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

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Towing and Hitching
Click Here to Login
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-26-2014, 02:16 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21. Tow vehicle: 2012 Toyota Tundra Crewmax Platunum.
Posts: 352
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?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg scangauge.jpg (110.8 KB, 23 views)

Brent and Cheryl.
Catchlight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 02:39 PM   #2
Senior Member
FMLNM's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Trailer: 2008 Escape 5.0
Posts: 707
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
2008 Escape 5.0
2011 Frontier Crew Cab Short Bed Pro4x
Albuquerque, New Mexico
FMLNM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 04:43 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
Posts: 735
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") , 2018 Ford F150
dbailey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 05:05 PM   #4
Senior Member
fudge_brownie's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Janesville, WI, Wisconsin
Trailer: Escape 19 (sold) Escape 21 2014
Posts: 1,445
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'
fudge_brownie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 06:04 PM   #5
Senior Member
Cypherian's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Dover, Delaware
Trailer: Escape 19' 2012 Tacoma 4x4 V6 DBLCB 2011
Posts: 582
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.

Veritas Lux Mea
Cypherian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 07:07 PM   #6
Senior Member
Mike Lewis's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Santa Rosa County, Florida
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 2,085
I have a ScanGauge II on my 2013 Tacoma. I was able to find the codes for transmission temperature. It works fine.

Mike Lewis
Mike Lewis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 07:39 PM   #7
Senior Member
skiman's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Jeromesville, Ohio
Trailer: Escape 21' pulled with 2014 Silverado Crewcab
Posts: 723
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.

"Isn't it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?"
Zig Ziglar
skiman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 08:32 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,665
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.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 08:56 PM   #9
Bill R's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Belchertown, Massachusetts
Trailer: 2018 Escape 19
Posts: 52
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.

Bill R
Bill R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2014, 11:30 AM   #10
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Forks, Washington
Trailer: Working on my build list
Posts: 93
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.

WestEnder is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.