 Forum

General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-25-2014, 12:07 PM   #1
Mattyew
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 61
My Ride: 02 330i
Code reader advice

I know this issue has been beaten to death, but I have a bit of a dilemma. The car threw a check engine light at me yesterday and I have to drive 300 km this weekend. It's a long weekend in Canada and all dealerships are booked, small garages want 120/hr to read codes (wow)

Anyway, the car runs well and I have a modified CAI so I'm assuming the MAF sensor is gummed up or something minor but to be sure I'm thinking of buying this: http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-other/ga...ationFlag=true simply because it's located near me. Any people try a generic reader with success?
Mattyew is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 06-25-2014, 12:22 PM   #2
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,895
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
Generic readers are almost useless.

Buy BMW Scanner 1.4 for $32 and never have to deal with any sort of diagnostic from a mechanic again.
It reads & clears errors from SRS, ABS, DSC, litteraly ALL modules of the car.

Every member on this forum should own one. Period.

For the time being, you could purchase the best scanner at a local PrincessAuto and just return it when you're finished with it. I don't expect much help from the code it'll read either way.


Also, some advice. Get rid of whatever "modified CAI" you currently have on the car, and put back your original intake with a new MANN filter. Intakes on this car cause you to actually lose power, and screw up your MAF in exchange for induction noise.
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 12:38 PM   #3
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 9,559
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
Sorry, I have to totally disagree with the statement that generic OBDII are almost useless. This is totally to the contrary.

A decent generic OBDII tool is indispensable when it comes to driveability issues.

Make sure you do not waste any money on an OBDII scan tool that does not support Freeze Frame and Live/Real Time data and Emission Readiness Monitor status. I am not even sure why tools without these features are even allowed to be sold.

There is some myth out there in the world that if you can only diagnose a car with a manufacturer specific tool, this is not the case.

If the CEL/SES/MIL comes on, ANY quality generic OBDII tool can read and display codes and other data as well as clear the codes. BMW specialized codes DO NOT light the CEL/SES/MIL, nor do any other manufacturers specialized codes light the CEL/SES/MIL. If this was the case, nobody would every be able to figure out why the CEL/SES/MIL was on with a generic OBDII scan tool.

So for example I have BMW Scanner 1.4.0 and there has not been 1 car that I have used my tool on that it was every able to display Live/Real time DME data. There is some small subset of cars that the tool can support DME data for.

What you need is smart phone App and interface that is $35 or less for both. The smart phone App is much easier to use, no software or computer required and the smart phone apps can record the OBDII datastream for graphing and analysis.

You need to read these links:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=967204

You can also see how Torque Pro can allow you to flag bad O2 sensors that never triggered any codes.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...726&highlight=

So suggest you focus on what you need at the moment. Get a smart phone OBDII App and interface, this is all you need for now. You can consider purchasing the BMW Scanner 1.4.0 some other time.

Although BMW Scanner 1.4.0 is a good tool for other purposes, it really cannot hold a candle to OBDII support and driveability issues.

I have BMW Scanner 1.4.0 and have only used it a few dozen times when doing some coding or on ABS or Airbag issues. For OBDII support, I do not even waste my time with the software.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299

Last edited by jfoj; 06-25-2014 at 12:41 PM.
jfoj is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 12:55 PM   #4
Mattyew
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 61
My Ride: 02 330i
If the CEL/SES/MIL comes on, ANY quality generic OBDII tool can read and display codes and other data as well as clear the codes. BMW specialized codes DO NOT light the CEL/SES/MIL, nor do any other manufacturers specialized codes light the CEL/SES/MIL. If this was the case, nobody would every be able to figure out why the CEL/SES/MIL was on with a generic OBDII scan tool.

ahhh, so when something goes wrong that requires a specialized code, is there another light?

Edit: I don't mind spending a measly 40 bucks on a generic reader if it gives me peace of mind while driving into the middle of nowhere for Canada Day..but if I'm going to get erroneous 02 sensor codes then that might be worse if something else is going on that needs immediate attention.

Last edited by Mattyew; 06-25-2014 at 12:57 PM.
Mattyew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 03:25 PM   #5
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 9,559
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyew View Post
ahhh, so when something goes wrong that requires a specialized code, is there another light?
No, whether BMW or any other manufacturer specialized codes do not typically cause any lights to come on. The only way you know about them is to connected up a specialized tool and read the codes. You have to understand people are generally lightbulbphobes, if a light comes on, the average persone is anxious and unhappy about lights and wants to get the light to go away, they could care less about fixing the car, but a light is a bad thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyew View Post
Edit: I don't mind spending a measly 40 bucks on a generic reader if it gives me peace of mind while driving into the middle of nowhere for Canada Day..but if I'm going to get erroneous 02 sensor codes then that might be worse if something else is going on that needs immediate attention.
This is why the smart phone App is a nice feature. Depending on the phone/App you can leave a $15-$30 adapter in car and you will ALWAYS have an OBDII reader with you for either your car or to help someone else out. BMW Scanner 1.4.0 requires you have a laptop with you, the interface cable and it really comes up short in the standard OBDII realm, which is what actually turns on the CEL/SES/MIL.

Also with Torque you can bring up Real Time gauges like Temperature, Voltage and some other things that you may want to watch while you drive.

Just make sure you do not waste money on some cheap OBDII tool that does not support Emission Readiness Monitors, Freeze Frame and Live/Real Time data. IMHO an OBDII tool IS USELESS if it does not support these 3 things.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 03:28 PM   #6
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,895
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
BMW Scanner 1.4 is not any less effective than a generic OBD scanner.
It reads the generic Pxxxx codes, and offers a BMW specific description - which is infinetely more valuable.

To get similar (but still less) functionality from a generic scanner typically takes hundreds of dollars.
Only benefit would be that you don't need a laptop.

Take P0011 for example.
The generic code mentions nothing related to "VANOS", yet if your car is throwing this code, that's exactly where the issue is.

And jfoj, you must be dealing with a problematic BMW Scanner.
Mine reads up DME live data for all E46's I've scanned, SRS and other module live data capabilities are a bonus.

This is exactly why I'm not wasting time with the OP.
Get something that works the first time and tells you what your issue is.
Don't get a generic $400 scanner that sends you on a wild goose chase.
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 03:32 PM   #7
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,895
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
I will agree that for readiness monitors and O2 sensor voltages, you're better off using a different interface.

But that assumes you know what to do with that information in the first place. 99% of people won't have a clue.

In THAT case (if you know how to interpret the data), get yourself an ELM327 cable and a copy of "ScanXL" for your car.
This will cover the "$400 Generic OBD scanner" criteria for about $30.
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 03:33 PM   #8
Mattyew
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 61
My Ride: 02 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_2007 View Post
This is exactly why I'm not wasting time with the OP.
Get something that works the first time and tells you what your issue is.
Don't get a generic $400 scanner that sends you on a wild goose chase.

Well it isn't a waste of time, as I stated in my original message, I'm short on time and options. Also people are relying on me for a ride so my priority here isn't being a lead example of what to do with code readers - I just need a cheap alternative so that I can decide whether I can actually drive the car 300 clicks or not.
Mattyew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 10:05 PM   #9
Mattyew
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 61
My Ride: 02 330i
So for 40 bucks I got a p.o.s. code reader. nothing fancy but whatever. I got a p0128 code which is a thermostat error code.

So either my car is going to blow up from low coolant or the sensor is buggered.

I think I gotta take my chances and just keep my eye fixed to the temperature gauge while i drive.

For now I've turned the error code off to see how long it'll take for it to come back on. I'm guessing until the car is up to temperature.
Mattyew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 10:20 PM   #10
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 9,559
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyew View Post
So for 40 bucks I got a p.o.s. code reader. nothing fancy but whatever. I got a p0128 code which is a thermostat error code.

So either my car is going to blow up from low coolant or the sensor is buggered.

I think I gotta take my chances and just keep my eye fixed to the temperature gauge while i drive.

For now I've turned the error code off to see how long it'll take for it to come back on. I'm guessing until the car is up to temperature.
You need to replace the thermostat.

Read the 3rd link below in my signature.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 10:37 PM   #11
Mattyew
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 61
My Ride: 02 330i
Thanks for the reminder, it's a long read but I can tell it's going to resonate...My eye immediately jumped to the part about rough idle...which I definitely experience now and again.
Mattyew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 10:48 PM   #12
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 9,559
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyew View Post
Thanks for the reminder, it's a long read but I can tell it's going to resonate...My eye immediately jumped to the part about rough idle...which I definitely experience now and again.
1st link in my signature covers many of the idle related problems.

Hopefully the OBDII tool you purchases supports Live/Real Time data, if not return it and get a smart phone App and interface.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 09:06 AM   #13
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,895
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyew View Post
Well it isn't a waste of time, as I stated in my original message, I'm short on time and options. Also people are relying on me for a ride so my priority here isn't being a lead example of what to do with code readers - I just need a cheap alternative so that I can decide whether I can actually drive the car 300 clicks or not.
Which is why I suggested something that would work the first time (BMW Scanner), and a quick fix given the short time frame (returnable scanner).
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 09:20 AM   #14
lszlszx
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Socal
Posts: 4,532
My Ride: 328i, XC70
Do autoparts stores read the codes in your area?
At least you could have an idea what it is.
__________________
lszlszx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 09:30 AM   #15
anandoc
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 100
My Ride: 2004 330i
OP: I am in Ottawa and have a BMW PA Soft 1.4 Scanner and a generic ELM327 scanner. Also in the process of setting up INPA/NCSExpert/DIS etc (but this one is work in progress). PM me if you want me to scan your codes for you this evening.
__________________
_____________________________
anandoc

2004 BMW 330i premium package

Last edited by anandoc; 06-26-2014 at 09:34 AM.
anandoc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 09:36 AM   #16
Mattyew
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 61
My Ride: 02 330i
Thanks all
Mattyew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 03:37 PM   #17
Mattyew
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 61
My Ride: 02 330i
New questions now that I've read the entire thermostat mega-thread;

It sounds like with a cool running engine, it'll be at risk of premature wear (unless I keep the RPM lower than 3K?) low MPG, running rich (ruined 02 sensor / catalytic converter)

Or have I just read a sensationalized version of what will actually occur after hundreds of kms. of driving?
Mattyew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 04:11 PM   #18
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 9,559
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
Once the ambient temps reach 70F a soft thermostat does not seem to be as big as a problem like during the Winter. After 70F many engines will reach operating temp, sometimes it may just take a bit longer.

Suggest you bring up the Hidden OBC Menu, 4th link in my signature, and see what temp the engine is actually running. If you plan on a longer highway trip, check the temps while cruising on the highway.

Probably not catastrophic but you will have to decide if the temps are too low at cruise or if you can live with things for a while.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 04:48 PM   #19
jdstrickland
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 6,698
My Ride: '94 325iC & '00 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_2007 View Post
Generic readers are almost useless.


This is a complete crock of $hit.

Yes, there are cheaper options that you have identified, but a generic reader for $150 and a Peake Research reader are about as equal as you can get.

The generic scan tool can be used on any car you own, whereas the Peake can only be used on a BMW. The generic reader will pull OBD II codes in the OBD II format, the Peake will pull all system codes that the car can spit out, but it pulls in a proprietary format that has to be translated.

If you are willing to spend $150 for a scan tool, buy one from Innova or Actron, and you can use it on any vehicle sold for the '96 model year or newer,
jdstrickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 05:22 PM   #20
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,895
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
This is a complete crock of $hit.

Yes, there are cheaper options that you have identified, but a generic reader for $150 and a Peake Research reader are about as equal as you can get.

The generic scan tool can be used on any car you own, whereas the Peake can only be used on a BMW. The generic reader will pull OBD II codes in the OBD II format, the Peake will pull all system codes that the car can spit out, but it pulls in a proprietary format that has to be translated.

If you are willing to spend $150 for a scan tool, buy one from Innova or Actron, and you can use it on any vehicle sold for the '96 model year or newer,
Why should I be concerned about a generic scanner when I'm interested a specific model that can be diagnosed, programmed, and have codes cleared from all modules for $30?

Why should I be concerned about a generic scanner that costs me hundreds of dollars, when I can do infinitely more with a $30 ELM327 cable and some downloaded software (hint: its been mentioned already)

Sorry, I should've broken it down. Let me rephrase: Generic scanners are paperweights in comparison to what you can do with a cheap cable and a netbook.

If I relied on Pxxxx codes from your devices to diagnose my BMWs, I'd be guessing most of the time that funny light came on.

Last edited by ac_2007; 06-26-2014 at 05:44 PM.
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:47 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use