Diagnosing and configuring your modern Mopar
With the complexity of modern cars, even a do-it-yourself mechanic needs some diagnostic help in their toolkit. I recently decided to try OBD JScan. It’s an app for iPhone and Android targeted at Jeeps but it also supports many other FCA vehicles. I found that the application shows support for even more vehicles than the website shows.
The software download is free. You need a license per vehicle to do any diagnosis and configuration. The license fee per vehicle is currently $18.99. You can use demo mode to preview what is available for your vehicle before purchasing a Bluetooth adapter or a license.
I’m using an iPhone and from the adapters supported with this phone, I chose the Vgate iCar Pro code reader which I picked up from Amazon. OBD Jscan has a list of supported and non-supported adapters in case you’d like a different one.
So for $18.99 and $24.99, I had everything I needed for my first project. I’d have to get an adapter cable for my second project. It’s a cable to bypass the security gateway on many 2018+ FCA products. I saw prices all over the place for this cable. I gambled the $24.99 one would work and it did. There are other options (at least for Ram 1500) but they are vehicle specific. The Chrysler 12+8 cable I purchased can work on multiple vehicles, but it is a little more labor intensive (see my section below on the 2019 Ram Classic). My total now increased with a second license for another $18.99 and $24.99 for the cable. For $88, less than one hour of dealer shop labor, I was ready to begin.
Enable the backup camera on JK Wrangler
I had previously installed a 730n navigation radio in my 2013 Wrangler. I also picked up an inexpensive EWAY backup camera assembly from Amazon that replaces the license plate light on the Wrangler. I does make the camera off center, but I haven’t had an issue with it. It’s not as high quality as the factory camera on my Ram, but it is quite acceptable for $16.
I plugged the Vgate adapter into the OBDII port under the dash of the Wrangler and turned the ignition on, but did not start it. I opened the OBD JScan app, selected the JK Wrangler, then chose my adapter from the list, and within a few seconds I was connected to the Jeep. I purchased a license within the app and associated it with the Jeep.
I was ready to enable the backup camera. I selected the Adaptation menu. I looked under Radio and Camera Settings and found Rear Camera on/off. I simply changed Deactivated to Activate and pressed go. Within a few seconds, the configuration was complete. The backup camera worked just like it had been installed from the factory. I figure I can always upgrade to a better camera someday if necessary.
There’s a lot more available for the Wrangler. You can enable daytime running lights, compensate for tire size changes, edit the tire pressure monitoring settings, and much more.
Enable daytime running lights on Ram 1500 Classic
My dealer would not enable the DRLs for me on my 2019 Ram 1500 Classic, claiming it could not be done. I knew it could and decided I’d have to pursue the issue myself. You can plug the Bluetooth module into the OBDII port, but you can’t do anything but read codes. From what I’ve read, you can’t even clear them on a vehicle with a security gateway. Instead, you need the above mentioned 12+8 adapter cable to plug into the security gateway wiring.
The security gateway on my 1500 is behind the radio. I looked around YouTube and found a video detailing the trim panel removal. It’s a bit intimidating disassembling a $50k truck! Then I removed the four screws holding the radio but did not disconnect any wiring, and move the radio to the side. I could see the security gateway. Three screws hold it in. Here’s what the gateway looks like removed with the wires unplugged.
I unplugged the two wire connectors from the Gateway and plugged them into my cable. Then I plugged the Bluetooth module into the cable. I turned the truck on, but did not start. Just like with the Jeep, I was connected in a few seconds. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous at first as the app had only stated it supported the Ram DS 1500 series through 2017. But it connected fine to my 2019. I purchased another license and associated to my Ram. I selected the Adaptation menu. Then I selected the DRL menu. There were several options to configure:
DRL Configuration -> Canada DRL
DRL Customer Setting On/Off -> Active
DRL Dropout Enable -> Active
DRL Lamp Location-> High Beam DRL
At this time, the DRLs should be activated. However there is also a second setting to enable the display of the DRL option on the radio menu. This was under Radio User Settings.
DRL On/Off -> Activate
I plugged unplugged my adapter cable and plugged the security gateway back in. I tested DRLs and they worked just like they should (on when in gear with parking brake off). The only thing that didn’t work was the radio did not show the checkbox to turn the DRLs on or off but I wasn’t worried about that. I put everything back together was quite happy. Later I read that the radio may have to reset before it displays new options. But within a couple of days, I looked again and the option to turn the DRLs on/off was there in the radio settings.
You can make the process a little easier by purchasing a Ram specific security bypass cable which plugs into the OBDII port and has a jumper wire you must connect under the dash. I chose the 8+12 cable in case I wanted to configure another vehicle.
I feel this product offers a great value for the money. It’s easy enough to use, but you do have to look through various menus (I suspect that is more the fault of the way FCA organizes things than this app, as even the old Chrysler StarScan menus were confusing). The only real shortcoming I could find is that it doesn’t appear to disable auto start/stop on vehicles so equipped. If it did, I’d have a third section here detailing that process on my 2019 Grand Cherokee.
Mark has been a technical writer for many years, working for automotive suppliers. He has always been an avid reader of magazines and websites dedicated to the domestic auto industry, and spent a lot of time analyzing sales trends in changing automotive markets. Mark’s fascination with the automotive industry began by reading yearbooks as a young child that highlighted the yearly changes cars used to receive every fall. From that, he developed a love of model car building.
The cars of his childhood were mainly large Ford and Chevrolet sedans. Some of his previous restoration projects include a 1967 Plymouth Valiant, a 1980 Plymouth Volare Road Runner, and a 1989 Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible.
You can reach Mark at +1.516-531-4021.