Diagnostics can be the most challenging part of any automotive technicians’ job, and without the right tools trying to diagnose faults in modern vehicles can seem almost impossible.
There are different levels of scan tools available on the market to assist in identifying and diagnosing vehicle faults. In the last issue of the Australian Car Mechanic I tested the AUSCAN scan tool by Launch. The AUSCAN is an entry level stand-alone scan tool that can be used to carry out both service and basic diagnostic functions.
With a focus on diagnostics in this issue I tool tested the X-431 Euro Tab by Launch. The X-431 is a diagnostic platform that allows a greater in-depth analysis of faults than a stand-alone scan tool can achieve. The X-431 is powered by a fast 2.0GHz 8 core processor that operates on the Android platform, a 10.1-inch colour HD multipoint touch screen as well as a docking station for charging. The X-431 connects wirelessly to the OBDII port via the VCI connector, just be sure to remove the VCI connector when you’re finished as it is expensive to replace.
The X-431 software comprises a wide vehicle coverage with a focus on Eurobrands such as Maserati, Ferrari, Benz and BMW just to name a few, as well as three years of free software updates. The Intelligent Diagnosis feature identifies the vehicle model by VIN scanning removing the need to enter the data manually. The software also supports 15 special functions including sunroof initialisation, headlamp, suspension and AT matching.
This tool test was carried out on a current model XE Jaguar. Using the Intelligent Diagnosis function the vehicle model was identified and from there a vehicle ‘health check’ was carried out to identify the control modules in the vehicle and any fault codes that may have been logged. Compared to the AUSCAN the main menu of the X-431 is more user friendly with most of the functions being available on the home screen. The ‘health check’ showed several faults had been logged, I decided to further investigate the P0302-00 Cylinder 2 misfire detected fault so after selecting the fault code in the engine ECU, I was able to easily graph the data stream.
At this point in the diagnostic process more data is needed to identify the cause of the fault. This is where the X-431 becomes a diagnostic platform. In order to gather further raw data rather than relying on what the ECU is seeing the X-431 supports extended functions (add ons) that include a sensor and multimeter module, oscilloscope module, battery detection module and an endoscope (bore scope). These aren’t supplied with the x-31 Euro Tab and can be purchased separately. Unfortunately, these weren’t available for this tool test and after further investigation it turned out that the engine ECU required a software update which was carried out at a local dealer.
As with the AUSCAN the X-431 incorporates LAUNCH’s ‘cloud diagnosis’ which allows you to share information with other workshops that use Launch scan tools as well as logging a request for support directly with LAUNCH technical support.
With the ever-increasing complexity of diagnostics in modern vehicles there is little doubt that a diagnostic platform such as the X-431 Euro Tab by LAUNCH is becoming an essential part of the modern automotive workshop.
For more info visit www.launchtech.com.au