Category Archives: Diagnostics

Old School Diagnosis: Suzuki Vitara

Old School Diagnosis: Suzuki Vitara

Josh Jones had his hands full with an old- school Suzuki Vitara this month. Here, he recalls how refreshing it was to work ‘scan tool-free’ and go back to basics.

I have had a few blasts from the past this month – it really does feel like I have traveled back 15 years to my apprenticeship, and its been fun. In between working on a car fitted with actual K-Jetronic mechanical injection (I appreciate some people reading this now won’t even know what that is, which makes me feel very old indeed) and another fitted with a real life distributor, was a 1998 Suzuki Vitara with a 1.6L G16B engine fitted. This vehicle had been passed to a local garage with a non-start issue and unfortunately they had drawn a blank on the cause, so I was asked to take a look. I welcome the chance to work scan tool-free, and as the vehicle was built before the start of the current millennium, I do not possess a serial communication tool compatible with this vehicle!

The thing I love about this particular type of car is the accessibility of pretty much any component, making it easy to test. Most of us are now used to unobtrusive testing. Gaining access to specific components can be a seriously time consuming process if, in the end, no positive result comes from the graft.

On the Suzuki, however, it was kind of like working on a training rig. For instance, simply look under the dashboard and there is the ECU, held in place by only two 10mm bolts – lovely. Upon cranking, the engine was not noisy and did not display any signs of mechanical fault. So, with my trusty DVOM and scope, I set to work.

Believe it or not, the engine was fitted with single point injection and with the injector harness itself being clear to see and test, I decided the easiest starting point would be to check voltages to establish if the engine ECM was at least powering up, i also wanted to check if the engine’s rotation was being picked up correctly by the crank sensor, and thus initiating fuelling and ignition. The injector was easy to separate as there were simply two wires emerging from the centre of the throttle housing and they were linked to the main wiring loom via a connector. I connected here with a power probe to check operation on cranking, but got absolutely nothing – no ignition supply or switching signal on either wire. Was the ECM even powering up? Upon cycling the ignition switch, I listened for a fuel pump prime and could hear one for definite. In light of this, I was sure the control unit was at least coming to life when the key was turned on.

To check if the spark ignition side of things was operational, I carried out a simple test using the same two wires, in order to save time. With the fuel injector disconnected at the aforementioned plug, I manually activated it with the power probe for a very short period. The injector could be heard to click and the holding pressure in the fuel system from previous ignition cycles delivered a very small amount of fuel into the inlet manifold. I then simply cranked the engine, which straight away coughed into life – briefly – before obviously dying again. I was confident I was looking at a lack of fuel injection as the cause of the non-start condition.

According to a wiring diagram of this particular engine management system, the fuel injector is not only controlled by the ECM but is also electrically driven by it directly, as opposed to the power source coming from a control relay as per most multipoint systems. My next task was to evaluate the integrity of the connections between the injector and ECM, but this is where things got a bit strange for a moment. With the ignition switch turned off and with the injector disconnected at the same multi- plug, I carried out a continuity test from the injector control terminal on the ECU side of the plug and battery negative, simply to check whether or not there was an open circuit. When the ignition was turned on, the test showed an open circuit. When the ignition was turned back off, about five seconds would elapse before the ground path would return, presumably via the ECM. It was at this point that a little nagging thought from earlier came back into my head. Up until this point, I had not paid much attention to the fact that there had been no sign of a ‘check engine’ warning lamp displayed, even in a ‘key on, engine off mode’, which is why I needed to use the fuel pump prime as a rudimentary way of confirming ECM power up.

On a newer model, no EML would have rung alarm bells straight away, but as this vehicle was pre EOBD, I simply did not pay enough attention to the missing lamp. Upon closer inspection of the instrument cluster, I found that there was a poor connection on the PCB. This turned out to be the ‘check engine’ lamp, which was trying its best to frantically flash at me every time the key was turned on, but could not due to the loose bulb. A check of the owner’s manual (which was still present, amazingly) confirmed my suspicion – a flashing lamp was a warning that the key transponder was not recognised!

After this discovery, I wanted to confirm that it was indeed the key transponder itself at fault and not any wiring or immobiliser module issues, as this could have potentially made the vehicle uneconomical to repair. I used my amps probe (see above) to connect to the receiver ring circuit of the immobiliser. When the key was cycled to the ignition position, the immobiliser control unit attempted to probe for a response from the key chip before giving up (see below).

Carrying out the diagnosis this way allowed me to understand the functionality of the factory immobiliser system. It certainly explained the open ECM injector circuit; when the ignition was cycled, the immobiliser obviously isolated it and the key was not being recognised. It was also interesting to note that spark ignition was still operating, even though the fuel system was disabled upon the security system becoming active.

After a call to my friendly local locksmith, it was confirmed that a new transponder was very easy to program. After his visit, I checked to see that – with the current probe – the key was once again responding correctly. You could clearly see a difference – only one ‘pulse’ was needed to communicate before the chip was energised to respond. The rhino was ready to roam the plains once more. Lesson learned!

Getting the Best from your Diagnostic Equipment

Bosch outlines some simple ways to get the best value from your diagnostic equipment.

We all know new features in vehicles are making repairs more complicated, from parking cameras and keyless entry, to broader changes designed to respond to tighter emissions regulations and greater connectivity, all requiring greater levels of expertise. Some vehicles now have more than 100 different Engine Control Units (ECUs) to look after different systems in the car, posing a problem for technicians trying to find and fix faults. Diagnostic equipment can save valuable time, pinpointing faults rather than technicians wasting time diagnosing by substitution. A diagnostic device can also provide proof to the customer that the problem, which brought the vehicle into the workshop, is now solved.

Diagnostic health check

For those who have invested in equipment, it may seem like obvious advice to get the most from it, but some technicians are still not fully aware of the commercial benefits presented by diagnostic equipment. The System Overview, provided by ESI[tronic] 2.0, provides a list of all ECU systems that are communicating in the vehicle, acting as a complete vehicle diagnostic check. This report can be downloaded and given to a customer, demonstrating either what the fault was, or the health of the vehicle once it has been fixed. A diagnostic check may also flag other service requirements which can be dealt with before they become a problem for the vehicle owner, saving time in the long run.

Independent garages and technicians

The new generation of KTS gives workshops access to OEM solutions without the need to be a franchised dealer. PassThru enables a KTS unit to install and update a car’s internal software – typically the realm of a dealer. A garage no longer needs to purchase several OEM PassThru hardware solutions to cover the range of cars that they are likely to work on, putting valuable OEM data into the hands of independent garages and workshops.

“A diagnostic check may also flag other service requirements which can be dealt with before they become a problem for the vehicle owner, saving time in the long run.”

The right information at your fingertips

ESI[tronic] software ensures that information and processes are available and tailored to a specific vehicle type. The system then provides detailed information on vehicles, including menu tabs for ‘Vehicle Info’, ‘Diagnosis’, ‘Troubleshooting’, ‘Maintenance’, ‘Circuit Diagrams’ (depending on the subscription level) and ‘Equipment’ (parts). These guide the user through all the relevant functions and data that Bosch has for that vehicle, allowing a smooth, personalised diagnostic process. Service related and technical information guides you through the diagnostic procedure. However, if the wrong vehicle is selected by mistake and the diagnostic ECU system is not fully identified, then some diagnostic functions may not work properly.

Knowing the vehicle type, drive type, make, model series and engine code can help identify the correct RB code – a unique ‘Robert Bosch’ reference stored within the system to identify vehicles. However, if the device is already plugged into the vehicle, it can identify the VIN details and therefore the vehicle type. The VIN on some vehicles doesn’t contain model-specific information, so the system may require further vehicle specific information to find the RB key and the vehicle-specific guidance.

Keeping KTS up-to-date

One of the best ways to get the most from diagnostic equipment is to keep it up-to-date. Bosch provides routine software updates which need to be uploaded onto the system by a technician or operator. Online updates for ESI[tronic] 2.0 provide new priority systems coverage and enhancements. As well as the online updates, DVDs are sent out by the company, providing further updates to the system. These also need to be loaded onto the system and provide a different type of update to the online options.

On hand to help you out

With new vehicle technology enhancements and vehicles being fitted with advanced electronic systems, Bosch strives to continually improve the KTS tool and the diagnostic functions and technical information within the ESI[tronic] 2.0 software platform.

The Bosch Automotive team employs more than 350 ESI[tronic] software development engineers around the world, working on new diagnostic systems coverage and enhancements for the 180 vehicle brands that are covered by ESI[tronic] 2.0.

The UK-based technical support helpline for technicians using Bosch equipment has two dedicated teams that provide help with hardware or software installation queries and technical vehicle problems that technicians may face. In many cases, a quick call to the technical hotline can give the required solution, but if this doesn’t resolve the issue, then raising it on the manufacturer’s online portal may be the best route to receive the right answers. The portal is a direct link to Bosch’s ESI[tronic] service team who look into the suggestions and requests, and investigate any outstanding errors or faults found with the tool. An ESI ticket must be raised whilst connected to the vehicle, which can then be submitted using the ESI[tronic] system.

The next step

Those purchasing a KTS are offered a free training course within the first three months of purchase, covering the operation of the KTS and ESI[tronic]. Putting the serial number of the product onto the booking form entitles the user to the free session, and will include the basics of operation, as well as how to get the best out of the equipment.

For those looking for a more in depth knowledge of diagnostics, the Bosch Diagnostics Technician Programme is designed to give a thorough and comprehensive grounding in diagnosing faults across a range of systems. Hosted either at the Bosch Service Training Centre or regional venues based around the country, a series of sessions is available for technicians to learn about the latest systems and technologies.

Bosch Vehicle Systems Analysis FSA Comparative Curves Database

Bosch Vehicle Systems Analysis FSA Comparative Curves Database

This video demonstrates the Bosch Vehicle System Analysis FSA Comparative Curves Database

How to use the Characteristic Curve Recorder on Bosch FSA

How to use the Characteristic Curve Recorder on Bosch FSA

This video demonstrates how to use the Characteristic Curve Recorder on Bosch FSA

Overcoming three tricky winter faults

Make: VW
Model: T5, Transporter
Model year: 2003 onwards
Those affected: All models with rear double-wing doors
Issue: Malfunction of rear window wipers

With some of the above-mentioned vehicles, a fault in one of the rear window wiper motors can lead to various malfunctions of the system. These affect the functioning of both the rear window wipers and also the front windscreen wipers.

In some cases, the rear window wipers work non-stop and/or they do not react to the various settings on the steering column switch. Fault codes are not necessarily stored in the control unit.

Defects in the rear window wiper motor can be caused by water entering via the wiper shaft. Severe oxidation or dampness in the interior can lead to “electromigration” or to a permanent positive connection. In such a case the wiper motors at the rear (as the culprits causing the problem) can first of all be disconnected so that (until the motors are replaced) at least the front windscreen wipers can function properly. In this situation, the rear window wiper motor(s) had to be replaced. The experts at HELLA resolve three tricky issues that garages may encounter this winter.

Make: Honda
Model: CR-V
Model years: 07.11.2001-17.09.2004
Engine: 2.0i (K20A4)
Issue: Failure of dipped headlightSide

The dipped headlight can fail on this vehicle with the cause often attributed to a defect in the connection between the light switch and the cable plug.

Friction can wear the coating on the contacts between the light switch and the cable plug which can result in increased resistance. In extreme cases, the high temperatures can melt the connection with the plug and the dipped headlight can fail.

The VM has acknowledged the problem and the 16-pole plug on the combi-light switch is now being checked in the garage and replaced where necessary.

Make: Mazda
Model: RX-8
Those affected: All models from 10/2008 onwards
Issue: Coolant level warning light illuminated

If the coolant level warning light comes on in the abovementioned vehicles although the coolant level is correct, a possible cause of the trouble is a faulty coolant level sensor.

In such cases, the coolant level sensor, the lead and the plug are to be checked for any form of damage and also for continuity of electrical current. If the sensor is welded to the expansion tank, then this tank has to be completely renewed.

The manufacturer now offers a modified coolant expansion tank for this purpose, under part number N3H1-15-350L.

Visit Hella’s knowledge portal for garages by logging on to


Diagnostic equipment servicing tips: the need for battery support

The advent of advanced diagnostics may lead many technicians to believe they’re buying luxuries for their workshop. However, capable diagnostic equipment is a must to carry out even the most basic of tasks.

It’s a diagnostic world

Diagnostic expert, Hella Gutmann Solutions (HGS) warns that as workshops are being rapidly overtaken by advancing vehicle technology, they are failing to understand the vital importance of diagnostics, and how the tools can be used to improve business efficiency.

“It has always required skill to diagnose vehicle problems,” says Neil Hilton, HGS Product Manager at HELLA, “and adding diagnostics to your armoury doesn’t change that; what it does give you is a means to produce a quick and accurate assessment of the likely cause of the problem, then it’s down to the technician to utilise the data and repair.

“Motor technicians are well aware of advancements in electronic control systems,” adds Neil. “However, more recently, these systems have been extended to lane detection, adaptive cruise control, rain and light sensors and even tyre pressure sensors. Only two years ago it would be unusual to see a car in the workshop loaded with this technology, but today it is commonplace.”

Powerful partnership

Another impact of advancing vehicle technology is related to the vehicle’s battery. This is without doubt the beating heart of the modern motor vehicle, but as new technology places ever higher demands, its vital role in vehicle diagnostics is often overlooked.

A new aftermarket distribution agreement between HELLA and leading manufacturer of smart battery charging systems, CTEK, offers garages access to a professional range of battery testers and chargers as part of the Hella Gutmann Solutions range. This partnership underlines the vital role battery performance plays in vehicle performance.

Despite increasing demands on the vehicle battery though, batteries themselves are getting smaller as manufacturers look for an improved power-to-weight ratio to create better fuel efficiency. Commented CTEK’s, Peter White: “Because of its size, the battery has virtually no spare capacity, and has to be maintained at optimum performance to prevent problems. In diagnostics, with the engine off, the vehicle’s systems are operated solely from the power of the battery. “Maintaining optimum battery charge is critical to avoid unnecessary down time, lost vehicle data or even damage to sensitive electronics. Should battery voltage alter significantly during diagnostic activity, the programme can fail, meaning a time-consuming restart, or worse still, the ECU can be damaged, risking expensive replacement.”

Vehicle life support

HELLA likens the CTEK charger to a life support machine for the vehicle while the diagnostics process is underway. “The CTEK MXS25, for example, provides a stable voltage and up to 25A of fully regulated power to prevent loss of charge and damage to the battery. It’s ideal for a wide range of vehicles with average power consumption. Other units can provide up to 70A of battery support suitable for high specification vehicles with greater demands,” concludes Neil.


HELLA and CTEK’s ‘Must Do’ Diagnostics Checklist 

Go Global
✔Always perform a global check. This will show how many other systems are affected by the fault. Don’t limit yourself to an individual system. CAN-Bus technology, present on virtually all modern vehicles, dictates that a single fault code can quite easily be scattered across multiple systems causing numerous symptoms on a variety of systems.

Don’t Guess 
✔ Fault codes are the ECU’s best guess at what the fault could be. Confirm this diagnosis by checking live parameters and reach your own conclusion – don’t become a fault code jockey!

DPF Dangers
✔ DPF faults are a common problem so don’t be tempted to start the interrogation by performing a regeneration as this is the end result of a problem further back in the system. Other components such as oil quality, general maintenance, EGR valves, heater plugs and turbos are all critical to a smooth running system and need to be checked first. The previous components are usually the cause of a failed regeneration attempt, so it makes good sense to check these first.

Send Smoke Signals 
✔ A good partner to electronic diagnostic equipment is a smoke tester. This should be used as the second check to identify potential physical leaks causing electronic faults, therefore aiding correct diagnosis.

Learn to Adapt
✔ After diagnosis and a part is replaced, the vast majority of systems require an adaption or basic setting; without this the ECU is not aware the part has been replaced and will continue to run with the previous settings of a failed or failing component.

Batteries Included
✔ Don’t forget the battery. Use the right equipment to maintain its performance. Slave batteries and boost packs can be unreliable and may struggle to cope with sudden increases in current demand. Standard battery chargers are not recommended either as they can increase battery voltage beyond normal operating levels, affecting diagnostic procedures and possibly damaging sensitive equipment.

Clean Up
✔ Keep it clean – use a charger that will deliver a smooth, surge free electrical current to protect sensitive ECUs.

No Standing
✔ Don’t leave it standing. Drain from loads such as tracking devices and alarms means that a battery can potentially become flat in a matter of days. If you know that a vehicle is going to be standing for more than a day or so consider giving the battery a condition charge to ensure that it is charged to maximum capacity.

Support Means Success
✔ Finally, when choosing a diagnostic device, investigate the support, development and training available. This is critical in an industry that is morphing from mechanical to electronic. HGS has in place over 45 Master Technicians and nearly 200 research and development engineers. This allows the mega macs range of equipment to deal with the new challenges that workshops face both now and in the future.

How to Improve Your KTS Diagnostic Capabilities. Part 8: Understanding the built-in multimeter and oscilloscope.

KTS Diagnostic Made ‘ESI’ from Robert Bosch

This regular series of technical articles from Bosch focuses on how to get the best out  of its ESI[tronic] 2.0 software, which is used in conjunction with the KTS range of diagnostic tools for vehicle fault diagnosis and service function procedures.

In this month’s issue we’re going to introduce you to the added benefit of vehicle diagnosis, using the built-inmulti-meter or oscilloscope functions included in the KTS Vehicle Communication Interface (VCI), in conjunction with the serial diagnostic capabilities of the Bosch ESI 2.0 program.

Many technicians consider a graphing multi-meter or oscilloscope an extra investment, along with all of the other equipment required to effectively work on modern cars today. The good news is that if you own a Bosch KTS 540, then it already has a single channel multi-meter included and our flagship tool – the KTS 570 – features a two channel multi-meter or oscilloscope which is all ready for you to use (see Fig 1).


The kit contains high quality colour-coded test cables and probes, which use standard 4mm ‘banana’ type connectors. As we all know, often a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) will only give a guide to the general area of a system that is suspected  to be faulty or out of range. Once a DTC is read from the error memory of a control unit, a good fault finding process is required to test the suspected component and its associated electrical circuit. In Bosch ESI 2.0, there are many Service Information System (SIS) repair instructions linked to an error memory code that will suggest a direct measurement needs to be made of the voltage supply, earth path, or signal/command wire or component resistance in the system (see Fig 2).


These values can be tested using the Bosch KTS multi-meter or oscilloscope, along with ‘guided’ fault finding instructions and technical data through ESI 2.0. This will  give you confidence in your results and should certainly lead to an improved first time fix rate of your customers’ vehicles.

For this article, we’ll concentrate on the multi-meter and scope functions of the KTS 570. Please remember that if you have a KTS 540, there is no scope capability built into the VCI. For technicians that use a separate oscilloscope – such as the Bosch FSA 500 or FSA 720/740 series – then the KTS 540 is
perfectly suitable for multi-meter use.

The KTS multi-meter functions

We’ll first take a look at the Bosch KTS multi-meter functions that can be used alongside the ESI 2.0 vehicle diagnostic program. When the multi-meter is accessed via the main menu (see Fig 3) a new window will appear on-screen with the multi-meter display and measurement selection options.


Now you can overlay the multi-meter results screen over ESI 2.0 and see the serial diagnostic data and direct measurements side by side (see Fig 4).


The test results will be wirelessly displayed on your PC screen, with the measurements taken by the probes attached to the KTS VCI which is connected to the vehicle (see Fig 5).


The readings can be shown in a numerical form, with a useful bar graph, or in a graphing trace format, with up to a minute across the screen. This gives the user more convenience, depending on the measurements being taken. Another great feature is that, just like the actual value time profile display in ESI 2.0, the multi-meter graph can be paused, reviewed, saved and printed (if necessary) for reference (see Fig 6), showing battery voltage and current upon starting the engine.


For voltage and current readings, we have the choice of DC, AC or EFF (root mean square) settings on both channels and resistance measuring up to 1 M Ω on channel 1. You can connect a Bosch amps clamp with adaptor for non-intrusive current measurements to be displayed on screen. A really useful additional feature of the KTS multi-meter is the circuit break and short circuit function, which you can configure to emit an audible warning signal when you conduct a wiggle test on the suspect harness to help you find wiring faults along a loom.

The KTS oscilloscope

Now we’ll look at our Bosch KTS 570 two channel oscilloscope functions that can be used for even greater in-depth testing of electrical systems and components. The beauty of using an oscilloscope is that it opens up a whole new dimension of system diagnosis by presenting to the user an accurate graphical representation of voltage over time. This means you can see in detail what is actually happening in an electrical circuit in real time. Fig 7 shows a PD injector and crankshaft sensor signal.


Opened from the main menu, the oscilloscope screen can be viewed alongside the ESI 2.0 program and offers many customisable settings that enable you to effectively capture and display the test results you need. Trigger points can be set to be sure that signal recording starts where you want it to and waveform display options can be used to get the best results. There are too many options to describe them all here, but if you hover your cursor over any icon or soft key a ‘tool tip’ pops up with a description (see Fig 8).


The time base for both channels can be set between 50 micro seconds and 1 second across the screen. The safe continuous input voltage to the VCI is a maximum of 60V and the scale of measurement in voltage can display from 100mV (10mV/division) up to 200V (20V/div) up the screen. In the current
measurement, the amps scale can be selected between 30A and 1,000A. If you pause the scope recording the buffer memory holds the previous 25 screen captures, which can be scrolled through and reviewed. This is essential if you’re searching for an intermittent fault.

If only a single channel measurement is required then the blue and yellow cables can be used for potential free testing when the black earth cable is connected to channel two. This set-up can be particularly useful for testing both signal wires of an inductive speed sensor, for example.

When a signal is being collected, the ESI 2.0 oscilloscope software automatically starts to calculate the specific signal on/off times and frequency of the waveform, if it is a repeated signal such as a Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) duty cycle. This is really useful if you’re checking the command signal
to a component, such as a radiator fan control module (as shown in Fig 9).


Another great feature of the scope is the ability to choose the channel option for signal  acquisition via the coloured test cables connected to the channel inputs of the VCI.

Additionally, you can switch to the ‘PIN’ input option, where the signal will be taken rom the communication pins of the 16 pin OBD socket that will already be connected to the car. The earth pins 4 and 5 and power supply pin 16 are not available to scope this way but any of the other pins are  (depending on the vehicle configuration). For example, a single wire ‘K’ line on pin 7 or a CAN Bus
signal on the traditional pins of 3 & 11 or 6 & 14 could be ‘internally’ tested (as seen in Fig 10). This can be a very quick and easy way to investigate if any control unit communication problems occur.


What are you waiting for?

If you use a Bosch KTS 570 and haven’t tried oscilloscope testing, then we highly recommend that you give it go. This article is intended as a brief overview of the multimeter and scope capabilities within Bosch KTS as, in reality, we could write a whole book on the subject!

The Bosch Automotive training course ‘WTE1 operation of Bosch KTS’ covers an introduction to the in-built multi-meter and scope functions and is a great way to get some experience under your belt. For those looking to step things up a level, the Bosch ‘VSTD9 Oscilloscope Operation and Signal Test Methods’ training course goes into greater detail of oscilloscope testing and waveform analysis.

How to improve your KTS diagnostics capabilities. Part 4: Actual value analysis, time profile and data recording

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’ from Robert Bosch.
This regular series of technical articles from Bosch focuses on how to get the best out of its ESI[tronic] 2.0 software, which is used in conjunction with the KTS range of diagnostic tools for vehicle fault diagnosis and service function procedures. Because of the vast range of features available through the software, Bosch’s technical team will be breaking things down into bite-sized chunks, starting at a beginner level and progressing through to more advanced functions.

In the previous column we we briefly looked through the immense diagnostic capabilities that Bosch ESI[tronic] 2.0 provides with the ‘SIS Trouble shooting’ functions of the tool when used with the Bosch KTS. This month we’ll explain the benefits available when you are evaluating the ‘Actual values’ of a system.

Actual values (AVs) are the variable data parameters that have been processed by the ECU and are an essential source of information for automotive system diagnosis and analysis. They’re a useful representation of the state of a system at the ECU based on the data collected from the sensors or switch input signals and component outputs on the vehicle. The technician can use Bosch ESI 2.0 to display the info in a variety of helpful formats and save the results for subsequent viewing and comparisons.

Once you have connected the Bosch KTS to the vehicle and selected the relevant system, ESI 2.0 will offer you ‘Actual values’ in the function selection screen, if the ECU in question supports this type of data transfer.


It is useful to understand that an AV can either be a numerical value of measurement, such as ‘Control module supply voltage: 12.9 volts’, or alternatively an input or output condition like ‘Drivers door status: Door open’. The system provides a data stream which is constantly refreshing on the screen so the technician can view any changes in condition that are recognised by the ECU and visible in ESI 2.0.

These days, modern vehicle ECUs can support hundreds of AV parameters. To help the technician select the right AV more quickly, ESI 2.0 simplifies the process by providing an ‘actual value group’ selection screen in some cases. This groups parameters together and allows the technician to view either all of the supported AVs or only values connected to a particular component group or function. This will narrow down the list so you can find the data that you need faster.


Another highly useful feature that was added to the ESI 2.0 software in the 2015/2 DVD update is an ‘Actual value’ search bar. This is a brilliant way to quickly search the list of AV’s for any ‘key words’ that you are looking for. By typing into the search field the AV list is instantly filtered to only show values that contain the text you have entered.


With Bosch ESI 2.0, a technician can choose from one selection list any of the required AVs to be displayed for comparison purposes. Up to eight different AVs can be displayed together and a ‘tick’ symbol in the box on the left confirms your selected values. If you’re using a computer with a keyboard, a handy tip for selecting values from the list is to use the up and down cursor keys to scroll through the list and the space bar or left/right cursor keys to select or de-select the highlighted value name. Once you’ve made your selection, clicking ‘continue’ or pressing the F12 or enter key, will give you the values on screen in a text format. Each AV will have the name, value, unit and possibly a hint such as “Allow engine to idle” displayed. At this point, you’ll probably see the value changing as the parameter data is refreshed.


Using the ‘Store F2’ soft key at any time will add the data on screen to the job protocol that was covered in a previous issue.

Pressing the F3 soft key when viewing the AVs, after some time has elapsed, will allow the operator to cycle through the Maximum, Minimum & Current values collected since the data stream was started – a very helpful tool if you’re looking for a value that is operating outside of its expected threshold. For example, if the turbo of an engine system was over-boosting on a road test then you will see, via the F3 maximum key, that the tolerance boost value was exceeded at some point, without having to constantly monitor the changing value stream. This is a momentary value that could have otherwise been missed. You’ll also notice that on the right hand side of the screen there are up and down arrows that will enable you to scroll to the next or previous values from the AV list.

Expected values

Sometimes when investigating a fault on a vehicle there may be a physical symptom present but no diagnostic trouble codes stored. In this case, you could be looking at the AVs of the system for any anomalies. One more new feature in ESI 2.0 is that when the AV name is shown as a blue underlined hyperlink, you can click this to see the functional description of the associated component and be shown what values should be expected according to the conditions.

One of our preferred features of AVs in ESI 2.0 is the ‘F5 – Time profile’ soft key that will change the display of AVs to a colourful graphical format that plays across the screen. Now you can manipulate the data presented to best suit your requirements. If you haven’t already done so, test this out to see how handy it is. The time base can be adjusted between 5 to 60 seconds to zoom in or out of the graph on screen. Pressing the ‘pause’ key will stop the data collection at that point and the buffer memory will store up to the last six minutes or so of data, depending on how many values were selected.


The technician now has the option to play back the capture in a sequence or scroll through the data screen-by-screen and then zoom into millisecond detail if needed.


Again up to eight AVs can be included in the time profile and each one selected will be listed in the pop-up box that will identify the colour coding of data traces. Clicking one of the AV names in this list will highlight that value in the graph and change the ‘y’ axis scale and unit accordingly.

It is easier to identify a problem when you can clearly see the relationship between components in operation together. Depending upon the system and fault that you’re investigating in ESI 2.0, the applicable values can be viewed together in one graph. An example of this would be the accelerator pedal position, air mass meter flow, EGR valve actuation and boost pressure on a Common Rail diesel engine during acceleration. Clicking ‘F4 store’ during an AV time profile will take a static screen capture of the data graphing on screen and add it onto the protocol report which can be saved and printed off for reference.

Along the bottom you will notice an icon that looks like a floppy disk symbol, called ‘Data recording’, which will save a flight recorder style file of the current time profile data collection. The technician can save, open, review and play back the data recording at any time. This is handy if you’re searching for an intermittent fault and wanted to first record the event occurring out on the road, and later view and analyse the results back in the workshop. The file at that point will be saved in the ‘Recordings’ tab (found in the ‘Main menu’ under the ‘Protocols’ section) (see Fig7).


You can also add important info, such as customer and vehicle reference, to be able to later identify the job associated with the file.

The ‘Actual value’ display features described in this article can be highly useful in automotive system diagnostics by allowing you the versatility to view and store the data from the vehicle in different ways. This is another great reason why Bosch KTS and ESI 2.0 are such an essential tool and system combination to use when performing vehicle maintenance and repair in the workshop environment.

How to Improve Your KTS Diagnostic Capabilities. Part 10: The Maintenance and Equipment Tabs

KTS Diagnostics Mad ‘ESI’ from Robert Bosch

This regular series of technical articles from Bosch focuses on how to get the best out of its ESI[tronic] 2.0 software, which is used in conjunction with the KTS range of diagnostic tools for vehicle fault diagnosis and service function procedures.

In this latest instalment we’ll be looking at the vast amounts of vehicle service information and maintenance data that is available in Bosch ESI 2.0.


If you subscribe to the A, SD, SIS, M, P & TSB complete technical package, this software is often referred to as the ‘Master Package’. The in-depth data, detailed descriptions and diagrams, plus other  essential information, demonstrates that the Bosch KTS with ESI 2.0 software is so much more than a regular diagnostic ‘scan tool’.

Once you’ve selected a vehicle in the ESI[tronic] 2.0 program, you can then choose the ‘Maintenance’ tab at the top of the screen. Now you will see a row of sub tabs with the many different information sources related to the vehicle’s service and maintenance requirements. In fact, there are so many tabs to fit on the screen all at once, the ‘show next/previous’ arrow soft keys need to be used to scroll across the various available chapters (see below).


Service schedules
Depending on the vehicle make and model that you’ve chosen, you now need to select the type of ‘service’ required. Often at this stage a handy ‘pop up’ message appears with important timing belt replacement interval data. ESI[tronic] lists the services, including mileage and month intervals, and also
provides job times in hours for the service type and additional items (see below).


By clicking on the ‘Display operations’ soft key in the bottom right hand corner, you can create a specific service check sheet and display it on screen. The check sheet can be printed out and completed manually or electronically throughout the job and printed at the end. This is a nice feature to prevent any greasy fingerprints spoiling the list (see below).



Once you’ve selected the required service operations, this activates the ‘Service parts’ tab. This section will list out the necessary spare parts, such as oil and filters, along with capacities that will be needed to complete the service work on the vehicle.

The next tab – ‘Service illustrations’ – provides all the available diagrams to aid you whilst servicing the vehicle, such as transmission oil level plugs, auxiliary drive belt routing, cabin filter location and A/C
service port locations (see below).


You can expand each individual diagram to full screen, if needed, so that you can view it in  more detail and this is really helpful on today’s complex vehicles.

The ‘Service indicator’ tab guides you through the service light reset process for the vehicle you’re working on (see below).


This may involve a ‘manual’ push button reset as described or a diagnostic reset routine where the instructions will contain a hyperlink to take you straight to the correct area within the ‘Diagnosis’ main tab to perform the task. On diesel vehicles the ‘Diesel exhaust gas after treatment’ tab will be active and
demonstrates how the DPF system works and how to initiate a passive Diesel Particulate Filter Regeneration. DPF problems on vehicles are increasingly common due to short journeys so this is a particularly useful section of data on the tool.

The ‘VIN plate location’ tab offers a vehicle specific diagram of where to find identification details, such as VIN and engine numbers, as well as the exact position of the bonnet release safety catch, which can be tricky to find on some models (see below).


The ‘Tyre pressures’ tab lists all of the recommended tyre pressures for the vehicle model selected. In some cases this can be quite a long list due to fitment variations but the search bar can be used to narrow down the options by wheel size or tyre width. The manufacturer specified front and rear tyre pressures are also given in bar and psi for ‘laden’ and ‘un-laden’ situations.

The ‘Technical data’ tab is highly useful as it supplies essential information about all of the following: vehicle designation; fuel injection system; tuning & emissions; starting & charging systems; service checks & adjustments; fluid types & capacities; tightening torque settings; minimum brake component thicknesses and air conditioning system service & repair data. Wherever possible, the list will have icons that will present you with ‘pop up’ important information and diagrams that can help you do the job properly and efficiently (see below).


In the ‘Timing belts/chains’ tab you’ll find detailed instructions and diagrams for changing the belt, chain or timing gears when they’re due for replacement or in the event of an engine re-build. With such a complex task, it’s critical to have the correct information to complete the job properly and this section will give you piece of mind that the manufacturer’s procedure has been followed (see below).


The ‘Auxiliary drive belts’ tab guides you through the auxiliary drive belt and belt  tensioner system operation. You’ll find all the details, text and diagrams showing the removal and installation procedure of the system components, as well as tightening torques of the mounting bolts.

In the ‘Wheel alignment’ section, the recommended suspension geometry measurement values and setting data is displayed. The tolerances and diagrams for the toe-in, camber and caster adjustments to
the front and rear wheels of the vehicle (where applicable) are used with suitable wheel alignment measuring equipment to correctly align the wheels on the car.

‘Key programming’ allows you to access all the information, with reference to key battery replacement and remote central locking synchronisation (see below).


With many cars having ‘keyless’ entry and start systems, the instructions and diagrams in this section can be a real assistance if any key problems are experienced with a customer’s car.

Now we’ve covered all of the ‘Maintenance’ section sub-tabs, please remember that you can click the ‘Print’ icon, next to the ‘Main menu’ soft key in the top right hand corner of the screen. You can also
produce a screen shot of the data or print out the diagrams and text for reference.

The last main tab is the ‘Equipment’ tab. This opens up a new window on your screen and is the original ESI[tronic] parts list, which in Bosch we refer to as the ‘A’ content disc. The parts list contains all available information on every component made by Bosch for the vehicle (RB key) that you’ve selected. This includes descriptions, model year ranges, diagrams, pictures and Bosch part numbers for the components.

The Bosch parts are grouped in the categories of Engine, Bodywork, Suspension and Drivetrain. Depending on the vehicle manufacturer, the parts made by Bosch on the vehicle can range from batteries, alternators, starter motors and engine management sensors to wipers, lighting products, filters, brake components and fuel system pumps or injectors (see below).


It’s often quite amazing to see just how many OE quality parts are made by Bosch that are available on
many cars today.

How to improve your KTS diagnostic capabilities. Part 9: Global OBD II, emissions based system diagnosis

This regular series of technical articles from Bosch focuses on how to get the best out of its ESI[tronic] 2.0 software, which is used in conjunction with the KTS range of diagnostic tools for vehicle fault diagnosis and service function procedures.

In this issue we’re going to look through the diagnostic capabilities and usefulness of the Global OBD II functions offered by the ESI 2.0 software, which can often be overlooked in vehicle diagnosis. The American OBD (On Board Diagnosis) standard was introduced in 1988 in California in an attempt to reduce traffic-related air pollution. OBD regulations involve self monitoring by electronic control units of all vehicle systems and components which influence exhaust emissions. In 1996 this standard was succeeded by OBD II to meet with more stringent emission limit values. In Europe, EOBD (European On Board Diagnostics) is based on the more comprehensive OBD II concept and applies to gasoline vehicles registered from 01/01/2001 and diesel vehicles registered from 01/01/2004.

System fault

The standardised OBD system enables constant monitoring of vehicle components influencing exhaust emissions. If a system fault is detected that leads to an increase in emissions, the driver is informed accordingly with a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL). If the fault that is detected is severe enough to
cause damage to a component such as the catalytic converter then the MIL will flash and action can be taken, such as fuel injector shut off by the control unit to protect components at risk. Fault codes will be stored by the controller with a description of the malfunction and relevant information.

The five digit OBD fault codes always begin with ‘P0’ and have standardised description designations for all VMs. For example ‘P0301’ will mean ‘Cylinder 1 misfire detected’,regardless of the vehicle make and model. For system analysis and fault finding, the OBD system data is accessed via the 16 pin diagnosis connection to the Bosch KTS using one of the five permitted communication protocols. The Bosch ESI 2.0 software offers the Global OBD II (EOBD) diagnosis mode at the top of the ‘System group selection’ list for every applicable vehicle selection (RB key) (see below).

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Typically the Global OBD II functions consist of diagnosis modes one to nine and in Bosch ESI 2.0 there are also some useful extra features (see below).


The first extra feature in ESI 2.0 on the selection screen is ‘Systems found’. This will display compatible ECUs and usually lists the engine control and transmission control, if the vehicle has an automatic gearbox.

The next additional feature is the ‘Onboard diagnosis overview’, which is a quick and accurate method to assess the state of the vehicle system and can provide essential data to help you find an emissions related fault. Now let’s go through the nine OBD modes mentioned earlier:

Mode 1: reads the actual data that is processed by the ECU from the sensor input signals. The available data depends on the vehicle configuration and, in true KTS style, can be displayed in different ways to suit your preference. From the start, you’re presented with a full scrollable list of values displayed as live readings. The standard OBD II PIDs (Parameter identifications), as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers standard – SAE J1979, are shown in the right hand column.

You may be surprised by the large amount of data available on some cars, such as DPF, NOx and SCR information on the very latest diesel cars (see below).


You can manipulate and filter the ‘Actual data’ list with several methods. Firstly, our good friend the ‘search bar’ is present at the top of the data field. Typing any text into here will instantly change the list to only display actual values that contain that text in their name (see below).


Scrolling list

All values are displayed on a scrolling list and, if you want to be more specific, you can select up to any eight particular values by clicking the ‘check box’ in the left ECU column and then choosing the ‘Show selected only’ option to filter out values you don’t want displayed. As we covered in a previous article, the
selected OBD actual values can also be displayed in a colourful graph format by using the ‘Time profile’ F6 soft key (see below).


Some really useful values are usually present in the OBD actual data program, such as ‘Distance travelled while MIL is activated’ and ‘number of warm up cycles since DTC clear’. This type of information can be
essential if you have a problem vehicle with a suspicious repair history.

Mode 2: provides freeze frame data associated to any stored DTCs which, if supported by the controller, can give a helpful guide as to what the ambient conditions were when that particular fault was logged. This ‘snap shot’ information is especially beneficial when testing for intermittent faults.

Mode 3, 7 & A: are grouped together to report any stored fault codes, whether they are confirmed,  pending or permanent, along with associated readiness tests status (see below).


The fault code, status, description and type are all listed. As the OBD II fault codes are standardised the information will be reliable and there won’t be any unknown  descriptions. The error memory can be saved, cleared or re-read directly using the soft keys along the bottom of the screen.

Mode 4: is used to erase the fault code error memory for the OBD systems after repairs have been carried out. When the fault code memory is cleared within the OBD system, the adaptation values and readiness tests are also reset. A specific road test (drive cycle) will need to be performed in order for
the OBD internal checks to be completed. Usually a fault code of ‘P1000’ will be logged until the internal systems OBD checks are satisfied.

Mode 5: provides more in-depth ‘Oxygen sensor data’ and air/fuel mixture test results, but is not supported by all vehicle brands.

Mode 6: is the ‘Test data for monitored systems’ and gives useful information, such as Lambda sensor parameters. Graphical display bars of the values contain red and green colour coding which give a quick guide as to whether the parameters are running within their tolerances (green) or outside them (red).

Oxygen sensor and variable valve timing data, along with misfire counters, can be a real emissions fault finding aid (see below).


Mode 8: is the ‘Actuators’ function and can offer on board system activations like an evaporative system leakage test, but these tests may not be supported by all European vehicles.

Mode 9: holds ‘Vehicle information’ including the chassis number (VIN) and engine/automatic transmission control unit calibration numbers and test condition counters.

Readiness tests: are the last selection on the selection list and report the status of the monitor tests of either ‘ready’ or ‘not ready’ and whether the test is ‘completed’ or ‘not completed’ (see below).This operation acts as a valuable confirmation of a successful repair to the system if all OBD monitor tests are completed and passed.


Soft key

As with previous topics we’ve covered in these articles, whenever the ‘Save’ soft key is shown along the bottom of the ESI 2.0 screen, any data that is displayed on screen will be added to the job ‘protocol’ report that can be saved and printed for reference. In most cases the Global OBD II function in Bosch ESI 2.0 gives you an additional way to interrogate the vehicle power train systems for emissions related data.

The method described here will sometimes give more specific detail about the engine fuel trim analysis, closed loop control and associated components that are critical to keep the vehicle exhaust emissions within their prescribed limits.

The Global OBD II functions of ESI 2.0 can be a great diagnostic aid when used to supplement the specific engine control diagnosis. We’ve seen some cars that will store error codes in the OBD II memory
which may not be evident in the manufacturer-specific ECU software. With this in mind, it’s always worth checking the OBD II diagnostic functions within Bosch ESI 2.0 when you’re working on a vehicle
with emissions related faults, to ensure that no vital data has been missed.

The OBD II capabilities within Bosch ESI 2.0 and on board system test monitors provide a more robust diagnostic process which can give you more confidence in returning a fully tested and verified vehicle
back to the customer after a repair.