Please check the bottom of the page for quick download links for Ford IDS websites.
The Ford IDS (Integrated Diagnostic System) is a laptop based scan tool. It is the current scan tool for 1996 to present Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
IDS first started in 1996 using a vehicle communication interface or module called the VCM.
It was built by Teradyne and was later serviced by Snap-on.
IDS used to include Mazda but they have parted ways around version 77.
Mazda is available seperately but it must be kept on a different laptop or partition from Ford IDS software or conflicts may arise.
Look under the Mazda link for more software info. Hardware info is below.
Ford has 2 different interfaces, the VCM which is the factory scan tool from 1996 thru 2013.
The VCM2 is a newcomer with capability for the newer Can systems expected to come out on newer cars.
Bosch builds the VCM2.
It is supposed to be backward compatible and so far, the bugs seem to be worked out.
Either scan tool requires a software license to operate the IDS software program. Each laptop requires a license.
Ford sells the license for 1 year for $699.00
I sell the same license for $670.00. Just contact me thru my info at the bottom.
At the bottom of this page is a link called Ford IDS help.
It has a help text file explaining some of the common pitfalls of the original VCM as well as explanation of VCM2 problems and even has the VCM2 pdf users manual.
Getting a New VCM2 install to work can be tricky and my help text file gives suggestions on how to do it succesfully.
Now for some tips on the use of this great scan tool.
Diesel mechanics really need this tool. They have no idea just how hard they are working without it.
The cylinder power balance and especially, the electronic compression test make life alot easier and incredibly faster.
How about hooking up the scan tool, getting codes, seeing if there is a reflash update to sell, check power balance for the miss and running the electronic compression test to see if the miss might be mechanical in less than 10 minutes. (even on a diesel!)
Now that's the way to make money quick and easy.
A NEW VCM2 package with 2 year Ford warranty without the license is $1395.00 with free USA shipping.
All VCM or VCM2 scan tools require a $645.00 yearly license.
Dell E6500/6400 Business Class 2.5-3.0 GHZ Core 2 Duo W/4 GIG of RAM and a triple partition Windows7 Professional solid state
Ford recommends 2-2.9 GHZ dual processor with 2 GIg of RAM.
Anything I sell exceeds minimum specs.
Please note my Harddrive is a Solid State hard drive.
This means no moving parts, really fast performance and no risk of bumping or dropping the laptop causing a hard drive crash.
Also please note that I build the Hard drive with 3 completely seperate Windows 7 Pro installs.
At boot up, the laptop stops for a few seconds and offers you a menu to choose one of 3 possible sections.
You simply choose to change to a different section with different software installed.
I usually label the choices Ford or Mazda or GM etc to make picking the right choice easy.
Having all three choices means if 1 install has a problem and won't work right, the other 2 still are ok.
If using something called 'virtual machine' software, you create partitions inside of windows to run different programs seperately.
But if a problem occurs in the original windows software, then everything is affected.
Just not dependable enough for me.
I had a customer with one of my laptops suffer a conflict on his GM partition and could not get his Tech 2 scan tool to properly connect so he could install a radio that needed a flash to work.
He called me for advice and I suggested he reboot and pick a different partition even though Mazda was on that one already.
He installed the Tech 2 driver which would probably damage the Mazda install but it allowed him to finish the radio job and make the money.
Even better, for $99.00, I offer a back up laptop hard drive in an enclosure so we can copy everything from your laptop to this external enclosure for restoring software problems as well.
Because I have an actual laptop harddrive in the enclosure, if your solid state drive actually fails, we can quickly swap the 2 and have your laptop up and running without a lot of fuss.
This is the kind of planning I design to keep you able to do your job even when something goes really wrong.
The triple partitions allow you to run Ford IDS on 1 partition and Mazda IDS on another partition and even have a third partition open for use with GM's Tech 2 or MDI or Honda HDS.
All of these software programs MUST be kept seperate because of shared software files that wil conflict with more than 1 program on the same partition
This laptop is $599.00 with 6 month warranty. If you suffer a problem, I can usually exchange it with another laptop preloaded and ready to go in 24-48 hours. I also provide Tech Support to determine what the problem is.
You are paying for service as well as the laptop to keep you in business.
2nd choice :
Panasonic Toughbook Touchscreen Tablet CF-19 dual core 1.09 GHZ w/2-4 GIG of RAM. Includes 120 GIG solid state hard drive with 2 Windows 7 Pro 32 bit operating systems
and 6 month warranty.
This Tablet is $995.00 and is great with the IDS icon based software.
Dell E6510/6410 laptop with Intel I7 Quad core 2.7 GHZ with 8 GIG of RAM and 240 GIG solid state hard drive.
The E6510/6410 has the power and speed to run any software program currently made for car diagnostics and specifically exceeds Chryslers Witech software requirements.
If you are considering getting Chrysler in the near future, This is really a must to be prepared.
It comes with 4 partitions to run Ford and other Programs
seperately to eliminate conflicts.
The E6510/6410 is refurbished with 90 days warranty for $999.00.
Fourth choice :
Dell E6530 laptop with the latest Intel I7 Quad core 2.9 GHZ w/8 GIG of Ram and 3rd generation motherboard.
The E6530 is top of the line speed and capability with a 4 partition hard drive to allow up to 4 different software programs to run completely seperately.
The E6530 is refurbished with 1 year warranty. It sells for $1595.00 with 4 partitions.
All Dell laptops come with a silicone keyboard cover to protect them from dirt and sweat or moisture.
My reputation is to provide only the best choices available to insure your diagnostic equipment works reliably.
I look forward to helping you make the best possible decision in adding a scan tool to your shop.
Please find my contact info at the bottom of my homepage.