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ScanGauge II vs WatchDog vs Ultra-Gauge

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Norton, Apr 6, 2011.

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ScanGauge II vs WatchDog vs Ultra-Gauge?

Poll closed May 6, 2011.
  1. ScanGauge II

    19 vote(s)
    52.8%
  2. WatchDog

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Ultra-Gauge

    17 vote(s)
    47.2%
  1. Apr 6, 2011 at 7:38 PM
    #1
    Norton

    Norton [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Please forgive the almost duplicate post, but I seem to have picked the wrong place to post my previous question about OBDII scan tools. :( Having exercised the search function, however, I've read several disparate posts about each of the subject tools. I still find myself torn on which to purchase (or more accurately request for an upcoming birthday). ;)

    What I've taken away from all I've read is that:
    - ScanGauge is the "tried and true" solution, while WatchDog is a relatively new "premium" product from an established automotive tuning company, and Ultra-Gauge is a new entry from a new company.
    - Ultra-Gauge is the bargain entry, at about 1/4 the price of a WatchDog, while ScanGauge occupies the "middle ground" at just under 3X the cost of an Ultra-Gauge.
    - I haven't seen much about compatibility problems with ScanGauge or WatchDog, while Ultra-Gauge causes problems with 2004 Tacoma ABS systems and is listed on the manufacturer's site as being "Confirmed Not compatible with 6-lug Tacomas with ABS" (like mine).
    - WatchDog offers free upgrades via the Internet, while Ultra-Gauge requires a trip back to the manufacturer for its free upgrades. ScanGauge requires a trip back to the factory, and has a cost associated.
    - Ultra-Gauge and WatchDog both include a couple of different mounting options, while ScanGauge includes only velcro strips.
    - All offer a plethora of gauge capabilities, but only ScanGauge and Ultra-Gauge advertise the ability to read/reset CEL error codes. I'm guessing that means WatchDog can't read or reset them?

    I tried to put most of each device's features into a spreadsheet, to facilitate an "apples-to-apples" comparison (attached). GREEN lines list capabilities that appeared "equal" to me. YELLOW shows ScanGauge "advantages". BLUE shows WatchDog "advantages". RED shows Ultra-Gauge advantages.

    All of this said, I'm interested in hearing what my fellow 1st Gen owners think, which one you prefer, and (most importantly) WHY you prefer it...
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Apr 6, 2011 at 8:59 PM
    #2
    james

    james In over my head...

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    I bought the UltraGauge, because I didn't want to spend much on a Scangauge, which I thought was terribly overpriced. I have no experience with the other, WatchDog. So far, I'm pleased, but UltraGauge's setup processes are cumbersome and firmware choices are only adequate. I'd like a firmware upgrade.
     
  3. Apr 6, 2011 at 10:02 PM
    #3
    Digiratus

    Digiratus Adventurer

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    I got the Scangauge primarily for its ability to read the auto tranny fuild temps in 1st gens ('01-'04). The Ultragauge wasn't able to do this at the time. Not sure if it can now.

    I've grown to really appreciate all of the information the SG gives me. I've added to a lot of the basic functions through the use of their X-Gauge codes that can be programmed into the device. In your searching you may have come across TW threads that included some of these codes I am referring to.
     
  4. Apr 7, 2011 at 1:58 AM
    #4
    bizjettech

    bizjettech Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up and spreadsheet.

    Please note - your comment about the non compatibility issue is only in regard to the 2004 model year.

    I plan on getting an Ultragage - I feel it's the best bang for your buck.
     
  5. Apr 7, 2011 at 6:52 AM
    #5
    Southern01Taco

    Southern01Taco Well-Known Member

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    I have the ultra gauge and it does everything I need it to do. It hasn't given me any problems either. Iirc, the problem it was given the 03-04 tacomas was that it just turns the abs off and makes the abs light on the dash come on.
     
  6. Apr 7, 2011 at 11:32 AM
    #6
    Slodgetto

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  7. Apr 7, 2011 at 5:33 PM
    #7
    derekp

    derekp giddy up!

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    Nice write-up! I am leaning toward the Ultra-Gauge (cheaper and seems to meet my needs). I'd like to hear more about the comparo.
     
  8. Apr 9, 2011 at 8:51 AM
    #8
    Norton

    Norton [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks X2. (I have friends who joke that I'm OCD about my pre-purchase comparisons, but I've found they usually lead to longer-term happiness after the money is spent.)

    Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to weigh-in on this! I really appreciate the informed opinions (from actual owners), and look forward to reading more in the coming days...
     
  9. Apr 9, 2011 at 2:08 PM
    #9
    tacomarotto

    tacomarotto "Change is inevitable, but growth is optional."

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    i have the ultra gauge and the ABS light flashing can get a wee bit annoying but does it actually turn off the ABS?
     
  10. Apr 10, 2011 at 10:21 AM
    #10
    Southern01Taco

    Southern01Taco Well-Known Member

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    I can imagine. I'm not 100% sure that it does. I don't have abs on my truck, so I can't test it. That is just something I read. To find out, all you have to do is stomp on your brakes in gravel or dirt and if the front wheels lock up and slide then it is turned off.
     
  11. Apr 10, 2011 at 12:14 PM
    #11
    01Tac0ma

    01Tac0ma Bash Fabriction & Off-Road

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    Look at build!
    Ultragauge, it works great for me and keeps that dadgum CEL off for me!
     
  12. Apr 10, 2011 at 1:43 PM
    #12
    tacomarotto

    tacomarotto "Change is inevitable, but growth is optional."

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    im going to give that a whirl...
     
  13. Apr 11, 2011 at 11:59 AM
    #13
    HeadlampRevamp

    HeadlampRevamp Well-Known Member

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    & 2003 as well. However, I still use the ultra gauge in my 2003 by removing the pin that relays to the ABS. It works fine.
     
  14. Apr 11, 2011 at 12:01 PM
    #14
    HeadlampRevamp

    HeadlampRevamp Well-Known Member

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    This can be fixed by removing the pin that relays to the ABS light. I bought an OBD extension cable off of amazon, and removed the pin on the extension, rather than potentially damaging the harness provided by Ultra Gauge.
     
  15. Apr 11, 2011 at 5:35 PM
    #15
    jtav2002

    jtav2002 Kenny Fuckin Powers

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    I have the Scangauge. Does what it's supposed to. Although it's become a bit of a novelty more than anything at this point I'm contemplating just taking it out and just keeping it to read a code if I throw a CEL.
     
  16. Aug 21, 2011 at 12:44 PM
    #16
    Norton

    Norton [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I've had my Ultra-Gauge for about a month. I'm still working on calibration but, so far, I'm pleased with its functionality & performance. What gauge layout is everyone using?

    Also, I've found mine only puts the ABS into self-diagnostic mode SOMETIMES - seems contingent on how "quickly" I rotate the key when starting the truck. Anyone else experience this?
     
  17. Aug 21, 2011 at 10:18 PM
    #17
    MowTaco

    MowTaco Well-Known Member

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    I use an app on my droid paired with a bluetooth obd-II adaptor. It cost a total of $16 and has all the capabilities of any other obd scanner I've seen plus it has the advantage of the built in GPS so it can track gps mileage, speed, and altitiude. I can also set up different screens on it that have whatever gauges on them in whatever size I want. It is pretty cool and I like it. It's called Torque on the android market if you're interested and have an android phone
     
  18. Sep 6, 2011 at 3:38 AM
    #18
    jsrocket469

    jsrocket469 Well-Known Member

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    I could find the bluetooth adaptor for the iPhone... I've just ordered the Ultra-Gauge. My speedo is about 9% off with the 35" tires.
     
  19. Sep 6, 2011 at 5:43 AM
    #19
    Sign Guy

    Sign Guy Well-Known Member

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    I've got the Ultragauge and the one thing it says it can get is the battery voltage but that only works if your computer puts that out, unfortunately mine doesn't.

    The biggest pain was calibrating the distance for the speedometer and miles/gallon figure. I ended up calibrating it in the middle of the night out in Montana on a drive on the interstate. Kinda funny to be stopped at a mile marker in the middle of the night, setting it up but now the speedometer on it matches my GPS exactly.

    Overall for the price, I think is a great value. I use it to monitor my MPG and feel because of it I have learned how to get better mileage with it.

    I wanted a Scangauge but felt it was way over priced. Never even heard of the WatchDog but if it is more than a Scangauge, that ain't gonna happen unless I win the lotto and I don't play...
     
  20. Apr 11, 2012 at 9:32 PM
    #20
    MJonaGS32

    MJonaGS32 MJ on a GS

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    good thread. thanks
     
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