HPA Motorsports VAD Mobile
*My '02 Audi A4 is long past its factory warranty, so I've been its primary caregiver for the last few years. But when it came to diagnosing 'check engine lights' or diagnostic engine codes (DTCs), I was in the dark.
As luck would have it, HPA president Marcel Horn asked if I would like to test his new VAD Mobile diagnostic software. VAD Mobile is aprogram running on the Palm OS platform. I invested in a Palm Tungsten E2 PDA and HPA sent the serial OBD-II cable and details on downloading the software.
With the software loaded, I was ready to dive into the world of engine diagnostics. VAD Mobile does not provide detailed information regarding the DTC downloaded from an ECU, therefore it's only a tool. It's up to the user to draw upon his or her own automotive knowledge to rectify any problem. Refer to a shop manual for specific makes and models-or in this era of vast online information and technical forums, the answer could be a few mouse clicks away. The bottom line is that it's easier to operate than you think.
To use the VAD Mobile, simply plug the small end of the supplied cable into a PDA device and the big end into the vehicle's OBD-II port on 1996 or newer vehicles. An additional adaptor is available to connect to older 1990 to '95 OBD-I vehicles. Then boot up the VAD Mobile program on the PDA and turn the ignition key to the on position. From there, it's possible to connect to any one of the many control units in the vehicle (engine, transmission, all-wheel drive, brakes, instrument cluster, climate control and so on), the most important and complex being the engine electronics ECU.
Once connected, it's possible to scan, view and clear DTCs via the VAD Mobile PDA interface. DTC listing is dated and can be saved in the PDA for easy access later on. In addition, VAD Mobile software can measure (read) individual value blocks, multiple blocks, graph block data, and log (save) block data from the ECU. Blocks are real-time information gathered by the ECU from various sensors, such as engine speed, engine load, coolant and intake temperatures, ignition timing, throttle angle, oil pressure, alternator voltage, mass air flow, etc. More advanced operations, such as changing or re-setting adaptation values stored in the ECU, or re-coding the ECU may also be performed with VAD Mobile.
It's an excellent, user-friendly and relatively inexpensive tool for any VW/Audi enthusiasts looking to expand their vehicle diagnostic capabilities. VAD Mobile comes as a complete package with software, license key-code, instruction manual and serial OBD-II connector cable with various PDA options. $269
*Subtle aggression is one way to describe Vorsteiner's VRS vented race hood for the BMW 6 Series. The company's carbon fiber honeycomb matrix (CFHM) structure reportedly gives each part superior stiffness, strength and durability, even compared to traditional hand-laid carbon fiber or fiberglass materials. Options include dry vacuum woven plastic (DVWP) construction with carbon fiber vents, single-sided carbon fiber and carbon vents, or double-sided carbon fiber with carbon vents (CFHM construction only).
*Enjoy the same safety and quality assurance as CHAMP, Formula One and (gasp) NASCAR drivers with Schroth's full line of Latch-Link harness belts. These incorporate lightweight length adjusters and are available in two- and three-inch lap, three-inch shoulder, and two-inch into three-inch HANS-specific shoulder belt designs-with a full range of sizing, mounting and adjustment options, all meeting SFI 16.1 and/or SFI 16.5 standards. Also available are Junior Dragster models with two-inch lap and shoulder belts tested to the full adult standard. $119
*JL Audio's HD amplifiers are the company's latest cutting-edge offerings. They combine proprietary Single Cycle Control technology, which actively monitors the audio signal to ensure it remains faithful to the source material, and a Regulated Intelligent Power Supply designed to optimize and maintain the rated power output over a wide range of load impedances. Other features include a stackable chassis design, security cover for the controls, removable power and speaker plugs, and RealSink thermal management. $699.95
Wheel of the Month
*According to Momo, the new Typhoon is a return to the classic five-spoke styling on which the company cut its teeth. It incorporates elements like flares at the bottom of each spoke and a strong 'webbing' design between the spokes. Painted versions are accented with a brightly polished stainless lip. Finishes include black, silver and chrome, with sizes spanning 20 to 24 inches in diameter. $625
*Euro Sport Accessories has a new set of exhaust pipes for the Mk V GTI and Jetta GLI. The first is a two-piece, three-inch stainless steel downpipe and catalytic converter, dyno-tested and engineered for an additional (claimed) 10 to 12 hp and 15 to 20 lb-ft of torque. The pipe then 'downsizes' to accommodate either the stock exhaust, or Euro Sport's 2.5-inch, mandrel-bent performance exhaust. The exhaust features T304 stainless construction and a stainless muffler with a perforated core for smooth, unrestricted flow. The dual three-inch tips are etched with the company logo and the entire design uses slip joints with stainless steel T-bolt clamps for easy installation.
Euro Sport Accessories