Automotive Committee Meeting Minutes 20191124

Minutes are posted to the wiki:

Time, location

2019-11-24 15:00 Dallas Makerspace


  • Jim Hartnett (chair)
  • Andrew Macha
  • Allen Wan
  • David Shannon
  • Michael Bayern (vice chair; arrived after vote)


  • Purchase Tool Chest with Electronic Lock not to exceed $750 for storage of the cordless tool set - Unanimous


  • Enforcement of current rules
  • Situation with Automotive 101 Curriculum

Tasks completed

  • sorted sockets
  • cleaned out some rogue personal storage
  • inspected contents of automotive fire cabinet

Action Items

  • Allen Wan to provide suggestions and analysis for Code Scanners
  • Jim Hartnett to start procuring parts and information to repair lift cylinder seal
  • Michael Bayern to investigate parts washer fluid

I wasn’t present, but I’d like to voice my support for a VAG COM or whatever the latest 3rd party Volkswagen CAN/OBD tool is. I’ve always wanted to have one, but there’s just outside of the price range of what I’d be willing to spend as an individual. We’ve got some VW people around, so I’m sure it’d get some use.

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We talked about finding a unit that could hit 80-90% of the vehicles at the space. We’re pretty sure nothing will do it all but if we can cover most with a single purchase that’s probably best.


Yeah, I think that’s not possible. I have heard of the stupid expensive stuff (greater than $10k) being compatible with more, but if that’s the route we’d like to go, I’d propose getting the cheaper “right” tool for the job at sub $1000 each and have one for each auto-manufacturer.

A “Generic” for the US vehicles, a VAG COM for all Audi, Porsche, and VW/German, what else?

Again, all of this coming from a non-automotive committee member, just familiar with his preferred manufacturer of cars and how they operate.

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I would not recommend folks going to that website…


For those who need a SFW link to the site, it’s

The high end of the market is $10k+ for sure, but recently several options have shown up that are cheaper, for example the Autel Maxisys Elite at around $3k (not that this is what we would buy).

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As long as they support the same stuff cool! The reason my dream has been to own specifically a VAG COM was because all of the vwvortex and TDI forum posts specifically say what they did with that tool, and their customer service is supposedly excellent, but I can understand the makerspace’s goals and mine may not be aligned here.

Edit: It’s literally never occurred to me to ask, does a member have one that I could borrow for a week?

This is a topic that surfaces now and then. You have two sides.

Side A - go to a parts store for a code scanner “free scan” (this is not to be confused with a diagnostic tool) - which really doesn’t do much of anything on today’s later model vehicles .

Side B - Have a REAL diagnostic tool that also does code resetting among the many other system tests and diagnostics one NEEDS to solve problems on today’s vehicles without throwing unnecessary parts at it.

Autel with the scope and TPMS tool is abit more than $3k and when I checked with O’reily next to my store, they were willing to give the DMS a better price break than what they show online plus they will extend their tech service and warranty. Unlike Amazon - their Tech service is a local tech rep that would come out the the Makerspace for training etc. (buying local sometimes may cost a bit more but the service after the sale often more than makes up for it).

This will most likely require a yearly software license - another expense to budget for.

There are many other more expensive options
Snap on - not sure what their latest brick is called - modus or solus or ?
Plus the Really expensive brand specific ones like the Mercedes Star tool.

Later cars have systems now that require more than just a “code reader” to do tasks that used to be basic or routine.
Try changing struts/shocks on a car equipped with a"lane change warning" system without a diagnostic tool to reset / disable the system and see what happens…
How about SAS?
CVT’s (those rubber band like transmissions)
Electric parking brake - you later Nissan and Audi/VW folks (for a start)
too much to list to not justify the tool.
The trick will be …how to keep the tool from walking away from the dms?

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Wait, so all these years of doing the manual code was for nothing?!?!?!

manual code- wiper up, up, wiper down, down, steering wheel left, right, left, right, odometer B, A, B, A, Start


no, but I know where you may take your VW/Audi and have a friend with his Ross Tech diag tool take a look at your car for no charge.


I did forget to mention TPMS, that was requested (included or as a seperate box) for whatever we buy. I think Snap On is pushing the Triton D8 at the moment, but that’s the style of tool we’re looking for. Controlling circuits, bleeding ABS, getting live data out of the ECU, etc. The yearly updates will have to be considered, but all in all well worth it.

Keeping the tool in good order and at the space will be a priority once we have it.



I would suggest you and Jim have a handful of folks that have access to the tool and that folks make appointments or have blocks of time that the tool is available in order to keep it safe and secure and in serviceable condition(just my two cents)

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Unfortunately nothing will help the premature failure of your control arm bushings on your 2015 subaru with what? 60k miles?

That is “Sub quality” & absolutely unsatisfactory.

This is actually my idea until we get to a certain point. Heck another possibility is if the thing has a long enough cable we anchor it to the wall :slight_smile:

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Those are some good minutes. I know what committee met, when, who attended, can clearly tell what the agenda item was, how much it was for, and how the vote went down. Discussion items are also present but have been kept visually distinct.

I’ve thus decided to simplify the requirements for committee minutes.


This is the style i’ve used for quite a while (see metal). Seems to work very well.

EDIT: no idea how that happened

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Speaking of Sub-quality, I called the motor company to complain about it yesterday. Their sympathy customer service effort was as follows.

  1. we cant take your word for it, we need you to go to the dealer and spend $100 on a diagnostic fee and get a quote for repair. so yes, $100 for them to take a tire off and look at the bushings.
  2. we might help with the costs.
  3. if you accept our help, then you would have to get the work done at the dealer.

It was hard not to laugh in the ladies face. Not her fault though, stupid corporate greed supporting itself.

Also, for anyone else in this thread who doesn’t know it, TLAR is a Boss. took him about 3 seconds to tell me what was wrong.


Indeed. :blankspace: