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Thread: Help picking a diagnostic tool

  1. #1
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    Help picking a diagnostic tool

    I have a 1995 E420 as a project time and time is on my side as it s not my daily driver yet. Hence, instead of throwing parts and seeing if the problem is fixed, looking for a good diagnostic setup to troubleshoot (ideally, looking for a setup that will also with 95 E320 but not at the loss of functionality for M119).

    Below is what I found:
    Carsoft - No live data for W124. Works for a variety of cars.
    SDS - Seems like a good bet if purchased from the right buyer. Expensive, standalone laptop (not trusting it with network connectivity). Variety of cars.
    HFMscan - limited LH support.
    Snapon MT-2500 - seems to does everything that SDS does but clunkier.

    Anything I am missing?
    Currently debating between SDS and Snapon.
    Can someone post the links (or PM me) of where they purchased SDS or Snap-on setup?
    Thx

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Snap-On does most of what SDS does, but NOT everything, and it's less reliable. It's cheaper and not a bad alternative on a budget, but I'd stick with a full SDS if you can afford it.

    This seller has kits fairly regularly, and has been recommended by a few people... I don't see a kit right now, but I'd shoot him a message and ask about it:
    https://www.ebay.com/sch/gordysgadgets/m.html

    BTW - welcome to the forum!

    Dave M.
    1997 E420 (Bugeyes)
    1994 E420 (Blondie)
    1994 E500 (Q-ship)
    1992 500E (Mach 5)
    1987 300D (Sportline Stage 2)
    Click here for my website
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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Thank you. I will look into a full SDS kit. Anything major that SDS can do that Sanp-on setup can't? Also, any experiences with legit carsoft?
    Or, are most folks happy with good old blink readers that stickies on this forum refer to?

    Even though I have an E420, learning a lot from you 500 folks. I am assuming given the price of owning a 500, folks are most passionate and more involved with fixing their cars than 400E crowd.

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    AFAIK, even "legit" Carsoft will not work with LH systems (only newer ME systems), but I cannot confirm that. It still would not do everything SDS can, so I don't see the point even considering it.

    Blink code readers will work great for codes on everything except the E-GAS module (on ASR models), of course the limitation is no live data, just error codes. For 90% of DIY'ers this is adequate, but since you are shopping for a digital scanner, I'm assuming you are in that last 10%.

    Snap-On will not show live data from the ABS/ASR systems, and I've had issues with it not wanting to display live data from the EZL (although it is supposed to - could be software glitches on my cartridges or unit). The Snap-On also does not work with W124 HFM systems unless you get creative with custom wiring between scanner and car - another software glitch (it's trying to read from the wrong pin, took me a LONG time to figure this out and make it work). More details are here:
    http://124performance.com/docs/mb/diagnostics/Snap-On/

    And, the Snap-On will have very limited functionality on the W140 or W210, or anything newer than mid-90's. This is where the SDS will do absolutely everything possible; especially if you get the developer license.


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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    I have an AST retriever which has been able to reach pretty much everything that i've needed on my cars using the 38pin connector. It did have trouble resetting codes on a 722.6 transmission on a 98 SL500 (it read the code but could not reset it). My Autel DS708 was able to reset the code.

    I like having a scanner setup over the computer / SDS setup because they're self contained, portable and don't have viruses. I'm not a huge fan of the Snapon MT2500 or even the newer scanners because of the cartridge / keys setup. I had one for a while and got rid it of it quickly.

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    The cartridge/keys of the Snap-On is definitely a PITA. The only advantage anymore is cost. I think you could pick up the 034/036/M119 items needed for <$250 used on eBay, with some patience. That's half the cost of the Chinese SDS. Being self-contained is definitely nice, but if you never connect the SDS to a network (which you shouldn't do anyway) security shouldn't be an issue.

    Can't remember the last time I saw a Retriever for sale. Wasn't it >$2k new? What do they cost used? I was never able to get my hands on one for testing.


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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Can't remember the last time I saw a Retriever for sale. Wasn't it >$2k new? What do they cost used? I was never able to get my hands on one for testing
    I have two retrievers, one I use and a spare which also has a BMW cartridge. The cartridges date back from ~2001 so they read everything up to my 2002 E55. It's a really nice tool and can read live data from 02 sensors etc. The autel seems to do a good job,
    The DS708 has been made obsolete but is still available new. I suspect that prices will come down drastically now. Their new Android based system looks slick and has a 38pin connector, but I'm not sure if the software can read systems that old.

    This guy seems to be selling a cartridge which has a pretty good description of the systems supported.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AST5704E-Mer...wAAOSwZ4dZG2kB

    Last edited by alabbasi; 08-05-2017 at 10:50 AM.

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Thx for the details. I wasn't aware of the Snap-on limitations that gsxr has highlighted with HFM. For me, having a single tool for these cars is key.
    As I mentioned in my post, not in a rush. Going to take some time and find the right tools. I will keep an eye on SDS at a decent price...

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    I use a legitimate carsoft on the 2014 E350 and works great, software uploads are quick so I think it was worth it for the newer models.
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    I use a legitimate carsoft on the 2014 E350 and works great, software uploads are quick so I think it was worth it for the newer models.
    Price? Link?


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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    It's best for the E500E and related/generation cars to just get the SDS C3 Chinese clone. Get a used/cheap laptop off of eBay and you're off to the races for probably $500 all told.

    If you have more than 1 MB, then it's even better and you can "amortize" it over multiple cars. My SDS works with my SEC (not much doing there, but it can work) as well as my E500, my G320 (M104/HFM) and my former E320 wagon (M104/HFM).

    It's best with the LH system out of all the cars I've owned and connected it to.

    I'll be buying a brand-new MB in 2018, so will be purchasing a new/updated STAR DAS system that will be able to accommodate it, although given the computerization of modern/current cars, there's probably going to be a lot of hard-coded stuff that only the stealership can handle. That said, the car should have a warranty, so I shouldn't have to worry about it for quite a number of years (and the new car won't be my daily driver, anyway).

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    I was looking into getting one of those C3 clones as part of my research into maintaining a 2001 e430 that I intend to purchase for my kid. Then I learned it will come with the adapters for my E500 and help with my 2014 e350 as well. I'll post about it when I finally pull the trigger on a purschase. There are the turnkey one with a case and a laptop and the one where you buy a specific laptop. Not sure the path I will take yet.
    Last edited by RicardoD; 08-05-2017 at 10:41 AM.
    RicardoD
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    Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Price? Link?

    iCarsoft 23456789 2016 Genuine Mercedes Benz I980 Professional Diagnostic Scanner Tool

    Search amazon with the above for about ~113
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Quote Originally Posted by RicardoD View Post
    I was looking into getting one of those C3 clones as part of my research into maintaining a 2001 e430 that I intend to purchase for my kid. Then I learned it will come with the adapters for my E500 and help with my 2014 e350 as well. I'll post about it when I finally pull the trigger on a purschase. There are the turnkey one with a case and a laptop and the one where you buy a specific laptop. Not sure the path I will take yet.
    Ricardo, make sure you check out this post:

    http://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2651

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    They're now selling the C4 systems for about $800 with a Windows 10 tablet. A car friend in Arizona has one and seems to really like it. I have a C3 but I don't really like using it as I have to deal with obsolete laptops with crappy battery life. I might go for one of these if I run into a problem that the Autel cannot solve.

    A C4 can be purchased without the cables and hard drive for about $300. I would be interested in knowing whether I can use the C3 accessories and hard drive with the C4. This will also give me options as I have the drive with the VM.
    Last edited by alabbasi; 08-05-2017 at 06:29 PM.

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Interesting with the tablet solution. I may have to check that out an avoid the old laptop route.
    RicardoD
    1990 964 C4 / 1991 964 C2 tip
    1994 E500
    1991 560SEC
    2014 E350 for wife

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    Last edited by 8899; 08-13-2017 at 04:07 AM.
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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    What are the key differences between the iCarsoft Scanner Tools and the MB Star C4 Xentry DAS Diagnostic Tools?
    Greg
    '94 E500
    '03 E320 4Matic Wagon (W210)

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Quote Originally Posted by 8899 View Post
    What are the key differences between the iCarsoft Scanner Tools and the MB Star C4 Xentry DAS Diagnostic Tools?
    Speaking just for the 124 chassis: iCarsoft will not work with it, AFAICT. The photos only show OBD-2 cables, and they do not list the 124 chassis as compatible. AFAIK... any Carsoft or iCarsoft scanner will be useless for the E500E.

    Now, for newer cars with full OBD-2 diagnostics (~2002-up, this means W211, not W210) the iCarsoft will probably show error codes and at least some live data from the main systems (guessing engine & powertrain). The key sentence in the description is "Not all systems of all vehicles are supported". By comparson, the SDS (C3 or C4) will do absolutely everything possible, particularly if you have a 'developer' key to allow some coding capabilities (without this, you're paying the dealer to recode simple things like fuel pump modules and headlight modules after replacement).


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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    I used my icarsoft on my friends 2008 500 4matic and it cleared all his codes but the big one having to deal with cylinder issues. On the a207 2014 it is
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    Help picking a diagnostic tool

    For old w124's it's more than ok to have c3 with emulating HHT(hand held tester) with dell d630.

    Just to clarify -latest software with HHT is 2014/09 xentry

    PS: Sorry for the mess

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    So have I got this right: I need a C3 (Chinese clone) for the 500E AND it will be work for (all) OBDII cars (such as my 2006/2008 3.0Rn Subaru Legacy/Outback estates)?
    Dave Walsh

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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    Quote Originally Posted by MCR01 View Post
    So have I got this right: I need a C3 (Chinese clone) for the 500E AND it will be work for (all) OBDII cars (such as my 2006/2008 3.0Rn Subaru Legacy/Outback estates)?
    Dave Walsh
    NO. Any version of the SDS (C3, C4, etc) will work for the 500E and all newer MERCEDES cars/trucks.

    It will not talk to any other makes, i.e. Subaru. You need a generic OBD-2 scanner for the Subie, or whatever the Subie dealerships use.


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    Re: Help picking a diagnostic tool

    OK, thanks for information. Don't suppose anyone has recommended manufacturers for OBD-2 scanners that talk to the Mac; there seem to be endless alternatives out there on the internet at very different prices, but few that talk to a Mac.
    The Subaru dealer kit is multi thousand Euros!

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