NASTF meeting tackles J-2534, launches OEM Scan Tool Resource Center

Seattle, Wash.—The Spring 2014 General Meeting of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), hosted by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Northwest Chapter, was held recently in advance of the chapter’s annual Automotive Training Expo (ATE) at the Double Tree Hotel in Seattle on March 20.

The bi-annual meeting included updates from the NASTF committee segments, and featured presentations on the recent Right-to-Repair laws, and a panel discussion on J-2534 pass-thru devices.


J-2534 pass-thru reprogramming

NASTF Executive Director Skip Potter said the topic of J-2534 and pass-thru reprogramming has been the single most dominant question that he has had to deal with at NASTF.

 “Whenever anything has that much interest, it’s time to create a session around it,” Potter said.

The J-2534 panelists included Mark Saxonberg, manager of Alternative Fuel Vehicles & Environment for Toyota Motor Sales USA; Bob Augustine, technical training manager for Christian Brothers Automotive; and Brian Herron, vice president of Drew Technologies.

The one-hour discussion revealed a 10-year struggle in implementing the J-2534 SAE standard, which has led to current difficulties with this vehicle interface solution.

“We have seen varied success with J-2534,” Herron said. “The OEs who have really embraced this have overall been very successful. On the other hand, those who have looked at it as a regulatory requirement — only doing the minimum to not get fined — have maybe been less successful.”

Toyota is one who viewed J-2534 as an opportunity rather than a regulatory requirement and, as a result, Saxonberg said Toyota has been able to offer better support to its customers — in and outside of the dealership — by providing a less expensive way to do all Toyota diagnostics.

“Our technicians started investing in their own J-Box and downloading our software” he said.

As a result, Toyota’s technicians are no longer waiting in line to use the factory scan tool in the service bays at the dealership, and the same concept has worked in the independent shops, said Saxonberg, which is why Toyota migrated the opportunity to the aftermarket.

 “Customer support and brand experience for the life of the car — that is how we looked at it,” said Saxonberg, “and I am proud to say that now we are able to see the benefits to that.”

From the technicians’ perspective, Augustine said most technicians following the J-2534 discussion want one box to work on every car, or at least GM, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, which make up nearly 75 percent of the vehicle parc of cars repaired at the independent aftermarket repair facilities.

“There really is tool hardware fatigue in the aftermarket,” said Augustine, suggesting that technicians are tired of spending money on more electronics. “They want to buy one piece of hardware that can connect to at least the big six or seven brands that they work on. I think at the end of the day, that is really our challenge moving forward.”


Right To Repair laws and the MOU

Following the J-2534 discussion, John Lypen, director of Industry Relations for Motor Information Services, held an interview with Steve Douglas, senior director of Environmental Affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and Aaron Lowe, vice president of Government Affairs for the Auto Care Association (formerly AAIA), regarding the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between parties representing the automakers and those representing aftermarket service.

The new MOU states that all service information, tools, and software provided to dealers must be available to the independents for vehicles under 14,000 pounds, model year 2002 and beyond. By model year 2018, OEMs must make diagnostic and repair software available via subscription from a cloud, which connects with the vehicle through a standardized interface — either SAE J-2534 or ISO 22900. All security information must be available through the Secure Data Release Model (SDRM), he added. 

For vehicles over 14,000 pounds, model year 2013 and beyond, all service information, tools, and software provided to the dealer must be available to independents. For model year 2018, OEMs must make software available via subscription from a cloud, which connects with the vehicle through standardized interface J-2534, J-1939, or ISO 22900.

“This excludes trucks built to ‘custom specifications’ sold for commercial purpose from the model year 2018 requirement,” said Lowe, adding that nearly all commercial trucks are built to some sort of custom specification, which may exempt most from the standardized interface.

In the end, Lowe said the hope is that the J-2534 tool will have all the same functionality of the dealer tool.


NASTF committee segments

Donny Seyfer, co-owner of Seyfer Automotive in Colorado, demonstrated the OEM Scan Tool Resource Center that is now accessible from the NASTF website ( Seyfer explained that many more OEM tools will be introduced soon to the center and the others will be rolled out as the research is completed.

Charlie Gorman, executive manager of the Equipment & Tool Institute (ETI), presented for the NASTF Equipment & Tool Committee, reporting on a co-operative project with NASTF involving ETI’s Scan Tool Information Request (STIR) system, which will work with the NASTF Service Information Request (SIR) for tool-makers resolving OEM data stream availability issues.

Rob Morrell, training manager for WORLDPAC and aftermarket co-chair of the NASTF Education Committee, announced the committee’s initiative to simplify aftermarket access to OEM education resources. In its initial stages, the project intends to offer OEMs a revenue stream while satisfying the needs of both technicians and independent technical trainers.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.