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Automotive Diagnostic Systems: Understanding…
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Automotive Diagnostic Systems: Understanding OBD I & OBD II (SA… (edition 2011)

by Keith McCord

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1411683,257 (4.35)4
thosgpetri's review
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a tough book for me to review, there is much more technical information on how the computer works than is needed. I felt more comfortable in the sections dealing with the actual pulling of codes and interpreting the data shown and understanding the data given. Even than somethings were not clear to me, once or twice leading me to believe there were some typo's in the text. One example, on page 93 the author refers to a "illustration on page 83 shows normal flame-front advancement in the chamber." Page 83 shows a graph illustrating long term fuel trim and views of the scanner readings, but nothing showing events in the combustion chamber. Yes, a lot of gripes,but on the whole a well written and informative book. One that will require rereading and a lot of thought to put into practice. ( )
  thosgpetri | Apr 28, 2012 |
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Showing 11 of 11
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is an excellent resource. I am an engineer and my husband is a car guy and the book is written for both levels. If you are not very technical, you will still follow the book, but if you want to know the details about how things work, it will explain the why and not just the what.

It also goes into details of the history of OBD. I am really happy to have this one on my bookshelf. ( )
  gothrabbit | Apr 13, 2014 |
A general 'how-to' book about engine scanners. Seems to be a very good reference book. ( )
  virg144 | Feb 27, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm going to find a really good mechanic, and give him this book as a gift.

It's a well-written book, with lots of fascinating information. Fascinating even though it's 'way above my head.

I'm a fairly good shade-tree mechanic. I've worked on my own cars all my adult life. I've swapped engines, rebuilt engines, repaired various front end parts, brakes, etc. I don't do electronics, so I thought this book would widen my repertoire. I would read this book and understand why my car keeps telling me to "Check Engine."

Well, I understand it a little more now. Enough to know that unless I go back to school and learn a bunch of new skills, I'm going to be paying someone else to diagnose engine issues. As in: Someone who can read a multi-meter and can use some digital diagnostic tools.

Keith McCord does a great job of explaining the inner workings of various diagnostic systems. The book is filled with great illustrations that I'm sure make sense to engineers and mechanics. I can understand enough to be impressed.

I recommend this book to any person who is really serious about working on modern car engines. For a person with a decent knowledge of modern automotive electronics and diagnosis, this book could be invaluable. This book would satisfy any geek wanting to delve into the mysteries of engineering and programming involved in an automotive diagnostic system. I have friends who would plow through this the way I would read a scholarly book on the lifestyle and religion of the ancient Persians. .

So I'm trying to figure out which mechanic would really appreciate a gift. ( )
1 vote Philcott | Oct 16, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Fairly easy to follow even for the novice. Everything you need to know even if you never realized it. I feel more confident that I will be able to understand what my mechanic is talking about now. Definitely worth reading. ( )
1 vote LisaMP | Aug 16, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
well written book with plenty of pictures and an in depth explanation of how the computer systems in cars work. This author is knowledgeable and it is written in an easy to understand way. obd I and II history, how the computer works and what it sees. How to pull codes and interpret them.A good read for the one who wants a little understanding on the check engine light in their car, or a seasoned mechanic wanting to know how the computer thinks, its inputs and outputs. ( )
1 vote chezhedmom | Jul 31, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you’re like me, when “Check Engine” lights up your dashboard, you want some idea of what’s wrong before you take your car to the dealer. It might be as simple as a fuel cap or it might be a modulating piston sensor electrical circuit malfunction, whatever that is. If you want some insight into the meaning of the dashboard indicator, you need an instrument that reads the on-board diagnostics (OBD) codes that began appearing in the early 1980s.
These first systems, known as OBD-I weren’t very sophisticated, codes tended to be proprietary, and tools for the average car owner to read them were scarce. Then in 1990, the EPA amended the Clean Air Act to require that all vehicles sold in the U.S. be equipped with OBD systems. OBD-II was born of this, and international standards began to evolve. The standard includes a multi-pin connector that is located under the left side of the dashboard of all modern cars and light trucks.
To interpret the diagnostic codes you need a scan tool. These are inexpensive enough that they are within reach of any vehicle owne. The second thing you need is a manual to help you interpret what you see because the charts that come with the scanner give you little more than the code definitions. That’s where the Automotive Diagnostic Systems book comes into play. Actually, this book might be the first thing you buy because it provides guidance on selecting a scan tool.
The book contains sixteen chapters and numerous full-color illustrations that help you understand how the vehicular systems work and how to troubleshoot the cause behind the diagnostic codes. The book obviously isn’t for everyone. If you have no interest in what goes on under the hood of your expensive chariot, then buy a nice bottle of wine instead, but if you want more insights into the mysteries of engines that can no longer be repaired with hand tools, vacuum gauge, dwell meter, and timing light, then this book is highly recommended. ( )
1 vote jhgreen | May 25, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Actually surprised by how nice this book looks. PLENTY of color illustrations and charts on the inside, something I don't normally see in technical books suck as this. I have not read the book cover to cover, but it looks like it has information for everyone. I have used scan tools before, so I have some knowledge. Some information in this book is very simple and helpful for a complete beginner but the book also goes very in depth for someone who wants to get very involved. No matter your level, I think this book will have you covered.
  kfschmid | May 15, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a tough book for me to review, there is much more technical information on how the computer works than is needed. I felt more comfortable in the sections dealing with the actual pulling of codes and interpreting the data shown and understanding the data given. Even than somethings were not clear to me, once or twice leading me to believe there were some typo's in the text. One example, on page 93 the author refers to a "illustration on page 83 shows normal flame-front advancement in the chamber." Page 83 shows a graph illustrating long term fuel trim and views of the scanner readings, but nothing showing events in the combustion chamber. Yes, a lot of gripes,but on the whole a well written and informative book. One that will require rereading and a lot of thought to put into practice. ( )
  thosgpetri | Apr 28, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Keith McCord’s book “Automotive diagnostic systems : understanding OBD I & OBD II” is not the type of book that I normally review. It concerns what I do for a living, not what I would like to do for a living. Frankly I asked to review this book because I wanted to crucify the writer for telling people that trouble codes are magic bullets that somehow indicate the exact part that needs to be replaced on their car. For over thirty years, since the very first automotive electronic control systems, I have worked in the industry and have been explaining to customers that the trouble codes are clues, not solutions. They don’t even mean that there is necessarily any part that needs to be replaced. All they indicate is that the computer is seeing a reading on a circuit that is higher or lower than it expects. Loose wires, even a loose vacuum line can cause a trouble code to set. More inspections and testing needs to be done to pinpoint the issue so the car can be properly repaired the first time. Unfortunately I don’t get to crucify Mr. McCord. What I wrote above he says in the introduction and again, and again, in the text.

The book is divided into three sections. First McCord explains the nuts and bolts, the hardware and software of the On Board Diagnostic system. The technical jargon is at times overwhelming. Even after thirty years in the industry I had to struggle through it at times. However, it is a technical subject. The jargon needs to be there, I just pity the reader who is not already familiar with the language. The second section deals with engine operation, the fuel and ignition systems and how the engine control module interacts with them to maximize performance, reduce emissions, improve mileage. In the last section McCord explains each sensor individually. He covers how they work, how to test them and what problems they can cause.

I was impressed with this book. When you get past the technical jargon McCord explains things clearly. I learned how the powertrain control module in a standard transmission car knows not to check for torque converter codes. This was not something I ever wondered about, but by knowing it, I better understand the system as a whole. I will recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand automotive electronic control systems and the diagnostic standards they were designed around. I also recommend it to anyone who has to explain the systems, that is why I will keep my copy close at hand. The appendices with lists of all the generic and manufacturer specific trouble codes are worth the price of the book. ( )
1 vote TLCrawford | Mar 23, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book doesn't require any previous technical knowledge. It starts with history of on-board diagnostics up to the development of OBD-II standard. It does describe OBD-II interface, its modes, PIDs and DTCs.That takes a first half of the book. The second part is an introduction to how engine works and examples of how some of engine-related parameters are monitored and tested. I think author does a great job introducing a novice reader to engine technology but I also found it a little off the subject of the book - yes, engine is the most important vehicle module but on-board diagnostics covers other modules as well. Anyways, it's written very well, making complicated subject look simple. In the end of the book, anybody without any prior technical knowledge should be able to read DTCs - book appendix contains a list of all DTCs - and subsequent diagnostic information using respective tools, with additional bonus of understanding of inner workings of vehicle engine. ( )
  everfresh1 | Mar 18, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My husband found this to be a valuable asset to his automotive library. The instructions are easy to understand and the pictures help tremendously. I would recommend this guide for anyone that is attempting to understand what is wrong with their car, specifically the newer electrical system readouts. What a win win situation with this guide in your arsenal of automotive digests. ( )
  jonesk43 | Mar 16, 2012 |
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