Peake Research R5/FCX-3 OBC-II/OBC2 Reader for BMW Review

So the 2001 330i’s been a great car to date, even at over 100,000 miles, and at the rate it’s going I suspect it’ll go another 150k. That’s the goal anyway. Unfortunately, I’ve had a couple very intermittent idle stalls, say once a month, and last week two in a row that turned on my “service engine soon” light.

I thought it’d be great to get an engine code scanner and find out what the issue is myself, but after reading a bunch of articles, it wasn’t clear which one I should get. Apparantely, there is a standard code system called OBC-II that all the manufactuers support to one degree or another. BMW fully supports the spec, but then adds a ton of proprietary codes that they keep to themselves and as one guy said, “only lets the dealers see them on Christmas.” 🙂

Surfing around shows a lot of standard products, many of them claiming to decipher the elusive BMW codes. The most promising products are the Peake Research R5/FCX-3 and the AutoEnginuity Scan Tool. The Peake Reaearch product seemed a bit pedestrian but claimed to only support BMW automobiles, a good and bad thing. It only cost around $150 so it suited my needs a bit better than the seemingly full featured AutoEnginuity product for close to $500.

Peake sells their product online but want $150 and $8 to ship via the slow boat out of Guatemalla. I found EuroSportDesign but they came across as a bit too slick. Luckily, they have an eBay presence and sold the unit for $138 with fast shipping for $3. I can pay via PayPal. Sold!

The unit arrived in three days:

Peake Research R5/FCX-3 Box

The contents: tool, case, and manual. The phone is there for a size reference. The R5/FCX-3 was smaller than I expected, simple, but adaquate construction. The manual was simply a photocopy.

Peake Research R5/FCX-3

The front:

Peake Research R5/FCX-3 Front

The connector:

Peake Research R5/FCX-3 connector

Installation was beyond trival: Turn on the car, then under the driver side dash is a panel. Flip it open and plug in the R5/FCX-3. You’ll quickly get this message meaning you’re ready to go:

Peake Research R5/FCX-3 Plugged In

Press ‘Go.’ Thinking a bit:

Peake Research R5/FCX-3 Reading

19 is the code page. Press ‘GO.’

Peake Research R5/FCX-3 Code Page

76! Let’s see, that the throttle position sensor is amiss. Press ‘Go’ again:

Peake Research R5/FCX-3 Throttle Position Sensor

41! Hmm, need a new intake camshaft position sensor. Press ‘Go’ again:

Peake Research R5/FCX-3 Camshaft Position Sensor

CC! Something’s hosed with the idle control. Press ‘Go’ again:


All done!

All done

Was is worth it? Probably, if I use it twice it should more than pay for itself compared to dealer diagnostic rates. The nice thing about it is the size is small enough to keep in the car for freeway side diagnostics. Now it’s off to for new parts! Look forward to posts about replacing the above parts 🙂

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