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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-29-2011, 08:16 PM
mflora98ss mflora98ss is offline
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Best code scanner?

I was wondering about buying a code scanner for my 2000 323i and wanted to know everyones opinion on which one was the best one and why?
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2011, 07:56 AM
pconwell pconwell is offline
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I would like to know this as well
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  #3  
Old 04-30-2011, 08:22 AM
CRJ900 CRJ900 is offline
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Make that three, I am looking at purchasing one too. I know a lot of guys use the Peake tool but is any one using or has any one checked out this set-up by Bavarian Technic? http://www.bavariantechnic.com/ looks like a fun tool, but if you go to their website click on and read the early release tab under BMW diagnostics, sounds like a work in progress and might not be quite ready yet?...

Pleases reply if you use this tool or know someone that does.
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  #4  
Old 04-30-2011, 08:55 AM
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P_T P_T is offline
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First and foremost, welcome to the Fest. The home of lots of enthusiasts, many talented DIY'ers, a few lurkers, 6 old grumps and a ton of information. A lot of information is contained in a E46 manifesto called the WIKI

http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php/BMW_E46

What the WIKI doesn't answer, many time the "Search" function does.

In answer to your question, let me say this…..the E46 has an OBDII diagnostic port. Any generic OBDII scanner should read these codes, thus some here will say get a cheap $35--$50 scanner. However there are a larger number of BMW specific codes that the generic scanner cannot extract, requiring a more expensive scanner. Of the more expensive scanners there are basically two types, $125- $185 one which scans and resets all the BMW specific "Check Engine/Service Engine Soon" "Inspection" and "Oil Service" codes (hand held) and another $275 - $1,400 that also scans and resets all the codes and gives you the ability to view live data and manipulate certain parameters (computer based).

I think you will find that the most common BMW code reader recommended on this site will be the Peake Research R5/FCX-3-16.

http://www.peakeresearch.com/fcx3.htm

However these will not reset Airbag code, that's another $130 tool.

There is another scanner, the Launch Tech's CReader VI for $180 at

http://www.bavauto.com/shop.asp?HC1=...p&hdept_id=375

that claims to reset BMW specific codes and will work on most OBDII vehicles also, but I can't find anyone who has one who can comment on it working or not.

I have, use and like the Peake Research R5/FCX-3-16 but would like to have one inexpensive scanner that does multiple vehicles so I wouldn't have to have one scanner for my Vette, another for my BMW, another for my VW and another for…..…..…....
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2011, 05:39 PM
gsbmw gsbmw is offline
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Several years ago I did a lot of research on scanners and decided on the Innova Equus 3100 (86 bucks at Amazon; list price $192). It has many more capabilities for the money than any other scanner I could find. I have used it constantly on my 2000 323i and several other cars since buying it. I love it. It has saved me tons of money. Just a few good things about it are:

-- You choose the maker of your car after plugging it in, so that you can retrieve BMW-specific codes (or any car maker for that matter) as well as the generic codes.
-- You can use it on your friends' or family's non-BMW cars too (unlike the Peake).
-- It will erase the "Service Engine Soon" (check engine) light and codes, so that you can see immediately if your repair has fixed the problem or not. (Oil change and Inspection messages are reset easily without a scanner as described in posts in Bimmerfest and other BMW boards.)
-- It will tell you if you are ready for an emissions inspection or not.
-- It gives "freeze-frame" data at the time the code was set on your car, which can help in diagnosis. Even if you don't bother to try to completely understand it, you can post that data on the forum, which will help others diagnose for you. However, the manual is very complete with extensive explanations of everything.
-- I haven't used this feature yet, but the unit's software can be "flash upgraded" free by connecting it via computer to the Innova website (it has a USB connection and cable for this).

I just checked Amazon's website for this tool, and they have a 4 min video there from Innova that fully describes the 3100's features and how its used. Check it out, or Innova's website, for more info.

Last edited by gsbmw; 04-30-2011 at 05:41 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-30-2011, 06:50 PM
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HerrK HerrK is offline
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Researching the Innova scanner family - it seems like a pretty capable & handy product.

gsbmw - thanks for the info.
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2011, 01:51 AM
gsbmw gsbmw is offline
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You're welcome, HerrK.

Your post reminds me that I should have mentioned they have 8 models - from entry level to professional (currently from about $49 to $194 at Amazon; free shipping!).

After watching the videos, I see that all models will automatically detect your car make & model, so even the $49 model can detect car manufacturer-specific codes.

(I should do the free software upgrade, since I currently need to select the make. Glad I responded to the thread and researched them again! )

Last edited by gsbmw; 05-01-2011 at 01:52 AM.
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2011, 07:17 AM
pconwell pconwell is offline
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Sorry, I don't have time to look at each one in detail, but they do look promising. Here are the links on amazon:

Innova Equus 3030 ($49) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3030-Inn...4252765&sr=8-9
Innova Equus 3100 ($86) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3100-Inn...4252765&sr=8-3
Innova Equus 3120 ($139) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3120-Dia...252765&sr=8-12
Innova Equus 3130 ($130) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3130-Dia...4252765&sr=8-7
Innova Equus 3140 ($174) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3140-Dia...4252765&sr=8-5
Innova Equus 3150 ($153) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3150-Pro...252765&sr=8-13
Innova Equus 3160 ($194) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3160-Pro...4252765&sr=8-1

Like I said, I don't have time right now to really compare these, but it looks like the 3130 might have the best cost to functions ratio for 1996+ BMWs. (It doesn't have ODB1 or the Ford/Chrysler/GM specific stuff).
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2011, 10:00 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Interesting, the Innova by Equus does tickle my fancy. Especially the 3140 that according to their chart has the greater coverage. And even cheaper than just the Euro 2007 firmware upgrade for my older OTC Genisys scanner I have ($174 vs $280), now superceded by the OTC Evo.

I had a AutoBoss v30 scanner on loan from where I work and it was awesome. Had maker-specific sections for a zillion different brands. Too bad the doodad goes for over $1,800!
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  #10  
Old 05-01-2011, 01:50 PM
silvergrau silvergrau is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pconwell View Post
Sorry, I don't have time to look at each one in detail, but they do look promising. Here are the links on amazon:

Innova Equus 3030 ($49) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3030-Inn...4252765&sr=8-9
Innova Equus 3100 ($86) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3100-Inn...4252765&sr=8-3
Innova Equus 3120 ($139) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3120-Dia...252765&sr=8-12
Innova Equus 3130 ($130) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3130-Dia...4252765&sr=8-7
Innova Equus 3140 ($174) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3140-Dia...4252765&sr=8-5
Innova Equus 3150 ($153) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3150-Pro...252765&sr=8-13
Innova Equus 3160 ($194) http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3160-Pro...4252765&sr=8-1

Like I said, I don't have time right now to really compare these, but it looks like the 3130 might have the best cost to functions ratio for 1996+ BMWs. (It doesn't have ODB1 or the Ford/Chrysler/GM specific stuff).
I have the 3130 on order. I should have it in a week, and I will post my impressions.
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  #11  
Old 05-14-2011, 09:58 AM
pconwell pconwell is offline
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Silvergrau, any news?
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  #12  
Old 05-14-2011, 10:38 AM
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Personally, I use this one to good effect!


However, here is more info:
- Basic tools needed for working on the BMW E39 (1) (2) (3) (4) & here to get the BMW Bentley shop manual (1) & where to get a cheap OBDII DTC scanner (1) (2) or a better scanner (1) or the best diagnostic tools (1) (2) (3) (4).
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  #13  
Old 05-14-2011, 11:51 AM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Peake is good. However I am still using a $30 pocket scanner and have diagnosed and resolved countless problems for over 30 vehicles I have worked on. I am not sure you have to spend a ton on a scanner. If you know how to manually troubleshoot (back in the day, we didn't have OBD codes) it isn't as difficult.
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  #14  
Old 05-14-2011, 08:17 PM
silvergrau silvergrau is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pconwell View Post
Silvergrau, any news?
Yeah, I got it, but I am on the fence about recommending it vs. a cheaper unit or the Peak.

I have not read any BMW specific codes out, and I am still trying to figure out if I can get BMW codes on my computer or not - my first attempts were fruitless.

It did read out the one code I had correctly (Pre-Cat 02 sensor P2240), and I was able to clear the DTCs and the code. Now I have to do specific drive cycles to run all the monitors that would allow me to pass NJ inspection. It throws a non-readiness state/code for emissions if you don't complete the specific FTP drive cycles (i.e. from a cold start, 2min10 sec of idle, 3min15 sec of 20-30mph, and 15 min of 40-60 mph without exceeding 3Krpms, or 60mph).

I replaced the precat O2 sensors, amongst other things myself, and I have to do the drive cycle to set all the monitors.

The live data is interesting, though without a frame of reference, I am not sure how to use the information correctly or to my advantage.

The readouts of the monitors and the MIL are good.

The emissions readiness is good.

Not exactly sure if that helps you.

I believe Autel makes an unit EU720 or something that is european car specific for like $250...in retrospect that may be the best one.

Let me know if you want to know anything else.
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  #15  
Old 05-15-2011, 07:30 AM
drmaxsBMW drmaxsBMW is offline
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Another Option

Being an FNG, I probably shouldn't even comment here however, I read a review of the CarMD recently and although I don't believe that it is capable of re-setting any of the BMW codes (or any others for that matter), it does provide a good baseline of information.

Not having taken the plunge to order it (some of the other recommendations on this forum sound like a better idea anyway), I also have to wonder if they charge you for the website support access (base price is $120 for the scanner).

Any one have any experience with this thing?
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  #16  
Old 05-15-2011, 01:56 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Honestly I bought the cheapest pocket scanner for like $50 from sears (I needed it sooner rather than wait for shipping. Otherwise i could have gotten one cheaper). It works well.

But this equus innova stuff looks real interesting.
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  #17  
Old 05-15-2011, 09:44 PM
ThreeTwoFive ThreeTwoFive is offline
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I use a GT1...
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  #18  
Old 05-15-2011, 10:12 PM
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RSPDiver RSPDiver is offline
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bluebee, all of your links frighten and confuse me, for I am just a caveman. I'm entering the market for an e39 M5, so are you saying this tool might be mildly handy for both models, but require some other stuff to really dig into that (other DIY) beast?
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSPDiver View Post
bluebee, all of your links frighten and confuse me, for I am just a caveman.
If a vetted set of links confuses you, Lord knows what a simple search will do to scramble your thoughts!

Realize that the links I provide are (somewhat) vetted, in that the garbage is weeded out, and the best are added, over time.

They're not perfect, but, at least, they're vetted to be decent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RSPDiver View Post
are you saying this tool might be mildly handy for both models, but require some other stuff to really dig into that (other DIY) beast?
I'm confused by your question. The el 'cheapo scanner that I bought for less than $25 works just fine in the E39 and will work just fine for any USA car with an OBDII port.

It scans. It erases. It shows pending codes. It needs no batteries. It's KISS.

On the other hand, it's not fancy so you're not going to impress anyone when you whip it out to diagnose a problem. It won't do freeze-frame data, and it doesn't read the BMW codes. And you have to look up what each number means.

But that's why I provided links to tools that 'do' do that stuff.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:44 AM
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Thanks! I like simple, and as long as I get a code number I can look it up elsewhere. I just didn't have the time to look through all the links, so I misunderstood what you were getting at. Great info resource, though!
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  #21  
Old 05-16-2011, 10:44 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Goodness gracious! Then by al means do NOT even consider getting anywhere near an AutoBoss scanner. The thing is a highly complex piece of automobile electronic machinery that may cause something like this:



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  #22  
Old 06-01-2011, 09:30 AM
rennoman rennoman is offline
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First off I would like to say hello to all and I am new here. I am the owner of a 1999 528i 126,000 miles that I just purchased about a month ago and I love it even though it has many little quirks ! lol The handheld scanner I purchased is from Advance Auto and is the Actron Autoscanner Plus (about $240.00) It will do almost all the things I need it to do including freeze frame and code reading. It will even give you primary and secondary solutions to fix the codes that come up. I have been a mechanic for 20 yrs and find it very useful and with complete info. I still have to do manual trouble shooting but this tool is a huge help. Hope this helps someone out with their decision
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  #23  
Old 06-01-2011, 09:32 AM
rennoman rennoman is offline
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http://www.actron.com/
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  #24  
Old 06-01-2011, 11:27 AM
Oldskool67 Oldskool67 is offline
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I have a Creader V that hasn't let me down yet (NAPA, $100 on sale couple years ago)...I bet the new one is even better...
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:57 PM
TerraPhantm TerraPhantm is offline
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I use a GT1...
+1. Bit of a pain in the ass to setup, but once you get used to it, you don't want to use anything else.
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