Why is it so difficult?

Brizzle

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Okay, I just want to say I'm not aiming this at anyone in particular - it is a general observation from this forum and other car related forum's that I use.

Why is it so difficult for people that come onto car forums asking for help to actually take on board the most repeated and logical advice - get it tested on a STAR device.

There are loads of threads where this advice is repeated ad nauseum and the OP either simply ignores it or expects a generic code reader (costing less than £100) to do the same job as a dedicated system costing thousands. They then go on to waste hundreds of pounds replacing various parts - 'cos that's what the code reader said - and come back for more help, which they again ignore.

You even get situations where several people say STAR it but the OP goes off and changes a part because just one other person says he heard of a mate of a mate twice removed had this problem 10 years ago on another make and model car and it was the left handed gizmo flange gasket.

Okay, rant over ... back to work :)
 

EmilysDad

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Because if you have a problem that others have had & blah blah blah part fixed it, then you've saved yourself a min of £60. Conversely, it seems that some expect that the halo'd STAR can diagnose everything ..... A fault code can only be a starting point.
 

Wighty

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Once you've started digging ( by not using star ) it's hard to stop until the hole is really deep . Having said that you would hopefully learn for next time .
 

Mark A

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Even with STAR, the dealers have been known to get it wrong. Always good to have a bit of an inkling from those who have seen similar conditions before giving the dealer free reign.
 

LostKiwi

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Many people don't understand the difference between STAR and a generic reader. Once its explained they are still skeptical and often see it as a way of people pushing money to an indy or similar or as being incorrect info (as a code reader is a code reader is it not?). I used to be skeptical until I saw for myself the difference between STAR and a generic reader (or an i980 for that matter).
A generic reader is good for a quick check but little else. AN i980 is good as a portable tool and (like the MB-II) has its limitations. STAR on the other hand will find anything there is to find as both STAR and the CAR were designed from the ground up to work together to the fullest extent possible at the time.
Even then STAR is a useful tool but not the be all and end all. Sometimes there is no ability to interrogate 'down the chain' (Comand for example seems to be variable depending on versions). Sometimes an error can be obscure and require access to live data as the code may point in the wrong place (a symptom not a cause) and this will require a skilled and knowledgeable operator to identify when this is the case. This is where we rely on our Indys.
Often a new member will be hesitant to take advice to have the car diagnosed on STAR due to perceptions of cost or inconvenience so that will also be a factor. Those who have been around a while know the real cost is in guessing and replacing parts without proper diagnosis.
 

Submariner1

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Pretty much summed up in one.
My MB II is really just used to keep an eye on things ... like “I have no engine faults” or “My ABC fluid pressure is 188 Bar and thats OK, and My ABC sensor levels are fine”.

Any serious issues and I really want a STAR printout to confirm, that this part is needed and this is the faulty part.
Sadly I can’t buy STAR, bluntly because I just dont know enough to use it properly. And I did hear you could damage things if you dont know what you are doing.

Funny the OP mentioned this; as a novice I am desperately hoping for a STAR confirmation of what the problem is before buying an expensive £1400 part.
Sadly STAR cant seem to dig deep enough into this intermitant Comand Amplifier issue, and reports No Faults found .

Thanks Alistair for your time today ... very much appreciated.
Spurred me on to look for water damage .. see Electrics thread for pics

Hope the other news for both of you worked out OK
Regards
Peter
 

EmilysDad

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Maybe I should ask STAR to tell me where my water leak into my tailgate is coming from ..... :rolleyes:
 

DREAMER NO2

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More trouble than what they are worth .To many complicated items in the car that need looking after .Like three batteries why not just one like it used to be .You need a garage to tell you the one thats faulty .I have allways said that simplicity is the way to go . Like the old landrover from here to eternity and back . If it broke down it was easy to get back on the road again . Can you say that a top class car could do that .Then if it did , you would need a crew of machanics and a lorry full of diagnostic equipment. ..
 

Bluegrass

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Even with STAR, the dealers have been known to get it wrong. Always good to have a bit of an inkling from those who have seen similar conditions before giving the dealer free reign.
Completely agree.
With my recent issue of random non starts the Indie Wayne Gates initially made a repair then used STAR when the problem returned. STAR didn't find any faults but the non starts still happen.

Sometime back the car conked out whilst driving & at lights. Indie wanted £40 for STAR. Asked a very experienced old mechanic who straight away said fuel filter which he charged £10 to change.
 

Westheath

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Any tool is only as good as the person using it.
 

Stability

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It’s product knowledge that comes with years of experience that gives you confidence along with tremendous amounts of underlying knowledge of the fundamentals of a motor vehicle that gives us the ability to do what we do.

The star machine is a mandatory piece of equipment needed to initially start up, actuate, clear or read codes left by things not meeting their parameters.

27 years working on cars everyday of my life and I’m still learning things every day.

Interesting post by the way !
 

gramey

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The OP is correct this sort of advice regarding getting a diagnostic check is rife on other forums as well, not only here but even on the VW & Audi forums it's frowned upon to buy a cheap copy of the genuine product. Despite the VW/Audi equivalent, VCDS, being far cheaper than Star, starting around £225, I was still a cheapskate and bought a pirate copy from ebay for £57.00. This wasn't a £5-10 generic code reader, all but the manufacturer of the original would be hard pressed to tell the difference.
The downside is you can't register it for software updates but working on the basis the car is 13 years old nothing in it is likely to change. It allows me to see if there are any fault codes, repair or replace anything within my capabilities and book it in for those I can't without being hood winked.
I'm just about to install an Android head unit in the car with a bluetooth OBD II scanner combined with a downloaded app that allows you to monitor the system in real time so the laptop may become redundant.
I'm not sure given the price of Mercedes parts I would try the same with a generic/cloned product on a Mercedes if I still had one, though I'm still keeping my eyes open on that front. :)
 

Westheath

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OEM diagnostic tools are required to reprogram and calibrate some components that have been replaced or repaired.

EG:

Seat belts
ABS pumps
Injectors
SRS units
Odometers
Electronic Steering
EPB's
Are just a few parts needing coding depending on the manufacturer, many garages/workshops refer customers to main dealers because they cannot perform the coding after the parts have been fitted, there's a few I go out mobile to and program parts into the vehicles, unfortunately though a trip to the main dealer can be the difference between another few years on the road or the breakers yard for customers as smaller garages cannot keep up with all main dealer diagnostic tools.
Its hard to find garages now that want to do anything but fit service items suspension and brakes.

Engine and gearbox repairs are considered to be specialist by some, but mainly due to the ramp being out of action for days when it could be earning money doing servicing and suspension work with faster turn over times and more profit.
The new hybrid stuff will be mostly main dealer only due to lack of initial training and or cant be bothered to deal with expensive tools and training technicians at smaller enterprises.

Anyway.............

The basic OBDII readers cannot perform these tasks and can send users round in circles chasing parts & ££££
 
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Tashman

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I agree with the OP in about 90% of the time. But it just can't hurt to do a quick forum search to see if a issue happens to be a well known problem with an easy fix.
Case in point - last week my 210 threw up the BAS/ASR light. Oh no, sounds expensive I thought! But after a quick search on here it seems many 210 owners have have the same problem and very often its just a faulty brake light switch.
£12 got me a replacement switch and 5 minutes later I was happy motoring again. No STAR required.
 

Westheath

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Yes but you searched, saw a possible solution without posting a question that's been covered 1000's of times.
 

LostKiwi

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The other thing that gets me is how some people seem to assume we have crystal balls and the ability to diagnose an issue we can't see or hear on the basis of a vague description in the absence of any codes.
 

Cleck

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The other thing that gets me is how some people seem to assume we have crystal balls and the ability to diagnose an issue we can't see or hear on the basis of a vague description in the absence of any codes.

But...but... you often do!
 

Scoob

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Funny thing, with my Ford, the main dealers diagnostics - don't know if Ford have a Star equivalent - were regularly wrong, though that might be more to do with those reading it. My £12 cable and free software however, with some understanding of what the various reported faults actually meant, fixed the issue. It wasn't the Turbo (£1,500 sir!) it was the couple of pound solenoid my diagnostics said it was. They'd have happily charged me £1,500 for something that'd not fix the issue - said solenoid was not on the parts list for their proposed "fix" *sigh*

That said, while I'll do basic diagnostics with my own kit if I need to, I'll certainly be heading to Star Services in Caversham to confirm and fix. When the car simply says "something's wrong" and I can confirm it's a wheel speed sensor, that's quite satisfying even if ultimately my garage of choice confirm it and do the fix. It at least allows me to prepare for what might be coming lol.

Scoob.
 


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