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The end of an era in troubleshooting techniques

I was browsing through this months “Motor” magazine and something pretty amazing caught my eye. With the introduction of what GM refers to as “Global Electrical Architecture” the time tested process of “stubbing in” test electrical components will not work. The modules will contain vehicle specific data that will prevent you from taking a known good part off one car and putting it on another car to verify your diagnosis.It was stated that this system started with the 2010 camaro but I missed it until now. If you do try to stubb in a electrical part it will set failure codes that are described as “hard to erase”.Truly the end of an era.

Also of interest is the introduction of a new factory scan tool either called “MDI” or from a company named MDI. I don’t know if it replaces the Tech II or is simply for cars with the new Global Electrical Architecture. One more bit of blockage for the DIYer.

What would the purported advantage of this be?

It will keep the manufacturers wealthy by making aftermarket electronic parts a thing of the past, and preventing people from diagnosing and repairing their own car.

Right on. Its called market control which has historically been the main route to profits (rather than the myth of being the best of the competition).

I think that just for a hoot I might start visiting GM dealers once this thing is in all of their cars. I’ll say “Hey! Does this thing have that new Global Architecture?” And when affirmed I will say thanks but no thanks and leave the lot.

Well, yes, that’s obvious. But companies always try to spin crap like this as being advantageous to the consumer. I was wondering what GM’s party line would be.

The industry has for YEARS been trying to make everything “proprietary” so only they could service their vehicles…OBD-II was a BIG setback for them but it looks like they have figured out a way around it…I wish I had kept my 1978 Malibu…With a little effort, you could drive it forever…

I hear you on that on caddyman. (thinking 72 Nova)

Perhaps and I say just perhaps, reducing the black market in stolen parts, but I have to wonder,does GM really care about this? I can’t see a great technical benifit unless it makes programing modules cheaper for GM (in terms of money spent on warranty costs). I can only speculate. Stubbing in “know good parts” was one of my favorite techniques.

Not only is the DIYer hamstrung by this (OK after warranty is up) but independant garages will have a great hurdle in front of them.

I’ve thought for a lot of years that the end game is to arrive at the point where no one is going to be able to service a vehicle other than a licensed dealer; and that includes things like routine oil changes. The day when a DIYer will not be allowed to purchase an oil filter and 5 quarts of slickem will no doubt arrive in the not too distant future.

Once fully implemented this thing will cause major headaches for independent shops (even for dealers to a lesser extent) and car owners.
For years now even some factory service manuals state that if “tests show the system to be fine then subsitute this, that, or the other to see if it fixes the problem or not”.

Yet another reason to buy a Ford instead of a Chevy (as if the whole bailout thing wasn’t enough!).

Before everyone starts bashing GM, Ford is working on incorporating the same type of technology.

This type of technology has been around for awhile.

For example a 06 Ford Crown Victoria window control module.This is the part of the repair procedure…

CAUTION: Prior to removal of the driver door module (DDM), it is necessary to upload module configuration information to a diagnostic tool. This information needs to be downloaded into the new module once installed.

CAUTION: If a new DDM is installed, it is necessary to download the module configuration information from the diagnostic tool into the new module.

In this case you can’t just replace the module with a known good part, you will still have to see a Ford dealer to have the module programmed.

With the GM technique the vehicle VIN is part of the data, not simply module configuration information. Using the VIN is not new when updating the PCM program (it helps get the right download) but it seems GM is trying to tie other type modules to vehicles for some reason and in the case you mention willey no codes will be set if a module is swapped from anther car,or a download procedurable error made, just an inop condition. With the GM plan actual codes are set.

It is certainly no suprise that FORD has their own version of this technology.

True… but your point was that you can’t swap parts anymore and this just shows that a DIY’er can’t just swap parts on current vehicles as well.

There are many things that a DIYer can’t do but now this situation has grown so as that the Dealer mechanic has the stub in process taken away from him also. Then again a properly equipped DIYer could preform the swap in the example you present, now it does not matter how well equipped you are as there are parameters other than programing preventing the swaps.

I barely understand this but have some comments.

If this turns out to be a hindrance for DIYers and people with car trouble away from a dealer in a time when car dealer numbers are diminishing, it could go the way of the seatbelt interlock meaning away. Just complain loudly enough to your congressman and that can happen.

There is the possibility of the aftermarket coming up with what is required to work with such a system including PC and laptop adaptor cables and programs.

The auto makers at first each went their own ways on diagnostics but were forced to go to commonality among various brands and this could also happen with such a situation as described by the OP.

I complained to my Congressman very loudly about issues that are causing people to die, and got no respone, if you think they will devote one minute of their time to this issue you are delusional. Just think how far down the list of issues are elected representives are called to deal with that this one is. Man we have two wars going on and you want Congress to take this on? get your priorities in order.

Do you recall how seat belt interlocks that prevented a car from being started were done away with? Congress passed a law canceling out the NHTSA’s action to push them into use without adequate investigation regarding public acceptance etc. Congress responded to constituent’s complaints.

Actually I don’t remember a seat belt interlock that inhibited starter activity,what year(s) was this? I do remember cars like the Escort that had those automatic seat belts that tried to strangle you.Glad they are gone. We had Chevy trucks that the seat heaters would not work if the seat belt was not fastened.

We had a Vega that had the seat beat inhibitor so it was in the 70’s that cars had that system.