Volkswagen Mechanic Training, Staying At The Top of Technology

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Hey folks! As promised, I am following up on my training session from last week. I go to training at least once a year. I wish that it was more, but my dealer is not exactly close to a mechanic training center. In fact we are about 350 miles from 2 different VW training centers. I travel to the center in the fine town of Jessup,MD.

Last week I was in training for O.D.I.S. Offboard Diagnostic Information System. Let me give you some definitions before we get cracking on O.D.I.S

  • VAS-PC ~VSD~ VWoA’s current diagnostic software. This is our current scan tool program
  • Vehicle Self Diagnosis~ This is part of our current scan tool program. Here a mechanic can navigate all the modules on a car.
  • Guided Fault Finding ~GFF~ Part of VAS-PC this is a computer guided system. If a fault is stored, the program will launch a test for the mechanic to perform. We are required to use this for warranty repairs.
  • Guided Functions ~GF~ This is a smaller version of GFF. Here, the plans are only things like, programming keys, or replacing ECMs, or coding modules.
  • ELSA~ VW’s repair manual. It has more information than just than, but that is what I use most
  • ETKA ~ VW’s Parts catalog.
  • VAG-COM ~ An aftermarket diagnostic program for all VAG cars, VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Lambo, Bentley, Porsche, Bugatti, and so on.
  • Star Mobile ~ Chrysler’s diagnostic software. We use this on the Routan.

Ok, now that you are totally confused on all the acronyms, lets talk about ODIS. ODIS will be added to our current diagnostic software this summer. Mechanic will be able to choose the one they want to use. This however will only last a short time before VW stops supporting VAS-PC. My overall opinion about ODIS is positive. We were using an slightly older version than the one that will come out to all VWoA dealers. By then, most of the bugs should be worked out. 😉

The interface for ODIS is 100% different from VAS-PC. In VAS-PC all the of programs(VSD,GFF,GF) are separate. ODIS does a nice job combining the 3, making navigation easier and a little faster. There seems to be a few more ways to navigate to the same end result. To me, that is a good thing. Everyone remembers things different, or multiple navigation paths can be a good thing. VW seemed to do a good job of taking the good things of VAG-COM, and Star Mobile, and pile them into a nice scan tool.

There are somethings that I am concerned about. There will be a fairly large learning curve for this scan tool. This is the biggest change in diagnostic software since the late 90s. In my dealer all but 2 guys have only used VAS-PC. I worry about how everyone will adapt. The trust is, techs MUST learn this new setup. The faster they learn, the better off they will be. ODIS will have its flaws, but so does everything else. We will all have to put in the extra time to know the scan tool. But in time all the the mechanics will be pros at using ODIS.

There is another story that I wanted to tell everyone. The guy that was my lab partner in training was a pretty good dude. This guy bled VW blue. I noticed that he had a Master VW Technician ring on. We got to chatting about that, and he told me this story.

Man, I have been a master tech for about 6 months. I had to take all the tests a few times before I finally passed all 5. I am so glad I can wear this ring and call myself a master tech.

I have worked full time for VW for 23 years. In that time I have seen just about any and everything that you can imagine. I have seen techs come and go, trainers come and go, and more broken cars than you can wrap your mind around.

When it came time for my ring ceremony, I asked to have Dan(who is in charge of all training for VW and Audi) there for me. Dan was glad to be there and give a speech. He told all the young guys that “THIS RING” is the only thing that matters. All the cars, the tools and anything else are meaningless, EVERY mechanic better be striving for “THIS RING”

I am sure my jaw hit the floor. 23 years of working on VWs. There are guys at my shop that are not 23 years old.I can only imagine what it felt like to be doing a job for that long and finally reach the top of the trade. It really made me reevaluate my appreciation for being a Master Tech.

Overall the training was good. I left with my confidence intact which does not usually happen when I leave training. I will go back tomorrow and chat with my guys about ODIS. Oh, and replace a fuel system in a TDI.

If you think that VW has a ridiculous amount of acronyms, click one of the buttons below and let everyone know. I will probably click each one a bunch of times 😉

13 replies
  1. Alex@iHeartEuro
    Alex@iHeartEuro says:

    Congarts on new training 😉
    Personally I can’t imagine why would it be so hard getting used to ODIS. I have only touched 3-4 scanner in my life (Modis, Solus, Tech 2 for GM and another one) they are all very different but pretty much the same in the end… a scanner is a scanner 😉

    • Charles
      Charles says:

      I don’t think that it will be hard to learn, but difficult. The issue will be trying to learn the system on the fly. I hope the boys in the shop take advantage of the training workbook.

      Their issue will be not getting paid for the extra work. As we all know, that is a little short sided.

    • Charles
      Charles says:

      No screen shots. When we get the full version I will try and get something better than a shot with my phone. VW is a little sensitive about screen shots. 😉

  2. Garrett Craven
    Garrett Craven says:

    A friend of mine did the exact opposite! :/ he borrowed his sisters brand new honda crv with less than 1000 miles and called me freakin out cuz he accidentally put off-road diesel in it! Dont ask me how you miss that but he got a little over 10 bucks in it and caught it. Filled up with super and some fuel additive and it was fine lol

  3. Mathew Maher
    Mathew Maher says:

    It’s nice to hear about the different systems. I’ve heard of the EKTA, and have a VCDS (VAG-COM) myself.

    It’s been a great tool to help me not freak out over CELs or other malfunction lights.

    It was well worth the investment for the “willing and curious” enthusiast.

    I wondered if VW had to use Chrysler systems for the Routon. Does this mean someone can take a Routon to a Chrysler dealership for service if a VW shop isn’t available?

    Looking forward to hearing more on VAG-COM systems an how to use it more wisely for understanding the motor.

    • Charles
      Charles says:

      Everything we have about the Routan comes from from Chrysler. VW changed their wiring diagrams to fit a similar design.

      I am sure that the Chrysler guys would LOVE to work on the Routan. Everything by the 2011-2012 engines. They are very german(I am sure they come from MB).

      I have some VCDS in the pipe line. It might be something a little more exclusive. But I think it would be cool. Still working out the technical part of it.

  4. jon parker
    jon parker says:

    Awesome blog. Im a vw tech at an independent in Atlanta. Ive worked for several VW dealers but left before they went to vas-pc.. 5052 anybody? Well im wondering if ODIS would be available to the aftermarket? Weve been looking into getting a 6150 from vw with vas-pc and obtaining a geko id… which can be done through vw. I just wonder if vw is going to stop supporting vas-pc?? We use vcds and love it, but some gff or guided functions would be great.. any thoughts? Thanks..

    • Charles
      Charles says:

      Hey Jon,
      I know that Vw will stop accepting VASPC for warranty on 08/30/13. I forget the date that they will stop support for VAS, but I think it is very soon.

      The new 6150s are about $5000 each. Do you know a place to get a used one? I will ask around and see if anyone knows if ODIS will be available. From what I understand, they have to make some type of solution available for the aftermarket.


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