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Old 03-11-2013, 04:09 PM   #1
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Default Having the proper testing equipment

There are hard ways and easy ways of doing your testing. Having the proper testing devices to test your truck makes it so easier. Call me Sean has written on how to pull codes on your truck. In fact it is a sticky. So most of you do not need a code reader. Every thing on or in the truck has a spec, if it does not fall in the given spec there is something wrong with it. Keep in mind that If the device don`t fall under this specs that it may not be the device it self. It could be a wire or ground going to the device. Or a vacuum problem to it. Some times fixing one thing clears the other codes.
Lets move on. Two of devices that I think are a must have. The multimeter and a hand vac pump. These can be really cheap and helpful when trouble shooting your truck. Cheaper is not always better. The better ones make it easier if your working by your self.
Multimeter, you can get these as cheap as $20.00. The things the meter test is more important than cost. Some sensors or actuators are measure by volts,hurtz,ohms and pulse. Some of the cheaper ones don`t do all of these but this is what I looked at when I got mine. Moving on to your leads of your meter. Having the better leads make it easier to. I can screw on alligator clips,back probs or wire piercing assessors on mine. Do you need all of these no. You can back prob with a paper clip and use a alligator to hold the lead on the clip. Just don`t let it short out on something.
Hand vac pump. Cheap. I have a Mity vac pump but there are cheaper one out there. I would get the one with the gauge on it. You can measure vac of your engine,test each hose if needed, apply vac to some of the sensors,egr,evp,bleed brakes your self etc etc... Some sensors are tested with both the vac pump and meter. I would get the one that comes in a kit. Get some tees,couplings,reducers and extra hose before you need them helps also. Looking for a leak spraying it with something is hit and miss. If you miss it you will not find it. There are about 7 vac lines on your drive ability vac system. Testing it with the hand pump and plug is a for sure test.
As these trucks get older (they are old now)the truck will have more and more problems. Not finishing the test completely or doing it wrong gets you no where. Sooner or later your going to need these. I`m sure there are other tools to help troubling shooting or other ways to do the same thing. Pull codes,read,test,read some more, test again,read,more reading,more testing. Do it again. Repeat. Reset,retest and try to remember it all.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
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I cant agree more. Proper testing a.d understanding systems is basically the difference between a trained technician ( or talented dyi mechanic ) and you average parts changed. Parts changes are old school mechanics. When cars were simple they found a symptom and replaced a part. If that didn't do it they tried another. This went on well into the 80s. My Ford instructor tells of the early days of obd when manufactures wouldn't tell mechanics how systems worked. They just said, get this code, change that part. However it isn't that simple. On modern cars it can take up to an hour and cost $80 just to replace spark plugs. So you want to know what's really wrong before you start working.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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For a multimeter, Harbor Freight has a $5 meter that they often give away for free with an ad coupon. I have several of them. I keep one in each toolbox and glovebox. It won't read hertz, but it does most if your work adequately so there is no excuse to not have one. It is great help around the house too. I also recommend 3 more tools that used to be in every mechanics box no matter what. For some reason when obd came out we stopped keeping them. First is a timing light. You can go cheap and get one around $20. You can't set timing without one and you can't run the engine without timing. Next is a vacuum gauge. A vacuum gauge can tell a world of things about your engine. It can diagnose engine leaks, burned or stuck valves , head gasket, intake gasket, plugged exhaust and cats, timing chains, piston rings and more. It's one of the first tests you do when diagnosing driveability issues. And last a compression tester. I don't think I need to explain the importance of compression. Of course you need to know bow to use all these tools and fortunately Chilton and Hayes manuals do that as well as list most parts of your vehicle, obd codes, torque specs, voltage specs, resistance, troubleshooting guides, how systems work, what fluids they need, how to fix a thread, bolt sizes, and tons of information. I have one for every vehicle I've ever owned and buy one before I get a new vehicle in the driveway. These numbers are reliable unlike what you might find online. Justsean is a great mechanic but I would never ask him for torque specs. I often answer questions on here strait out of my books. All these things are around $20 or less. Cheaper than most parts or an hour of labor. They help you fix it right the first time.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:53 PM   #4
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For a multimeter, Harbor Freight has a $5 meter that they often give away for free with an ad coupon.

I and some co workers all got a bunch of those cheap meters and every single one of them had a different reading from the other. Do not trust precise measurements to flawed equipment, it will only bite you in the ****.

Fluke when it counts.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:10 PM   #5
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I and some co workers all got a bunch of those cheap meters and every single one of them had a different reading from the other. Do not trust precise measurements to flawed equipment, it will only bite you in the ****.

Fluke when it counts.
The sky is the limit as far meters are concerned, I like Fluke for digital applications and a Simpson for everything else. Most of the guys coming on here asking questions can troubleshoot with a good test lamp and a halfway decent meter without going to the expense of a "Certified Fluke"

I 2nd the test equipment AK and Warlockk mention, a meter, vacuum gauge, vacuum hand pump and a Haynes manual are necessities. If you want to splurge, a test lamp and code reader.

As for manuals, I went over and above and picked up a set of factory manuals, Emission diagnostics for an 88, everything else for a 90. They have paid for themselves many times over.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:29 PM   #6
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The sky is the limit as far meters are concerned, I like Fluke for digital applications and a Simpson for everything else. Most of the guys coming on here asking questions can troubleshoot with a good test lamp and a halfway decent meter without going to the expense of a "Certified Fluke"
I cant think of one single automotive application where a Simpson meter would work aside from battery voltage. Analog meter on today's electronics = fried electronics, digital is a must from 1984 - up. Gotta have a minimum 10M impedance.

Fluke meters (even bargain priced) are reliable and not at all that expensive and when your measuring digital circuits, well.

I guess those other meters would be good around the house and what not but your asking for trouble in automotive.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:32 PM   #7
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The sky is the limit as far meters are concerned, I like Fluke for digital applications and a Simpson for everything else. Most of the guys coming on here asking questions can troubleshoot with a good test lamp and a halfway decent meter without going to the expense of a "Certified Fluke"

I 2nd the test equipment AK and Warlockk mention, a meter, vacuum gauge, vacuum hand pump and a Haynes manual are necessities. If you want to splurge, a test lamp and code reader.

As for manuals, I went over and above and picked up a set of factory manuals, Emission diagnostics for an 88, everything else for a 90. They have paid for themselves many times over.
I did that on my first car, 66 Mustang. I bought the build manual, wiring diagram, Ford engine manual, everything I could find. I knew almost nothing about cars then but I needed transportation and the car was little more than a cool looking paperweight. Today its running a 13 second 1/4 mile.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:38 PM   #8
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I and some co workers all got a bunch of those cheap meters and every single one of them had a different reading from the other. Do not trust precise measurements to flawed equipment, it will only bite you in the ****.

Fluke when it counts.
I agree with you on the value of a good meter, especially if you are looking for precision or use it for a living. But this list was for home, shade tree mechanics. Usually they are looking for 12v or no volts or are fine within a volt or two + or -. Were not looking for waveforms or anything just something in the range and movement. They are adequate for guys who can't send a lot of money. It's way better than nothing and come on its free. They give out those free led flashlights too. Got a bunch in first aid kits and trunk bags.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:31 PM   #9
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What cheap code reader would y'all recommend?
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:42 AM   #10
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For pre 96 trucks is just use the cel light method. There is one from actron that displays the numbers. Most parts stores sell it for about $30.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:42 AM
 
 
 
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