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just took deliver of 2021 7-passenger Ascent Ltd. would prefer to have digital readouts of the big 3 = engine oil temp, water temp, voltage; incorporated in the center dash 'favorites screen.' short of installing gauges on driver's side A pillar, any suggestions?
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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ActiveOBD on a smartphone. But it's not going to display on the head unit.
 
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I've been considering a Scangauge II. It's a small dedicated digital readout of 4 programmable OBD readouts. I know it'll do CVT temp, which is a major one for towing. It certainly doesn't have the UI of cell phone based systems, and it costs more, but it's there full time without having to futz yet again with your phone for something else. Another option would be using an old phone with no sim card and bt OBD reader as a dedicated display.
 

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^^^^ That's exactly what I do, I used a Samsung S7 as a permanent display. You can get many out of date but still excellent smartphones like the S7 quite cheap. My S9 stays in my pocket.
 

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just took deliver of 2021 7-passenger Ascent Ltd. would prefer to have digital readouts of the big 3 = engine oil temp, water temp, voltage; incorporated in the center dash 'favorites screen.' short of installing gauges on driver's side A pillar, any suggestions?
I agree, Subaru should have better options for the favorites screen. The only useful one to me is oil temp. Hopefully Subaru will add, or a genius hacker can figure out how to expand the selections.
 

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Which OBDII scan tool is best? Do I need cables too or does the scan tool plug directly in (is there enough space for it without cables)?
 

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I use Scantools OBDLink MX (they're on the MX+ series now) and ActiveOBD. The new version of ActiveOBD has configurable screens and access to a ton of data, including Subaru specific things, like CVT temp.

For tons of different looking gauges, but NO CVT temp (anything you can get is very inaccurate, and usually coolant temp instead), Torque is great.

Both allow data logging.
 

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I'm not so interested in monitoring things while driving except on occasion. My bigger interest is conducting a periodic check or when that overheat or check engine light pops on in a very inoppertune location. Then does it really mean immediately come to a screeching halt or "oh, I can wait til we get to the next town for repairs". I've had two of those incidences in the last few months with one of our vehicles. This device may have saved us a few thousand dollars.
 

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I use Scantools OBDLink MX (they're on the MX+ series now) and ActiveOBD. The new version of ActiveOBD has configurable screens and access to a ton of data, including Subaru specific things, like CVT temp.

For tons of different looking gauges, but NO CVT temp (anything you can get is very inaccurate, and usually coolant temp instead), Torque is great.

Both allow data logging.
Does it require a cable too?
 

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No. The dongle plugs into the port, and the display is on your phone.
 

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Thanks. Wasn't sure if it would get in the way of legs or knees if plugged directly in. This baby could potentially have paid for itself in one use. Had a small crack in the radiator expansion tank. Staining made it look like fluid level was okay (who checks their rad fluid every day or so?). It was slowly draining fluid out of the expansion tank with each operation, until one day I get a hot engine warning even though temp gauge worked but showed perfect 12 o'clock needle position. Must be something else, right? That was enough to create a small leak in the head gasket (Volvo C30's are susceptible to it). End result: $3,700 repair (including new water pump, oil trap, timing belt and all the other goodies that are best done at the time). Only 65,000 miles on a 9-year-old car. All caused by a crack in a $125 tank (incl repair time) plastic expansion tank.
 
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