Let’s be honest: When it comes to onboard diagnostic information, European vehicles have always been a breed apart. Even several years ago, when vehicle system self-diagnostic capabilities were already a common sight on domestic and Asian vehicles, many European vehicles still lacked this important feature. When self-diagnostic capabilities finally did appear on European vehicles, dealer-only or brand-specific specialty tools were frequently required to retrieve and understand the data available.
The situation could be viewed as a blessing or a curse, depending on your point of view. The ‘obscurity factor,’ cost of admission for diagnostic equipment and scarcity of reliable diagnostic and repair information have probably intimidated a great many otherwise capable repair shops and technicians, forcing them to turn away European vehicle owners when diagnostic work was required. These same vehicle owners were then forced to either return to the dealer, or seek an independent European vehicle repair shop that had made the investment in diagnostic tools, support information and training. While one group of businesses
continued to lose or turn away business from European vehicle owners, the other businesses continued to profit from the ‘artificial-scarcity’ situation.
In recent years a handful of tool and equipment manufacturers have recognized a viable market niche, and have stepped up to offer European-specific diagnostic equipment to the U.S. vehicle repair industry. Operating with little or no OEM cooperation, these manufacturers ‘reverse-engineered’ the European vehicle systems, then incorporated what they were able to learn into their diagnostic equipment. Several of these tools have been profiled in earlier issues of Import Service. Their availability has opened the door to many shops that previously had to close their doors to many types of European vehicle diagnostic work.
The most recent piece of European-specific diagnostic equipment we’ve had a chance to work with is the Baum Tools CS2000 Data Scanner. The CS2000 uses interchangeable data cartridges and harness connectors, allowing it to interface with the self-diagnostic systems on vehicles from four major European manufacturers: BMW, Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen/Audi (including Seat and Skoda vehicles for European CS2000 users) and Volvo. A separate OBD-II cartridge also gives the CS2000 the capability to interface with and retrieve diagnostic information from all 1996-99 ISO 9141-compliant OBD-II equipped vehicles. This includes all European, Asian and Chrysler products built for the North American and Japanese markets that conform to the ISO 9141 communication standard.
While the generic OBD-II interface is nice to have for emissions and driveability diagnosis, it’s the CS2000’s ability to access many other vehicle systems and diagnostic information that give this tool its unique value. The CS2000 offers access to live datastream information, fault code handling, control unit ID and coding and service interval resets. A direct PC interface and the ability to graph live data are promised for the future. Preparations are also underway to introduce the following additional features for the CS2000 during 2000: Nissan, BMW (ZKE, instrument cluster, A/C, BC-MID), Porsche, Saab, GM, Ford and control module programming.
For 1988-99 BMW vehicles, the CS2000 can access engine diagnostics, transmission diagnostics, ABS/ASC/DSC, airbag, electronic throttle control and service reminder reset.
Mercedes-Benz digital information includes: 1991- 99 engine diagnostics, 1991-97 diagnostic module, 1990-99 five speed automatic transmission, 1993-99 airbag. Analog information includes (get ready for the acronyms): ELR/EDS/CIS-E, DM, BM, DI, ETC, 4MATIC, EA/CC/ISC, ADS, ASD, ABS, ASR, SPS, RB, CST, RST, IRCL, PSE, ATA, CF, A/C and SRS. If you’re a Benz specialist, you doubtless already know what all these acronyms mean, and there’s no point in spelling them out for you here. For the rest of us, Baum has included an instruction manual that translates these and many other obscure European vehicle system acronyms.
The CS2000 Volkswagen/Audi cartridge offers a long list of diagnostic capabilities. Digital diagnostic capabilities include: engine, electronic Diesel, engine electronics, OBD-II, automatic transmission, electronic clutch, instrument cluster, A/C and heating, power seat, seat/mirror adjustment, interior monitoring, ABS, electronic suspension, traction control, tire pressure monitor, steering wheel, four wheel drive, level control, SRS (airbag), anti theft, central locking, sun roof, headlight control, parking aid, emergency calling, radio, sound system, navigation/GPS, battery control, battery charger, electronic control and gateway data bus.
Baum introduced a Volvo cartridge for the CS2000 after I began preparing this article, so I did not have the opportunity to evaluate it. The Volvo cartridge includes access to: engine management systems (Motronic, LH, Fenix, Regina), ignition control, turbo control, service reminder light, instrument cluster, immobilizer, transmission, ABS, airbag, climate control, keyless entry and power seat.
For an up-to-date listing of all CS2000 capabilities and future tool upgrade plans, consult the Baum Tools website at www.baumtools.com or Circle Number 117 on the Reader Service Card for additional information. The following photos will give you a sampling of the CS2000’s capabilities and modes of operation.