The ELM327 Bluetooth OBDII reader is a simple device that does no less than it promises – and no more. For some hardcore car-tech enthusiasts, it’s a cheap toy that is of less value than its price tag. For people like me, there’s value in it that goes far beyond the $3.35USD (including shipping!) I paid for this little gem. Especially when it comes to diagnosing and clearing codes from my 2004 XC90.
Back this past summer (and spring) I was fighting with a couple of tricky codes that were making my life with the XC90 difficult, but still manageable.
P0102 – MAF Circuit Low Input
P2177 – System Too Lean Off Idle Bank 1*
Both of these problems are now solved and quite frankly, I couldn’t have done it without the ELM327 reader. Looking at MAF readings, boost pressure, vacuum, etc is all pretty easy using the ELM327 and the Torque app on my Android phone. Likewise, clearing the code after a repair was as easy as a few taps on my phone.
The ability to set my phone in its holder and capture data while I drive is pretty nice as well. It’s like having extra gauges in your car when you need them.
Keep in-mind that the ELM327 bluetooth reader will not get you Volvo-specific information, but for the average DIY user, the ability to retrieve fault codes (DTCs) and clear OBD fault codes is great. For me, it means going into my mechanic’s shop with enough information to give him a good idea of where to start.
In the end, my P0102 code was a faulty MAF sensor. A new one from FCP Euro solved the problem. The P0107 code was a little more tricky. It came and went randomly. I suspect it was a leaky boost hose from the turbo. It’s gone now too.
Yes, there are some compact, bare bones ODBII readers out there that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but this one is small enough that it sits in my console and my wife knows (basically) how to use it.
*Because my car is a straight 5-cylinder engine, there is no bank 2.