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I have a buddy with a 1990 Reatta.  He has an intermittent CEL. He said he took it to a trusted shop and they couldn't find a code. After questioning he said that they plugged a scanner into the ADL port and didn't see any codes. Is it possible that the scanner couldn't read the code? I know that the OBD1 is pretty primitive compared to what today's mechanics are used to. I explained to him how to use the self diagnostics but he just seemed leery of doing it even after I reassured him he couldn't screw it up.  He says the car runs fine. I told him to try and replace the O2 sensor and see if it goes away which he seemed to be willing to do.  It probably needs replacement anyways and they aren't going to break the bank. 

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Not knowing what kind of scan tool was used, hard to say. The ALDL port on the Reatta is physically different from an OBD2 port so an OBD2 only tool couldn't be plugged into a Reatta anyway, and if the scan tool had a port adapter then presumably it supports OBD1 applications in it's software.

 

That said, nothing was standardized in OBD1 systems across manufacturers so there are many different software loads for the scan tool to support different makes, models and years of vehicles. Maybe they didn't have the correct application loaded and selected for a Reatta. The data stream on 88-89 differs from 90-91 as well, so also needs to be setup for the specific year to read the data in.

 

There are also subsystem applications (E&C bus,  ABS) for some tools like the TECH 1 issued and used by GM in the Reatta era. I have a TECH 1 and a newer Mastertech 3100 which both run GM diagnostic programs for most cars and subsystems 1980-2005 or so. But, the correct programs need to be loaded and selected for the car being tested. Many shops have comprehensive aftermarket tools that will support most vehicles, but being the OBD2 switchover was 20 years ago now, some shops may not have OBD1 capable tools now.  

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When I first got my Reatta I had a problem with erratic check engine light and an electrical error message momentarily displayed that would quickly disappear on it's own. The problem turned out to be a defective oil pressure sender. Watch the oil pressure closely and if you see it spike really high every now and then you have found the problem.

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Just was playing with the 'vert. There are two code stores in our cars, Current (light is on) and History {light was on but went off). My OTC 2000 only sees current, not history. To really find out is there is anything in History you need either a Tech 1 or to use the built in diagnostics (code will show as a number plus  c(urrent) or h(istory)

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That's what I thought Padgett. My friend just doesn't have a FSM and therefore doesn't feel comfortable using the self diagnostics. He is the person who bought my convertible and with it comes a FSM and a friend (me) who knows how to check for both current and history codes. I will show him how to use the self diagnostics and he will see how helpful it is. I was just like him on my Maui Blue coupe a few years ago and then you guys helped me understand the diagnostics and how to read what it was telling me. It makes repairs easier, but not easy.  It made me realize how special these cars were as they were made before computers became integrated in a vehicle's operation.

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I love bringing my 88 out to Cars and Coffee, the kids are fascinated by how advanced the CRT and diagnostics are. Might or might not sell the 90 vert to buy a XLR, the jury is still out on that & prefer a 6 to an 8 even with DOHC, but suspect the 88 will be in my estate sale.

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