The Future: Looking Good

We speak with Mike Schlup, Managing Director of Kalimex on why things are looking up for the aftermarket
Published:  23 May, 2022

An interview with Mike Schlup, Managing Director of Kalimex, the UK distributors of JLM Lubricants products and Quiksteel, and the manufacturers of K-Seal Coolant Leak Repair.
How has the global pandemic affected Kalimex?
As a business that depends on global supply chains to source components for manufacturing and to deliver finished goods to international customers, the impact of the pandemic on our global logistics has been significant. Of course, we were not alone with this problem as many businesses have experienced the same pain. Despite always maintaining buffer stocks in the event of unexpected problems we could not in our wildest nightmares have foreseen the massive impact the pandemic with its knock-on effects, would have on our business. Not just the initial impact either, but the length of time it has continued. What became clear was that the logistics’ channels were operating a fine balancing act and it only needed something like the pandemic, combined with the extra issue of the Suez Canal blockage, to expose the multiple cracks and weaknesses in the system. That is mostly behind us now thankfully and we’re rebuilding our buffers.
However, global shipping will become more costly, especially if it is to become more resilient, and able to manage the downs as well as the ups. Every one of us in the automotive aftermarket supply chain from distributor to stockist, mechanic and motorist is going to have to share this cost if we want to enjoy a regular supply of all products in the future.

You talk of positives emerging for the automotive aftermarket
Definitely. The impact of global price increases on everything from food and fuel to clothing and even housing is now being felt by consumers. However, on the other side we are seeing real opportunities for mechanics to excel, especially the hard working, agile independents with the freedom and flexibility to implement changes and improvements with relative ease. Consumers want to save money and are trimming budgets to the bone. Their car however is a must-have. The vehicle upgrade they had their eyes on is now on hold, at least until the crisis is over. As the average age of vehicles increases it leads naturally to more servicing, more repairs, and more opportunities for the independent mechanic to stand out as a real hero. So, mechanics must invest in marketing to remind and encourage motorists to maintain a proper service schedule for their cars. Simply foregoing a routine service or ignoring warning lamps on the dashboard is a false economy. Savvy mechanics need to share these important messages with motorists in an initiative-taking manner because they need educating.
At Kalimex, we are unapologetic flag-flyers of Darren Darling and his DPF Doctor Network. Because of our close connection, we are often on the receiving end of feedback from Darren and his DPF Doctors. Motorists ignoring warning lights, attempting forced regens by thrashing their car on the motorway, or filling up with a cheap-as-chips DPF refill fluid for example can unwittingly lead to the DPF on their vehicle being damaged beyond repair with a price tag running into the thousands for a replacement. Short-term savings can rapidly develop into unnecessary additional costs as undiagnosed problems and tired or broken components begin to fail. This is compounded by motorists undertaking shorter journeys than pre-pandemic because of changes in working patterns and lifestyles. It is precisely these situations that underline the importance of a preventative service regime, including the use of quality professional additives to help maintain the function and performance of such components as injectors, EGR valves, turbos, catalytic converters and DPFs. A failure of any of these components could lead to bills in the thousands, compared with just a few pounds every few months invested in a decent fuel system or emissions’ additive product which can help protect and prolong component life. Plus, a clean engine will perform better and help reduce fuel consumption. Mechanics must be vocal and use every communication channel to educate and inform customers.

Which leads nicely onto the need for mechanics to invest in training
Referring to Darren again, he will tell you from experience that not every mechanic is a fully fledged DPF pro. A mechanic can discharge a vehicle with a faulty DPF believing it is repaired only for the problem to reoccur with the light flashing on the journey home as evidence. Investing in training is something that really makes a workshop tower over its competitors. It’s not enough to tread water – simply doing today what they did yesterday. Every mechanic needs an edge; A reason for customers to come to them; to recommend them and to keep coming back. If a workshop is serious about repairing DPFs and being in the top 5% of mechanics in the UK, attending Darren’s live online training will give them the tools they need to lead from the front and position themselves as a genuine DPF workshop with a first-time fix reputation.
Moving beyond Darren’s training, if a workshop is looking to present themselves as a specialist, then underpinning their expertise and experience should be the latest training in their chosen specialist field. The pandemic has rightly led to motorists looking even more to their independent mechanic to provide the right advice and the right service at a fair price. Long may that continue. Just because motorists are feeling the pinch does not mean they don’t appreciate good customer service and expert advice from a business that is trained to the gills.

Sustainability is something you have touched on previously. How can a busy workshop be more sustainable?
We live in an era of information overload. However, the topic of sustainability has thankfully been given a real platform. But it is understandable for a busy workshop to believe there is little they can contribute to the sustainable cause. However, there is much they can do. For example, undertaking a simple root and branch audit of how they buy and use products and how they dispose of their waste including the percentage that is recycled over landfill should yield valuable pointers for improvement. Something as simple as switching to a local provider of products whenever possible, using plant-based products in the washrooms and installing a water cooler where staff bring their own flasks to fill up rather than using one-time plastic cups or single use water bottles will make a positive difference. These are not token gestures.
When a business has gone all out on the cause of sustainability with a bundle of great gestures, they should promote their sustainability policy to customers and prospects. It is yet another initiative that shows how good and responsible they are. More reasons to come back. More reasons to recommend.

Any final thoughts?
Times may be tough but for the independent mechanic hell-bent on delivering exceptional service, supporting their customers with useful tips, and investing in their training and development, the future is bright.

Kalimex is the UK distributor of the JLM Lubricants trade trusted product range. This includes their iconic and global bestselling DPF products. To find out more email

The Lotus eaters

In this issue, Andrew examines that British institution Lotus, and muses on where it might go from here
Published:  16 May, 2022

Lotus is currently a niche market player with luxury brand pricing. This reflects the inability of a relatively poorly funded small-scale manufacturer to match the quality or durability of bigger automotive companies. Despite this, the essential traits of excellent road handling combined with a compliant ride, Lotus hallmarks, remain.

The company is a long, long way from where it could be, and the hope is Geely will one day give Lotus a special place within its operations. Outwardly this has not happened, yet, inwardly there is a lot of serious competition from other members such as Volvo and Polestar, let alone other Geely operations.

Lotus is not the only brand to be afflicted by this conundrum. Even Bugatti, in a far more expensive area of the market, is presently struggling. The best niche players at the most expensive end of the market, such as Koenigsegg and Rimac, use limited tooling budgets very effectively, knowing a build line of 20 units or less might be the total potential for any single edition of their product.
Lotus needs to stop thinking only about volume, or, if that’s what it really wants, to return to developing special versions of mass production vehicles. Lotus Omega is a good example of this, and was profitable for Lotus too. However, within Geely, Polestar sits in this place with Volvo as well being as a stand-alone brand. Lynk & Co is effectively a China-only brand. LCEV is an unlikely target, being taxis and vans, while Proton continues to do next to nothing. Awkward.

Vauxhall VX220: A shot in the dark?
It worked elsewhere, in another life. The Opel Speedster, otherwise known as the Vauxhall VX220 in some markets, was a re-engineered Lotus Elise that enabled GM Europe to produce a ‘halo’ sports car with minimal investment. The contract was for a fixed number of vehicles powered by a GM Europe powertrain, and the only extension saw the addition of the turbocharged engine edition.
This was the second such programme, after the aforementioned Opel Lotus Omega/Vauxhall Lotus Carlton, which was closer to existing GM Europe products. Lotus sought to create more niche vehicles, but GM and GM Europe were not willing to repeat the experiment.

The main challenge is this: A low tooling investment programme with relatively low production numbers is going to struggle to match the panel gapping, durability and functionality of the mainstream mass market model programme. So, it’s harder to sell a vehicle which is a Lotus to either Vauxhall or Opel customers who expect lots of mundane things to be present, when they were not. Stellar ride and handling were not enough.

The quality demands made for the GM Europe vehicles were much more stringent than for Lotus, which means enthusiasts know the better buy is a Speedster or VX220. Vauxhall/Opel then did not follow up with anything, so allowed this project to stand alone. If GM Europe had been more serious, they would have repeated the project at least twice more, and made a fortune with the third generation. Nothing like the Speedster/VX220 existed in the range, so this was in effect building a new market segment for GM Europe.

However, GM Europe was on the ropes, not selling enough mainstream models, had excess production capacity and needed to cut costs. So, once the Lotus contract was complete, it was not renewed - even though the money saved was insignificant in terms of the overall GM Europe operation costs.

The safe operation of vehicle lifts

Part two
Published:  03 May, 2022

In the second part of our series from the GEA, the process of actually buying and having lifts installed is the focus

Testing a vacuum: operated solenoid valve

This issue, Damien is showing how a methodical process will mean a successful diagnosis on an actuator-related problem
Published:  29 April, 2022

Actuators on modern vehicles can be difficult to diagnose, with many technicians resorting to replacement rather than diagnosing the component correctly. However, by using a methodical fault-finding process, we can quickly and accurately diagnose these components. Actuators can be controlled by a vacuum solenoid or a reverse polarity DC motor. In the next issue we will investigate the operation of motor control.  
Getting back to today, in this issue we will test a vacuum operated solenoid used for controlling the wastegate on a turbocharger fitted to a 1.5L K9K Renault engine. This is a compression ignition engine, so the intake manifold pressure never becomes negative (vacuum) due to the absence of a conventional intake throttle. These engines due use a throttle valve to manipulate intake manifold pressure for exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration and shutting the engine off smoothly. Testing the electrical and pneumatic operation of a vacuum-operated valve can be beneficial when troubleshooting issues such as over and under boost concerns.

System operation
Fig.1 shows the electrical operation of the turbocharger. The diagram illustrates the ‘command’ and ‘feedback’ part of the circuit. The turbo boost control solenoid has a constant supply (system voltage) from the engine bay fusebox and is controlled on the ground side by the engine control module (ECM).
Closed loop control is via the turbo boost pressure sensor. This component has a constant 5-volt supply and ground from the ECM. The signal wire has a 5-volt biased voltage from the engine control module which is manipulated by an integrated circuit, within the sensor, to vary the output voltage depending on pressure measured at the sensor.
The waveforms below the system layout show the voltage control (ground side) and current flow through the solenoid. This will be expanded upon later in the article. The image on the right shows the voltage from the boost pressure sensor under snap throttle conditions.

Visual inspection
An initial visual inspection can be used to observe the wastegate actuator on engine start-up. Fig.2 shows the rod fully extended with the key on and engine off. This is the minimum boost position. Should the electrical or pneumatic system fail, the turbocharger will return to this position to protect the engine from an overboost condition.
When the engine starts, a vacuum is created by the engine vacuum pump. The boost pressure control solenoid is actuated by the ECM which closes the wastegate to allow the turbocharger to generate boost. It must be noted that the pressure in the intake manifold will equal athmospheric pressure at idle. As the engine speed increases, the turbocharger turbine will increase in speed due to greater exhaust gas flow. The impeller will also increase in speed to pressurise the air in the intake manifold. The turbine and impeller wheels are connected via a common shaft. To see it with the key on, and the engine at idle, please refer to Fig.3.          
Live data will display absolute pressure as opposed to gauge pressure. See example below:

Data parameter                       Idle           Wide open throttle        
Intake manifold pressure      1020mBar           2210mBar
Barometric pressure             1013mBar           1013mBar

Turbo boost control solenoid valve
The solenoid valve used to control the turbocharger is a three-way, normally closed valve. To see the turbo boost control solenoid valve, refer to Fig.4 There are three ports, although only two may be easily identifiable. There will be a supply (vac-in) from the vacuum pump, output to the turbocharger (vac-out) and an exhaust, which can sometimes be connected to the intake air filter housing. The purpose of the exhaust is to bleed atmospheric air pressure into the vacuum circuit to open the wastegate and control the boost pressure. To see a diagram of a three-way normally closed valve, please refer to Fig.5.

The waveform as seen in Fig.6 shows both the electrical and pneumatic operation of the solenoid valve upon engine start-up. The pressure transducer as seen in Fig.7 was connected between the solenoid valve and the turbocharger to sample the actual vacuum.

Engine start-up
Yellow channel: Solenoid valve duty cycle
Green channel: Boost pressure solenoid voltage
Blue channel: Solenoid valve current flow
Red channel: Actual vacuum

The waveform shows the duty cycle control of the solenoid valve increase to 90% when the engine starts. This results in a current flow of 0.87 amps and a vacuum of 13.5 inches of mercury (460 mBar) applied to the turbocharger actuator. The voltage on the boost pressure sensor signal wire is 1.6 volts at zero boost pressure.
In Fig.8, we can see the vacuum deplete and increase after several applications of the brake pedal. The brake servo requires a large vacuum to operate and this can affect the overall vacuum system, however a good vacuum pump can re-instate the required vacuum quickly.
Fig.9 shows the system under wide-open throttle conditions. As the boost pressure increases, the duty cycle control of the solenoid valve is reduced which causes the vacuum applied to the turbocharger actuator to reduce. Once the boost pressure stabilises after over-run, the duty cycle again increases.
Fig.10 shows the Duty Cycle control of the solenoid. As the solenoid is supplied (electrically) with a constant supply, the current flow is controlled by varying the duty cycle on the ground side of the actuator. The current flow (blue trace) increases when the voltage on the ground side (yellow trace) is 0 volts. As the ground circuit is opened the current flow decreases. The duty cycle can be estimated by looking at the average voltage on the ground circuit and comparing it to the applied voltage. A lower voltage means a larger duty cycle.    

Nissens Automotive focuses on the air conditioning condenser

Published:  25 April, 2022

Nissens Automotive offers a wide range of replacement A/C components. Alongside Genuine Nissens parts, the company has a vast array of technical information it makes available to technicians, and it looks to highlight areas of importance, such as the A/C condenser.

You wouldn’t believe it if you tried

Ryan Colley is back, and this month he is getting to grips with a misbehaving SEAT LEON
Published:  24 April, 2022

Following my introduction last month, and the brief description of my business, I would like to continue with the pressure analysis theme, and present to you a recent real-world case study I encountered during a busy week at the workshop.
The vehicle in question was a 2012 SEAT LEON 2.0 TDI with a CEGA engine installed. The customer complained that while driving, the vehicle’s engine stalled and wouldn’t restart. The vehicle was then towed to his local garage who is our customer. I often carry out trade work for other garages, offering in-depth diagnostic services along with ECU coding and programming. This can be done while mobile depending on the fault at hand. Therefore, I attended the vehicle at their business address and started my diagnosis process.
Firstly, a background investigation was required to determine if any work had already been carried out, and any other information that may be valid. This included driving style and abnormal noises at the time of break-down, among other things. The customer informed me that the vehicle had shredded its auxiliary belt due to a failed belt tensioner. This then allowed the remains of the auxiliary belt to get caught up in the cam cover and subsequently caused the cambelt to detach, allowing the engine to jump five teeth out of time. This is all according to the customer’s report.
The technician then informed me he had re-timed the engine and attempted to get the vehicle to start, but was unsuccessful. He then proceeded to remove the cylinder head in hopes of finding that the valves had contacted the pistons. Some, but not all, of the exhaust valves had become bent from contact. No intake valves were damaged, the damaged exhaust valves were replaced.
He also mentioned that due to this engine’s specific design, there is a special tool required to correctly time the intake camshaft to the exhaust camshaft. However, they did not have the required tool and subsequently were unsure of the correct installment of the intake camshaft. He was upfront with me, and alerted me to the possibility that the intake camshaft could be 180° out of time. Without the tool, there were two possible positions the intake camshaft would fit into place. See Fig.1.

Developing a gameplan
After being made aware of the situation, I started by carrying out a basic relative compression test. I did so by cranking the engine over and using an oscilloscope:

Process not problem

Part one
Published:  06 April, 2022

With the first blossoms of the spring almost upon us, Frank thinks a fresh look at the importance of diagnostic approach is in order

Tesla tech: Recycled or original?

In this issue, Andrew plugs into Tesla, and looks at what is behind the halo brand from a technical perspective
Published:  28 March, 2022

Tesla; The very name has become a byword for the EV future. What is behind it though, and what is it made up of? The core technology, battery and power management, was developed by a collection of brilliant U.S engineers, some of whom had connections with the GM EV1 programme. Indeed, the GM EV1 programme has a huge impact on the development of EVs. Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright were the three original founders.

The original idea was a classic OEM model; A short run of high price models to generate enough profit to attract investment and sling-shot to a higher production volume model which requires more investment.

Lotus had the aluminium-intensive platform used in Elise, along with non-structural skin panels (low investment, easy to alter) and a steel rear subframe (relatively low investment, relatively easy to adapt). The marriage of Tesla technology to an adaption of Elise was a very wise move. The big investment, the core aluminium structure, was already paid for by Elise and the Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220 programme (more on which in a future article).

The arrival of Elon Musk introduced banking to the company, and an ability to swim in the right circles. So, Musk decided to delay the Roadster programme by nine months while unique headlights were tooled, and Musk decided much of the strategy after 2010. Musk also famously sued to be recognised as a Tesla founder; Such vanity.
Model S used a lot of ‘off-the-peg’ systems and pulled in automotive engineers from primarily Europe, along with those from the USA. However, the software was always Tesla’s, and the electric system was also designed by Tesla. So, the company survived on a mix of tax cash, home-spun invention and imported expertise.

The same formula was used throughout Tesla’s existence right up to the present day. The irony is Musk loves to sling mud at the ‘legacy OEMs’, yet they support Tesla by purchasing carbon credits and the many Tesla engineers were developed by those OEMs too.
Tesla has become a 0.5 million unit per year car company with electronics/electric systems that always provoke interest. They are growing, but as the tax cash runs out and they finally pitch as a car company, which they were all along, there will be a reduction in the rate of growth as the organisation consolidates towards 0.75 million units per year. Lest we forget, all other OEMs are now doing what Tesla did plus their ‘legacy’ business.

However, Tesla does stand out as a major achievement. Many have tried to do what Tesla has done; A global player in the automotive business, and apart from buying an existing business, most have failed.

The safe operation of vehicle liftS

Part one
Published:  18 March, 2022

In the first in a new series from the GEA, the focus is on vehicle lifts and what types are available

Plugged into the network

Another new contributor for Aftermarket in 2022 is Ryan Colley, who is looking at how it’s not just what you know, it’s also who you know
Published:  01 March, 2022

My name is Ryan Colley, and I am the owner of a small diagnostic specialist independent garage based in Taunton, Somerset called Elite Automotive Diagnostics. I have been published by American magazine Motor Age and more recently been published by Tom Denton in his latest edition to his training literature Advanced Automotive Fault Diagnosis, with other mentions in other titles.

Over three years ago now, I went off on my own to set up a garage which specializes in diagnostics and all aspects of vehicle electronics including programming and coding. Over the years, a lot has happened which I would like to go into brief detail here.
Over two years ago now I found myself browsing through social media. I was attempting to learn more about the trade, along with further testing techniques to better myself. I stumbled across Brandon Steckler, who I found to be teaching some very specialist skills via a private social media group.
He was inviting everyone in this group to diagnose an engine fault without any major dismantling. The trick was they had to figure it out using the oscilloscope captures he had gained by connecting a pressure transducer to the engine via the spark plug hole and a pressure pulse sensor fitted into the intake, exhaust, and crankcase.
Sounds crazy right? I thought so too. It was not until I continued to follow the thread that I found out he diagnosed this vehicle correctly. Astounded by these testing methods, I reached out to Brandon via social media, who I must mention lives in the USA thus showcasing the power of social media and the facilities now at our fingertips. I asked him for help as I had an Audi A4 V6 in my own workshop which had obvious engine mechanical issues, but the fault was exceedingly difficult to pinpoint.
I explained the scenario, and he told me how to go about testing the vehicle and which information he would need to help me. I obtained the oscilloscope captures using the same equipment he advised in his previous social media thread (pressure transducer and delta pressure sensor) and we both got to analyzing them to diagnose this engine mechanical fault without dismantling it. He told me exactly where my issues lay, and more importantly informed me this vehicle was repairable even though it had little-to-no compression on three of its six cylinders. After I removed and stripped this vehicle down, which took over 15 hours as the engine needed to be removed to confirm our suspicions, I confirmed exactly what Brandon told me to look for. This component was then replaced and subsequently the vehicle was repaired restoring compression to all cylinders.

Techniques and skills
This was the start of a great relationship between myself and Brandon. I was so amazed at the techniques and skills I had acquired from the aforementioned troublesome Audi I thought to myself “everyone needs to learn these skills.” Therefore, I reached out again to Brandon and invited him to tour the UK to carry out his pressure analysis course. To make this happen, I needed a huge help from the automotive community, so I reached out to individuals within the automotive field including Steve Scott of SDN Network. He said he would help me bring Brandon to the UK for this debut tour. With the backing of some of the most crucial key players in the automotive industry we set about to marketing this tour. The response we received was outstanding and it was clear to see this type of testing technique was about to become immensely popular.
We agreed we would run three different venues throughout the UK to give everyone the opportunity to attend. We started off in the South-West at the prestigious Technical Topics automotive training centre, headed up by James Dillon. The attendees were ecstatic about the opportunity to learn these skills from possibly the best in the industry concerning pressure analysis. No training centre to date had held any course like this, making this an extremely popular course to attend. We sold out all three venues. From there we ventured north to ADS Preston, the home of David and Frank Massey. We then finally closed the tour at the Bosch training centre in Glasgow. The reviews we received were phenomenal, with some attendees saying, “this is the best automotive training I have been on.”

Fast forward to a year later and I started another company called Elite Diagnostic Solutions which specialized in providing technicians and garages with specialist diagnostic tooling, which was not easily available. The first company whose products we started to distribute their was DITEX. Six months after this Steve Scott mentioned to me there was an automotive training course that should not be missed in the USA called Super Saturday. This prestigious event was hosting some of America’s most knowledgeable automotive trainers all in one place. We agreed we both needed to attend. Steve reached out to other technicians within his SDN Network asking if anyone wanted to come and join us on this adventure. In total, 10 other people joined us on this opportunity of a lifetime.
Upon arrival we met our good friend Brandon, who picked us up from the airport and took us all to our hotels in what I could only describe as a real family bus. This thing was huge, poor Brandon looked out of place driving it as he could barely see over the steering wheel. We all attended the event, and it was a huge success. This is where I met prestigious company owner Jorge Menchu, owner, and Director of AESWave.
AESWave is a training and diagnostics tool company, therefore we spoke in detail about the possibility of becoming a UK distributor for their products in which Jorge and his team agreed. Therefore, we are now UK distributors for AESWave, DITEX and more recently ATS (Automotive Test Solutions) products.
A few months later and there was so much demand to bring Brandon back over to the UK to carry out his pressure analysis course. Those who attended his last course were now using the techniques, and others wanted to learn and develop themselves. So again, I reached out to Brandon and asked him to come and do another tour of the UK. However, this time we also included both Northern Ireland and Ireland. As before, all venues sold out with incredibly happy delegates.
We are currently planning another training course. This will be presented by two of America’s top instructors, Brian Culotta and Brin Kline of Trained By Techs.
For more information about this up and coming event please visit:

Brake Life

Aftermarket visited Longton Test Centre last year, and now Mike from the garage offers up a salutary lesson from a recent brake-related job
Published:  21 February, 2022

A customer arrived at the garage and said that their brakes were making a scraping and grinding noise. Brakes shouldn’t really make a noise at all and they definitely shouldn’t be scraping or grinding. With brakes you can bet your bottom dollar the worse the noise the worse the issue.  Being the only thing that is the stopping force for your vehicle, you don’t want them failing.
There can be many factors to noisy brakes. It could be dirt, brake dust, backing plates, faulty callipers, lack of pads or even warped discs. In this instance, the customer had not been proactive enough in getting brake pad inspected and changed, or they had failed to hear the early warning signs. It could even be their usual mechanic had not provided a quick glance at the obviously deteriorating discs and pads, so had not provided a warning. This led to steel-on-steel stopping the car as there simply was not any sacrificial material remaining on the pads. Result; The discs had deep grooves cut into them, and there was a consequential glitter of metal shavings on everything in proximity. As most of us already know, not everything that glitters is gold.
In this example the required correction was quite simple or so you would think. The resolution here was to add new brake pads and discs all around, on all four wheels. The pitting and scouring of the old discs meant they were no longer efficient, and even more importantly, no longer safe.
 The work included a deep clean of the surrounding areas to remove contamination so that the new friction hardware was installed into a clean environment. There was one stumbling block however; A snapped pin. Yes, I know; “Typical.”
This vehicle had gone so long without brake maintenance that a pin had rusted so badly in the back of the pad carrier and sheared upon removal with what seemed to be thread-locker from the 1900s. I may be exaggerating a bit but this hadn’t been touched in a long time. 1990s maybe? That’s 30-plus years ago now. Anyway, the result was a lengthy removal and a new set of bolts.
To quote the 1990s, all this “…could be avoided if you take a route straight through…” and I can’t remember how the rest goes. Anyway, my point is that not only are pads relatively cheap to replace and maintain, but you can inspect them for your customer with a quick glance. If you have suspicions, take the wheel off and have a closer look. Don’t be fooled just because the outside pad looks good. It doesn’t mean the inside pad isn’t wearing thin. We know pads and discs should be changed at the same time on the same axle. However, just because the front right set-up looks good doesn’t mean the passenger side is good too. After the neglect of this vehicle the owner was landed with a much harsher bill to correct the issue at hand as more hardware and labour was required.

For more on brakes, turn to our feature on pages 46-47

Fig. 2

Diesel emissions

Part two
Published:  14 February, 2022

Here comes the science part; Concentrate as Frank pulls out the Periodic Table to delve deeper into the diesel conundrum 

Are you experienced?

Getting a first-time fix is a matter of keeping your head says Neil, no matter how complex the problem
Published:  20 January, 2022

In this article I am going to go over a recent job I had which initially looked to be much more complicated than it turned out to be. Fortunately, not jumping in with both feet, starting the diagnosis from the beginning regardless of what had been done before and planning my attack meant I got a first-time fix.
Second opinion
The car in question was a 2017 Ford Kuga. The customer’s complaint was that the speedometer didn’t work and the mileage and trip counters were blank (see Fig.1). The vehicle also had an ABS and traction control warning light illuminated and a hill descent fault. The customer then explained that they had received a letter through the post stating that their vehicle had a recall from Ford for a PCM update for oil dilution problems. As a result, the vehicle was booked into the local Ford dealer for this to be done. While the vehicle was there, the customer decided that the dealership could take a look at the aforementioned faults. The update was carried out along with a BCM update which was recommended for the faults. The customer was then phoned and told it was ready to be collected. However, upon pulling away from the dealership, the car had the exact same problems as it did when it arrived. The customer then returned to the dealership, and was told it was more than likely a faulty module causing the issues and would cost in excess of £1,000 to fix. It was at this point the customer decided to get a second opinion. The vehicle was then booked in with me to take a look and see if we could get to the bottom of the problem.

Confirming the complaint
As always, I started by confirming the complaint, and the faults matched what the customer had said (see Fig.2). I then connected a scan tool to do a global fault code read to see what faults were stored and take it from there. Once the scan had completed and saved, I was surprised to find I didn’t actually have many faults stored and the main code that kept popping up was C0031; Left front wheel speed sensor. I also had faults in other modules saying to either check the ABS system for faults, or invalid data had been received by the module, as is now commonplace on modern vehicles. Multiple modules use wheel speed data, not just the ABS system itself, so this is why they log faults for other modules. I didn’t have any modules failing to communicate so this indicated that it was more than unlikely a module was at fault. However, I still had the dashboard issue present which was a permanent fault and it could not be discounted.

What did intrigue me however was why the mileage and trip displays were just reading “----" and not numbers? What could cause this and why was it happening? Could it be a faulty instrument panel or perhaps a body control module issue? As in most cases now, it stores the main data for the vehicle including total mileage covered. I didn’t have any real fault codes to use as clues so I decided to focus on the ABS fault first, fix it, then go from there. It can be really easy with faults like this to go down a rabbit hole trying to find an issue that is not there. Experience has taught me to fix what you know is wrong first then reassess and then attack the faults which remain. We knew the ABS system had a fault so we fix it first then see what the dashboard displays.
My next step was to access live data and do some checks dynamically before I went any further. Displaying all four-wheel speeds showed a problem straight away. With the vehicle sitting stationary in the workshop, the left front wheel speed read 255km/h, which you wouldn’t expect. Meanwhile, the other three read 0, which you would expect as the vehicle wasn’t moving. Experience has taught me that on most Ford vehicles, not all though, 255km/h indicates a circuit problem, whether it be a sensor issue or wiring. I knew I had to do some tests to establish the cause of the fault.

I then removed the left front wheel to test the wiring and ABS sensor and a visual inspection found the cause of the ABS fault (see Fig.3). For some reason the wiring loom for the sensor had detached from the securing clip, which can also be seen in the picture, and had allowed the wiring to rub against the tyre and wear through to the point that it was now completely broken and became open circuit. I then cut back the insulation and repaired the wiring and checked live data before completing the repair. It is important to confirm the repair first before you fully assemble the vehicle only to find an issue still exists. Been there, done that and got the t-shirt. I now had all four sensors reading 0 km/h. Spinning the left front wheel while on the ramp showed the sensor to respond and read a wheel speed, so the wiring was then insulated correctly.
Knowing the ABS fault was repaired, the vehicle was then reassembled, but this time the wiring loom was secured away from the wheel and tyre. I then cleared all the fault codes in the vehicle and rechecked the customer’s complaint. I found that the car now had no faults stored in any module and the mileage and trip readings displayed correctly. A road test confirmed we also had a working speedometer and a final global fault code scan on return to the workshop showed no fault codes, so the vehicle was fixed.
What can be learned from this job? As I said earlier, it would have been very easy indeed to start chasing the mileage/trip display fault. This could possibly condemn the dashboard. Alternatively, I could have ended up removing it and sending it off for testing, only to then be told it had no faults and then be left wondering where to go next. Fix what you know is wrong first, then reassess the situation; Diagnostic work is much easier when you apply methodical thinking and work to a test plan specific to the vehicle and its faults, like I have mentioned in many articles before.

Diesel emissions

Part one
Published:  14 January, 2022

The technical specifics of diesel, its role and its future are considered by Frank Massey in the first of a two-part series

E10: Teething trouble?

The introduction of E10 is already causing some issues for drivers, but there are a number of options for garages looking to help customers
Published:  05 January, 2022

As part of the UK’s pledge to meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050, and to align with European fuel standards, E10 is now the country’s standard grade of petrol. Available at the pumps since the start of September, the new fuel contains up to 10% renewable ethanol, instead of the previous 5%, in a bid to improve efficiency and support the continued drive to reduce emissions. As sensible as that sounds on paper, the introduction of E10 has not gone without its teething problems.
For starters, only cars that are compatible with E10 are able to run on it. The RAC recently reported that there could be as many as 6,000 vehicles on our roads that experience some form of issue with using E10 petrol, typically because they have older engines and fuel systems that can be corroded and/or blocked by the ethanol.

Diagnosing the issue
Breakdown companies are already briefing their teams on what to look for with E10, and with a potential increase in failures of engines and fuel systems, garages should make sure their technicians are also in the know – and ready to correctly identify and resolve any issues.
Diagnostics are important here, as the faults caused by E10 could easily be confused with battery or other engine-related failures. We offer a range of diagnostic tools, providing technicians with the capability to pinpoint the exact reason for a breakdown or running issue, and to help guarantee a first-time fix.
We’ve also reviewed our stock and pricing on the key fuel parts that are most likely to be affected by E10, like pumps, filters and even injectors, to ensure we have the right part, at the right price, available immediately.

A long-term solution
Once garages have fixed any problems caused by E10 use, they can then send the customer away with a simple solution that will stop them from arising again – thanks to Wynn’s E10 Protector, the latest addition to our product range.
A dose in the fuel tank before each time a vehicle is refuelled with E10 petrol will lubricate and protect the vehicle’s entire fuel system, stabilise the fuel and prevent oxidation, and restore engine performance and fuel economy. Helping drivers take charge of the situation and prevent ongoing problems is a great way for garages to drive loyalty and trust. If drivers are struggling to cover the cost of an unexpected repair bill, our Payment Assist scheme lets them pay in instalments – helping garages resolve potentially high-value failures and get their customers back on the road.
Ultimately, we’re here to help ensure the independent garages we support can service every vehicle to the highest standard, and never have to turn away a job.

Wireless EV charging on the way?

Published:  06 December, 2021

With recent studies showing that the ratio of plug-in vehicles to each public charge point has become worse in the UK in the last year as EV sales have out-paced infrastructure investment, a team of engineers at DENSO’s Electrification Systems Engineering Division are working towards a way to charge EVs while they are on the move.

Fig 2.

Current measurement, past, present and future

Oscilloscopes at the ready everyone, as in this issue Frank is looking at current measurement
Published:  01 December, 2021

I think it is very easy, with the fast pace of technology, to focus on the present while forgetting the lessons of the past. With that in mind, I’m going to take a review of current measurement and its application, past, present and future.
My interest in current measurement goes back to the 1980s, when control systems were very simple when compared to the present day. They did however have similar responsibilities.
I was already using oscilloscopes for our diagnostic tests as serial diagnostics were in their infancy. Our focus was on wave form profile and event synchronisation, for example cam, crank sensors, injector and ignition events. This proved to be a successful process. I will explain why a little later. As our reputation increased, we attracted more trade work. As is the case today, blame was often directed towards the PCM.
As our trade customers were often reluctant to bring the complete vehicle to us, we became involved in off-car PCM testing. This was an automated function test of the PCM’s ability to control actuators. We quickly became aware of false pass and fail results which, when tested on the problematic vehicle, proved to be current flow-related.
This raised our interest and concern, and we realised that a suitable in-situ test process needed to be found. In those days, all our electronic test tools came from the electronics sector as no satisfactory test tools were available within the motor industry, unlike today. We were directed to the hall effect current clamps so common within the PICO and other range of test kits.

To qualify the importance of the process, I will explain a very interesting fault from way back in the early 1990s.The vehicle; A BMW 850 V12 which employed two synchronised PCMs, each controlling one bank. The car came to us running on one bank with one ignition coil completely burned out due to excessive current flow.
We carefully checked the wiring for shorts, ordered a genuine new coil, swapped the PCM over to the faulty bank and successfully ran the vehicle on that bank. We then sent the PCM off for repair. When refitting to the vehicle, we observed it run on all cylinders for 5-10 seconds before burning out the other coil. Why was this? To condense quite a lengthy story, it transpired that the original faulty PCM allowed a current runaway within the coil primary circuit which did not show up under off-car bench simulation. This was the exact problem encountered with the network 500. By this time, all our off-car testing had ceased in favour of event and current path analysis using a scope with the vehicle intact.

I have recently covered current flow in the ignition primary circuit (please refer to my two-part series in the  September and October issues of Aftermarket),  so we will begin with a simple saturated 15-ohm injector circuit. (See Fig.1).
You will observe that the current increase takes a slightly curved profile with a distinctive kink, this is the point when sufficient current flow allows the pintle to lift against the spring and fuel pressure. So, it was possible to predict sticking or late opening due to high fuel pressure without removal or injector bench testing, which was in its infancy then.
Previously the back EMF, normally around 80v, would indicate sufficient current and induction properties. Focusing on current analysis also confirms good voltage and ground paths. Switching will be found on power or ground and in some cases current flow may toggle within the PCM. Power switching and pulse width modulation (PWM) provides an initial high current peak with a reduced current period, allowing a much more accurate feedback sequential fuel trim.

Next, please refer to Fig.2, a PICO image as before, this time showing VAG power switched injector control. Given the range and variety in current clamps the world is our oyster when it comes to future application. When developing diagnostic process, we must first understand the limitations with test options and the various types of component control.
Having evolved from a simple saturated (on off) to PWM (on off variable period and frequency) to micro current and SENT (single edge nibble transmission) and data and diagnostics transmit only, our ability to diagnose components is being driven entirely to the serial platform. This is of course exactly what the VM intends.
How then might we use current measurement for control and response purposes? The control or command may be analogue, digital, duty, PWM, or binary format. However, all components that require movement or heat as a function require current flow and as such can be measured anywhere in the power or ground circuit.

With this in mind, let’s look at a very simple idle air bypass valve. My intention here is to emphasise the importance of having the correct device. I will also show a similar example from a VAG swirl flap control. Please refer to Fig.3; Ford idle air valve current flow. Note the inaccuracy in current value despite using similar devices.
Now, look at Fig.4. Despite an obvious simple digital control signal, the current flow appears linear at 100mv = 1amp. Not possible, now compare the event with a more sensitive current clamp. Please refer to Fig.5.

To conclude my topic, I am sure many of your techs have replaced throttle body control modules, turbo vane control modules and EGR and swirl flap control motors. If so, I suggest checking the current path and feedback movement sensors. There should be an obvious synergy between current flow and movement, where a mechanical restriction will cause the PCM to increase the current supply. If this becomes excessive there will be a hard DTC, however this often leads to premature drive motor failure.

Fig 2.

Common people

Diagnosing a common fault is not as simple as it might seem; You need to test as if you are seeing it for the first time
Published:  01 December, 2021

How do you go about diagnosing a common fault that you have seen before and all the symptoms match? Do you go ahead and fit that new part with no testing? Do you go straight to where you think the issue will be or do you test to be sure regardless of the situation?

You may or may not recall several articles ago, in the May 2020 issue of Aftermarket, I had a Land Rover Discovery 3 which would not start after being jump-started incorrectly and was fixed by reflashing the engine control unit software. Well, strangely enough, I was recently presented with a Range Rover Sport with near enough the exact same initial symptoms and fault codes. I want to show how starting afresh and testing, instead of jumping to the same conclusion, prevented a misdiagnosis.

Customer complaint
The customer’s complaint was that the vehicle would crank over but would not start. They said previously that the vehicle had started showing an intermittent no-start condition after sitting for a short period of time, for example to go into a shop. Once they returned, the car would crank and not start. The customer had discovered though that if they then waited five minutes and tried again, the vehicle would then start and be okay for the rest of the day. However, by now the symptoms had slowly become worse and no amount of cranking would start
the vehicle.
As always in my diagnostic process, the first step is to confirm the customer complaint and look for any tell-tale clues along the way. Yes it seems silly on the face of it to crank the engine over knowing it will not start, but an experienced technician may pick up a clue which will give direction where to go next so it always pays to always confirm the complaint. On this occasion confirming the complaint revealed no clues so it was on to the next step and to check for fault codes and review some live data.

Multiple fault codes
As can be seen in Fig.1, we have multiple fault codes stored for all different circuits and systems on the vehicle so where do we start? As in previous articles I have written, I always like to split them up into a list and put the most likely causes at the top and start there. Looking at the list we have five fault codes and I felt three could cause the no-start.
There are a number of likely causes. It could be a lack of fuel pressure, as the fault code states it is too low. The DC/DC converter fault also is another clue, as this converts the 12V supply from the battery and boosts it up to 60/70v to open the fuel injectors. The fact that code is stored could be another reason the engine will not start and the system voltage low fault code as this could indicate the control unit isn’t receiving the voltage it should to operate correctly.
The other two fault codes I felt could be put to the bottom of my list. An EGR fault most likely would not cause a no-start issue on this particular engine and there are two fitted due to the the engine being a V configuration. Having plenty of experience with this engine, I have seen many stuck open and closed EGR valves not cause the customer’s complaint due to the pipework configuration so it could be ignored for now. Lastly, there is the control box fan fault. This is a small fan mounted next to the engine ECU to control its temperature and would also not cause a no-start complaint.

Live data
My next step was to consult live data and look at module voltages and fuel pressure as these were at the top of my list. Cranking the engine while monitoring rail pressure showed there was next-to-no fuel pressure being generated, so this is one of the reasons the engine will not start. In that case, why do we have a low system voltage code and a DC-DC converter fault logged? With reference to Fig.2, looking in the module voltage section in live data showed why we have 0v for battery voltage and 3v for the DC-DC converter. As I mentioned, this should be around 60-70v on this particular vehicle so this explained the reason for the other fault codes. I then decided to pull up a wiring diagram and look at how the engine ECU was supplied power to formulate a plan of attack for these faults.

The heart of the matter

Altelium’s Alex Johns on how you can advise electric car owners to keep their battery in good health
Published:  01 December, 2021

The most valuable component part by far of an electric vehicle is its battery. Yet it is the one component that regular mechanics are not supposed to touch and due to lack of advice, it appears that few owners know how to keep the battery heart of their cars in good health.
Drivers tend to be primarily focused on short term-data that they can expect from their battery such as range or charge. EV manufacturers tend to give surprisingly little information about how to keep an EV battery in good shape on a day-to-day basis. What advice can be given to EV owners to help them look after their batteries for the long term?

If we look closer at the EV, the Li-ion battery and electric motor combination do the work of not just the engine, but also the gearbox and fuel tank you would find in an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. With an ICE vehicle, mechanics and engineers at a car dealer or garage would be able to give tips and advice on how to maintain these parts in good working order. Few, however, know how best to look after an electric battery. In fact, EV owners are much more likely to be given advice and help in finding charging points or battery range, which is useful, but perhaps not as valuable long-term. By offering EV owners good advice on battery health, you are offering them a long-term benefit - and in turn, building a good reputation amongst that growing EV community.
Most of us are used to keeping an eye on the state of charge on our smart phones, making sure it is always charged as needed. You may even have discussed whether it is better to let it run down and then charge it overnight in one big charge or perhaps think it’s best to keep it topped up through the day and charge it little and often.
This is a great comparison to use when explaining battery health to customers. In practice, the same principal applies to the electric battery in your vehicle but obviously with vastly more energy involved. For example, one Tesla car battery can contain over 7,000 individual cells, whereas your phone might only have one small cell.
It was recently suggested by Tomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive of Polestar, the electric vehicle sister brand to Volvo, that people are “starting to feel a bit more relaxed about the EV question” – but what is the EV question?  
Is it how far your car will go when charged and if you’ll reach your destination? Is it how much it will cost to charge your EV?  Is it whether the battery can be recycled at the end of its life in a car? Or is it how to keep your battery healthy and make sure it lasts as long as possible? We think this is the key question for EV owners.
In some ways understanding battery State of Health (SoH) answers all these questions. Battery state of health is described as the current capacity of your battery as a percentage of its original capacity.
When I oversaw the trial of five Tesla electric taxis stationed at Gatwick Airport in 2019, before I joined Altelium, each vehicle had 300,000 miles on the clock when the trial concluded after three years, but the batteries were still at 82% state of health (SoH). They were still working really well with many years life left in them. There is no question over the quality of the batteries, but we were given clear guidelines on how to use them and charge them.

Battery health
How can this help to advice EVs drivers on how to best maintain battery heart health in their cars? First, fast charging on DC chargers should be no more than 30% of all charging. Charging has a large impact on battery health so try to charge at home wherever possible, using a household plug or A/C slow-medium rate charger.
Secondly, it is important to try not to let a battery run completely flat. It is best to keep it in the middle range as much as possible where the chemicals in the battery are held at optimal conditions. A car battery computer will be set to do this as far as possible, but drivers can certainly help by not running it down completely.
Additionally, if someone finds they are running a battery all the time, for example in a taxi role or delivery operation, then let it rest – not charging or driving – once a week at a moderate state of charge (30-50%). This allows the battery cells to rest. Although this is not the place to explain in full, information is available online from electro-chemists about what this allows a battery to do internally - and you could certainly suggest that as something EV drivers might want to read up on.
Another good tip is to keep electric cars in the shade on sunny days. The optimal temperature for a battery is at 21-21.5⁰C and extreme heat or cold will really impact the range of that electric car battery. While extreme cold will reduce battery performance, the effect of heat is more important from a health and longevity point of view. For more information, visit:

Information overload

Sometimes too much is never enough, but according to Neil, you can never have enough information on a repair
Published:  01 December, 2021

To carry out electrical and diagnostic repairs on vehicles, technical information is a must. With modern vehicles now having so much wiring and sensors, trying to fix for example a wiring fault without knowing what each wire is, what it does and where it goes in my own personal opinion is ludicrous. In this article I intend to show the importance of having not only technical information to hand but the correct information.

Recently, a customer telephoned looking for some advice regarding her vehicle and whether it was safe to drive. The customer explained that she had a 2010 Ford Mondeo and that the engine management light had came on while driving along the road. On the plus side, the car drove fine. We explained how without seeing the car it was hard to comment and recommended the vehicle be booked in.

The next day the customer phoned to say the vehicle had broken down and had now become a non-start. She wondered what her options were so I explained in my opinion, the best route to take would be to get the vehicle recovered to allow me to carry out a diagnostic assessment of her vehicle including a thorough test plan which included referring to wiring diagrams and technical information. This would allow me to come to the correct conclusion of what was wrong with the vehicle. We agreed to an initial assessment and I would then notify the customer what I had found with potentially even a fixed vehicle.
A few days later the vehicle was recovered to our workshop and another call was made to the customer to notify her that the vehicle had arrived and to ask some more questions about the faults. The customer complaint was that while driving along the road the engine management light had illuminated but the vehicle drove fine with no loss of power or any other notable symptoms other than a warning light on the dashboard, however the following day while driving along the road and hitting a bump the car cut out and now when turning the key to the crank position nothing happened.
After pushing the vehicle into the workshop, I firstly confirmed the customer complaint. As stated, there was nothing when the key was turned to the start position, however with the ignition on all lights illuminated as they should except the engine management light, if you read my last article (which I am hoping you have) you will know this is a big clue. After attempting to do a global scan with Ford IDS, it reported back many fault codes for no communication with the powertrain control unit (PCM), Ford’s name for the ECU, checking all other fitted modules they responded ok. I then accessed Autodata as I use it daily and it is my first check for a wiring diagram and usually easier to understand than the manufacturers diagrams However, for this engine there were four different diagrams listed depending on specification of the vehicle. After some checks I was unable to correctly identify which diagram was correct and checking each one against my vehicles wiring none matched correctly.

Manufacturer information
At this point I decided to go for manufacturer information, accessing FordEtis. I printed off the relevant wiring information for the PCM. While logged in I checked for any technical bulletins referring to the fault in case it was a known issue. None were found. After studying the diagram, it was noted there were several power feeds and grounds to the control module and also can bus communication lines which all required testing before condemning the control unit itself.
A visual inspection was carried out but no issues could be seen. A test plan was formed to test the relevant power feed fuses which were located in the engine bay fuse box and if all was ok then access the PCM and test the power supply wiring, grounds and communication lines for correct operation.
The voltage was measured at relevant fuses while under load with a digital multimeter and were all found to be good, so access to the PCM was required. Following technical information, it was noted the location of the control unit was behind the splash guard on the nearside front. Removing the wheel, plastic guard and necessary covers allowed access to carry out testing. Following the wiring diagram and test plan, each power and earth wire was load tested which immediately found an issue with one of the power supplies which came from fuse 38 in the engine bay fuse box. This identified an issue with this particular wire. The wire was located at either end, isolated and checked for resistance with a multimeter which showed excessively high resistance which was causing a large voltage drop to the control unit. A temporary wire was overlaid to bypass test the faulty wire and check for correct operation before proceeding any further with the repair. The vehicle now started and communication to the engine control unit was now possible which also allowed the clearing of the many stored fault codes, however the EML was illuminated as per the customer’s initial complaint so the fault codes were checked again which revealed a fault code – P2033 “Exhaust gas temperature sensor 2 Circuit high.”  Being wary of time, I decided to carry out some basic wiring checks as I had the control unit exposed and a diagnosis could also be made for the fault. Testing the wiring at the sensor found no voltage supply but a ground which indicated either an open or short in the supply wire from the control unit.

Temperature versus resistance
You may be wondering how this sensor works and why I was looking for voltage at the sensor? Bearing in mind I am no teacher and to try it keep it short and sweet. There are two types found in automotive applications; An NTC type and a PTC type. Either can be a thermistor type sensor or thermocouple type, which work very differently. On my vehicle the sensor was an NTC thermistor which is a resistor that changes with temperature and stands for negative temperature coefficient. This means as temperature increases, resistance decreases whereas on positive temperature coefficient (PTC) when temperature increases, resistance increases. The resistor in the sensor together with a fixed value resistor in the ECU forms a voltage divider circuit. The sensor is fed a 5-volt power supply and therefore if the temperature changes, the resistance change of the sensor causes the signal voltage to change. The ECU is able to then determine the temperature from the voltage and convert it into degrees Celsius. As the ECU was not seeing a change in exhaust temperature from that sensor but was from other sensors, and with a fixed high voltage, the fault had been stored.

Repair procedure
Carrying out a check from control unit to sensor with my multimeter found the wire to be open circuit, so now both complaints had been diagnosed and a repair procedure could now be undertaken. The wiring loom from the PCM had been further exposed with the removal of the cover and splash guard so a further visual inspection was carried out, while doing this the wiring loom was seen to be close to a metal support frame for the radiator assembly. Gently pulling this back exposed a spot where the conduit had been rubbing against the frame and had worn away the plastic. Opening this up revealed a corroded wire matching the colour of my power supply to the control unit and a broken wire matching the exhaust gas temperature sensor wiring. A continuity test on both to the relevant pins at the PCM connector confirmed this.
With my initial assessment time nearly up I phoned the customer and explained my findings and requested a further hour to repair and reposition the wiring loom and to reassemble and road test to confirm correct operation of the vehicle. The customer was delighted to hear both issues had been diagnosed and approved a further hour’s labour to repair the vehicle and road test the vehicle. Using approved manufacturer methods both wires were repaired, sealed and refitted into the conduit protection which was also sealed. The loom was then rerouted to prevent further contact with the radiator support frame and the vehicle put back together. A full fault clear was carried out and extended road-testing monitoring exhaust gas temperatures and correct diesel particulate filter operation. On return, a global scan was once again carried out which revealed no stored faults confirming both of the customer’s complaints had been rectified.
Without the correct information I would not have been able to fix this vehicle. Imagine trying to determine which wire was which and even where the PCM was housed, bearing in mind on average most vehicles now can have up to three connectors on the engine control unit with all having upwards of 50 wires on each connector. This goes to show how using technical information along with a good understanding of electrical circuits and sensors makes light work of fixing vehicle faults, saving the customer both time and money.

Fig 2.

Volkswagen Polo: Engine management light illuminated and glow plug light flashing

Alerted by the dreaded EML, Damien gets to work on a problematic Polo
Published:  01 December, 2021

A 2010 Volkswagen Polo with a 1.6 litre common rail diesel injection engine (engine code – CAYC) was reported to have an engine management light and glow plug warning light both illuminated.
A diagnostic scantool was connected to the vehicle’s data link connector and the following error code was stored in the electronic control module:

New training platform from Delphi

Published:  07 October, 2021

Delphi Technologies has unveiled a new e-learning platform; The Delphi Technologies Academy.

Automotive communication networks

Part 3: FlexRay Networks
Published:  02 September, 2021

Damien concludes his three-part series with an look at FlexRay

EV and hybrid vehicles

EVs and hybrids continue to capture the imagination of the public, while garages consider the practical implications going forward
Published:  13 July, 2021

Driver interest in used EVs rose by 18.85% during 2020, even with the pandemic and the closure of car dealerships during lockdown periods, according to an analysis by AA Cars, the AA’s used car website. If you roll it back a bit further, since 2015, searches for EVs on the site have increased by 4,623%. If the rate of growth seen on the site up until 16 March remains constant through the year, AA Cars said it will grow by a further 42% during 2021.
The growing interest seen by AA Cars in 2020 was reflected in real-world new car sales. While new car sales fell by 29.4% in 2020 in the UK, EV sales went up by 185.9% and made up 6.6% of the total share, up from 1.6% in 2019.
London had the highest number of searches for EVs in the country, with nearly 55,000 searches for EVs on AA Cars in 2019 and 2020. Bristol saw the second-highest number of searches for EVs in 2019 and 2020, followed by Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Looking elsewhere in the country, drivers in Taunton made more than 2,200 searches for EVs in 2020, with interest up 1,395% compared to the previous year. Searches increased by 453% in Kingston upon Hull and 315% in Coventry
Commenting on the findings, James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars commented: “Interest in EVs and environmentally-friendly vehicles has been growing at pace over recent years and has accelerated further still during the pandemic. The good news for drivers taking their first steps towards buying an EV is that there is an ever-growing fleet of electric cars coming onto the second-hand market.”

Money beats planet on EV switch
As mainstream drivers lean more towards EVs, financial considerations seem to be taking over from environmental concerns as the main incentive for buying one, with charging also shifting away from the home.
According to a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of CTEK, 52% of drivers are holding off on buying an EV specifically due to the cost. 24% of those surveyed said availability of subsidies is the biggest incentive for taking the plunge, although just 9% of existing EV drivers have taken advantage of a government subsidy. In contrast, 35% of citing the environment as their main reason for purchase. 90% of existing EV drivers are likely or very likely to buy an EV again, rising to 100% of 18-23-year olds. 33% of EV drivers said low running costs were the main reason for buying, but only 18% of non EV drivers giving this as their main reason for considering the switch.
The survey also reveals a gradual move away from home charging, with 68% of EV drivers preferring to charge their vehicles at home. 37% of EV drivers are now using public charge points, 12% are charging at work and 9% at petrol stations.
The availability and reliability of the UK charging infrastructure remain a concern. While 74% of UK adults believe that EVs are the future of road travel, 78% feel the charging infrastructure is not adequate to support growth, compared with 65% in the other European countries surveyed.
The survey of 1,667 UK drivers was carried out as part of a wider survey of 15,174 people across the UK, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, and was officially launched on Tuesday 27 April at the Everything EV Summit, taking place virtually from 20 to 29 April, and where CTEK’s Global Head of E-Mobility Cecilia Routledge was presenting. She said: “With previous estimates of up to 90% of EV charging taking place at home, this is a fairly significant shift, and we can expect the need for public and destination charging to intensify as the UK starts to come out of lockdown. Not only that, permanent changes to working patterns are likely to result in people visiting their workplace less often, so EV owners with nowhere to install a home ChargePoint will increasingly need to rely on public chargers and those at destinations like shopping centres and supermarkets.
“Some drivers say they rarely see charge points when out and about, and that the few they do see are nearly always either in use or out of order. In fact, some EV drivers have even gone back to a petrol vehicle because of lack of charging points, including one couple who commented in the survey that they’d tried to map out a trip to North Yorkshire using en-route charging points, but that it simply wasn’t possible.”
Cecilia added: “This highlights the need for a well-planned charging network that meets the requirements of local drivers and visitors alike, that is visible and, most importantly, reliable.”
 A full report is available at

Bosch: Electric/Hybrid Vehicle System Awareness
Training will continue to be vital as EVs and hybrids continue their progress towards mainstream acceptance. With this in mind, Bosch has launched a new EV and hybrid online training course. Electric/Hybrid Vehicle System Awareness is a non-technical course suited to staff in a wide variety of roles including service managers, front-of-house, parts advisors, drivers, valeters, recovery personnel and others.
The course is delivered online as a pair of two-hour modules in a virtual classroom, run by dedicated Bosch trainers. Upcoming dates currently on the slate are as follows:

Additive advantage

Additives are a great tool to have, and provide handy additional income, but according to VLS it pays to do your homework
Published:  06 July, 2021

For any garage, finding new revenue streams is a key priority. Being able to increase your profit per vehicle makes business sense. But with so many products out there, how does a workshop owner know which way to turn? Which product is a genuine business opportunity that works for both your garage and your customers and which could turn out to be a waste of money, or worse?
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global fuel additives market is set to reach $12,117.8 million by 2028. Fuel additives can help vehicles perform better, reduce carbon emissions and increase fuel efficiency. Oil additives can help to reduce friction and wear within the vehicle, as well well as keep engines clean by flushing through deposits such as sludge. Both types of additives and cleaners can also create a valuable additional revenue stream for garages. What motorist wouldn’t want to give their vehicle a deep clean from the inside out, leaving it in tip-top condition and delivering improved fuel economy?
But according to Andrew Goddard, Chairman of the independent trade body for lubricants, the Verification of Lubricant Specifications (VLS), it’s not quite that simple. Andrew urges caution when it comes to oil additives: “The latest generation of highly sophisticated lubricants is formulated with advanced chemistry, using the latest synthetic technology. They strike a delicate balance of meeting manufacturer specifications within exacting tolerances. The tiniest change in a formulation can have a real impact on the performance of the finished product. “Aftermarket additives could mean that the performance of the lubricant to cool, clean or protect moving parts is not as effective as it was, as well as causing an unnecessary expense to consumers.”
That’s certainly an outcome no garage owner would want. Andrew continues: “Lubricants are working harder than ever before, catering to the strive for reduced emissions, demand for greater performance and better fuel economy. Smaller engines are running at higher temperatures to maximise efficiency, power output and fuel economy. Longer oil drain intervals, taken together with smaller sumps, have created the need for less viscous, synthetic oils to provide the lubrication required in these challenging conditions while meeting customer’s demands for performance and economy. Added to that, lubricants must be able to cope with temperature changes, increased bio-content in fuels, hybrid vehicle technology, challenges like start-stop functionality and overcoming problems arising from LSPI.”
So it sounds like it pays to do your homework when it comes to additives. Garage owners should make sure they really research any stand-alone additive packages they are recommending or using, and understand how they might impact the consumables already in customers’ vehicles. That way, you can be confident that you are making the right choices for your business and your customers in both the short and long term, balancing short term profit with long term business sense.

ACtronics partners with DiagnoseDan TSB

Published:  23 June, 2021

ACtronics has become a knowledge partner for diagnostics YouTuber DiagnoseDan TSB, also known as the DDTSB.

Common rail diesel and pressure evaluation

Is the pressure getting to Frank? It doesn’t seem that way, but he is certainly getting to grips with common rail diesel issues
Published:  18 June, 2021

For this month’s topic I am going to revisit a subject which still attracts a lot of interest, but with perhaps a more forensic approach; Common rail diesel and pressure evaluation using Pico scope with WPS pressure sensor. Before we get into a detailed overview of pressure waveform analysis, let’s explore some of the other important tools at our disposal.
Firstly, Communication. This is something that is becoming a lost art, especially with social media and online booking. Never overlook the opportunity to question the driver of the problematic vehicle. Note the expression ‘driver’ as often it may be booked in by someone else. Here lies the first problem, opinion, description, expectation, and cost. This is where, in my opinion, the most skilful member of your team is needed. Apart from the obvious technical information, you need how, where and when. You need to establish if they value their car, and if they do not, they will not value you.
Next comes with what I call common-sense; observation. Cars cannot speak but they do tell a story. This could be the most valuable part of your forensic skills, looking for evidence of cause. Non-intrusive examination has many forms, including a thorough serial interrogation. Do not be drawn towards DTCs without knowing why. Look for adaption or correction data, deviation of reliable known values, once again note ‘reliable.’

All hydraulic systems, fuel, oil and water, require a reservoir of the appropriate substance. Just think about that one for a while, many do not, at their cost. It must travel from one location to another. Obvious, yes, so how are you going to check it?
Pressure may be the obvious answer however, flow, and rate of change, (rise and decay time) are just as important. Let me throw a curve ball in here; Do you have one electric supply pump or several? The laws of physics dictate they consume current, so let us explore how observation of current will predict the physical environment of fluid flow.
Initial inrush; How much current is required on start-up can suggest a faulty pump, a restriction in flow or incorrect viscosity. The continual current rate proves a similar conclusion; Too much might suggest a restricted filtration system or blockage. Too little may indicate a worn pump, low pressure or lack of fluid. All of this can be checked from a control fuse easily accessible and quickly. We love quick, and accurate.
The hidden problem overlooked my many is experienced when relying on serial data alone or even pump current and flow rate when measured blind. Are there cavitation or voids in the flow stream? The void represents a pressure differential, my favourite subject, between supply and demand. This brings us to pressure gauges and the scope.

Gauges or scopes
Exactly why would a scope fanatic like me advocate the use of gauges? Where low pressure is concerned, they offer a definitive conclusion. Look at the gauge I designed many years ago, it embodies all the aspects I have just discussed; visual examination of flow characteristics, with isolation taps to check rise and decay, and proof pressure. Remember, a pressure below atmosphere is not a vacuum. It is pressure differential with a value below 1 bar. How can you have a negative pressure? Not possible guys. We live with an atmosphere at a pressure of 1 bar, pressure therefor flow, will always be high to low.
Let us move on to the high pressures experienced with both common rail and direct gasoline injection which can be assessed in similar ways. Once again, we need to apply the same criteria as with low pressure priming and remember I did include oil and water measurement for consideration. This is where the scope comes into its own, evaluation of high-pressure response when delivered from a mechanical pump. The true essence of CR and GDI is independent control and delivery of fuel across engine load and demand. In simple words rate of change.

Measurement and interpretation  
The good news is that pressure sensors are usually accessed easily. Because they convert pressure into a linear voltage response, they are also easily interpreted with a scope. A little housekeeping first guys. You must have a scope with a minimum electronics industry standard bandwidth of 25mhz, and use a high sample rate. I suggest 10m/s or more. Do not drop the sample rate to clean up the image. You can filter once the data is in the buffer. Also, a floating measurement across the sensor will help, i.e., signal and ground. The sweep time can be up to 50 seconds or so providing you sample rate is high. As you zoom in for closer inspection you will be dividing your sample rate yet retaining enough data for accurate evaluation.
Assuming all the priming tests have been carried out, you need to establish several critical functions. The rate of pressure rises from key on engine crank (KOEC), and key on engine run (KOER). There are subtle differences across systems. However, the later systems will reach 260bar plus in well under 500m/s.
A bit more housekeeping; It is essential that the cranking system has been evaluated fully. Also clarify correct battery fitment, health and charge status, current consumption and rotation speed. Without battery health confirmation, KOEC HP pump tests are invalid.
Then we assess the behaviour of pressure at idle speed, as this will be affected by injector faults, such as, delivery balance, atomisation, and leakage. Unstable pressure can also result from control actuator faults and adaption deviation. Also take note of combustion noise. Another topic for the future here is NVH vibration monitoring of combustion.

To evaluate full system pressure or proof as I call it, you must manually take control of the HP pump. This is however getting more difficult and should not be undertaken without full knowledge of how the pump is controlled. That said, we monitor rise time to peak pressure which is always 4.5v. Why? Because that is the limit of the system and sensor output. The actual pressure achieved could be much higher, we simply cannot confirm it.
The final aspect of the HP system evaluation is decay time or system leakage. Some systems with Piezo injectors like Bosch should not leak while others do over a very predictable time. Therefore, you can confirm system leakage, with no intrusion, with clean hands, in minutes.

Explaining the oxygen sensor

Published:  07 June, 2021

TAn oxygen sensor’s life expectancy can vary greatly depending on the condition of the vehicle and whether it is properly maintained. Generally, based on typical maintenance routines, an oxygen sensor’s effective life span is between 30,000 and 50,000 miles.     
After that, performance begins to degrade, which will in turn affect the vehicle’s overall fuel economy and performance. That can arrive quickly in the eyes of today’s drivers, many of whom won’t have their vehicle paid off by the time it needs to be replaced. However, if the engine is properly maintained in all aspects, the oxygen sensors could last much longer, up to 100,000 miles in some cases. The truth is, many vehicles on the road today would not meet the maintenance requirements to achieve that level of sensor life.
It’s no surprise that oxygen sensors need to be checked regularly and replaced as needed. They per¬form under fierce conditions, battling harmful exhaust gases, extreme heat and high velocity particulates. And the harder someone drives his or her vehicle, the more punishment the sensors take.

The oxygen sensor’s impact
It is a key component, as faulty oxygen sensors cause a very large amount of emission inspection failures. Why? Because not all oxygen sensors are created equal. The oxygen sensor reports to the engine management computer the air/fuel ratio in the exhaust system. While it no longer is a one-wire unheated sensor like it was in the 1970s, but rather a four-wire or five-wire air/fuel ratio sensor, that means it can report information more accurately, but can be damaged more easily. These sensors include heated, fast light off, ultra-fast light off, Titania, zirconia, thimble, planar and wideband sensors. Staying up-to-date with these technologies is critical in diagnosing the oxygen sensor and this technology will only continue to grow as emission controls become stricter every year.

Two scenarios
What goes wrong? A few things, actually. There are two scenarios technicians need to look for when inspecting an oxygen sensor to determine the cause of failure, and thus find the root cause of the problem. First, it can happen instantaneously when a contaminant comes into contact with the oxygen sensor’s ceramic element. Technicians who suspect this type of failure should look for evidence of certain types of silicone compounds or of an engine that is burning oil. Small amounts of tetraethyl lead in gasoline as well as over-the-counter fuel additives that are not oxygen-sensor-safe can kill an oxygen sensor. The second scenario is the gradual deterioration, resulting in a slow sensor that reacts so slowly that it causes a catalytic converter to perform less efficiently. This can lead to premature failure of the catalytic converter.
In this case, technicians will hear complaints of decreased fuel economy, approximately 10%-15% in most cases, excessive exhaust emissions and overall poor drivability. Now, while a customer might notice they are covering fewer miles per fill-up, they might not be aware of other problems as they adjust to vehicle driving conditions and, in the case of emissions, simply cannot observe this. That’s where technicians who perform emissions tests can assist customers by detecting these issues. Technicians can be the hero of this story though, when using the proper equipment. Using a digital volt-ohmmeter (DVO), a technician can detect a dead oxygen sensor. Two other tools – a digital storage oscilloscope (DSO) or scope meter – will be able to diagnose a slow oxygen sensor.

Not all sensors are alike
How do you know that you’re getting a quality sensor? Walker Products’ robust oxygen sensor programme features the highest quality components to ensure OE fit, form, and function guaranteed. Designed, engineered, and 100% tested in house to ensure unsurpassed quality and sensor longevity for the greatest customer satisfaction.
Walker oxygen sensors feature a ceramic body made of stabilised zirconium dioxide and contained in a housing that protects it against mechanical effects and facilitates mounting. A gas-permeable platinum layer comprises the electrodes that coat the surface, and a porous ceramic coating applied to the side exposed to the exhaust gas prevents contamination and erosion of the electrode surfaces by combustion residue and particulates in the exhaust gases.
That means when you install Walker oxygen sensors, your customers get improved engine response and performance, lower emissions, better fuel economy and longer sensor life.

Selling to customers
How do you explain that to your customers? It starts with the basics: an oxygen sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust gas, which is processed by the vehicle’s ECU to evaluate engine efficiency. For quick explanations, service advisors can share four simple benefits customers can receive by replacing their O2 sensors:

Automotive communication networks

part 1: LIN Bus
Published:  04 June, 2021

Local Interconnection (LIN) Bus is a low-speed, cost-effective alternative to CAN bus. LIN gets its name from being a ‘local’ sub-system. Data transfer speeds can be up to 20,000 bits per second. It is designed for sensor/actuator level.

Data transfer speed
The waveform seen in Fig.1 shows a typical LIN trace, the time for the transmission of 1 bit is 0.11ms, this equates to a data transfer speed of 9,480 bits per second.

Network topology
The bus can contain up to 16 modules or subscribers, one master (module) and fifteen slaves (intelligent components). LIN is a linear bus topology, with communication over a single wire. Fig.2 shows a basic network topology.
The central electronics module (CEM) is the master module and communicates with the gateway module using controller area network (CAN) bus. Each of the LIN components is a sensor or actuator, with the ability to transmit and receive a LIN message. The master module is responsible for controlling the timing of the message data packet. Fig.3 shows a CEM and front wiper motor. The purple wire is the LIN bus wire and is used to control the speed and intermittent delay for the wipers.

Message structure   
The waveform seen in Fig.4 shows a LIN message with the defined message structure. The ‘sync break’ is used to signal the beginning of the message. The delimiter indicates the completion of the sync break and serves to show the LIN wire is not shorted to ground. The sync field is to ensure the timing of the message is set prior to the data field being transmitted. This is not required for CAN bus, as each module on the network has its own time clock for message timing.
The message is transmitted by manipulating the voltage on the LIN data circuit. See Fig.5. 1 equals recessive bit. 2 equals dominant bit.
For accuracy of data transfer, the following conditions must be met. For a recessive bit, the LIN voltage must be greater than 80% of the battery voltage. For a dominant bit, the LIN voltage must be less than 20% of the battery voltage. See Fig.6. The slew rate or transition time between a high bit and a low bit is critical too for data transfer.

Vehicle charging systems
One particular system which has utilised LIN bus communication is the vehicle charging system. Fig.7 shows a conventional charging system layout fitted to an older vehicle.
The D+ terminal is used as an exciter current for the rotor field winding. The rotor field winding is wired in series with the charge warning light. The W terminal was used for measuring engine speed by tapping off a stator phase.
A layout of a modern system using LIN bus is shown in Fig.8. The internals of the alternator are fundamentally the same:


Published:  28 May, 2021

Recent independent market research commissioned by Kalimex and carried out by The Jamieson Consultancy found that less than half of the workshops surveyed were using on-vehicle cleaning to clear blocked DPFs.  Most workshops are still removing the DPF either for cleaning on site or sending offsite.    
Another interesting development is that compared to the research outcomes of the previous year, more workshops are simply replacing a blocked DPF with a new unit, when this is not always necessary.  
Although offsite cleaning of DPFs is effective, the research showed that in two thirds of offsite cleans the turnaround was at least two days, rising to three days or more in a third of cleans. This means that a customer’s vehicle is off-road, taking up valuable space in a workshop. Inconvenience all round. There is a much better alternative than the current scenarios. Using a tried, tested, and effective on vehicle cleaning system, such as the JLM DPF Clean and Flush Toolkit, means a workshop can clean a blocked DPF in under two hours. This gets the vehicle back on the road fast. Happy customer and happy workshop. The costs are lower than offsite cleaning as well, with comparable results. This system is used and recommended by Darren Darling, founder of The DPF Doctor Network and his DPF Doctor members. This is about as good as it gets in terms of trade endorsement.
A workshop using the JLM DPF Cleaning Toolkit can not only offer a DPF cleaning service to their customers but can also provide this service to other workshops in the area. This comes at a time when diesel vehicles are showing a marked increase in DPF problems due to reduced running and shorter stop start journeys because of the pandemic.  This results in DPFs being unable to regenerate effectively and ultimately becoming blocked with soot.  
Following a successful on-vehicle clean it is important to understand the customer’s driving habits and style.  Recommending a regular in tank additive such as JLM’s Emission Reduction Treatment for diesel will help the DPF to regenerate even under short journey conditions and it will prevent repeated DPF blockages. These additives could be incorporated into a workshop’s service plan to ensure a healthy DPF between regular service intervals.
More information is available at:

EV and hybrid vehicle training

Published:  20 May, 2021

VMs and parts suppliers eye 2030 deadline
As the March issue of Aftermarket went to press last month, there was a surge of news on the move towards electric vehicles. First, JLR announced Jaguar is to become an all-EV brand by 2025, with six pure electric variants are pencilled in for Land Rover by 2030 as well. To achieve its aims, the company also announced an annual £2.5bn investment in vehicle technology.
Next, Ford said it would go all-in on EVs by mid-2026. At that point, the carmaker said 100% of its passenger vehicle range in Europe will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid, moving to all-electric by 2030. Investment will be key here as well, with the move spearheaded by a $1 billion investment in a new EV manufacturing base in Cologne.
Then a few days later, on the components side, Schaeffler started mass production of a wide range of electric motors, ranging from single components through to complete drive systems. The news follows a move by the company in 2018 to set-up a dedicated E-Mobility division.

All this news broke in the space of a few days, and the near overload on the topic making the question of shifting to being an EV-capable garage a question of when, not if for many businesses.

Working on EVs – Key considerations from DENSO
According to Fatiha Laauich, Pan European Strategic Marketing Manager at DENSO, there are five key considerations for independent garages looking to seize the electric vehicle servicing opportunity: “At number five is understanding maintenance routines. While all vehicles have slightly different maintenance routines as recommended by the manufacturer, electrical systems should require minimal scheduled maintenance. EVs have fewer serviceable parts. While naturally-aspirated engines and EVs do share braking systems, these are regenerative in electric vehicles, and therefore typically last longer than those on conventional vehicles. However, electric vehicles will have similar maintenance requirements for lights, cabin filtration, suspension systems, tyres and wipers. Plug-in hybrids differ slightly because they will share a petrol engine, which will have the same servicing requirements as usual.
“At number four is understanding different electrical systems. Take plug-in electric vehicles as an example. Early models typically used a slow recharge system. However, more recent models instead adopt fast or rapid recharge systems, which means there are several variations of charging cable that you need to power different vehicles. The type of battery also varies according to the make and model of EV you are working on. Understanding the different models in the car parc, their unique designs and accessories, will help technicians to service these vehicles efficiently and successfully.
“Number three involves identifying common faults. For example, it is not uncommon for the high voltage battery within an electric vehicle to experience degradation under normal wear and tear. Knowing where and how to check the high voltage battery will be critical for successful diagnosis. Another part likely to require maintenance is an EV’s cooling system. This plays a key role in electric vehicles, countering the effects caused by parts of the high voltage circuit generating lots of heat. Just like a radiator system on a conventional car, the cooling system will need to be checked regularly and sometimes drained, in order to maintain high performance. Again, hybrid vehicles are slightly different because of their combustion engine, which will present the same common faults as petrol and diesel vehicles. Filters, lubricants and ancillary parts will all require frequent replacement. A further consideration for the workshop is to ensure the high voltage system on a hybrid vehicle is discharged when working on the engine; not just for safety reasons, but also to prevent the engine from starting itself in the middle of maintenance, which could create serious damage to mechanical parts.
“Next, at number two, is learning the right skills. It is essential that technicians complete an accredited, professional electric vehicle training course before they start working on EVs. There are a variety of courses available across Europe for EV servicing, ranging from basic awareness and hazard management, right up to EV system repair and replacement. The number of safety factors involved when working on electric vehicles is so great that nobody ought to attempt carrying out work on EVs without first having competed the appropriate level of training.
“Finally, at number one, is the need to ensure safety at all times. For independent workshops, it is not only essential that technicians have the level of training required to competently work on electric vehicles, but that they also know how to make electrical systems safe when in the workshop. Most electric vehicles remain a potential hazard even when they are switched off. This is because a static electric vehicle system will retain charge in various capacitators and therefore must be switched off and powered down in the right sequence, allowing plenty of time between shut down and physical contact. It’s not just in the workshop where the right safety precautions need to be followed. For workshops that offer pick-up services, it is essential that an EV’s remote operation key is removed to a suitable distance and the battery disconnected before the vehicle is lifted. This ensures it does not activate mid-journey, en-route to the repair facility.”
Fatiha added: “Working on live electrical equipment should only be considered when there is no other way for work to be undertaken and even then, only if absolutely necessary and deemed safe to do so. Technicians should always consider the risk associated with working on electric vehicles. This includes an assessment of the risk to them, the risk to others and the risk to the immediate environment.”  

EV training boost from Autotech Training
While 75,000 vehicle technicians will be needed to service the electric vehicle parc within the next few years, the IMI recently identified that just 5% of technicians currently working in garages and dealerships are EV-trained. With this in mind, Autotech Training recently opened its purpose-built EV training suite at the Autotech Group’s Milton Keynes HQ, which  it announced at the end of 2020.
“We are delighted to open our EV Training Suite,” said Mandla Ndhlovu, Training Delivery Director for Autotech Training. “The percentage of vehicle technicians sufficiently trained to safely service electric/hybrid vehicles is nowhere near where it should be. So, not only do we hope the training suite will have a significant impact on up-skilling technicians, but the Level 1 IMI course will provide anyone working around electric/hybrid vehicles with a foundation level of awareness. All companies have a duty of care to ensure that ANY employee who comes into contact with an electric/hybrid vehicle has this basic level of understanding.”
The move is part of a larger push by the Autotech Group on the EV front. Last year, CEO Gavin White joined the IMI TechSafeSector Advisory Group to help drive forward the Electrified Vehicle Professional Standard. Meanwhile, the company also pledged that every vehicle technician and MOT tester contactor working full time within its Autotech Recruit division will be trained to a minimum Level 2 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle IMI standard by the end of this year.

Cool idea

Published:  10 May, 2021

In 1989, The Montreal Protocol was agreed in order to phase out the use of ozone depleting substances (ODS). This covered CFCs including refrigerant gases such as R12, which was extensively used in car A/C systems and is now banned. HFC R134a became the substitute.
In 2007, the Kyoto Protocol created the F-Gas Regulations; the objective being to further prevent and reduce the emissions of fluorinated gases due to their global warming potential (GWP). Although R134a is not an ODS, it does have a high GWP of 1430, meaning it is 1430 times worse than CO2 for global warming for the same mass. At this time, all new vehicles in the EU were banned from using refrigerant gases with a GWP over 150. The most common gas now used in new cars is HFO R1234yf – with a GWP of 4. R134a can still be used with older cars that originally used R134a.
The phase-out of certain F-gases, including R134a, and the phase in of more environmentally friendly refrigerants, such as R1234yf, has led to supply chain issues. The reduction of availability of R134a supply and the immediate need for R1234yf, has made both of these gases expensive. This has led to a large global problem of counterfeit gases claiming to be R134a or R1234yf. These counterfeit gases can be flammable and toxic, causing potential danger to personnel and equipment.
Status Scientific Control is a UK company with over three decades of experience in manufacturing and supplying safety-critical gas detection equipment for hazardous and safe area applications, Status Scientific is now bringing this expertise to the automotive industry. The Mentor Automotive Refrigerant Identifier products are indispensable tools for the automotive AC system servicing and maintenance industry.

Features include:

Third Time Lucky

DPF Doctor, Chay Blyth shares his experiences with a car he was presented with after two previous fixes elsewhere had failed
Published:  04 May, 2021

Today’s vehicle case study is a 2011 Vauxhall Insignia which came to us because of a loss of power. It had been looked at twice by another garage to no avail. As with every diagnostic job, we started by questioning the customer so we can gain as much background information as possible. After this initial phone call, I was confident of the type of fault being presented. This was confirmed at the subsequent diagnostic assessment. On running the global fault scan, we found multiple faults relating to the turbo system with ‘underboost’ and ‘overboost’ codes alongside DPF soot accumulation codes logged in the memory of the ECU.    
We followed our industry-leading DPF assessment, learned through the DPF Doctor Network practical training programme. Firstly, using smoke testing we found the split intercooler hose (see Fig.1) which coincided with our P0299 turbo underboost code. However, the assessment does not finish when we find a fault. We see it through to the end. Further testing revealed that the vacuum control solenoid was not controlling the vacuum to move the turbo actuator which then mates up with the turbo overboost code stored. Using the serial data, we could see there was also EGR and air flow issues caused by running the engine with a boost leak.
Excessive soot and black smoke from the engine had choked the intake system and EGR valve. To tackle this mass of build-up soot and carbon we used the JLM Intake Extreme Cleaning Toolkit to break down the carbon. We removed the intake pipe and could see the thick ‘black death’ in the intake manifold (see Fig.2). As the chemical worked its way through, we could see on the serial data that air flow and DPF pressures were coming down. An endoscope was sent down the intake where we could see first-hand how well the intake clean had worked. We were impressed! This removed the turbo lag and flat spot at lower RPM.  

We went on to rectify the remaining faults. We added a bottle of JLM Extreme Clean to a full tank of fuel and took the car on the road to monitor some more live data and watch the Extreme Clean work its magic on the DPF system during regeneration. By the end of the road test the DPF pressures were down to single figures which is just what we would expect from a three-stage clean. To finish the job, we added a bottle of JLM Engine Oil Flush to the engine and carried out an oil and filter change to ensure any chemical from the intake clean was not in the engine’s vital organs (See Fig.3).
Our customer was absolutely delighted given he was expecting the worst after the previous garage had tried twice to fix. We use the Engine Oil Flush and an Emissions treatment on every vehicle we service. Customers always comment on the increased MPG and how clean the oil is after the flush has been used.
We have used JLM Lubricants’ products since we opened our garage doors in July 2020. I am pleased to report that we have never been let down by the quality and with the support received from Kalimex, UK distributors of JLM, Darren Darling, Founder of the DPF Doctor Network, or even JLM Managing Director Gilbert Groot. The support in our network is absolutely second to none.

JLM products used
Diesel Intake Extreme Cleaning Toolkit J02280 and J02285: This is a highly effective yet simple way to clean the entire combustion and exhaust system on a neglected diesel engine. With this low-cost kit you can quickly restore performance and reduce emissions. Developed in collaboration with diesel professionals including Darren Darling, the system delivers a controlled dose of powerful clean and flush fluids that gently decontaminate the air intake, combustion chamber, valves, injectors, and variable turbo vanes of a dirty diesel engine. No removal required. It is much more powerful than an additive added to the fuel tank or an aerosol air intake spray. Used with the two dedicated and chemically advanced cleaning fluids, each one addressing different contaminations to restore the original air flow to the engine.
Extreme Clean J02360: A very strong all-in-one blend of high-end chemicals to detox the entire fuel system including turbo, EGR and DPF.
Engine Oil Flush J04835: This gets the most out of new oil by cleaning out more dirt and contamination when changing the old oil and when used regularly, will not allow the build-up of dirt to develop again. It reduces fuel consumption and improves engine performance.
Emission Reduction Treatment J02370: A shot of this additive in the fuel tank will reduce the emissions and help to prevent a MOT emission fail or resolve a post-MOT emission fail. It also helps keep the exhaust and CAT clean.
For more information visit and

Setting the bar high

Part Three
Published:  22 April, 2021

Before I begin part three I have somewhat of an important admission, right up to the closing paragraph of this instalment; I still don’t know the actual cause of the incorrect fuel pressure during warm up.
I hope that part two showed a methodical approach to data acquisition to determine how the fault occurred and a clear path towards further evaluation. I also need you to accept that a great deal more testing behind the scenes had been carried out, but for the flow and purity of the topic I have cherry-picked the more interesting elements within the logic timeline. In other words, I have not cheated you with the facts, as presented to me.
So, what do we know? GDI fuel pressure is reducing in a predictable, non-random manner under PCM control. We have not yet discussed Lambda feedback. We did monitor this much earlier in our evaluation, but I decided to introduce it within the topic, in a way that is logical, allowing me to explain fully, and in detail, the diagnostic process with component functionality.

It is not possible to accurately diagnose any fault without fully understanding how the system responds to data input. With any fuelling fault evaluation, you must observe request and corrected data in order to understand if the PCM is responding in closed loop or attempting to correct a fault condition. Our PCM is in closed loop but appears to be causing not correcting the fault.
Most sensors in Europe tend to be 5-wire Bosch, the remainder fall into the 4-wire DENSO type. The 5-wire ID is as follows: Grey, NBV; White, pulsed heater ground; Yellow, reference low 2.2v; Black ref high, 2.8v; Red signal milli/amp, voltage.
The early Bosch variant carries a zero current on the signal wire there will also be a voltage transition between 2.2v and 2.8v, if AFR = Lambda 1. An excessive oxygen condition will cause current to go high of zero and oxygen deficiency would cause current to go low of zero (+/- 5ma). Voltage response on red is similar, lean above 2.8v, rich below 2.2v. The two reference voltages, black/yellow do not change.
I am mindful to avoid the rich/lean description as it can lead to incorrect diagnosis especially without noting fuel trim characteristics, air leaks and dribbly injectors for example, as our problem vehicle clearly demonstrates.

Now look in your pocket. I previously mentioned the GDI system storing pressure, unlike common rail diesel. If you rev the engine hard and cut the ignition at peak RPM, you should reach approximately 180 bars. Cycle the ignition back on and observe for any pressure decay. Pressure will hold semi-indefinitely over time.
The later Bosch broadband sensor as fitted to our 1.8 engine is somewhat different in circuit response. Both high and low reference voltages are a little higher, the red signal wire does respond to current in a similar way, however both reference voltages do change in the opposite direction. Sorry if this is confusing, I did warn you.
We need to confirm what the Lambda current is doing on the Audi A3 at the instant of the fuelling anomaly, i.e., when the fuel pressure drops, and more to the point what the PCM is doing about it.
To be sure of our findings, we obtained an identical engine management system fitted to a SEAT LEON FR. Please refer to Fig.1, our first Pico image, which shows current dropping below zero red trace, with both reference voltages rising symmetrically in response to low exhaust oxygen content {rich} From left to right, red trace, initial current at zero, open throttle, load enrichment, overrun fuel off, high exhaust oxygen, repeat test. All normal responses.
Now, please refer to Part two Fig.2 in the March issue, which is conveniently also Fig.2 here. This shows serial data during warm up, taken at a similar time as in the previous data from the faulty Audi A3.
It is obvious the fuel pressure taken from the FR is dramatically higher than the AUDI A3, so what would cause the PCM to adopt a lower GDI pressure? Answer that in the privacy of your own mind. This is the moment that defines the essence of a diagnostic technician. Assess data, do not guess, measurements are essential, prediction is the mother of all mistakes.

Back to the PICO scope, take a close look at the Lambda current at the point the fuel pressure is reduced (please refer to Fig.3). Red trace, lambda current, cursor set at zero = Lambda 1. Blue trace, rail pressure, cursor set at 45bar, which is too low? Green/ black = reference voltages, normal response to current change.  Bank 1 sensor 1, red trace, suddenly outputs a negative current which theoretically represents a rich condition. The PCM obliges by reducing fuel pressure still further from 45bar to 38bar. This is the essence of the problem. The pressure was already too low. Looks like a faulty sensor. However, replacing the sensor had no effect on the fault condition.
So, we went back to look at fuel trim characteristics, when 38 bar pressure was set, the pcm adopted between -25-32% trim.  With a reduction of mean injector quantity from 2.5m/s at 19mg/s to 1.6m/s at 12mg/s. remember the mean fuelling value is taken from two injection events per cycle.
At this point, and based on the absence of any obvious sensor deviation or cross-reference variation, I suggested that cloning the PCM from the LEON FR would confirm or exclude any internal PCM error. My thoughts here were based on the PCM adopting a rich fuelling correction without any input request from a sensor, Lambda error accepted. Diagnostics can be defined by a series of negative results leading to the eventual successful conclusion. So long as it has discipline and a logical process, coding the donor PCM from the LEON FR did not solve the problem. That was a big positive for me. We now know for certain that the error is within the engine fuelling system or an obscure sensor input deviation.

Endgame or Infinity War?
Endgame, we hoped, arrived at ADS Preston, with David G, and me. Earlier interruptions did not help continuity of thought! Today David G and I were given uninterrupted time and access. I suggested we limited the scope observation to lambda current observation only, as this was the critical instant of the fault occurrence. Concentrating on focused blocks of serial data using VCDS.
Fuel trim correction was selected with all the following group data:

Thermostat solutions from Dayco

Published:  19 April, 2021

Few influences on the engine are quite as critical, and have so many repercussions throughout the overall system, as its operating temperature. Maintaining the correct temperature in the various parts of the engine not only optimises fuel efficiency and minimises emissions, but also ensures the oil is at its most effective in lubricating and protecting the internal components, for example.

Setting the bar high

Part two
Published:  15 April, 2021

Where were we? I’m wondering that myself, so I will begin with a recap of part one, along with an honest critique of what has gone up to this point. So far, the following parts have been replaced; Four spark plugs, four ignition coils, high pressure fuel pump, and #1 high-pressure injector.
The phrases ‘dirty washing’ and ‘public’ come to mind. Despite what I always tell you, these parts were replaced as a result of a reaction to the symptoms and not as a result of thorough data analysis.
We understand, with confidence, that the fault is due to a lean fuelling condition, but we do not understand the cause. I do, however, have a high degree of confidence it is not a hydraulic-mechanical injector fault, following the ASNU bench test.
David G and I took a step back to review our approach and plan a way forward. Using VCDS, we elected to monitor critical events from crank start through to hot idle. Referring to Fig.1, please note there were no initial issues during at first, then quite suddenly after 30-50 seconds, you will see what happened, coinciding with the onset of combustion error. High pressure is a touch low though.
Moving onto Fig.2, please note the drop in high fuel pressure. At this point it is sitting at 45bar. This is not correct, so why do request and actual match?  Has the PCM in error calculated this as the correct value? Or is it an incorrect load value from a sensor, wiring or environment? Maybe it is a PCM internal fault? Experience generally convinces me it is not the PCM however.

Let’s discuss the evidence, while also keeping an eye on the camshaft timing which I alluded to in part one last month.
From cold, the exhaust camshaft increases its lift by approx. 0.6mm and adopts an advance angle of 35°. The inlet remains at zero and does not have any lift function. As a point of interest, you should hear a distinct click from the cam housing when full exhaust lift ends together with a sudden reduction in open angle. Consult data frames to see what I mean. This occurs normally after approximately two minutes.  Please also note the change in exhaust cam timing to 2.8° actual 4.0° specified. The inlet now adopts an angle of 15° actual and specified.
Moving onto Fig.3, the data displayed shows values from the engine mid-way through the warm-up cycle. The engine is still fuelling from the high-pressure system. The high pressure has now deteriorated to a mere 35bar, and 50% of the nominal expected value. The lean combustion problem is now extreme with misfire count increasing dramatically.
We now reach Fig.4. Finally, after approximately 10 minutes, the PCM reverts to port injection. This can vary dependant on environmental temperatures and engine speed and is accompanied by a more prominent click from the exposed port injectors. The engine now recovers its combustion composure, with the useful visual evidence, high pressure increases to 90bar. The reason for this is to prepare the high-pressure system in readiness for any instant high load demand. Keep this information in your pocket until later.

With all this information available, what is my assessment? It is a fact that the only route for fuel to enter the engine combustion chamber is via the lateral feed injectors. The only explanation for incorrect fuelling quantity is a control deviation due to a circuit fault, physical hydraulic-mechanical injector fault, or a PCM calculation error.
Having previously expressed confidence in the hydraulic-mechanical injector function focus transfers towards the PCM fuelling feed back system, the Lambda sensors should theoretically provide all the critical answers we need.
Just to fill in a few gaps before you all go dashing to the internet blog sites, we did conduct exactly accurate injector current profile analysis. The ultimate PCM injector control is fuel pulse time and current path. Using Pico scope and a Hall Effect current clamp, we monitored the injector function together with high rail pressure. We noted no discernible change in injector control when witnessing a rail pressure drop.
Please refer to Fig.5 for this. Blue/black trace represents the injector current path across two injector circuits, with both homogenous and stratified events visible. Green trace represents the PWM control for the high-pressure actuator. We continued monitoring current and rail pressure until the moment port injection took over. Looking to Fig.6, blue/ black trace in this instance represents the current path to the direct injectors, while the red trace shows the seamless transition to the port injectors.

Coming up
Keeping up so far? Well, it’s not over yet.  Part three will discuss the response of Bank1 Sensor1 function and response. This will be conducted through direct current measurement, with Pico and serial data via VCDS, paying particular attention to fuelling correction.
Now things are going to get very interesting. What you are expecting is not going to happen. Exciting isn’t it? Good enough for a direct-to-Netflix action movie, or even a mini-series? See you next month.

A/C season: Trust Nissens

Published:  07 April, 2021

The complete Nissens A/C programme includes compressors, condensers, interior blowers, evaporators, receiver-driers, fans and most recently, thermal expansion valves (TXV) and is in constant growth with more than 200 new to range additions introduced each year. The compressor range consists of almost 600 part numbers, supplemented by close to 1,200 condensers, which cater for 79% and 94% of the European car parc respectively. Another notable distinction is that in excess of 200 components in the range fit the most popular hybrid and electric vehicle applications.

Thermostat problems and solutions – Ford Transit

Published:  25 March, 2021

Dayco offers some answers around the thorny issue of thermostat problems aboard the trusty Ford Transit 

Nissens expands A/C with TVX

Thermal expansion valves have been added to the Nissens A/C range
Published:  22 March, 2021

Nissens Automotive has expanded its AC parts offering with the introduction of a thermal expansion valve (TXV) range.
The new TXV range has been available to UK parts distributors since November 2020, and will be available to AC installers from February. Jonas Evald Kristensen, Product Manager, Climate Comfort System, at Nissens commented on the move: “Our development approach behind the expansion valves launch was, among others, determined by two important measures. Both are for the clear benefit of the aftermarket at all levels. First, by the aim of offering the widest range of different components in the system, hence making it possible for distributors to benefit from an extensive replacement parts programme, available from one supplier. In addition, by maximising the vehicle parc coverage of the assorted offering, we help our customers to enhance their competitiveness, so they can provide an even more suitable and comprehensive solution to fulfil the needs of the market.
“The second measure was aimed at installers, to ensure they undertake the correct A/C service. The proper fitting procedure of other costly system components, such as the A/C compressor, can now more easily be followed, as the valve replacement is one of the key steps in the process. Additionally, Nissens’ TXV is a First-Fit product and is equipped with all the necessary installation parts, so the technician does not have to spend extra time to find the O-rings or mounting bolts needed for the replacement.”

Smart choice

We hear from ECOBAT on why the company offers the smart choice for professionals in the automotive aftermarket
Published:  19 March, 2021

In 2016, three battery businesses within the ECOBAT group were brought together as ECOBAT Battery Technologies (ECOBAT), to serve the entire European aftermarket. As an established business with a rich heritage and superb reputation that has been trading in the UK for close to 70 years – initially as Manchester Batteries and then Manbat – ECOBAT’s ethos is to supply its customers with the high quality batteries they require, when they need them, as well as provide a level of customer service that is only possible with the experience that comes with a longstanding, knowledgeable sales team, with core battery expertise, willing to go the extra mile.
ECOBAT’s dedicated support for its customers also filters down to the workshop, where, as automotive battery technology evolves, it wants technicians to be fully aware of both the type of batteries and the associated systems that are present in the modern vehicle.
Despite the huge growth in sales of pure and hybrid electric vehicles seen recently, the fact remains that the vast majority of the vehicle parc still relies on a lead-acid battery. However, within this number, it is those vehicles equipped with micro-hybrid or Stop/Start technology that represent the fastest growing segment, and these are designed to use either an absorbed glass mat (AGM) or enhanced flooded battery (EFB). So, for the typical workshop, it is these batteries and the technology associated with them, that is now the most relevant.
To allow them to understand these developments and grasp the opportunity this evolution provides, ECOBAT has introduced two initiatives that have changed the landscape at installer level, which is where the repercussions of the technology have the greatest impact, because of the interaction they have with the consumer.
Due to the fact that battery replacement in a Stop/Start-equipped vehicle follows a different process to that of a traditional system, the first step was to provide technicians with all the necessary tools to enable them to accurately check the condition of the battery and replace them correctly. This was accomplished with the introduction of ECOBAT ONE BOX, a four-in-one kit containing a battery analyser to accurately assess the condition of the existing battery, a Smart charger and OBD lead to support the vehicle’s ECU/data storage during the replacement process and a battery validation tool to ensure the new AGM/EFB battery is correctly assimilated into the vehicle’s battery management system (BMS).
The second was an online training and assessment module to instruct them to use the tools within the ONE BOX package to their full effect and allow them to replace Stop/Start batteries with complete confidence. In addition, having certified technicians of this calibre on the premises also elevates the status of the workshop in the eyes of the motorist, with the knock-on benefits that naturally brings.
These significant steps would obviously come to nothing without access to the high quality  batteries that are needed to successfully complete Stop/Start replacement. However, this isn’t an issue for ECOBAT, as it is able to back up its support offering with the brands – Exide, VARTA, Lucas and Numax – that provide workshops with a range of solutions that can cater for every conceivable application, and allows them to service and repair their customers’ vehicles to original equipment standards, with the reliability and peace of mind that assures. For further details,visit:

Add more value to vehicle servicing

Kalimex says the pandemic has highlighted the need for technicians to provide and promote high quality additives to customers in between vehicle servicing
Published:  06 March, 2021

This article is the result of one of our trade customers, my local garage, asking for tips on how to promote some of the JLM Lubricants’ products we supply to them. Many of the products are for trade use only. For example, the DPF Cleaning Toolkit which will clean a fully blocked DPF without having to remove it. However, other JLM products are designed to prevent problems from recurring and are simple to apply. This makes them ideal for a customer to use in between having their car serviced.

Setting the bar high

Frank’s recent struggles with an Audi S3 is a tale for the ages, and it nearly took him as long to get a grip on the problem
Published:  02 March, 2021

I have always attempted to present topics that vary in subject and technical challenge. This month’s subject delivers on all counts. A unique problem which challenges over vehicle knowledge, process and patience. In fact, it was so complex, this month’s topic almost ran in real time with publication.   
A story from my many years of cycling in Europe will, I hope, illustrate my involvement with this diagnosis process. Several years ago, cycling from Paris to Pisa we had to divert from Grenoble to Marseille by train due to the Alps closed by heavy snow. Why should I have been caught out in this way? Well, it was May! Our onward journey took us to Ventimiglia. On this journey we watched in amusement as some people kept boarding and leaving the train playing cat and mouse with the ticket collectors. This very accurately describes my involvement in the diagnostic process with an AUDI S3, it also reminds me of an old expression; ‘Two many cooks in the kitchen’. It also reminded me of an old army adage; ‘Never share command!’

The vehicle presented many potential causes for what initially seemed a straightforward problem. It was booked in for a catalyst efficiency error, where a failed and partially restricted catalyst was discovered. This model variant utilises the brilliant EN888 engine which produces around 300BHP out of the box. This is a power plant I know very well due to my previous research and authoring in past technical topics. It is also fitted in my SEAT Cupra. Like the song says, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and I was the go-to tough guy. Where’s Billy Ocean when you need him?
Having removed the catalyst substrate, temporarily, It was noted that an intermittent misfire count was present on #1 cylinder. At this point I’m going to sound like a parrot; Misfire can and should be described more accurately as a combustion anomaly, the cause of which can be one of three possibilities; Fuelling, ignition, or mechanical malfunction. Somewhere in the mix of the repair process, responsibilities were split between three techs. This is something I do not agree with, but accept it can occur due to staff holidays which I think was the case here. Attention was first paid to the ignition, new spark plugs, and coils were exchanged. Result, no change. The intermittent combustion continued both on and off-load with a prevalence for #1 cylinder.

I was not involved with the diagnostic process at this point, but a decision was taken to remove both sets of injectors for ASNU test bench assessment. I did witness the results found by Peter B, which convinced me the fault lay elsewhere. The intake swirl flaps were cleaned and tested for smooth movement transition. David M decided to replace #1 high pressure injector which also muddied the waters. With the fault still present and apparently getting worse, the vehicle would start promptly then descend into a severe combustion malfunction this lasted for several minutes, then apparently smoothing out. However, under dynamic road test a combustion count was predominant on #1 cylinder but did display similar events on multiple cylinders. A serial data logs clearly identified a cylinder misfire count synchronised with a drop in high fuel pressure. Nominal fuel pressure during warm up is around 60 bar, this was reduced to around 35 bar with the immediate effect of increasing the misfire count. So, the problem was fuel supply related. David M took the decision to replace the high-pressure pump, believing the fault was a high-pressure pump problem. This did not have any effect whatsoever.

At this point I was asked to review the diagnostic process and provide advice, this is where I recalled jumping on and off the train with no fare in my pocket. My reputation was very much pinned on my passion for the application of oscilloscope evaluation, and still is. However, serial data is essential for capturing information. It is quick and provides the actual sensor values at the PCM and any correction values. I was updated as to the previous tests carried out to the priming system by David G and the issues with high-pressure control during cold start and warm up strategies.  Low pressure was confirmed normal at 4.5 bar with no cavitation. At this point, I need to explain how the EN888 engine utilises the dual injection system. From cold and during the warm-up phase, it employs only the high-pressure injectors at approximately 60 bar pressure, with three injection events during crank start. This is reduced to two injection events per cycle until the low-pressure manifold injectors take over. More about camshaft timing later – it’s going to get quite complicated.
Once started it continues with high pressure injectors for the entire warm-up period with two injection events in what “I” call homogenous and stratified delivery. Let me explain. Two thirds of the fuel required is on the intake cycle, homogenous mixture, with the final event on compression stroke, stratified delivery. It then switches over to manifold injection at low-pressure, approximately 5 bar for the entire low to mid-range load strategies. The high-pressure system is only used for high load and engine RPM strategies. The reason for this is quite revealing! Direct injection strategies can produce higher particulates and NOx emission levels than diesel during lean fuelling and high load strategies. Now, I’ve been a bit in the back-seat so far, what will all the sheer number of cooks in the car, looking to find the kitchen. Part two is where I take a more direct involvement in assessing the previous tests using the Pico scope and cross-referencing serial values and pcm correction. I promise some remarkably interesting results. Join us next issue for the continuation. In the meantime consider how you think the PCM should respond to sensor input, fuel trim, injector period and high rail pressure.


Surely a thermostat is a thermostat?

Published:  24 February, 2021

Dayco is urging garages to make sure they look to use the highest possible quality thermostats when replacement is required.

Looking back but motoring ahead

Mike from Kalimex, the distributors of JLM Lubricants’ products cast his eyes forward into 2021
Published:  19 January, 2021

Just 12 months ago, the future of the UK aftermarket appeared to be in good shape with the emphasis on moving motorists to newer, greener vehicles. Then along came COVID-19 and everything changed. Although government objectives remain the same, the average motorist now finds themselves looking at a significantly altered work-life balance with new priorities and new challenges.   
Sure, many would like to get their hands on the latest eco-vehicle but now most are struggling to keep their existing vehicle running and in good order. Budgets are tight. Undoubtedly this will have a big impact on the shape of the aftermarket in 2021.
Car sales statistics since lockdown began are already showing a sharp move from new car sales towards used car sales and an ever-ageing car parc; especially in those areas suffering the greatest economic impact. Motorists will naturally avoid spending money where possible and this has inevitably led to routine servicing being put off. The net result of this? Higher costs when their vehicle breaks down due to poor maintenance. It’s crucial therefore that the aftermarket emphasises the importance of preventative maintenance to motorists plus swift reaction to any dashboard faults.

As a result, savvy motorists will save money in the longer term but vehicle manufacturers will not be letting up on marketing their shiny new models. This means the independent aftermarket, from parts manufacturers, to motor factors and workshops, need to up their game when it comes to promoting the benefits of good quality maintenance for used and ageing cars.
The motorist is aware they should be greener in all aspects of life and a well-maintained vehicle ticks the green box. A good service will immediately improve emissions. Introducing a preventative regime with additives will help the motorist maintain lower emissions and it reduces the risk of major mechanical failures such as damaged exhaust filters, blocked injectors, and fouled turbos.

Drilling down to the specifics, what should the aftermarket focus on in 2021?
Diesel Particulate Filters: Ongoing lockdowns have meant that vehicle use has changed, with normality but a pipe dream. Journeys will be shorter and more frequent leading to increasing DPF problems because the filter is unable to regenerate.  Ignore it and the motorist will end up with unwelcome high bills or worse still, an unusable vehicle. The aftermarket must promote prevention which is easily accomplished with a quality DPF additive regime.  For a few pounds every month the motorist will avoid unnecessary bills of hundreds, potentially thousands of pounds. JLM Lubricants, for example, provide superb quality DPF products including a professional cleaning toolkit – the dirtiest of DPFs can be cleaned by a mechanic in situ.  Between services, a high-quality additive will keep the DPF in good shape.
Catalytic Converters: A CAT will often become blocked because of a poorly maintained engine. Keeping the engine clean helps keep the CAT clean, prolonging its life and avoiding unnecessary replacement costs for the motorist.
Turbos: A dirty turbo will strangle an otherwise good engine. Untreated it will lead to poor fuel consumption and increased emissions. On its own this means higher running costs for the motorist, but nothing compared to replacing a turbo.  A professional quality additive will clean the turbo and importantly help prevent further contamination.  

This approach to prevention and cure with additives should not be viewed as doing mechanics out of business, because in most cases it’s the mechanics using the additives as part of their service and servicing regime.  Keeping a vehicle on the road by avoiding preventable DPF, CAT or Turbo issues means that the vehicle is still rolling, rather than being mothballed or scrapped. This means that suspension, brakes, and routine serving still need seeing to. The aftermarket must show it can help the motorist save money and keep their car on the road for longer. It’s likely to be three years or more before we return to anything like pre-Coronavirus normality.
The move to greener motoring should not be put on hold because of the impact of COVID-19 but it will have a different look to what the government initially envisaged.  With the support of the independent aftermarket, motorists can reduce their impact on the environment and save money.  They can keep themselves on the road whether they use their car for work, the school run or for that much-needed staycation.  The government should embrace this approach and incorporate it into their green agenda. They too must accept there is an even tougher road ahead between today’s hard-pressed lockdown motorist and their vision of all electric motoring.
For more information visit and

Logic, process and intuitive thinking

Frank highlights the importance of a logical approach when dealing with a diagnostic conundrum
Published:  13 January, 2021

Every so often a challenge comes along that demands, knowledge, skill, and a high degree of logic for the approach. But first, a little reflection over the last few months, and a trend I have noticed, namely that I do not quite understand why we are undertaking such major repairs on relatively recent vehicles.
What could be causing this? One possible reason could be a combination of complacency, lack of affordable maintenance funds on the part of the owner, or a substandard maintenance history. At ADS we have probably replaced six or more power plants with costs reaching very high thousands.
Are they owners purchasing vehicles they cannot afford to maintain properly, thereby leading to catastrophic mechanical failures? Or are these unlucky drivers simply not receiving the right kind of professional advice from the independent sector? If the latter is true, then we all need to take on the responsibility before we are branded bandits and opportunists cashing in on vulnerable owners. I’m not suggesting that a garage should become a charitable institution, but surely there is a profitable middle ground?

Distinct priorities
Back to the point at hand. This month’s problem could have developed into a major diagnostic failure had it not been for ADS’ Dave Gore, our diagnostic lead technician, a.k.a Diagnostic David. I would also like to thank James Dillon for th week’s boot camp training. Peter, our workshop technician, returned enthused and confident in his new skills.
The vehicle under consideration is a VW Golf 2.0 diesel EDC 17 common-rail with SCR after-treatment, which includes dual EGR.
I am going to begin with an overview of the potential complexity and problematic SCR additive system. Manufacturers are wrestling with a greasy pig in their attempts to clean up diesel combustion. I accept there has been big improvement, but it falls well short of the ideal and has without doubt introduced more problems than improvements.
The dual EGR system has two distinct priorities from cold. The hot exhaust gas is diverted by the high pressure EGR valve directly into the inlet manifold. The purpose is to rapidly heat the catalyst and DPF.
The low pressure EGR acts in a traditional manner with its priority to reduce combustion temperatures therefore reducing NOx. So far two valves, and the third valve is an exhaust brake. This throttle is fitted after the DPF/catalyst in the exhaust downstream, and is partially closed to raise the exhaust gas pressure during SCR additive treatment causing the gases to make a second pass through a water cooled egr cooler and DPF/CAT. This ensures the urea is fully saturated within the substrate reducing NOx.
The intake module, as it called with VAG vehicles, also has a water-cooled intake air cooler.

Discreet and regular
Our Golf was subject to a discreet and regular loss of coolant. No external leaks were detectable, except what appeared to be a leaking pressure cap. The car had no obvious issues, was smooth running with exhaust emissions that appeared normal.
Rather than just dive in and confirm the problem, I think it’s much more important to explain the tool options and diagnostic process. I have often used this phrase on my training courses many times; “The process is more important than the repair.” In other words, knowing how is a greater priority.
Water loss possibilities? External leaks or internal leaks? Given the current SCR additive system, engine layout, and lack of accessibility the process and tools will determine success or failure.

Cylinder assessment
Given that the pressure cap was showing deposits on the header tank spill, although not consistently, suspicion lay with compression entering the coolant jacket. Applying the chemical combustion leak detector on the expansion tank showed no evidence of combustion gases within the coolant.
So, a new cap was fitted with no effect. The next option was to conduct a live in-cylinder compression test. The problem with diesel vehicles is the omission of pumping losses (the resistance to engine Volumetric efficiency), so it is imperative to introduce an intake restriction this allows for a drop of in cylinder pressure during the intake stroke.
Most of you by now will accept my assertion that vacuum does not exist where as a pressure differential is much more accurate for in cylinder assessment. By restricting the intake, a greater pressure differential is present during the pistons descent, therefore confirming good sealing properties of valves, piston rings and hopefully cylinder head gasket.

Driving conditions
With faults still not found thus far, David’s next move, was in my opinion, a textbook in logic process and intuitive thinking.
The clue lay in the fact that coolant loss only seems to happen during driving conditions.
David attached the Pico WPS to both the charge pressure circuit and coolant jacket. When driving the vehicle on load, both pressure sensors indicated an increase in pressure during turbo assistance. In simple terms, the rise in pressure was symmetrical.
Convinced the head gasket was not at fault, David assessed the problem to be the inlet cooler.

Removing the cooler and conducting a pressure test confirmed an internal leak. So, in conclusion based not on opinion but actual test data evidence, David assessed the problem as a positive pressure differential during turbo boost, which was pressurising the coolant jacket, and pushing coolant out of the filler cap.
This is the reason why I always discuss pressure differential rather than suction, compression, or vacuum. Why? Pressure differential produces flow, from high to low.

In conclusion, avoiding the catastrophic error of a wrongly diagnosed cylinder head gasket, a new intake cooler
was fitted.

Remanufacturing with BORG Automotive

According to BORG Automotive, remanufactured parts offer quality equal to that of OE
Published:  05 January, 2021

When it comes to replacing car parts, many people consider two options: OE parts or the traditional aftermarket component. But there is a third option: Remanufacturing.

For more than 45 years, BORG Automotive has delivered remanufactured automotive parts for the European aftermarket. Today, the organisation remanufactures starters, alternators, brake calipers, AC compressors and EGR valves at its Polish production sites, and steering products – which include racks, pumps and electric columns – in the UK. In addition, the company has recently acquired the Spanish turbocharger company, TMI, which has added a ninth product group to the portfolio.

To remanufacture automotive parts, used products, namely cores, should be retrieved. BORG Automotive sells their remanufactured units with a deposit, which is returned to the customers if they send BORG the unit they are replacing.

The core BORG is getting in exchange for a remanufactured unit is sent to their core warehouse in Poland the largest core warehouse in Europe with more than one million units – ready for remanufacturing.

As a remanufacturer, BORG Automotive controls the entire remanufacturing process from parts and production to sales and service. This total control of every process gives BORG Automotive an advantage when it comes to quality control and testing. All units are individually tested according to BORG’s remanufacturing and factory standards and the production has been certified according to ISO standards 9001:2015 and 14001:2015.  

The remanufacturing process is carefully executed, and thus needs special attention throughout the entire process. This is due to the advanced and challenging remanufacturing process, which each product demands.

The remanufacturing process takes place in BORG’s own production sites in Poland and the UK and consists of six steps:

Now is the time

With many motorists closely monitoring their spending, now may be the moment for remanufactured components to shine
Published:  07 December, 2020

COVID-19 has caused a whole slew of scenarios that no one saw coming a year ago. One that was pretty apparent early on in the pandemic though was that many people would be looking to make savings where possible, and the independent garage sector tends to do well when the cost of going to the dealer becomes unsustainable.
    Once you have the customers, you need to continue to help them. Just because your labour rates are lower, in some instances the sheer cost of replacing parts will make repairs very expensive. In these instances, remanufactured components may be the answer.

Echoing the previous article in this issue, we start with steering. “Quality is the key word when it comes to steering systems,” said Edin Elezovic, Product Manager for Steering at BORG Automotive, “as the latter ensures that the driver is in control of the vehicle. Customer-perceived quality is exactly what BORG Automotive, the owner of brands such as Elstock, DRI and Re-EX, invests substantial effort, time and resources in achieving. The goal is ultimate quality at least on a par with OE parts. Nothing less.”
    Edin continued: “The process of remanufacturing is based on expertise in remanufacturing which stems from many decades in the market. It uses innovative engineering methods devised by the company itself to allow for the most effective process and quality assurance. All the components the organisation remanufactures pass through the same process. They are dismantled, cleaned, inspected and sorted, reconditioned or replaced and reassembled. Finally, each unit is individually tested and subject to a rigorous inspection before being painted and packed to meet customer expectations and requirements.”
    Among the different product groups at BORG Automotive, the steering products - racks, pumps and electric columns - are all remanufactured at BORG’s plant in UK, where the steering know-how and expertise is located.
    Edin observed: “Regardless of the vehicle segment, BORG remanufactures to the highest standards so the customers can install the products with peace of mind. Only OE cores are remanufactured and all critical components are fully replaced to ensure the highest quality. During the quality check, all cores and parts are visually examined and the tie rods are subject to strict OE standard internal compliance. After dismantling, the parts will undergo the multistage washing process to ensure the cleanliness of all internal and external parts. After assembly, the units are subject to our electronic end-of-line testing using real-world simulation to ensure their functional performance is at OE level.
    “BORG Automotive’s steering products have experienced an incredibly high growth rate. Such progression is driven by racks, specifically the hydraulic power family, the volume of which has quintupled in the last five years thanks to BORG Automotive’s structured approach of process development and continuous focus on improving quality, which has now achieved its highest point historically.“
    He continued: “We have achieved a level of quality that our customers are very much satisfied with. For instance, we can see that the number of claims we receive is almost four times less compared with two years ago. This level of quality is necessary to satisfy our OEM customers."

To sustain growth in the long term by confronting the transitions taking place in mechatronics, BORG Automotive’s engineers in UK have focused on implementing processes and testing procedure that enable the remanufacturing of the latest generation of electric power steering racks, even those requiring fault-tolerant and time-deterministic protocols such as FlexRay.
“We believe that electronic steering racks will be the most common type of steering rack in the future,” said Edin “and we actually expect that more than half of the European car parc will be fitted with ESRs in the course of the next 10-15 years. We have therefore made massive investments in our ongoing work with mechatronics, which means that we are prepared with new technologies to expand our product portfolio.”
BORG Automotive is continuously developing its remanufacturing processes and is adding many new products to the existing ranges. It is investing a great deal in exploring new car models in the market and is researching how to remanufacture these parts, which is the key to sustained market coverage. As an example of this, BORG recently released racks for the latest BMW and Ford applications.
“In our newly built mechatronics facility, we created an ESD protected area (EPA). This gives us the opportunity to effectively control and avoid issues caused by electrostatic discharge (ESD), as this can have a damaging effect on components and products containing electronic circuitry. For the new facility we have developed our own electronic testing equipment in order to ensure high-quality products.”  
Edin went onto say: “We have expanded our mechatronics team as we are fully aware of the future of mechatronics within the field of steering racks. We have an in-house facility built for this purpose with an ESD-protected production area.”
He added: “Thanks to all this, steering products from BORG Automotive offer quality on a par with OE parts. But it is not just the quality that is extremely important to BORG Automotive; it also wishes to provide the best possible customer experience when it comes to remanufactured automotive parts, which is why the company continues to strive to offer a plug-and-play solution so that the mechanic enjoys an uncomplicated installation experience.”

Remanufactured component providers are adding more product all the time, across the car. With this in mind, Ivor Searle recently added manual transmissions for the Ford Fiesta, Focus and C-Max to its all-makes range of gearboxes for cars and LCVs.  The newly-added applications include units for 1.0 litre petrol EcoBoost derivitives of the Fiesta and Focus, as well as 1.6 litre diesel DuraTorq powered versions of the Focus and
Commenting on the company’s reman programme, David Eszenyi, Commercial Director at Ivor Searle said: “Ivor Searle‘s remanufactured gearbox programme covers around 90% of the UK’s vehicle parc and cost up to 40% less than OE.  For peace of mind, all Ivor Searle gearboxes are covered by a 12-month unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty.”
David concluded: ”In addition, Ivor Searle holds comprehensive stocks to ensure first class customer service and minimum vehicle downtime and provides free next day UK mainland delivery for stock items ordered before 3.30pm.”

Grab onto the future

Engines are changing, so the clutch and transmission system is being adapted too
Published:  03 December, 2020

Power transmission drive systems have changed over recent years. Dayco’s National Sales Manager, Steve Carolan observed: “The internal combustion engine almost always relies on a mechanically driven primary
drive system.
“Until relatively recently, these would have been either via a chain running inside the engine or a belt mounted externally. However, in 2007, Dayco designed and developed an alternative solution that combined the benefits of both a ‘wet’ chain and ‘dry’ belt, to produce the world’s first belt-in-oil (BIO) drive system.”

Steve continued: “BIO technology has brought in a true revolution in synchronous transmission systems because developing a solution that enables a drive belt to work inside the confines of the engine has meant that the best of belt and chain technologies have been brought together.
“As a result, the previous advantages associated with a chain driven system over an external belt system in terms of the size of the engine, have been mitigated and the more evident advantages of a belt transmission have been maintained. These benefits translate into the ability to reduce the weight of the transmission system and therefore reduce its inertia, which combined with the lower friction properties of a flexible belt, delivers the twin environmental benefits of lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
“BIO belts are also typically not as wide as dry belts because the need to dissipate the heat that naturally builds up as a result of friction between the belt and the pulleys/tensioners, is counteracted by the fact that the oil both reduces the level of friction between these components and cools the belt. Dayco BIO applications also benefit from the company’s unique use of PTFE on the teeth of its HT belts, which further reduces friction and means that they have a greater load capacity and provide a longer service life.
“However, perhaps the most significant contribution to these savings is the fact that, unlike a chain, a timing belt, whether located on the wet or dry side of the engine, cannot stretch, which prevents the engine from undergoing phase variations due to elongation and therefore actively helps to avoid increased pollution caused by incorrect valve timing.”

Carmakers are being strongly encouraged through worldwide legislation to reduce exhaust emissions and increase fuel efficiency. “Looking at their mainstream power plants,” said Steve, “Ford for example, has made the decision to deploy a range of high performance, small capacity petrol and diesel engines to address the emission/consumption challenge.
“Ford’s EcoBoost family of turbocharged, direct injection petrol engines are designed to deliver levels of power and torque normally associated with larger capacity engines, while at the same time achieving 20% better fuel efficiency and 15% lower emissions. Integral to the EcoBoost design is the revolutionary BIO timing drive system developed by Dayco.”
Steve added: “These original equipment developments are naturally reflected in Dayco’s aftermarket programme, which allows factors to supply independent workshops with these solutions to enable them to offer their customers a like-for-like replacement that provides them with an alternative to the franchised dealer.”

As they change, clutch systems have a growing reputation for being complicated. “Some workshops avoid clutch work,” observed Schaeffler Marketing Communications Manager Jeff Earl, “preferring instead to send it to a ‘specialist’; however, by following a few simple precautions, every workshop can avoid turning work down and start turning a profit.
“Supplying car parts is becoming increasingly difficult, especially genuine parts from OE suppliers. Finding additional basic vehicle details – preferably directly from the car – will help the motor factor supply the correct part first time. Schaeffler’s REPXPERT online workshop portal is a perfect place to start.
“Technicians can also access REPXPERT direct from their mobile device, with extra functionality such as a barcode scanner that will take you straight to all of the technical documents for the parts you have ordered.”

“There is not a great deal of specialised equipment required, but a few essentials will make the job easier; a two-post ramp and a working transmission jack – or two if working on larger vehicles preferably with a tilting head for a trouble-free refit.
“A universal alignment tool will also make gearbox installation easier and prevent damage to the new clutch. While it is essential to use a special tool to fit self-adjusting clutches, Schaeffler’s SAC tool has added value, as it can be used during any clutch installation to help ensure correct fitment, whilst also including special alignment tools to suit all the latest BMW applications.
“A DMF can be checked for wear prior to removal by using a LuK DMF tool in conjunction with the DMF CheckPoint function in the REPXPERT app. If the DMF does need replacing, then the app also informs the technician if new bolts are required and what torque values to use.”

The right parts
“Once the parts have arrived and the gearbox has been removed,” continued Jeff, “it’s always worth conducting some basic comparisons.
“Sliding the drive plate back and forth to distribute a small amount of grease is a good check that the splines are correct – not forgetting to wipe off any excess grease afterwards.
“On many LuK clutches ‘Getriebe Seite’ may be seen, which is German for ‘Gearbox Side’, while ‘Schwungrad’ is translated to ‘Flywheel’.
If something different is identified – or no direction is given – technicians should carefully check the installation instructions, to avoid problems caused by fitting the drive plate incorrectly.
“It is always worth checking the reluctor/sensor ring on the back of a DMF. Even if it’s from a different manufacturer it should still have the same number of teeth and they should be undamaged. OE suppliers, such as Schaeffler, will replace transit damaged goods – if it has been spotted before fitment.
“A modern plastic CSC can obviously look different, especially if the original was metal, but it should have the same number of fixings and the pipe position should be similar. It may sound simple, but technicians should always read the instruction sheet inside the CSC box. It may contain critical information, such as how to find and discard a redundant pipe seal on Vauxhall applications, and some Ford instructions explain that the O-ring should be replaced by sealant.
“Worn or seized cross shaft bushes need to be rectified; bent or damaged forks need to be replaced; technicians need to always replace the ball pivot on BMW applications and check the others; repair leaking gearbox seals and, finally, reset or replace all self-adjusting cables.”

Finishing touches
Jeff concluded: “Technicians should never grease plastic release bearings. On most pull-type clutches, technicians should fit the release bearing to the gearbox, and locate it to the clutch cover after fitting the gearbox. They need to be extremely careful when inserting the gearbox; swinging up and down on the back of a gearbox, to fit it to a poorly aligned clutch, will most probably cause damage and judder.”

Straight and narrow

Here, we look into the latest on steering and suspension systems and how you need to be dealing with them
Published:  30 November, 2020

The steering system has undergone a radical transformation, but tech advancements represent plenty of opportunity for those who are willing to embrace the change.
“For many drivers,” said Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager, Delphi Technologies, “the steering of a car starts and stops with the wheel in front of them, but what they don’t know is that while the basics of the steering system remain the same, it’s come on leaps and bounds in recent years.”

He continued: “Representative of how steering technology has evolved with new components, new materials and new service procedures is the steering angle sensor. While the steering angle sensor was introduced in the early 90s, only recently has it become necessary to reset them after performing a wheel alignment or replacing a component that can alter athe toe and thrust angle.
“Critically, the procedure to do this differs significantly between manufacturers; some vehicles can self-calibrate by having the wheel turned from lock to lock and then centred and cycling the key, some need a quick test drive and others a diagnostic routine. The result is that either way, steering angle reset should now be part of a standard wheel alignment.”

What has this meant for garages who are tasked with ensuring that the steering systems of their customers’ cars are always on the straight and narrow?
According to Julian, steering advancements have meant that the aftermarket has had to evolve its servicing offering to fall in line, but the changes can certainly be for the better in terms of increasing revenue streams: “The modern-day steering system is a complex affair, but there’s no need for independents to miss out on the work that’s involved in maintaining it. In fact, they really should embrace any new servicing techniques if they are not to limit their customer base and lose potentially lucrative work to franchised outlets.
“To make it easier for independents, Delphi Technologies transfers its OE learnings to our aftermarket offering, ensuring that garages have quality steering components and, importantly, the technical support to efficiently and competently complete repairs.”

Julian went onto say: “Currently, Delphi Technologies’ ever-growing range of steering components comprises over 6,000 part numbers and provides coverage of well over 90% of the UK vehicle parc. Reassuringly, these come with a comprehensive three-year, 36,000-mile warranty and all accessories that are required to undertake a hassle-free replacement.
“It’s the same for our suspension components. Both our steering and suspension offerings provide garages with a quality one-stop solution which allows them to keep abreast of automotive technological advancements, yet still safeguard their established levels of service without the worry of taking a chance on unproven or substandard parts.
“Such a benefit is particularly welcome as we edge into winter. We always see a spike in demand for the likes of steering and suspension parts as these exposed components can all suffer corrosion from extreme weather and salt, while potholes can easily damage a spring or lower suspension parts. Add in normal wear and tear, plus the increased chance of collision damage through icy or slippery driving conditions, and it’s no surprise that demand for these repairs can noticeably rise in the colder months.”
He concluded: “There’s definite potential for workshops to grow business as a result of winter’s impact on a car’s steering and suspension and, importantly, claw back lost revenue from earlier in the year when MOTs were suspended, but they must have access to quality products and even adapt how they inspect a vehicle to take account of the change in season.”

Tie rod end assemblies
Let’s get into some specifics. The steering system plays a key role in vehicles, transforming the circular motion of the steering wheel into a linear motion, which is carried out by the steering gear. “Tie rod assemblies with ball joints are necessary to ensure the driver can steer the vehicle in the right direction,” said Thomas Schwarz, Product Manager at MEYLE. “Because tie rod end assemblies are susceptible to heavy weights and the strain of poor road conditions, MEYLE added 70 new tie rod ends to its range in 2020 including 54 in technically refined MEYLE-HD quality.”
Thomas continued: “The ball pin diameter of the optimised MEYLE-HD ball stud is much larger than that of OE parts. This increases its service life, as the forces applied to the ball are distributed over a larger surface, thus reducing the surface pressure on the plastic socket of the ball joint. This also minimises wear on the ball stud and significantly increases the service life of the MEYLE-HD tie rod end assemblies.
“All MEYLE-HD tie rod end assemblies also feature high-performance grease in the joints, further reducing the wear on these sensitive parts. With this expansion, MEYLE offers more than 700 tie rod ends solutions for a variety of vehicles, including more than 200 in improved MEYLE-HD quality.
“The new MEYLE HD tie rod ends will be joined by new products in the steering and suspension range at the end of the year, with nearly 100 new axial rod solutions in the pipeline, of which more than half are MEYLE-HD axial rods.”

High demand
Thomas added: “Due to the high dynamic loads and forces of driving, tie rod ends assemblies need to be replaced eventually to maintain driving safety. In a video tutorial on the YouTube channel MEYLE-TV, the Hamburg manufacturer demonstrates clean and safe tie rod end installation using a VW T4 as an example.”
Steering and suspension parts also look like they are going to be moving fast for the foreseeable future, partly as a result of COVID-19 and the lockdown.
“With the six-month MOT exemption now over,” said First Line’s Global Marketing Director, Jon Roughley, “workshops need to prepare themselves for the high demand that is there now and will continue into the first quarter of 2021.
“For factors, now is the time to check that their stock levels are ready and they are prepared to cope with this increased demand, particularly for the parts that are regular MOT failures, such as steering and suspension components.
“For technicians, First Line’s full range consists of premium quality products that are relied upon for an efficient and accurate fit. Plus, with all ball joints, link bars and suspension arms, where applicable, being supplied with the necessary fitting components as standard, technicians can also be sure of a hassle-free efficient installation.
“Now, with more and more people back on the road and the MOT extension period over, workshops and factors are working even harder to keep up with demand.”

Natural step
Providers continue to offer new products for steering and suspension systems, including Dayco, which recently introduced a new line of wheel bearing kits.
“The introduction of wheel bearing kits marks a significant, but natural step for Dayco, to add safety related products alongside its established drive systems expertise,” explained Dayco’s National Sales Manager,
Steve Carolan.
“The Dayco range encompasses Generation 1, 2 and 3 technology as well as bearings integrated into the brake disc, reflecting the complexion of the current European vehicle parc and thereby providing workshops with the replacement products they need day-to-day.
“Another strength is Dayco’s longstanding commitment to not only provide technicians with the very best replacement components in terms of their quality, but also to assist them when it comes to their installation. This practice continues with its wheel bearing kits, which, as well as coming complete with all the necessary ancillary items, such as nuts, bolts, pins or circlips, also include fitting instructions and technical tips that can be viewed via a QR Code on the product packaging, to ensure they are installed correctly and in the most efficient manner.”
Steve added: “Naturally, the full range of products are hosted on the Dayco Webcat. This provides users with multiple search routes from make and model or OE/Dayco part numbers, to linked components on related searches.”

Meanwhile, Schaeffler has introduced a steering and suspension range under its FAG brand.
Schaeffler UK’s Managing Director, Nigel Morgan said: “The FAG chassis component range has been developed from the ground up to benefit from the company’s intelligent repair solution ethos. Ball pins are nitride-treated to maximise longevity, while all exterior surfaces have market leading zinc flake coating technology to resist corrosion. They are further protected by clear thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) boots with a micro-sealing lip design that adapts perfectly to the ball contour.
He continued: “As well as being unique to the UK market, they are also highly resistant to liquids and mechanical loading, while the transparent material allows the mechanic to see the quality and quantity of the grease inside.”
Nigel added: “Everything we do is geared towards helping professionals carry out the best possible repairs using the highest quality components. The addition of the FAG steering and suspension range is therefore a significant development, allowing us to provide workshops with a viable alternative from a trusted supplier, along with the market leading workshop support that we offer with every Schaeffler product.”

Wheel alignment: Daytrip to Camber

Camber is an issue when you are dealing with wheel alignment says Gareth. Does anyone deliberately make their tyres wear faster? You may be surprised
Published:  26 November, 2020

My last article, which appeared all the way back in the May issue believe it or not (did something happen between then and now? Oh yes…), was a little lesson on wheel alignment. I also covered the issue of minutes and degrees too. This article is about camber angles and setting up wheel alignment.
The same applies to camber (minutes and degrees) as it did with toe, it’s just a different angle. Now stand up, like you did back in May when I first mentioned toe in and toe out, then asked you to look down at your feet, keep your heels in position, and point your toes inwards so they point towards each other, and then the same with the heels with the toes outwards. This was toe-out, and walking with excessive toe-out, I pointed out, will wear the inner part of your shoes.
    I bet you have been looking back on that fondly. Well, it’s time to do it again. Come on, I’ll do it with you. Feet shoulder width apart, and now, try and make your knees touch, your legs now have negative camber. You can now turn into corners quicker. However, I bet you won’t be able to run very fast in a straight line without falling over.

You will have seen many boy racers with modified cars on the roads that think it’s great to run massive amounts of negative camber, that’s all well and good if they own a racing car and take it on a race track, but on our public roads and with our speed limits, what’s the point? There’s nothing to gain. Your tyres will wear at an alarming rate on the inside edge, and cost you more money, but it looks cool right? So, that’s ok. I’m sorry, did that sound sarcastic?
Now, if you were to stand with your feet in the same position as before, but now move your knees outwards, it’s difficult I know, your legs will be enduring positive camber. This is more stable than your negative legs were, but you wouldn’t want to turn into corners too fast with these legs. No, you would almost certainly fall over and probably break your leg and  I would have a lawsuit on my hands. You won’t see many sports cars at all with a positive camber setup, it just wouldn’t work.
That’s why we leave it to the engineers who design the cars to then give us, the technicians the correct wheel alignment settings. just make sure that the alignment is set within the manufacturer’s spec, that way you can’t go wrong.

If the car is fitted with a form of ADAS, that’s when things get a little tricky. The company I work for don’t actually make adjustments on vehicles equipped with any form of ADAS, a VERY wise decision I think. Also, any garage that does make adjustments are playing with the driver’s (and the driver’s family’s) lives. It’s all well and good taking £50-£60 from the customer for the alignment, but without correct kit to calibrate the camera and radar afterwards you’re playing very dangerous games.
A car equipped with ADAS is easily identifiable really. The radar box can’t be missed in a front bumper, unless you’re one of those annoying manufacturers who hide it behind the badge. Some cars have a blind spot detection system built into the wing mirrors, identifiable by the letters BLIS/BSW/BSM. The easiest to spot without a doubt is the forward-facing camera at the top of the windscreen close to the rear-view mirror. This is funnel shaped if you understand what I mean. I don’t think ADAS calibration equipment can be that far from being installed in the majority of workshops up and down the country. As soon as the equipment gets to an affordable price, garages will be snapping it up and capitalising on the chance to rake in the money.
I know it’s not all about the money, but at the end of the day that’s why we all go to work, and we as the techs are the ones keeping the money rolling in, but just make sure the money is earned honestly and faithfully. I’d hate to read one day about a car having an accident due to a garage mindlessly taking the customer’s money. If you aren’t sure if a car is equipped with ADAS when carrying out a wheel alignment check, all you need to do is ask a workmate to take a look. Better safe than sorry.



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