By-passing The SGW
I have another discussion concerning the FCA secure gateway module or SGW as they call it further down but I wanted to get opinions on by-passing the SGW. Currently the only scan tool that can access all functions on FCA vehicles with a SGW is the factory tool, the wiTech. There are by-pass cables that allow access with an aftermarket scan tool. You need to do some dis-assembly to access the CAN bus after the SGW in order to attach the cable. This procedure by-passes the secure access function of the SGW. So my question is, do you think this is an acceptable procedure for technicians to use, or should the factory scanner be used to service these vehicles. The SGW was introduced on some 2017 models. What do you think?
It is my understanding that aftermarket scan tools could eventually become approved tools. I was under the impression that companies like Snap-on would most likely gain approval. I predict that companies involved in making these by-passes will not get approval, but then again they are partially responsible for this to begin with...
I completely disagree with the idea of the bypass cables. I also disagree with FCA being able to dictate who can or cannot access their vehicles. So I am not sure of a solution at this point. I have a WiTech. That's what I will use.
The FCA solution relies on a master key server which will "approve" who will and will not have access to a vehicle. The owner is never mentioned as automatically having login credentials. As you can all see there will be ways around it for quite some time by aftermarket tools who have been DENIED participation in order to drive up the cost of working on vehicles. Don't fall for the "prevent vehicle hacking" argument. Just smoke and mirrors. There are a number of questions that must be asked and addressed. How difficult will it be to get an FCA vehicle serviced? When will the customers move on to another brand where it is easier? What happens to MY car when FCA decides to no longer support it, moves on to newer technology, or their servers get hacked? The problem is going to get much worse unless industry wide solutions to vetting technicians to allow digital visibility to fix cars is promoted. Solutions exist such as the SDRM into which many people have invested time and tallent. Unfortunately this is going to have to be legislated and right now there are other more pressing issues on the front burner for governments of the world.
It’s not just FCA products. I just left a collision center that I do some work for. I brought this up to them. They were well aware and have also received bulletins from GM, Toyota, and some other makes stating the same. This will eventually become the new norm. This is not to say that aftermarket tools will not eventually be approved, but they will have to pass an authentication process and the tools will likely have to be registered with the manufacturers as “approved”. I definitely see a huge price increase for such abilities. I just ordered my Micropod 2 last Friday. I guess time will answer our questions.
I believe that although being forced into using the Wi-Tech, we in the industry should understand that these systems are in place to limit vehicle theft. Hopefully there will be aftermarket tools to gain access, yet I doubt it will be anytime soon. Through lots of trial and error over the last 10 years, I have found that factory tools are the only way to go for programming and J2534 is hit or miss. The factory tools and subscriptions can pay for themselves if there are procedures in the shop to check for updates on as many cars as you can and present the sale to the customer!
The factory scan tool has been the best choice for some time. Having dealer level capability is marketable and can aid in ROI. But not every shop services enough FCA vehicles to warrant the cost. Each shop will have to determine if they want to ”tool up” and market themselves to attract FCA customers to recoup their costs, or not service FCA vehicles. Of course it all depends on how soon aftermarket scan tools are able to access these systems. The approval system is in place for aftermarket scan tools to be authenticated. How much cost this will add to the scan tool remains to be seen. This may even be the incentive some shops need to make the decision to purchase the wiTech. Of course that doesn’t address the issue of the other manufacturers that are also adding secure gateways to their vehicles.
I applaud the innovators that find a way to get past the over zealous OEMs. How in the world did we as consumers allow software that we paid for in the purchase of our vehicles become the property of the manufactures? Back in the late 70s when I started tinkering with vehicles, the only security was carburetor idle screws that had plastic or metal anti-tamper plugs. We quickly learned the best methods of un-capping the screws to allow us to rebuild the carburetors. As owners we should have access to every module, pin or whatever is needed to service our vehicle. We should choose who has access, not the OEM. It is a very clever plan to put in a secure gateway to prevent access to the aftermarket. I am all for ways to get around it.
Thanks for your response Michael, the debate over who owns the software will continue. I agree that the vehicle can’t operate without the software so it was part of the vehicle when purchased and belongs to the vehicle owner. Who would buy a vehicle without software to make it run? Also what about when a module is updated, the software has to be purchased from the manufacturer. You bought it, you own it.
You are exactly right. The software needs to be part of the vehicle purchase. I also have believed for many years that digital visibility to the vehicle should also be part of the vehicle purchase and owned by the purchaser. I don't suggest that exotic scan tool functions with online databases and collaboration by others should be part of it but trouble codes and full human readable descriptions should be easy to get to. There are easy ways to do this with all the multi-function displays and connectivity to IOS and Android today. I have been part of these arguments before many years ago. I heard the most sorry excuses why we were stuck with a simple check engine light. I did my turn in the barrel! Someone else can be next.
Everyone should follow what is happening in the repair space. The trail our industry forged years ago has now spread to other products. I will see if it is appropriate for me to post some other reading/websites for more information.
Most interesting news recent days is that Ford has decided to abandon all the work done in USA and Europe to establish standards for the intelligent highway transportation system. They have gone off the reservation. So if you want your Ford to avoid a T-Bone collision you better hope it is another Ford in your path......
I think it is pretty obvious FCA was not conspiring with a clever plan to prevent access to the aftermarket.
Some notes on this that I think are important to share:
Witech 2 is compatible with the J2534-3 protocol. And fully compatible rather than just programming.
Chrysler does not sell any J2534 devices.
The 3 day subscription offered for use with a J2534 device is available for $50. If you need programming that will run you an additional $35. So for $85 you have complete access to everything the dealership technicians have access to including service information and only excluding security pin codes.
Did anyone stop to think about how much money the aftermarket companies are going to charge them for that access? On top of the cost of buying a scan tool?
FCA is not even selling a tool. They are letting you bring your own, validating that it is compatible with the software that they designed SPECIFICALLY FOR THE AFTERMARKET, and then charging what I would call a fair price to use the software. If you're ever used the wiTech software you would probably agree that it is well put together and as far as useablilty goes it surpasses many of the Bosch platforms. Did I mention that most all of the manufuacturers using the Bosch platform require you to purchase the Bosch made factory tool, at $… a clip, on top of subscription prices?
It baffles me that this could be considered some sort of conspiracy and that the many of us in the aftermarket like to identify as victims.
The fact is a vehicle was hacked and controlled remotely. It was made very public and raised many questions about how vulnerable our vehicles are.
Do you want to drive a vehicle that could be hacked and controlled remotely?
FCA sells vehicles. No one is going to buy a vehicle that could be hacked. The SGW is a solution to prevent vehicles from being hacked not a solution to prevent vehicles from being repaired by the aftermarket. After all they need the aftermarket to continue to fix them as they can barely keep up with all of the warranty work.
FCA, and before Daimler Chrysler have always played a game with J2534 compliance. J2534-3 is a compliance specification to validate performance of a J2534-1 device, not an operating spec of the device. J2534-2 is a specification which adds extension which allows access to different pins and protocols to communicate with different vehicle networks. Newer J devices can support this. There is also a new API standard but that will get too complicated to explain.
The ONLY reason FCA and WiTech were forced to provide any J2534 solution is because they wanted to sell vehicles in Mass. They were late, if not last to the game. Defend them all you like if you want but to force people to buy the micropod of the month, and then cut off as many as possible with new security is not cool IMO.
We failed in Mass to not more closely define the standard. The intent was never to hold back innovation, but rather to make digital visibility into the vehicle easier for everyone, while at the same time addressing the needs of the OEM for security and traceability in the process. You see all these different colored interface boxes all do pretty much the same thing. Just different enough to be incompatible with each other. Once enough people realized this it was easy to get the legislation passed.
Let us all know when you work on a 2018 or 2019 FCA model using a J2534 device which requires a certificate from a server in a secret location. Tell us all how to do it! Then we can explain how to do this to all the aftermarket tool purchasers who are being told "we can't support new FCA vehicles". If vehicle owners knew this they would not buy the FCA vehicles. But wait, a pay stub and a heart beat.....
Ok ok ok I'll share my secret.
First you need to click this link.
You will need to create a login to view pricing.
You register your J2534 device. If it is a J2534-3 device you will have full wiTech capabilities. This includes the 2018 and 2019 FCA vehicles you asked about.
I mentioned this in an earlier article as well but I had failed to provide as detailed of a procedure.
I will also include a photo of what icons to click on.
I hope you find this helpful.
ETI seems to be the liaison between the OEM and the Aftermarket. A suggestion would be to have those who are part of ETI give some ideas on how the last meetings went.
Been at all of them. FCA issue was big time. It has accelerated the need for legislation. Aftermarket tool customer: "What do you mean my new $XXXX tool will never support new FCA vehicles!"
We all understand the need for OEM tools. But we lose efficiency doing simple daily tasks if we are forced to use OEM tools all the time. Manufacturers could give their software away for free and it would not change the dynamics. There is a giant hidden cost of maintaining and understanding all the different software and solutions. 80% of what we need to do on cars can and should be done on an aftermarket tools which consolidates functions into an efficient form. Many tools do this very well. The remaining 20% will need to be handled by OE tools with experts like the people here. Mobile guy, telephone hotline, or remote connection to vehicle using OE software. It is a simple business case. If we move more of the 80 down to the 20 we do nothing but drive up the cost of simple fix on someones car. Remember that car might be yours.
I think if you are working on cars that new, you should be able to afford the factory tools, and really have an ethical responsibility to do so, since the cars are likely still under warranty,
If you work on mostly ten to twenty tear old stuff, like here, It won't be an issue by then,
If nothing else, access codes for every VIN will have all been pirated by then.
Is by-passing in this manner any different than what I did today to install a harmonic balancer? It is what we do in the aftermarket... make stuff work and get the car fixed.
Hahaha, one was some cheapo too, it was what I could find in the customers tool box. It is tough being away from your own...
You need an ambulance! I lug around just about every tool I own which is awesome for situations like that. The downside is measuring fuel mileage in gallons per mile.