Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Airbags, Airbags, Airbags Part 2

This is what you get. I purposely cropped the top of this. Above is the VIN number and more modules. The modules have BCE addresses. These addresses correspond to certain modules. I know that 737 is for the RCM. I then print this out and start the PMI process with my IDS.
This is the screen you get. Just follow very carefully the lines and input the characters exactly. Hit the blue checkmark on the lower right and the screen will advance to the next set you need to input. When you input all the characters you will get this.
Next we will check for any codes. Now that the RCM is configured now it can self test the system properly.

The system is operational. I will clear the continuous codes finally. Here again I do passenger seat rezero procedure and check for proper operation.
This is a 2011 Mazda 3 Wagon that the shop correctly diagnosed a bad passenger presence module. They changed the module and related wiring. They still had an airbag lamp on and this code. I am using my Mazda IDS system. This code can be set two different ways. One if the OCS (Occupant Classification System) is not calibrated or loss of communication between the OCS and the RCM. Let's see how we can tell the difference.
I call up some pids on the RCM to help me out. I can plainly see we have no communication faults but we have a calibration fault. To be fair you can also use LFC (Light Flash Codes) to differentiate this as well. I hate reading LFC-blink and it is time to restart. So now I have to do a OCS calibration. This involves using my Mazda IDS and some weights on the passenger seat. The procedure is pretty lengthy and must be done in a controlled manner after the vehicle sets for awhile depending on temperature. After the calibration procedure is complete lets rerun the self test.
System passes and the airbag lamp goes off. Consequently, the B1013 you see I induced when I performed the self test with some weights still on the passenger seat. Note to self have nothing on front passenger seat when doing a self test. Clearing the CMDTC's and we are set.

Airbags, Airbags, Airbags Part 1

I get a fair amount of calls from body shops. Most of the times it is collision related issues such as airbag or wiring issues. I am going to give you three of my most recent. Here is a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The vehicle was in a recent accident. The shop did a nice job putting this vehicle back together. Along the way components in the restraint system were changed-airbags, seatbelts, and the airbag control unit. The shop called me after they changed the items and had a flashing airbag lamp with key on. Starting in approximately 2009 on Hyundai/Kia vehicles the airbag control unit has to be variant coded for it to operate properly. The airbag control unit has to be "programmed" so it knows whether it has side curtain airbags, etc. The flashing lamp tells you that no variant coding has been set.
This can only be done with the proper tooling. It is a one shot deal. Here is the G-scan made by a company called GIT. While this is not the true blue factory tool for Hyundai/Kia (The GDS is the factory) it really comes a close second. In fact it will do everything GDS will do minus programming and fault guided diagnostics. Rumor has it that engineers for Hyundai/Kia have "super" G-scans that will actually program. My G-scan is actually a loaner from my good friend Joey "Bag o donuts" for which I am grateful for. He knows I do a great deal of Hyundai/Kia work and he has a love/hate relationship with this scantool. Mostly hate.
After building the vehicle and the system I want to access we get this screen. I choose Vehicle S/W Management.
This is next screen. I have already called my source to get the correct variant code for this vehicle using the VIN. You have to have a source at the OE level to retrieve these variant codes.
This is the next screen detailing the function and where you should have the ignition key. lets hit ok.

The next screen includes a mini keyboard for inputting the variant code. The tool includes a stylus that helps with this.

After inputting the code this screen just informs you the procedure is complete. I turn the key off for 1 minute or so. Turn the key back on and no more flashing lamp. I perform a WCS (Weight Classification System) rezero procedure with the G-scan and clear all codes. Finally, I check the operation of the passenger weight system for proper operation and do a final scan for codes.
Next up is a 2006 Mercury Milan that was involved in a collision. Again, various components of the restraint system were changed including the Airbag contol module which Ford calls the RCM (Restraint Control Module). Typically, when a Ford module is changed the information from the old module is retrieved using a procedure called PMI (Programmable Module Installation) and then uploaded to the new module. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Sometimes the module is missing or damged and information cannot be retrieved. Ford has an answer for this called "As Built Data" using the VIN. Here in the above screenshot with my Ford IDS we have a B2477 in the RCM. The RCM is not configured or configured properly. Since I have no module to retrieve data and the vehicle is already together I will use As Built Data to configure this module. I will need the full 17 digit VIN and access to
This is the As Built Data entry screen. I enter the full VIN.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Seven days with eight Porsches in Europe looks how you would expect

We come across a lot of dash-cam videos, and while we may have become desensitized to the highway altercations or raceday crashes, this video left us speechless. Simply titled, "well that was 2012," it is a stunning video, chronicling the journey of a handful of Porsche 911s throughout Europe.

The poster of this video explains on his website that he and seven other 911 owners took to an amazing week-long, 2,000-mile journey through seven European countries. The video was shot from the dash of his modified Porsche 993. The tandem movements of the Porsches through traffic has the feeling of a group of friends skiing or snowboarding together, flying past the novices. Oh yeah, and they get pulled over, more than once.

In describing the impression that the trip left, he confesses, "Within a few days of getting home I found it very hard to get back to normal life." Umm... yeah, we can understand that.

Sometimes becoming too wrapped up in the automotive news cycle, we risk losing sight of the big picture. This video serves as a reminder of why we obsessively cover this industry. It stems from a love of the open road, complemented by car worthy of carving it up. We may not all be able to cross Europe in a Porsche 911, but thankfully for videos like this, we can at least get a taste.

Original Article From:

The 2014 BMW M4 might look this good

Once BMW unveiled its all-new 4 Series coupe, we knew it wouldn't take long for digital renderings of the more powerful M4 version to hit the Internet. F30Post worked with digital artist Wild Speed to create some really great renderings of the upcoming M4, and also compiled a good amount of information based on sources and educated hunches.

While it doesn't take much to imagine what the M4 will look like based on the styling of current M cars and recent spy shots, these renders finally give us something to ogle at until the car finally arrives. New cues include the more aggressive front fascia, bulging hood, carbon roof and bigger wheels and brakes. Wild Speed was also kind enough to show images in a spectrum of shiny colors.

As for the car's details, the article expects the M4 to be lighter, faster and more efficient than the current M3 using a "multi-turbo" inline-six engine producing somewhere around 395 pound-feet of torque. The M3 sedan could go on sale by the middle of 2014, but the M4 coupe isn't expected to hit the scene for another couple years. 

Original Article From:

Jaguar lets first outsiders drive new F-Type

What do you do when you're an automaker with an all-new and brand-defining sports car, one of them with a supercharged V8 cranking out 495 horsepower? You let proven race drivers test them out on track and on the road.

And what do you do if you're Jaguar and you're in that situation? Why, naturally, you make a video of it. That's how we get footage of racers Martin Brundle, Justin Bell and Christian Danner being choppered into the UK's Snetterton track to test the V6-equipped Jaguar F-Type S prototype. Then when they're finished with kerb-lined apexes, they take the V8 S prototype out onto the roads to run it through hedge-lined apexes.

According to one of them, "very fast, very nimble, great engine" is what will soon be headed our way.

Original Article From:

Watch this Rolls-Royce Phantom get grassy knees

Investors value Mercedes-Benz at half of BMW

Bloomberg reports investors have valued Mercedes-Benz at approximately half of what BMW is worth. While BMW has seen its market capitalization jump to 45 billion euros, Daimler currently sits at around 42.2 billion euros. But that number falls to just 25 billion once Daimler's truck business is subtracted from the total. This comes after Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche vowed to retake the luxury sales crown from BMW by doubling sales to nearly 2.6 million vehicles by 2020. Mercedes-Benz lost that title back in 2005, and two years ago, the company had a market capitalization of nearly 15.5 billion euros more than BMW.

 But that was then. Analysts say the market has lost confidence in the leadership at Daimler and believe the company won't be able to gain significant ground on BMW. While Mercedes-Benz has had to postpone profit goals in the face of slack earnings, BMW continues to push forward with a new facility in Brazil, a range of electric vehicles and stout sales. Since 2006, Mercedes-Benz share prices have fallen off by around 10 percent while BMW stock has jumped in value by 89 percent.

Original Article From:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Webbing and Driving

So many people I know wouldn't dream of having a few drinks at a restaurant or bar and then climb behind the wheel of their vehicle. While it's great that they have strong convictions about drinking and driving, I wonder how many of them text while they drive. Studies have shown that people who text and drive are every bit as dangerous on the roads as drunk drivers.

It seems human beings are in a constant quest to show just how stupidly they can behave behind the wheel. As detailed in this report from State Farm, there is a new way drivers are not paying attention to the road and other vehicles: webbing and driving.

Webbing and driving is the clever new name given for when people actually surf the web while they're driving. They might be Facebooking, tweeting, writing up a blog post or just perusing the news online--anything but actively driving their vehicle. As State Farm points out, surfing the web and driving poses at least as much if not more of a distraction than texting and driving. Simply put, it's a really dumb idea!

I cannot tell you how many times I've almost been hit by another car that is driving erratically on the road, to then see that the driver is texting on a phone. In the recent past I was behind someone I could have sworn was extremely drunk. When I passed the car, I saw that the driver had headphones in his ears, which were plugged into an iPad he had balanced on the steering wheel! Literally, the guy was not even looking up from whatever webpage he was on. I don't know how any intelligent person could think it was a good idea to surf the web and drive at the same time!

This isn't a laughing matter, no matter how much I wish it were. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States, and distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Perhaps it's a good thing that within a short time robot cars will be available to consumers in states like California. I would far and away trust a robot more with paying attention while driving than some idiot reading up on the latest TMZ gossip on his iPad!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Vintage #Fiat500 Ragtop in Green

By far the nicest Cinquecento
on the internet

Audi the #TDI s to #LAAutoShow #A8 #A7 #A6 #Q5 #Diesel

The diesels are coming. Well, one diesel engine sitting pretty under the shapely hoods of five Audi models: the A6, A7 and A8 sedans along with the Q5 crossover are joining the already available Q7, each powered by a 3.0-liter TDI engine offering up 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Suffice it to say, we're pleased.

 Audi promises improvements up to 30 percent in both fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions when compared to its gasoline engines. Not all figures are available quite yet, but the A8, which is coming first in the spring of 2013, will score an estimated 24 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The run to 60 miles per hour is expected to take just 6.4 seconds in the big sedan.

 Not to play favorites or anything, but we're definitely looking forward to sampling the Audi A7 TDI when it comes to market in the fall of 2013, along with the A6 and Q5. Pricing is not yet available, though the Q7 has carried a $52,000 base price since it went on sale last September.

See the four new Audi TDI models in our high-res image galleries live from the LA Auto Show above and below, and there's a press release below if you're in the mood for some more reading material. Enjoy all that torque-filled goodness!

Audi Official Press Release - 

Audi to introduce four new TDI® clean diesel models to the U.S. Market at the L.A. Auto Show

The Audi A8 TDI clean diesel achieves manufacturer estimated fuel efficiency of 24 city/ 36 highway 

New 3.0 liter V6 TDI clean diesel models will include the Audi A8, A7, A6, Q5 and an updated Q7 TDI

Audi to use #FuelForThought at the LA Auto Show to create a social media experience at the display and online

Audi of America announces the arrival of the new TDI® clean diesel models for the Audi A8, A7, A6 and Q5 to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The addition of these four models marks the first time Audi will feature a full lineup of TDI clean diesel vehicles in the U.S. as they join the updated Q7 model. Each TDI vehicle delivers up to 30% better fuel economy and 30% lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline engines*, resulting in longer range and fewer trips to the fuel pump. By having more density than gasoline, diesel packs more energy content in the same amount of fuel, which helps maximize the miles per gallon when that energy is released during a more powerful combustion cycle. 

The TDI clean diesel engine lineup adds to Audi's list of advanced technologies that help enhance fuel efficiency, including Audi ultra® lightweight technology, such as the use of aluminum, and the AFS® frame technology. "

Owners of Audi TDI engines have helped save over 4 million gallons of gasoline, or the equivalent of more than 240,000 barrels of foreign oil, since the introduction of Audi TDI to the U.S. in 2009**," said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. " And, TDI technology delivers better fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance."

In order to fuel the conversation surrounding the benefits of TDI technology in the U.S., Audi will use the hashtag, #FuelForThought and invite fans to join the conversation through a social experience at the display and online.

Audi A8 TDI
The flagship of the Audi brand, the A8 TDI, makes a powerful statement in achieving a manufacturer estimated fuel efficiency of 24 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway*. The A8 TDI clean diesel executive sedan embodies superior design and progressive advancements which sets new standards for luxury sedans in terms of uncompromising efficiency and performance. The new 2014 A8 sedans dramatically expand the flagship's engine offerings by moving from two variants (4.2 liter V8 and W12) to six, including: the entry level A8 3.0T V6; the 420 horsepower A8 4.0T V8; the new Audi S8 4.0T V8; the A8 6.0 liter W12; and the new A8 3.0 TDI V6. The new 3.0 liter TDI clean diesel engine generates an astonishing 240 horsepower with 406 lb.-ft. of torque and seamlessly goes 0-60 in 6.4 seconds.

Audi A7 TDI
The Audi A7 TDI clean diesel is the pinnacle of design and is now more fuel efficient than ever. Without compromising design or performance, every detail of the A7 TDI delivers a striking visual statement. The A7 was the first car in the world to feature available factory-installed Wi-Fi (for up to 8 passenger devices) with Audi connect™ and MMI® navigation plus with 3D Google Earth™ maps. From the groundbreaking available MMI touchpad and its gracefully integrated display screen, to the state-of-the-art head up display, the Audi A7 TDI is the perfect marriage of progressive design, efficiency and versatile space.

Audi A6 TDI
One of Audi's most innovative and technologically advanced models to date, the A6 TDI performance sedan sacrifices virtually nothing in performance, comfort or design. As with the successful A6 TFSI® gas engines, the A6 TDI clean diesel engine can make up to 2,000 decisions per second. Available driver assistance systems include night vision assistant, head-up display and Audi pre sense plus that helps detect imminent collisions and initiates protective measures when needed. Other available intelligent features include head-up display and a MMI Touch pad that recognizes handwriting, along with available Audi connect – the first factory-installed wireless internet connection that enables Google Earth maps, Google Local Search, and a WiFi hotspot for up to eight passenger devices.

Audi Q5 TDI
The Audi Q5 has proven itself an absolute success as one of the best-selling models in the Audi lineup. For the 2014 model year, the Q5 will receive the new TDI engine which will allow for better fuel economy along with increased torque. The Audi Q5 TDI combines the driving appeal of a sedan with high versatility of its interior space and many practical solutions for recreation and everyday driving. Audi has further sharpened the profile of its performance SUV in its design, technological advancements, driver assistance systems and fuel efficiencies. The new TDI clean diesel engine marks the fourth engine variant for the Audi Q5 model lineup, adding to the current four-cylinder 2.0T, the 3.0T V6, and the Q5 hybrid.

Audi Q7 TDI
The Audi Q7 continues to establish the standard in progressive design, sophisticated technology and fuel efficiency in premium sport utility vehicles. The benefits of TDI clean diesel technology are further enhanced through the revised V6 TDI engine that offers a 10 percent efficiency improvement compared to gasoline engines. The revised TDI clean diesel engine has an increased output of 240 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque that helps improve performance and offers impressive fuel economy with an EPA estimated 19 city/ 28 highway miles per gallon*. The incredibly efficient TDI clean diesel engine enables the Q7 TDI to achieve a range in excess of 700 miles per tank***.

2014 MY Availability
A8 TDI Spring 2013
A7 TDI Fall 2013
A6 TDI Fall 2013
Q5 TDI Fall 2013

Pricing for all 2014 MY vehicles to be announced at a later date 2013 MY Availability Starting MSRP Q7 TDI Since September 2012 $52,000 * EPA estimates. Mileage will vary. ** Based on total A3 TDI and Q7 TDI vehicles sold, average nationwide gasoline fuel prices, and EPA estimated annual average miles driven. *** Range based on 28-mpg highway EPA estimates and a 26.4-gallon fuel-tank. Mileage will vary. Where stated, fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. All other fuel economy values are forecast manufacturer values for the USA; those EPA estimates were not available at time of release. Audi Connect and SiriusXM Traffic services may require additional subscriptions. MSRPs exclude taxes, title, transportation, options and dealer charges.

From AutoBlog.Com

Volkswagen caught testing next-gen Golf Variant, aka Jetta SportWagen ... Including GTI and R versions!!

Volkswagen is currently testing the next-generation Jetta SportWagen in Europe, and our spy photographers managed to grab a few shots of the long-roof in action. From the looks of things, the new model will be considerably larger than the current generation, pushing ever closer to the girth of the European Passat. Technically, the SportWagen will continue to ride on the Golf platform moving forward, and there's some indication that buyers in the EU will get a shot at both GTI and R versions. Of course, the SportWagen goes by the name Golf in the old country.

 Details are scarce on what we can expect to see under the hood, and Volkswagen hasn't said when the new Golf/Jetta SportWagen will debut, but smart money is on seeing the next-generation vehicle at either the Geneva Motor Show in March of next year or the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. In the meantime, check out the full gallery for a closer look


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

@BrandChannelHub - LA Auto Show Preview: @Jaguar Fuels Desire for New F-TYPE and more

When the Los Angeles Auto Show holds its media preview on Wednesday, it'll become more apparent than ever that in the world of cars, as in some other things, California remains vastly disconnected from the rest of America.

That's because the nation's strictest emissions standards and laws mandating electric-vehicle sales put a premium for auto brands on showing the best side of their electrification efforts at the L.A. show. And so while EVs have continued to sell at a snail's pace across most of the rest of the United States, California has become a robust market for electric vehicles.

 It's also America's hottest market for sexy cars, of course, which is why Jaguar USA is at the LA Auto Show. The brand hosted a pre-show event Tuesday night to unveil the all-new F-TYPE two-seater. It also unveiled the trailer for Desire, a short film being released next year, which stars Emmy Award-winning actor Damian Lewis, produced by Ridley Scott Associates with music by Lana Del Rey. Check it out below along with other previews at the LA Auto Show.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Second Coming of Saab

Saab PhoeniX Concept Car

People love a good comeback story, the kind where a person overcomes seemingly impossible obstacles, and Saab right now might be shaping up to be that kind of a story. Many people decided the brand was deader than dead three years ago when talk of bankruptcy and winding down the brand  was first brought up by General Motors management. After languishing for a while, the Swedish automotive brand finally seemed to succumb to the many factors that caused its demise. Many kind eulogies were written for the brand and then everyone seemed to move on.

But like a phoenix, (or maybe a zombie, depending on how things turn out) Saab refused to stay dead for very long. Now it promises to rise from the ashes of the company so many wept over, hopefully stronger and ready to thrive in the modern automotive world.

Saab PhoeniX Concept

At first, plans were to relaunch the brand with only EVs (electric vehicles). That plan was an ambitious one, one that seems to have been placed on hold. Rather than let consumers continue to think that the Saab brand is dead, the company will release a new generation of the iconic 9-3 sports sedan, but it will be gasoline-powered like in the past. Rumor has it that this new 9-3 will be based on the architecture of Saab's PhoeniX concept (but sadly the scissor doors probably won't make the cut--pun intended). In the next few years, expect to see electric Saab models rolling down a road near you.

How is it that Saab has been brought back from death? Despite what most people think, when a company goes bankrupt and closes that doesn't mean the products are dead forever. If that were the case, Jeep would have been history a long time ago. The Swedish company National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (or NEVS) is partially responsible for this reboot. The company is owned by National Modern Energy Holdings, which is based in Hong Kong. A significant portion of the company is also owned by some private Japanese citizens, with the alliance surviving the current tension between the governments of China and Japan.

Saab PhoeniX Concept

China has been weighing in on electric car technology with a mandate for quite a few electric cars on the country's roads in the near future. This has helped fuel an interest in bringing more EVs to China. The US so far is the largest EV market in the world, so expect to see quite a few of these EV Saabs coming to America in the near future as well. I would imagine a fair amount of the new 9-3s will be landing on American shores as well, considering the US was a vital market for Saab back in the day. Still, with NEVS being based in China, and with the country's growing appetite for cars, Saab should be expecting to see a huge upswing in growth in China (just like Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo are all experiencing).

Of course, everything is up in the air right now. Relaunching a car brand is not an overnight process, especially with part supply chains, readying factories, negotiating with assembly workers, training, testing, etc. I'm sure the public's response to this news will play a factor in deciding if Saab is back next year, so let's all make sure to let NEVS know there's still a viable market for a combustion engine 9-3!

Saab PhoeniX Concept Wheel - I love how it looks kind of like a turbine!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hennessey preparing updated Venom GT2 with 1,500 HP

Hennessey Performance – that purveyor of things silly-powerful – has announced a sequel to its bonkers Lotus-based Venom GT, the appropriately sequential Venom GT2. While the performance company isn't quite ready to release full technical details about the new car, it has supplied us with a few of the vitals, as well as a gallery's worth of first-look eye-candy.

The GT2 seeks to trump the horsepower output of the Venom GT in a major way, upping the total pony count to 1,500 versus the older car's paltry 1,200 hp. That heroic output is produced by a 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, and is attainable running plebian E85 pump gas – like a boss. The 1,500-hp figure is significant, too, as it represents one horsepower for each kilogram of weight the car carries.

Other additions for the Venom GT2 include an available seven-speed "paddle shift transmission" of unknown origin, a bump in headroom thanks to the double-bubble roof and aero improvements that drop the CofD from 0.44 to 0.42.

Look for this unmitigated beast of a hypercar to make its official debut late in 2013.

UPDATE: This just in from John Hennessey regarding the 2014 Venom GT2. We're told that the car will carry a sticker price of $1.25 million to start, and that the optional seven-speed paddle-shift transmission will be a $165,000 option. Further, Hennessey will continue to sell both the Venom GT and the Venom GT2 – the new car is not a replacement for the older, in other words.

From AutoBlog.Com

@Wired - The ‘SUV of Motorcycles’ Offers Neither Sport nor Utility

Alessandro Tartarini, the son of Italjet founder Leopoldo Tartarini, has created a new category of motorcycle we didn’t know we needed. And based on the stats and those pesky laws of physics, we’re unconvinced it’s even a viable solution for the handful of potential buyers Tartarini and his company are targeting.

The design intent of the Brutus (no relation to the Brutus electric motorcycle or Caesar’s assassin) is to be a jack of all trades, handling serious off-road conditions while simultaneously being a practical long-distance cruiser. The big feature is the tires, which are 6 inches wide at the front, and 7 inches wide at the rear.

But as with any hybrid that attempts to blend the best of both worlds, the Brutus’ stats make it sound like a mis-imagined hodgepodge that won’t be good at anything.

To begin with, it weighs in at 485 pounds – about the same as 1,000cc tourers like the Ducati Multistrada. The reason tourers can’t go off road is because they’re far too heavy, which makes the Brutus overweight for dirt path duty.

Then there’s the suspension travel, which at 80mm at the front and 100mm at the rear, is far too short for hopping rocks and ripping through ruts. Most tourers have about twice that amount of travel, and use every millimeter of it.

But questionable stats aside, the Brutus is touted as “at home in any conditions” and “a valid work tool for going where other vehicles cannot.” Two dubious claims that combined with a 45bhp, 750cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled powerplant make even less of a case for Tartarini’s halved ATV.

The production model comes with an glut of options like a reverse gear, a sidecar, a winch, a generator, and even a “snow kit,” which converts the rig into a semi-snowmobile with a track out back. Look for a release next spring, although there’s no word on pricing.

From AutoBlog.Com

The Joys of Driving a Minivan!

I am a car guy, but I'm also practical and I'm not rich. I also have several kids (which is partially why I'm not rich) to transport safely and comfortably around town and on long trips. Because of my life situation I have found myself doing what I swore I would never, ever do: I bought a minivan.

What's so bad about owning a minivan? Many people consider minivans to be a scourge on the road. I've noticed the most violent reactions against minivans and those who drive them come from women. Perhaps these women view minivans as an undue form of female bondage, like the bra-burning flower children of the 1960s? I once had a woman explain to me that driving a minivan is "sacrificing your sexuality for your children." I had no idea I drove my sexuality around on the road, but of course the little guys who drive huge trucks help confirm that at least some people do. How sad.

I really like SUVs for a number of reasons: they are excellent in snow, SUVs are good for camping and other outdoor activities and some can actually be fun to drive (while others constantly feel like they're going to tip over). But there is one major problem with 95% of the SUVs on the market today: if they have a third row, its large enough to transport a house cat or maybe a beagle and that's about it. Don't believe me? Go try to sit in the third row of a Toyota Highlander, Volvo XC90, Acura MDX or even a Ford Explorer. If you're tall like me, you won't even fit. To add insult to injury, with the third row up the vehicle's cargo area is completely annihilated. So that means if the family goes shopping together, everyone has to hold the store bags on their laps. Road trips are accomplished with everyone holding the luggage or using it as wonderful in-vehicle ottomans, or by loading everything onto the roof and increasing the possibility the vehicle will rollover at freeway speeds. Car makers could at least expand the hip room on the second row of these SUVs, allowing parents to place three car seats or boosters side-by-side and still close the doors and use the three shoulder belts.  

Minivans in general offer more cargo and passenger space than SUVs

Minivans, for the most part, have ample space on all three rows, as well as a surprising amount of cargo space behind the third row. Image be damned, having space for everyone and everything makes life bearable! Kids also have an easy time getting into and out of minivans, since they have a low step-in height and wide sliding doors. Kids have trouble with the large, heavy doors found on SUVs, which means they're more likely to hit other vehicles, metal poles, etc with them.

As gas prices continue to climb, minivans offer a more fuel-efficient way to transport a large group of people. In general, their tires and other consumables cost less. They are a more budget-friendly way to transport around your family. So many people have SUVs that cost an arm and a leg to maintain, and yet they never tap into the vehicle's off-road capabilities. If that's not conspicuous consumption, then I'm not sure what is. 

Ultimately I feel like I'm villainized by other drivers on the road because I chose a vehicle that makes sense. I had been conditioned to think that minivan drivers were some sort of a scourge, but my thinking has now changed by necessity. If more people would give minivans a try, they might realize that their kids don't need to eat their knees in an SUV's crammed third row. My experience is that the more comfortable kids are in a vehicle, in general the better behaved they are in that vehicle. I enjoy driving down the road without crying and fighting, which is hardly a scourge but instead is a huge blessing.

@GoApr - Big Turbo MKVI VW GLI - 11.49 @ 119.88

We all know I am a big fan of GoApr and the magic they perform on the VW family, but I just had to share this clip.

Alan Watts - What if Money Was No Object in your life? What would you do?

Jeep Grand Cherokee fails evasive maneuver (moose test)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2001 Cadillac Seville SLS

There she is. One 2001 Cadillac Seville SLS with 103,361 miles on it. Pretty clean car. Unfortunately, it does not start, nor crank, nor does the host of electronic gadgetry on this car work. The owner says sometimes he can disconnect the battery and reconnect and vehicle it will start and perform well. Notice the battery charger in the picture. Usually, a clear indication to me that the battery in the car is a paperweight. I see a ton of bad batteries. People will have expensive stereo systems, fancy alarms, and they have a bad battery. They don't mind jumping the car 5 times a week. That spells disaster to electronics. Between, voltage spikes and the eventual backwards jump start it gets ugly fast. Let's get the show on the road with this car.
I hook my Tech2 to see what modules are reporting. I choose Class 2 DTC Check to see what is going on quickly.

This is what I get. Now, this could go many ways here. These vehicles have lots of issues. Bad ignition switches, water leaks soaking modules and causing communication issues. On this model I know that they typically will have windshield and/or passenger door leaks and the SRS (Airbag) module under the passenger seat gets soaked and causes issues. A quick feel under the seat and it feels pretty dry. I then break out the scope and check pin #2 at the DLC and get a constant 12v. The Class 2 communication line is shorted to power. So many things can cause this-bad modules, shorted harnesses, poor grounds. Lets look at the Class 2 line.
Here is part 1.....

Here is part 2. Lots of modules here which is to be expected on a Cadillac. These modules are arranged in a Loop pattern. GM has 3 different ways to arrange Class 2. Loop is what you see here where communication lines go in and out of every module. Star arrangement where each module generally has one communication wire going to it and there is usually a splice pack where you can take one module off at a time. Finally there is Star/Loop which combines the two. Loop is great for redundancy but can be a little more intensive to diagnose. I like to start with easy. I visually check grounds and harnesses for rubbing or damage. They look pretty good. Next, I start disconnecting modules, cycle key and then look at my scope on Class 2 for activity. I disconnect ABS no luck. Every other module is buried except one-the PCM.
I unearth it and disconnect both connectors.

This is what I have at pin #2 at the DLC now. Perfect Class 2 waveform. Let's recheck the modules with the Tech2.

Nice! I now have modules reporting. The only module not reporting is the PCM. Obviously, it is hanging in the breeze. A quick check of powers, grounds, and 5vref at the PCM reveals no other issues. This PCM is the cause of the Class 2 being shorted to power. Remember, the battery charger, etc. I inform the shop owner of my findings and give him options so he can discuss with this customer. He calls me the next day and tells me money is tight with the customer. He wants to go with a used PCM and still does not want to change the battery. I do not mind setting up used modules as long as it will not cause issues. Be careful. Sometimes replacement of used modules will cause issues. Ask one shop I got called in when they changed a BCM (Body Control Module) on a Caravan to fix a rear wiper issue. Well after the used BCM went in the vehicle got infected with VTSS (Anti theft) and the mileage almost doubled with no going back. Try explaining that to the customer. Be careful! All my customers know to call me first and ask me about used module beforehand. It is something I preach. Ok, so we are going to be putting a used PCM in this Cadillac. New, reman, or used it will have to be setup with proper VIN and calibration. As well as the theft system relearned.
Used PCM installed. Still have great communication. Next....
I hook up my Midtronics battery maintainer to the battery. Not because this vehicle has a bad battery. I will not reflash, program, etc without it. It is a ripple free battery maintainer that holds voltage steady at 13.4v. It is endorsed by GM and has been the industry mainstay for some time. I know guys that flash with jumpacks or battery chargers. I do not have that kind of luck. There is a lot of data being transferred and I want to make sure I have done everything for a successful flash event. A quick check with my DVOM at the battery tells me we have stable proper voltage. Next, I hook up the Tech2 and request info from the used PCM. It will have the VIN and calibrations from whatever vehicle it came out of. I will be overwriting that with proper VIN and calibrations for this vehicle.
I then hook up my Tech2 to my TIS2000 program, input the proper VIN and choose replace and reprogram PCM. This is what is called remote programming. It is when you are downloading calibrations to the Tech2  from the laptop then disconnecting and using the Tech2 stand alone to update programming. Sometimes I use this method other times I use pass thru. I avoid flashing/reprogramming with a J2534 tool whenever possible. I like factory tooling. Less pitfalls and suprises.

There are the correct calibrations. I upload to the Tech 2 and go back to the car.

Here is where it gets a little dicey. These Cadillacs along with certain Corvette models (check your service information) really should be programmed by themselves. Apparently, with so many modules on the communication line if one of them "talked" while a programming event was going on it could corrupt the programming. So GM recommends to reprogram these PCM's with a special stand alone harness that isolates the PCM. Others, I know have made jumper harnesses of their own to work around this. I had some good information that if I pulled the I/P fuse in the underhood fusebox that the chatty modules involved would go to sleep and I could program this PCM. So I did.

Here I rechecked. Sure enough my chatty modules are no longer reporting and the PCM is there. A quick recheck of proper voltage and connections. Lets program!

Here we go.

A couple of minutes later. Lets recheck for proper calibrations.

Bingo. Vehicle still is not going to start. We need to relearn theft.
Here we have a choice to relearn theft. GM typically gives you two choices. One is a long way typically 30 minutes which involves turning key on and waiting, etc. The second way is a program that will run that speeds things up. That is what I use. Again, we request info from vehicle using the Tech2. This time VIN is correct.
I choose theft relearn and upload it to my Tech2.

This is a lot faster. After completion the vehicle starts and runs properly. I clear all codes and make sure to perform any after reprogramming procedures such as oil life reset, crankshaft variation relearn, etc. The Cadillac rides again. Hopefully, that battery gets changed sooner rather than later.