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Buying a code reader


Well-Known Member
May 26, 2008
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97 xlt v8 explorer
What I understand reading into other threads is that the 2nd gens are OBD II ...correct? I want to buy a code reader see why my CEL is on also to save me the hassle of having someone else read it. I found some on ebay but am curious to the quality and compatibility? What do you guys recommend doing.




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Not sure about OBD2, but my OBD1 was almost TOO simple to read using the CEL method and no code reader. The CEL method worked great. I would recommend the CEL method if someone can chime in on the OBD2's.

Yea I wish i could do it that way but I read BrooklynBays thread on pulling OBD1 codes and at the bottom it says 1996 and newer are OBD2 and need a scanner (is a scanner the same thing as a reader or whats the difference?). I have a 1997 5.0

Those look very nice and cost effective.
But just to add another idea is software for a laptop, its more of a reader plus the laptop software, although a desktop would work too.

What i found is i could read the 'other' or enhanced codes such as ABS, ETAC, trans, etc. These are actually proprietary and i don't think those reader will read anything other than OBDII standard powertrain codes.

For about $230-300 i could get it all Ford Codes, some shops pay $?,000s to get it. The one i use, and i don't know or have any association with them is Bowser Electronics, and who used to sell on fleabay but looks like he only has a web site now.

It has been able to tell me that the RF ABS sensor was out. . . .works well and it can also do 'real time' charting and a bunch of other stuff. So far i'm very happy and i'm guessing its already paid for itself.

Yeah I am still debating and wondering if anyone has used them before. I would definitely do the PC this but I dont have a laptop and it would be a hassle to hook my PC up in the garage every time I needed to run it. Well i do have a lap top but its pretty old and I never really use it plus I am not sure if the software would be compatible

This is the same laptop I have laying around from about 2003 or so

oh the laptop i have it installed, is an old '02 dell c800, PIII, 512mb of ram running XP, and the software works well.

Ok so I decided I am using the old laptop since it just sits around any way and use it strictly for this purpose. I ordered software and OBDII hookups from yesterday. It should be here soon an when it does ill write up a little review and maybe a video on how it works for those that dont know.