I wanted to know real water temp, and intake air temp, and boost – after looking at a number of options, I decided that the most cost effective way to get this – and more – was to buy a ScanGaugeII. The ScanGaugeII is a cool little computer with a digital display that plugs into your ODB-II port under the dash. It combines ODB-II scan tool, trip computer, and digital gauge capabilities in a single unit that’s insanely easy to install, portable to move between vehicles, and costs only $159 (from the company, on eBay – note that if you contact Way Motor Works, Way often will sell these for a bit less if you ask for the NAM discount). I had been planning to buy a simple ODB-II code reader for quite some time, and the ScanGaugeII does that and much, much more for not much more money.


The ScanGaugeII comes with a 6ft cable, a couple of velcro stips, and a manual. That’s it. And that’s all you need. Neat installation takes less than 5 minutes. I copied Josh Wardell and others, and velcro’d the unit on the left end of the dash, just forward of the little “step down” – it looks really clean, is easy to see, is mostly obscured from the outside by my vehicle inspection sticker, and doesn’t impede my vision out of the car. The cable runs along the edge of the dash, then in behind the removable dash endcap and out under the dash, where it plugs into the OBD-II port. Very simple, and very clean.


Setup is very easy and menu driven. First you turn on the car – the ScanGaugeII automatically powers on and off. You set your engine displacement and fuel tank size to calibrate the trip computer functions. Then you can enter “gauge” mode, and select any four digital gauges to display at once. You select the gauges by pressing the button next to each of the the “slots” to cycle through the available gauges for that slot. The unit remembers the settings until you change them. Options include:

  • Fuel Economy (MPG)
  • Voltage
  • Coolant Temperature
  • Intake Air Temperature
  • Engine Speed (RPM)
  • Vehicle speed (MPH)
  • Manifold Pressure
  • Engine Load
  • Throttle Position
  • Ignition Timing
  • Open/Closed Loop

The ScanGaugeII also has an “Add-A-Gauge” feature that enables you to program the unit to read and display any other car-specific data available via the ODB-II interface. Their website has instructions for setting up gauges for calculated horsepower, fuel trim, and O2 sensor readings. I found on an Internet forum instructions for setting up a gauge to calculate and display boost (instead of Absolute Manifold Pressure, which is a standard gauge). The HP and boost gauges work great!

The unit is very easy to read in the daylight – even with the top down! At night, the unit is backlit in one of many user configurable colors. I like orange, to match my other instruments.



The trip computer is very full featured, and offers:

  • Maximum Speed
  • Average Speed
  • Maximum Coolant Temperature
  • Maximum RPM
  • Driving Time
  • Driving Distance
  • Fuel Used
  • Trip Fuel Economy
  • Distance to Empty
  • Time to Empty
  • Fuel to Empty

Each of these is calculated and tracked for the current trip, current day, previous day, and current tank. You tell the unit when you fill-up, and how much you paid per gallon, and it does all the rest. It resets the current trip any time the unit is off for more than three minutes. I didn’t think I’d use the trip computer since the MINI has several of these functions built in, but was surprised by how useful and easy the trip computer has been!

I haven’t needed to scan any codes yet, but this capability is pretty simple and I expect it to work fine.

I’m typically displaying the Boost, Horsepower, Water Temp and Intake Temp gauges, and it’s fascinating – I have to make myself ignore them while driving… 🙂

One Comment

  1. Nice writeup!
    Note that the scangaugeII will read codes and clear them, though they provide less detailed info for the codes than my Innova 3100 code reader. Good enough for most, but I kept the Innova because when something’s wrong, I want to know as much as possible.
    Interesting take on the trip meters – I hadn’t even bothered to look!

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