This time – a little different blog entry. But, possibly, even more interesting!
Several years ago, I performed an experiment, “the secret customer”. I incognito (as much as it was possible) visited several specialists who were repairing BMW and evaluated their performance. One of these partially successful cases was left without any particular attention till yesterday. Why partially successful?
Un-successful because when I visited the specialist that time, he turned out to be busy. And yes, he claimed that he is very familiar with N43/N53 series engines. They are very complicated, so he needs more time than half an hour/an hour to perform diagnostics. The car should be left to him for at least one day. But otherwise – no problem. During a long conversation (he suddenly found time for it), the specialist told me that he regularly “deals” with these complicated engines, and – there are project cars that are injecting gas, which is under huge pressure, via these piezo injectors. The specialist made an impression of a very knowledgeable person. I even left positive feedback on his Facebook page (this was a unique case, I should admit) – saying he knew what he was talking about.
What suddenly changed yesterday?
Yesterday this specialist sent me diagnostics data on the belah of one customer. The customer’s vehicle is equipped with an N43 series engine – the one this diagnostics specialist is “very familiar” with. In addition, the list of the required information was precisely defined. What could go wrong? In my opinion, very simple task. The simplest in the chain of the job!
First – I got the error message code, but there was no freeze-frame. How so? The specialists, who know what the freeze-frame is, are not even checking the full list or are keeping it just for the control to not forget any of the error messages. Freeze-frame contains much more of the necessary information! Strange? No, even more than strange!
Yes, there previously have been other error message codes too, but all of them have been deleted (as we understand, without storing the freeze-frame). Does not sounds very professional.
The following oddities began when I checked the basic data of the engine:

And the menu of the NOx sensor:

I clearly see that the engine is not warmed up to the working temperature (unless the specialist considers 66oC as one); also – by the temperature of the exhaust, we see that the car has not been driven (or driving imitated at least). Why is it so important? If the specialist knew the “topic”, he would know that these two conditions are critically important because of:
a. DME would give the command to the NOx sensor to switch to Online mode – start to send data;
b. DME would try to activate the Stratified charge and update the adaptations of the injector atomization and dripping.
Unfortunately, this specialist obviously is not aware of it, and there are no surprises – the NOx sensor is Offline, and its menu is useless. In the error message list, there is an error message exactly regarding the NOx sensor (30A4), and the observation of the previously mentioned conditions is critically important in the case of this diagnostic!
Further follows some very strange menus, for example:

Why the specialist sent these menus? The answer is very simple – his computer has loader 1.001 installed (we see the confirmation on the left top corner of each screenshot), not 2.023. What is the difference? Fundamental – the old loader misses everything, what corresponds to the injectors – their data and adaptations. As we understand, the injectors are the most capricious component of these engines and the cause of most of their problems. It makes no sense to even touch these complicated engines if you don’t have injector data!
The injector data contain a huge amount of valuable information, more than 20 (!) data positions of each injector:
a. injector injection live data;
b. flowrate data, applied to the injectors;
c. electrical parameters of the injectors – energy supplied, voltage reached during injection process;
d. results of the chemical tests of the injectors in Homogenous mode (results of the last test; tests of the cold engine; injector flowrate test in two modes – low and high load);
e. injector atomization and dripping tests and chemical efficiency tests of cylinders in the partial load mode during injection in Stratified charge mode;
f. DME status (learnbits) information regarding successfully performed tests of banks and injector measurements.
NOTHING of this is visible in loader 1.001!
There I have several things to say. First – a remark regarding loader 2.023 is mentioned directly before/above the list of the necessary data. The link to the necessary files can be found exactly in the same place.
Second – how comes the specialist, who regularly works with these engines, will have no appropriate software version installed? Have to add that INPA and this loader are the only software that supplies these data (accordingly, there is no reservation, “I am using another tool”). It is obvious that this specialist hasn’t even once checked the data of these injectors. So – how is he repairing these engines? Replaces all injectors? Replaces engines?
Third – even if the specialist has not checked the injector data even once, he should see that when pressing the appropriate button combinations in the list, there are no options, for example, Shift+F6, at all! When pressing these buttons, nothing happens! There should be some reaction from his side! No, actually, the situation is even harsher! Let’s go back to the images sent by the specialist instead of the injector data.

Here is the cylinder switch-off menu. What does this menu give? It is a test block! When pressing the appropriate Fx button, the injector of the exact cylinder is switched off. What does this menu give when sent as an image? Nothing!

Here is a menu of the allowing the injection methods. In this menu, different injection methods can be allowed or prohibited. On the top of the page – choices. What does this menu give when sent as an image? Nothing! This, too, is a test block!

And for a dessert – this menu. This is a test module of Lambda probes. Several remarks regarding this menu:
a. this menu works (and is intended to) for 6-cylinder engines: N52, N53, and N54. As we remember, the customer’s vehicle is equipped with an N43 series engine;
b. this menu is intended to identify swapped Lambda probes. So, in configuration 2+2 (wideband + control) probes – make sure that all probes are correctly connected in the appropriate places. For this, you have to press F1 and observe the test bars during the test.
As we see from this menu – most of the bars are “empty”. It is not a surprise – nobody has pressed F1, and the test has not been performed (and it would not be performed because the engine has only 2 or 3 probes). This image, too, is completely useless!
What conclusions do I draw when receiving such images? The conclusion is simple – the person, who sent them, has not the slightest idea of what he sees in these menus! He, like a robot, sends everything that the computer shows. At this moment, the question appears – how come the specialist, who claims that he regularly works with these engines, actually does not understand anything from the data that the manufacturer’s diagnostics tool shows?
The answer is simple – the specialist is a specialist only in talking. I have to admit, I, too, “fell” for the talking skills of this “specialist”.
Sentence of this entry – be very critical when evaluating the abilities of the specialists. Do not believe nice talks! If in a similar situation (when your diagnostics specialist sends me the diagnostics data), you will receive similar notes regarding the information sent from me, draw the appropriate conclusions!