A product review by: Bruce Bonebrake
BAT Auto Technical writer
(Package contents: Tester,instruction booklet,
registration card, bubble wrap pouch, box,
package of 10 wire ties) What Quits First?is a hand-held analyzer that can be setup and left monitoring the engine at idle, until the fault occurs, causing the engine to quit. At the instant the engine stops, the analyzer will identify whether the lack of fuel or ignition or injection pulses caused the engine to quit. The analyzer will work on virtually any gasoline engine, and can be used on road tests. See Lenehan Research site for current pricing. There is a 1 year warranty on this tool.(info from Lenehan Research website)
At first glance, the What Quits First? diagnostic tool looks quite simple in design. A small black plastic box with 2 leads coming out of the top, and branching off into four vehicle hookups. I was impressed with the quality of the leads. They are secured into the body of the case with nylon locks, so it would be virtually impossible to dislodge the leads from the case. At 50 1/2" in length, the leads are long enough to be easily connected to any vehicle. The clips are pretty much straight forward in design, and they are color coded for ease in identifying where they connect to the vehicle. I was also impressed, that the tester, used the external vehicle battery source for power, thus eliminating the annoying battery replacement with some "self powered" units that I have seen. The label on the face of the tester, is simple to read and understand, with instructions that are clear and precise. The package includes the tester (with the leads permanently attached), the instruction booklet, the product registration card (to be mailed), and the box that the contents arrive in. With their obvious attention to detail, they even designed the box to fit in even the shallowest drawers of your toolbox, for safekeeping, and an included bubble wrap pouch, protects the surface of the tester when it is not in use. A package of 10- 7" bright yellow reusable wire ties are also included. Although these seem like simple things, they are much appreciated, and yes, we do notice these small details.
The lead connections:
The small Red and Black clips attach to the battery terminals, and the large Red clip, attaches to the ignition coil wire, or spark plug wire. The fourth lead, is a sensor that is mounted in a heat shrink tube, which is placed next to a fuel injector, and tied against the injector body with a wire tie. The connection to the vehicle will take mere minutes.
What Quits First? is designed to work with most vehicles, but I used a 1995 Ford Mustang with a 3.8L for the test vehicle. This vehicle does not have a problem, but, it is easy enough to create a fault in the various circuits.
Connecting the leads to the vehicle was simple and straight forward. Within a couple of minutes, we were ready to test the system.
After the lead connection is made, and the leads safely out of the way of any hot,or moving, engine parts, we are ready to test. The Setup Ignition LED is designed for the tool to capture the ignition time constant of the engine. To Setup Ignition, the vehicle is started and then the engine is shut off . The ALT, IGN, INJ LED's will illuminate on the top row (as seen in the picture) when all circuits are working properly.
Connected to Mustang, and the vehicle running, the LED's indicate everything is normal
To simulate a problem with the car, I simply removed the Fuel Pump fuse, and within a second, the Mustang stopped running. As you can see by the picture, the LED that is on, is the Fuel Quit LED. The LED's on the top row are also off, because the vehicle stopped running.
While the engine was off, I located the tester at the windshield. The 50 1/2" leads made this a simple task, with plenty of lead to spare. I reinstalled the fuse that I removed, and restarted the car. I simply pressed the reset button, and the LED's displayed that the systems were operating normally again. I worked with the tester for about a hour trying hard to trick it into displaying the incorrect failure. For every failure I created, the tester immediately and accurately diagnosed the problem area. I am highly impressed with this tester! Designed to find an intermittent failure with the Ignition system, Fuel system, Fuel Injection system, and even faulty Battery connections. It is easy to see that by using the tester any length of time, several test possibilities can be added to the list. Simple in design, simple connecting it to the vehicle, and simple to understand the operation and usage of the tester. Who would benefit by buying/using the tester? Every one of us should have this tool in our toolbox. It is not vehicle specific, there are no needed software updates, and it WORKS!! Have you ever had a vehicle, that after it was started, or ran for a short time, would die? You reach back inside, turn the key, and it started right back up? Then you go back around to the front of the car, only to have the car die again? Or worse yet, maybe after an hour of running, after you restarted it, the vehicle would NEVER die again? You know what I am talking about. We have ALL been there. THIS IS THE TOOL YOU NEED. The name says it all....
I just bought the new power probe IV. Still on the fence if it was worth the 300$ some odd it cost me.
Nothing beats a good old multimeter, test lamp and good old sherlock holmes theory.
If that "what quits first" tool was given to me, I might take a look at it. I know Dave really says its a good addition to a tool box. But I can really not give a good apraisal of said tool. Like I wrote above, the power probe 4 is still like new, seems my old 40ish head doesn'n't like it.
I remember when Bruce (the "B" in BAT for those who didn't know!) wrote that article. He didn't cite the price, and I can see where as a DIY I would not have bought one regardless. But SO often, that Mystery Quit comes up, and it'd sure be nice to know whether to start with Spark or Gas. Thing won't tell you WHY the system that Quit First DID quit, but at least it'd keep us from looking at the wrong system.
If I used my what quits once or twice a year it was alot but for those jobs that quit every couple of months away from the shop it was invaluable. At 200 new when I bought it was good deal but not what Snappy wanted for them!!