Dorman remote assisted programming

Randall Owner/Technician Kalkaska, Michigan Posted   Latest  

Please bear with me as I set the back story on this request for information. I suspect the title has already caused some indigestion.

I have searched thru the archives of this platform, only finding limited references to remote assisted programming options. I recognize that many of those who monitor and participate in this forum, may directly compete with the idea of "remote assisted programming". None the less, it may also be obvious that the mobile diagnostic industry does not reach into many of the remote areas of the country. This leaves a void for those of us doing business in those areas. So I am looking for a remote programming solution for my shop, for instances where I don't believe their is a profitable business model in providing these services in house. It is my belief that we have no efficient or effective mobile diagnostic services available in northern Michigan. This is not a knock on existing services, because i do not believe we have any mobile diagnostic services in my area. It is a reference to the inefficiencies and lack of effectiveness in bringing a mobile diagnostician 150 miles or more for a reprogramming event. 

Recent research has revealed few players in remote assisted programming. Drew Tech and BlueLink Diagnostic for the mechanical side(and it appears, both moving into the body side). Airpro Diagnostics on the body side, along with Astech, neither promoting much to do with the repair side.

None of them have the ideal solution for my store. Drew Tech and BlueLink are viable alternatives, if you are willing to let them do your GM reprogramming. We are not interested in giving up the margin on GM reprogramming, as it seems like it is one of the only chances we have to create any amount of gross profit dollars in the reprogramming arena (even with the new per vehicle program). Our needs are for other makes and models, which is less frequent and do not justify the investment and/or subscription of the Drew tech and Blue Link platforms. Again, this is not a slam on their business model and overall, their charges are reasonable, if you have the appropriate volume of reprogramming needs. Outside of GM, we do not currently have those needs. Even with GM, we could not previously justify the annual subscription and have it be profitable(although we were approaching that level). The new GM program at $40, is an improvement for us. Our needs are currently "occasional" and increasing for other makes and models.

So we are looking for a reasonably "on demand" reprogramming service, and a couple questions have come up. 

1. Can remote programming be done thru a pc control app like Team Viewer? I recognize it would require a J tool and a laptop at our end. If a remote tech can take control of our laptop and J tool, entering their subscription for the actual programming files, and perform the reprogramming remotely, is it being done by mobile diagnosticians? Is there licensing issues with using the same J tool under two users? Could we use the same J tool to do GM's inhouse (and potentially other makes and models we might feel we can be efficient at in the future), as well as have it available for remote programming events from a diagnostic specialist. We do not currently have a J tool. We use a Tech2 for GM's and have used the NGS and DRB3 in the past, when those tools were current. We had the Rap 1 for about 18 months and the tool worked as promised. We returned it a couple months ago after 9 months without a use. Yet, it would be foolish to believe that the need for a reprogramming solution will do anything but grow in demand. I am looking for a solution that has some hope of profitability for the actual reprogramming event. 

Finally to the Dorman program. So it looks like Dorman has realized that it would be prudent for their business model to offer remote programming services. They stopped one step short in my opinion. In remote areas of the country(maybe most), it may make sense for our parts suppliers to hold the lease on a tool like the RAP2, and make it available to their professional service customers for reprogramming. I suspect it could stay busy if they get the word out, and a few shops start having success. Perhaps this should be what the Dorman platform looks like, instead of the duplicating the same program and subscription charge that Drew Tech already offers.

I forwarded the following email to one of my primary suppliers, which leads to question 2. 

2. Does anyone have knowledge of a primary parts supplier offering the Rap2 (or equivalent) for use in conjunction with remote assisted programming, to their professional parts customers. It seems like a workable solution, and one of the few available to us that would offer any profitability protection, for occasional users.

Thank You for your time

Randy …

Email Subject: Dorman remote assisted programming 

Has your company ever considered putting one of these in a hub store and making it available for service dealers in remote areas, where we have few options other than the dealer. The dealer option can be highly inconvenient, and can cause additional expense from towing, plus substantial inconvenience. I realize that we all have J2534 tools available to us, that is not the question. The challenge is learning the procedures for multiple systems/makes/models. Please accept my opinion, that it is highly inefficient and ineffective for us to tie up our techs learning the various reprogramming procedures on all the systems/makes/models. Like ours, some shops will chose to continue to do reprogramming for the makes and models we are familiar. Currently for us, that is only GM. It is very difficult to have a diagnostic master technician on staff, capable of all makes and models, in markets our size. We need a solution for all the other brands, where programming appears to be less frequent, so we can keep our techs working on what they can be efficient at. 

This solution from Dorman/Drew Tech probably makes the most sense. Guaranteed to reprogram Dorman modules or no programming fee. Dorman seems to be the first at bat, among parts manufacturers, for this service and they were smart enough to create a partnership with Drew Tech. I would hope that the unit would end up being free to parts vendors, as I would hope you can meet the two programming sessions monthly requirement for free rent. (out of a single tool shared between multiple stores and many service dealers.) 

See video

Dorman's Remote Assist Programming Tool

You still need to consider who is responsible for the tool, while in the hands of the service dealer. I am guessing everyone interested would need to sign a Rap agreement(below). Which includes this language:

"Customer accepts full responsibility for the RAP kit and understands following conditions may trigger core charge:

  1. Damage to the RAP kit excluding normal wear or electronic defects of parts within the kit.
  2. Attempts or Disassembly of the RAP kit, attempts to or installation any software on the tablet, or attempts to reverse engineering of the RAP kit.
  3. If RAP kit is damaged, the customer will be charged the repair cost, up to, but not exceeding $500. If cables are damaged or lost, the customer will be charged the replacement cable cost.
  4. Failure to return an RMA kit within 7 days of receiving replacement kit with return label."

If i see something missing, it would be, what happens if the kit disappears while in your service customers hands? A question for Drew Tech

Remembering that we are in a county with only two traffic stop lights, this particular challenge can be restrictive to our ability to repairs vehicles, and it is an ever increasing need. Dealer options are limited and we have no mobile diagnostic guys in northern Michigan, that I can find or am aware of. 

Thank You

Randy …

Midas Kalkaska

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Default
 

Guaranteed to reprogram Dorman modules or no programming fee... Wow that's some tool.... Nothing more doubtful than a customer telling me they installed a Dorman module and it needs programming.....

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Chris Diagnostician
Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Chris Default
   

It is an interesting concept, and Drew Technologies is represented on the forum here so I am sure they'll be along with some further explanation and clarifications as to how the system will/does work. I wonder if the module doesnt reprogram and bricks, will the replacement module and subsequent programming be free as well? Randy, have you thought about becoming the mobile guy in your area, at

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Chris I had the same question in regards to what happens if we get a defect, will the second programming be covered. I suspect not. Yet I do appreciate that Dorman at least is making an effort. I believe we have had mobile guys in the past. Like many that support our industry, the distance between markets and the demographic makeup of the service industry in small rural markets, may make

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Chris Diagnostician
Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Chris Default
 

I figured you had already run the logistics. It never hurts to ask yourself "why not me?". I hear you, I've got quite a few customers that are out in true farm country.

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Joe Owner/Technician
Ashkum, Illinois
Joe Default
 

Chris that is exactly what i did in my area. i went into it thinking i would be doing 1 thing and it ended up being something totally different that i never expected. i live & operate in a rural area. i was getting tired of never being able to finish the job due to programming issues. (this was about 6 yrs ago). so i decided to invest in domestic & asian programming capabilities…

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Agreed in full, thanks for sharing

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Brian Owner
Parma, Ohio
Brian Default
 

I hear you Joe Zurek, "i would always ask if they had communication with the module that they wanted programmed. more times then none i would get there only to find out there was no communication. " = charge them trip fee for lying + daig time if they want to investigate further. My time in the mobile side of things seeing the lack of knowledge is one of the reasons I am into training now..

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Glen Manager
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Glen Default
 

Hi Chris Groff, Yes, as part of our RAP program, we do a guarantee a successful programming event. It's all spelled out in the agreement, which anyone can look at on Dorman's website. Thank you, Glen

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Chris Diagnostician
Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Chris Default
 

Glen, I researched further into the program and saw that. It definitely seems to have it's place. My concern was more the inevitable OEM software hiccups. Then again Drew Technologies has basically been the leader in J2534, even during its inception. I appreciate the response. I'll be watching to see how all this shakes out and the overall adoption.

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Rusty Owner/Technician
Oakham, Massachusetts
Rusty Default
 

Whether or not mobile programming makes sense depends on the availability and cost of dealer offerings in your area. I do programming and find that 90% of it is GM (and most of that is FPCMs) . About 1/2 of the programming calls result in a “no fix”. Many times, the shop staff walks away and seems to expect me to diagnose the real problem as part of my service. Explaining this possibility in

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Rusty Thanks for the feedback. Completely agree on the no fix issue, and understand that many shops are ill prepared to do actual diagnostics. Just finished a pin fit issue on a GM FPCM that i would have been ecstatic to turn over to someone else, if we had anyone. The pattern failure databases are chuck full of "fixes" that really weren't fixes at all, just another step in the "diagnostic

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Randy, I used to work for Dorman Products about 6 years ago. I spoke to my old supervisor about the RAP system. It seems that the OEMs did not like that Dorman was preloading their parts with software. The RAP system was a quick fix to the problem. The advantage of the system is that you connect it and a technician on the other end will have you turn on and off the key. There may be other

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Rusty Owner/Technician
Oakham, Massachusetts
Rusty Default
 

and one laptop ain’t nuff 😜

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Chris Technical Support Specialist
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

Mazda programming has 2 different pieces of software. MMP for pre 2018 vehicles and MDFSA for 2018 & +. This software can not be installed on a machine together and neither one can be installed on a machine with Ford IDS or FJDS. Removing software that was installed and installing the software needed for the day may be required if only using one machine. Yes programming on site can be done…

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Thanks Chris Further reinforces that the answer to my question #1 is a definite NO. I think I was maybe a little mislead by Drew Techs claim to have "• Over 100 remote technicians". My brain was telling me that they must by tapping the mobile diagnostic community to be able to make that claim. We can be reasonably certain they don't have those folks all in house. Probably makes more sense for

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Glen Manager
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Glen Default
   

Hi Randall Lucyk, Just to confirm, we do have over 100 remote technicians working in our company with support centers in NY, MI, CA and Australia and the UK. These include technicians from Autologic...keep in mind that we support remote services that go beyond just RAP. Regards, Glen

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Glen Thank You for joining the conversation. That's an impressive number. As stated elsewhere, Drew Tech has been the leader in this technology and i greatly appreciate that you folks are local. I am a believer in the program you have in place, just trying to figure out how to make it work for our store. I still believe there is some real value in having primary parts distribution companies

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Glen Manager
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Glen Default
 

Randall, Yes, thank you for the kind comments! We are currently partnered with Transtar Ind for the transmission space and Dorman, as you know. Fully agree with your assessment of the opportunity! We got into remote services due to the "shying" away of folks due to their concerns of doing programming themselves. Those concerns can be real, especially when faced with taking on a new OE for the

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Tanner Instructor
Wellford, South Carolina
Tanner Default
 

Hi Randy, At this point you have to ask yourself what makes and models do I really need the ability to program? At this point GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota and Hyundai/Kia can all be done without problems with the correct j2534 device. The newest drewtech cardaq is what I would recommend. Knowing this what other makes do you feel you would need to do on a regular basis? You are going to need

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Thanks Tanner. Unfortunately or fortunately, that's the list. We have GM, Ford and Chrysler in our county, and the rest in the neighboring county with a larger town. We also have some European, but no longer enough in our county to make it profitable, although i started out as a European specialist in the eighties. I see the tech 2 passthru option now lists up to 2019 model year. Is that true?

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Tanner Instructor
Wellford, South Carolina
Tanner Default
 

From what I am told the tech 2 can only be used as a pass through up to around 20012-13ish. I have no tried anything beyond that though. As for the tech 2 being sufficient, you can use it for diag up to 2013. Anything beyond that you will need a j2534 device. I know some shops are still seeing older vehicles. I’m in an area that it’s pretty common to see 15 year old vehicles. With that said I

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Tanner Much appreciated feedback. I got a phone call from a mobile diagnostic guy in the Detroit area offering his service, and he also felt that the Tech2 would leave us hanging on newer vehicles. The TDS website had me in a state of over confidence as it lists coverage to 2019, which may be true, but likely not for all modules. He relayed a recent reprogramming he was called in for, where the

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Randall: I have seen some 2016 trucks that were Tech 2 vehicles though they are built as a 2013. It may work fine for diagnostics but I wouldn't want to use it to program/reprogram a module on them. You may ask why. In no particular order: 1: The Tech 2 is considerable slower than the MDI 2. A programming could fail due to data latency. There's nothing like the non so sweet sound of those 3

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Guido Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. You comments regarding the Tech2 are matching up pretty close to what i am hearing everywhere. I am a little concerned by your J-tool comments. Unfortunately, for a majority of small market shops,(maybe most shops)having a selection of OE tools has no profitable model, in my opinion. We can talk about it all day, as i did with others a decade

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
   

Hi Randall: I'm glad to hear that your migration went well. Alas, I was getting the calls before the Tech Alert was released. It made for an interesting day. At lunch time, I gave up any pretense of getting out on the road. (I didn't have 7 inches of snow like you guys.) Please don't misunderstand me about J-tools. I'm not against them IF someone understands the limitations involved. If so…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Brantford, Ontario
Scott Default
 

I would either not do diagnosis work, train one of your existing techs or look for a diagnostic guy to hire. I sure wouldn’t buy into an aftermarket parts supplier programming system,Sounds too good to be true and I’m sure it is​.​Set up after a flash is sure to snag you with just “rap equipment “wouldn’t it be nice if there was a one size fits all​.​Plug and play, on

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Scott Thanks for the feedback. I am not sure having a expert in technology is a realistic exception for all shops. I know many that have none, other than maybe the owner, and were getting old. You may be correct that buying our own equipment is the right choice. Unfortunately, when i look at the profitability of that option, it is far less attractive than I would like, with a much longer pay

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Paul Technical Support Specialist
Lefkosia, Cyprus
Paul Default
 

I am genuinely amazed with all the comments on this. In our side of the pond, things are MUCH easier that you people in USA. Or at least so it seems. But as spoiled brats (if you allow me to say) that people are in EU, there is always a complaint whenever greed kicks in and a single thing is not possible to be done, where literally a thousand other times he did everything he wanted with no

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Matthew Mobile Technician
Bartlett, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

I have a handful of customers that I remote into their computers at times to diag a truck. These shops however are running legitimate OEM subscriptions for their location. For instance, I would not be able to use my Cummins Insite remote on their computer. Their may be some workaround, but I doubt it would conform to the user agreement. If you are confident/competent in reprogramming GM I

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Thanks Matthew I agree that having our own equipment may be the right choice. It would be a lot better if i had one of you guys in my shirt pocket, for those times we get in trouble. That's one of the biggest attractions of the Dorman/Drew Tech solution. If it goes to hell, it's someone else's problem(at least sort of). Otherwise it ends up in my lap, which does not fit my personal goals for

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Randall: Years back and a few shops ago, I asked my primary parts supplier for a catalog. They said: "Why? You'll just screw it up." I responded: "If I screw it up, it's on me. If you screw it up, IT'S STILL ON ME!" I got the catalog. My point is that it's always on you, no matter who is "helping". I think that is a point well worth remembering. HTH, Guido

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Bob Owner/Technician
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Bob Default
 

Guido, truer words were never spoken. I used to get frustrated when fighting for labor claims on defective parts. Most of the salesmen couldn't understand why I thought i wasn't being compensated fairly, after all, they gave me a new part for free and payed me 50% of my labor. I finally explained it in a way that they understood, not that it made much difference, but they understood. In a

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Randall Owner/Technician
Kalkaska, Michigan
Randall Default
 

Thanks Guido, well said. I am known for saying to others: "it's not that I am smarter than you, I have just paid for every mistake for everyone that has ever worked for me, has ever made" and that would be true. It forces you to have an almost 6th sense when it comes to things that are going to bite you and eat up profits Currently their are eleven of us, working on several thousand cars

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