CAMPO DE CRIPTANA, SPAIN.  With trucks carrying as many as 20 separate electronic control units (ECUs), interperting diagnostic codes can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience that saps technician productivity and adds to expensive downtime.  Proprietary diagnostic software from multiple component suppliers further increases diagnostic complexity and cost.

Building a multi-brand tool that bypasses the need for separate proprietary software packages is in itself a complex undertaking, but one that could offer substantial benefits, especially if a fleet operates multiple truck makes and component brands, according to Cojali S.L.,  Spanish manufacturer of truck electronics and other aftermarket components.  

As a network of 17 Detroit Diesel Allison independent distributors with over 200 service locations in the U.S. and Canada, WheelTime understands the need for a tool that allows bumper-to-bumper diagnostics quickly and uniformly for all types and brands of trucks, according to Jill Gingrich, director of client support.  “OEM tools only see their systems, which provides a very deep dive, but a very narrow dive,” she said at a press event held in Cojali’s headquarters. 

As a multi-brand tool, Cojali’s Jaltest system “sees all truck systems…and allows shops to diagnose faults, identify contributory factors, and support technicians on 80% to 90% of repairs,” Gingrich said. “We’re not saying this tool is a replacement for technicians or OEM software. We’re saying this tool augments the effectiveness of our technicians and narrow, but deep OEM-centric software.”

By providing troubleshooting routines and supporting technical information all within one self-contained package, Jaltest could offer fleets and independent repair shops a more consistent diagnostic process with “targeted, specific repairs that address the root of problems for faster, higher quality repairs,” Gringrich said.

In addition to adopting Jaltest in all of its members’ shops, WheelTime is now the N.A. distributor for the Cojali tool, also providing training and technical support for the multi-brand tool in the U.S. and Canada.

With an initial cost of $5,200 for the Jaltest PC Windows-based software and related hardware, the system not only gives technicians a single platform and interface for all truck components, but also cost considerably less than OEM software and hardware, according to Jose Ramon Serrano, director of sales and business development for Cojali.  Annual updates, which are released three times a year, are also well below the cost of OEM software license renewals, he said during the press conference.

Introduced in Europe in 2003, Cojali’s multi-brand tool was an outgrowth of its development of viscous fan clutches and other components with electronic controls for the aftermarket, according to Emiliano Morelas, director of sales and business development for the newly formed subsidiary, Cojali USA.  While some functions like recalibrating engine horsepower will still require a dealership visit, Jaltest is focused on not just diagnosing problems, but helping the technician complete the repair, he said. To that end, the company has built technical support into the tool and backs it up with a subscription based technical support hotline.

Currently the company has delivered 1,200 Jaltest units to NA fleets and repair shops. In addition to its tri-annual software updates, it plans next year to release a PLC cable for trailer diagnostics and a new repair order management module that will allow users to share repair data among shops, according to Serrano.   In addition, Cojali plans to introduce its aftermarket viscous fan clutches to the U.S. market in 2014 and is currently researching market demand for its other electronic controls, which include ABS controls and remanufactured ECUs, he said.