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December 16, 2008 | By | Reply More

Where are we supposed to learn about all this technology?

In the old days it was simpler. You had a power supply wire, you had a switch, you had an electrical consumer, and you had a ground. How simple could it get? You changed the brake pads, bled the brake fluid and resurfaced the rotors. If a customer spun out of control, you told him to get better tires and slow down. Not these days! Now, safety, comfort, entertainment, performance, fuel economy and emissions controls are all pushed to the outer limits. BMW vehicles are among the most technologically-advanced in the world. How are we to keep pace with this modern technology? When electronic ignition was new we wondered how we were going to figure that out. Then Fuel Injection came and we begged for a carburetor. We now have technicians who have never worked on a carbureted 320, and regularly use a laptop to repair a vehicle. The automotive world is, technologically, full speed ahead. Where can you get the training and service information you need to keep up? Right from the source, that‘s where!

The Source

In an effort to reducing wiring and complexity, control units have now replaced many simple switches. Initially, you may not like this as switches were easy to test.  Now, instead of having three wires (On, Off and common) you have computer communication, which only requires one or two wires. Multiply this wire elimination by all the switches and control units on the car and you have reduced complexity in the number of wires and weight. You might think one of the down sides is that now a scan tool is required to communicate with all these new control units. Well, BMW has addressed that as well — more on that later.


After you logon and pay for your subscription you will be greeted with the main page. From here you will be given multiple choices to chose what type of information you would like to pull up. If you work on Mini’s as well you will need a separate user name for each site otherwise it will keep billing you for the site you are already linked to.

Servuce Bulletin

When you select service bulletins you are asked to select a main group, chassis number and body type. Once this is done, a list of applicable TSBs is displayed.

BMW has always supplied training, technical and wiring information on its vehicles. Now, all that is provided through the website You can type it in directly, or go to the NASFT website and link to it from there under Manufacturer Service Information Websites. This is a pay site. Just as you would have to pay for a college course, training classes, or technical books, you will have to pay for the site, but the cost is reasonable.  At $30 dollars a day, you can use it to clear up an issue with a customer’s car without changing the overall bill that much. For


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Category: BMW TechDrive, General

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