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Old 01-07-2021, 01:33 AM   #1
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Default Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

I have a wrench light coming on in my 2005 VUE after about 2 minutes of driving. I understand wrench lights are different than engine lights, different than oil can/drip light indicating it's oil change time.

I also understand that wrench lights are not readable by consumer-grade ODB readers, which is what I have. The wrench lights are diagnosed with a GM Tech II tool, available only at GM facilities.

SOOOOoooo---I took my VUE to the local Chevrolet dealer, where I was told it was time for an oil change. That's what the maintenance light means, the service guy tells me. I beg to differ, I say, because the oil change light is the can with the drip, and I know how to reset that after my oil changes. That is not the light I'm talking about. We get slightly heated with each other, as I try to explain that I know there is an issue, I just don't know what it is, otherwise the light wouldn't be on. He says no codes have come back, there's nothing wrong with the car. I don't think they took the time to use the GM tool on it, because he mentioned only an OBD reader.

Anyway- what am I supposed to do now? Take it to another GM dealer shop? There's a GMC place near me, so I could go there, but, assuming the Chevy guy is telling truth, and there's nothing wrong, is there any way to reset the darn light? Right now I have a tiny Star Wars sticker over it to block it from view. I'd like to actually get it diagnosed properly, but in the meantime, what could be the cause of a wrench light with no symptoms whatsoever?
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

It is not true that only a Tech 2 can read "wrench" codes.
Many mis range consumer scan tools are able to read all the different types of codes.
I have an Actron that you can get for under $200 that reads all the codes.

The dealer sounds very suspect to me.
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Old 01-07-2021, 11:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

I agree, the dealer is not truthful about zero codes. I too have an aftermarket scantool capable of decoding the wrench indicator (below). I had an occasional wrench light followed by hard shifts about 45 minutes into a long drive. Later, I figured out by stopping for a coffee break allowed the xmission to cool down, restarted and the wrench light went away and smooth shifting returned. I decided to buy a scantool and with an old laptop, decoded the stored wrench codes (the light went away but the codes remained for retrieval) - xmission pressure control solenoid. I dropped the xmission pan, drained fluid, replaced filter, refilled with fresh xmission oil before the scantool purchase (85k miles). This was a few years ago. I think stored codes were retrieved from history (not current) because it displayed other codes that weren't of any concern.

This scantool allowed me to program spare remotes, look at more Saturn/GM specific data, test the instrument panel indicators and gauges, and more. It's basically a clone of GMs Tech II scantool but at much lower cost (<$100). Check the website. It may be worth it to you if you intend to hold onto the car a few more years or whatever. It decodes all GM codes, P/U/C/B codes.

The wrench light indicates something unrelated to the engine - chassis, network, bcm, OnStar, etc. I haven't used mine in awhile but there are several pages of menus to wade thru to become familiar with navigating it before finding what you want to diagnose.

Wrench codes are manufacturer specific as opposed to universal emissions codes (P type) so each manufacturer is allowed to create their own codes to work on their scantools. They're not obligated to providing a universal set of codes for genetic readers so the aftermarket people came up with clones. VCX NANO requires loading software onto a pc or laptop and connection to the OBD II port with its interface box and cables.
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Old 01-07-2021, 02:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

'Genetic' should be generic. My tablet and Google likes to substitute words......
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Old 01-07-2021, 03:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Thanks for the responses.

The dealer does stink- I went years ago there, they gave me some other BS price for something- can't exactly remember, but I only went this time for the "special" GM tool! It's worth $100 to me to get a reader that'll tell me more than the generic one I have.

fdryer- when you say the codes can relate to chassis (among other things) what sorts of things does the car's computer have info on? and how would it know- various sensors all over the place? Like would the computer be aware of needing shocks, for instance?

I'm definitely going to look into getting one of those Nano readers- off to shop now!
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Old 01-07-2021, 04:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

There are several aftermarket scantools that may help you choose. I don't know them. I came across mine from a member post in these forums and did initial research then plunged into the deep end. I'm not affiliated or receive compensation from VCX NANO. Read all the info on every reader/scantool before you decide on one as there can be misleading info anywhere. I wanted a reader right after I bought my L300 back in '05 but was able to get by from loaned readers until I was gifted a moderately priced reader that did a few things more but couldn't decode wrench errors. VCX NANO reads virtually every code (GM version as there are others - Ford, FCM, etc). No one scantool can accommodate multiple manufacturers codes unless you're a repair shop willing to pay several thousand dollars for something like Snap-On or other scantool with ongoing ($$) support. For the average diyer holding onto one car, the lower priced scantools may be the best option.

With sophisticated electronics in vehicles, sophisticated software is needed to communicate to them as well as command sensors for testing. The EFI system requires a reader to decode every emissions P type codes. Generic readers only decode P types with better ones now decoding abs errors. I'm not sure if abs errors are universal but generic readers seem to be able to decode Saturns from member posts. No specific reader mentioned suggesting universal abs codes. GM/Saturn specific error codes are chassis(C), network(U), and body(B). Saturns from 2000+ have a pcm/ecm for the EFI system (engine management) and a body control module (bcm) to manage all other functions except airbags and abs. The airbag system has its own mini computer, self contained and completely separate from the pcm/ecm and bcm. The abs/traction control system has its own mini computer and also self contained, independent of pcm/ecm, bcm and airbag modules. To add sophistication to these electronics, there are two communications modes, serial and canbus. Serial is relatively slow and used for readers connected to the OBD II port. Canbus is faster and allows all the modules to communicate on a parallel comm line also connected to the OBD II port. Scantools capable of connecting to the canbus like GMs Tech II scantool allow diagnosing all the electronics, update firmware when needed, program new BCMs with mileage taken from the old bcm, and more. Scantools allow GM level access to all the electronics where generic readers cannot. In effect, VCX NANO allows anyone to have GM level access to every error code (or Ford, FCM, etc), examine sensors, operate them, and more. Other aftermarket clones are made too for cutting costs to have access to all the electronics our vehicles; Ford, TCM, Land Rover, Toyota, etc. Guess who cornered the market? Reverse engineering may be a key in how aftermarket scantools are clones of vehicle manufacturers expensive scantools.

An example of cloning and fierce competition would be remote keyless access. I can buy genuine GM remotes at retail or buy discount remotes cloned from GM that does the exact same thing. I have only one original GM/Saturn remote. I bought a pair of low cost remotes for $14+shipping then programmed all three (a must) with my scantool. I haven't tried GM to duplicate a key yet as I suspect they'll gouge me (NYC). I have the master as a spare tucked in my wallet. The same can be said of tire pressure sensors. Why pay retail when there are plenty of aftermarket clones and oem sensors at lower cost? Many owners with required TPMS (since '08) were not aware of shopping around for replacement tire pressure sensors back then. Now, I think the word's out to shop around and not pay retail (dealer markup and labor to program them).

No, scantools cannot tell anyone when to replace shocks, brakes, tires, etc. That's still an owner's responsibility. Scantools allows anyone access to all the electronics for diagnosing/troubleshooting, testing and limited programming. It may not do everything compared to GMs Tech II scantool but can give more info than a regular reader.
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Old 01-07-2021, 06:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Wow, fdryrer---that is very detailed info and very much appreciated. The issue I see right now is that the VCX Nano devices I see on Amazon specifically mention needing to run Windows 7, 32-bit, and in my case I'd have to get a VM running within Windows10. There's a lot of tech learning curve there before I even get to see what's up with my VUE! I might still go that way, as I do have two early-00's Saturns. when you say canbus, is it a different type of data, but still accessed from the same port? My reader says "works with all 1996 and newer cars and trucks that are OBD II compliant (including the CAN, VPW, PWM, ISO and KWP 2000 protocols) Do you think CAN protocol is the canbus you mentioned?

Irbraner--what Actron reader do you have that reads your Saturn's wrench codes?
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Old 01-07-2021, 08:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Yes your reader can communicate to canbus but the question you have to ask is why didn't your reader decode 'manufacturer specific' error codes, the ones turning on the wrench light? Canbus uses two parallel wires to each electronic control module (ecm/pcm, bcm, airbag sdm, abs module, OnStar). This can be considered internal communications to feed info to the bcm. The bcm is the gateway module connected to the OBD II port for data to flow out serially to reader or scantool. The bcm also has two connections for canbus. I'm not familiar with readers claiming to have canbus access as there are two ways to utilize canbus communications; directly or indirectly. Since I'm not familiar with every reader, I cannot comment on them. VPW, PWM, ISO and KWP 2000 are the comm languages GM uses. Google for definitions.

Serial and canbus are some ways to send data. Serial sends data at the slowest speed when canbus never existed. Comm rates are described as bits or bytes per second. Serial comms are very old but still used. Retrieving error codes doesn't require high speed data flow. Canbus has higher data speed and needed for comms between electronic modules (mini computers). Vehicles using several control modules need to communicate to each other as quickly as possible for handling data. A network in every vehicle GM has since 2000 for Saturns. My guess is canbus comms from a scantool may be used for two way communications to individual modules for ease of speed. Programming may use canbus comms but readers are not designed for programming. GMs scantool is designed for every GM model as a one size fits all tool and expensive with online support from GM when needed. VCX NANO claims access to GMs TIS website is possible (a fee for using TIS web).

As you found out, VCX NANO requires at the minimum Windows 7. I don't know if this means Windows 10 can accommodate this easily. You'll have to read the specs requirements. There may an equivalent software available for Mac systems.

Canbus is abbreviated for controller area network on a bus (two wires).
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

This indicates it works on Windows 10 54-bit
http://blog.vxdiagshop.com/2018/12/0...ows-10-64-bit/
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

BTW, the wrench light may be as simple as a burned out bulb, an unimportant faulty switch, chafed wiring, disruption of network communications among modules, etc. In old school descriptions, the wrench/engine/abs/airbag/oil/battery indicators are 'idiot lights' informing the idiot of something wrong. Vehicle manufacturers have determined the majority of car drivers aren't interested in the details when an indicator suffices. Not only in vehicle design but in every other industry where a gauge isn't needed and can be distracting when a simple red light, yellow or green light works. Some monitors requires an analog or digital gauge to track trending patterns. The yellow engine and wrench light means something's wrong and look into it when time and resources are available. The battery and oil light are self explanatory. At one time long ago, a voltmeter was used but far too many ignored it. The oil pressure was once monitored with an actual oil pressure gauge with plumbing between engine and gauge yet many ignored it. Idiot lights have their place. The engine/abs/airbag/wrench indicators alert the driver or owner to look into why the indicator is on.

Thank you imaddicted2u for the heads up. I thought VCX NANO is WIN 10 compatible but I didn't want to trumpet it without searching the site.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshjani View Post
The wrench lights are diagnosed with a GM Tech II tool, available only at GM facilities.
No, the wrench light is just a maintenance indicator and comes on when you are due for an oil change. You can reset it yourself by pressing the accelerator 3 times with ignition on and engine off. See details in your owners manual.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Quote:
Originally Posted by atikovi View Post
No, the wrench light is just a maintenance indicator and comes on when you are due for an oil change. You can reset it yourself by pressing the accelerator 3 times with ignition on and engine off. See details in your owners manual.
You are correct...(From the manual)
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Here is a link to the owners manual...
https://my.gm.com/content/dam/gmowne...vue_owners.pdf
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Don't people read the owners manual any more?
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:33 PM   #15
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

I am aware of the oil change light, which is a wrench and a dripping oil can, and how to reset it. THAT light comes on and stays lit for about 30 seconds when starting the car- but this is not the light I am talking about.

The light I am referring to as a "wrench light" is the outline of a car with a wrench inside it, in the top/middle left of the instrument cluster. This is the light that I'm trying to troubleshoot, the light for which I need a more sophisticated tool to diagnose.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Quote:
Originally Posted by imaddicted2u View Post
This indicates it works on Windows 10 54-bit
http://blog.vxdiagshop.com/2018/12/0...ows-10-64-bit/
I have run VCXNANO on my windows 10 64 bit laptop. I used it to enable cruise control on a '99 SL Saturn of a co-worker that did not have it orginally. Aw-sum what it can do with my Vue. Chassis codes? Never had to read a chassis code but I did get very accurate amp readings on the Vue of the current required to steer the front wheels while parked.

That being said; To address fdryer's concern "if this means Windows 10 can accommodate this easily" as novice computer operator, I have to say NO. To get mine to run for the first time I had to follow directions from a posting on a corvette web site to run as a virtual machine. I now face a problem I haven't fully sorted out that started with an error message saying something to the effect my subscription had to be renewed (others have received the same message and worked around it, I seem to have made too many changes before I found that out. I'm now looking at reading the posts on this before I start it again)

Here's some of the posts that may be of help to you and me:

http://blog.vxdiagshop.com/2018/12/1...on-windows-10/



VXDIAG VCX NANO GM all works! Working on Windows 10 64 bit VXdiagshop.com


How to setup Tech2Win on Windows 10 64 bit | OBDII365.com Official Blog


http://blog.chinacardiags.com/tech2w...g-vcx-nano-gm/






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KNL...yqTrOxgjRNr_-w


https://tech2wiki.com/

https://tech2wiki.com/tech2-locator/

The last is a listing of people that have Tech2's and are willing to help others.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshjani View Post
I am aware of the oil change light, which is a wrench and a dripping oil can, and how to reset it. THAT light comes on and stays lit for about 30 seconds when starting the car- but this is not the light I am talking about.

The light I am referring to as a "wrench light" is the outline of a car with a wrench inside it, in the top/middle left of the instrument cluster. This is the light that I'm trying to troubleshoot, the light for which I need a more sophisticated tool to diagnose.
Thanks for the clarification. From what I can find you need a capable scanner like the TechII or VCX Nano or similar product to scan for those codes.

"you can't scan that with your after market scanner, you have fault codes stored in the body control module, and that needs to be scanned, you'll need a TechII scanner what the use at the dealer or a snap on solous pro. the body control module(bcm) is not the same as the ecm. that is what's triggering the service wrench light on"

https://www.justanswer.com/saturn/3w...6My-bQ8W4imchg
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

I bought a Tech 2 clone like https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tech2-II-sc...8AAOSwYaNfr7KA years ago and it works great. Costs about what a dealer will charge for 2 hours diagnostic.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

I pulled the trigger on one of the VCX Nano devices on Amazon. $120 for the wireless one. I have a Win10 desktop in the garage, definitely capable of running a VM for whatever the software needs.
From reading many of the same links Bruce Rock points out I THINK the device comes with a DVD containing a VM setup and an older bootleg of GM TechII software. I saw that one guy was trying to run his VM on a Win10 tablet, and was having some issues with wireless and getting the right server...I'll cross that bridge if I get to it. I have set up VM's for Linux in OSX and Windows before, so I'll hopefully be able to navigate it.
Thanks for all this participation, BTW- it's great that you're all still here on saturnfans!
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: Wrench Light, no symptoms, 2005 VUE

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I have run VCXNANO on my windows 10 64 bit laptop.
From what I understand, the Tech2Win application cannot be run in a virtual machine. GDS2 is the application runs in a virtual machine.

I don't own a VCXNANO but if I did, I would install Tech2Win per the first link you posted and then run Tech2Win in Windows compatibility mode so the application thinks it's running in Windows 7.
This is a good guide to set compatibility mode...
https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/s...ode-windows-10

I can't test it but I've used this method to run old software version in Windows 10 successfully before.
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