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Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

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Old 05-16-2005, 08:01 PM
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Default Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

Some of you may know this trick, but I thought I would share it in hopes that it helps some folks. It is very easy to make a simple, but very useful, Marine EFI Code reading and clearing / Base Timing Tool. And you can make it for under $1.00!

Materials needed:

One 12volt resistor type LED light
One small paperclip cut in half

That’s it!

This home made code tool works every bit as well as the one I paid $50.00 for. It will work on most 1993 to 2000 marine EFI systems with the ten pin Data Link Connector. This includes Mercruiser, Volvo, Crusader, PCM, Indmar, and a few others.

How to hook it up:

1) Ignition key “OFF”

2) Remove the cap from the Data Link Connector (DLC)

3) Slide the LED into the female terminals of position E and F on the DLC, making sure that the positive side goes into terminal F and the negative side into terminal E. No damage will occur if you get it backwards, it just won't work.

4) Turn the ignition key to the “ON” position. The LED should come on steady.

5) Insert the half paperclip into terminals A and B – This puts the engine in “Service Mode” and codes will begin to flash on the LED. On 1996 and earlier engines you may hear the fuel pump come on. If not you should be able to hear the Idle Air Control (IAC) motor move. Use care in this step, do not insert in the wrong terminals or ECM damage could result! Look closely, the terminals are clearly marked.

6) Read codes by observing LED flashs. If the self diagnostic system is working it will flash code 12 – one flash, pause, two flashes, long pause – it will repeat three times. If other codes are present they will flash in order of lowest to highest. Continue to read codes until the code 12 sequence is repeated.

You can also be clear codes (by moving the throttle to 100% and back) and set base timing while in Service Mode.

Dave

Update

Just wanted to add that a computer safe test light can be used instead of a LED. As common as LED's are, I don't think most people have them laying around, but you may have a test light.

Anyway, when using a LED, the ECM supplies constant 12+ to terminal "F" providing power to the LED, and then the ECM flashes the LED by closing the ground circuit on terminal "E".

To use a test light instead of a LED, you would provide power to the light by connecting the alligator clip to a 12v+ source (engine breaker, starter, battery, or whatever is an easy place to connect). Then you would (still using a paperclip to jump terminals "A" and "B"), touch the probe end of the test light to terminal "E", and the light should begin flashing.

Again, the test light must be the type that is approved for use on computer circuits. A non-approved test light will not work and could even damage the ECM.
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Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than alt=.00-code02.jpg   Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than alt=.00-code01.jpg  

Last edited by Dave_N; 05-04-2008 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 05-16-2005, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

That is amazing. Now how in the heck did you figure all of this out? I'm thinking of lots of cooked ECMs and smoke and melting wires in the "trial period". Either way...thank you for the info!
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Old 05-16-2005, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave1972
That is amazing. Now how in the heck did you figure all of this out? I'm thinking of lots of cooked ECMs and smoke and melting wires in the "trial period". Either way...thank you for the info!
youc an buy a tool that does exaclty the same thing for 40 bucks, just a matter of checking the pin locations and building your own redneck version. I beleive you can even get the plug from GM if you wanted to make a realy fancy one for 10 buvks, Thanks for shareing the info with ud all though, now we don't all have to buy the 40 dollar tool
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Old 05-17-2005, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

Shorting A and B with the paper clip also sets it in base timing mode, in case you want to check your timing while you are at it
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Old 05-18-2005, 06:13 AM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

Great trick........now, how do you find out what the flashes mean? Is there a list somewere?
Thanks
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Old 05-18-2005, 10:16 AM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

Dave1972,
It reallly wasn't that hard to figure out, but I did my homework before I tried it. No fried ECM's to date. The next step was to build it into a connector. See picture below.

DanB,
Below is a list of MEFI trouble codes that I compiled.

Dave
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Old 05-18-2005, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

Thanks for the info........Is that a pic of the Plug tool you paid $50 for?
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Old 05-18-2005, 09:21 PM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

DanB,
No, thats the code tool I made using a 10pin connector body. It's just a step above using the bare LED and paperclip.

Dave
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Old 05-18-2005, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

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Originally Posted by Dave_N
DanB,
No, thats the code tool I made using a 10pin connector body. It's just a step above using the bare LED and paperclip.

Dave
it looks just like the one you can buy for 40 bucks, except I think that one had a red LED. that's pretty cool how you mounted the LED nice and clean like that.
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:48 AM
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Default Re: Make a Marine EFI code tool for less than $1.00

Does this timing procedure also work for the 5.7L vortec MPI ?
ie. same DLC and pin locations (A&B)

Blake
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