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Old 09-23-2021, 10:52 PM   #1
89'HBV6
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Default OBD2 reader...

I need a GOOD OBD2 reader for my 17' Outback, the wife's 08 Honda and anything else I get in the future. Planning on spending a few $$... budget ~200.

So, for those who use them on a regular basis, what is a good brand to consider looking at. Any other specifics I need to consider, in the reader, when dealing with new(er) autos? ...what have you used? ...what do you prefer?

Please, talk to me...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deerhurst
What he is saying is the aerodynamics of a D21 is a brick in the wind.
Probably at least as bad as a Jeep so worse than a cow.
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Old 09-23-2021, 11:43 PM   #2
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Does Subi have the equivalent of Forscan or VCDS? That would be the best investment.



Otherwise, $15 adapter with Bluetooth and the Torque app on your phone.



I use VCDS for my Audi and it's a god send. I also have a Bluetooth adapter that connects to my head unit for on the fly stuff and fun little graphs to watch.
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Old 09-24-2021, 12:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deerhurst View Post
Does Subi have the equivalent of Forscan or VCDS? That would be the best investment.

Otherwise, $15 adapter with Bluetooth and the Torque app on your phone.

I use VCDS for my Audi and it's a god send. I also have a Bluetooth adapter that connects to my head unit for on the fly stuff and fun little graphs to watch.
Well, I don't need to "tune", just diag problems and clear codes. Don't expect more, but I never know where I'll need to take this...

I have no idea about either of these. This is all "GREEK" to me...


Here's what I have been able to find:
Does FORScan work on Subaru?
FORScan was never intended for the Subaru market. Depending on your model year, FreeSSM was an interesting project. It worked rather well on older K-Line vehicles.
Mar 8, 2021
Also...
What scan tool does Subaru use?
Subaru Select Monitor III

Subaru dealerships use the Select Monitor III scanner. It is referred to as HDS 3000, which stands for Hitachi Diagnostic System. The scanner will allow you to access all Subaru vehicles' systems, but it is simply too expensive for Subaru owners.
May 23, 2017
$3k w/$2k/year script! No thank you!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deerhurst
What he is saying is the aerodynamics of a D21 is a brick in the wind.
Probably at least as bad as a Jeep so worse than a cow.
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Old 09-24-2021, 02:50 AM   #4
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The short answer is, something like this would probably fit the bill:

https://www.amazon.com/FOXWELL-Scann...motive&sr=1-21

A much more long-winded answer is, it depends on what you want/need it to do. The $2-300 range is a difficult price point to shop for. Not because of a lack of options but because of what you get at that price point. For anything made after about 2005 you're definitely going to need something that supports CAN, so you can talk to all the different modules instead of just the ECU. Newer cars set a lot of "ghost" codes when something goes wrong and it often takes a bit of detective work to determine what the actual problem is.

If you just need to read CEL codes and look at live data there's no need to spend $200 on a scan tool, a cheap bluetooth dongle will work just fine, as Deerhurst mentioned above. And a lot of them can also read transmission and ABS codes. They are cheap enough it's worth owning one just to keep it in the car. A $2-300 scan tool will be able to talk to all the modules on the network and might support some functions like ABS bleeding and electronic parking brake reset but you're still in read-only mode at this point.

The $6-700 range is where you'll actually start gaining capabilities compared to the cheaper tools. These tools can generally do things like program new keys, do an idle relearn/TB calibration and reconfigure the keyless entry settings in most vehicles. At that price point, most of these tools also support bidirectional controls, or the ability to override the ECU and switch things on and off manually (for example, if you suspect you have a bad EVAP purge solenoid you could command it on/off and watch the live data to see if the fuel tank pressure reading changes). On many vehicles, they also support what's called a PMI (programmable module installation) for some of the modules. Essentially what it does is takes the information from the old module and writes it into the new/replacement one, so you don't have to take the car somewhere to have it programmed. A good example of this would be rewriting the VIN in a used replacement ECU so that it plays nice with immobilizer in whatever vehicle you're installing it in.

It's worth mentioning that most if not all of these tools are subscription-based and the updates are not cheap once your free update period runs out. That said, don't let it deter you. It would be a lot like if you had a PC running windows 7 after 10 had become the norm. It'll still work and you'll still be able to use it just fine, you just won't be supported unless you give them more money. As long as you aren't working on brand new stuff it really makes no difference.

There's also the option of using manufacturer-specific software (such as Forscan and VCDS), but that can get quite cumbersome if you work on stuff from several manufacturers. Either way, you'll need the appropriate USB cable and a laptop that can run it. I know for Toyota vehicles you can go online and buy a USB to OBD2 cable and what I'm sure is a totally legitimate copy of Techstream for around $50. I'd imagine a similar setup exists for Honda vehicles but I'm not sure.

Personally, besides a basic HF code reader I keep in the car I have two higher-level scan tools: a launch X431V and an Autel MK808. Both are way overkill for a DIYer and will do just about anything you'd need for most domestic and asian vehicles. IMHO the Autel has a nicer and more intuitive user interface but the Launch is a more powerful tool for the money. Subarus are kind of their own thing, though. Neither of my scan tools supports many functions on them. I don't think that's a limitation on the tool's part so much as it is that Subarus are just weird like that. I've thought about trying to get my hands on a used/cracked copy of the software before. TBH I'm not even a fan of their cars but I work on them occasionally.

I realize this might not be the answer you're looking for but I hope it helps.
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Old 09-24-2021, 07:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBJ View Post
The short answer is, something like this would probably fit the bill:

<snip>

<snip>

<snip>

I realize this might not be the answer you're looking for but I hope it helps.
...and you have no idea how much. Well written, thank you!
Now, to completemplate my future!


I knew Subies were an odd bunch... it did not used to be this way, but my jump from 01' to 17' was huge! So much so that it's like jumping multi-generations in the computer world. You can be lost in an instant! This is just another portion of my learning process in this new age of this "Computerized Automotive World".


So, on the "cheapER side" (old budget is out the window)... something I can use across platforms. Prefer dedicated, reliable and cost effective.... Rather not use my phone.
Is there a prefered manuf these days, for standard OBD2 readers?

Searching... I've seen so many, madeinChina, my head is spinning. Trying to narrow down...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deerhurst
What he is saying is the aerodynamics of a D21 is a brick in the wind.
Probably at least as bad as a Jeep so worse than a cow.
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Old 09-25-2021, 01:28 AM   #6
SBJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89'HBV6 View Post
...and you have no idea how much. Well written, thank you!
Now, to completemplate my future!


I knew Subies were an odd bunch... it did not used to be this way, but my jump from 01' to 17' was huge! So much so that it's like jumping multi-generations in the computer world. You can be lost in an instant! This is just another portion of my learning process in this new age of this "Computerized Automotive World".


So, on the "cheapER side" (old budget is out the window)... something I can use across platforms. Prefer dedicated, reliable and cost effective.... Rather not use my phone.
Is there a prefered manuf these days, for standard OBD2 readers?

Searching... I've seen so many, madeinChina, my head is spinning. Trying to narrow down...
They're all made in China. That's where all the affordable software comes from . Honestly brand doesn't matter all that much as long as it does what you need it to do. Scan tools have come a long way over the past 10 years and I don't think there are too many that are actual junk. Get something that you think will work for what you're doing.

Across the board I'd say Autel makes pretty decent stuff. They used to make HF's line of scanners, I don't know if they still do. You might look at their MK series of tools (like the MK808). For a DIYer it's probably the most bang for the buck. No bidirectional controls but you can look at live data for everything and I believe it can also program keys for most cars, not that anyone ever loses theirs. Here are a couple of examples:

https://www.amazon.com/Autel-MaxiCOM...2532052&sr=8-9

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SWH7LTZ...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

Honestly I'd probably buy that ThinkScan tool if I didn't have one already, that's a smoking deal for what you get. I wasn't expecting to find that just doing a cursory search on Amazon. They are made by Launch, and while I've never used one of those my regular Launch tool is fantastic.

I would definitely wait until closer to the end of the year before buying anything, though. On or after black Friday is a good time. Once they start rolling out next year's model you can often get the outgoing model at a discount.
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