A Case For Keeping Legacy Tools Around

Michael Mobile Technician Utah Posted   Latest  
Case Study
Programming
1999 Saturn SC1 1.9L (8) 5-spd (MP3)
Programming Failure

I went to a residence to program a vehicle. Being a Saturn I had sort of an unsure feeling. Sometimes Saturn can be a problem to program. This one was no different. I connected to program with my CarDaq M. The TIS 2 Web software read the VIN fine. Since this was a replacement ECU, I entered the correct VIN, went through the steps, answered all the questions and I get a severe error. Grrrr. OK, let us try Legacy Pass-Through with the Tech 2. Go through the process again and no joy. As a last ditch effort, I break out my TIS 2000 software. I then use it Legacy Pass-Through. This software gave me the missing information. "Use Red Connector When Programming This Module". This message was missing from the online version. Thanks AC Delco, you are real pals. I used the Red Connector and it went through fine using my 12 year old program and dongle.

What is the Red Connector? It is an OBDII connector put into the Tech 2. It was removed from the Bosch aftermarket kits back around 2010 to save cost. So if you have a Tech 2 and have this connector, you are lucky. Honestly, this is the first time I have had to use it since I got my Tech 2. Maybe you will never need it. I was surprised to see a Saturn that old still running. For you in the know, it would be interesting to find out more about this connector. Is it like the Ford and provides a voltage required for programming or is it a different protocol that GM only used on Saturn? I have attached a picture of the connector.

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Maynard Technician
Ontario
Maynard Default
 

I have used that connector once, (or possibly twice to be really generous) to get proper communication with a saturn when using Tech2. I dont even remember which model and for a fact actually forgot about that connector. However when you are using Tech 2 for diagnosing and the communication seems to not be working... try that connector before diving into a no communication diagnosis. I never…

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George Owner/Technician
Alaska
George Default
 

I wonder how well it would work if you went in under opel. I believe they are the manufacturers at least the early years. I'll see the next time I work on a saturn.

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Bill Owner/Technician
Michigan
Bill Default
 

Michael very interesting - what error code did you receive? was it possibly E4399?? As i currently have a Saturn i have been unable to program and have been dealing/waiting for GM tech support to offer help they claim to be working on it still....

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David Owner/Technician
Pennsylvania
David Default
 

I did not know about the red connector.I still have the SPS disc with the service dongle that I used before tis to web.

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Adrean Diagnostician
California
Adrean Default
 

Just had a Saturn last week and same issue . would read vin but when I selected a module it wouldn’t read . Just saw ur post and this post , so I’m thinking I wont be able to do this job I don’t have the red connector ..but mine was a 2005 but idk guess ima have to step away from it .. told him to come back since I was gonna try my tech 2 as a pass thru but guess it won’t work

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

I did one that was around that age. I had to choose update instead of install for the option. Once just update was chosen it worked.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

I don't remember the exact code. Just the severe error part.

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Brad Owner/Technician
Illinois
Brad Default
 

I remember that connector. I believe it stepped up voltage. I have also used my old cardaq plus. Definitely one of g m programming quirks. Suprised cardaq m won’t do it

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Phil Technician
Nevada
Phil Default
 

I work at a Chrysler dealer. On some Chrysler/Dodge vehicles, from the mid 2000's, we have to use the old STARSCAN tool to initialize the ABS module(the vehicle has to be driven during the process). The Witech 2 has had problems completing the procedure. I keep all of the older scan tool cables, memory cards, etc.

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Geoff Diagnostician
Hawaii
Geoff Default
 

Mike, I presume, with a meter, the red connector, and a regular connector, you could find the difference. I'm guessing some pins actually aren't wired to the cable, or one pin has a resistor to the cable (much like Snap-On personality keys). Of course, now I am wondering if I have one of those reds somewhere in my piles of things I never use. :-)

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Scott Owner
California
Scott Default
 

Hi Michael, According to James Garrido, who was a Saturn tech way back when - "When programming 1996 to 1999 Saturn S-cars you must use a special red DLC connector. It has a special 16V power supply in it." I, like you, have that red DLC connector. I haven't had the pleasure of using it though.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Good to have the straight scoop. Thanks Scott.

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Gary Owner/Technician
Maryland
Gary Default
 

I have the connector and used it one time. But one time is enough to keep it around. Just in case........

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