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Discussion Starter #1
Hi - My '98 Beetle Ute had a little oil leak, so I had it up on my lift, and was checking for the source. One I located that and fixed it, I ran the engine for awhile to leak check and see that all was A-OK . Now the oil leak is no more, but I saw a Check Engine light on ! I connected my scanner, and it read the ECU system and told me the problem was code IS0 9141. Of course the factory shop manual doesn't use this code system, so I am wondering if anyone out there can tell me what this code means ? Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What scan tool; are you using? Are there any other trouble codes and is it able to connect, successfully, to do a full scan?
Hi - I'm using a TopTac TP 289 scanner. I know it's a fairly inexpensive unit, but it has served me well for a few years. I seldom need such a tool, so I have never talked myself into spending big bucks for something I'd not use very often. This one does have the ability to be connected to the internet to receive updates, so I'll do that. It can do what I'd say is a partial scan, not a full blown scan.

Here's and interesting observation tho : I had been running the engine for quite awhile , as I was watching for any oil leaks. My electric cooling fans did switch ON / OFF as normal, and my temp gauge was not in any hot zone, but I'm wondering if some sensor, or other part did get too hot while the car was sitting with the engine running for so long ? I erased the code from the ECU memory, took the VW out on the hiway for about a 25 mile ride, and all was normal. The check engine light never did come back on again.

It was then that I remembered that a couple years ago, after doing a complete tune-up on my Chevy S 10, The same thing happened after I had been running that Iron Duke 4 cyl engine in the shop. I remember getting the same code then. It also never returned once it was erased and the truck was back on the road. Odd, very odd

I read above the entry that Thejarhead suggested regarding the reader not connected properly. I found that same thing on the interweb after I made my post . But, when one plugs the scanner plug in, and makes sure it is seated all the way into the receptacle, what else can one do ? So, for now I'll keep test driving ( a great excuse to go for rides in the VW UTE ) and watch and wait for something to happen, and hope all goes as normal.. Tough duty this !!! Thanks all - Ben
 

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Well, technically, we haven't seen any trouble codes; that have enough info to work with and give us a direction, to start working on things.

The cooling fans kicking on; is normal and indicates, the cooling system is operating as it should. This is a good thing; the new beetle only has a idiot light for the coolant temps and so, you. need a scan tool, to view live data.

I searched for your scan tool and can't find any info about it online; I'm assuming, it is a basic code reader, not vw specific, can't read live data?

If you have a android device; like a phone or tablet, you might consider buying a vw specific obd II wireless dongle like OBDEleven @ around $60, it does much of the same things the ross tech vcds can do that is $199.

Purchasing a VW scan tool; is truly a wise investment and can save you a ton of money, enabling you to finally, take total control of your repair process, to not have to be relying on a expensive VW specialty shop to do things for you. To successfully complete VW repairs and diagnostic work; a vw factory level scanner, is pretty much is a requirement these days and one trip to a pro shop, will typically cost way more then obdeleven or even vcds by ross tech. I bought vcds and it paid for itself the first repair i did! My airbag light was on, it read the trouble codes, for a bad drivers side seat belt buckle. I replaced the buckle with a new one, cleared the codes and the repair was successful. If i had taken it to my vw dealer i am sure it would have been $500+ to do the repairs. In my particular case, a $50 part, a couple hours of work to install the defective part and the cost of vcds, cost less then a VW dealer repair would cost. Then, post repair;i owned the tool, enabling me to do, the next repair! Since then, i have used it on my personal VW and many other, VW/Audi cars,i have worked on, over the years. A great investment! :)
 

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I do appreciate your info. When my wife and I retired from the very high pressure medical careers we had, we decided to buy a small rural farm, and only have a flip phone. Yes, we deliberately turned our back on technology, as after 40 years of non stop pressure, we felt we deserved some peace and quiet ! So, I do not own a smart phone, or a tablet.

However, regarding the coolant temp in my VW , I did install the set of 3 gauges. I have the volt, oil pressure, and water temp gauge functioning very well. That was how I was able to monitor the temp while I was running the engine during the oil leak check time.

However, your suggestion of a tablet interesting. Since I know nothing about them, I have no idea if one would work out here in the rural farm country. I smiled when you mentioned taking the vehicle to a VW specialty shop, as I live in Missouri, and I doubt if such a shop is in this state ! There are VW dealers, but I know I'd have to use my retirement savings to afford them ! I'll do some checking to see if anyone around here uses a tablet. Thank you for the suggestion, and I may be getting back to you for more help ! Cheers.
 

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I'm assuming you have a pc or mac computer; to view this website and have internet access? In that case, if you have a laptop or device; that runs on Windows, you could use, run the VCDS software. It runs on anything that runs Windows; it costs more then OBDEleven but it is pretty much, the industry standard for VW/Audi scan tools. VCDS uses a USB cable to connect to the computer and then, has a plug on the other end to connect to the OBD II port, just like your scan tool.



OBDEleven, as noted uses the Android OS and so, a tablet or cheap phone would work to run it. It is a wireless dongle and so, there are no wires to deal with, just plug it into the obd II port, pair it with your device, launch the app, you are ready to scan.


If the above two scan tool options; are overly complicated or just not what you would like to deal with a cheaper "VAG" stand alone scan tool, similar to your TopTac TP 289 scanner, maybe another option. While a simplified stand alone scan tool; removes allot of things, it also comes with its limitations. Like most products you purchase, many times, the after sales support; is really what you are typically paying for, in true quality products. The VAG scanners, com with very low or in the case of Chinese based tools, almost non existent, customer support.

This is where Ross Tech really shines; they provide stellar customer support for VCDS, they are based in the USA in Pennsylvania and you can actually call them on phone, if needed. VCDS is used by professional VW techs; all over the world, the software is continually updated and this constant use, has made it a solid, mature, very usable product. It is not perfect but what it does, it does it well.

Examples of "VAG" type scan tools; sold on Amazon:


The full featured hand held VAG/VW specific OBD II scan tools; are priced such, that they are close to VCDS and then, cost effectiveness comes into question, rather then have the "real deal", VCDS by Ross Tech. OBDeleven and the entry level VAG/VW solutions; are typically in the $30-$100+ range, depending on capability and brand quality (Foxwell, Autel, etc).
 

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If you need more help or want to discuss; some of the cheap "vag" scanners on Amazon, OBDeleven or the top tier professional solution, being VCDS by Ross Tech, let us know and we can go from there. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Again, thanks for the great information. I feel I am getting a valuable education. We do have a Dell desktop computer, located in the house. My workshop is 3 buildings away from the house on the farm ! All our buildings, including our home, are metal, so receiving signals is a problem. When people come here to visit, and want to make a cell phone call, they have to step outside in order to pick up a signal ! We have the Hughes satellite system for our computer and phone service.

Anyway, I've learned of a young guy not far from here that seems to collect older computers, laptops, etc. I'm going to contact him and see if he has a laptop that he'd sell me , and then get back to you with it;s description, and ask for more info on the next step to take. Thanks for helping this old dog learn new tricks ! Much appreciated.

By the way, over the past months did you see the posts I sent in showing the conversion of the sedan into a Ute pickup ?
 

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Well, I called my contact that has computer items. He's most interested in helping me, but has no laptop units at this time. However, he just upgraded his cell phone from a Samsung 9 to the 10, and offered to give me the 9 if I want it. Now, we discussed me buying one of the programs you suggested, as well as I read off some of your text above. You thru me for a loop when you talked about a " wireless dongle" , as I had never before heard that term. My friend laughed, and then said he'd help me set it all up. But he wants a couple questions answered first.
1 - does this VW program you are talking about require anything to be connected to the internet ? My shop has no internet access.
2 - What would be the procedure for him to load the program onto the Samsung phone ?

Now, my question- comparing the Ross Tech cost to the others shows me that the small additional expense is worthwhile. Especially with the available backup.
But what is the reason for the $199 vs $299 models, as they refer to vehicle VIN numbers. Since my VW is a '98 model. with no special options, does it mean that the $199 would be the proper option ? Their site didn't seem to explain the difference very well. I'd appreciate your advice Thanks again.
 

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1 - does this VW program you are talking about require anything to be connected to the internet ? My shop has no internet access.

To use the app, after it is installed and then, you setup a account with the company that makes OBD11. I don't believe you would need internet access, post setup/installation of the software/dongle and could use it in your shop without issues.

2 - What would be the procedure for him to load the program onto the Samsung phone ?

He, would need to download the app from the Android/Google App/Play Store, this would require internet access through wifi/cell data and install the app, go through the registration process, configure the wireless dongle, to pair with the phone through bluetooth.

Here is a webpage, that goes over OBDEleven and summarizes the setup, use, etc.


NOTE: there is a 1st generation white colored version of OBDEleven and then, a later black one. For older VW's, the white 1 gen is recommended; the latest one, is buggy and they are still working on it, to make it work reliably.


app in the Google Play Store:

 

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I highly recommend the Ross Tech VCDS and I have personally used it since 2007. The superior support, maturity of the product, is well known in the VW/Audi community and this is borne out, by its heavy use, in the professional VW repair industry. This, forces Ross Tech, to support it daily, from interaction with the ever changing repair industry technicians usage and because of this, they actively update it constantly, as they get feedback from end users, through their phone calls, support site posts, their own testing, etc.

The downside compared to OBD11, that you need a window laptop or device to use it and it uses a cable for the $199 version vs. a wireless dongle e.g. you are physically "tethered" to the cable. The software in OBD11 is a bit more modern and user friendly; while, VCDS, looks like a old app from the early Microsoft Windows 95 era, Ross Tech seems to have continued with a "ain't broke; don't fix it" mentality, to the user interface. It ins't very slick looking but a professional diagnostic applications primary focus, is on functionality and not "looking pretty", while OBD11, looks "cooler", more modern with slick graphics, etc.

There are videos on youtube: comparing VCDS to OBD11, this maybe helpful or just add more confusion, to your decision but if you are interested, check them out here:


The $199 version of VCDS, has a limited amount of VIN #'s it will work with; so, in this case, they limit the amount of cars you can scan with, by identifying the VIN # of the vehicle ($199 gives you the ability to work with 3 cars).

Three (3) different cars (VIN numbers) [$199.00]


Ross Tech, did this on their newer V2 cables; while, in the past there was no limitation on the older cable like I have, another case where OBD11 is nice, as it has no limitations, on how many vehicles you can scan. Ross Tech, in particular; needed to created a "tiered" product line with different levels of pricing; that would provide more revenue; for them, to keep operating, as a successful company.

Each one has its pros and cons; many use both, OBD11 for its ease of use, wireless capability, convenience, cheaper price and VCDS, for more involved or more professional oriented daily use. Again, from a support perspective; Ross Tech is USA based, has true support and Voltas, who makes OBD11 is in Eastern Europe, is still trying to make the product better, the "new kid" on the block, as it were.

Hopefully, this answers some questions; there is allot of info out there on youtube, on use and comparing the two products, although one could get, overwhelmed with too much info at times! :) I hope this helps! :)
 

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Well, according to the above review, as well as the information that my friend was able to dig up, the Ross Tech unit will not work unless one is able to be connected to the internet. I do not have internet in / at my shop. Having the program downloaded onto the Samsung phone alone isn't enough. And, with my shop being a steel building, an internet signal would not come thru. Bummer.
So, I guess the next best thing is one of those units as you pointed out in the link to Amazon.
Care to make a suggestion for me ? Thanks
 

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From what I have experienced; VCDS by Ross Tech will work without a internet connection but it seems OBDEleven, DOES require a internet connection.

internet connection requirement:

OBDeleven: (yes)


VCDS by Ross Tech: (no)

1.6 What if the PC I wish to use with VCDS doesn't have Internet access?

Except for the Pro-Kit, our software is provided to you via our download page, rather than a disk, so you will need a way to transfer the Self-Installing EXE file to the PC that you will be using with VCDS. The file fits easily on a removable USB drive and can also be burned onto a CD-R or CD-RW. Make sure that you do not run the EXE file until you have copied it onto the PC where you would like VCDS to be installed. Since software updates are provided only through our website, you should plan on repeating this transfer process to keep current. You do not need to be connected to the Internet while using VCDS.

 

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For VCDS you might look for a Microsoft Windows tablet or cheap laptop; a old Microsoft Surface Pro or other brand, are being given away, sold for next to nothing or are being recycled, at this point and would work fine for VCDS by Ross Tech. You might ask around; someone, might have something, they stopped using and get one that way. A tablet would be easy to use and you could carry it back to the house; to update the app, look up the trouble code results, look at service manuals and post to this site, if you needed to, etc.

Windows computer requirements; are listed here:

NOTE: The "Surface Pro" tablets use Intel CPUs and Windows 8 Pro, and VCDS will works fine on them.

 

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I recently bought an inexpensive new laptop from Best Buy. About $230 if I recall. I just use it for vcds. Of course to download the program requires an internet connection which can be found at a local library or coffee shop.
 

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Cheap laptops are so inexpensive these days; it hardly worth buying a used one or trying ti repair a broken one! I think there are many old Windows tablet or laptops laying around; that might be perfectly fine, to run vcds on, although if you get a new one, it could probably end up being useful for many other things then just running vcds (posting ti newbeetle.org, looking up service manual data, etc). A older Microsoft Surface Pro or equivalent; could be a light portable device; to use in the shop, carry around or even keep in the car with the vcds cable, to check things when needed. I constantly us the internet when working on cars; there is probably a way, to get your Satellite internet connection to your shop, through a wireless repeater/extender. This would open up a whole world of usability to you and accessing the web alone, would be very convenient, i stead if going back, forth to your house, to use the computer, get on the internet, etc..
 

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1 - does this VW program you are talking about require anything to be connected to the internet ? My shop has no internet access.

To use the app, after it is installed and then, you setup a account with the company that makes OBD11. I don't believe you would need internet access, post setup/installation of the software/dongle and could use it in your shop without issues.

2 - What would be the procedure for him to load the program onto the Samsung phone ?

He, would need to download the app from the Android/Google App/Play Store, this would require internet access through wifi/cell data and install the app, go through the registration process, configure the wireless dongle, to pair with the phone through bluetooth.

Here is a webpage, that goes over OBDEleven and summarizes the setup, use, etc.


NOTE: there is a 1st generation white colored version of OBDEleven and then, a later black one. For older VW's, the white 1 gen is recommended; the latest one, is buggy and they are still working on it, to make it work reliably.


app in the Google Play Store:

Billymade, when referring to Gen 1 or gen2 OBDELEVEN, and the bugs in Gen2, what year VW Beetle are you referencing in regards to gen 1 supporting? I own a 2008 beetle and probably will be the only one I will ever own. Not a bad car though. Dan
 
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