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VAGCOM / OBD reader

Can someone recommend a basic fault code reader?
I don't know too much about OBD/VAGCOM. Is an OBD reader a generic fault code reader where VAGCOM gives the additional abilty to amend how some of the functions work?
I've bought a Caddy which "might" be a bargain but it isn't cranking. I'll probably take it to a local garage but wondered if there was any advantage in having an OBD reader?
I was looking at the ones sold by ECP / Machine Mart circa £40. Are they worth it?
1991 Tornado Red BB 8v GTI Moredoor
2008 Skoda Octy Scout aka dirty diesel

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #1
What year is the Caddy?

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #2
It's a 2011 1.6TDI ex British Gas. It came without a battery (yup complete madness I know because that could hide all manner of issues) tried my normal MK2 Golf battery on it. Lights on the dash with the battery light flickering. The battery isolator has been bypassed. I'll get the correct battery because it has stop start, but expected it to at least crank over.
But my original query was about the usefulness of bargain OBD readers on VAG cars.
I'm wondering if it is an imobilisor issue.
1991 Tornado Red BB 8v GTI Moredoor
2008 Skoda Octy Scout aka dirty diesel

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #3
If it's a modern (post 95) car, the immobiliser will let it start, then kill it after about 2 seconds.
If it's not cranking at all, could well be the ignition switch.
But check all the earths around the battery and connection to the engine, make sure nothing is loose.

As for OBD readers, I have a cheap, bluetooth based one that connects to my phone.
I keep that in the car for on the fly diagnostics and have VAG COM on the laptop at home for in depth.
The basic ones are good for giving codes and pointing you in the right direction.
For the price, you can't really go wrong.
Mk2 Driver
Mk2 Silver 8v
Corrado G60 Turbo
Mk2 Red 8v
Mk2 Grey 16v
Mk2 BBM ABF
Bora 20vt
Mk2 Green VR6
Mk2 Green ABF
Mk2 BBM 20vt
3.2 TT Roadster
Mk2 Red 16v
225 TT Coup
3.2 TT Coup
Mk4 Anniversary

Mk2 BBM R32
Mk2 Red 8v

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #4
Thanks for the steer Monkey. I've only had experience of "user error" with my imobiliser on the MK2...ie where I forget to deactivate it and the car cranks over then cuts-out when the fuel supply is starved. No issues on our Octy but it makes sense that it can't be the imobiliser.
So I'll clean the contacts first then replace the ignition switch. It looks like a straightforward cheap first step.
1991 Tornado Red BB 8v GTI Moredoor
2008 Skoda Octy Scout aka dirty diesel

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #5
I have a plug in ELM327 bluetooth jobbie and the paid for version of Torque (£2.50 or something silly) on a hacked Kindle Fire as it isn't iOS compatible so no good for my iPhone.

A garage will usually charge £35+ a time for plug in diagnostics and this cost about that, (or less), obviously has limitation but it gives fault codes which I gather is what you're looking for in this instance. So worth having I'd say.

With regards to the hacked Kindle Fire, it's basically an Android device with Amazon's own software 'skin' on it. I had to follow some online advice to allow the installation of Google Play Store, which now lets me put any Android App on it, and not limited to Amazon App Store. The Kindle was £30 in Black Friday deals a few years back, I didn't buy it for this purpose but it's been dead handy since I have an Apple phone that isn't compatible with the device - something to check if you're limited.

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #6
I have a plug in ELM327 bluetooth jobbie and the paid for version of Torque (£2.50 or something silly) on a hacked Kindle Fire as it isn't iOS compatible so no good for my iPhone.

I've got one of those ELM ones too, I used 'Car Scanner' app on it, it's free and it works on both apple and android phones.
Mk2 Driver
Mk2 Silver 8v
Corrado G60 Turbo
Mk2 Red 8v
Mk2 Grey 16v
Mk2 BBM ABF
Bora 20vt
Mk2 Green VR6
Mk2 Green ABF
Mk2 BBM 20vt
3.2 TT Roadster
Mk2 Red 16v
225 TT Coup
3.2 TT Coup
Mk4 Anniversary

Mk2 BBM R32
Mk2 Red 8v

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #7
I could never get the elm device to connect to my 2000 MK4.
I use a £5 cable from eBay and vcds lite on laptop, though I have to use an older version.

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #8
OBD11 is very very good, use it, well it stays in my daily Mk5 Gti

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #9
 I would get a vcds interface that supports your vehicle, even thoug it might seem expensive at 1st, you can sell a genuine interface for almost full asking price or keep it if you get another VAG engine...Gendan or Ilexa will stock genuine, worth asking for a forum discount, you never know !

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #10
I went to Machine Mart to buy one of their £40 jobbies and the guy behind the counter very honestly said I ought to check compatibilty with the Caddy. So I pondered for a few mins... impatience kicked in and then bought one of those wireless OBD plugs from ECP round the corner which was £16. Tried it on the Octy and no fault codes as expected. Tried it on the Caddy and got a P0671 glow plug error.
It still isn't cranking after removing the immobiliser from the live feed and getting a replacement ignition switch from B&B....(great price and service from those guys again).
To save too much messing I just moved the connector from the old switch to the new held in my hand. Key in the ignition and screwdriver rotating the new switch. All dash lights on battery flashing but no cranking.
Have also put a  socket on the crank and the engine does rotate. I really should have done that first!
I'm going to get an auto electrician to check the electrics.
1991 Tornado Red BB 8v GTI Moredoor
2008 Skoda Octy Scout aka dirty diesel

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #11
Quick Google of the error code found these possible causes. I would look into these before getting an auto electrician.

What causes the P0671 code?
There are many things that can cause the P0671 code. These include:

Faulty glow plug
Faulty glow plug relay
Faulty glow plug timer
Faulty electrical components within the glow plug circuit
Blown fuses, which could indicate a larger issue

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #12
You tried bump starting the engine ?

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #13
Well the auto electrician came, cleared the error codes and got it started. Seemed to indicate the issue was probably a dodgy engine earth but said he come out again if the issue occurred again. It was starting fine until tonight when the symptoms returned. I may see if putting a temporary engine earth makes any difference prior to getting the chappie out again.
Re the glow plug error, that shouldn't affect the car starting because it surely isn't cold enough and it certainly wouldn't stop it cranking.
1991 Tornado Red BB 8v GTI Moredoor
2008 Skoda Octy Scout aka dirty diesel

Re: VAGCOM / OBD reader

Reply #14
....Installed an additional engine earth from one of the existing body earth points and it started-up immediately!
1991 Tornado Red BB 8v GTI Moredoor
2008 Skoda Octy Scout aka dirty diesel