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I am looking to buy a hand held engine scanner. It would be used to scan engines/transmissions in custom cars/street rods, and on my own personal  cars. Would like it to cover engines from 1995-2018. Can anyone recommend a make/model of scanner that is worth buying. I would only like to buy one, not go down the road of guessing on who makes a better product? Any info from members who use these would be helpful.

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If you want to do 1995 GM cars, go with Snap On scanner, as that is one of the few that will do the weird 1995 GM OBD1.5, which is OBD 1 with an OBD II connector. Even the lowly outdated red brick aka MT2500 will do this well.

 

Now, if you mean 1996 to present, with a standard OBDII connector, most any little scanner will work. There is also the OBD II Bluetooth adapter for use with your phone! Most of these do American and Asian OBD II cars 1996 to present.

 

Want VW coverage, that is more specialized, like VCDS. 

 

Then there is Moates . net software for a laptop that will do OBD I and OBD II. Not so much handheld....

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Really need more information. I have several for different things and depends on what you want to do. For example if just OBD-II then all you need is an android phone or tab, a mini Bluetooth dongle, and Torque Pro ($5). Really the place to start is with that and then see what else you want to do and with which cars: almost all have "extended" properties that allow you to set and read parameters that a normal scanner cannot (like ABS codes and resets). Snap On make a very good scanner but is not cheap and then you have to buy the cartridges for specific cars. For a popular priced scanner I like the Autel Diaglink which runs about a Benjamin with one free car-line module. Additional modules are a sawbuck. All depends on what you want to do.

 

Any time I go to look at a newer car, I always have a dongle and my smart phone, just a part of a thorough checkout.

 

BTW GM 1981-1995 had a proprietary system called ALDL (assembly line data link) for early (CCC) and later (P4) computers. Moates has proper connectors and TunerPro software is good but those can get very complicated very fast if you want to do things like replace an LN3 with an L67.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

I am looking to buy a hand held engine scanner. It would be used to scan engines/transmissions in custom cars/street rods, and on my own personal  cars. Would like it to cover engines from 1995-2018. Can anyone recommend a make/model of scanner that is worth buying. I would only like to buy one, not go down the road of guessing on who makes a better product? Any info from members who use these would be helpful.

 

For light weight, hand held, easy of use,  my Autoxray 5000 is still my go to engine and tranny scanner and with the updates added over the years it is the 6000 with a 5000 label on the face. There are still some new in the box Autoxray 6000's available, I wouldn't get the 7000. Autoxray got bought by SPS  and they did a terrible job of supporting what should have been the best all round and affordable hand held scanner on the market.  The 6000 comes with generic OBD 2 and extended code set for a dozen manufactures along with the backwards computable OBD 1 for Ford, Chrysler and both OBD 1 ALDL GM connectors. It does not do ABS or SRS, for those functions along with OBD 1 & 2 engine and powertrain.

 

I think the OTC 3211  and for a couple hundred bucks it gets you a very versatile hand held OBD 1 + 2  scanner that does ABS, SRS and it's not the scanner that I bought when I upgraded. Replacing parts in late model cars even tire pressure sensors, requires a tool for system programming and that means having a tool that is factory software updatable..

 

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Any old OBDII scanner will pull codes. It's universal, that's the point. Some will try to tell you what the code is but that would get obsolete. The phone ones are nice since that can be updated. I wouldn't spend more than I have to on a normal code reader though and then just look the codes up online. It's worked for me for years now.

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13 hours ago, padgett said:

Snap On make a very good scanner but is not cheap and then you have to buy the cartridges for specific cars.

 That was the very old Red Brick, MT2500.  Coverage of the MT2500 cartridges stopped for most models by the early 2000's. Then, because most of the MT2500 use was on OBD 1 vehicles, and every manufacturer had a proprietary connector, you needed a box full of adapters a profile keys to connect to the vehicles. All the newer Snap On scanners are just software modules you buy. Usually you find the newer ones already have the Domestic and Asian packages inside. And then of course pay for the upgrades to get newer cars read.😉  Oh, and keep that box full of adapters and keys if you still want to read OBD 1 vehicles!

 

Friends seem happy with the Bluetooth and phone scanners. I now use a Solus Pro.....  having sold my MT2500 to a friend who also owns 1995 GM cars!

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19 hours ago, padgett said:

Really need more information. I have several for different things and depends on what you want to do. For example if just OBD-II then all you need is an android phone or tab, a mini Bluetooth dongle, and Torque Pro ($5). Really the place to start is with that and then see what else you want to do and with which cars: almost all have "extended" properties that allow you to set and read parameters that a normal scanner cannot (like ABS codes and resets).

 

^^^^^ Excellent suggestion to at least get started for not a lot of $$$$.

 

I have been using the Torque Pro App on my Android Phone and Android Tablet along with a mini Bluetooth dongle for a number of years now.

I have used this app to Read & Reset codes in various models of Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford and Chevy vehicles. A friend of mine used this app to diagnose a problem with his Class A Winnebago RV that has the Ford F53 Chassis. Just this week I used it to diagnose a Check Engine Light (CEL) code and reset the code in my 2002 VW. Now I just have to find the time to order a coolant sensor and replace it.

 

When I am towing my car trailer with my Toyota Tundra I use a 10.1 inch Andriod tablet running the Torque Pro App to monitor real time information on my Tundra. Much easier to read the larger screen than my smartphone. This information includes: Coolant Temp, Transmission Pan Temp, Torque Converter Temp, RPMs, Trip MPG, Average MPG, GPS Height, Distance to Fuel Empty and other things. This REALLY comes in handy when towing since the analog temperature gauges for coolant and transmission temp are useless in most modern day trucks (if they even have them) regardless of truck manufacturer.

 

Be advised that there is no version of the Torque App for the iPhone that I know of. There might be an app like the Torque Pro app that works on the iPhone but I don't know of one.

 

FYI, the developer of the Torque Pro App issues update multiple times each year to fix issues and improve the program.

Edited by charlier (see edit history)
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I use a thing called Laplogger. It's a program than I run on an old laptop. You have to buy a patch cord to connect to the car. When I bought it 10 years ago it cost $50 and covered all cars, foreign and domestic. I bought it because it was cheap but so far it has done everything I need to do. Mind you, that is only on 5 or 6 cars. Updates are free.

 

Now I see they have an app for your phone or tablet, $3.99 at the app store. I have no idea what that means except $3.99 = cheap.

 

http://laplogger.com/

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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If you are looking to purchase on the inexpensive side, try your local Snap on dealer. They all have older trade in's that are unable to be up dated to the 2005  and up. These are a drug on the market and dealers let them go very reasonable. 

 

just a thought,

 

brasscarguy

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6 hours ago, brasscarguy said:

If you are looking to purchase on the inexpensive side, try your local Snap on dealer.

 

Interesting.  I've never seen the words inexpensive and Snap On used in the same sentence.

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