Sealey’s Product Category Manager, Neil Kidby, runs through the company’s engine management equipment.
The world of diagnosing engine management faults on modern vehicles is seldom what it seems. The perception that you ‘plug your box in and it tells you what’s wrong’ is far from reality in our workplace.
No matter what the vehicle is, or what powertrain it is running, the one common thing is there will be multiple sensors feeding back lots of data to control units for processing. Here is where the fun starts, and we all have to rely on experience, ingenuity and lateral thinking if we are to get to our goal quickly. For example, a read of the ECU stored codes is performed, and a fault code displaying a sensor is not working. It can be the sensor, but that cannot be guaranteed. Perhaps it could be a broken wire, bad connection, or resistance causing incorrect readings. Sometimes with a fault we need to find out what it isn’t before we find out what it is, which is where we need lateral thinking. Time saved in diagnosis is beneficial to the workshop in terms of workflow and customer satisfaction.
So where do we start? Two pieces of equipment are vital as a starting point; a fault code reader and a multimeter. Additional diagnostic aids will be required somewhere along the line, but we need a starting point.
For someone just wanting to do basic EOBD fault code reading, the Sealey VS8812 could be suitable. It enables fast and easy access to any vehicle’s EOBD codes and establishes the cause of the illuminated engine warning light. It can turn off the warning light, clear codes, and reset monitors. It is CAN bus enabled, can retrieve generic P0, P2, P3 and U10 codes, and also picks up manufacturer-specific P1, P3 and U1 codes. Live data streams from the engine and transmission modules can be accessed, and it also stores freezeframe data for later evaluation.
At the other end of the scale is the Sealey V-Scan Pro diagnostic tool – a fast, wireless multitasking operating system. The unit includes extensive coverage of OE-level diagnostics, which allows independent garages to provide a complete diagnostic service for cars, SUVs and vans. Among its many functions, this unit can read and clear fault codes, access live data and perform actuation tests.
Once we know we can access fault codes, sometimes we need more information. Continuity of wiring, resistance, voltage and temperature checks are all things that can be checked with a carefully selected multimeter.
For a wide range of functions and some built-in diagnostic aids, the Sealey TA102 is a good value starter unit. It has a durable case and integral stand, and has an easy to read hi-contrast LCD display with 34mm high digital read-out.
The extensive range of Sealey multimeters also includes the TA320. This device is especially designed for hybrid vehicles and conforms to EN61010 CAT III (1,000V). Unlike other multimeters, this unit has an insulation test function that allows testing of the insulation of the high voltage wires found on hybrid vehicles. It can be used as a standalone device, or linked wirelessly with a USB interface to a PC or laptop, enabling results to be graphed, saved or printed.
With the correct pieces of test equipment, diagnosis becomes a lot easier, and Sealey have the solutions.