Professional Distributor - 48

DIAGNOSTIC DISCOURSE

Find out what
shop owners are
reading about in this
month's pages of

Programming for
the future

From mobile techs to remote access programming,
shops can now choose the programming option
that works best for them.

C

omputers and data signals are now the
norm in vehicles, and communication
between a vehicle's electronic pathways
and mechanical components must be maintained
BY SCOTT "GONZO" WEAVER and upgraded from time to time. It's not unlike your
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR phone's apps, which seem to require an upgrade
After owning an automotive electrical every time you turn around. For vehicles, new
repair shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for
situations arise and new procedures are develmore than three decades, ASE Master
Tech Scott "Gonzo" Weaver now writes oped that need to be entered into the vehicle's
and teaches about the latest automo- matrix. That, of course, is the reason for updates to
tive technology. As a storyteller, Weaver
vehicle software.
has hundreds of published humorous
When we talk about "programming" it is usually
and anecdotal stories that can be
found on his website, gonzostoolbox. associated with the replacement of a computer or
com. He is the author of the book, component in the vehicle. Other times, the update
"Hey Look! I Found the Loose Nut."
Email Gonzo at gonzosae@aol.com. may have to do with a TSB. Some programming is
only required if you've made major changes, such
as replacing the transmission.
So, how does one enter new updates and information? Is this something a DIYer can do, or is this
something that needs to be handled by a professional? First, let's discuss where all of this began.

THE BEGINNING OF THE ELECTRONIC AGE
The first vehicle manufactured in the U.S. with what
we might consider a true computerized system would
have been the 1979 Cadillac. Looking back, it was a
rather crude attempt at the sophisticated systems we
have today. Nevertheless, this model did use a TPS
and a 'revolution counter' (today, we would refer to
it as a crank sensor). Still, the '79 Cadillac lacked
an interface point where a technician could gain
access to the computer signals. Basically, there was
no ALDL port.
Even before the 1979 Cadillac model, import
vehicle manufacturers (which tended to have about
a 10-year head start in technology compared with
domestic models) had introduced the 1974 Type 4
Volkswagen with an electronic injection system.
This vehicle had no service port either, and like
the Cadillac, most diagnostic work was based on
reading the three basic electrical principle players
48 Professional Distributor I August 2019 I VehicleServicePros.com

- amps, volts, and ohms - at various test points
or connections.

THE CHIP AND THE CAR
By the early 1980s, the first aluminum boxes were
prevalent in nearly every vehicle. The ECM age was
upon us. These early systems were more of a 'look
and tell' monitoring system. The check engine light
was introduced, as well as service ports for the technician. Back then the ECM could be disconnected
and tossed in the trunk and forgotten about because
it only watched for trouble and did not evaluate or
correct faults. It still left the vehicle with a moderately responsive engine and transmission system.
But that was about to change.
At one time, the microchip was the mainstay
of vehicle electronics. Again, this chip in comparison to today's systems was rather simple in its
operation. The basic rhythmic patterns of the fourstroke engine could be mapped out on a chip, which
allowed timing and fuel to be compensated at various
engine loads and speed requirements. These chips
became the basis for the first 'updates' regarding
engine performance.
As time went on, the need for a more in-depth
system of checks and balances for the emissions - as
well as security - was on the horizon. Things for the
technician were about to change again.

A NEW ERA OF PROGRAMMING
By the time the industry broke away from a physical
chip in the vehicle, technicians were well on their
way to relocating their wrenches one drawer lower
to make room for the scanner. These sophisticated
machines became the linchpin of programming,
reflashing, downloading, and upgrading the software on a vehicle's computer.
At first the upgrades were on discs, and you
merely transferred the data from the disc to
your scanner and then entered it into the vehicle. Over time, this changed to pulling the


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Professional Distributor

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Professional Distributor

Editor's Note: A risky (and rewarding) business
Business risks that paid off
Show Me Your Truck
Most Wanted
2019 PTEN Innovation Award Winners
Sneak Peek
Product Training
Go Sell Something: You can teach an old dog new tricks ... especially if that dog is you and you want to earn more money.
In Focus Products
Diagnostic Discourse: Programming: Where did it start, and what options are available to today's technicians?
Driving Sales
Tales from the Road: Tool dealer John Loobey's love of martial arts led him to compete on American Ninja Warrior.
Professional Distributor - 1
Professional Distributor - 2
Professional Distributor - 3
Professional Distributor - Editor's Note: A risky (and rewarding) business
Professional Distributor - 5
Professional Distributor - Business risks that paid off
Professional Distributor - 7
Professional Distributor - 8
Professional Distributor - 9
Professional Distributor - 10
Professional Distributor - 11
Professional Distributor - 12
Professional Distributor - 13
Professional Distributor - Show Me Your Truck
Professional Distributor - 15
Professional Distributor - Most Wanted
Professional Distributor - 17
Professional Distributor - 2019 PTEN Innovation Award Winners
Professional Distributor - 19
Professional Distributor - 20
Professional Distributor - 21
Professional Distributor - 22
Professional Distributor - 23
Professional Distributor - 24
Professional Distributor - 25
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Professional Distributor - Sneak Peek
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Professional Distributor - Product Training
Professional Distributor - 39
Professional Distributor - 40
Professional Distributor - 41
Professional Distributor - Go Sell Something: You can teach an old dog new tricks ... especially if that dog is you and you want to earn more money.
Professional Distributor - 43
Professional Distributor - In Focus Products
Professional Distributor - 45
Professional Distributor - 46
Professional Distributor - 47
Professional Distributor - Diagnostic Discourse: Programming: Where did it start, and what options are available to today's technicians?
Professional Distributor - 49
Professional Distributor - 50
Professional Distributor - 51
Professional Distributor - Driving Sales
Professional Distributor - 53
Professional Distributor - Tales from the Road: Tool dealer John Loobey's love of martial arts led him to compete on American Ninja Warrior.
Professional Distributor - 55
Professional Distributor - 56
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