HERE is how a visit to a Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealership could change in the next year-and-a-half. A customer reports to a Lincoln-Mercury service technician that his car doesn't start.
Without SBDS, the technician looks through the 1991 shop manual for information on any of the 12 electronic and 17 mechanical parts that can prevent the car from starting.
He then inspects each part or assembly, links the electronic engine control module to a hand-held diagnostic computer, and runs a test. If no fault is found examining the electronic engine control, he investigates the ignition or fuel system following the same procedure.
With the Service Bay Diagnostic System, the technician hooks the Town Car up to SBDS via a cable and a data communication link. He then types a serial number and symptom code into fields located on the computer screen. Using the code the technician has selected, SBDS steps through the diagnosis, selecting the appropriate tools, until the diagnosis is made within 10 minutes. It then specifies the procedure the technician should follow to fix the car.