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?

https://www.scangauge.com/
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:04 PM   #5
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Hey,
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:

Amazon.com: 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.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...g.prowl.torque
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
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.

Quote:
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 https://www.scangauge.com/support/x-...yota-specific/

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 - EcoModder.com 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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Old 04-27-2014, 11:34 AM   #11
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FWIW, a scangauge/blendmount picture:
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:06 PM   #12
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Sounds like I should get one
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Old 04-27-2014, 02:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill R View Post
I installed our scangauge over the rearview mirror with a blendmount...
I had never heard of this, but it looks like an interesting option - thanks Bill
BlendMount for ScanGauge
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Old 04-27-2014, 02:59 PM   #14
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Good work, that's nice. Very professional looking and much better than what I did.
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:17 PM   #15
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I just came back from a 12 hour tow, my oil temp remained 200 degrees with a range of 300. My coolant was 195 with a range limit of 300. My trans temperature remained at 145 with a high limit of 300 on the scale. Finally my oil pressure was 45 with a limit of 90 on my scale. These numbers were going thru the Blue Ridge Mts in Virginia/Tennessee.
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:19 PM   #16
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Which vehicle Jim?
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:29 PM   #17
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This was the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 with the Hemi engine. I only have 18,000 miles on it so it is just getting broken in.
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:50 AM   #18
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I have been using a Scan Gauge II since about May or June of this year. I bought it because we had a trip to Utah/Arizona planned for July, and since my FJ has only the standard transmission fluid cooler built into the radiator, I was a bit concerned about monitoring transmission fluid temps while traveling through some of the high mountain passes and hot desert countryside.

On the FJCruisers forum, I found codes to monitor two transmission sensors in the FJ, and programmed the Scan Gauge accordingly with a TF1 and TF2 readout. The gauge I bought online from Gifford Automotive came with a defective cable, but the supplier was very quick to send me a replacement.

I originally mounted the gauge above the steering wheel column, just in front of the instrument panel. However, I was not happy with that location, since the gauge blocked site of some of the idiot lights along the bottom of the speedometer. I then made up a bracket and mounted the gauge on the "hand grip" above the dashboard near the drivers side door.




This location worked out much better. Great visibility, easy to operate, and did not interfere with viewing of any of the dashboard gauges.

The auto transmission in my FJ has gears designated D, 4, 3, 2 and 1, and Toyota recommends keeping in 4th while towing. I found that non-towing (driving in D) in relatively flat terrain in summer type weather, the transmission fluid temperatures after continuous driving were typically in the range of about 165 to 180F. While towing (in 4th gear) on relatively flat terrain in summer, the transmission temps typically stayed between about 175 to 200F. I did notice really early that the transmission temperatures are about 10-20 hotter if I forgot to use 4th gear while towing and left the transmission in D. Apparently, this is because the torque converter is locked when driving in 4th.

Of the two temperature sensors on my transmission, one of them is much more sensitive to temp changes than the other, and tends to climb rapidly when the transmission is working hard. From posts by others on the FJ forum, it seems that this sensor may be located right at the outlet from the torque converter.

My highest recorded transmission fluid temperatures occurred while towing on a couple of very high mountain passes in Utah. While climbing up these steep mountain roads to near 9000 ft elevation, the transmission fluid temperatures would climb to the 220-230F range. However, on one section of one pass in Utah, the TF temperature rose to nearly 250F, which was beginning to worry me. Good news was that the temperatures always stayed high for only a few moments and dropped off very quickly when the transmission load was reduced.

The Scan Gauge has been a very useful tool in monitoring the TF temperatures and towing performance, and has helped me to understand much better how my rig is operating. Given that 99% of my towing is not going to be up-down high mountain passes in extremely hot weather, I don't really see that I will need to buy a secondary TF cooler for the FJ, and I think that I will continue as things are now set up. The Scan Gauge does have the added benefit of allowing you to monitor fuel consumption and mileage (and a host of other things) as you drive, which is quite useful as the FJ does not have stock capabilities to report those figures. It was well worth the purchase price and I am glad I bought it.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:23 AM   #19
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This ^ I run one also since no gauge package exists for a Tacoma to allow monitoring of tranny, voltage etc.
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:46 AM   #20
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We picked up our Escape 19 in June and spent the next 2 months touring BC, WA, and OR before heading back to MA, so I also have some transmission data to report from our 2014 Toyota 4Runner.

Before the trip, I installed a Long 4589 21000btu auxiliary transmission cooler in series after the factory radiator cooler, mounted in front of the ac condenser. I have no before/after temperature comparisons, but would guess that it lowers the transmission fluid temperature by 20-30 degrees F.

The scangauge xgauge codes are:
txd rxf rxd mth name
07E02182 046105820000 3808 00090005FFD8 TFT trans torque temp/F
07E12182 046105820000 2808 00090005FFD8 TFP trans pan temp/F

Our highest peak temperature was driving east from Port Alberni BC:
206 degrees F at the torque converter outlet of the transmission
186 degrees F in the pan of the transmission
191 degrees F coolant temperature
90 degrees F outside temperature
I didn't record the speed, but it was about 35mph -- we were passing logging trucks but being passed by other traffic.

The 4Runner transmission torque converter will lock in 4th above 45mph with a light to moderate load, and when locked, the transmission fluid temperature stays low. But drop to 3rd gear or give it lots of gas and the torque converter will unlock and the temperature will climb. Interstate highways are not usually an issue, as the grades are 6% or less and careful driving can keep the torque converter locked. Secondary roads with lower speeds and higher grades are the challenge, as it is not always possible to keep the torque converter locked.

Having both the torque converter and pan temperatures from the ScanGauge is very informative. When the torque converter is locked, the temperatures are the same, so you can see instantly the lock/unlock status. I'm told the over-temperature warning light comes on at 302 degrees F, but by then, the fluid is suspect and the transmission is at risk. So having some other gauge like the ScanGauge is IMO important unless your tow vehicle is overprovisioned.

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