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Discussion Starter #1
...a quick background: mehve has a stuck thermostat which tends to supercool things on cold mornings, occasionally making the engine very slow getting up to temperature and allowing tenuous access to high RPMs when driven briskly...we haven't had particularly cold temperatures this month, perhaps mid thirties to low fifties, but yesterday evening some sort of front settled in and brought a lot moisture out of the air, hovering pretty close to the dew point...

...last night when i started mehve to drive home, she immediately made a distinctly racuous clatter for perhaps one second at the most before settling into her usual purr, nothing alarmingly cacaphonous, but different enough for me to take notice...my ten-minute drive home was uneventful, mehve performing well as she always does, although not quite getting up to temperature before i made it home, which isn't unprecedented but neither is it typical...about halfway through my drive home i noticed a continuously-lit check engine light, so i took it easy the rest of the way and parked in my garage with some trepidation...

...unfortunately i just spent most of my discretionary income for the next season on a major service interval last month, but a poor position for dealer service might also be a good opportunity to aquire a few more tools for performing own maintenance...from reading a bit around the forums, a non-blinking CEL mightn't necessarily be a critical issue, but i can't really know until i check out the diagnostic codes...i didn't drive mehve this morning, and if it's just an air/fuel/temperature issue, for all i know the CEL might be cleared when i start her up tomorrow or simply need an ECU reset...

...so anyway, long circumlocutious preface aside, i think i need to buy an OBD reader...any particular caveats, or should i be okay just stopping by an auto parts chain and paying a couple hundred dollars for whichever OBDII reader they have in stock?..

...am i playing with fire attempting to diagnose and repair this myself, without a fully set-up shop and extensive experience at my disposal?..
 

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Where are you located? I have one. If you want to swing by, we can hook it up and see whats going on.

I am in Gaithersburg, MD

D
 

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I have an Actron CP9410 which I purchased from e-toolcart for $80 that I am very happy with. Automotive Tools & Equipment - Search
I have a small hand held unit that just reads codes and deletes them. I wish I had bought one that tells me fuel trims as well. Long story short, I would find one that does more than just tells you the code. It may be a few bucks more but if you find yourself needing a little more info, you will wish that you had it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
...thanks for the offer, dave, but i'm a little bit out-of-the way in san antonio...
 

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...thanks for the offer, dave, but i'm a little bit out-of-the way in san antonio...
You can drop by most Autozones (at least up here in Dallas) and they'll scan the car for you with an Actron and print out the code... for free.
 

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I bought a $50 unit from Harbor Freight, I have only used it to check and remove codes on my Ford truck and Audi. It does not do anymore than this. Good luck with your CEL issues.
 

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I just used mine today to clear a code... I use a Mac Tools ET75... Worked GREAT!
 

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You can drop by most Autozones (at least up here in Dallas) and they'll scan the car for you with an Actron and print out the code... for free.

Cody , in the Republik of Kalifornia, it is illegal for Autozones to rent out the OBD readers.
 

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Cody , in the Republik of Kalifornia, it is illegal for Autozones to rent out the OBD readers.
That sucks!

Here they've tightened up a bit and will no longer simply hand you a reader or clear codes like I'm told they used to. Still, getting the code pulled for free beats paying an hour labor for it.
 

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yeah apparently its going on elsewhere too, three reasons i've heard so far have been that a misdiagnosis/misread could cause problems and they get sued, then that they're not emissions certified mechanics and the state disallows advice from them as professionals but not certified, and lastly that the dealers don't want them giving freebies, i'll let the varying degrees of tin hats pick one.
 

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I hate California. They are the epitome of regulation and big government, no wonder they're almost bankrupt.

Back on topic; As far as doing the service yourself in the future, I think that would be wise considering the quality of the service facility where we live. Also, given the mileage of your car, you're not going to affect the warranty, obviously. Depending on your level of mechanical inclination, you should certainly be able to change your oil and brakes, and with a little reading you could learn to flush your radiator and replace the serpentine belt. For more major stuff like timing belt replacement or replacing your rocker arms and cams as a few of us have had to do (I hope the noise you heard and the CEL your experienced isn't the notorious cam issue) you could take your car to a reputable mechanic that is familiar with the 2zz. I have specifics on this when you are ready.

All that aside, I hope mehve doesn't mis-behve any more. Keep us posted on what you learn.

Joe
 

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Hmmm I've see a ton of stuck thermostat's in my time , but I've never seen one stuck in the open position.

There are tons of code readers on ebay and pretty much all of the cheaper ones will read and clear codes... I personally have a Actron that has some data logging ability as well albeit the sample rate pretty much sucks. That said it has yet to fail me when I've needed it.
 

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There are a lot of problems with some obd ii readers and the elise, since its very strict on the timing, best to stick to one thats been proven to work.
 

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For more major stuff like timing belt replacement or
I'd really like to see a write up of how to change the timing belt on an Elise (Hint: the Elise uses an internal timing chain instead of a replaceable timing belt ;))
 

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I'd really like to see a write up of how to change the timing belt on an Elise (Hint: the Elise uses an internal timing chain instead of a replaceable timing belt ;))
Tim... it's the touring timing belt!
rotfl

Actron seems to be the most popular outside of a laptop with a cable.
 

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