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.

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:

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.

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: www.altelium.com

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.

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.

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 www.ctekemobility.com

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: www.jlmlubricants.com

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 www.jlmlubricants.com and www.the-dpf-doctor.com

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: www.uk.ecobat.tech

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 www.jlmlubricants.com and www.the-dpf-doctor.com

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.


Fig 2

A buffet of errors

We hope you brought your appetite with you this month, as Frank has laid on a veritable feast of technical issues for you to chew through
Published:  06 November, 2020

I have always focused on topics that have developed through our workshop, the main reason for this is authenticity and integrity. However, it is not always possible to be fortunate enough to have topics with enough content for publication. So, this month we are going to have a banquet of multiple stories of interest where you can spin the table and pick your favourites.

First topic
An Audi S3 came in for a MIL light and poor running complaints. Initial serial interrogation concluded camshaft correlation errors. This has significant concerns with this 888 power plant, as it has variable inlet and exhaust control as well as exhaust valve lift. This is a very powerful and usually competent engine, but unfortunately the vehicle was purchased recently with a known poor service history. This is an absolute no-no with today’s technology. Having conducted a basic health assessment, and noting actual and specified camshaft position errors, it was decided to replace the oil and filter. I must add here that it ran much worse afterwards.

Historical experience has shown problems with chain jumping and oil filter cartridge collapse. This engine employs a variable displacement oil pump providing 1.8 bar at low speed and 3.8 at higher load. It is also PCM-mapped. I am not a fan of such a low oil pressure especially on crank start. My Seat Cupra has on several occasions displayed slight chain tension noise on start up. Bear in mind I replace the oil every 3,000 miles, and it has only done 18,000 miles.

Additional thoughts should be given to Stop/Start; All engines will suffer gravitational oil drainage when stopped. We are now increasing this multiple times. Not a good idea really. We have also seen oil filters collapse shedding filtration media particles into the oil galleries.

The timing cover was removed, visual evidence shows surface bearing damage to both the cams and alloy cover. This evidence confirms both a boundary layer lubrication failure and metallic swarf erosion. In my opinion this is sufficient evidence to reject the entire engine, subject to a total strip-down. Please refer to; Fig.1, cam sprocket and chain; Fig.2 cover housing; Fig.3 Parts assembly.
The vehicle is still enjoying an elevated position awaiting my report for the insurance company, which requested to know what caused the problem.

I have penned many reports and have prevailed in all my expert witness cases, and smell another one here, or it could be the beef noodles and bean sprouts?

Second topic
Next, we have an AUDI A6 2.7 CRD presented to us as a trade-in into a Vauxhall dealership. The problem is that it is cranking with intermittent no-start. Initial checks were carried out showing a DTC, ground short to power on the in-tank fuel pump relay. I am often amused with this description, as if it  was taken literally there would be smoke and probably fire as the loom fuses together rather quickly.

Please refer to Fig.4 relay location r/h. Time to call Diagnostic David. Why the definition? Well, we have three Davids at ADS. Diagnostic David bridged the relay 30-87 terminals in order to run the pump and the vehicle started every time. He then conducted wiring integrity tests between the PCM and pump relay focusing on terminals 86-85. No problems here, power was present from supply right back to the ground control circuit at the PCM. The obvious conclusion an internal PCM ground switch error? This is where you MUST take a pause? Why? Because you have discovered the symptoms NOT the cause. David then exposed the edge connector between the loom and PCM. Please refer to Fig.5; Oil on PCM socket. David elected to expose the board in the PCM and visually check for component damage. Visual evidence shows blister damage to a controller chip suggesting excessive load.

Having discovered oil on the edge connector we now need to prove the cause. So, we are looking for capillary invasion through the loom from a component with access to oil. The usual and obvious components oil switches showed no oil invasion on the sockets.
In fact, the search proved difficult due to limited access. However, David eventually discovered the path of capillary invasion back to #5-injector socket. This engine variant uses piezo injectors, and to my knowledge I have never heard of or experienced this type of problem. The electrical connector is external from any lubricant, so the problem must be internal from within the portion that is exposed to lubricant.

Even more non-intrusive diagnostic techniques!

Frank Massey continues his look at the benefits of non-intrusive diagnostic techniques. Cue the Audi RS3
Published:  21 October, 2020

Last month, I was debating the opportunities with non-intrusive diagnostic techniques, and more to the point the reliability of results. I think it is important to accept, as with all skill-based process,  the accuracy and results depends very much on experience. A second opportunity presented itself for this topic in the form of an Audi RS3 with a very sick engine.

I’m going to make my thoughts truly clear at this point; I see no point in applying a potentially complex series of tests where simplicity prevails. The Audi RS3 is a prime example of this, with a totally dead cylinder. We must however understand all techniques where cost, accessibility and risk factors demand an evidence-based decision.

With that cleared up let us review and discuss the series of tests carried out. The owner was somewhat vague as to the history of the problem. He explained the problem had been present for some time and hoped he could drive through it. As this topic will later confirm he has driven right into it.

Mechanical resistance
Due to the severity of the misfire, a decision to conduct a relative compression test was sufficient to confirm a serious internal engine defect. David and I were curious to challenge other options to determine the full extent of failure without component removal.
Attaching a current clamp around the ground lead, we were able to compare the mechanical resistance to battery current consumption, this can also be performed with voltage drop or both. The logic here is that all cylinders should balance. This test will not confirm valve timing errors or low compression across all cylinders! However, if you apply the x3.5 rule to the amp/hr battery rating, you should be able to predict the correct work rate and rotation speed, assuming of course you have confirmed correct battery application and health status.

We have no current consumption from cylinder 1 possibilities, problems with valve operation or piston to bore seal. The next test was to attach the first look sensor to the dip stick tube (see Fig.1), with the obvious aim of predicting potential cost and action plan.
So, it about as bad as it gets, the drop in current draw is synchronous with a rise in crankcase pressure rise. Oh dear. Annette did a cost exercise with a new engine replacement and turbo, inclusive of labour with no change from £40,000.

Ultimate techniques
For the purpose of comparing in cylinder compression using WPS and first look in the exhaust we now move on to the ultimate engine internal analysis techniques. My interest here was to compare actual in-cylinder events and exhaust exit pressures in real time to ascertain any delay and if cylinder overlay could be used to confirm which cylinder event was responsible for the result.

I will re-state my opinion here, having spent the first 20 years of my career as a professional engine builder I do not care which cylinder is faulty or what the internal fault is! Why? If I’m going to rebuild the engine, then it’s all coming apart for examination. Professional pride and reputation is priceless, so unfortunately nobody wants to pay for it!

Having fallen of my soap box, I do accept as diagnostic technicians we must provide the customer with a factual and accurate estimate with the quickest low-cost process. apart from the fact I find in cylinder and vibration analysis fascinating.

Important variables
Before discussing the complexity of Fig.2, there are some important variables that affect results, remembering that we are dealing with pressure differential or absolute values otherwise none of this will make sense.

Assuming a good in-cylinder seal, the slower the piston speed, the greater the pressure differential. For example, cranking compression is approximately three times greater than when running at idle. This is because of pumping losses with a closed throttle, the descending piston creates an expanding volume that has more time to draw in a fresh air charge, therefore higher compression.
A weak cylinder will accelerate up the bore quicker due to a drop in resistance, lower compression, and accelerate down the bore as the pumping losses are reduced, lower drag.

The first look sensor in the exhaust will record an increase in pressure drop with a weak cylinder due to the lower initial compression followed by the expansion in volume and corresponding increase in pressure differential when the exhaust valve opens. This causes the classic intake pulse at the tail pipe.

With the scope, green channel, and overlay triggered from cylinder 1 PCM ignition pulse, you can clearly see an extremely poor compression, erratic pressure rises and poor tower symmetry. The exhaust cycle is erratic with poor definition when the inlet valve opens. The expansion and intake voids are poor, also confirming a faulty
cylinder seal.

The first look image, red channel, shows multiple increase in exhaust pressure voids which I find unhelpful.  It does not in my opinion add any useful diagnostic value. I’m happy to accept any alternative opinion.


Fault codes: Cracking the nut

A recent job undertaken by Neil backs up the importance of knowing what a fault code means, and what that information can tell you
Published:  19 October, 2020

A fault code can tell you a lot, if you understand what it is telling you. Then again, it can also leave you questioning what it means and what is causing it to be set if you don’t know why it has logged in the first place.    
A recent job I had backs up the importance of knowing what the information is telling you.

Turbo boost pressure
The vehicle was a 2008 Vauxhall Antara 2.0 Diesel, which belonged to my neighbour Gordon. One evening, having a chat over the fence, he said he had been having running issues. After his local garage plugged into it, they changed some parts based on fault codes they found, but it was no better. The vehicle logged turbo boost pressure fault codes under load, and had slowly got worse and worse to the point it was now as flat as a pancake and had no power at all. I offered to bring some tools home and plug it in and have a quick look one night, and then offer some advice on where to go next as a favour. After all,  on several occasions he had helped me out with one thing or another.
Plugging in my Snap-On Zeus, the one  that was part of my prize when I  won Top Technician 2019, I was presented with the a number of fault codes (see Fig.1). Upon asking some questions, he told me that the vehicle repeatedly logged faults for turbo boost pressure, so the boost pressure sensor (MAP) had been replaced but the vehicle still had the same symptoms. The EGR valve vacuum control solenoid had also been replaced as it had fallen apart, and on removal the old one had signs it had been broken and repaired.
Reviewing the situation, we have six faults stored on initial inspection. What I like to do here is split the faults into groups of what could be related to the customer’s complaint and what can be left for now and diagnosed/repaired further down the line.

Grouping faults     
My groups, based on my findings, were that the P0101, P0045, P0069 and P0299 faults were directly related to the lack of power complaint. I also surmised that the fuel level fault and glow plug fault were secondary faults which required attention after the initial four faults had been rectified. After a quick visual inspection under the bonnet, this vehicle was equipped with a DPF so the glow plug fault would require attention sooner rather than later. I decided to leave the fuel fault, as in my experience this wouldn’t cause the customer complaint. However, like everything, there will be cases with certain manufacturers where a similar fault code could cause a running fault. This means it’s always a good idea not to ignore every fault code stored.
With the faults, I wanted to focus so now I broke them down one by one by what they meant and what could cause them to set. This was done with a mix of technical information and my own personal knowledge. My list was as follows;
P0101 – Intake air system leak detected: This fault is logged in relation to the mass air flow sensor and it is because the engine control unit detects that the measured MAF is not within range of the calculated model in the software that is derived from the boost pressure sensor, which remember is new. For this fault I would compare live data from the MAF and MAP to see if either were incorrect.
P0045 – Boost pressure valve low voltage: This fault is logged either by a short to ground in the circuit or an internal fault in the control valve itself. As I wasn’t familiar with the engine, I had a visual inspection to see whether the turbo actuator was electric or was controlled by vacuum, on this engine the control actuator was an electric unit so the fault could indicate an issue with the unit itself internally. I decided again for this fault to use live data as a starting point to see if any data was available for the control unit.
P0069 – Barometric pressure not plausible with boost pressure: This fault is logged when the ECU compares values from both sensors for plausibility and if either are out of spec the code will set. Once again live data to view both sensors reading was to be my first check to see if some direction could be gained.
P0299 – Boost pressure low pressure: This fault is exactly as it states, the ECU isn’t seeing the correct pressure from the MAP sensor it should be. Using multiple inputs from other sensors the ECU knows how much pressure the turbocharger should be creating via the electric actuator and as it is not seeing what it should be the code is set. This code could be caused by the turbocharger itself being faulty, the electric actuator not working correctly or the MAP sensor not reporting the correct pressure back to the ECU. Again, live data would be my first port of call as I could look at possible causes of all four faults codes and there may be a common link causing all four.

Live data
With my list done and my plan ready to execute, I then went into live data to see what the ECU was seeing and gain information to plan my next step. I set up a custom list view and brought up my sensors in question. All MAF, MAP, BARO and Turbo actuator command data PIDs were displayed and reviewed to see if anything stood out. As in my previous articles, knowing what the numbers displayed mean is crucial as if you don’t know, how can you make an accurate diagnosis? So, to keep it very simple for the sake of the length of this article, for MAF I want to see 0 air flow ignition on, engine off which I will refer to as KOEO (key on, engine off) steady flow at idle and increasing flow in relation to engine speed and load. I won’t list numbers as every scan tool lists different air flow measurements but common ones you will see are grams per second (g/s) and kilogram per hour (kg/h).
For BARO I want to see a steady 1 bar under all conditions, KOEO, engine running etc. The main reasons this sensor is fitted is so that the ECU knows the current atmospheric pressure for correct air/fuel mixture for emissions and for plausibility to make sure other sensors are operating correctly. As in the UK we live at near enough to 1 bar atmospheric pressure this sensor should be as close as possible.
For MAP I want to see 1 bar KOEO (plausibility check), then a pressure rise along with engine speed and load. Again, this is where the ECU compares BARO and MAP to each other. If one isn’t correct, it will know and log the P0069 code. This is required as if one drifted out of calibration and read differently but still operated within tolerance, the ECU would determine it to be ok which could cause running issues but no faults to be stored.
For turbo actuator command, I want to see some form of change in command to the turbo again under engine speed and load to make sure something is happening as if there is no movement the turbo will not create any boost pressure.
Observing data, I found the MAF to be reading what I expected under all conditions, and the BARO was correct. However, the turbo actuator control was a fixed value, which is clearly wrong. Was this a turbo issue or something else? The final piece of the puzzle was the MAP reading and KOEO. I had 0 pressure, and knowing we should see 1 bar, I have direction on where to go. Increasing engine speed and load, the pressure did rise slightly but we clearly have an issue. Remember, there is also no turbo control but we have to consider that if the ECU cannot see boost pressure, as a failsafe it won’t actuate the turbo in case it over boosts and causes some form of damage. Again, this reinforces the importance of knowing system operation.

MAP sensor test
With all this data gathered, my next step was to test the MAP sensor. This sensor was new, and through questioning Gordon I learned it was a genuine part, so why didn’t it read correctly? Testing power supply and ground to the sensor, both were ok so onto testing the signal wire. The signal voltage in live data was available and was compared to actual data gently back probing the wire, after checking both they matched exactly. Using my sensor simulator, I applied a varying voltage down the signal wire which matched in live data, so what next? We have a genuine new sensor, good wiring and correct ECU operation it seems? At this point with limited tooling and having had a quick look, bearing in mind it has taken me longer to write the article thus far than actually carry out my testing, I asked permission to arrange to take the vehicle to the workshop to carry out further testing.
With permission from Gordon, a few days later I nursed the poorly vehicle up to the workshop to continue fault finding his vehicle. Out of curiosity I had asked if the old MAP sensor had been kept, which it had, so I brought it with me to test to see if anything could be found. On measuring the new sensor, the signal voltage KOEO was 1.07 volts. As a quick check, I plugged in the old sensor and it read 1.64v so 0.5 volts difference. Bear in mind, for this sensor, this will make a massive difference in pressure conversion by the ECU. Checking live data, I now had my 1 bar pressure I was looking for so the new sensor appeared to be faulty as the voltage for static engine off pressure was too low and the ECU was looking for 1.6v. Starting the engine, the boost pressure barely rose, so I had fixed one fault but we still had another issue and more than likely the initial complaint. Noting faults and clearing them only left p0045 boost pressure valve low voltage. Remember from before when I had no change in position from the control actuator? Well, now I had change, but it was very slight and far less than I expected to see.

Turbo and actuator movement
So where to next? I decided to visually inspect the turbo and its actuator movement with someone increasing engine speed to see what happened. Upon inspection, I found the actuator arm was remaining still but showing signs the actuator was attempting to move, but wasn’t able to. I then decided to check movement of the linkage arm that the actuator moves. On some turbo assemblies, this can be done fully assembled or activated via a scan tool special function, but on this unit the motor was locked and attempting activation didn’t work, possibly due to there being a stored fault code.
This meant the linkage had to be removed from the actuator, Upon removal, the linkage arm and pivot were tight and it took considerable force to move through its full travel so we had found the cause of the fault. The low voltage fault was being logged as the position of the arm wasn’t where the ECU was commanding it to be, and as it stayed where it was (low) a corresponding fault code was set.
After cleaning and lubricating the arm and pivot I managed to get everything free and greased up to prevent a reoccurrence. Once reassembled, I then checked MAP pressure in live data now seen a nice increase in pressure in line with engine speed and could now hear an audible whistle from the turbo indicating it was creating pressure. A long road test monitoring data confirmed correct operation and the vehicle was returned to its owner.

This article highlights the importance of understanding what a fault code is telling you, and also why it pays to spend time learning to understand to make an accurate diagnosis. Like everyone, I don’t know the meaning of all fault codes and this is where technical data comes in and plays an important part in diagnosing faults. As for the faulty new map sensor? Well, after some digging it was actually the wrong sensor supplied, even though it fit and plugged in. It was actually for the 2.2 engine which uses a different intake/turbo layout.

Power of the software update

2017’s Top Technician winner Karl Weaver is back with a piece looking at the importance of staying on top of updates
Published:  06 October, 2020

As I write this (in April), we had just began our fourth week of lockdown and I am doing just two mornings per week to deal emergency jobs for key workers. Very strange times indeed! However this has given me the opportunity to write up a few more interesting jobs that I’ve done over the past few months. This particular one got me thinking about a few different things and maybe considering tweaking my diagnostic process slightly.
The owner of a garage that we do a bit of diagnostic work for contacted me to ask if I could take a look at a 2015 Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi that was causing him grief. The complaint was that shortly after start-up and moving off, the vehicle would drop into limp-home mode with multiple warning lights on the cluster.
As always, I asked some questions to gather as much background information as possible, and so the story began. The vehicle came into their workshop with the above symptoms. The fault codes stored pointed towards a turbo wastegate fault. You’re probably mostly thinking the same as I was at this point; sticking wastegate, wastegate control solenoid malfunctioning, vacuum fault, can’t be that complicated surely?
We discussed all the tests that were carried out and what parts had been replaced. This included a new genuine solenoid valve, an actuator repair kit followed by a reconditioned turbocharger. With the fault still present the turbo supplier then recommended a trip to the nearest franchised dealer for testing and a turbo position sensor relearn. After spending some time on the vehicle, the dealership’s diagnosis was the turbocharger and recommended a genuine replacement unit. Reluctantly the garage fitted a genuine unit but guess what? I don’t need to answer that!

The vehicle arrived and I started my plan for diagnosing this fault. I was in challenge mode now and was not prepared to be beaten. I knew my plan had to be thorough so I took some time to confirm the fault and do some research. As tempting as it is, just to clear the fault codes and carry out a fresh test – this isn’t always a good move, particularly when the fault is intermittent and may take some time to replicate. In this instance however, there was little to lose by doing this as apparently the fault was very consistent.
I took a read of the fault codes which were as follows:

Hydrogen – the next revolution?

Automotive engineer and all-round technical seer Andrew Marsh checks the Periodic Table to see if hydrogen might be the next great leap forward in vehicle technology
Published:  01 October, 2020

For as long as I can remember, the questions arising from presentations to our sector usually involve at least one about hydrogen. This can be seen as an abundant, readily available resource and a solution to long-term electric power generation akin to nuclear fusion, in that in both cases the by-product is harmless.    
Pure hydrogen is an important component of many industrial chemical processes, so generation of more hydrogen to feed transportation will add pressure to existing industrial capacity. Hydrogen exists either in association with itself (H3 – which is unstable) or with other atoms (for example water, H2O – which is stable). It also exists inside many, many organic compounds, but effectively is not available in nature as a pure gas.  
Pure hydrogen can be manufactured from coal, oxidation of methane or steam reforming of methane. Methane is a principle component of natural gas, so there is a plentiful supply of raw material. Most of the pure hydrogen available for use today is made by one of these industrial processes, which all require energy to effectively extract the hydrogen and then more energy to compress it to the point the gas liquifies.
Hydrogen can also be extracted by passing electricity through water, and there have been many aftermarket kits that do exactly this to generate a form of hydrogen peroxide which is then ducted into an internal combustion engine intake system to offset the hydrocarbon fuel burn rate. However, if we need to generate pure hydrogen on a scale to develop transport, this process needs to be upscaled.
The conclusion: Pure hydrogen prefers to be attached to other atoms to achieve stability, and if we need to extract it requires is an energy investment. Further, the most common source of pure hydrogen is from natural gas, where the by-products are carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Hardly right-on.  

The application
Let’s skip eco-obstacles. What can we do with it?
There are essentially two routes to use hydrogen. Some manufacturers openly experimented with hydrogen as a fuel for internal combustion engines.
Mazda built several Wankel engines fuelled by hydrogen. In theory, apart from trace hydrocarbon pollution due to lubricants, the tail pipe emissions would be zero in terms of traditionally measured pollutants. The reason for Mazda doing this? The Wankel engine has two major drawbacks – sealing, and a long, thin combustion volume with a vast surface area to volume ratio. Yes, the Wankel engine is ‘emission disabled’.
Meanwhile, BMW built a few factory-owned 7 Series E65 based long wheel base limousines, complete with CFRP body structure inserts around the rear sill/subframe/C pillar area. The V12 engine was fed with hydrogen stored in a large tank located in the boot above the rear subframe (hence the CFRP structural magic parts) and had a small fuel tank located under one rear passenger seat. The vehicle was bristling with contradictions – a huge engine which could run further on the tiny petrol tank that it could from the huge insulated hydrogen fuel tank, which was designed to keep the liquified fuel at -273°C for as long as possible. Oh, and it needed a system to ensure the liquid hydrogen became gas as it entered the pointlessly vast engine.
These experiments confirmed what was already known before any of these prototype vehicles were built. Hydrogen does not have the energy density of petrol or diesel, and there are significant issues in storage of the fuel either at under pressure at normal temperature (i.e. serious pressure vessels) or super cooled at ambient (i.e. seriously bulky insulation).
The second route? Drum roll…the hydrogen fuel cell. This is a form of battery. It has taken many years to develop, and the once sky-high cost of the main component – the ‘stack’ – is gracefully gliding downwards. Essentially pure hydrogen atoms are introduced to oxygen atoms, where a membrane allows the atoms to join and the electricity generated in the process is extracted. This is electric power generation from pure hydrogen and air, using the oxygen in the air. Hydrogen has a greater affinity to oxygen than oxygen has for hydrogen, so only one component needs to be made unstable to create the vital atomic level re-assembly.
Do we need pure hydrogen to do this? Well Chrysler many years ago developed a fuel cell stack that would run on petrol or diesel, but of course the tail pipe emissions, while dramatically reduced, were higher than if we put pure hydrogen into the system. In addition, early membrane technology was highly intolerant of impurities, but much important work has taken place to make the fuel cell stack tougher.

Other considerations
Let’s not forget, if we consider hydrogen fuel cell stack electric power generation to be the future of transport, and bypass the significant issues in creating additional production capacity for pure hydrogen let alone the increase on electricity demand or environmental impact, there is a further important factor to consider. Fuel cell stacks like to generate power under steady state conditions. They do not like Vmax/ standing starts/traffic light GPs.
So, we have electricity generated at a steady rate, but we have demands which are variable and include dumping harvested energy back into the system (regenerative braking). Yes. There’s the clue. In a pure electric system, we have to add a pure electric vehicle in its entirety (low voltage system, high voltage system, power controller, DC-AC converters, on-board recharging, electric traction motor and the energy storage system).
That means we have two powertrains. An on-board electricity generator powered by hydrogen, and a pure electric powertrain. Oh, and while fuel cell stack prices have fallen below €10,000, that’s still way, way more than either plugging a vehicle into a larger, more efficient power generation system (and yes, that’s a story for another time) and even more than an internal combustion engine used as an emergency power generator.
Then there’s business interests. Manufacturers of bottled gas are naturally very supportive of the hydrogen power movement, as are many oil companies. True, initially only Total supported this, but most companies now recognise in the new lobbyist infested world of eco-warriors, selling hydrocarbon fuels needs some ‘eco’ messaging.
The upshot is oil companies (considering profits) and especially government (considering the ludicrous 80%+ tax revenue per litre) do not want to switch off the oil-based economy just yet, and as usual for the public sector, there is no strategy nor plan for any potential transition should the prevailing economic objections to hydrogen (or any other great idea) change. That immediately gets in the way of ‘what comes first’: Fuel supply system or vehicles which can use the ‘new fuel’. The prototype of this situation is rolling out now – electric vehicles have relatively poor access to public charging points, and recharging them in an urban environment can be hazardous for residents. In the UK there are handful of hydrogen refuelling stations, and for the most part the main source of the energy is from bottled gas. Not quite seamless.
While the refuelling station lines and nozzles for hydrogen are bulkier, heavier and bigger than the equivalent petrol, diesel or natural gas LPG systems, there have been zero accidents due to hydrogen leaks during refuelling. Yes, there are tiny numbers of vehicles and some users – such as those operating buses or trucks – could be considered to be even more considerate than the general public could be. There is another major benefit – recharging the energy source takes as long as we are used to, a matter of minutes rather than hours, being kind to the battery, or 30 minutes plus, if we want to sustain long-term damage to the battery.

The future
Is the future hydrogen? Nope. Not for personal transportation, and COVID-19 has just buried the plans for some manufacturers to introduce hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles.
And yet, there is one need right now. Semi-trailers which are refrigerated are a cornerstone of food transportation as well as medication, and have the ability to be run from the tractor unit, from the national grid or a small, badly made diesel engine. For anyone who can remember being at a Channel Port or EuroStar waiting to board, the sound of these little diesel engines is very clear. It is not always possible to hook up a refrigerated trailer to a fixed electricity source, so a quiet system is required – the fuel cell! This is already underway.
There’s more though. In the unsolved hard-wired world of pure electric vehicles, the process of energy transfer is firmly in the 1800s. If we casually assume this problem will be solved at the same pace as the energy density improvement of batteries, and we venture away from the leafy suburbs of North London, much drama awaits. Further, if one lives ‘in the provinces’ running a pure electric vehicle is not straightforward due to availability of energy top-up points. Enter the hydrogen fuel cell. Suddenly apart from cost of the base electric vehicle, the cost of the additional fuel cell stack system, the energy/environmental impact of making the pure gas… we have a solution.
Rather than drinking the pure water that comes out of the tail pipe, perhaps we really should just drink the finest socialist Champagne. Still, who knows what the future holds?

Desk diagnostics

Sometimes, says Neil, the best place to start your work is online, in the various VM information portals
Published:  16 September, 2020

By Neil Currie

Non-intrusive diagnostic techniques

Frank Massey examines various ways for you to get the answers you are looking for when working on a vehicle
Published:  04 September, 2020

The last two topics in recent issues focused on combustion issues and the various tools, service and repair process available to us. Two reasons have directed me to develop this debate further, firstly an email from my much-respected friend Phil Ellison at ASNU, and a VW Golf edition 30 presented to our workshop with poor running at low and transient throttle position. I was also involved in a conversation with friends in Perth, Australia over valve timing issues.

I’m going to respond to Phil’s interesting input first and clarify something especially important to all diagnostic techs. All decisions we make must be evidence based and not opinion. This is an extremely broad statement, but simplifies the fact that if you do not have access to the required tools, software, or process skillsets your decisions will be opinion-based!

I can relate this to my time building military aircraft, where nothing ever happens as a result of opinion. You could quite literally switch off and simply follow the build schedule and submit your work to inspection. You were not paid to have an opinion. This is why I left!

I may have previously left an impression that it was not necessary to fully evaluate injectors in a test bench, if this was so, then I apologise as my thoughts are the exact opposite. My intention was to ensure that you fully explored all causes of incomplete combustion while the engine is running, as most engine work now carries a high labour content! Do not, however make the mistake of letting cost dictate your process. Phil did pick up on the common issues of injector removal damage where specialist tools are required. The use of fuel additives, which can be a common cause of internal injector damage especially to plastic filter baskets, where any debris is then deposited in the basket effecting fuel flow. Direct injection technology now demands the absolute best fuel quality, often reinforced by manufacturers placing fuelling advice inside the filler flap.

Phil also picked up on a common issue I did omit; Stop/Start. Hot engines with an increase in stop events, with fuel trapped in the injector often causes lacquering of the pintle. Heat in the combustion chamber dries any combustion residue and oil on the injector tip. I’m coming to the inlet valves very shortly…

Fuel trim or correction does not fix problems, it can exacerbate them, imbalance in injector delivery or as Phil pointed out deterioration of the spray pattern will cause bore wash, premature lubrication failure, and an increase in crankcase emissions, larger fuel droplets do not combust fully.

Interestingly, he pointed out that new injectors are produced with a +/- 5% tolerance.

Potentially misleading evidence
The Golf appeared in our workshop just a few days after I had finished my topic.  I was not involved in most of the diagnostic process or repair but was in discussion over potentially misleading evidence.

The vehicle had covered 106,000 miles, and was suffering from poor idle and incomplete combustion, with a mil light indication.

Step 1/ serial interrogation
0568/P0238 boost sensor, signal high, frequency 1
0768/p0300 random/ multiple cyl misfire, frequency2, counter re-set 255
0772/p0304 cyl #4 misfire intermittent frequency2 counter re-set 255

The next step taken was a cranking current differential test, showing no apparent mechanical imbalance? Back to this later.
Coil and plug failure is a common problem and is an obvious job for the Pico scope, no problems with burn times or primary current saturation here.

David Gore, our diagnostic tech, opted for the first look sensor in the exhaust next. I’m not sure if he opted for WPS in cylinder or not. This would have been my preferred choice, but as the saying goes too many chefs…
If you refer to Fig.1, The image is triggered from ignition, sequentially 1342 from left to right. I’m going to let you debate this image, as I intend to cover this in detail next month. I bow to Brendon Stickler’s wisdom on exhaust pressure evaluation. My debate is focused on the properties of pneumatic pulse delay from the cylinder head to tail pipe. I have since proven this and will discuss this in the October issue.

The next and obvious decision was to remove the manifold and check the intake tract and valves for carbon.
So, as you can see in Fig.2, there is excessive intake valve carbon. This is due to several factors, the most common of which is no self-cleaning from the fresh fuel air intake cycle. Other factors include, lengthy oil service intervals, not replacing oil separation filters, poor fuel quality, driving environment, poor or incomplete combustion cycles, incorrect atomisation and air swirl during the intake and combustion preparation cycles. Remember, direct injection can separate the fuelling into several events on both the intake and compression strokes.

Back to a comment I left open earlier, I hope you are still interested? The value of compression is determined by the mechanical engine efficiency and volumetric efficiency, Pumping losses! So why didn’t a problem show up during the cranking balance check? As this test is based on compressional resistance. Accepting that when the engine was at idle it ran badly and would eventually disengage the injector cycle in cly #4? the answer is rotation speed increase reduces the available time to draw in fresh air. If you compare nominal compression values say 10-12bar against the value at idle they will only be around 3.5 bar!

The detrimental effects of intake fouling only tends to occur at closed and partially open throttle, where the pumping losses are the greatest. The dtc relating to boost pressure sensor value high, can be caused by ignition misfire or unstable intake pulses.
Finally, the injectors were subject to the Spanish Inquisition in the ASNU bench. The results (see Fig.3) confirm substantial fuelling imbalance causally relating to my previous comments.

My grateful thanks to Phil, David (and myself), for the technical input in this topic. I’m off to the workshop to check the delay characteristics with WPS in cylinder and FIRST LOOK sensor in the exhaust.

PART TWO: Combustion past, present and future

Part two
Published:  27 August, 2020

Frank continues his look at combustion complications and throws the net wider to include the impact of peripheral systems 

Just break the cycle

No, he’s not had one-too-many run-ins with new-to-the-road cyclists – John Batten is starting a new series on how process can really help you
Published:  20 August, 2020

Do you ever get that feeling? You know the one. You turn the key in the ignition, the car cranks, cranks some more, and then some more. You’re willing it to start, but all you're met with is an ever-decreasing RPM as the battery dies along with your hopes for what was going to be a pleasant day.    

Groundhog Day
The sense of doom can often be exacerbated by the fact that a bunch of new bits have been bolted on and the car has been with you all week. I think we have all been there at some point. My key message here though is that it need not feel like this, there is a way to avoid Groundhog Day.
My formative years in this trade were spent working in the family business and it’s the banter between my younger self and my father that reminds me of the path away from Groundhog Day. It went a little like this: “You’ve got a lot to learn son, this game is all about experience” was a familiar message. My dad was right, I did indeed have a lot to learn and you really can’t beat experience. But regardless of how true the message, the regularity at which it and the humorous variants we’re delivered began to grate a little. I needed a witty retort, and then I found one: “You don’t have 30 years of experience dad. You have one year of experience that you’ve repeated 30 times.”
It cut like a knife and although it wasn’t true about him, I can’t help but feel that it’s just so easy to get stuck in a rut and not look for alternative ways to expand our knowledge and make diagnosis just that little bit more enjoyable.
Is that a glimmer of hope I see? Of course it is and all it takes is your will to change and break the cycle. How can the feeling of doom be reduced? Quite simply by improving your process, using the right information and carrying out more tests than are needed on your path to diagnostic stardom.
And the good news is that this is the first article in a series of technical hints, tips and tricks all designed to help you break the cycle. So where shall we start.
I’d normally kick off by looking at your diagnostic process. That being said I’ve covered it in detail previously so I’ll skip it for this article and jump straight into something technical. But just before I do here’s something to remember.
It’s very easy to become consumed by shiny diagnostics. I love cool diag as much as the next geek, but I’ve noticed Pareto’s Law (the 80/20 rule) at work all too often to be tricked into going down that road. Which is why this series will focus on the 20% of the diag that fixes 80% of your problems. let’s get started.
There are many routes you could go down and for this vehicle we’ll assume you’ve no fault codes, your serial data looks good and cranking speed for this petrol car at 250 rpm is on the money. Ultimately you don’t have a lot to go on, so what next?
At this point it’s all about finding diagnostic direction as quickly as possible, you need to find a clue, something that’s out of kilter. And that starts with a 3-step routine that should be second nature for non-start diagnosis and all being well will give you direction.
The question is, do you have a mechanical issue, a fueling problem or an ignition fault?
There’s only one way to tell and that’s to start testing. We could discuss the order we attack this in at length but I’ll normally start with mechanical, then ignition and lastly, fueling. My reasoning being that fueling issues can take a few minutes longer than the other two to test. If I find an issue on my first two tests then I have the initial direction I’m looking for and I’ve shaved a few minutes as well. What fundamental tests should you carry out as part of your non-start routine? That’s straightforward, just grab your scope.
My favourite test at this point is a relative compression test. It’s quick to complete and reveals so much information in such a short amount of time. To set the test up, simply attach your high current clamp around your battery negative cable/s, select a suitable current and timescale, crank the vehicle and you’re off to the races.
Fig.1 shows a good example. Point A being the current to commence rotation and the peak on the subsequent humps is the amount of current to drive a cylinder through its compression stroke. You’ll no doubt have concluded that if you have a single low peak then compression is low on a cylinder. Should your scope support the function, it may be possible to display this test as a bar chart. It can be easier to identify an issue here rather than analysing the current waveform itself.
There’s one key point to remember though. This is a relative test and it may be possible to have more than one cylinder that’s defective and pass the test. I’ll cover this in an article of its own in this series though.
If the relative test shows an issue then you’ll need to carry out a physical compression test for conformation, followed by a cylinder leakage test to discover why. Haven’t found an issue? Then it’s on to your ignition system next.

Ignition Testing
The name of the game is a quick test rather than in depth analysis at this point. The question being: Do you have enough energy to produce a spark for good ignition?
In Fig.2 You’ll see a secondary ignition waveform. Looking at the firing KV at Point B, for sufficient energy to initiate a spark, comparing this on all cylinders and looking for anomalies is a great place to start. Should I have one that’s too low or non-existent, then I’ll be checking powers, grounds, and primary switching at the coil, before considering the possibility of a defective coil. All good? If that’s a resounding yes then let’s take a look at fueling.
‘Those in the know measure flow’ are wise words, and I’ve used flow testing to find many fueling faults. In this instance though, we’re looking for a test that gets us in the ballpark to assess if fuel is being injected. You have a few options. You could:
Opt for a visual inspection of the plugs. Are they wet?
Use a gas analyser pre/post cat.

Do you have HC?
Scope injectors and fuel rail pressure – Does the rail pressure drop while injectors actuated?
No HC, dry plugs, lack of injector actuation and questionable fuel pressure, all give you diagnostic direction and highlight additional testing is required on your fuel sub system.

Found your way?
All being well, your diagnosis now has direction and a path to more specific faults in a given sub-system. Assuming reasonable accessibility and a little practice you’ll often be able to complete those tests in around 30 minutes(ish), which will leave you with at least another 30 minutes to further explore any issues before presenting your findings to your workshop manager.
One thing’s for sure; Having a structured approach to your fault finding, looking for diagnostic direction, with a few familiar tests up your sleeve will reduce your diagnostic time and increase your confidence exponentially. Want to know more? If so then take a look at next issue's article where I’ll be taking a look at some actual non-start issues with detailed test results.

If you’d like to learn how to improve your diagnosis skills then call John on 01604 328500. Auto iQ have a complete technician development programme designed to help your technicians be the best they can be. To join AutoiQ’s online forum go to: autoiq.co.uk/garageowners

Combustion past, present and future

Part one
Published:  14 August, 2020

Combustion problems have been with us since the dawn of the internal combustion engine, and they continue to occur as technology changes

Fig. 2

CAN I FIX IT? Yes, I can!

Neil shows how the proper use of process can help with fixing a kind of fault not regularly seen
Published:  05 August, 2020

By Neil Currie

The shoe’s on the other foot

With wheel alignment, garages are the cobbler to the motorist says Gareth. Don’t knock it – How would you do in the workshop with worn out boots?
Published:  20 July, 2020

After my recent articles on tyres and TPMS systems, this month’s topic is wheel alignment, and the massive impact excessive toe-in or toe-out could have come MOT time.
A lot of us can spot alignment issues a mile off. I would worry if after 17 years in the trade, that a technician such as myself couldn’t tell the difference between a tyre that had been toeing-in and a tyre that had been toeing-out most of its life. If you look at a front tyre on a car and only the outer edge is bald (and the tyre has plenty of pressure in) then you walk around to the other side and discover the same issue with that tyre, it would be plain enough to see that the wheel geometry isn’t correct.

A car with tyres like this and wheel alignment so far out must handle like it has a mind of its own - like Herbie the Beetle. However, people get used to a car in this state and will compensate to a surprising extent. When we take the car for a test drive, we may come back to the customer and say things like; “there maybe an issue with the tracking” or “the car is pulling rather a lot to one side.”
The customer then looks at us in amazement as if we are saying things just get their hard-earned money from them. We then offer a FREE wheel alignment check, and show them the virtual view on the screen. By Jove, the customer can then see with their own eyes exactly why their tyres have worn the way they have.
I first mentioned toe in and toe out. This is the way the wheels ‘point’ in relation to the forward motion of the car. Look down at your feet. Now keep your heels in position, and point your toes inwards so they point towards each other. If you try walking like this you will wear off the outside of your shoes first.
Do the same again with your heels, but point your toes outwards. This is toe-out and walking with excessive toe-out will wear the inner part of your nice new shoes and that’s the last thing you want. I’m sure you’d like it if your shoes wear evenly.  The majority of track cars/race cars will be running with toe-out and negative camber. This will be topic of conversation next time as wheel geometry is a large subject.

Minutes and degrees
I also mentioned minutes and degrees earlier too. A while ago I tried explaining this to another tech and he struggled to grasp the concept of the theory behind alignment/ geometry, but he knew how to set the wheel alignment up on 99% of cars.
Getting your head around the actual maths is a different story. Think of it as a clock; there are 60 seconds in one minute; there are 60 minutes in one degree; and there are 360 degrees in a full turn. Our alignment set-up only works in minutes and degrees as it is really sensitive so no need for seconds-it would be worthless. The wind could blow and move the car slightly and that’s enough to make you panic and pick up your spanners again.
Once the alignment is set-up correctly and you’re happy with the end result, your customer will in turn be very happy. Remember, in the end they are the ones paying our wages, not just your boss. It does help if you have a happy boss too of course.


Frank Oz: Part two

Frank Massey concludes his look back at his recent working trip to Australia
Published:  15 July, 2020

I find it difficult to comprehend the events of the last month since returning from Australia. The temptation to write exclusively about Covid-19 and the effects on our industry was hard to resist. I have therefor directed my focus on positive issues, and continue to tell you what I learned during my trip.

The stopover in Hobart, Tasmania was brief. Before docking in Melbourne, I was able to climb Mount Wellington, which is over 1,000 metres tall. The temperature was near zero and visibility the length of your arm. It reminded me of Snowdon summit. The Captain then announced that the remaining cruise, scheduled to conclude in Singapore would be suspended and would prematurely end at Perth due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Majestic Princess is the sister ship to the one in lockdown at Yokahama, Japan. The third cruise liner was later in quarantined in San Francisco bay.

Two internal flights took me to Dubbo for the next to-day training session, the Australian Aftermarket Service Dealer Network (AASDN) group once again providing delegates from north-east Australia. I have the greatest respect for this network. Its membership includes the very best independent technicians all working together in a mutually respectful environment, something we in the UK need to reflect upon. They travel thousands of miles to attend training seminars, sharing an inter-group communication network to be proud of.

Genuine passion
Remarkably, they do not have access to manufacturer tools and repair data, and are currently fighting the federal government for the Right to Repair Bill. Does any of this sound familiar? Therefore, as it stands collaboration with dealerships for programming and component replacement is absolutely essential.

During my week-long stay, I had the opportunity to spend a day training a young technician at Pat Crowley Automotive. It is refreshing to meet young apprentices with a genuine passion for their career development. The final week of my tour bounced me back all the way to Perth.

I was introduced to entirely new AASDN group members as well as Capricorn. You may recall my comments regarding membership group benefits. Capricorn is the company based in Perth that provides the corporate veneer to group membership; everything from operation financing, legal services, health and welfare and managerial software. They also provide parts finance factoring, as opposed to parts supply. The individual members order parts from a variety of suppliers then settle a single invoice from Capricorn at the month end.

Their services also extend to unique access to corporate insurance, banking, legal services including, employment contract, leasing agreements and property law.

So, what have I gained from my second visit down under? Number one has to be a renewed friendship, one I value very much, an insight into how individual small businesses can co-exist in harmony within a competitive environment, and one which lacks a great deal of what we take for granted in the UK.

Despite having no emissions regulations whatsoever, the workshops I visited have an advanced understanding not only into the operational functions of Euro 5 and Euro 6 but in my opinion, a more advanced approach to service and repair options. Yes, I do mean that. There is no requirement for any vehicle to be subject to an emissions test.  Amazing isn’t it?

Despite this, and the fact that there are almost no Euro 6 vehicles in Australia, the diesel emission course was one of the most popular. Companies like Rincap Automotive not only import specialist ultrasonic baths from Spain but also high-quality OE DPFs from Wales. Not New South Wales, but the one separated by Offa’s Dyke.

Cat and Pipes provide OE replacement DPFs across the globe. Rincap owner Bryce also has fully grasped the initiative of recovering DPFs and EGR coolers in factory-controlled conditions. (See Fig.1 and Fig.2). That statement is intended to focus on current popular on car treatments in the UK which simply contribute pollution into the atmosphere or drainage systems .

Dig down
In Sydney, where land is more expensive than a divorce settlement, they build up or dig down, creating multi-storey workshops. To give an example, the main Audi dealership in Sydney is housed in a high street multi-storey complex.

So, this brings me to a confidence I have been carrying for some time, the Pico 4425A! This is a development from the current range of scopes but now including active probe inputs (See Fig.3 and Fig.4)

What are the advantages? Simply connect the input device to a channel and it will auto recognise it and select the appropriate scaling. You can conduct a circuit load test with the appropriate resistive lead supplied. The new version offers much better sensitivity at both higher and lower frequency ranges. The probes contain a small active amplifier close to the probe tip, thereby reducing the capacitance of the probe, often less than 2pf. This offers a much higher bandwidth.

We will be introducing a scope update training programme as soon as 4425A and Pico 7 become fully available. Please note the non-standard cases that can be provided for WH kits supplied by ADS.

My personal very best wishes, and best wishes from all at ADS. Keep well and look forward to the UK recovery with confidence.


Fig 2.

Danger: High Voltage!

This month John continues to explore high voltage components, their operation and some diagnostic options
Published:  25 June, 2020

If you're a ‘go get ‘em’ garage owner, then you’ll have been keeping a close on the new technology hitting our roads. You would have been forecasting what this means for your business, and starting to build a strategy comprising the changes you’ll need to make in the coming months to ensure your team are prepared and your income guaranteed.
While the number of EVs on our roads is increasing the market has been missing that special something. Well, perhaps not any more. This month, the long anticipated EV Mini has been released. It’s got that certain je ne sais quoi you’d expect from a Mini, and the starting price of £24,400 has ensured buoyant sales. The interesting thing being that this is just the first of A LOT of popular EVs that are being released this year and there’s no doubt that this will raise the awareness of your non EV customers and move the market closer to a tipping point. You just need to make like a boy scout.

Be prepared
Depending on your time in the industry, you’ll no doubt have experienced such technological revelations as the death of points and the introduction of transistorised ignition, computers to control fueling and catalysts to save the planet, not to mention more sensors and actuators than you could shake a stick at, and fault codes to tell us what to change (NOT).
We’ve taken injectors out of the inlet manifold and shoved them directly in the cylinder (GDi,) and then created cars that have both manifold injection and direct injection combined. We’ve downsized engines, added a myriad multi turbo options, and more emission saving devices than you’d have ever imagined conceivable! It’s almost enough to make your head spin! There is good news though.
Every time a new technological change emerges it gives you the opportunity to move with the times and get ahead of your competition. Today, you’ve got that opportunity in spades. It’s just a case of dipping your toe into the world of EV, becoming familiar with the technology and embracing the opportunities.

Same tech different model
As always, a little research often relieves any technical anxiety that may exist around new systems and EVs are no different. You’ll find the same type of components on a Toyota Prius as you will a BMW i3. They all have high voltage; batteries, relays, inverters, DC-DC converters and motors. It’s not quite you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all, but when you compare one manufacturer with the next it’s plain to see the commonality between the operational characteristics of the systems and components, which is comforting for those delving into this technology.

Back to diagnostics
We took a quick look at HV batteries last month and I figured it’d be a good idea to take a look at how the high voltage made its way from the battery to the Power Electronics unit (inverter and DC-DC converter). Enter the high voltage relay pack.
High voltage relays exist to separate the HV battery from the rest of the HV components. They’ll be open circuit with the ignition key removed, and closed with the vehicle's ready light illuminated.
Fig.1 shows an example of a high voltage relay pack, Fig. 2 a wiring diagram and Fig. 3 the relay control circuits and high voltage current when scoped.
While the relays are spec’d for high voltage and high current they have three independent 12v control circuits. The eagle eyed among you will also have noticed that while we have two HV cables (one +, and one -) that there are three relays utilised within the system. Let’s take a look why.

Three into two goes
If you look carefully at Fig.3,  you’ll see that while we have three relays, relays one and two are connected in parallel. Look closer still and you’ll also find a resistor ( r ) in the current path on relay two. So why three relays? It’s all about control.
Take a look at the scope and you’ll see that relay three is engaged followed by relay two. Relay two having a resistor in series with it, ensures that current flow to the power electronics is reduced. Why? Good question.
Were this not the case then it would be possible for a very high current to flow as the contacts closed, and the possibility of an arc forming between the contacts. This is obviously undesirable and could lead to a reduced service life for the relays.
Relay three is closed followed by relay two, current between the HV battery and power electronics raises to just over 10 amps initially, and reduces as the voltage at the power electronics becomes closer to that of the battery. As the PD between the battery and the power electronics is the same-ish. Relay one can be closed without arcing. Relay two is no longer required and can be disengaged. Hey presto your Ready light will now be burning brightly and the vehicle ready to drive.
Just in case some of you are asking “Why does the relay control circuit voltage rise from 12v to 14v at point A?”  Well, as the ready light is on the DC - DC converter has come online to charge the 12v battery and power the consumers on the vehicle. It’s all very cool and I’d go into more detail but we’re out of time for this month, so you’ll have to keep your eyes on our future articles for that one.

Where next?
Once you dip your toe in the water you’ll see that the fundamentals of EV technology are straightforward, and where appropriate training, tooling and information are employed can be painlessly integrated into your workshop.
You’ll benefit from an increased confidence throughout your team, and additional revenue from work previously sent elsewhere. What’s not to like about that? Not much!
Need some help with your EV training and qualifications? As always I’m here to answer your questions. If you’d like to find out how Auto iQ can help your garage with our training and consultation programs then feel free to call on 01604 328 500.


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