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  1. #1
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Dec 16 2014
    AZ Member #
    303486
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    Denver, CO

    VAG-COM Cost/Function Comparison

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    There are a ton of options out there and I'm wondering what the best "cheap" reader is. I won't be tuning, just maintenance, and I'm wondering if a $10 product can function just as well as the $40-$100 readers.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Four Rings texasboy21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 01 2007
    AZ Member #
    16891
    My Garage
    2017 Mustang GT Performance Package, 1983 Chevy Silverado
    Location
    houston texas

    Get a genuine Ross Tech VagCom.
    2003 A4 1.8TQ
    APR stg2+, MTM 420cc injectors, EuroCode FMIC, PSi testpipe, Techtonics Tuning downpipe, Forge TIP, Hyperboost DV, 240mm clutch, LWFW flywheel, B5S4 calipers, Goodridge SS lines, Stern snub, motor and transmission mounts, Powerflex rear diff bushing, JHM SS shifter, solid linkage, stabilizer bushing and weighted knob, Vogtland Jr. Cup Kit, B7 RS4 front and rear sway bars.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Three Rings maurizio's Avatar
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    Sep 23 2005
    AZ Member #
    8084
    My Garage
    '09 Pilot
    Location
    Vernon Hills, IL

    how effin dare you try and save money! PM me.
    "Are you actually asking that question.. Just don't even post on my thread. why do I need to lie on an Audi forum about me fucking two bitches at once. (not literally) yes i did, you are late to the party.
    and this thread has ran out of gas. I just wanted to tell people about my experience I had 2 nights ago and felt like sharing it with my fellow B6'ers. And I thank the people who didn't hate."

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Four Rings texasboy21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 01 2007
    AZ Member #
    16891
    My Garage
    2017 Mustang GT Performance Package, 1983 Chevy Silverado
    Location
    houston texas

    Quote Originally Posted by maurizio View Post
    how effin dare you try and save money! PM me.
    Cracked software?
    2003 A4 1.8TQ
    APR stg2+, MTM 420cc injectors, EuroCode FMIC, PSi testpipe, Techtonics Tuning downpipe, Forge TIP, Hyperboost DV, 240mm clutch, LWFW flywheel, B5S4 calipers, Goodridge SS lines, Stern snub, motor and transmission mounts, Powerflex rear diff bushing, JHM SS shifter, solid linkage, stabilizer bushing and weighted knob, Vogtland Jr. Cup Kit, B7 RS4 front and rear sway bars.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Two Rings Blockis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 25 2012
    AZ Member #
    97498
    Location
    Bay Area, CA

    I'm not tuning (completely stock) and I've found the genuine cable to be great value to me the past five years.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Four Rings jjvwg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 01 2012
    AZ Member #
    86019
    My Garage
    2004 A4 Avant
    Location
    CO

    I still don't get why people are so cheap when it comes to shelling out for vag-com. If you are a DIY'er its a no brainer IMO.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Four Rings jjvwg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 01 2012
    AZ Member #
    86019
    My Garage
    2004 A4 Avant
    Location
    CO

    If you don't do a lot of your own troubleshooting and/or work that requires recoding modules stick to having an auto parts store scan you, get a cheap Bluetooth dongle to read codes, or throw some beers to a local everyone in a while to have them do whatever you need with their vag-com. If you do plan on using it like I mentioned in the first sentence get a genuine cable and don't look back.

  8. #8
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Apr 03 2016
    AZ Member #
    371241
    Location
    Up North

    Don't go for a cracked version of VCDS please. If you can't afford a real version to support Uwe and the crew that is understandable, but to support some hacker ripping them off isn't very cool.

    If you are on a budget then just get a generic OBD2 cable from Ebay (>$10) and give WBH-Diag a try (https://www.blafusel.de/obd/obd2_wbhdiag.html). Its freeware so you aren't supporting software pirates. I haven't played with it myself because I have a Hex-Can, but I've heard it is a good VCDS alternative from others...

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Four Rings old guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 28 2006
    AZ Member #
    14483
    My Garage
    2003 A4, 2009 CC VR6 Sport, 2013 A5 B8
    Location
    Western Maryland
    Items for Sale

    Pick up a generic cable and download VCDS lite for free. Clicky clickŪ If you find it useful you can register it for $100 and open up a lot of additional diagnostics.
    A4 Motoza tuned Frankenturbo F21L mixed flow turbo/ Bosch 550's / 3" MAF / FT 3" TIP / Bailey's DV / TyrolSport SMIC / FT High Flow Exhaust Manifold / 034 HFC / TT 2.5" DP / Borla Exhaust / Eibach ProKit Springs / Koni Yellows / H-Sport Sway Bars / TyrolSport Brake Stiffeners / HyperShift Short Shifter / Podi Boost Gauge / Neuspeed Snub / Plus a few more goodies
    A5 Mods to come: Little stuff so far. 20/25mm spacers.

  10. #10
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Jan 02 2017
    AZ Member #
    389711
    Location
    Ontario, Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by jjvwg View Post
    or throw some beers to a local everyone in a while to have them do whatever you need with their vag-com. If you do plan on using it like I mentioned in the first sentence get a genuine cable and don't look back.
    If you meant "throw beers to a local every once in a while" and the local is a person rather than a shop, I'm not sure this will work. I recently purchased the full VCDS and it's only good for 3 VIN's. I'm having fun with the software but I'm not sure I'd waste a VIN registration on just any ol' somebody. You can upgrade to unlimited VIN's for another $300 but better have a stable of VW/Audi's IMO.

    The genuine cable always works and Ross Tech appears to have excellent support (I haven't used it yet). I too only do maintenance. For the $300, it's only $100/VIN and it'll save you an order of magnitude more than that in diagnostics/repair certainty particularly if you plan on continuing with the Audi lineage. How things have changed from the days of trouble-shooting Bosch K-jetronic on 80's Mercedes V8's with a multimeter shunted across a 9-pin "diagnostics" port.

  11. #11
    Established Member Three Rings 5ktq's Avatar
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    Aug 15 2016
    AZ Member #
    378564
    Location
    Western Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by jjvwg View Post
    I still don't get why people are so cheap when it comes to shelling out for vag-com. If you are a DIY'er its a no brainer IMO.
    A $300 cable is a hard sell for a $3000 car.

    Especially when there are $20 clones.

  12. #12
    Active Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Jan 02 2017
    AZ Member #
    389711
    Location
    Ontario, Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by 5ktq View Post
    A $300 cable is a hard sell for a $3000 car.

    Especially when there are $20 clones.
    The justification is the same for any other tool. Pending any further asinine repairs to my Audi, I'd buy another. The genuine software would be good for that car as well. You get updates in perpetuity and the current licence works on cars from 1999-2017, Audi/VW/Seat/Skoda. The two latter clearly are of no concern to us in North America.

    If you have VIN's left on the license you can sell the VCDS if you wish. And there's data logging- who doesn't love a good scatter plot? As with everything else, I don't see cheap tool purchases as tenable. Never did have much success with generic OBDII interfaces.

  13. #13
    Veteran Member Four Rings jjvwg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 01 2012
    AZ Member #
    86019
    My Garage
    2004 A4 Avant
    Location
    CO

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemmie View Post
    If you meant "throw beers to a local every once in a while" and the local is a person rather than a shop, I'm not sure this will work. I recently purchased the full VCDS and it's only good for 3 VIN's. I'm having fun with the software but I'm not sure I'd waste a VIN registration on just any ol' somebody. You can upgrade to unlimited VIN's for another $300 but better have a stable of VW/Audi's IMO.
    yea thats what i meant. hmm, wasnt aware that ross-tech started putting vin limits on the cables. i bought my cable probably 1.5-2 years ago and that didnt exist at that time. glad i bought mine when i did.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5ktq View Post
    A $300 cable is a hard sell for a $3000 car.

    Especially when there are $20 clones.
    it isnt when it can help you save spending a few hundred/thousand having to pay a shop to fix your car. and the clone cables cant do everything the genuine cables can.
    | 2004 A4 Avant | Gloss Dark Grey |
    | GTRS | Motoza | Bosch 550's | 034 TIP & TT225 MAF housing | 034 HFC + BB catback | 710N | TR18T FMIC | RA4 stage 2 clutch | 034 RSB & Endlinks | Apikol snub | 17z BBK |Vogtland GT1 Coilovers | Moog adj. UCA's | Peeler reps |

    | 2011 A4 Avant | Brilliant Black | Vogtland Coilovers | RSE's | 034 Sway/tranny mount | Q5 brakes |

  14. #14
    Senior Member Four Rings 14S4GWM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 21 2015
    AZ Member #
    321669
    Location
    Maryland

    200$ for the newest rosstech cable, just buy it.
    2014 S4 P+ Glacier White DSG
    Black Optic/ B&O/ Sports Diff/ Carbon Atlas/ V1/ P3/ Carista/ ECS CF Intake/ ECS CF Diffuser/ Bilstein B8/ H&R OE Springs/ H&R 10-12mm Spacers
    C-Quartz/ Suntek PPF/ AWE Touring 102/ 034 X-Brace & Inserts/ Eurocode Sways/ Akebono Pads/ CR-15/ VLED VX3 LED Fogs

  15. #15
    Established Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Nov 10 2015
    AZ Member #
    364261
    Location
    Sudbury, ON

    $8 ebay cable, and VCDS lite, works plenty fine for most tasks. if you need more, pay rosstech $99usd for registration. $110usd, and you will be able to do all you need to do if just for general maintenance/trouble shooting.

    or get a $30 MPPS ebay cable, and be able to do newer cars also
    2004 Audi A4Q 1.8T Ultrasport 6MT
    Frankenturbo'd, Meth, front mount, custom tune, full exhaust, bunch of other crap
    2004 Audi A4 Quattro 1.8T Tip Sport Pkg SOLD
    18" S4 Avus wheels l Eibach Lowering springs l Magnaflow 16601 l 3" TP l Pioneer Double Din l USP Bumper/S4 Door blades/Spoiler l Black on Black

  16. #16
    Veteran Member Four Rings texasboy21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 01 2007
    AZ Member #
    16891
    My Garage
    2017 Mustang GT Performance Package, 1983 Chevy Silverado
    Location
    houston texas

    Quote Originally Posted by jesse500 View Post
    $8 ebay cable, and VCDS lite, works plenty fine for most tasks. if you need more, pay rosstech $99usd for registration. $110usd, and you will be able to do all you need to do if just for general maintenance/trouble shooting.

    or get a $30 MPPS ebay cable, and be able to do newer cars also
    The purchased lite cable still doesnt do everything a fully licensed cable is capable of, but for 95% of the jobs its fine.
    2003 A4 1.8TQ
    APR stg2+, MTM 420cc injectors, EuroCode FMIC, PSi testpipe, Techtonics Tuning downpipe, Forge TIP, Hyperboost DV, 240mm clutch, LWFW flywheel, B5S4 calipers, Goodridge SS lines, Stern snub, motor and transmission mounts, Powerflex rear diff bushing, JHM SS shifter, solid linkage, stabilizer bushing and weighted knob, Vogtland Jr. Cup Kit, B7 RS4 front and rear sway bars.

  17. #17
    Active Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Feb 28 2017
    AZ Member #
    394383
    Location
    Flat rock Michigan

    Can one of you post a link to the generic eBay cable?

    Want to be sure I'm getting the correct part.

    If i like how it all works, I'll buy the real version.

    But $200 for a cable on a $2500 beater is a lot.

  18. #18
    Veteran Member Four Rings texasboy21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 01 2007
    AZ Member #
    16891
    My Garage
    2017 Mustang GT Performance Package, 1983 Chevy Silverado
    Location
    houston texas

    $200 cable on a $2500 beater that will easily rack up a $5000 maintenance bill.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Jun 26 2015
    AZ Member #
    339463
    Location
    Tampa, FL

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony k View Post
    Can one of you post a link to the generic eBay cable?

    Want to be sure I'm getting the correct part.

    If i like how it all works, I'll buy the real version.

    But $200 for a cable on a $2500 beater is a lot.
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...409.1&_sacat=0

  20. #20
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Apr 03 2016
    AZ Member #
    371241
    Location
    Up North

    ^ Rocket is right on the money with that link.

    If you have the chance pick up one with a FTDI FT232R or RL chip in it. The CH340 chip ones are not as good as they aren't compatible with a lot of the OBD software out there. I think they are fine with VCDS but not Nefmoto, Galleto, etc. should you ever want to use them. The cables usually don't cost any more with the FT232 chips anyhow...

    I'd buy two if you have the means. The China quality isn't good. I've had two fail on me and its no fun having to wait on the slow boat to bring a new one so you can read/clear codes or tune. BTDT. I usually keep three on hand. Bonus is you have a loaner if any of your buddies need one, or you can keep one in your glove box and still have a spare at home.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Three Rings VAGlover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 23 2013
    AZ Member #
    123675
    My Garage
    B6 A4, 02(6spd)and AMB(1.8t), a slow progreassion into a track car.
    Location
    boston
    Items for Sale

    Torque pro

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Audizine mobile app

  22. #22
    Active Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Feb 28 2017
    AZ Member #
    394383
    Location
    Flat rock Michigan

    Ordered 3 with that fancy chip

    Thank you guys

  23. #23
    Established Member Two Rings Gin+'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 16 2015
    AZ Member #
    327575
    Location
    CNY Syracuse

    Full version of ross tech and you still can't swap a broken cluster or ecu in a 12+year old car...

  24. #24
    Established Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Dec 27 2016
    AZ Member #
    389199
    Location
    Milwaukee Wisconsin / Detroit

    Get a ebay cable. Everything will be alright. People are retarded if spending $300 for a cable for a crappy car. For DIY'er crap I do everything on my car with a cheap ebay one. Just remember you need windows XP

  25. #25
    Established Member Two Rings Gin+'s Avatar
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    Apr 16 2015
    AZ Member #
    327575
    Location
    CNY Syracuse

    Quote Originally Posted by yxri View Post
    Get a ebay cable. Everything will be alright. People are retarded if spending $300 for a cable for a crappy car. For DIY'er crap I do everything on my car with a cheap ebay one. Just remember you need windows XP
    Windows XP is not a necessity however you may need use windows "compatibility mode" for the application to install IIRC. FTDI drivers are available for all operating systems.

    One of the reasons the ross tech cables are so expensive is you are paying for available tech support help those who aren't computer savy.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Four Rings blitz2190's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 31 2014
    AZ Member #
    269656
    My Garage
    2004 A4 1.8T Quattro, 2.7T swap Stage 3 APR 6 speed
    Location
    NH
    Items for Sale

    Quote Originally Posted by old guy View Post
    Pick up a generic cable and download VCDS lite for free. Clicky clickŪ If you find it useful you can register it for $100 and open up a lot of additional diagnostics.
    Do this it has all the features unlocked for this model, it will work for any b6 or older. Well worth the 100. Just make sure you get a genuine ftdi cable and not one from china as the new ftdi drivers wipe the vendor id and make it a pain in the ass to fix.
    Never argue with an idiot, they'll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.
    2.7T Swap Wiring Guide (Psst this is a link)
    New Build In progress built 2.7 STK 2004 B6 A4- Thread and pic to come

  27. #27
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Apr 03 2016
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    Up North

    Quote Originally Posted by blitz2190 View Post
    Do this it has all the features unlocked for this model, it will work for any b6 or older. Well worth the 100. Just make sure you get a genuine ftdi cable and not one from china as the new ftdi drivers wipe the vendor id and make it a pain in the ass to fix.
    I've had good luck with all the China FTDI cables I've bought. Heard about the killing of counterfeit chips, but not recently. Maybe the boys overseas have bypassed that issue? Don't know.

    While I agree a registered VCDS lite is a great idea, there is also WBH-Diag which is free. It does soft coding and pretty much anything you need maintenance wise.

    I'm with Gin+, I really wish that VCDS provided more 'higher level' options...

  28. #28
    Established Member Two Rings MRCT's Avatar
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    Sep 19 2016
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    381344
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia

    I know this chinese dude that sells em.. he says just turn off automatic update.. and dont let it connect to the net and youll be fine.. but i reckon it still lacks a whole wide of functions.. if u just wana scan and clesr cels.. and adapt keys it does the job.. not sure abt data logging and providing real time info works or not.. this is the 80 dollar one im talking abt. Hex can usb cable and vcds 16.83.something

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

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