Posted to Technical Tips Forum on 7/28/2015
Effective Use of GM electronic Service Information
Another forum thread that resulted in some off line
assistance, spurred me to compose this post. Buddy Scudder
by self admission had stumbled slightly during a parasitic
draw diagnosis, posted to that effect and subsequently
received some assistance to get him back on track.
Now, I hope that Buddy does not mind me quoting him here,
but he wrote an observation worthy of note, in a message to
me summing up his experience. "Something else I learned on
this job is I don't know my way around GM SI as I should".
I do not doubt for a moment that many of us find ourselves
to be the ultimate "power users" that we would like to be,
when using some electronic information retrieval systems. I
know that when using Alldata or Mitchell products, I
consider myself to be a step behind, simply because I rarely
use those systems in my work.
However, having been a long-time user of GM electronic
Service Information since beta testing from the introduction
of beta testing through to current date, I am equipped, able
and required to instruct use of eSI, to enable my students
to be proficient users.
There's insufficient room to provide a truly in-depth
overview here in Part 1, but I'll attempt to "scratch the
surface" and explain why navigating "SI" can be a challenge,
due to changes that were implemented to improve the end user
Over the years "SI" has enjoyed several stages of
development and there are a myriad of methods of searching
applicable documents to meet our diagnostic or information
needs. However, we must keep in mind the age of a vehicle
when searching information, because certain dates in time
tend to dictate how information can be located using methods
appropriate to that time line and current model platforms of
Effectively, when looking for information prior to model
year 2006 vehicles, it may take a little more effort than
searching for similar information on Global GM platform
vehicles beyond 2010. Somewhere during the years in between
there is an overlap of availability or introduction to the
more current information searching methods, often dependent
on specific vehicle platforms.
Connector end view, terminal and service tools require a
rather different approach prior to 2006, when the current
system of providing relevant information with the Connector
End View was introduced on some, but not all platforms.
For many years, I was a master of key word searches, because
that was a very efficient method of quickly locating desired
information. However, continued development of SI reduced
the effectiveness of that method of searching because many
documents no longer contained links to other external
documents, effectively becoming "cul-de sacs" or turn around
and start over points.
If we're going to end up going back to a menu listing, we
might as well start out that way, unless we're power users
who know exactly what we are looking for and how to get
There are many proficient methods that can suit each of our
individual styles, so whatever works best for you is fine.
Examples of fast searches might be such as when looking for
a component or connector end view, using the key word
"Master" or "Connector" and dragging the slider directly to
the bottom of the window that opened. This can quickly lead
us to by pass clicking through several menu selections to
arrive at the same document.
However, changes to adopt the use of "component codes" (e.g.
BCM is always "K9") can require either a working knowledge
of such codes, or revised search methods. Key wording "BCM"
leads nowhere in the above example.
For those who find navigation challenging, novices or even
wishing to have a wealth of useful links readily available
when lacking a sense of direction, I strongly recommend that
once the vehicle has been built from the drop down menu and
advanced to "Service Manuals/Bulletins", to spend a moment
reviewing the available search types.
In particular, the "Diagnostic Starting Point" link is
useful. It leads to the "Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle
(DSC-V) where a whole host of information and applicable
links list resides. This is frequently overlooked or ignored
by many, but is a valuable resource. [Diagnostic Starting
When having difficulty locating documents, changing the
criteria from titles to documents, any or all etc, or using
the advance search option, can often locate than seemingly
missing document or vastly reduce the plethora of documents
listed to a more manageable size.
For most vehicles before 2006, searching electrical
connector information provided little other than connector
body information, while connector end view information since
those times now includes reference to all part numbers for
terminals, location and service tools.
Right clicking on links from a window provides the added
benefit of linking to and opening documents in "New Windows"
or "New Tabs" as preferred or available depending search
engine.With multiple windows open, flipping back and forth
or resizing and viewing each window is quick and easy
When viewing electrical schematics and wondering what the
heck those symbols are that appear to be "hieroglyphics",
perform a keyword search from the main Service Category for
"electrical symbols". When wondering how to service an
electrical connector, use the key word "connector" and the
resulting list will have the various electrical connector
manufacturers listed, with links to servicing each connector
In reference to viewing electrical schematics, the most
recent enhancement wa the adoption of the "CGI Viewer"
plug-in. While it has been around now for some time, it is
not always utilized to maximum benefit due to practiced use
of other search methods.
Typically, when needing information related to wiring
connector end views called out on a schematic, clicking the
"LOC" (locate) button or "DESC" (description of operation)
button provided access to that information.
From the Master Electrical Component list that opened from
"LOC" a quick "Ctrl/Find" or mouse selected "Edit/Find on
this page" and keyword would find the desired document.
However, with the adoption of Component Codes, it is often
necessary to use the code from the schematic, e.g. "K9
rather than BCM for a successful search.
With the adoption of the CGI viewer, hovering over
components may provide "hot spots" where single or multiple
hands indicate one or more links may be available directly
to related information, rather than having to go the "LOC"
or "DESC" route.
Part 2 will provide some further insight to benefits of
using the CGI viewer through the use of a case study
activity used with my students.
Martin from British Columbia