DRB3

Tiny
FUNROD32
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE RAM
  • 180,000 MILES
Caradiodoc, how much are you asking for the DRB3?
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Friday, March 26th, 2021 AT 9:09 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Mine isn't for sale. They used to be listed by the manufacturer on their web site for $6,200.00 for a kit that included multiple cables and the carrying case. I bought four of them through the parts department of the dealer I used to work for, for about half of that. (They like me, but they made similar deals to a lot of independent shop owners in the area). I sold three of mine to pay for the one I kept.

You can find these on eBay along with the various plug-in cards. You don't need any card for most vehicles, but depending on the year the scanner was made, it will only work on vehicles as far back as '96 or '98 models. The most popular plug-in card was the "Supercard 2" with a yellow label. That card lets you work on '94 to '97 models, but it also gives you the capability to work on emissions-related stuff on any brand of vehicle sold in the U.S. Starting with '96 models. That's why a lot of independent shops bought them.

A different card lets you work on Chryslers as far back as 1983 models.

I just looked on eBay and was shocked to see what they're bringing. One thing to be aware of is these had periodic updates available. Those were done at the dealership over their satellite connection. My dealer did those updates for free for anyone who bought their scanner from them. In my case, I had former students do them for me until they were no longer supported by Chrysler. The first models the DRB3 were obsolete on were the 2004 Dakota / Durango, and the last models they worked on were some 2008 Jeeps. It only works on vehicles with the OBD2 emissions systems that started with 1996 models. It doesn't work on the newer CAN Buss system.

If you're only working on '95 and older models, Chrysler's DRB2 is a better choice. It does everything needed in those years and you can often find them for less than $200.00. These require a plug-in cartridge for the year of vehicle you're working on, but the last one for 1994 with a yellow sticker to match the color of the covers on the service manuals covers all the years and models into the one and only cartridge you need. Everything stayed the same for '95, so to my knowledge, there is no '95 cartridge which would have a light green label.

I have a couple of DRB2s, but I also have a similar Monitor 4000. Both were made by the same manufacturer, and both require a plug-in cartridge, but those don't interchange between models. The biggest difference with the Monitor 4000 is one cartridge covers GM, Ford, and Chrysler models, and every cartridge covers the models from the year it was made, and from all the previous years. That means you can sell an older cartridge when you buy the newer one.

You might also consider looking at Snapon's "Solus Edge". These cover more years, and they do have some serious drawbacks, but those might not matter to you. The biggest disadvantage is the extremely high cost of annual updates. To keep this scanner current, each update costs $1000.00 per year, and you can't skip any years. That means if you find one that has been updated through, say 2014, you'd have to buy the 2015 update before you could buy the 2016 update, then you can buy the 2017 update, etc. This scanner only costs around $4000.00 new, with the latest updates, so a lot of shops just let them get out-of-date, then buy a new one. Bigger shops might have two or three of these, and only one needs to be able to access the newest car models. This high cost of updates can work in your favor as long as what you find will work on all of your models. I've seen these on eBay for as little as $700.00 updated through 2012 to perhaps 2015.

Be aware with this Snapon scanner, when you buy a new one, you have pay extra for Asian model coverage, and extra again for European coverage. I don't know if that is part of the $4000.00 they advertise. I bought one of these for my 2014 Ram, but I use it mostly for other vehicles. You do have to buy different cable adapters for all the different car brands for '95 and older models, but most of them aren't very expensive. There's a fellow on eBay who has these listed all the time, with the latest updates, for less than half of what the new ones go for. I bought mine in 2018 with the second 2018 update, for $1800.00. That's a better deal than up to $3200.00 for a used DRB3.

The other disadvantage of the Snapon scanners is you have to know how to interpret icons on the touch-screen. The DRB3 is menu-driven by pressing switches on the key pad. It's much easier to get to things once you know where they are on the menus. I get frustrated with the Snapon scanners because I have to touch an icon to see what it does, then figure out how to get back to where I was. They can provide a lot of information, but they aren't very user-friendly.

Manufacturer's scanners always do more than the aftermarket scanners for a certain year, but any scanner on a CAN Buss system will do more than any scanner on an OBD2 system. To say that a better way, the Solus Edge can do a real lot more than the DRB3, but not on the model years the DRB3 was built for.
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Saturday, March 27th, 2021 AT 3:44 PM
Tiny
FUNROD32
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the response, and the great information.
I have recently bought a 1998.5 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9 Cummins.
I am looking for a Scanner that can communicate with the Cummins ECM, the PCM and the CTM. I want to be able to program a key fob into the CTM.
Also to be able to see the Cummins codes and PCM info.
I have a BlueDriver scan tool does minimal for the Cummins info. I have an OBD MX + OBD2 it can read more on the Cummins side and I have an older AutoXRay that does not work on this truck.
I borrowed a newer Snap On Scanner and as you described it was cumbersome to use. Had many more features like injector testing, better code info etc. But no CTM access for programming keyless entry.
Do you know of a scanner that can accomplish these tasks that is not the factory DRB3?
Thank you for your time.
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Saturday, March 27th, 2021 AT 9:49 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The only other scanner I know about is a Genysis, but I never used them myself. We had two of them at school, and the students seemed to like them. Can't tell you if they'll meet your needs.

I also remember there was one early version of rear-wheel anti-lock brakes on Dakotas in the early or mid '90s that required the factory scanner. There were only ten fault codes, and the computer could only store one at a time. You read them by watching the flashing yellow "ABS" light on the dash. Disconnecting the battery did not erase that code. It could only be erased with the scanner. Even back then, no one was writing aftermarket scanner software for those computers because they thought there wasn't enough demand for it.

I read about a new programmer being sold by Matco, but I haven't really looked into it. I have a friend with a body shop / repair shop who specializes in rebuilding smashed one and two-year-old Dodge trucks. He has a Solus Edge too. That's where I first became familiar with them. He's always buying the latest tools and equipment, so I've been pestering him to look into that Matco unit. I don't think this is a regular scanner though. I think it's to answer the efforts of the insane engineers who design products we can't work on.

I did a search for "Chrysler DRB3" and came up with quite a few listings. I didn't look into any of them, but one was listed for $2195 plus shipping, and it includes the two most popular supercards. That would cover every Chrysler model back to 1983. That's about what these were selling for four or five years ago. You might ask around at some local independent shops that typically work on the newer cars. They may have one they'd be happy to sell so they can invest in something newer. If you find just the scanner, I do have brand new replacement cables, and I have multiples of every card. I sell them at the nation's second-largest old car show swap meet every summer.
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Sunday, March 28th, 2021 AT 6:10 PM
Tiny
FUNROD32
  • MEMBER
Thank you again for taking the time to reply and share your information.
I started my career at a mom and pop shop during high school. I then went to UTI in Arizona, I then spent 18 years with Chevrolet and then 18.5 years with a municipality. I have had some awesome teachers over the years and I appreciate and respect the fact that you are an educator.
I will check eBay and see if I can find the DRB3, I am assuming that is where you saw it.
Thank you again,
Mark
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Sunday, March 28th, 2021 AT 8:19 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
I have used a OTC Genisis a lot. Have 2 of them. They will do everything the other scan tools will do as long as the software is loaded, the problem is that they are getting outdated fast, The last good update was up to 2015 I believe. I stopped updating mine at 2010. That was when I bought my first Autel, then a Launch Diagun IV. Both of those tools really impressed me as they do far more than most tools and both will do things the OEM tools won't. Currently I'm using an Autel MS906BT and a new Diagun V. The Diagun is a nice tool, 700 bucks and 2 years free updates. However it wasn't on the list of tools (yet) that are approved to access 2018 and up Chryslers with the secure gateway module, so I have the bypass cable for those.
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Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 AT 1:02 PM
Tiny
FUNROD32
  • MEMBER
Steve W. Thank you for the response. I have been looking at the Autel, everything I read it sounds nice.
Did you get the USA model?
Do you know if it will program a key fob for a 1998.5 Dodge Ram 2500 w/Cummins 24v?
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Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 AT 2:37 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Yes on the US model, paid a bit more but it gets you US support and warranty. I don't know for sure as I've never done that fob. I've used it on a bunch of keys with no issue.
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Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 AT 5:06 PM
Tiny
FUNROD32
  • MEMBER
Thank you again for taking the time to respond.
Mark
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Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 AT 6:11 PM

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