Using a ScanGauge to monitor towing performance? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-26-2014, 02:16 PM   #1
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Using a ScanGauge to monitor towing performance?

The ScanGauge device will monitor vehicle performance indicators from transmission fluid temperature to real-time fuel economy, and much more.

The unit is compact and looks easy to install and to remove if you want to use it in a second vehicle. Velcro might be a good option for installation without any hole-drilling. The dimensions are: 4.8" wide x 1.5" high x 1" deep.

Has anyone been using one to monitor their tow vehicle's functioning under different driving conditions, and to get advance warning about overheating or other potential problems?
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Brent and Cheryl.
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Old 04-26-2014, 02:39 PM   #2
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We have been using one for a few years now. It was easy to install. Works great but we have been unable to get valid codes for the transmission fluid temp for the 2011 Frontier. We do get water temp and all the other standard stuff.
We think it helps improve fuel mileage because you can see real time what your engine is doing and what your mpg is at the moment so it makes you more aware of your driving habits.

PS - We leave it on all the time, not just for towing.

Fran & Dave
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2011 Frontier Crew Cab Short Bed Pro4x
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Old 04-26-2014, 04:43 PM   #3
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I use something similar -- an "Ultragauge" (UltraGauge OBDII Scan tool & Information Center). Same idea...

Useful, I think. A good way to learn how different driving styles affect mileage.

2013 Escape 19 ("The Dog House") , 2012 Nissan Frontier
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:05 PM   #4
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I wanted to install one but found out ahead of time that there are no codes or no sensors for transmission temperatures on my 2003 4Runner. There are a lot of nice features but one of the key to monitor is trany temp. It appears from the prior post that even later Toyota vehicles have issues with getting readings.

It sure looks like a nice tool and I know you will have some good benefits with it installed.
Paul and Janet Braun
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 now 2012 Toyota Sequoia V8
Escape 19' 2010 now 2014 Escape 21'
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:04 PM   #5
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I use one on my 2011 Tacoma works nice to monitor trans temp and water temp along with fuel mileage and battery out put, fudge you may want to check again with Scan Gauge re codes for your vehicle.

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Old 04-26-2014, 07:07 PM   #6
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I have a ScanGauge II on my 2013 Tacoma. I was able to find the codes for transmission temperature. It works fine.

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Old 04-26-2014, 07:39 PM   #7
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cheaper than a scan gage

I bought an OBII Bluetooth scan tool from amazon for $25: BAFX Products - Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool - For check engine light & diagnostics - Android ONLY: Automotive

I then downloaded the Android App called Torque for my smartphone. Let's you configure your smartphone to display engine parameters, read fault codes, and reset codes. It let me display transmission temperature on my Trailblazer. Showed me that I needed to add an external cooler when pulling my Casita.

Only bad thing is tied up my phone. Could receive calls but not make. Next trip used old smartphone and used WiFi to install Torque and used it as dedicated display. Torque Pro cost $5.

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Old 04-26-2014, 08:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FMLNM View Post
Works great but we have been unable to get valid codes for the transmission fluid temp for the 2011 Frontier.
I have an Autel MaxiTrip, which is similar - but cheaper. The problem of not knowing the codes for desired information in less common vehicles (which essentially means anything other than a Ford or GM truck) is common.

Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
I wanted to install one but found out ahead of time that there are no codes or no sensors for transmission temperatures on my 2003 4Runner.
Members of a Sienna forum thought the same, but there is a transmission temperature sensor and the codes have been found for some years. Since transmission computers include protective high-temperature logic, they need a sensor, so the sensors are more common than one might guess. It was years before anyone found the second-generation Sienna codes, and even then not for all years.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:56 PM   #9
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I installed a scangauge in our 2014 4runner and am getting transmission temperatures as an extended gauge, using the 2010+ codes from

fudge_brownie, there are reports of 2003 v6 4runners getting transmission temperatures from a scangauge at Scangauge trans temp? - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Largest 4Runner Forum. Different years require different extended gauge codes. Not sure if this also works for v8's.

A bluetooth obd dongle is another great way to go, paired with the android torque app. I didn't do this because I wanted a permanent mount and didn't want to leave even an old android phone visible. The scangauge is a 1990's interface, so hopefully not as attractive to thieves.

I installed our scangauge over the rearview mirror with a blendmount. I had reservations about opening up an A-pillar with side curtain airbags to run the cat5 cable, but it was surprisingly easy, at least for our 2014 4runner. I posted a how-to on 2014 driver-side A-pillar trim removal - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Largest 4Runner Forum.

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Old 04-27-2014, 11:30 AM   #10
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I also have a ScanGuage II. It is velcroed to the top of the steering column just where yours is shown in the photo. I have the cord wrapped around the column several times just to get it out of the way. It is saving enough money on gas to pay for itself.

I would highly recommend it if your vehicle does not have transmission temperature in the displays someplace. Having this information while you tow, especially in the mountains or in very hot weather, might save you the cost of a transmission replacement. See The Secret to Extended Automatic Transmission Life - WAYNE'S TRANSMISSIONS for more info. There is a nice chart on heat vs transmission life at Transmission temperature/failure chart.

Other benefits:

Most folks over on the fuel economy forums claim you can get an quick increase in your fuel mileage by getting a good gauge and paying attention to what it is telling you. Stories of people getting 5% to 15% better miles per gallon within a week or two are common. (It worked for me). Set two of the readings to AVG and MPG. AVG is the average fuel economy for the trip, MPG the instant fuel economy. (Some of the more recent cars show these in their displays somewhere.) Your goal is to have the AVG reading as high as possible. Watch the MPG as you drive and it will show you how your driving style at the moment affects your mileage. Try it on a trip you do all the time like your commute and you will see what you are learning to save. For advice search "hypermiling tips". What you will find ranges from easy to stuff that takes a little more practice. (There is a little of the totally stupid in there too). The page at 100+ Hypermiling / ecodriving tips & tactics for better mpg - is long but very comprehensive.

A good gauge has the added advantage of being able to read trouble codes your vehicle's computer stores when it detects a problem. If you are trying to trouble-shoot a problem being able to read and clear those codes is helpful. Having a tool that will tell you if the Check Engine light is a big problem that needs to be dealt with quickly or a smaller problem that can wait a little is also convenient. It will also give you a check on what your mechanic is telling you if you don't DIY on your vehicle. Your favorite search engine will get you lists of codes and what they mean.

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