NASTF Information Requests

Tracking: 79 Status: Closed
State: NJ Name: John
Category of Request: Electrical - Starting, Charging, Lighting, Air Bag (SRS), Safety Manufacturer: BMW

Have you checked the OEM website?
Description of Repair unable to perform
I used the BMW website and paid the $25.00 for 24 hour access to retrieve Air Bag code information for a 2003 BMW 740Li. There was NOTHING on the site for Air Bag support. I Emailed BMW through the use of the site and still have not received an answer. These factory websites should be set up to check for content prior to purchase of info. Now I am out $25.00 and I still have no information because Mitchell and Alldata do not support this vehicle. Transaction ID: 1JL08696V1123450T ITEM: BMWTIS 1-Day Subscription
Description of Information not available
Description of steps taken to obtain information (help/contact function on website, websites, etc.)
Other Comments or Concerns
Steven Douglas - 3/15/2006 12:03:38 PM
Dear Sir, We are disappointed of course that you find BMW's service information not to your liking, but we appreciate acknowledgement that BMW makes information available for the systems you mention. We are a bit surprised that you believe our Electronic Troubleshooting Manuals are useless for diagnostics. At BMW we consider knowledge of components, signals, and connectors and related information absolutely essential to competent vehicle repair, and that is why we provide this information to our dealer technicians and to independent technicians. There are reasons that air bag diagnostic codes or guides for same cannot be found on our website, or on our dealers' Intranet sites. Long ago BMW realized that the exploding complexity of our vehicles would mean BMW technicians losing valuable time slogging through even the simplest diagnostic routines, so we incorporated sophisticated automated diagnostics into our Service Tester (DIS, and now GT1/SSS). We train our technicians to use these tools, and we train them to understand how the systems work so that they understand what the machine is doing and what it is telling them, and also to be smart enough to go beyond the machine, should it be necessary. That is one reason we make all of our training manuals available on the independent website. (Note that BMW did have "trouble-trees", long before DIS, and even then they were hundreds of pages long. We felt that it would be rather archaic and completely overwhelming to keep up that approach.) Admittedly the needs of the aftermarket were not a high BMW priority in those early days, and we since realized that our Service Testers and related equipment are a formidable investment for a small shop. For that and other reasons we developed the on-line solutions using the inexpensive "Pass-Through-Tool" that the government required (their goal being reducing the total number of tools needed for programming). Even though BMW's on-line applications do not do everything GT1 does, and they have performance issues related to transmitting information over the Internet, they are an excellent low-cost alternative that shops small and large use to access BMW's sophisticated diagnostic routines and reprogramming features. We think the on-line applications are a cost-effective alternative, and we would like to know if you agree. BMW makes available to equipment and tool companies the computer code and graphical elements that make up its automated diagnostics. So far, no company has licensed the information and built similar tools, although some have expressed interest. We imagine that someday there will be available numerous competent BMW diagnosis tools besides the two that BMW now provides. But we can certainly understand any company's hesitancy to take on such a huge project, with uncertain return on investment. We acknowledge and appreciate other auto manufacturers' efforts to develop and publish troubleshooting charts. We don't think you should worry about these companies suddenly shifting gears and issuing only computer-run diagnostics. We can assure you, it is a very expensive endeavor! Still, all cars are getting more complex, so one could understand a trend in that direction, especially for the electronics-intensive high end cars. At BMW, we have focused on developing a sophisticated product that pleases our customers. With that sophistication comes a hard reality. Many successful BMW specialists will tell you that even individuals who are experienced with other brands must spend a great deal of time studying BMW systems and electronic architecture and service tools in order to provide cost-effective service for their customers and, even more important, to help avoid damaging or rendering inoperable those same systems. Surely as someone who works daily with collision repair centers, you can appreciate the serious of this endeavor, especially for safety-related systems like airbags. We realize such