Can't read A9L with scantool...help

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by white_97_GT, Apr 22, 2012.


  1. white_97_GT

    white_97_GT Member

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    here goes, i have a 90 lx, in the past we tried using a scan tool to figure out some codes and other issues (a good friend of mine is a licenced mechanic and has all the fancy gadgets) but could not get anything on the tool. seems the connector isnt working. have any of you heard of this? possible causes? fixes? i want to get the car tuned, but i want to make sure all sensors are working before i do

    thanks for your time
  2. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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    KOER or KOEO or both?


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  3. white_97_GT

    white_97_GT Member

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    Couldn't tell you. He just told me he couldn't read anything on the scan tool
  4. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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  5. white_97_GT

    white_97_GT Member

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    My question isn't on how to pull codes using a paper clip. My question is why will my computer not give any info to the scantool.
  6. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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    If you CAN pull codes with a paperclip then the scan tool is either bad or the incorrect type or the person using the tool isn't using it correctly. o_O

    There's a method to everything and since you didn't provide anything much in the way of information, then a reasonable place to start would be to figure out what exactly is bad. Is it on the car side, or is it on the test equipment side.

    If you're not able to pull codes using the paperclip method then the step after that would be to start shooting the wire between the EEC connector and the test connector (assuming that the car is able to run, that is).
  7. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    The paperclip dump the codes test is a very simple yey effecitve way to insure that the computer's inner workings are able to comunicate with the sensors and actuators. If you get a code 11, all is well. If you get other codes, fix them before trying to do anything else. If you get no codes and no code 11, you have either computer or wiring problems of a serious nature.

    Here's test proceedure from start to finish:

    Dump the codes: Codes may be present even if the Check Engine Light (CEL) isn't on.

    Dumping the computer diagnostic codes on 86-95 Mustangs

    Revised 26-July-2011. Added need to make sure the clutch is pressed when dumping codes.

    Codes may be present even if the check engine light hasn’t come on, so be sure to check for them.

    Here's the way to dump the computer codes with only a jumper wire or paper clip and the check engine light, or test light or voltmeter. I’ve used it for years, and it works great. You watch the flashing test lamp or Check Engine Light and count the flashes.

    Post the codes you get and I will post 86-93 model 5.0 Mustang specific code definitions and fixes. I do not have a complete listing for 94-95 model 5.0 Mustangs at this time.

    Be sure to turn off the A/C, and put the transmission in neutral when dumping the codes. On a manual transmission car, be sure to press the clutch to the floor.
    Fail to do this and you will generate a code 67 and not be able to dump the Engine Running codes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If your car is an 86-88 stang, you'll have to use the test lamp or voltmeter method. There is no functional check engine light on the 86-88's except possibly the Cali Mass Air cars.

    [​IMG]

    The STI has a gray connector shell and a white/red wire. It comes from the same bundle of wires as the self test connector.

    89 through 95 cars have a working Check Engine light. Watch it instead of using a test lamp.

    [​IMG]

    The STI has a gray connector shell and a white/red wire. It comes from the same bundle of wires as the self test connector.


    WARNING!!! There is a single dark brown connector with a black/orange wire. It is the 12 volt power to the under the hood light. Do not jumper it to the computer test connector. If you do, you will damage the computer.

    What to expect:
    You should get a code 11 (two single flashes in succession). This says that the computer's internal workings are OK, and that the wiring to put the computer into diagnostic mode is good. No code 11 and you have some wiring problems. This is crucial: the same wire that provides the ground to dump the codes provides signal ground for the TPS, EGR, ACT and Map/Baro sensors. If it fails, you will have poor performance, economy and driveablity problems

    Some codes have different answers if the engine is running from the answers that it has when the engine isn't running. It helps a lot to know if you had the engine running when you ran the test.

    Dumping the Engine Running codes: The procedure is the same, you start the engine with the test jumper in place. Be sure the A/C is off, and clutch (if present) is pressed to the floor, and the transmission is in neutral. You'll get an 11, then a 4 and the engine will speed up to do the EGR test. After the engine speed decreases back to idle, it will dump the engine running codes.

    Trouble codes are either 2 digit or 3 digit, there are no cars that use both 2 digit codes and 3 digit codes.

    Alternate methods:
    For those who are intimidated by all the wires & connections, see Actron® for what a typical hand scanner looks like. Normal retail price is about $30 or so at AutoZone or Wal-Mart.

    Or for a nicer scanner see Equus - Digital Ford Code Reader (3145) – It has a 3 digit LCD display so that you don’t have to count flashes or beeps.. Cost is $30.
  8. OonDeanisS

    OonDeanisS Founding Member

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    back when my car was running, i was able to dump codes with the paperclip, and got the code 11, but i had two seperate mechanics tell me their scan tool will not connect to my car. Is there a certain type of scantool needed for an A9L? Now im considering building a 351 or a 408 and i am worried the tuning software wont connect if the scantools cant.
  9. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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    Any OBD1 code reader should do.
    stykthyn likes this.
  10. stykthyn

    stykthyn Commander of the snuggie cultists

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    True story. You either have a wiring issue ( I've seen it before), a bad scanner, or a bad ecu. My experience says a bad ecu will not let the engine run.
  11. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Computer will not go into diagnostic mode on 86-90 model 5.0 Mustangs

    Disconnect the battery positive terminal before making any resistance checks.
    The voltage drop in the ground cable will cause incorrect resistance readings.


    How it is supposed to work:
    The black/white wire (pin 46) is signal ground for the computer. It provides a dedicated ground for the EGR, Baro, ACT, ECT, & TPS sensors as well as the ground to put the computer into self test mode. If this ground is bad, none of the sensors mentioned will work properly. That will severely affect the car's performance. You will have hard starting, low power and drivability problems. Since it is a dedicated ground, it passes through the computer on its way to the computer main power ground that terminates at the battery pigtail ground. It should read less than 1.5 ohms when measured from anyplace on the engine harness with the battery pigtail ground as the other reference point for the ohmmeter probe.

    What sometimes happens is that the test connector black/white wire gets jumpered to power which either burns up the wiring or burns the trace off the pc board inside the computer. That trace connects pins 46 to pins 40 & 60.

    The STI (Self Test Input ) is jumpered to ground to put the computer into test mode. Jumpering it to power can produce unknown results, including damage to the computer. The ohm test simply verifies that there are no breaks in the wiring between the test connector and the computer input.

    How to test the wiring :
    With the power off, measure the resistance between the computer test ground (black/white wire) on the self test connector and battery ground. You should see less than 1.5 ohms.

    [​IMG]

    If that check fails, remove the passenger side kick panel and disconnect the computer connector. There is a 10 MM bolt that holds it in place. Measure the resistance between the black/white wire and pin 46 on the computer wiring connector: it should be less than 1.5 ohms. More that 1.5 ohms is a wiring problem. If it reads 1.5 ohms or less, then the computer is suspect. On the computer, measure the resistance between pin 46 and pins 40 & 60: it should be less than 1.5 ohms. More that that and the computer’s internal ground has failed, and the computer needs to be repaired or replaced.

    See http://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/749974-computer-issue.html#post7490537 for Joel5.0’s fix for the computer internal signal ground.

    If the first ground check was good, there are other wires to check. Measure the resistance between the STI computer self test connector (red/white wire) and pin 48 on the computer main connector: it should be less than 1.5 ohms. More that 1.5 ohms is a wiring problem

    The following is a view from the computer side of the computer wiring connector: it is for an A9L, A9P computer.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2birds

    Check out the diagram and notice all the places the black/white wire goes. Almost every sensor on the engine except the MAF is connected to it.

    [​IMG]

    See the following website for some help from Tmoss (diagram designer) & Stang&2Birds
    (website host) for help on 88-95 wiring http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine

    See the graphic for the 10 pin connector circuit layout.
    [​IMG]
  12. gearheadboy

    gearheadboy Mod Dude

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    I have a Snap-On "Brick" scanner/scan tool. I have used it on my 88GT which is a factory California MAF car. I changed out my EEC to an A9P about a year ago and had trouble with the scan tool not communicating as well. If I remember correctly it had to do with the clutch pedal not being depressed during the scan. I may have even had to "Lie" to the scan tool and tell it the car was newer.
  13. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Fail to press the clutch pedal and put the transmission in Neutral and you can't dump the engine running codes. It will not prevent you from dumping the ignition on, engine not running codes.

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