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1996 Bronco XLT 5.8L automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to buy an OBD-II scanner.
I've searched past discussions, the last one I found was from May 2019:

Does anyone have more recent experience or recommendations; or even just brands that tend to be good, or to steer clear of?

I think I want one with these features (it's not just for my 96 Bronco):
  • self contained display, but with BT/WiFi connection to phone/computer.
  • support the 5 std OBD-II versions.
  • support the 10 OBD-II services (modes), in particular to allow:
    • read/clear DTCs.
    • read/save real time data.
    • active tests (bidirectional control).
    • basic tests for I/M readiness, EVAP, etc.
  • lifetime software updates;
    • from a company that hopefully will be around for many years.
  • and depending on cost:
    • also talks with other non-engine systems, like transmission, ABS, SRS.
    • (I realize ABS might not work with Bronco 4WABS, thanks miesk5)
    • display graphs of live or stored data.
There are lots of other bells & whistles that'd be nice, like auto VIN retrieval or built-in DTC defs, but these aren't critical.

1. I noticed a number of you have used Actron units over the years. Is that still a good brand to bet on? Or which are other good brands?

2. Apparently some units that claim to do active tests, are unable to do some/all of them on particular vehicles. Is this probably due to that vehicle not implementing those things, or is it more likely just a half baked unit?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thank you.
 

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26,747 Posts
Yo M,
I have the Actron CP9135 AutoScanner Diagnostic Code Scanner with On Screen Definitions - got it as a gift; it works as advertised and is ok for my use, but the instructions suck: they don't mention warming eng up for KOER test and a few other thAngs, such as providing very limited Code Definitions; I called em and mentioned this omission; tech support said "OK" and hung up.

And an recent example; a PO500 Code read VSS Sensor, but actual cause(s) could be somethAng in the stream incl. bad 4WABS Controller, PSOM, wiring, tone ring.
And it doesn't read the 4WABS Codes.

I would purchase one if this Actron ever dies and it would be able to read the Parameter Identification (PID); mode allows access to powertrain control module (PCM) information. This includes analog and digital signal inputs and outputs along with calculated values and system status. There are
two types of PID lists available and both are used.
Standard set of PIDs for all manufacturers all scan tools must be able to access.
The second is a Ford specific (J2190) list which can be accessed by an adequate scan tool. When accessing any of
these PIDs, the values will be continuously updated. The Generic or Ford PID list provides definitions and
values in appropriate units. For more information, refer to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2205
document.
 

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I am assuming you have a '96 because that is the only model with OBD II
This was the earliest incarnation of OBD II and the ABS system was not even included in the codes presented in event of a failure , it had a separate connector , everything
A code scanner that INCLUDES ABS codes would be great, but I'm not sure if it even exists
 

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Registered
1996 Bronco XLT 5.8L automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Yo M,
I have the Actron CP9135 AutoScanner Diagnostic Code Scanner with On Screen Definitions - got it as a gift; it works as advertised and is ok for my use, but the instructions suck: they don't mention warming eng up for KOER test and a few other thAngs, such as providing very limited Code Definitions; I called em and mentioned this omission; tech support said "OK" and hung up.

And an recent example; a PO500 Code read VSS Sensor, but actual cause(s) could be somethAng in the stream incl. bad 4WABS Controller, PSOM, wiring, tone ring.
And it doesn't read the 4WABS Codes.

I would purchase one if this Actron ever dies and it would be able to read the Parameter Identification (PID); mode allows access to powertrain control module (PCM) information. This includes analog and digital signal inputs and outputs along with calculated values and system status. There are
two types of PID lists available and both are used.
Standard set of PIDs for all manufacturers all scan tools must be able to access.
The second is a Ford specific (J2190) list which can be accessed by an adequate scan tool. When accessing any of
these PIDs, the values will be continuously updated. The Generic or Ford PID list provides definitions and
values in appropriate units. For more information, refer to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2205
document.
Thanks for mentioning the importance of the scanner being able to read manufacturer-specific PIDs in addition to the standard OBDII ones.

Does the following statement from a scanner spec seem to fill that bill?

The ML329 "...OBD2 scanner can retrieve generic (P0, P2, P3, and U0), manufacturer specific (P1, P3, and U1) codes, pending codes, ..."​

And does this statement about Mode 6 also imply that it handles non-standard PIDs? (since I think Mode 6 has no standard PIDs)

"Enhanced OBD II MODE 6: ... ML529 is equipped advanced OBD2 Mode 6, to help Request On-Board Monitoring Test Results for Specific Monitored SystemsThanks!​

I just wanted to see if I'm on the right track before I start asking the scanner companies specific questions.
Thank you!
 

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Registered
1996 Bronco XLT 5.8L automatic
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for mentioning the importance of the scanner being able to read manufacturer-specific PIDs in addition to the standard OBDII ones.

Does the following statement from a scanner spec seem to fill that bill?

The ML329 "...OBD2 scanner can retrieve generic (P0, P2, P3, and U0), manufacturer specific (P1, P3, and U1) codes, pending codes, ..."​

And does this statement about Mode 6 also imply that it handles non-standard PIDs? (since I think Mode 6 has no standard PIDs)

"Enhanced OBD II MODE 6: ... ML529 is equipped advanced OBD2 Mode 6, to help Request On-Board Monitoring Test Results for Specific Monitored SystemsThanks!​

I just wanted to see if I'm on the right track before I start asking the scanner companies specific questions.
Thank you!
Regarding:
The ML329 "...OBD2 scanner can retrieve generic (P0, P2, P3, and U0), manufacturer specific (P1, P3, and U1) codes, pending codes, ..."​

I now see that the P0, P1, P2, P3, U0, U1 codes are all DTCs, so this has nothing to do with the PIDs.

Still not sure about the Enhanced ODB II Mode 6.
 

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Yo M,
OBD II modes are:
*Mode 1: Real-time data, MIL, IM monitors.

*Mode 2: Freeze frame.

*Mode 3: Stored DTCs.

*Mode 4: Clear/Reset DTCs and emissions-related diagnostic information.

*Mode 5: O2 monitoring tests, supported.

●*Mode 6: Test results for continuously and noncontinuously monitored systems, supported.

*Mode 7: Pending DTCs.

*Mode 8: Request control of on-board-system, test or component (bidirectional controls).

*Mode 9: Request VIN and other data.

"What does "Test results for continuously and noncontinuously monitored systems" mean? As I've explained in previous columns, the "monitors" in OBD II are the on-board tests performed to confirm that a vehicle has been adequately checked for problems so it can be emissions-tested (an OBD test). Mode 6 shows the results for the tests run to set the monitors to "ready or complete." Therefore, Mode 6 may give you insight into problems that have not yet affected monitors or tripped a code. This is why Mode 6 has high value in some situations.

Mode 6 functionality is defined by the vehicle manufacturers and therefore is not the same from one make to another. This means you'll have to check to see what's reported for each make and model and determine its value. Mode 6 is also not supported by all scan tools, and may be unclearly defined by some tools that do support it."

See more info @ OBD-II Mode 6 Diagnosis | Codes | Data | MOTOR Magazine
 

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3,251 Posts
I have this one. MaxiSys MS906 | Autel

But not the bluetooth one. I've had issues with other scanners and Forscan with bluetooth, so
I prefer direct hookup to OBDII now.

I've used it for ABS bleeds, scanning specific modules (or all modules if you have issue, but no check engine light),
including live data feeds, checking emission readiness before taking modified cars for emission tests.
And of course normal OBD II code stuff. Can't say how long that company will be around, but @ $1100, was hard to beat the price.

It does not have lifetime updates, but I don't care until I buy another new car, which may never happen again with how
car prices and my general available cash, are going to keep going in the opposite directions, I suspect.
 

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Registered
1996 Bronco XLT 5.8L automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Yo M,
OBD II modes are:
*Mode 1: Real-time data, MIL, IM monitors.

*Mode 2: Freeze frame.

*Mode 3: Stored DTCs.

*Mode 4: Clear/Reset DTCs and emissions-related diagnostic information.

*Mode 5: O2 monitoring tests, supported.

●*Mode 6: Test results for continuously and noncontinuously monitored systems, supported.

*Mode 7: Pending DTCs.

*Mode 8: Request control of on-board-system, test or component (bidirectional controls).

*Mode 9: Request VIN and other data.

"What does "Test results for continuously and noncontinuously monitored systems" mean? As I've explained in previous columns, the "monitors" in OBD II are the on-board tests performed to confirm that a vehicle has been adequately checked for problems so it can be emissions-tested (an OBD test). Mode 6 shows the results for the tests run to set the monitors to "ready or complete." Therefore, Mode 6 may give you insight into problems that have not yet affected monitors or tripped a code. This is why Mode 6 has high value in some situations.

Mode 6 functionality is defined by the vehicle manufacturers and therefore is not the same from one make to another. This means you'll have to check to see what's reported for each make and model and determine its value. Mode 6 is also not supported by all scan tools, and may be unclearly defined by some tools that do support it."

See more info @ OBD-II Mode 6 Diagnosis | Codes | Data | MOTOR Magazine
Thank you. My real question about Mode 6 was: Does support for Mode 6 essentially provide for your point about the scanner being able to read manufacturer-specific PIDs. Or is there something else I should ask about?

I do understand that I need to verify that this would actually work with my specific vehicles.
 

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1996 Bronco XLT 5.8L automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I have this one. MaxiSys MS906 | Autel

But not the bluetooth one. I've had issues with other scanners and Forscan with bluetooth, so
I prefer direct hookup to OBDII now.

I've used it for ABS bleeds, scanning specific modules (or all modules if you have issue, but no check engine light),
including live data feeds, checking emission readiness before taking modified cars for emission tests.
And of course normal OBD II code stuff. Can't say how long that company will be around, but @ $1100, was hard to beat the price.

It does not have lifetime updates, but I don't care until I buy another new car, which may never happen again with how
car prices and my general available cash, are going to keep going in the opposite directions, I suspect.
Wow! That MS906 is a really nice, full feature unit. I'm definitely jealous! And your bluetooth experience agrees with my gut feeling. I had planned to get direct cable hookup and buy an extension cable.
 

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1996 Bronco XLT 5.8L automatic
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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you. My real question about Mode 6 was: Does support for Mode 6 essentially provide for your point about the scanner being able to read manufacturer-specific PIDs. Or is there something else I should ask about?

I do understand that I need to verify that this would actually work with my specific vehicles.
Sorry it took me a while to get this straight. Now I think I see it.

A scanner that says it "supports Mode 6" must be querying for some subset of commonly used manufacturer-specific PIDs.

So I would have to ask if the Mode 6 support:
  1. Includes the mfr-specific PIDs for my vehicle, some of it, or none of it (e.g., J2190 for the Bronco).
  2. Allows one to manually specify particular PIDs to query.
Thanks for your guidance!
 
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