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May 2013


THE REAL WORLD//////////////// 12 Life on the Road — WIX Filters’ Mobile Marketer The WIX H2 and its driver, who is known across the country as Hummer Bob, tour the continental U.S. to meet with future and current WIX customers. Read about what it takes to operate a successful marketing program.



UNDER THE HOOD////////////////16 Changing Maintenance Intervals Discover how auto manufacturers are reducing vehicle oil maintenance requirements and what it means to you.

UNDERCOVER//////////////////// 25 How Vehicle Software is Changing Braking Hardware See how today’s electronics is driving most of the advancements in braking technology and learn more about servicing these systems.

Summer Break Notice


This is the last issue until the Fall. Our next issue will come out in August. But don’t worry — you can keep up-to-date on the latest automotive-related news from our website: and via social media through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Have a safe and enjoyable Summer! — The Tomorrow’s Tech Staff

SEE US ON facebook. Become a fan at: Did you know you can follow Tomorrow’s Technician on Twitter? Just go to and enter “follow” for news and updates!


May 2013 |

Report Card: Buick’s Concept Vehicle Makes a Splash


Finish Line: Student Achievements


Service Advisor: Tackling Ford TPMS Issues


TT Crossword


EDITORIAL STAFF: Phone: 330-670-1234 Editor:

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HOME OFFICE 3550 Embassy Parkway Akron, Ohio 443338318 330-670-1234 FAX 330-670-0874

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Tomorrow’s Technician (ISSN 1539-9532) (May 2013, Volume 12, Issue 4): Published eight times a year by Babcox Media, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 U.S.A. Complimentary subscriptions are available to qualified students and educators located at NATEF-certified automotive training institutions. Paid subscriptions are available for all others. Contact us at (330) 670-1234 to speak to a subscription services representative or FAX us at (330) 670-5335.

4 May 2013 |

Report Card

GM’s Buick Riviera concept vehicle, which made its global debut at Auto Shanghai 2013 in April, combines avant-garde aesthetics and advanced technology, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicle propulsion, in a single package. "The new Riviera offers a preview of Buick’s future design language," said Shanghai GM President Ye Yongming. "By seamlessly integrating advanced technologies, flexible functions and contemporary aesthetics, the new Riviera heralds the start of a new chapter for the 110year-old Buick brand.”

The new Riviera’s designers took inspiration from the Chinese saying: “The greatest good is like water.” The vehicle’s sweeping design, which goes from thick to thin, has the vibrant nature of a moving river


embodied in its athletic shape, elegant ambience and deeply sculpted lines. The concept’s silhouette with Buick's recognizable "sweep spear” has a three-dimensional effect that resembles waves in the ocean coming to a standstill for a split second. Buick's unique gull-wing doors exude a dynamic yet elegant ambience. The new Riviera has an ice celadon finish inspired by jade. Up front, the concept vehicle’s updated waterfall grille and wingshaped daytime running lights will both become key elements of Buick's future design DNA. The new Riviera has a low drag coefficient and a harmonious balance between style and performance thanks to its raked windshield, 14-degree fastback design and metallic fiber spoiler, which are complemented by active grille shutters and diffusers, and active pneumatic wheels. The new Riviera has adopted BIP (Buick Intelligent Performance) technology. It is equipped with GM's all-new, dualmode W-PHEV (wireless plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) propulsion system. The user can drive the

May 2013 |

car on green power in electric mode and enjoy the exhilarating handling and performance of a sports car while driving “green” in hybrid mode. In addition, the vehicle can be charged with a traditional cable or wirelessly via a sensory recharge panel on the car's chassis. The charging port is integrated into Buick's iconic porthole design. The new Riviera is also equipped with intelligent four-wheel steering, an electromagnetic-controlled suspension and an air spring package for sure handling and comfort in extreme conditions. ■

Power up with Tomorrow’s Technician delivers to you more technical and scholastic content than ever before. We’ve designed our website to make it easier to search content on more than 300 technical and educational articles and more than 100 studentrelated columns and news briefs to help you stay informed on repairing today’s and tomorrow’s vehicles.

Go to to download valuable content and technical papers, watch instructional videos and view updated industry news, blogs, commentary, scholarship information and promotions. Follow Tomorrow’s Technician magazine at:

edited by Tomorrow’s Technician staff Each month, Tomorrow’s Technician takes a look at some of the automotive-related student competitions taking place in this country, as well as the world. Throughout the year in “Finish Line,” we will highlight not only the programs and information on how schools can enter, but we’ll also profile some of the top competitors in those programs. Because there are good students and instructors in these events, we feel it’s time to give these competitors the recognition they deserve.

NH STUDENT PREPARES FOR NATIONAL CONTEST Daumanic Fucile of Seabrook, NH, a senior at Winnacunnet High School, finished in first place in the Automotive Service Technology category at the SkillsUSA competition for New Hampshire held in March. Along with his gold medal, Fucile was awarded a $10,000 scholarship to Universal Technical Institute (UTI). The presentation was made at Seacoast School of Photo by Ioanna Raptis Technology (SST) in Exeter by UTI Field Admissions Representative John Lewis. As the top competitor in Automotive Service Technology, Fucile will be the state’s representative at the National SkillsUSA Championship in Kansas City on June 27.

Seacoast School of Technology student Heath Richards of Stratham, left, and Daumanic Fucile of Seabrook perform service on a Volvo at the school.

DON’T MISS OUT! — Nominate Your School in the Tomorrow’s Technician School of the Year contest. Deadline for nominations is Monday, August 26. Nominate your school online at:

MAINE STUDENTS PLANS TO TRAIN IN GM ASEP PROGRAM Dominick Billings of Deer Isle, ME, an automotive student at Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC) in Ellsworth, took the silver medal in the state’s SkillsUSA automotive competition. Billings is the first student to place a medal from HCTC in automotive in five years. Billings, a member of the school’s National Technical Honor Society, has secured an Automotive Youth Education System (AYES) internship at Darlings Chevrolet, a dealership in Ellsworth. Billings, who has been working there for more than 10 months, said he really enjoys the work. “I have learned so much from the other technicians I work with.” Billings will pursue his automotive training in the GM ASEP program at Lakes Region Community College in Laconia, NH, this fall.


May 2013 |

NORTHEASTERN JUNIOR COLLEGE STUDENT HONORED FOR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE Kody Pickering of Sterling, CO, was selected the “NAPA Student of the Month” by the Northeastern Junior College’s automotive technology department. Pickering, an auto tech freshman, was selected for the award based on his academic performance in both the classroom and the lab where the hands-on work is being done as part of his training. The student award at the auto college has been sponsored by NAPA Auto and Truck Parts in Sterling for the past two decades. Students are presented a plaque and a gift certificate to the store. The award is given monthly August through May, and is alternated among the students in the college's auto tech program, the diesel technology program and the secondary auto tech program.

Photo courtesy of Kody Pickering of Sterling is named “NAPA Student of the Month” at Northeastern Junior College automotive technology department. Pickering (left) is shown here receiving his award from Aaron Hettinger, outside sales manager for NAPA.

CHEER ON YOUR FAVORITE STATE! This year’s Ford / AAA Student Auto Skills Competition National Finals will be held June 9-12, at Ford Motor Company Headquarters, Dearborn, MI. For more information on the teams/schools participating, visit

ENGINE BUILDERS HEATING UP Follow all of the action and events for the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow as the students gear up and fine tune their engine building skills for the final showdown December 12-14 at the Performance Racing Industry in Indianapolis. Check out the summer events and the latest news from the Hot Rodders website or their Facebook page

Do you have an outstanding student or a group of students that needs to be recognized for an automotive-related academic achievement? E-mail us at

10 May 2013 |

Real World

Life on the Road E WIX Filters’ Mobile Marketing Program

xtreme driving conditions are part of the job at the helm of the WIX Filters dually pulling the famed WIX H2. The WIX H2 and its driver, who is known across the country as Hummer Bob, tour the continental United States and Canada meeting WIX customers’ customers from the peaks of Estes Park in Colorado to the Upper Peninsula of Seney, MI. The WIX H2 is hauled from town to town by a 2006 Dodge Ram to keep miles and maintenance costs low to ensure it operates at full efficiency. The Ram traveled approximately 50,000 miles in 2012 and is on track to surpass this mileage in The 2005 Hummer has logged about 43,000 miles and is serv2013 with 185 events across the iced every six months at the Richard Petty Driving Experience United States and Canada. The WIX Mobile Marketing’s corporate office, Concord, NC. H2 mobile marketing program is tracking to eclipse the half-million mark since its “A big part of maintenance is focusing on your inception in 2004. driving conditions,” said Bob Kreps, or Hummer The WIX dually is serviced every 8,000 miles to Bob. “One day I could be driving in high humidity 10,000 miles with Schaeffer’s Supreme 7000 to cold conditions to a dry environment within a Synthetic Plus Engine Oil and a WIX Filters XP filter, week – there are many extreme driving conditions part of the XP line of high premium oil filters engithat determine the maintenance of the dually and neered to withstand the toughest of driving condithe Hummer. It is important that I track the driving tions and scientifically designed to maximize the conditions as well as fuel quality between each performance of synthetic motor oils. service so the technician can adjust the maintenance plan accordingly.” The 2005 Hummer has logged about 43,000 miles and is serviced every six months at the Richard Petty Driving Experience Mobile Marketing’s corporate office in Concord, NC, during breaks on the road. The Ram’s miles clock in with 318,000 miles towing 19,720 pounds to each event and runs through approximately eight filters and ninety-six quarts of oil annually. The WIX H2 and Ram are fully equipped with WIX oil, air, fuel and cabin air filters. In addition, the WIX H2 features interactive displays where customers can see and feel the quality difference in a WIX filter. Bob Kreps (a.k.a Hummer Bob) explains the impor“Hummer Bob hauled the WIX H2 to almost tance of vehicle maintenance and fluid filtration to 1,500 events over the past nine years at auto part the next generation of technicians. stores, distributors, trade shows and races,” said


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“Hummer Bob hauled the WIX H2 to almost 1,500 events over the past nine years at auto part stores, distributors, trade shows and races.” Mike Harvey, brand manager for WIX Filters. “It is really exciting to see our mobile marketing program be such a hit and the attachment people from across the United States and Canada have with the WIX H2.” Traveling to unique destinations and meeting customers aren’t the only perks of job. Hummer Bob has met a handful of celebrities while traveling, including Kid Rock, Blake Shelton and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. “I’m honored to be part of the WIX mobile marketing program since it was launched nine years ago,” he said. “I couldn’t think of a job that is more perfect for me. I love meeting

Over the years, Hummer Bob has met a handful of celebrities while traveling, including Kid Rock, Blake Shelton and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. new people and exploring every city I visit. Watching the program grow is a true testament to the WIX brand and the customers that share in the program’s success.”

Richard Petty Driving Experience Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) currently services more than 100 stock cars for student/passenger programs and 80 production vehicles utilized for client/student activity, ranging from modern muscles cars, including a Ford Shelby Mustang and Dodge Challenger SRT, to niche vehicles, including Fiat, Ferrari and Lamborghini. The Mobile Marketing Division, created in 1999, has a staff of 17 employees who manage transportation and on-site events for clients whose specialty vehicles and stock car programs travel around the country. The team manages approximately 1,000 events each year logging about 400,000 miles. “WIX mobile marketing is by far the most heavily traveled mobile marketing program we service,” said Glenn Tingen, director of

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Richard Petty Driving Experience Mobile Marketing. “We are proud to be a part of the program’s success and are look forward to many years to come working as partners.” This past year, WIX expanded its mobile marketing program by adding the Richard Petty Dodge Challenger with 100 events in 2013. The mobile marketing program increased its event presence by 54% with a total 285 events in 2013. The WIX H2 and Petty Challenger’s adventures are chronicled with photos and videos through Facebook (, Twitter (@wixfilters) and YouTube ( The WIX H2 and Challenger’s event schedule can also be found at ■

Under the Hood

Adapted from Gary Gom’s article in

Changing MaintenanCe Addressing Extended Oil and Filter Replacement Intervals

A Photo 1: While the slightly varnished interior of this engine is normal, the varnish might not have accumulated if the oil change intervals had been shortened.


May 2013 |

uto manufacturers, in general, are continuing to reduce vehicle maintenance requirements by extending oil change intervals. But extended oil change intervals are a mixed blessing. On the upside, extended oil change intervals are conserving precious oil and reducing carbon emissions. On the downside, many vehicle owners are forgetting to check their engine’s oil level between oil changes. The most common result is an engine ruined by excess accumulations of varnish and sludge due to using motor oils that are not approved by the engine manufacturer. In less common instances, the engine fails due to low engine oil levels and a subsequent lack of lubrication. Whatever the case, extended oil change intervals are changing how we should recommend and perform scheduled vehicle maintenances.

Sensing Levels The oil level sensor obviously warns the driver when the engine oil level is critically low.

Although many auto manufacturers install oil level warning systems as standard equipment, many vehicles in the current fleet aren’t so equipped. In other instances, the oil level sensor might not function correctly. Consequently, it’s always important for the technician to check the engine’s oil level whenever the vehicle is being serviced. If the oil appears very dirty or the oil change interval has nearly expired, an oil change and scheduled service recommendation should be made. If the oil appears clean, but the level is low, it’s important to know the vehicle owner’s brand preference for engine oil before adding oil. Most won’t know or care, but some owners might prefer using a specific brand of oil. In any case, if the engine oil level is low, always inspect the engine and oil filter for leakage or other signs of oil consumption and make the appropriate service recommendations.

Monitoring Oil Life Modern oil life monitors use data from the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), such as calculated engine load, trip length, average operating temperature, etc., to measure oil life. It’s not unusual for oil life monitors to extend oil change intervals to 10,000 or more miles. The primary issue in dealing with oil life monitors is to ensure that the replacement engine oil meets the manufacturer’s extended mileage requirements. The “generic” 5w-30 oil might, for example, expire at 6,000 miles because neither the base oil nor the addi-

Photo 2: A loss of lubrication quickly scores pistons and other vital engine components. tive package meets original equipment (OE) requirements, which results in disastrous consequences. In a few situations, the oil life monitor might not accurately indicate expected oil life. The evidence might be a varnish or sludge accumulation on internal engine parts. Valve train sludge, for example, can often be observed when the engine oil cap is removed for service. Similarly, rust, varnish and sludge can form on the upper portions of the oil dipstick. If varnishing or sludging is apparent, a shorter oil change interval should be recommended. 17

Controlling Deposits While lead-free, high-detergent gasoline has dramatically reduced intake port and combustion chamber deposits, modern engine oils are also specially formulated to prevent carbon from forming in the combustion chamber, piston rings from sticking and oil additives from contaminating the catalytic converter. In particular, modern engines generally use narrow, low-tension piston rings that are fitted very tightly into the piston to increase piston ring sealing and reduce oil consumption. On the upside, low piston ring tension reduces rotating friction and cylinder wear. On the downside, low-tension rings with tight side-gap clearances tend to stick when the incorrect engine oil is used. Therefore, the ability of an engine oil to clean and lubricate the piston ring package is critical.

Anti-Scuffing Issues Oil suppliers have also eliminated zinc and phosphorous-based anti-scuff additives that reduce catalytic converter efficiency. While the elimination of these particular anti-scuff additives has increased camshaft wear on some high-performance pushrod-style engines, it hasn’t affected overhead camshaft engines due to the lower valve spring pressures used on overhead camshaft designs. On the other hand, some engines equipped with direct fuel injection require a high degree of anti-scuff protection to prevent the camshaft-driven high-pressure fuel pump and camshaft lobe from wearing out. In most cases, oil refiners have gone to much higher quality base oils to prevent wear on the high-pressure fuel pump and cam lobe. Again, it’s vitally important to make sure that the replacement oil is either OE oil or is approved by the OE manufacturer.

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Photo 3: Oil filter cutters are handy for detecting metallic debris trapped in the oil filtering media. The duct tape helps the filter wrench grip the filter canister. As for older, performance pushrod, flat-tappet engines that are not equipped with catalytic converters, specially branded performance oils are available with anti-scuff additives to prevent camshaft and valve lifter wear. In addition, zinc-based “ZDDP” additives are also available to enhance the anti-scuff qualities of over-the-counter motor oils. Again, these oils and additives are not intended for vehicles equipped with catalytic converters.

Causes of Sludging Neglected oil change intervals can ruin the best engine oils. As engine oil accumulates miles, it

becomes contaminated with carbon, water and various acids, all of which are a by-product of internal combustion and which will form a film of black, gooey sludge on the interior parts of the engine. Cold-engine operation accelerates the formation of sludge because the oil temperatures aren’t sufficient to evaporate accumulated moisture. Oil sludging is also aggravated by shorttrip, cold-weather driving and by thermostats that are stuck open. See Photo 1. When the engine is operated at high speeds and temperatures, sludge often dislodges and clogs the oil filter. Since most oil filters incorporate bypass valves that allow the lubricating oil to flow around a clogged filter media, the dirty oil can pass directly into the engine and clog small-diameter oil galleries.

Getting Dirty In any case, heavily sludged oil will eventually clog the engine’s oil pump pickup screen, oil filter and oil galleries. The initial symptoms of oil starvation are engines that become noisy during cold start-up and oil pressure gauges that rise very slowly. Broken timing belts are also symptomatic of oil starvation on overhead camshafts. Because the damage usually includes the crankshaft and piston assemblies, don’t be too eager to quote a cylinder head replacement as the cure for a seized camshaft. See Photo 2. All too often, the detergents contained in fresh oil will accelerate the clogging of oil pump screens and oil filters by loosening accumulated sludge. Volumes of engine sludge and dirty engine oil also easily clog today’s compact oil filters. If the oil filter bypass valve opens during cold starts, more sludge and dirt will pass into the engine bearings and reciprocating parts. In addition,

engine life is drastically shortened when operated at extreme loads and temperatures with badly degraded engine oil. See Photo 3. The problem with any heavily sludged engine is that internal repairs tend to dislodge even more sludge into the oil stream. Because attempting to clean an engine in-chassis is both expensive and risky, you can best address the situation by replacing or rebuilding the engine.

Interference with VVT Most modern engines are very susceptible to lubrication problems because they are equipped with variable valve timing (VVT). A pulse-modulated control valve that meters oil pressure to a hydraulic piston or vane-type camshaft timing phaser controls the amount of advance or retard. A separate valve-timing sensor is used to monitor VVT position. Quite clearly, the phaser must react to small changes in oil pressure. Since sludge can interfere with the smooth modulation of the oil pressure contained inside the cam phaser, the result can be poor engine performance at specific engine speeds and loads. In many cases, a DTC will be stored that indicates a problem in the VVT system.

Adding it All Up Since oil prices have climbed dramatically the past few years, customers are becoming more price-sensitive. But it’s also important to understand that, to remain profitable, a shop’s pricing structure for modern vehicle oil change and inspection intervals must be realistic. In addition, you’re doing a disservice to your customers if you’re exclusively selling low-cost generic engine oils and budgetpriced oil filters to meet pricesensitive competition. OE-specification oils and filters

often become the cheaper (and wiser) choice when weighed against a costly engine replacement. If you do the math, it will become clear to you and your customer that using the correct engine oil and filter is the less expensive and far more prudent choice.

Focus on Filters Filters, too, have long been a common maintenance item. But with longer factory service intervals and “lifetime” filters becoming more common, how often do filters really need to be replaced? There’s no simple answer. The safest advice used to be to follow the filter service interval recommendations in the vehicle owner’s manual (assuming the owner’s manual hasn’t been lost and that somebody will actually read it!). The problem with this recommendation is that some filters no longer have a service interval (such as most fuel and transmission filters), and the factory recommended service intervals for some filters and fluids (motor oil and filter for example) may be overly optimistic and don’t take into account the kind of driving many motorists actually do. The purpose of a filter is to trap abrasive particles before they can do any harm. That’s true of air filters, oil filters, fuel filters and transmission filters. As for cabin air filters, their purpose can be two-fold: to keep dirt and grit out of the HVAC system and passenger compartment, and to absorb and trap unpleasant odors before they enter the vehicle (in the case of dual-purpose cabin air filters). All filters, even “lifetime” ones, have a limited service life and eventually become clogged with dirt, wear particles, rust or whatever. So, the idea behind preventive maintenance is to change the filter before it reaches that point. The most often replaced filter is the oil filter. It usually gets changed every 3,000 to 7,500 miles on most vehicles (except in Europe where they use different motor oils and typically go for a once-a-year oil change). On many late-model vehicles, oil change intervals have been extended from the traditional 3,000 miles or 6 months, to 5,000 to 7,500 miles or more. On vehicles that employ a maintenance reminder light

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to signal when an oil change is needed, the reminder light may not come on for up to 15,000 miles or more depending on all the operating variables the software considers when making its estimate. On some vehicles, additional input from an electrical sensor in the oil pan may help detect oil that is breaking down or is heavily contaminated with moisture. An important point to keep in mind with respect to extended oil change intervals is that many of these intervals are based on using high-quality synthetic motor oil rather than conventional motor oil, and a premium-quality oil filter which typically use a synthetic media that outperforms most conventional cellulose filter media. Air filters also have much longer replacement intervals these days — assuming the motorist is not driving in an extremely dusty environment or on rural gravel roads. The typical factory recommended service interval for many air filters these days is typically 30,000 to 50,000 miles. On 2004 to 2011 Ford Focus PZEV models, the factory air filter is supposed to have a service life of up to 150,000 miles. And then you have to replace the entire housing with the filter sealed inside of it when a change is needed. A more realistic recommendation for air filter service is to inspect it at least once a year or at every oil change, and to replace as needed even if the factory service interval has not yet been reached. ■

Under Cover Adapted from Larry Carley’s article in





here was a time when advancements in brake technology were entirely hardware based. The change from drum brakes to disc brakes, the introduction of semi-metallic and ceramic brake pads, and the addition of power brakes as standard equipment were all changes that were all achieved by redesigned and improved brake system components. Today, electronics is driving most of the advancements in braking technology. It started with anti-lock brakes (ABS). When ABS became part of the brake system, the ability to control individual brake circuits electronically opened up a whole new world of possibilities. One was to get rid of the mechanical brake proportioning valve so the rear brakes could handle a greater percentage of the braking load to reduce stopping distances. Electronic Brake Distribution is now common on many vehicles. Traction control and stability control came next. With the help of the ABS pump and high pressure accumulator, traction control can apply the brakes as needed to prevent or control wheel spin. On some applications, it functions like a limited slip differential to improve traction on slippery surfaces. Stability control employs individual wheel braking to counter oversteer and understeer. This improves handling stability and reduces the risk of rollovers in SUVs and other vehicles.

Smart Stops As braking technology evolved, the next step was to make the brake system smarter. On some vehicles, the brakes can now anticipate stops even before the driver can react. By monitoring throttle position and vehicle speed, software changes allow the brake system to pre-charge the brakes the instant the driver's foot lets up on the accelerator pedal. Light pressure is applied to the brakes in anticipation that the brakes will soon be applied. According to research performed by Audi, priming the brakes reduces the time it takes to apply the brakes by 100 to 200 milliseconds. At 80 mph, this can reduce the overall stopping distance by 23 feet or about one car length — which may be enough to avoid or mitigate a collision. "Brake Assist" is a variation of this approach that senses when the driver is braking hard as opposed to braking normally. By monitoring the


rate at which the brake pedal is being depressed, the system can increase the amount of brake force to help the vehicle stop more quickly. Additional inputs from the ABS wheel speed sensors, vehicle speed sensor, yaw and acceleration sensors and accelerator pedal may also be used to determine if the vehicle is braking normally or if the driver is slamming on the brakes. One caution you have to keep in mind when working on vehicles that have some type of brake precharging system is that the brakes have to be disabled before you begin any work on them. If the vehicles does not have a manual deactivation switch, this may require using a factory scan tool or aftermarket bi-directional scan tool to access the vehicle's brake controller so it can be turned off. Another option would be to locate the brake controller fuse and remove it.

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On applications where the ABS pump and high pressure accumulator are used for power-assisted braking, the high pressure accumulator should be completely discharged before you open any hydraulic lines. Pumping the brake pedal 30 to 40 times with the ignition key OFF can do this. One some Mercedes applications, things get a bit tricky. To deactivate the brake system, remove the keyless entry fob from the vehicle, then lock the doors. Move the key out of range from the vehicle so the system cannot be accidentally activated. After 30 seconds, the Sensotronic braking system should time out and go into sleep mode. Do not unlock the vehicle while any brake work is being performed and do not touch the brake pedal. Once the work has been completed, the system needs to be reactivated using a multistep procedure that involves cycling the ignition on and off once, then quickly cycling the steering wheel side to side.

This will wake up the system and cause it to pre-charge the brakes.

Fade Away On some vehicles, the brake controller monitors brake use when the ABS, traction control or stability control systems are intervening. The controller keeps track of vehicle speed and to what extent the brakes are being used so the brakes don't get too hot. If the controller estimates the brakes are overheating (which occurs around 900 degrees F.), it may temporarily discontinue ABS, traction control and/or stability control to give the brakes a chance to cool down. A similar approach is used by BMW with their "Brake Fade Compensation" system. In 2006, BMW made software changes to its ABS systems on its 3-series models that allows the brake controller to compensate for brake fade under hard use by increasing the amount of power-assist provided by the ABS pump. The software algorithm can estimate fairly accurately the temperature of the

28 May 2013 |

brake pads without using an actual brake pad temperature sensor to predict how much the brakes are starting to fade. As the calculated pad temperature goes up, the system applies more power assist to compensate for any loss of friction. This provides a more consistent pedal feel without decreasing braking effectiveness or increasing stopping distances. On most vehicles, the driver has to press harder and harder on the brake pedal when the brakes are getting really hot to maintain the same braking effectiveness. On some cars and SUVs, the brakes start to fade rather quickly when they are subjected to repeated hard braking. But, it does provide a feedback signal to the driver to back off a bit so the brakes can cool. If the driver fails to realize what is happening, and continues to ride the brakes, the brakes may get so hot that they fail completely — and that's something nobody wants! Because brake fade compensation is programmed for the hot friction characteristics of the original equipment brake pads, it should be obvious that any replacement brake pads for these vehicles should have friction characteristics that closely match the original pads. If somebody installs pads that vary too much from the original pads, the amount of brake fade compensation applied may not match the fade characteristics of the new pads, resulting in too much compensation or not enough. This is something that both friction suppliers and technicians will have to keep in mind as these more sophisticated braking systems come into greater use.

Hold that Hill Software tweaks to the brake controller can also provide a "Hill Holding" feature on some vehicles. Monitoring the movement of the wheels via the wheel speed sensors and the position of the gear shift lever and clutch pedal position allows the brake controller to detect any rolling forwards or backwards when the vehicle stops on an incline. The system applies the brakes to prevent the vehicle from rolling while it is stopped, then releases the brakes when the clutch starts to engage. This makes it easier for drivers who are not very adept at driving a stick shift to

stop on hilly terrain. On some SUVs, such as Jeeps, software changes allow the brakes and stability control system to provide a "Hill Descent" feature. This allows the driver to concentrate on steering and take his foot completely off the brake pedal when descending a steep offroad trail. The hill descent system monitors the rate of decent and uses individual wheel braking to keep the vehicle straight as it descends the hill at a safe pace.

Adaptive Braking Software has also allowed the brakes to be integrated with

"Adaptive Cruise Control" systems that allow a vehicle to maintain a consistent following distance as the pace of traffic changes. Most use radar to measure the distance to the vehicle in front, but some use optical systems. When the lead vehicle slows, the adaptive cruise control system automatically

applies gradual braking to maintain a safe following distance. If the vehicle ahead suddenly brakes, some systems will give a hard pulse to the brake to alert the driver while others will take over and apply the brakes if the driver fails to react in time.

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Better Braking for Backing By adding hardware that can see the road ahead (radar or optical cameras, or both), automatic braking has even become a reality on some high-end luxury vehicles. Volvo, Mercedes and others now offer some type of automatic braking system that will apply the brakes if the driver fails to react. These systems detect cars and other objects ahead of the vehicle with their radar or optical systems. The relative rate of closure is constantly being calculated to determine if the driver needs to be warned. If the driver fails to slow down or brake, a warning light may flash or a chime sound. If the driver still fails to react, the automatic braking system takes over and either begins to slow down the vehicle (collision mitigation braking) or bring it to a complete stop. Some of these systems only slow the vehicle above a certain speed while others may apply full braking as needed. It's essential that the drivers of these vehicles fully understand how their automatic braking system works, what it will do and won't do, and when it will and won't intervene. On Volvo's XC60 City Safe system, for example, full automatic braking is only used at low speeds and does not intervene at speeds above 18 mph. Volvo says up to 75% of all accidents occur at speeds of less than 30 km/h. So an automatic braking system that can prevent or lessen the severity of accidents within this speed range has the potential of significantly reducing insurance claims and repair costs. Some SUVs are also combining automatic braking with object detection when backing up. Visibility behind many SUVs is very limited from the driver's seat, so automatic braking kicks in if the ultrasonic backup sensors detect anything behind the vehicle while it is backing up. â–

Service Advisor

Tackling Ford TPMS F

ord embraced Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) as early as the 2002 model year on the Explorer and Windstar. These systems can be direct or indirect. All 2007 models have TPMS as standard. From 2006-’09, Ford used banded sensors that are mounted in the center of the rim. In 2010, Ford reverted to the valve stem-mounted sensors. All the systems are straightforward and use common procedures for most models.

2001-’03 Windstar (Indirect System) This TPMS system detects differences in inflation pressures in one or more tires. The system uses the ABS wheel speed sensors to monitor the rolling radius of the wheel and tire assemblies. If a difference in rolling radius is detected, the ABS module illuminates the LTW lamp located in the instrument cluster. 1. Press the “Tire Reset” switch for a minimum of three seconds. 2. The LTW warning lamp will flash three times indicating a reset has been initiated. 3. If the lamp illuminates, always reset the tire pressure to specification before resetting the system.

2004-2005 Freestar (Indirect System) Vehicles Without Message Center 1. Hold the odometer reset button and wait for the “TIRE PRESSURE SET” light to illuminate. 2. Continue to press the button for three seconds, then


release. 3. After three seconds, the low tire pressure warning lamp will flash three times, indicating that the low tire warning system reset procedure is complete.

Vehicles With Message Center 1. Press and hold the SETUP button and wait for the message center to display “RESET FOR SYSTEM CHECK.” 2. Then press the RESET button and wait for the message center to display “HOLD RESET TO RELEARN.” 3. Press and hold the RESET button for three seconds. The message “HOLD RESET TO RELEARN” and the low tire warning lamp will flash three times, indicating the reset procedure is complete. • If the lamp illuminates, reset the tire pressure to specification before resetting the system.

2002-’05 Direct Systems (2006 Expedition) Ford systems use the unique ID numbers of the sensors that have to be registered along with their position on the car with the tire pressure monitor ECU. This is also the case if any of the system components are subsequently changed, like in the event of rotating the tires, changing sensors, replacing the ECU and the like. This process requires the activation of the TPMS sensor using a low-frequency radio signal tool or magnet to excite the sensor so UHF data is transmitted. The transmitted data includes the TPMS ID, the pressure and temperature. If a TPMS sensor or its position on the car is changed without re-registering the IDs, the TPMS warning light will turn on and stay on until the IDs are re-registered.

Sensor Training Note: The tire pressure sensor training procedure

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must be done in an area without radio frequency (RF) noise. RF noise is generated by electrical motor and appliance operation, cellular telephones and remote transmitters. 1. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position. 2. Turn the ignition switch to the RUN position three times, ending in the RUN position. Don’t wait more than two minutes between each key cycle. 3. Press and hold the brake pedal. 4. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position. 5. Turn the ignition switch to the RUN position three times, ending in the RUN position. Don’t wait more than two minutes between each key cycle. 6. When the message center displays “TRAIN LEFT FRONT TIRE,” place the magnet on the valve stem of the LF tire pressure sensor. The horn will sound briefly to indicate that the tire pressure sensor has been recognized by the TPMS module.

7. Within two minutes after the horn sounds, place the magnet on the valve stem of the RF tire pressure sensor. Note: If the TPMS module does not recognize any one of the five tire pressure sensors during the tire training procedure, the horn will sound twice and the message center will display “TIRE TRAINING MODE

INCOMPLETE” and the procedure must be repeated.

8. Repeat Step 7 for the RR, LR and spare tire. When the tire training procedure is complete, the horn will sound twice and the message center will display “TIRE TRAINING MODE COMPLETE.” 35

2006-’11 (2005 Escape, Edge and Mariner) TPMS was standard for the 2007 model year. 2007’09 models have banded sensors, while most 2010-’11 models have sensors mounted behind the valve stem. If the vehicle has been stationary for more than 30 minutes, the sensors will go into a “sleep mode” to conserve battery power. It will be necessary to wake them up so they will transmit the latest tire pressure information to the Smart Junction Box (SJB).

Activation 1. Turn the ignition switch to the ON position. 2. Position the TPMS tool against the LF tire side-

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wall, 180 degrees from the tire valve stem. The TPMS tool must remain in place 180 degrees from the valve stem for 2007-’09 models with banded sensors and directly below the valve stem on the sidewall for 2010-2011 models with the valve stem mounted TPMS sensors. Note: The TPMS tool will provide feedback in the form of a flashing green light and a beep sound for each successful response from a tire pressure sensor.

3. Press the test button on the TPMS tool to activate the sensor. Activate the sensor at least two times. 4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the remaining tires.

TPMS PROBLEMS CAN INCLUDE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: • A tire pressure sensor that has stopped functioning because the battery has died. • A tire pressure sensor that is working intermittently due to a weak or failing battery. • The TPMS module is not receiving a signal from one or more sensors because of an antenna or wiring fault. • The TPMS module itself is not functioning properly or has failed because of a voltage supply, wiring or internal electronics fault. • The tires were serviced or rotated recently and the relearn procedure or was not done correctly. • The vehicle owner does not understand how their TPMS system works. Relearn 1. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position. Then press and release the brake pedal. 2. Cycle the ignition switch from the OFF position to the RUN position three times, ending in the RUN position. 3. Press and release the brake pedal. 4. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position. 5. Turn the ignition switch from the OFF position to the RUN posi-

tion three times, ending in the RUN position. The horn will sound once and the indicator will flash if the training mode has been entered successfully. If equipped, the message center will display “TRAIN LF TIRE.” 6. It may take up to six seconds to activate a tire pressure sensor. Press and release the test button on the TPMS tool. The horn will sound briefly to indicate that the tire pressure sensor has been 37

recognized by the vehicle. 7. Within two minutes of the horn sounding, place the TPMS tool on the correct position for the sensor and release the test button to train the right front tire pressure sensor. 8. Do not wait more than two minutes between training each sensor or the SJB will time out and

the entire procedure must be repeated. Repeat Step 7 for the right rear and then left rear. The procedure is completed after the last tire has been trained. When the training procedure is complete, the message center (if equipped) will display “TIRE TRAINING COMPLETE.” For vehicles not equipped with a

message center, successful completion of the training procedure will be verified by turning the ignition switch to the OFF position without the horn sounding. If the horn sounds twice when the switch is turned to the OFF position, the training procedure was not successful. ■

WATCH FOR BAD VALVE STEMS AND AGING SENSORS Something to watch out for when diagnosing TPMS are corroded or damaged TPMS valve stems. The valve stem on each wheel should be visually inspected for corrosion or other damage that might affect the integrity of the valve stem. Consider the age and mileage of the vehicle when doing your diagnosis. The average life of the battery inside a brand new factory TPMS sensor is around 7 to 10 years depending on use. The more the vehicle is driven, the more often the TPMS sensors generate their signals and the faster they use up their remaining battery life.

TPMS TIPS For more articles and products pertaining to Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, visit and type TPMS in the Search Function on the homepage.

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CrossWord PuZZle

Tomorrow’s Technician May Crossword

ACROSS 1. Piston chamber 5. Alternator output, briefly 9. Rejuvenate a failed component 10. Exhaust manifold heat ____ valve 11. NASA's Spirit rover terrain 12. Certain car-plant workers (3,5) 14. Driver of meter-equipped car 16. Engine configuration, e.g. Chrysler Hemi (1,5) 19. Ran on, with ignition off 20. Three-on-the-____ column shifter 23. Electronic diagnostic system, briefly (1,1,1,2) 24. Truckers' chat device (1,1,5) 25. T-15 or T-40 fastener type 26. Engine-hood supports (4,4)


Solution at

1. Spark-plug insulator material 2. Repair-invoice component 3. Common tire-puncture cause 4. Piston-ring specification (3,3) 6. Body-shop tape 7. MacPherson's suspension invention 8. Starter's carbon components 13. Brakes' ____-to-thermal energy conversion 15. Caliper component, ____ valve 17. Steering-linkage components (3,4) 18. Showroom vehicle, often (3,3) 19. Rearmost station-wagon roof pillar (1,4) 21. Dash feature since the '30s 22. Resettable ____ odometer

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May 2013 |

Tomorrow's Technician  

Tomorrow’s Technician delivers technical information about servicing today’s vehicles to a target audience of 17-to-25-year-old automotive v...