Heavy-Duty Right To Repair – John Deere
This article was shared with me this morning and the question is, what does this actually mean? I know that we have some HD industry folks here on board and I would love to hear their take on the subject.
- UPDATE: February 2019
Member Chris Groff has posted a new thread on this subject here:
I will have to research this a little more, but essentially nothing has changed from a first read over. John Deere agrees to make available to purchase repair information, but not starting until model year 2021. John Deere did not agree to sell their diagnostic software, which they haven’t ever sold to anyone. The end users also agreed to not tamper with emissions, source code, etc... all things end users shouldn‘t be allowed to do anyways. John Deere has also supplied on board Diagnsotics (shows fault codes) for several years now
The arguement from Wired is that users can’t get diagnostic software from John Deere. While this is true, it is the same across the entire off highway and agriculture industry. It is virtually impossible to purchase legal OEM software in this market.
However, all of this is actually good for a company such as ours. We sell two different diagnostic tools that perform dealer level commands on John Deere. This includes commands such as injector programming, DPF regenerations, parameter changes, and much more. We also made all of our repair information for all John Deere codes, and wiring diagrams are under development.
So while end users can’t purchase OEM John Deere software, there are some really good aftermarket alternatives.
I think the argument has been approached wrong. Instead of advocating for farmers to fix their own equipment it should be argued that professional independent technicians need access to the right equipment. This creates a little competition, which is good for the consumer. If the dealer is the only option I could argue that vehicle emissions could increase. Many failures will increase emissions without necessarily causing a driveability issue. If the dealer is seen as too expensive or too far away, what are the chances of that issue being fixed? If there are some local mechanics that can come and scan the tractor there is more chance of the emission issues being fixed.
One of my customers told me that when buying a new John Deere you agree to only have the dealer work on it. I have not secured a copy of the contract but I would sure like to have one to read. I know two AG mechanics that work in Central California. They have told me that they were threatened by the local dealers because they are draining their workload. In Western Nebraska, an AG mechanic told me he was sued by the local dealer. I was run out of a John Deere dealer in South Dakota when talking about the aftermarket solution I sell. The dealers feel threatened when their former employees start their own businesses and take much of the workload. This is a real problem but how do you fight a big Green Giant? Maybe only by buying a Yellow, Red, Blue or Orange one instead.
It is my opinion, that at the end of the day John Deere is just being really aggressive and telling a lot of untruths. We had a LARGE client purchase some off highway diagnostic tools for working on John Deere generators. First week they had the tool, the John Deere rep happened to come by and saw they were using a non-John Deere tool to do a DPF regen. He told them, both verbally and in an email, that what they were doing was illegal. The tool itself couldn't be used, and the argument was that all DPF Regenerations had to be reported to the Federal government. His claim was only the John Deere tool would log this activity and report it properly. Between us and the client we had an attorney research it, and the short version is that if one single engine and/or manufacturing plant reaches a certain threshold it does have to be reported. However, this threshold is very, VERY high. It would take thousands of single engines to reach this level, and the law was designed for manufacturing facilities.
We had a tool on our website with the title "John Deere Dealer Level Diagnostic Tool". We received an email from a John Deere attorney saying we couldn't use their name in that fashion. So we had to change it to "Dealer Level Farm & Construction Diagnostic Kit for John Deere" and also take the name "John Deere" out of the part number we were using. So yea, they are up in everyone's business and protecting their IP more then anyone else right now. They are just really over stretching and pushing little people around.
Which manufacturer do you see as the most "aftermarket friendly"? Who makes software readily available for purchase to the aftermarket that you know of?
For off highway from the OEMs? No one does. They all make it extremely difficult if not impossible. John Deere has a pretty much "no one gets our software" stance, while CAT and other vendors bend to larger customers. To make matters worse, there is no such thing as an "universal" comm adapter. You have to purchase the CAT Comm 3 to use with CAT ET, John Deere ELD to use with John Deere Service Advisor, etc... I wrote a detailed blog post about this subject several months back, but the short story is that to purchase ONLY the hardware for all major OEMs will cost your around $21k. Then you need to purchase software (which they won't sell you in most cases), and even if they did it all has required annual fees.
For aftermarket options for Off Highway, there are 2 solutions -- TEXA and Cojali. As of today, the TEXA software is much better on the construction side and the Cojali is better on the Agriculture side. Both companies have reached that point where they are devoting a ton of resources to enhance their products, so they are going fast and furious now. In terms of "how good" these are, I would say a 7 out of 10. They do a LOT, but there is a long way to go.
So essentially customers have 3 options for off highway equipment & engine diagnostics:
- Call the dealer
- Purchase hardware & get pirated software (Of course this is illegal and not recommended)
- Purchase an aftermarket tool (TEXA & Cojali are the only 2 real options. All the China stuff is really, really bad.)
Just stumbled across this thread, but I wanted to add a little information if anyone is interested.
Common misconception that John Deere does not sell their service information and/or software to customers. Any customer can order the same paper or DVD tech manuals that the dealer user.
As far as direct OEM software, yes and no. There is what is called "Customer Service Advisor" which allows all functions of the dealer level tool except reprogramming and access to the internal company technical assistance center. It utilizes the same EDL (electronic data link), made by NexIQ, that the dealer does.
That being said, it is not well publicized and lots of dealers don't know. Everything is also broken up by contract. Small Ag and Turf/Utility is one division, construction and forestry is another, small construction, large ag, etc. If your dealer doesnt have the contract, you cant access parts look ups, can't order parts, cant connect to the machine. They are quite strict internally and externally.
Do you guys think John Deere and other equipment manufacturers are in violation of the EPA final rule linked here:
Section 1045.110 section (e) specifically states:
"Make data, access codes, and devices accessible. Make all required data accessible to us without any access codes or devices that only you can supply. Ensure that anyone servicing your engine can read and understand the diagnostic trouble codes stored in the onboard computer with generic tools and information."
Are they doing just enough to be compliant? Or should they at least be allowing access to their systems?
No. They put displays in the dash that show the codes, and any generic reader will read John Deere fault codes. They just use SAE standards for SPN/FMI on their codes.
I also think there are some different requires for on-highway vs off-highway diesel engines.
This was the final rule specific to off-highway. I think the language can be interpreted in many ways, like JD is compliant or they need to make things more accessible. I think the people pushing back at JD should be using more documents like this instead of the farmer's right to repair. We shall see how it all pans out. Personally I think the EPA should have a little more involvement. Lack of accessibility makes the emissions device less likely to be fixed if they cause no driveability concern. The EPA even said so themselves in their 1997 final rule that set the 2004 on-road standards.
Scott, sorry to revive an old thread, but I actually chatted for a few hours with the author of that article and he was misinformed in a few ways. But as always there are multiple sides to any story. Very nice gentleman.
As far as right to repair, John Deere is not nearly as bad as they are made out to be, but they are rather strict. If there is interest, I can go on beyond the comment I left below.
Sorry if reviving 4 month old threads is a no-no, just trying to contribute where I can.
No worries about reviving. Thanks for the follow up and your new intel would be greatly appreciated.