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Programmer/tuner??

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Old 02-13-2019, 02:04 PM
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Default Programmer/tuner??

I'm looking for a nice programmer/tuner that can give me reading for what's happening when the truck is running. I have a 1998 ZR2. Suggestions?
 
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by StoZR2 View Post
I'm looking for a nice programmer/tuner that can give me reading for what's happening when the truck is running. I have a 1998 ZR2. Suggestions?
Do you really want a PCM programmer / tuning software - or just a good scanner for a Blazer. If you want a scanner that will read cam sensor retard and other GM PIDs on a 1998 Blazer (seems to be rare in inexpensive scanners), I recommend using your Android cell phone or tablet, Car Gauge Pro or Dash Command, and a BAFX Bluetooth OBD2 adapter as sold on Amazon. All for $35-$45 total. Note that Car Gauge Pro does not do GM PIDs for 1996/97 but it does read/clear codes for TCCM, BCM, SIR, ABS, etc on all years I have tried. Dash Command works on 1996/97 but you have to buy GM PIDs for each vehicle at $10/pop and it will not read/clear codes for other systems on the data bus. Torque Pro is another app that is OK for a lot of the GM powertrain PIDs, but it does not do the Cam Sensor Retard PID and it will not read/clear codes for other systems on the data bus. Car Gauge Pro is not intuitive and fairly difficult - and lots of choices you can select are unfiltered and don't work universally - but IMHO works great once you understand it and what it is capable of. Dash Command and Torque are easy to use, but will not do all that Car Gauge Pro does - however the functions in these are filtered, and the user interface is nice. Pick your poison - there are advantages and disadvantages to each. I use them all with the same BAFX Bluetooth adapter (don't buy a cheaper OBD2 adapter as some get so slow they become virtually unuseable). If you want to spend a few hundred or more - EFI Live, HP tuners, and Autoenginuity are nice Windows apps that come with their own OBD2 interface. The first two are tuning software that will do all the scan functions, plus write custom programming to your PCM and all will do additional things like crank sensor learn, injector balance, control transmission, etc.
 

Last edited by LesMyer; 02-13-2019 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:14 PM
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x2 on what LesMyer said. However, when you buy EFI Live or HP Tuners they will come loaded with "credits" that allow you to do the tuning you need. If you decide that you want to use it for other vehicles you either use the remaining credits you have or you have to purchase more of them and sometimes it will vary as to how many credits are required to tune a vehicle, but this is for tuning. I believe that you can use it to pull codes and clear them without using credits. Snap On makes good trouble shooting units also but they are pricey. One thing I've found that the Snap On units can do that the other tuning suites like HP and EFI can't do is cycle the solenoids for the anti lock brake module. Another unit worth looking at is the Tech II. The clones are cheaper and do the same thing as the dealer units did. You'll have to read up on each of these units to see which fits your needs best.
 

Last edited by eshaw; 02-13-2019 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:12 AM
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Whatever you do, do not buy Hypertech programmers. They become $300 paperweights and their guarantees are meaningless.

Otherwise I mostly agree with Les but I've actually had great luck with a cheapie bluetooth OBDII scanner from Amazon (2 years with no discernible slowdown yet) and the paid Torque Pro smartphone app for basic code reading and realtime output, but my needs are probably less demanding. I'd say they're fine for casual/occasional use especially if all you're looking for a realtime readout like you described.

I've never tried Dash Command, so now I have something to play with this weekend.
 
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:06 AM
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Thank you, much appreciated.
 
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:43 AM
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StoZR2, I often hear about the Diablosports tuner on the radio car talk shows, but I just checked and they don't have any tuners listed for the S10 Blazers. In reading your post for 'what you are looking for ' , it sounds like you are wanting the set up like Les Myer is describing. Do a search and see the info display and it is quite impressive. Real time and add to the $35-45 quote a dash mounted stand or holder.
 
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Rock18 View Post
Whatever you do, do not buy Hypertech programmers. They become $300 paperweights and their guarantees are meaningless.

Otherwise I mostly agree with Les but I've actually had great luck with a cheapie bluetooth OBDII scanner from Amazon (2 years with no discernible slowdown yet) and the paid Torque Pro smartphone app for basic code reading and realtime output, but my needs are probably less demanding. I'd say they're fine for casual/occasional use especially if all you're looking for a realtime readout like you described.

I've never tried Dash Command, so now I have something to play with this weekend.
Dash Command is from the same people that put out Scan XL Pro for Windows (Palmer Performance). They also make an iPhone version suitable for use with a Wifi OBD2 adapter - making it the only good Blazer OBD2 app I know of for those silly iPhone users who aren't allowed by Apple to use their Bluetooth for anything but sound.

My first Cheapie Bluetooth OBD2 adapter was 3 scans/sec on my 2001 Blazer. My BAFX is 25+ scans/sec on same 2001 Blazer. Older Blazers (like 96/97) seem a bit slower. I bought the fancy $80 Bluetooth adapter from scantool.net and only got 30 scans/sec on 2001 Blazer and saw no other advantages so I sent it back. Scan speed can make a big difference, especially when you are monitoring multiple PIDs at the same time. Each data point for each PID is a scan. Monitor all 6 misfire counters and RPM - can get pretty jerky with a slow adapter updating the tach about every 2 seconds (even would be slightly jerky at 30 scan/sec updating every 0.2 sec). Also O2 sensor voltages and fuel trims cycle quite rapidly, and if you want to read or view or plot the entire cycle your scan speed should be fast so you're not sampling only bits and pieces of the data. Torque Pro has a utility for monitoring the scan speed. Scan XL Pro scans at 75+ scans/sec using a USB hardwire OBD2 adapter (OBD2LinkSX) on same Blazer. I have never checked the scan rate on my HP Tuner software with it's proprietary hardwire interface, but it's fast too. Moral is - scan rate seems to be dependent on both OBD2 interface and the PCM it is connected to. Newer vehicles are faster - especially with the newer faster CAN communication protocol. But none of our Blazers have CAN which was started in earnest in about 2006.
  • SAE J1850 VPW (variable pulse width — 10.4 kbit/s, standard of General Motors) pin 2: Bus+ …
  • ISO 15765 CAN (250 kbit/s or 500 kbit/s).
CAN is 10x-20x the speed of the old J1850VPW protocol used on our Blazers. I have not so much experience with CAN protocol other than connecting my 2006 G6 and 2008 Ford Ranger - but never had to actually fix anything on them so use was very limited. I can say that Car Gauge Pro will not display the GM enhanced PIDs on 1996+ GM vehicles that use CAN Protocol - I got that from the developer. It's an entire separate set of PIDs that the developer chose not to do, and he instead focused on Ford and Nissan for PIDs under CAN protocol. Car Gauge Pro still does the basic OBD2 PIDs on all CAN protocol vehicles - you just lose the ones that GM developed for their own use. Now I do believe that Dash Command has GM PIDs for a lot of CAN protocol cars (if they sell them to you, then they have them) - but my experience is limited. Dash Command had the GM PIDs for my 2006 G6 and they worked fine - when Torque Pro wouldn't even connect to the vehicle (first year of CAN had some odd things as I understand it), and Car gauge Pro would only connect in most basic mode and would only do basic PIDs. Dash Command seems to be a good failsafe if you're having trouble connecting and getting the GM PIDs. Note that Dash Command also is the only way I have found to do Cam Sensor Retard on 96/97 Blazers using bluetooth. So this is the type of advantage for Dash Command. I believe it is because they sell you a specific set of PIDs for your specific vehicle. Downside is that you have to pay $10 extra for each vehicle.

What I think is the coolest thing about Car Gauge Pro is it's ability to read and clear codes for other systems on the data bus. I just used it to help diagnose the dual zone auto temp HVAC system on my 2004 Avalanche which sets codes when actuators and air doors don't operate correctly. It should also work equally well for reading/clearing codes for 4WD, ABS, SIR, BCM, etc. systems. Finally, I would like to say that people keep talking about Bluetooth OBD2 and other inexpensive scanners not being able to do bidirectional control with the car's system for some basic inherent reason. I would like to state that I have been able to find a few things that Car Gauge Pro will control - namely EVAP Vent solenoid, and A.I.R. Pump on/off - and have used them during diagnosis/checking of repairs - so that claim simply isn't true. It just seems that the developers of simple scanners chose not to develop those controls. Funny thing is that the bi-directional controls for A.I.R. pump worked on my 2001, but not on a 1999 here on the forum - honestly don't know what is up with that.
 

Last edited by LesMyer; 02-14-2019 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:27 PM
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Yeah, I hear you. I don't have your knowledge level and wouldn't even know what to do with most of that data though. I just want to read codes and peek at what's going on digitally a few times a year, so my needs are pretty simplistic.

Looking at it now though, if I didn't already have my cheapie OBD2 I'd go for that BAFX since it's only like $10 more. If I had to replace it I'd probably go with that.

Dash Command was a no-go for me. Couldn't figure out if it wasn't configured to talk to my unit correctly or just crippled because it's the free evaluation version. I didn't want to throw $10 at it to test since I already have paid Torque Pro, but maybe the next time I'm getting a weird problem I can't figure out I might go for it. The UI especially looks like a huge improvement over Torque.

Thanks for the recommendations!
 
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:34 AM
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Some great info on here.

Cheap sale on the BAFX website going on right meow;
https://bafxpro.com/products/obdreader

Looking at picking one up myself now.

Edit: JUST picked one up. And if you look hard enough, you can see Les Myer's review!
 

Last edited by N. Jensen; 02-15-2019 at 09:40 AM.
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