Paperclip Diagnostics

The trusty paperclip. Man’s best friend. I’ve been having a minor fault on my car (Vauxhall Omega) for a while now. The ECU (computer, basically) will light up on the dashboard with a fault and sometimes the car will stall. If you take the car and a loaded wallet to your nearest Vauxhall garage, they’ll diagnose it in return for lots of money. You can get it diagnosed with any garage that carries a small testing kit (about 50) too.

Today, I looked on Google and found this PDF that instructs you to put a paperclip between two pins in your car. The dashboard will then indicate, through a series of flashes and pauses, which fault(s) have been logged. Amazing and free!

Turns out that I have a high voltage on the oxygen sensor circuit. Google once again comes to the rescue; this means that there’s too much oxygen in the system! Hooray, fixing can now commence.

The next stage would be a car that self-diagnoses itself, then repairs itself automatically – if the oxygen intake is too wide why can’t it just close itself a bit, or am I being naive?

4 thoughts on “Paperclip Diagnostics”

  1. will your paper clip tell me why my saab keeps telling me to get the theft device serviced? I presume it means the alarm but Saab have had 3 attempts at fixing it (all under warrantee, I dont actually care if the alarm works or not, so long as it goes beep when I press the dooberry and so long as it stops telling me to sevice the damn thing) anyway I was wondering if the holy paperclip was better than a Saab dealership?

  2. So how did you get rid of the excess Oxygen problem. If you can answer, please do so in Mickey Mouse, as if to a retarded child. I don’t have a clue where the sensor is, and the Hayne’s Manual is as much use as they usually are – zilch. Thanks, NicJ

  3. Hi Nic,

    I took the car to a local garage and we ended up replacing both the oxygen
    sensor (which is a small box that sits just outside the engine on a major
    pipe – the exhaust I think) and the oxygen intake valve.

    The sensor was about 70 quid direct from manufacturer (daft considering
    it’s a little solid state thing), and I can’t remember about the valve.
    Had to buy/try both since it was either one or the other, I think it
    turned out to be a knackered valve.

    I can’t for the life of me remember much more detail, but basically I had
    to take it into the garage – it wasn’t something I could fix myself and I
    wouldn’t know where to start to get the parts. I quoted the error code
    though, and that plus the diagnostic kit they had helped find the possible
    causes very quickly.

    You’re right btw, I do remember the Haynes manual being absolutely no help
    as well!

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