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View Diary: Of First Cars and First Loves: Sorry, Nan, this Diary is About my '69 Beetle (114 comments)

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  •  Thanks for dispelling my ignorance! (1+ / 0-)
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    Not only is my uncle a monkey, some of my best friends are monkeys!

    by CodeMonkey on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 11:25:34 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  There are some proprietary systems... (1+ / 0-)
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      jakedog42 you're not totally wrong.  But Basic powertrain and pollution controls have to comply to OBD-II, which is an open, universal standard.  The government did that to prevent manufacturers from "locking down" their cars engines and pollution control systems, effectively preventing independent mechanics and do-it-yourselfers from working on cars unless they purchase expensive proprietary systems like you mentioned.  

      Where there are sometimes proprietary systems are in the CAN system -- car area network.  In the old days, when you opened the door, a switch was opened, and the interior light came on.  When you pressed the window down button, the switch closed, sent a signal to a relay, and the motor that rolls the window up or down was powered.  All analog technology.  These days on many cars, all that is controlled by a car area network.  When you press the window button, it goes to a computer which processes the signal from the switch, then relays a signal to another part of the network to make something happen.  It's actually possible to re-map switches this way.  As a practical joke, you can map the Driver's door window switch to operate the passenger window.... If a power window switch goes out and you replace it, it may be necessary to log into the CAN system and "Log the switch into the system" and map that switch to the desired function.  

      CAN stuff may be proprietary.  Mostly the European manufacturers are doing that.

      I also own a newer Toyota along with the Volkswagen TDi.  It uses a CAN system, but it's not a locked one.  I once had a broken switch for the power window that I replaced.   It didn't work for a couple hours.   When I went on a Toyota forum, they told me to just press the button a bunch of times.  Eventually, the car's computer "learned" it was there, and it it began working.        

      There is actually a political movement called the "Right to repair" movement.   The US Government is in the process of coming up with a new law for the net generation of OBD systems.  Some manufacturers are lobbying to have the new OBD system be locked by the manufacturer.  This will basically give the consumer no choice but to take the car to the dealer if it passes, since you'll need the factory password to read the cars on-board diagnostics.

      That would be a disaster for independent mechanics, and consumers.  Imagine a world where the only place you can get service is the dealer, at dealership hourly rates and parts prices.


      •  Another downside (1+ / 0-)
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        is if everything is locked down, what happens if you are on a trip and break down hundreds of miles from a dealer.

        •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

          With the open nature of OBD-II, if you have a problem, you can stop at a auto parts store (like advance or Auto Zone) and they can pull the code for you for free with a hand-held scanner, and sell you the part. (Unless you have a VW/Audi like me, in which case they most likely will order the part for you)

          With a locked-down system like some manufacturer's are pressing for, you'd have no choice but to find a dealer, or an indy mechanic that paid for the proprietary system.  That may not be a problem east of the Mississippi, but in a place like Wyoming, if you drive some EuroCar, the nearest dealer may be in Denver or Salt Lake City.  

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