Checking the Automatic Transmission Fluid Temperature in an Aston Martin DB9

Why the heck would you care what your Automatic Transmission Fluid temperature was in your DB9?   Most  DB9’s, DBS and Rapides between 2004 and 2014 were fitted with a 6-speed  ZF HP626 automatic transmission.  I’ve written an extensive article about the transmission here, and it also concludes that the transmission fluid should be changed at least every 8 years.   If you are going to change you transmission fluid (check out my video on how to do that here), or, merely want to check the level is correct (check this article), you need to do this when the fluid is between 30°C and 50°C with the engine running and idling.    Too cold or too hot, you’ll have an incorrect level.   Let me show you how you can check it properly. Continue reading “Checking the Automatic Transmission Fluid Temperature in an Aston Martin DB9”

OBDII P Codes for an Aston Martin DB7

I’m no expert at all on the DB7, but while I was crawling around on the Internet I came across the official OBDII Diagnostic Manual for the DB7.   This is the pre-Ford era of Aston, and all the stuff for the Gaydon era cars might be similar, but not the exact same.  All cars sold in the USA after 1996 had to be fitted with an OBDII port, so its no suprise this manual is from 1996.  If you are a DB7 owner out there, then this might help you. Continue reading “OBDII P Codes for an Aston Martin DB7”

Resetting the Time for Regular Service Warning using a Foxwell Scanner on an Aston Martin DB9

If you do your own annual maintenance on your DB9 or Vantage, part of the 1 year or 2 year service regime is resetting the warning message on the dash display.   In a previous article I’ve shown you how to manually reset the message using a combination of carefully timed button pushes (check out that article here).   But, if you own one of fancy Foxwell Technologies OBDII code readers like the NT510 (or newer) did you know you can do it with just the push of a button?   Let me show you how in this article. Continue reading “Resetting the Time for Regular Service Warning using a Foxwell Scanner on an Aston Martin DB9”

Affordable Aston Martin OBDII Reader

News Flash!!!  There is finally an affordable OBDII reader that can talk specifically to an Aston Martin.  If you do some of the service work on your Aston an OBDII reader is an essential tool as it can talk to the many computer modules that control the car.   I’ve written several articles already about the topic (you can find them all in this Collection here).  What was bothersome was that none of the aftermarket OBDII readers actual knew all the specific Aston Martin codes.   We could just talk to the Powertrain Control Modules (PCMs) since they were really made by Ford.   We had no access to all the modules on the “Body” port, which included the Airbag, Transmission, Door, Seat, Entertainment, and other control units.

Let me introduce you to the Foxwell NT510.   Foxwell is a Chinese company that makes a number of Automotive Diagnostic Tools.   They have updated this model to now include the codes for the Aston Martin DB9, DBS, Cygnet, Rapide, Vantage and Virage.  The unit has a color display, upgradeable firmware, can comes with a nice storage case.  Let me dive into a few details that matter. Continue reading “Affordable Aston Martin OBDII Reader”

Restarting your Engine for the First Time after Changing the Spark Plugs and Coil Packs in an Aston Martin DB9

The moment of truth is fast approaching.  You’ve just spent a considerable amount of time tearing your beloved DB9’s engine apart to change the Spark Plugs and Coil Packs, presumably like me to cure an issue with a Lumpy Idle.   If you’ve been following my procedures laid out in this blog, you are on Step 20 sumth’in of many.   Hopefully your workbench is devoid of left over nuts or bolts.  All that’s left is firing her up to see if your work has been successful.  There is a process to this and the few remaining steps. Continue reading “Restarting your Engine for the First Time after Changing the Spark Plugs and Coil Packs in an Aston Martin DB9”

OBDII P Codes on an Aston Martin DB9

P Codes found on an Aston Martin DB9
P Codes found by OBDII reader

While servicing your DB9 you might run into a situation where your dash display or OBDII reader shows you an error message in the form of a cryptic P code like P1488, setting the stage for an ominous visit to your local dealer and the commensurate drain on your bank account.  Without any reference, your tendency might be to stick your head in the sand and just drive on risking damage to the car.  In this post I wanted to publish a list of all the P codes I could find so that it might help steer you in the right direction to taking care of the issue yourself.

Some P codes are innocuous.   For example, P1488 [Exhaust (muffler) Bypass Control Circuit] is logged if you pull the famous Fuse 22 to uncork your exhaust.   The car knows Fuse 22 is pulled, makes a note of it, but doesn’t set off the idiot light (Malfunction Indicator Lamp or MIL).   If you find this code and you have pulled your fuse, you can just ignore it.

Aston Martin Diagnostic Manual

Aston Martin OBDII Diagnostic Manual - Preliminary Issue Cover
Download the Aston Martin OBDII Diagnostic Manual – Preliminary Issue

I have gathered the list below from a preliminary publication of the Aston Martin Factory “OBD II Diagnostic Manual” published in April 2004.   The publication is a great resource, and has a tremendous amount of detail about each P Code, and other theory about the cars operation and diagnostics.  356 pages of technical details and some very helpful diagrams.   Being that it was a preliminary publication it’s a good starting point for the early cars (MY 04/05/06), but I am certain that as the DB9 was developed more codes were added and this list is incomplete.   The official place to get the P codes explained is on the Aston Martin Technical Information Website (which I have covered in another blog post).   What I dislike about the format on the website is that the codes aren’t in a single document anymore, but rather each has its own web page section.  This makes a lot of sense for Aston Martin (alleviates the need to keep a large complicated document up to date), but for us DIY repair guys without an expensive $2,600 annual subscription to the website it’s a handicap.   So, I would recommend that if you find the P code you are experiencing in the list below just check out the PDF.   If the P code you have isn’t listed, perhaps spend the $100 for a one day subscription to the website and look up the code you have (and maybe send me the details or your code and a PDF print of what was on the website about it).  Or succumb, and take your car into the dealership. Continue reading “OBDII P Codes on an Aston Martin DB9”

Generic OBDII Live Data you can get from your Aston Martin DB9

Aston Martin DB9 PCMUsing an OBDII code reader you can retrieve a substantial amount of data from your DB9’s Powertrain Control Modules (PCMs).   In an earlier blog post I explained how to connect an aftermarket OBDII code reader to the car.   In this post I want to detail the 45 pieces of Live Data information that will be accessible using the generic OBDII codes. Continue reading “Generic OBDII Live Data you can get from your Aston Martin DB9”

Getting more from your Aston Martin DB9 when using an OBDII Code Reader

Aston Martin DB9 PCMIn a previous post I explained how you can hook up an aftermarket OBDII Code Reader to your DB9 to retrieve Diagnostic information from the Power Train Control Modules (PCMs). What’s disappointing is that Aston Martin has kept much of their code system proprietary (accessible only via the Dealers more advanced AMDS system) and thus we can only get rudimentary information using the generic industry standard OBDII codes (check out my post on the 45 pieces of data available using this method) .

Ford LogoOn a lark I thought “Since Aston Martin was owned by Ford when the DB9 was initially designed and built, maybe the PCM’s are really programmed with Ford codes”.   There was some clue to this as well on the Aston Martin Technical Information website – in the early years of the DB9 the Dealers used the WDS system to access the PCMs (the predecessor to the current AMDS), which I discovered is Fords Worldwide Dealer System.  If the WDS is designed to talk to all the Ford models of the world would work for it, maybe this would work for me too. Continue reading “Getting more from your Aston Martin DB9 when using an OBDII Code Reader”

Live Data that can be accessed on your Aston Martin DB9 with an OBDII Code Reader

Aston Martin DB9 PCMIn previous posts I’ve explained how to connect and use an aftermarket OBDII code reader to talk to your DB9’s Powertrain Control Module (PCM), and how you can use a trick to tell your Code Reader to talk to the PCM as if it was a Ford 3.0L V6 to get vastly more live data than with the generic OBDII code scan.

Autel MaxiDiag Elite MD802In this post I wanted to list the 200+ items that would be available to you if you follow this method (and so the Google search engines might index them and lead people back to this how to).  Maybe if you see what you are needing below, it will give you the confidence to move ahead and use a code reader to help you with your project. Continue reading “Live Data that can be accessed on your Aston Martin DB9 with an OBDII Code Reader”

Using an OBDII Code Reader with an Aston Martin DB9

Using an OBDII Code Reader with an Aston Martin DB9If you are interested in doing some of your own maintenance on your Aston Martin DB9 one great tool to have in your repertoire is an OBDII code reader.  OBDII stands for On Board Diagnostics version II – an industry standard communication method that modern cars with computers use.   By linking up your OBDII reader to the car, you can ‘talk’ to it, learning some real-time information from the cars Powertrain Control Modules (PCMs).

Aston Martin Check Engine Light
Dreaded Check Engine Light (CEL)

Of particular use is to understand what’s going on if the dreaded Check Engine Light (CEL) comes on.  This is also sometimes known as the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) or Idiot light.  Without a code reader you are completely in the dark as what might have tripped the CEL, and at the mercy of a Dealer to find out what’s going on.  With a code reader, you can link up to the car and it will tell you a much more specific error code (a P code in Aston Martin speak).   This will narrow down your troubleshooting greatly, and often it can be a simpler DIY issue to address and then clear the error code and reset the CEL. Continue reading “Using an OBDII Code Reader with an Aston Martin DB9”