Scan tool shopping

cliffboyer

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L3301 w/LA525 loader, G5200 mower w/RC48 deck, Kawasaki 610 Mule, DR mower
Nov 30, 2017
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Looking for recommendations on a scan tool for vehicles. Something for home DIY use, compatible from late 90's GM to 8-12 year old Nissan and Toyota models.

Want to be able read and clear codes, and see parameters of various systems. Prefer a dedicated tool, not a wifi dongle for your phone.
 

armylifer

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BX1860, FEL, RCK54P MMM, BB1548 Box Scraper, Quick Hitch, Piranha Bar, BX6315
Mar 26, 2013
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I have a cheap one from Harbor Freight that works great for reading codes and clearing them. It does not show any of the sensor parameters though. I know that HF has several models of scanners that have those advanced features that you want. I only mention the one that I have so you know that it works very well for what it is. I have had it for 14 years and it has never failed me yet. Mine cost $39.00 when I bought it but they are almost double that now.
 
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armylifer

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I don't think this is what the OP is looking for. He specified that the reader should be able to read parameters of the various systems. I took that to mean various sensors such as the O2 sensor, MAP sensors, and various other sensors that are not readable by the cheaper scanners.

I have one that reads every sensor by manufacturer but he specified that it not be a dongle type that sends readings to a smart phone. I would have suggested the wireless one that I have but he wants one that is a single unit that includes a readout of all the systems. Those are typically expensive units, not the cheap code readers from China. I have one of those too and it is great, but not what the OP specified.
 

SidecarFlip

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Oct 28, 2018
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Autel Electronics makes a nice one (Amazon). I have an Autel Evo Drone and if the drone is any indication of the quality, I'd say it's a winner.

Having said that however, like Armylifer, I have a HF Zurich code reader but the expensive one (one below the 900 buck handheld tablet scanner) and it does everything and it tells you what component is bad as well as all the codes and resets everything including the the oil change thingie...

Just used it on my wife's Burb. Threw a check engine light so I plugged in the scanner and ran the diagnostics and it told me exactly what component was failed. Bought it at Rock Auto (much cheaper than anywhere else) and out it in and viola, light out. Interestingly, the dealer could not fix it (or was too lazy to or something). They replaced the fuel cap (under warranty) and obviously cleared the code which came back on the way home, so I plugged the Zurich in and it told me the evaporative purge cannister had failed. Bought a new one, installed it (king of hard underneath in the back and viola, no more check engine light. The Zurich does ABS brakes and traction control modules too as well as real time diagnostics and freeze frame and it will tell you if your vehicle can pass a smog test (none here). It's good from 1997 through new vehicles and handles about every make. Very happy with it.

Finally, all the upgrades (if any) you can do via your computer and the Zurich updater app. I keep mine up to date. Even comes with the cable to download the data.
 

Daren Todd

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May 18, 2014
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I have a basic code reader from Mac tools. Handles abs sensors as well as clearing codes.
 

dirtydeed

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I have an Autel that that is approx 3 years old. It works well, with a fairly straight forward menu. It is the corded variety and will handle PCM, TCM and ABS. I think it ran me around $130.
 

D2Cat

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Autel Electronics makes a nice one (Amazon). I have an Autel Evo Drone and if the drone is any indication of the quality, I'd say it's a winner.

Having said that however, like Armylifer, I have a HF Zurich code reader but the expensive one (one below the 900 buck handheld tablet scanner) and it does everything and it tells you what component is bad as well as all the codes and resets everything including the the oil change thingie...

Just used it on my wife's Burb. Threw a check engine light so I plugged in the scanner and ran the diagnostics and it told me exactly what component was failed. Bought it at Rock Auto (much cheaper than anywhere else) and out it in and viola, light out. Interestingly, the dealer could not fix it (or was too lazy to or something). They replaced the fuel cap (under warranty) and obviously cleared the code which came back on the way home, so I plugged the Zurich in and it told me the evaporative purge cannister had failed. Bought a new one, installed it (king of hard underneath in the back and viola, no more check engine light. The Zurich does ABS brakes and traction control modules too as well as real time diagnostics and freeze frame and it will tell you if your vehicle can pass a smog test (none here). It's good from 1997 through new vehicles and handles about every make. Very happy with it.

Finally, all the upgrades (if any) you can do via your computer and the Zurich updater app. I keep mine up to date. Even comes with the cable to download the data.
Sounds like you need to remind someone to not try to fill the fuel tank to the brim!!
 
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SidecarFlip

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Oct 28, 2018
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Actually, with GM's in general, if the fuel cap gasket is compromised in any way, it will throw a code and illuminate the check engine light. What the dealer did, replaced the cap, cleared the volatile memory and sent her on her way. They never looked any farther. If they had and checked the trouble code it would have called out the vapor surge tank fauilty code, which is what the Zurich did for me, cannot remember the P code offhand but I replaced the part (71 bucks) and all was good. Should not have had to do that it is under warranty but the dealer (Dunn) is lazy I guess. I know they won't reimburse me for it anyway. GM techs kind of suck like that as well as GM in general.

Why I'd like to see OBD ports on new Kubota's instead of the proprietary Kubota port. They all work the same basically (ECM)'s so having the OBD compatible would make diagnosis and repair something you could do yourself instead of having to deal with the dealer and a Diagmaster at a price.

Why I don't want a new one primarily.

The Zurich does all internal combustion engines, diesel included.
 

xrocketengineer

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BX1880, FEL, Grapple, 36 in. Forks, 48in. MMM, Quick Spade, Ripper
Nov 14, 2020
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Merritt Island, Florida
It looks like the OP is looking for an OBD I reader and possibly OBD II also.
Well I have a mixed bag of experiences. My neighbor had borrowed a Bosch OBD 1300, which can do OBD I on most cars and OBD II, to use on his 2005 Nissan Armada and I was very impressed since it could read not only the engine data but could do ABS and airbags reads and resets. So I got me a Bosch OBD 1200 with the only difference that it could not do OBD I only OBD II. It works fantastically on my 2008 Nissan Titan but on my 2014 Ford Focus ST and my 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe there is no hope for the ABS and much less for the airbags to have their existence even acknowledged.
I also have a super cheap Chinese Bluetooth dongle and a freebie Russian Android app that I used on the Hyundai when the ABS, ESC and downhill "whatever" aid lights came on. The dongle and app combination correctly diagnosed a bad right rear speed sensor plus it read several other related codes stored in memory.
I even got a printed report of all the findings. I was surprised that the dongle even worked because the app author recommended not use that specific dongle because it would not connect properly. My Bosch tool was useless when I needed it.
 

Daren Todd

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Z121S Zero turn mower
May 18, 2014
6,732
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Conway, Arkansas
It looks like the OP is looking for an OBD I reader and possibly OBD II also.
Well I have a mixed bag of experiences. My neighbor had borrowed a Bosch OBD 1300, which can do OBD I on most cars and OBD II, to use on his 2005 Nissan Armada and I was very impressed since it could read not only the engine data but could do ABS and airbags reads and resets. So I got me a Bosch OBD 1200 with the only difference that it could not do OBD I only OBD II. It works fantastically on my 2008 Nissan Titan but on my 2014 Ford Focus ST and my 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe there is no hope for the ABS and much less for the airbags to have their existence even acknowledged.
I also have a super cheap Chinese Bluetooth dongle and a freebie Russian Android app that I used on the Hyundai when the ABS, ESC and downhill "whatever" aid lights came on. The dongle and app combination correctly diagnosed a bad right rear speed sensor plus it read several other related codes stored in memory.
I even got a printed report of all the findings. I was surprised that the dongle even worked because the app author recommended not use that specific dongle because it would not connect properly. My Bosch tool was useless when I needed it.
If your vehicle starts throwing wonky codes with abs and traction control simultaneously, check the little box that kicks on your brake lights.

That little box also effects the ABS system, cruise control and traction control.

My 09 Sierra started out having to tap the brake pedal sideways with my foot to get the cruise control to set. Then one day it started throwing traction control, and abs codes. It was that little box that attaches to the brake pedal. $100 for the dealer to swap it out. There was no way I could contorsion myself into position to replace the darned switch.

That job required someone younger and skinnier with smaller hands then mine to get in there.
 

xrocketengineer

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BX1880, FEL, Grapple, 36 in. Forks, 48in. MMM, Quick Spade, Ripper
Nov 14, 2020
297
168
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Merritt Island, Florida
If your vehicle starts throwing wonky codes with abs and traction control simultaneously, check the little box that kicks on your brake lights.

That little box also effects the ABS system, cruise control and traction control.

My 09 Sierra started out having to tap the brake pedal sideways with my foot to get the cruise control to set. Then one day it started throwing traction control, and abs codes. It was that little box that attaches to the brake pedal. $100 for the dealer to swap it out. There was no way I could contorsion myself into position to replace the darned switch.

That job required someone younger and skinnier with smaller hands then mine to get in there.
In this case it was the sensor. I found on the internet a very lengthy and detailed Hyundai service bulletin addressing specifically this issue for my particular VIN. Not only that, it was a manufacturing defect that allowed moisture to get into the sensor. When I took it to the dealer they said yes, that is the problem. However, my 10 year powertrain warranty did not cover that. They would only fix it if you complained and you still had your bumper to bumper warranty. The same type of issue happened before with the electronic power steering rubber coupling. The part was not covered because it was not "lubricated" however the same part number was used on the Hyundai Sonata and there was a recall for that car.
This is my second Hyundai, the first one was cheap and I did not have high expectation. It was ok in the end.
Lately Hyundai wants to charge Toyota prices but the cars remain cheaply built and the reliability is even worse. This is my last one.
 

Ikc1990

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Kabota b2710, cab, la402, b2782, 5' bush hog, homade carryall, 5' rototiller,
Dec 2, 2020
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Vermont
If your vehicle starts throwing wonky codes with abs and traction control simultaneously, check the little box that kicks on your brake lights.

That little box also effects the ABS system, cruise control and traction control.

My 09 Sierra started out having to tap the brake pedal sideways with my foot to get the cruise control to set. Then one day it started throwing traction control, and abs codes. It was that little box that attaches to the brake pedal. $100 for the dealer to swap it out. There was no way I could contorsion myself into position to replace the darned switch.

That job required someone younger and skinnier with smaller hands then mine to get in there.
It can also be a wheel hub( bearing and speed sensor) had many of times it threw those codes change hub assembly and good to go if you do one side most of time wont be long you will do other side.
 

cliffboyer

Active member

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L3301 w/LA525 loader, G5200 mower w/RC48 deck, Kawasaki 610 Mule, DR mower
Nov 30, 2017
206
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Southern IL
Well, I'm off with some good input here.

I won't completely nix a dongle unit, but not real keen on them based on other experiences with them (unrelated to topic at hand). Apps that are buggy or not compatible with tablet, ads that pop up, upates that fix some issues but come with new ones.
 

xrocketengineer

Active member

Equipment
BX1880, FEL, Grapple, 36 in. Forks, 48in. MMM, Quick Spade, Ripper
Nov 14, 2020
297
168
43
Merritt Island, Florida
Well, I'm off with some good input here.

I won't completely nix a dongle unit, but not real keen on them based on other experiences with them (unrelated to topic at hand). Apps that are buggy or not compatible with tablet, ads that pop up, upates that fix some issues but come with new ones.
On a side note, I also found out that the Bosch and Actron OBD diagnostics tools are all made by the same company.
 

SidecarFlip

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M9000HDCC3, M9000HD, Kubota GS850 Sidekick
Oct 28, 2018
7,198
519
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Sounds like you need to remind someone to not try to fill the fuel tank to the brim!!
Her 'Burb' not mine. I don't ever tell my wife anything. If I did, I'd have a purple lump on my noggin....
 
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