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I can get an adapter that connects my OBD2 scan tool to my 12 pin GM scan tool connection. But will the tool be able to read the codes and tell me anything useful? Or do I need to get a scan tool that is also aware of OBD-1 or GM specific codes?

I would like to know what the various sensors are reporting to the engine controller. My repair manual has what look like good trouble shooting flow charts, but they start with knowing the scan codes.

My vehicle is a 1994 Chevrolet Suburban.

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Define "older" vehicle please. The conversion to OBD-2 was required in 1996. Prior to that, it may or may not work (I own a '95 car with an OBD-2 connector that most functions work on, but not all). –  Brian Knoblauch Jan 2 at 21:20
    
Oops. I added it to the question. –  Jim Jan 2 at 21:24

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As Brian alluded to in his comment, in most cases it will not work. You have to have a reader which will read OBD-I. Some readers, like the Innova 3140 will read both, and comes with all of the adapters to attach to the "older" vehicles.

Brian also stated about the change to OBD-II. In the US it was mandated to change over in '96. Some manufactures changed it over in '95 as they were ahead of the power curve. Other companies changed the ALDL (computer connector) over in '95 to the OBD-II connector, but kept the OBD-I computer. If you want to screw up a mechanic, this is the way you do it!

Obviously, your Suburban is OBD-I. It will require the OBD-I. As an alternative, you can use computer software to attach your laptop to your 'Burban. This is done through a cable which attaches through your USB connector. I am pretty sure Datamaster can read your truck, but not positive. I used it on my '94 Camaro ... Pretty sure it will work for all of the GM vehicles. Anyway, Datamaster, if it will work for you, can be setup in a visual way to show the output as gauges and such, with a lot of user configurability to make it look like you want. It works well, too.

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I obtained my adapter cable and tried it with my OBD2 reader. The reader did not even power up when connected to the Suburban, even with the key on. I will look into the Datamaster, though. –  Jim Jan 8 at 21:18

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