High-voltage, electrical compressors

Published:  30 November, 2022


Building in a fault

A recent job involving a Chrysler 300C gave Kevin the opportunity to discuss replacement parts that cause more problems than they solve
Published:  29 November, 2022

The subject this month is something I am sure we have all come across; Parts that cause more problems than they solve. The vehicle in question was a 2006 Chrysler 300C with EDC 16CP31.
    
This car drove in to us under its own steam with a constellation of lights shining in the dash, including the battery warning light. As usual, we started with a global scan of the vehicle while on battery support. Upon completion we found several low-voltage fault codes, but the one I was most interested in was U1132 Lost Communication with Generator – Active.
    
Armed with this information I formulated a test plan:
1) Test the vehicle battery
2) Check voltage at the battery to see if it was charging at all with the engine running; The answer was yes, and we could use an amp clamp as well but I saw no need
3) Find a wiring diagram for the system so we know what should be where and connected to what, I.E Comms line
4) Find the alternator on the vehicle physically to do testing
5) Do volt drop testing on ground and B+ side as we need both of these for the alternator and comms to work correctly
6) Connect the scope so we can see what is happening on the LIN bus control wire
7) Make a decision on the fault according to outcomes.

Upon testing the vehicle battery, the result was; ‘good - needs charging’. This was only to be expected, so a substitute battery was put in and the original put on charge. It is always best to start with a known good and we already had a copy of the DTCs that were present. With the multi meter installed across the battery and 12.6v shown, the car was started up and the lights turned on to load the system. The voltage was going down even when picking the revs up. This proved why the battery light was on in the dash and why we had the alternator LIN bus malfunction DTC.
    
Next, I found the alternator, which was on the driver's side under the engine. To get at it, I had to go through the suspension and subframe. As I had the scope at the ready, I first checked between battery ground and the alternator casing. This showed less than 100mV, so good. The next check was between battery positive and the B+ terminal at the rear of the alternator. Again, the same result here, less than a 100mV. This was good, both passed. For the next test, I connected the scope using a back probe in to the Lin bus connector. I found a good signal, 12 volts to about 0.5 of a volt, so it passed that test. Please refer to Fig.1.

Wiring and response integrity
At this point we knew the LIN bus signal came from the engine control unit ECU, so we didn’t need to test there as the signal was good. It was looking like the alternator is was fault, but how do we prove it, as well as the ECU-to-connector integrity? What I did at this point was to ground the signal down, pulling it to ground and reread the DTC. As expected, we now had two DTCs for the LIN bus, two malfunctions, but two different DTC codes. This proved wiring and response integrity of the circuit, so I deduced that a new alternator was required.
    
What arrived was an aftermarket example, due to availability problems with the OEM part. With the new one fitted by my colleague, which is not the easiest to do, the shout came out “Kev it’s still the same - not working!”
    
As always, you get that sinking feeling and question yourself. What did I miss? Back to the job then. Rescanning the original DTC returned ‘U1132 lost communication with Generator –Active’.  
    
Believing it was the alternator at fault, I ran through the tests again just in case I had missed something, but the results were conclusive; Definitely the new alternator at fault. So, another one was ordered, this time from a different manufacturer. The part duly arrived, only this time I wanted to try before we fitted it to the vehicle. With the second new one in front of me, I extended the LIN bus communication line to it outside the vehicle. I thought, I know, I will put the jump box on to the alternator to give it live and ground, this should allow it to talk. By now, some of you will be ahead of me doing the test this way. Without the B+ and the vehicle ground connected to the alternator, how can the circuit be complete for feedback logic to work? When the CTC was checked to see if it cleared, it did not.

Steady charging voltage
We extended the B+ wire and a ground connection along with the LIN bus wire to the second new alternator on the tool box. The DTC was checked again and erased and did not return. Next, I cycled the ignition a couple of times to make sure it didn’t return and rechecked; No DTC returned for loss of comms with the alternator. With this product seeming to be okay, it was installed and tested. Charging was occurring and control of the alternator was taking place. With the scope recoupled to the Lin bus signal and the headlamps turned on and off we could plainly see the LIN  bus control signal altering on the scope screen. We could also see the charging voltage staying steady, at around 14.2 volts, thereby proving the repair.  Please refer to Fig.2
    
With this saved to the scope for future reference we could now hand the vehicle back to the customer with confidence in our repair. A full post repair global scan was also taken once we finished the job. This allowed us to be aware of DTCs in other system which bear no relationship to the repair we carried out. This enabled us to advise the customer of up-and-coming likely future repairs, should they wish to do anything about them.  


Building the better garage

In the second part of his look at how to put together your diagnostic service offering, Frank looks at how you should always work to a plan
Published:  14 November, 2022

The most important first step begins with vehicle and owner triage. Listen carefully, ask searching and relevant questions regarding the complaint, do not accept anything until you have confirmed the condition, and never accept previous work or opinion as correct. The customer must accept this cost or walk away. The triage may include, visual inspection, road test, or a preliminary global vehicle scan, i.e., all systems. None of this is free. It is part of a progressive methodical process. Agree a separate contract for this allowing either party to walk away.
    
One especially crucial point to understand before you begin any repair or diagnostic investigation, you must fully understand how the system functions and the specific responsibility of each component in that system, how it operates and how to test it.
    
Check DTCs that are relevant to the symptoms, not forgetting pending and confirmed errors in EOBD. Also check for incomplete default flags. These cannot be cleared unless all flag parameters have been satisfied during drive cycles.
    
Next, you need to cross-reference specified, actual, and corrected data. A fault code will not register unless the component parameters have been exceeded, in some cases for a considerable time, so fast intermittent drive concerns may not be registered in the fault memory. Previous experience over the past 50 years has convinced me of the value in using gauges when confirming, fluid, pressure, and flow.
    
For example, when testing fuel pump performance, flow is just as important as pressure. Also check the pump current. It is linear with pressure, therefore faults may be predicted by checking current across the relay or fuse without accessing the pump or supply hoses.

Intermittent variable vane turbo faults are easily monitored with a gauge. We could not source suitable gauges, so I designed our own. In fact, many of our tools have been modified to suit challenging tests.
    
Data log selected serial data so that focused analysis can be carried out. The selected items will depend on the nature of the fault under investigation. This can then be downloaded into graphing software like datazap.  If you are interested refer to my VW Amarok SCR repair article from the June issue.
    
There may be a technical bulletin or software update dealing with the complaint so access to the manufacturers repair information system is mandatory.

Component testing
It is at this point where component testing may commence, like each stage of an investigation there are rules that govern and guide your response. Before the output of a sensor is suspected, you must check the ground reference and power supply at the sensor. Output deviation can be caused by wiring errors, sensor error, or a genuine environment value error. It may be necessary to cross-reference the value by alternative means, where possible.
    
For example, with a cold vehicle, all temperature sensors will have a similar value, as will pressure sensors on a static engine. Exhaust gas temperature sensors will reduce by approximately 50°C as they pass further down the exhaust stream.
    
Sensors fall into set groups; Position, range or movement, temperature, pressure, angle etc.
They also fall into three output categories; Linear/analogue, digital, and sent. Because of the complexity in vehicle systems control, it is inevitable that an oscilloscope needs to be used to confirm correct functionality.
    
An oscilloscope, like all tools, fall into one of three groups; The good, the bad and the ugly. They demand two special skill sets; Set up and image interpretation. They provide a unique insight to mechanical and electronic functionality.
    
This brings me to current and ongoing problems: Accessibility, and the cost risk ratio in the diagnostic process. Many of the tools that can be used with a scope find their roots in other hi-tech industries.
    
Cylinder pressure analysis, WPS, is the best example. The use of an absolute pressure sensor directly in the cylinder reports real time pressure differential above and below atmosphere. With minimal component removal and the engine running, the precise valve open/close position can be established.
    
The catch here is fully understanding the image as correct. It may require confirmation from a good known vehicle. The other problem is variable valve lift and timing control. This will affect pressure readings and must be confirmed via serial data evaluation.

Complex
Vehicles manufactured today are a complex mixture of mechanical systems, all of which share one unique property; Mass, acceleration, and frequency. The latest technique in systems diagnosis is NVH, or vibration analysis. With the aid of a three-dimensional accelerometer and analytical software, each individual component can be identified by its frequency signature. Everything from a cylinder misfire to a defective bearing can be isolated.
    
Some of our more individual specialist tools include an injector test bench. This helps identify combustion imbalance from our vibration analysis. With the onset of direct drive turbo actuator control, we invested in an actuator drive simulator. Driving the wastegate through precise angles whilst monitoring the current draw confirms correct movement, range, and mechanical resistance.
    
It is occurred to me writing this two-part piece that several subjects identified would make good subjects for future articles, so watch this space.  It has also reminded me of the remarkable skills that automotive technicians need to repair and service vehicles. Have pride in your achievements and don’t work cheap!



Broadening support on Electric Vehicles

asTech is looking to provide support on EV repairs, as Martyn explains
Published:  10 November, 2022

As the number of electric vehicles continues to rise in UK, the opportunity for bodyshops that specifically cater for EVs is also increasing.  Enfield-based EV Bodyshops is run by Adam Thurman and his team, launched in June 2021 to take advantage of this growing income stream. At the end of last year, EV Bodyshops gained Nissan GB approval, officially becoming the first ‘electric only’ repairer for the vehicle manufacturer.

On the workshop floor, one of the most common jobs the technicians are performing is high-voltage shutdowns and reinstating the high-voltage system once it is safe to do so. This means employing the right product for the job at hand is critical. We sat down with Adam to discuss how he went about choosing the right technology for his business.

“Prior to opening, we knew in-house high voltage repairs would be on our menu of services, so with my background as a main dealer and working with OEM equipment, I knew exactly what I wanted out of the products we purchased.

“Like any good business we did our own research. However, we were also introduced to asTech’s products and remote services by our distribution supplier. This led to a meeting with the asTech team where I explained what we required and the types of vehicles we were working on. On receipt of their answers, they made me feel comfortable that the asTech solution was perfect for us.

“We use asTech products for all our repairs, which includes pre- and post-repair scans. These enable our technicians to understand any historic errors with the vehicle and help clear any issues or errors caused through an accident or the repair process.

“Our team has benefited from the fact that they have access to IMI trained technicians that are using the latest software, and this allows us to see all the faults that other software is unable to deliver. An example of this is on a couple of occasions the software has highlighted faults that we couldn’t see, which meant we dealt with them and stopped the vehicle being brought back in. This, in turn, ensures customers receive the highest levels of service and a right first-time fix, which is what we aim to offer our customers every time.

“Overall, the knowledge, expertise and technology we have access to through asTech has provided us with the confidence needed to repair the types of vehicles that come through the workshop door each day. In addition, I also believe what we have access to will be an asset to the business because as EV vehicle technology evolves, so will the software we use.”




Premium quality turbos from Nissens Automotive

Published:  10 November, 2022

Nissens Automotive (Nissens) first introduced turbos into its aftermarket programme in 2018, as part of a dedicated plan to expand the Nissens Engine Efficiency & Emissions range, to offer the independent sector a premium replacement proposition that reflects the high Genuine Nissens Quality standards of its existing product groups, particularly concerning thermal management, where it has an excellent reputation, not only for the quality of its parts, but also the technical support it provides.


Overvoltage adversity

Kevin was not shocked when a Transit came in with some interesting electrical issues, so he got to work
Published:  31 October, 2022

Recently we had a 2009 Ford Transit Connect 1.8 TD come through the doors with 140,000 miles on the clock. The customer explained that if he drove the vehicle above 2,500RPM, the dash display all fell to zero and the engine would cut out. Then, within a second, it all came back online and would drive again, until the next time he hit 2,500RPM. The van already had a new alternator fitted in an attempt to resolve the issue, but this had been unsuccessful.
    
Armed with that information, a test plan was drawn up as follows:
1. Road test and verification of the fault
2. Global scan
3. Result-driven approach
4. Look up fault code
5. Gain access to relevant information, know faults and fixes, wiring diagram.
6. Equipment required; multi meter, scope etc. What type of testing voltage and continuity using a scope to monitor signals while system is operational.
7.  Study results from testing and plan a fix
8.  Apply the repair and retest
9.  Prove repair successful including road test
10. Write up job card and return keys and job card to the office.

Step 1: Road test. This lets us experience and validate the customer’s concern. I didn't need to go far as a quick acceleration up the hill had it doing its thing. The dash suddenly all fell to zero and the engine cut out. Then, just as quickly the dash came back to life the engine picked up and away the van went, until the next acceleration. Upon returning to the garage, a test plan was put together.

Step 2: Attach the scanner and do a global scan. This is always my preferred method, as the way systems interact means the same fault code can appear in many other systems. If we only concentrate on a single control unit, such as the ECU or dash, without considering the vehicle as a whole, we can miss vital pieces of evidence that could identify the reason for the failure. While the scanner was running through the systems check, I opened the bonnet and carried out a visual inspection. There was nothing obvious to report there, so I just verified that the new alternator was installed as described. How many of you are saying dash fault right now?  We have all seen them. Next, I checked the scanner fault report, which was where I found the golden nugget; Overvoltage.

Step 3: Results-driven approach. Having read the scan report, I highlighted the recurring fault code with the same description in each ECU it appeared. In fact, overvoltage was present in several ECUs. This gave us a place to start testing. See Fig.1.

Fault-finding mission
With this information in hand, my multi meter was attached to the battery and 15.34 was the reading on the screen. In order to catch exactly what was going on, a scope was used. When the vehicle revved up, the following trace was captured. It spiked over 18 volts. Please refer to Fig.2.
    
It is a well-documented fact that these alternators suffer with harness faults. With this in mind, the harness was visually inspected from underneath. It all looked good up to the plug by the battery box. These are smart charge, utilising four connections. The large one goes to battery positive, then the three in the plug are as follows: One is used for battery voltage sensing, the next sends the ECU command signal to the alternator charge level request, and the last one transmits the acknowledgement signal from the alternator back to the ECU.
    
The command and the acknowledgement signals are square wave PWM so I prefer to test with a scope for more accuracy due to a multi meter just averaging the signal. With the scope back-probed in to all three of the black plug wires, I could see the command and acknowledgement signals, but no battery sensor voltage was present. The next step for testing was to check the fuse, which was intact and ok.

This corrosion
I then removed the air filter housing to gain access from the top. This would allow me to test at the plug between the harness to the alternator and the vehicle harness. Next, the fourth channel of the scope was back-probed into the top part of the plug on the battery voltage sensing wire. No voltage was found here either, so a wiggle test of the harness was employed which caused the scope trace to jump up to battery voltage. At this point I pulled on the red battery sensing wire just above the plug and the insulation parted. Here we found what we were looking for; Corrosion, the green crusties of death for wiring. Please refer to Fig.3.
    
The other wires were pulled to see if their fate was the same, but the scope trace stayed steady for the command and acknowledgement, so they were fine; No attention necessary.
    
Then, a repair was made by stripping the terminal out of the plug and replacing it with a new terminal with 15cm of new wire attached, of the correct gauge and colour. The harness was then opened up and the green wire disease was cut out. A new wire was soldered to the clean old one in the loom, then covered over with heat shrink tubing re-tape. The loom was then put back up, we joined the connector back together and we re-tested.


Nissens automotive heater and cabin blowers

Published:  27 October, 2022

Although often overlooked when servicing or repairing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, heaters and cabin blowers serve a crucial role, particularly for the comfort of the occupants. So, particularly before the winter season, it is advisable to include these two components during an annual check and, if either need replacement, use only premium quality aftermarket products.


Rocketing fuel prices reinforce role of technician

The precipitous increase in the price of fuel during 2022 has made customers realise how technicians can help them
Published:  24 October, 2022

With global fuel prices rising at an alarming rate and with no imminent signs of any significant reduction, vehicle maintenance is now vital. If motorists are aiming for maximum miles from their tank, they can’t afford to overlook vehicle servicing, maintenance, and repairs. No more ignoring the early warning signs or delaying a service. It all points to the importance of the independent technician as the trusted go-to professional.
    
“Driving fuel efficiently is a subject of significant interest,” said Mike Schlup, MD of Kalimex, the UK distributors of the JLM Lubricants’ range of products. “However, if a tank of fuel is to last longer then vehicle maintenance is more important than simply swapping poor driving habits for good ones. The professional independent technician holds the keys when it comes to attaining optimum vehicle health, because a healthy vehicle burns less fuel. This means choosing high quality additives from the JLM range when they reduce or remove the need for a replacement part and when they enhance the overall service offering.
    
“JLM is globally renowned for collaborating with top-flight technicians so that new products are road-tested and evaluated in real workshops before they are launched. Darren Darling, founder of the world acclaimed, independent DPF Doctor Network is a JLM brand ambassador, but Darren was putting JLM products through their paces and recommending JLM products long before he accepted this role. So JLM’s focus is very much on developing additives and lubricants that have been evaluated by world-leading technicians on the most challenging vehicles. If motorists want to run their car fuel efficiently and keep repair and service bills down, they must trust their technician to use premium quality additives whenever possible. Take the JLM GDI Cleaner for example. It cleans the tip of the injector of direct fuel injected engines, with more efficient fuel injection and less fuel consumption as a result. With gasoline direct injection, the injectors get dirty and cook on a regular basis over a period of time. This product is used on many vehicles including ones technicians class as hopeless cases. Used every 20,000 km it will keep the injectors clean and will play a crucial part in improved fuel economy.”

Solution
Mike continued: “Another JLM product, Petrol Extreme Clean will improve fuel economy. It’s the solution to late model cars and engines with severe build-up blocking problems in various parts of the fuel system. These contaminations are tough and hard to dissolve with regular fuel additives. This product is suitable for all petrol engines including direct injection with or without a turbo or catalytic converter. The special detergent in the JLM formulation cleans the fuel system including injectors, inlet and outlet valves, spark plugs and combustion chamber. The net effects are lower deposits of combustion residues in the cylinder and cleaner exhaust gases; The octane number boosted by 2-4 points plus an increase in engine power with better fuel economy. All this from a product that is added to the fuel tank before refueling.
    
“For diesel vehicles, JLM have the diesel equivalent, aptly named Diesel Extreme Clean. This cleans the entire fuel system with lower emissions and fuel consumption as a result. It is also powerful enough to clear soot accumulation from the DPF, EGR and turbo vanes. Another product from the JLM stable, the Diesel Injector Cleaner makes light work of the tough job of cleaning the injectors, again saving fuel and restoring engine power.”

Service
Often when a car is being serviced, the oil is changed. This opens up an opportunity, as Mike observed: “When a technician adds the JLM Engine Oil Flush Pro to the old oil before adding the new, then even old and very dirty engines are cleaned with a corresponding improvement in engine performance and a reduction in fuel consumption.
    
“Motorists cannott fight the price at the pumps. So, they must trust their technician to keep their vehicle in tip top condition because they also have access to best of breed maintenance and prevention products that will keep workshop bills down. By choosing JLM products, a technician can also increase their revenues with rinse and repeat sales at service, maintenance, and repair. Technicians are also telling us that motorists are now really looking for products they can use between workshop visits to keep their vehicle in good health. They are buying these products from their local garage because of the relationship they have. It takes the guesswork out of standing in front of a shelf of ‘me too’ products and walking away with something that is not up to the task. This of course builds even more sales in the workshop and a healthy additional income.

Stockists
Mike concluded: “It is no coincidence that to date, this year has been our best ever for JLM products and our biggest customers are technicians buying JLM from their local motor factor stockist. Technicians can choose JLM products with confidence because they have heard great things about the brand; They have read about the products in good quality trade publications such as Aftermarket and if they are not presently using JLM products they are open to a conversation and they invariably know a technician who’s a raving fan. Their next step is putting some of JLM’s hero products through their paces. We welcome those conversations.”
    
For more information, visit: www.jlmlubricants.com


Building the better garage

In the first instalment of a two-part series, Frank considers how a garage can offer a successful diagnostic service to its customers
Published:  13 October, 2022

Part One


“Ideal opportunity” – Schaeffler’s Alistair Mason on S&S OE parts

Published:  04 October, 2022

Reflecting on the best parts for use on a vehicle’s steering and suspension system, Schaeffler’s Technical Manager Alistair Mason observed: “The first question that technicians working on a vehicle’s steering & suspension components should ask, is whether the replacement parts they’re going to fit are of original equipment quality. Let’s be frank, these are safety critical components and if something fails the consequences can be horrendous. So, why compromise and just fit the cheapest in order to price match another garage, when it could be someone’s wife or child that’s put at such an unnecessary risk?


What’s in a name?

By Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd
Published:  29 September, 2022

Andrew looks back to the dawn of motoring to see how the sports car came to be defined


Nissens Automotive Heater and Cabin Blowers

Published:  26 September, 2022

Nissens Automotive is an established aftermarket replacement parts supplier with decades of thermal management experience, across both the vehicle’s engine cooling (E/C) and air conditioning (A/C) systems. Its comprehensive product range, all of which is manufactured to Genuine Nissens Quality standards, to provide independent workshops with premium grade replacement parts, which operate to the same performance levels as the original, gives them a premium quality aftermarket solution they can depend on.


Genuine alternative

Published:  23 September, 2022

Schaeffler Territory Manager Mike Hansford has been reflecting on what makes for the best option in steering and suspension. He observed: “The FAG steering and suspension range provides independent workshops looking for premium quality parts with the ideal solution, as the unique features, plus the fit and finish, ensure a best-in-class repair,”


Fig 2

Hide and seek

There are those who, instead of identifying and rectifying faults on cars, would rather change the vehicle’s capacity to detect such faults
Published:  22 September, 2022

By Ryan Colley, Elite Automotive Diagnostics


Fig 1

Strange brew

Neil gives his brain some exercise thanks to a most perplexing Mercedes-Benz problem
Published:  20 September, 2022

By Neil Currie


Adding fuel to the fire

The increased ethanol content of petrol in the UK is causing all sorts of issues, and Frank says you need to start paying attention in this area
Published:  12 September, 2022

COVID-19 and the last two years may have reset how we, dare I say, plan, for the future. If the pandemic wasn’t enough, the events of the last four months have only reaffirmed the need to think further ahead than we have been used to doing. The war in Ukraine has affected parts supply as well as fuel stocks and delivery.
    
I have chosen to revisit bioethanol fuel and its effect on vehicle design and servicing. I’m not a farming expert but I do know that Ukraine is a supplier of raw ingredients, such as wheat, maze, and sugar cane. The UK has quite recently introduced E10 at our pumps. Fortunately, E5 is still available, reserved for our high-energy fuels. I’m glad about this on a personal level, because that is all I ever use.
    
I do not buy into some of the statements regarding the introduction of bioethanol fuels as they have their roots with political initiatives, reducing C02 levels, reducing farming subsidies and overproduction waste, and replacing fossil fuel production.
    
The process of creating bioethanol fuel by alcoholic fermentation is above my pay grade, but I wonder what the hidden pollution cost of farming, transportation and actual production is?
I suggest you look at biomass fuels for electricity production, which is one of the most dishonest clean energy claims. I am often found cycling through north Lincolnshire, where I am well-placed to watch the endless trains on their way to Drax power station. Biomass is wood or trees, a great deal comes from North America. It’s worth a thought while driving EVs!
    
Ethanol is an organic hydrocarbon which like petroleum consists of carbon molecules. The ethanol chain is comprised of two carbon molecules, each supporting three hydrogen atoms and a hydroxyl group; Oxygen with one hydrogen atom. Bioethanol can be identified as ethanol produced from biomass (a renewable carbon source),  or waste material, vegetables, timber (trees) straw, or plant-based material. My last statement is the biggest objection to claims of what makes a renewable energy source. Biomass fuel is combusted much faster than its source can be renewed. In short, trees do not grow quickly.
    
In Europe under DIN EN 228, 5% ethanol is allowed in petroleum fuels without additional labelling on the pump, whereas 10% and above must be identified. Percentages up to 85% are possible but only with highly modified vehicles.
    
Ethanol has a fixed boiling point of 78°C. This has a direct effect on the combustion process, especially from cold. Therefore, fuel delivery quantity and ignition adjustment are paramount to successful drivability. First generation biofuels compose of oil or sugar-based plants into diesel fuel by pressing and esterification. Sugar-based plants are converted into ethanol by a fermentation process.
    
Second generation biofuels are produced from a variety of energy sources including, organic waste, straw, wood, agricultural waste, old timber, low grade forest, including land set aside for future growth, and fast-growing plant material.
    
Low grade forest growth is normally 15-20 years. Renewable carbon source? Here come the politics. Plants convert atmospheric CO2 into biomass, this renewable energy source can then be subtracted from vehicle emissions. It even has a political expression, carbon credits, or carbon offset. It is accepted that bioethanol fuels have less calorific value than petroleum, however the increase in combustion cylinder pressures make up any differences in power output.

Effect
Autarkic cold starting, or poor start combustion has now been overcome without the need for preheaters, by re-introducing a cold start manifold injector n17, alloy manifolds and retardation of the ignition profile. Additional cylinder bore treatments will help counteract bore wash during adverse low temperature conditions. There is however a much-modified servicing requirement due to oil pollution increase. Oil replacement occurs every 15,000 kilometres or 9,000 mils or 12 months. Ethanol fuel is highly corrosive with respect to copper, aluminium, and rubber, therefor it is not advisable to operate vehicle’s non-bioethanol compliant.
    
Bioethanol fuels have a similar effect on valve seats as unleaded fuels did on their introduction several years ago. Further attention by Audi in addressing the combustion pressure increases focused on the design and strengthening of the con rods, big end bearings with an additional aluminium layer, and piston crown design.
    
The vehicle electronic control system must have a fuel quality sensor g446. This is fitted in the primary fuel supply line. This is necessary for correct adjustment to varying ethanol percentage. Its function is a capacitive change due to the two-bioethanol content. The sensor outputs a frequency between 55hz equalling 0% bio and 150hz equalling 100% bio.

Improvement
To improve cold start, Audi took full advantage of their multi-injection control system, with one injection event on the intake stroke. This period corrects for the additional cold start fuel requirement, with two injection events occurring on the compression event, with the timing shifted closer to the ignition point. This is augmented by a fuel pressure of 150bar. A conventional gasoline vehicle would have between 65 and 90bar.
    
There has been some speculation over adverse injector performance with bioethanol fuels. We at ADS have experienced what I would describe as an unusually high number of injector-related problems in recent months. With fuel delivery pressures of 350 bar and above, Care should be taken before attributing symptoms and cause. However, I do understand from a great friend and industry expert, that Bosch are experiencing filter baskets dissolving and or restricting fuel flow through the injector resulting in engine failure. Porsche is another manufacturer experiencing premature engine failures, although I have no evidence that there is any connection between these causes.
    
Other more obvious considerations with injectors focus on the obvious fact that the pintles are mounted directly into the combustion area. Therefore they subject to combustion related deposits. Also, pintles may open out, but not in.
    
Do not pre-judge my comments in this topic as negative to recent developments. I have been an automotive engineer for over 50 years. As such, I take a wider, fact-diven view of the rapid changes I have witnessed, including the comments at the beginning of this subject.

As a footnote, BMW and KIA have given directives to their dealership network to recommend named-brand gasoline only, without ethanol content.





Mind the skills gap

In his latest article, Martin considers the importance of training to keep one-step ahead of technology
Published:  05 September, 2022

By Martin Pinnell-Brown, Director, Repairify Innovations


Alternators and starters in hybrid vehicles

AS-PL unleashes some of its technical knowledge, looking at starters and alternators for hybrids
Published:  29 August, 2022

Cars with hybrid drives were introduced at the beginning of the 21st century. These were experimental units, but nevertheless were able to prove that the automotive industry could expect a huge technological leap in the future.

Currently, the portfolio of hybrid vehicles is extensive and includes various engine variants. Whether a particular engine is equipped with an alternator and starter and their particular role is also a diverse matter. When it comes to hybrid engines, can we still talk about these elements as we knew them from previous generations of engines?

The automotive industry is developing very rapidly, both from the perspective of passenger car users, as well as those driving utility vehicles. Mechanics need to expand their knowledge, and garages need to invest in equipment to be able to provide service for the ever-increasing number of cars with hybrid and electric drives.

Hybrid vehicles come in a multitude of versions and models, from less advanced examples, up to more technically complex iterations, where the user decides which engine to choose: electric or internal combustion. The function of the alternator and starter in such engines is also not immune to change.

Micro, mild and full hybrids: Several types of hybrid vehicles can be distinguished based on how advanced they are:

Micro hybrid: The electric engine functions as a starter and/or alternator, it does not drive the car directly.

Mild hybrid: The electric engine supports the internal combustion engine, e.g., when accelerating.

Full hybrid: The electric engine supports the combustion engine but can also propel the car independently.

Series, parallel and mixed hybrids: The following hybrids are distinguished based on the manner of connection between the internal combustion and electric engine.

Series: The internal combustion engine does not provide much power and its only role is to support the generator (an alternator combined with a starter).

Parallel: The electric engine supports the internal combustion one. The internal combustion engine is mechanically connected with the wheels. The system may be equipped with one or two clutches and split axles.

Mixed: These are a combination of the approaches already discussed.

Integrated starter-alternators
Hybrid vehicles are equipped with integrated starter-alternator (ISA) systems. Their functions include, but are not limited to, energy recovery during braking (regenerative braking), Stop/Start system, or supporting the main engine when starting, increasing power, or accelerating. This system also allows for powering other devices, such as electric power steering and air conditioning. The newest i-StARS integrated alternator-starters are digitally controlled via communication protocols, such as LIN or BSS.

Hybrid drive applications are an example of how far we have gone and how little is needed to completely replace the internal combustion engine with electric drive systems. Increasing power capacity (cells) or charging speed will certainly be important in this respect. An infrastructure network full of easily accessible electricity sources is also vital.  It may be assumed that the way integrated alternator-starter systems are applied will change or that they will be replaced with a more modern system, completely abandoning the drives we know today.



Thin end of the wedge

This month, Andrew examines the travails experienced by Aston Martin with the roll-out of its V8 Lagonda
Published:  24 August, 2022

By Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd


Thin end of the wedge

This month, Andrew examines the travails experienced by Aston Martin with the roll-out of its V8 Lagonda
Published:  17 August, 2022

 By Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd


Ride the common rail

In this issue, Damien has rolled up his sleeves to deal with a problematic common rail diesel injection engine
Published:  10 August, 2022

 By Damien Coleman, Product Manager/ EBI Specialist at Snap-on


Software manipulation and how to catch it!

A Mercedes-Benz that Ryan recently encountered provided him with an opportunity to muse on software manipulation
Published:  05 August, 2022

 By Ryan Colley, Elite Automotive Diagnostics


Tales of the unexpected

Grange looks at what the future might hold for self-driving vehicles on British roads
Published:  02 August, 2022

By 2030, the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned, and car dealerships will only have electric models on display, which will include autonomous options. It is fair to say that drivers are looking at this exciting prospect with anticipation.
    
As the hype for the future of mobility rises, we are left with one, intriguing question – what types of self-driving cars can we expect to see on our roads? Here, we take a look at what may happen in the space of five years, and how far technology will take us.

Policy and legislation
The UK is working hard to be on track for the introduction of future vehicles. Through the implementation of policies and legislation, our country is paving the way towards allowing the safe access of AVs on British streets.
    
According to KPMG’s Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index 2020, with an index ranking score of 21.36, Britain sits in ninth position when it comes to readiness for self-driving cars. With a strong focus on safety, cybersecurity, technology, and public transport, the UK is actively preparing for innovation in mobility.
    
As for the reviewing and introduction of pertinent legislation, Britain ranks second on the Policy and legislation pillar. More specifically, in July 2018, the UK accepted the so-called Automated and Electric Vehicles Act, which strives to update insurance rules to cover autonomous vehicles.
    
In this respect, Roads Minister Jesse Norman said that the act “will ensure that the UK’s infrastructure and insurance system is ready for the biggest transport revolution in a century.”
    
A second consultation was published in 2019, addressing AV regulation for public services, including driverless taxis and minibuses. Recently, the UK government has also released a third consultation, which serves as an extension to define self-driving, guarantee security, and specify the difference between a fleet operation and a user-in-charge.
    
Britain’s progress in terms of making adaptations for autonomous cars is increasingly evident. Indeed, if granted a GB type approval, all vehicles that are equipped with Automated Lane-Keeping System (ALKS) technology will be classified as AVs. This suggests that autonomous cars may be able to hit our roads in the very near future, but on one condition – they cannot exceed a speed of 37mph.

How independent will self-driving vehicles be?
The term ‘autonomous vehicle’ implies that the car will happily do its thing without the intervention of a human. AVs are divided into different categories and, of course, self-driving vehicles are part of this classification. However, they only include its most advanced stage – Level 5.

What about the other four levels? What type of AVs do they feature? Let’s take a look.

No driving automation (Level 0)
Level 0 stands for a basic, manual vehicle. In these types of cars, humans take care of all driving operations, including operating the gear stick.

Driver assistance (Level 1)
Level 1 cars are fitted with adaptive cruise control, making them an upgraded version of entirely manual vehicles. This feature allows the car to regulate speed and perform lane centring on its own.

Partial driving automation (Level 2)
Currently, most vehicles on our roads are Level 2 autonomy. From accelerating and braking functions to automatic steering, these cars feature a range of handy features.

Conditional driving automation (Level 3)
In large, these cars are self-driving, but only in specific conditions. In fact, drivers are always required to be alert and to take control of the vehicle if needed. Cars that are equipped with ALKS will be classified as Level 3 vehicles, which are the AVs that the British government plans to introduce on our roads first.  

High driving automation (Level 4)
If you just want to sit back and relax, a Level 4 car is the perfect fit. These AVs do not expect humans to take control at any point. In the event of an unexpected incident on the road, the vehicle is designed to simply pull over and stop safely. This said, these cars are not built to work in all conditions, which may therefore be limiting for some drivers. There is no denying that Level 4 AVs are a huge leap in innovative mobility, but sadly our road networks – for the time being – are too complicated to accommodate them. Hence, some believe that we will never see these cars populate our streets.

Full driving automation (Level 5)
Slightly more advanced than their Level 4 counterparts, Level 5 AVs are expected to operate uniquely on their own with no human input whatsoever. There is reason to think that these may be the future of our taxis and buses.
    
Past predictions estimated that by 2021, there would be queues of autonomous cars waiting at the red traffic light, ready to drive off on their own as soon as they flashed green. It is fair to say that expectation was perhaps a bit too hopeful. As things stand, artificial intelligence is not advanced enough to reach that stage yet. Even Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, had to go back on his words. He had previously tweeted that by 2020 there would be “over a million cars with full self-driving, software, everything.”
    
At the moment, we can only wait and hope to see if Level 3 vehicles make an appearance on our roads.
    
We may still have to be patient for self-driving vehicles to accessorise British streets, but trials are happening on a regular basis – and progress is being made. For instance, Google’s self-driving car project Waymo has been working hard on the development of the Jaguar I-Pace, the sister of the magnificent Jaguar E-Pace. It is a fully electric Level 3 AV with an in-built InControl, which includes great driving assistance features. These are many and varied, such as emergency braking, cruise control, lane keep assist, speed limiter, adaptive speed limiter, and traffic sign recognition.
    
What’s more, in Ireland, Jaguar Land Rover is setting up a ‘smart city hub’ where self-driving car technology – and the Jaguar I-Pace, specifically – can safely be put to the test. The 7.5-mile road system will give developers the opportunity to test the vehicle’s sensors and gather data from a variety of driving scenarios.
    
Our recent technological advancements bode well for the future of mobility. It may still be too soon to witness autonomous vehicles on our streets, but ongoing trials are ensuring that – when the time comes – AVs will be able to travel securely and sustainably. Ultimately, there is a lot to look forward to.

www.grange.co.uk


Let’s Amarok!

Additive delivery to diesel engines can be a headache, and Frank found himself dealing with just such an issue recently
Published:  25 July, 2022

This month’s topic looks at a VW Amarok 3.0, engine code DDXC, with SCR additive emission control.

It is the additive system we will focus on, no surprises there. Presented to our workshop with the coil lamp illuminated, displaying no loss of performance or fuel economy. The owner is a neighbour of my son David who conducted all the following diagnosis and collation of test data. The owner purchased a £20.00 eBay special code reader extracting the simple message “NOx sensor.” It is my intention to focus on the diagnostic process as well as the repair decisions are undertaken.
    
Most mistakes are often made before any work begins. So, the initial triage is vital in understanding the customer’s requirements, as well as your actions, therefore cost.

With that in mind out comes the ODIS diagnostic platform, vital in this evaluation, as will become apparent later. Please refer to the serial fault data as seen in Fig.1 and Fig.2. The important point to make here is the additional volume of data and specific component identification, this helps to correctly locate the item on the vehicle. There will be an additional advantage in driving the vehicle, observing specific data for the NOx additive system, I.E pre-repair data. This can later be compared with post-repair data. I will cover this later when we consider pre/post-Datazap images. As technicians, we must be conversant with the systems we intend to interrogate. This should include a system functional overview and component location, including manufacturer’s TSBs.

Observation
The test drive confirmed post-catalyst NOx levels higher than pre-NOx catalyst levels. It also confirmed an over-aggressive NOx additive injector function. Other critical observations related to exhaust gas temperatures, and catalyst efficiency. Low exhaust gas temperatures on load may suggest EGR faults. Do not reinvent the wheel; If there is a known fix identified by the VMs then include it in your repair. So, David conducted a TSB campaign search.
    
The search initially did not show any known campaigns for the fault code P103300 (237) G295 NOx sensor.  However, it did list a very interesting known issue with NOx sensor calibration?
    
Please refer to Fig.3, an image from ELSA. As this was unknown to David, he carefully read the process and required tools. ELSA identified an issue with NOx control module, and incorrect calibration. This requires the VAS 601 011 flash box. Whilst waiting for the shiny new toy to arrive at £400.00 the next often overlooked action is testing the urea additive quality and injector delivery rate.
There are only two tools required for urea quality, a refractometer, and your nose. If it smells like a urinal it’s knackered. It should be odourless. The ammonia must be 32.5%, as an exercise check your deliveries and all brands for compliance. You will be shocked at the results. We find the VM brands most reliable.

Mandatory
In the next test, ODIS is mandatory. It involves selecting the exact vehicle I.D, attaching a measuring beaker, removing the additive injector, then conducting a timed discharge test. There will be a very specific value, which must correct.
    
Please refer to Fig.4, which shows the VAS 601 011 tester. Using this calibration tool is very simple. Like most dealer tools, it doesn’t require any technical ability to use and is void of any data when in use. The NOx sensor lead is removed from the vehicle loom and connected to the flash box. Push the button and await the green tick to appear. During a discussion at Autoinform Dublin, it was suggested the tool does not evaluate or test the sensor, merely updates the control module firmware.
    
This sounds suspiciously like it was not done at the factory or the goalposts have been moved to avoid the MIL light errors. With all the above tests correctly, passed David was then able to re-check the vehicle additive system.
    
With performance not affected, David was keen to establish if the urea consumption was excessive. This was confirmed as one tank urea per two of fuel. We know the injector is delivering the correct volume, so there must be another reason.
    
Returning to the efficiency data, and injector delivery ratio he noted the following. Please refer to Fig,5 and Fig.6, which show SCR CAT efficiency. The NOx catalyst efficiency was well down at .354/.495 when 1.000 is correct, so the focus shifted to the catalyst efficiency. The vehicle has only done around 54,000 miles so we were not expecting a problem. Removing the exhaust system from the front and rear allowed inspection with our ender scope.

So here is the rub; Look at the pre-repair and post-repair Datazap images as seen in Fig.7and Fig.8


Green is good

In the first in a new series of articles, Martin Brown from Repairify Innovations looks at the rise and rise of parts recycling
Published:  22 July, 2022

 By Martin Pinnell-Brown, Director, Repairify Innovations


Ghost in the shell

This month, Andrew considers how Rolls-Royce has changed over the last two decades
Published:  14 July, 2022

 By Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd


Powertrain Vehicle Networking

A Renault Megane that was experiencing issues has given Ryan the chance to discuss vehicle networking
Published:  11 July, 2022

At times, we encounter troubling vehicles from other workshops because other techs have failed to draw a correct diagnosis. Failures found in a controller area network (CAN) can be as simple as an open wire or as complicated as a noisy network resulting from outside interference. Regardless, a thorough understanding is required to ensure an accurate and swift diagnosis.
     
The vehicle in question was a Renault Megane 2, with a 1.5DCI engine. It had quite a few local garages puzzled, keeping this vehicle off the road for over six months. Knowing how these systems operate along with the use of an oscilloscope is crucial for analysing any networking fault, including this one.
    
The CAN bus network is made up of various control modules, also known as nodes,  all connected via two wires which send data packets to each other. They communicate via a binary signal (signal in either a recessive or dominant state) and transmit data at an average rate of 500Kbps (which is the equivalent to 0.5Mbps). Often, the voltages of the binary signal range from the following:
CAN-HI= 2.5v – 3.5v
CAN-LOW=2.5v – 1.5v

Anything ‘CAN’ be fixed, if it’s understood
The customer complained that the vehicle would not crank when the push-to-start button was pressed. However, the ignition would come on. They also noted that the cooling fan would operate with the ignition ‘on’. They mentioned multiple scan tools had been used. However, communication with the engine computer could not be established.
    
I started by confirming the fault and noted that the engine management light (MIL) did not illuminate on the dash display, with the ignition ‘on’. With no-start complaints, paying attention to the MIL status during ignition ‘on’ is a great first observation, as this will often tell us whether the engine computer is online or not. I carried out a full system scan to find no fault codes present in the vehicle, but did note the engine control module was not detected on the scan. This indicated a communication problem for the engine control module. If this is not communicating with the rest of the vehicle, it will not start as the immobilizer data will not be shared between modules.
    
Knowing how vehicle networking operates, as described earlier, is critical and can speed up your diagnostic process. For example, I now know I cannot communicate with the engine computer via CAN, but older engine computers often have a single serial data line known as K-line, which connects directly from the data link connector (DLC) to the engine ECU.  Therefore, my next diagnostic step was to see if I could communicate via the K-line to the ECM. If so, this would confirm that the engine ECU is receiving the powers and grounds it needs to communicate.
    
This can be done with most scan tools by simply carrying out an emissions on-board diagnostic (EOBD) scan. The result of this was established communication. It is now likely a CAN bus-related issue for the ECM. See Fig.1.

Following the stepping-stones
Knowing I likely have a CAN Bus fault for the ECM, the next job was to access the engine computer and verify the wiring integrity. It is crucial that powers and grounds are verified, along with CAN communication line integrity, before ever condemning a control unit. Powers and grounds were verified as ‘good’. Although this was already assumed, because communication was established with the ECM via K-line, it had to be confirmed.
    
Next, I had to check the CAN bus directly at the engine computer. This check can only be performed accurately with an oscilloscope to truly verify its integrity. I found, with the ignition ‘on’, and the engine computer connected, the CAN high and low signals were shorted to ground, thus confirming our suspicions of a CAN Bus problem. See Fig.2
    
You must carry out this test with the engine ECU connected as well as disconnected. In case the ECM is internally faulted and is the root cause of the CAN bus short. If the signal, with the ECM disconnected, returns to the expected waveform, then it is likely the issue is related to the ECM, or its internal circuitry. As you can see, referring to Fig.3, with the engine ECU disconnected, the CAN high signal has returned correctly. However, there still exists an obvious issue with the CAN low signal. When checking these signals with an oscilloscope you are looking for uniformity and a mirror image of them, as you will see.

The proof is in the pudding
I have now proven that the CAN low signal leading to the ECM is at fault. Looking at the wiring diagram in Fig.1, you will find that the engine ECU’s CAN data lines go directly to the UPC module (under bonnet fuse box). Therefore, my next diagnostic test is to check for the availability of the CAN signal at the UPC. A signal verified at this location will indicate a wiring fault between the UPC and engine ECU.
    
As you can see from the scope capture in Fig.4, there are proper CAN high and low signals, exhibiting each data packet as mirror images of each other, at the UPC module. This then confirms a wiring fault between the UPC and ECM, on the CAN low data line.
    
Using a jumper wire to connect the CAN low signal, from the UPC module, to the ECM, there is now a proper CAN low signal being measured at the ECM, as seen in Fig.5. This allows me to reconnect the ECU and start the vehicle, confirming that there is indeed a wiring issue between the UPC and ECM. Only then do I move on to the repair stage of this job.

The final countdown
The final step of the repair was to locate the damaged wiring between the UPC and the ECM. By removing the airbox, battery and battery tray I gained better access to the wiring harness. A closer inspection of the harness revealed where it was damaged. Please refer to Fig.6. The wiring is clearly damaged, and it is the green wire that carries the CAN bus low signal, from the UPC to the ECM. After repairing this damaged wire, communication to the ECM was re-established, allowing for the vehicle to start and run.
    
In-depth knowledge of vehicle networking is strongly advised when dealing with these systems. As can be seen from our diagnosis path, it will streamline your diagnosis and make tackling these difficult jobs a lot easier. You will likely find it a struggle to diagnose these faults without an oscilloscope allowing you to really see what's going on. Therefore, I highly recommend using an oscilloscope when diagnosing network faults.



Into the chaos

In a special double-length article, Andrew posits that internal combustion engine mayhem lies ahead
Published:  30 June, 2022

Last year, I asked a professor who had previously worked with the World Economic Forum if the movement towards battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the intentional abandonment of the internal combustion engine, might lead to critical skills shortages. Could this lead to gradual problems supporting the parts supply for the majority of land-based transportation which uses internal combustion engines?

Given this professor championed the historic car restoration business, he should have understood the question. He did not.
    
The USA, Canada, Europe (including the UK, Norway and more), Japan and select other countries have moved policy so fast that emission regulations intended for reduction of tailpipe emissions are now overtaken by the desire to concentrate fuel pollution in electricity generation only, which means exclusively BEV power. This takes no account that the rest of the plant has no choice but to continue to use hydrocarbon-fuelled internal combustion engines because electricity power generation cannot keep up with either industrial or domestic demand. It also takes no account of the fact that many of the countries posturing to do this have also neglected their electric power generation systems.

Investors, buoyed by the promise of making a killing in a new forced market have ridden the narrative that BEV is the only show in town, and everything else is worthless legacy. For this reason, we have start-ups such as Rivian appearing to be worth more than the entire Volkswagen Group, having assembled less than 100 vehicles, and been less than clear if any have been sold for cash. Let that sink in; Less than 100 vehicles, compared to 9.2 million new Volkswagen Group vehicles sold in 2020, and this was under the worst trading conditions for decades, down from 11 million in 2019.

Rivian is part of a gaggle of disruptors, which is Silicon Valley Bank-speak for share price inflation opportunity. Quite simply, ‘the narrative’, investor-speak for the tale of the day, is ensuring established business in almost every sector is penalised with little or no cash, unless they join in with the same story. The executives in the boardroom, looking over their shoulders and needing large bonuses, are happy more often than not to do ‘what is necessary’.

There are two compound effects. Firstly, manufacture of key components for internal combustion engines long ago resided with suppliers to vehicle manufacturers, and along with that came expertise. Making sure a valve spring, for example, would work for 200,000 plus miles is something that would have taken a very long time to develop. In the age of the legacy narrative, this has limited shareholder value.

Secondly, investments to develop new vehicles through to new components requires investment. If the return on investment is less than 20% per year, then the cost of accessing those loans increases, thereby further reducing opportunity for the vehicle manufacturer as well as their suppliers.

Lift and shift
The solution is to move manufacturing along with engineering from established centres of excellence into countries still undergoing immense economic growth. Frequently there is a vast pool of highly qualified talent available at far lower pay rates than in ‘established’ markets, except the academic ability needs extensive guidance. So, key staff who are effectively not part of the future in North America, Europe or some parts of the Far East are sent off. The hand-over of expertise lasts as long as those individuals are present, and then decay sets in if this process is not supported when they leave. There are clear examples of the automotive sector operating in countries where running a manufacturing plant is possible, but understanding what happens in the whole process from creation to mass production is weak. BMW Group understood from the outset what strengths each new manufacturing region had, and their weaknesses too. Investments were made cautiously, so that the satellite plant skill could be developed properly. In contrast Volkswagen Group partnered with a domestic company, sold the tooling and tried to build a vehicle which had a good reputation in Europe. Lack of control over the quality of locally sourced parts mean the vehicles broke, and sometimes even before the end of the assembly line. Volkswagen Group soon understood what BMW Group already knew, altered their processes and enjoyed success.

The engine
Tellingly, the bit most satellite production gets to do last is the engine and transmission manufacture. Firstly, a container can take many vehicles worth of powertrains, and they represent one of the most valuable assemblies out of the whole vehicle. Secondly, not only is considerable expertise required, frequently suppliers who may not be present in the country need to set up operations.
Then there is the specialist knowledge that is not fully documented because it is ‘known’. Remarkably in an age where so much engineering, tool making and production layout can be achieved with off-the-peg programmes, most technology development requires the application of pre-existing knowledge to drive the whole process forward.

Here’s the danger
The automotive sector has understood the internal combustion development, which runs up to five years ahead of new legislation, especially for tail pipe emissions, has been stopped. This is because the direction of travel from Europe and North America means companies are forced to go green to survive, and off-load internal combustion engines to places that still want them. Those places include China and India, for example.

If the manufacturing is simply shipped out to partners with little or no support, the products may well look fine but may not work. Rather than an orderly ramp-down in Europe, North America and selected Far East markets, the result will be incomplete BEV roll out due to costs, lack of power generation and difficulties around the power distribution network
Effectively this incentivizes those unable to buy a BEV to hang on to their ‘legacy’ vehicle.

Taking this one step further, who is going to support this fleet of circa 33 million vehicles in the UK alone, if there is not a robust supply of quality parts?

Accelerating into the unknown
The message is clear. Established component and assembly suppliers in Europe have stopped internal combustion engine development right across Europe, trying to make this intermediate strategy of ‘lift and shift’ cover the inevitable shortfall. Where there is no support, component quality will nosedive. Currently we know which suppliers made parts for vehicle manufacturers, which ones may not have supplied those parts for a given vehicle but have a great depth of expertise, which ones bought parts to reverse engineer them, and those who frankly produced nicely packaged scrap. That’s about to get a whole lot more exciting.
Everyone, from vehicle manufacturers to suppliers of suppliers, is trying to do a great job. However, the risk is that much knowledge has already and will continue to be lost as the age of the internal combustion engine is politically engineered, followed by destruction of much good manufacturing capability before the great future hope of transport can really deliver, at the right price for the public.
Capitalism has not delivered this half-baked cake; Mainstream politics and earnest lobbyists have.     Meanwhile the last man standing with the expertise to save the day is the automotive aftermarket. How on earth could this sector ever be seen as boring?



Attack of the clones

A troublesome BMW 1 Series that received some attention from Ryan recently showed how cloning is the future
Published:  22 June, 2022

I hope you have been enjoying these recent articles. I would like to discuss something a little different with this issue’s case study, which will go into detail about computer cloning and in-depth electronics.
 
Developing a diagnostics game plan
I would like to present to you a troublesome vehicle we had in our workshop recently that required us to go above and beyond to repair. The vehicle in question was a 2007 BMW 1 Series with a 2.0 Petrol gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine. The vehicle was brought into us after having recently having the coils packs, spark plugs and injectors replaced to try and rectify the issue with this vehicle. However, the fault remained. The customer advised us the vehicle would run very rough from start-up and would eventually cut out.
    
We started the vehicle, and as the customer had warned, it was running very rough. It was obvious to us it was misfiring on multiple cylinders.
    
A full system scan of the vehicle revealed fault codes relating to injector control circuit for cylinders 1 and 4 or an internal fault to the digital motor electronics (DME) a.k.a the engine computer. This computer oversees turning the injectors on to inject the correct amount of fuel into the engine in order for it to run efficiently. I could clearly tell we had a multiple cylinder misfire therefore it was obvious the next step would be to check these circuits. Please refer to Fig.1.  
 
Time to Measure
The next step was to check if we had any injector driver activity at the injectors themselves. Therefore, I connected an oscilloscope to injectors 2 and 3, first to attain a known good waveform, before continuing onto the circuits the DME was reporting as being faulty. After checking the fuel injector signal, I found we had good control on cylinders 2 and 3 as we would expect. Therefore, now I needed to confirm we had the same signals on injectors 1 and 4. Once connected to fuel injectors 1 and 4, I found no injector driver signals being present. This can be caused by the injectors themselves, faulty wiring or a faulty engine computer injector driver. This meant I now needed to confirm the injectors themselves were not shorted before moving onto check the wiring integrity. Please refer to Fig.2 and Fig.3
    
I checked the resistance value of the Piezo stack. The value I would expect to see would be between 180-195k ohms. This is an indicator of a good Piezo stack, meaning electronically this injector is not shorted. As you can see from the image, we have 193k ohms, which is within the range I would expect to see on a Piezo injector. I confirmed all four injectors were the same resistance value indicating the injectors was not the issue next, I took the same measurement as above directly at the ECM. However, I still did not have any injector driver control. It was now obvious the engine computer was at fault.

How do we solve a hardware supply issue?
After contacting our local dealer to order a replacement engine computer at a cost of £1,200+VAT, I was informed they currently had none in stock and did not have an estimated time of arrival on any new ones due to a chip shortage. This then only gave us one other option which was to clone the engine computer data into another engine computer from a donor vehicle. This process is called cloning.
    
The process is done using a specialist programmer, which will read the microprocessor and EEPROM internal to the engine computer to retrieve all the data required to transfer into the donor unit. This is done by directly connecting to the engine computer and manually powering the unit up on the bench. The data retrieved contains immobiliser information as well as the engine computer’s software and programming data effectively producing an identical match to what was previously installed on the vehicle. With this information we can make clones of the original which can then be installed back onto the vehicle.
    
As you can see from the images, the cloning process was successful and the programmer had successfully written the data into the donor engine computer. All that was left was to install this ECU back into the vehicle and I can confirm this was a fix. The benefit of this process as opposed to attempting to program a used engine computer via a scan tool is that all the immobiliser data, software and programming counters were all automatically transferred, meaning this is now a plug-and-play unit.

Programmers are the future
When parts are no longer available to us as garage owners, we need to think of effective methods of repair which will not only correct the issue with the vehicle but will also result in a long-lasting repair. The work carried out here is a promising solution for us as vehicle repairers and I believe will become a lot more common as technology progresses and control modules either become too expensive for an economical repair or are no longer available.



Past, present and cars of the future

Our Editor looks back and forwards with his old colleague, Neil Kennett, who is joining the mag’s roster of regular contributors
Published:  14 June, 2022

Neil, we worked literally alongside each other in the RMI press office for years. What do you remember most about those days?
Oh, where to start?  We used to joke that nobody ever leaves the motor industry, and here we both are 20 years and several kids later. I joined in early 2003. You were already the Press Officer and I was Website Editor. I also worked on Forecourt magazine and the fuel protests were huge news at the time. The poor petrol retailers took loads of stick, quite unfairly because they earnt very little from fuel sales. Imagine the outrage if the protestors had known what a gallon would cost today. There were a lot of strong opinions about Block Exemption, authorised repairer status and emissions too, so in some ways we’ve made incredible progress, and in other ways it’s the same old industry tensions.

Then one day you left to go freelance…
Yes, sorry about that. I completed my NCTJ journalism course by passing the 80-words-per-minute shorthand exam, admittedly at the second time of asking, and launched Featurebank in 2007, offering journalism and PR services. From the start the trade titles were brilliant. I got writing gigs with Aftermarket, among others, and ticked a few items off the bucket list – writing race reports for Autosport, interviewing legends like Sir Stirling Moss and covering a consumer court victory for Auto Express.
    
The PR side picked up nicely too. The Mail on Sunday naming MyCarCheck its “No.1 cash-saving app” was an important early win, and I worked for Euro Car Parts for years, back when Sukhpal was in charge. I wrote all sorts for them – internal and external comms, ad copy –press releases about landmark moments like becoming part of LKQ and buying up all those Unipart sites. Those were big deals which made international headlines. I’d admired ECP since a press tour of the old Wembley site – they had teams of people with headsets on selling like something out of Wall Street.
    
I hadn’t seen that in the aftermarket before – it was next level.”

Speaking of the silver screen, at some point you got into TV
The Dispatches? Superb experience. It was called Secrets Of Your Car Insurance, but really it was about the bodyshop industry. The heavy lifting was done by another old RMI contact, Andrew Moody, a panel beater who became a solicitor and barrister specialising in automotive law – quite a unique skillset. In 2012, he sent me a hefty bundle of paperwork outlining how some approved repairer networks were operating to the detriment of both bodyshops and consumers. I suggested it was either a book no-one would read or a TV programme, so we took it Channel 4.
    
It made waves and we ended up at the House of Commons with Andrew presenting to an All-Party Parliamentary Group. We stood up for what was right even though it involved taking on some seriously powerful organisations. I’m still very proud of that. To make you feel old, I’ve recently started doing PR for Andrew’s son, John. He’s 21, a qualified pilot and he’s built this fantastic In-House HR system, an online human resources solution developed specifically with repairers in mind.

We can’t go any further without getting into driverless cars. I can’t believe you haven’t mentioned it already.
What can I say? I’m obsessed. I was writing more and more about ADAS and in 2018 I wrote a cover story for the IMI, ‘Autonomous now: the shift to self-driving’, which was a gamechanger for me. The response was overwhelming and it convinced me to launch Carsofthefuture.co.uk to raise the standard of debate. So much of the coverage is misguided, overly simplistic or plain wrong, with driverless cars frequently presented as the harbingers of a Terminator-style apocalypse. I set out to promote informed voices of reason and now I’ve written over two hundred thousand words about it.
    
It’s a shame, given everything Tesla’s done for electric cars, that so many hyperbolic headlines are caused by its confusingly-named Full Self-Driving (FSD) package. It simply isn’t self-driving as the rest of the industry understands it. Conflating assisted and automated is dangerous, because it risks drivers misunderstanding what their cars are capable of. Things are coming to a head in America with a group called The Dawn Project taking out a full-page advert in The New York Times with the tagline “Don’t be a Tesla crash test dummy.” They’re offering $10,000 to “the first person who can name another commercial product from a Fortune 500 company that has a critical malfunction every eight minutes.” Ouch!
    
Honestly, I find Tesla’s approach so frustrating. It’s not only ill-advised, it’s counterproductive, because news of so-called driverless car crashes dents consumer confidence. Why gild the lily? True self-driving has seismic potential and it’s coming soon. If adopted sensibly it will dramatically improve safety and combine with zero emissions, mobility-as-a-service and active travel to completely transform road transport.
    
Notice the “if” there. None of these outcomes are guaranteed and now is a crucial time in terms of public perception. These are safety-critical issues and utmost clarity is vital. For the near future at least, the best advice is that drivers need to be alert at all times. To promote that message, I’ve just signed a new media partnership deal with Reuters for their flagship Auto Tech 2022 event. I get to interview Sammy Omari, vice president of autonomy at Motional, and Xinzhou Wu, head of Xpeng Motors’ Autonomous Driving Centre.
    
Now you’ve got me started! I’d like to emphasise that I still love cars and driving. However, I firmly believe that self-driving will be utterly transformative. It’s a fascinating area with unique selling points, increasingly distinct from traditional automotive, and it forces us to face some uncomfortable truths: that 95% of the time most cars are just taking up space and depreciating; and that well over a million road deaths occur worldwide every year. Connected and autonomous vehicles will need maintaining and repairing, of course, so the aftermarket absolutely needs to be part of this conversation.

Which brings us nicely to your new Aftermarket of the Future column
Indeed! From next month I’ll be bringing you all the self-driving news with implications for the aftermarket. This is such a fast-moving sector. Over the last few weeks alone we’ve had: the announcement of a major driverless trial in Milton Keynes, which on closer inspection turns out to be not quite as described; An opinion poll of 1,000 UK adults by BSI finding that 70% see benefits in connected and automated vehicles, but 59% would feel more confident with an onboard safety operator; Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, reiterating that he wants the UK to be a world leader in driverless; Lastly, Mercedes becoming the first automotive company in the world to meet the demanding UN-R157 standard for a Level 3 system.
    
We’ll look at the latest cutting-edge tech, some frightening proposed changes to the Highway Code and much more.

Alex Wells: “That’s great Neil. We are sure our readers will be fascinated. See Aftermarket of the Future in our next issue and for any queries please email neil@self-drivingpr.com”



The safe operation of vehicle lifts: Part three

In the third and final part of this series the GEA looks at the process of maintaining and ensuring you meet your legal requirements
Published:  08 June, 2022

Here is a question we hear quite often: “I now have my new lift installed so I can start using it immediately, correct?” Actually, no. As a business you need to ensure you meet a number of conditions before handing it over to the mechanic to start using it for servicing vehicles.
    
The first thing you will need to do is have the lift inspected. This means a thorough examination by a ‘competent person’. This is a legal status, not just somebody who looks at the lift and says it looks okay to use.
    
This requirement comes under the Health & Safety Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulation (LOLER). The person who conducts the thorough examination must be independent of the installation process, so do not expect the installation engineer to complete this certification. You should check before buying your vehicle lift if the company supplying/installing your lift will be offering this service inclusive or if it is an optional extra. Otherwise, you will have to engage an independent inspector. Many business insurance policies for garages and workshops will include the thorough examination of lifting equipment by default. Again, check with your insurance provider before engaging an independent inspection.
    
Note: A thorough examination is not a one-time process. It needs to be conducted every six months to continue meeting LOLER requirements. This should not be confused with the maintenance of the lift that needs to be done/scheduled to meet the H&S Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulation (PUWER). We suggest you think of it like the cars you work on for your customers. Service work is oil/filters/ adjustments etc, while a thorough examination is like an MOT. It is an inspection/certification that proves the lift is safe to continue being used.

Risk assessment
The next step before using the lift is to complete your risk assessment for the operation of the lift. This may sound basic, but you should fully review the operation of the lift and note any potential hazards that could occur. This includes any controls/steps required to ensure the safe operation of the lift from the person operating to anybody else in the vicinity. The next step is to ensure you formally go over the operation of the vehicle lift with all users of the lift. This includes reviewing the risk assessment specifically covering what to do in case of an emergency/problem with the lift. Finally record everything, names date time etc and keep it in a safe place.
    
Going back to the maintenance for a moment, PUWER sets a legal requirement of the equipment owner to have in place a formal maintenance schedule for workplace equipment. We strongly recommend you contract a GEA member company to conduct your lift maintenance at regular intervals on your behalf to ensure your meeting your H&S requirements.
    
Note: the vehicle lift operator manual may offer specific regular preventive inspections on a Daily/weekly/ monthly basis, always check the manual/supplier’s guideline for this information to keep your lift safe and in top condition.
    
For more information visit: www.gea.co.uk



Fig 1

Process not problem

Part two
Published:  30 May, 2022

Frank’s ongoing look at the recalcitrant VW Golf R serves as an example of why process will win every time


The Future: Looking Good

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Lotus eaters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The safe operation of vehicle lifts

Part two
Published:  03 May, 2022

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


Testing a vacuum: operated solenoid valve

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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





Nissens Automotive focuses on the air conditioning condenser

Published:  25 April, 2022

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


You wouldn’t believe it if you tried

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

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

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


Process not problem

Part one
Published:  06 April, 2022

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


Tesla tech: Recycled or original?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The safe operation of vehicle liftS

Part one
Published:  18 March, 2022

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


Plugged into the network

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

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

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

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

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


Brake Life

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

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

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


Fig. 2

Diesel emissions

Part two
Published:  14 February, 2022

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


Are you experienced?

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

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

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

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

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





Diesel emissions

Part one
Published:  14 January, 2022

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


E10: Teething trouble?

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

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

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

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



Wireless EV charging on the way?

Published:  06 December, 2021

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


Fig 2.

Current measurement, past, present and future

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

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

Importance
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.

Intervention
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.

Intention
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.

Idle  
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.

Increase
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.






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?

Advice
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






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