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September 2013


UNDER THE HOOD/////////////////////12

‘Tanking’ Fuel Systems


Any in-tank electric fuel pump has a normal service life. In some applications, that service life might be as little as 60,000 to 80,000 miles. One of the reasons for a shortened service life is that the fuel pump design can’t withstand sustained high-load conditions. Discover other causes of fuel pump breakdowns in this article from Gary Goms.

UNDERCOVER///////////////////////// 26

Gaining Stability Through Brake Jobs In the last couple of years, the number of developments in handling, braking and stability systems have dramatically increased. Find out what the major manufacturers have in store regarding stability control systems on current and new models coming down the road.



Handling a Suspension Roadways have bumps, dips and potholes that can severely damage a vehicle. To smooth out these irregularities in road surfaces, vehicle manufacturers couple a compressible spring with a flexible suspension system to smooth the ride and increase the driver’s control of the vehicle. Discover how to better service these parts in this article from Gary Goms.

32 Babcox Blue

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September 2013 |

Career Corner: 10 Steps to a Better Interview


Finish Line: Solar Challenge Students Have Their Day in the Sun


Service Advisor: Communication Breakdowns


Tire Talk: TPMS Relearn Procedures


TT Crossword


Report Card: Niro Invades Europe Autoshow


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Tomorrow’s Technician (ISSN 1539-9532) (September 2013, Volume 12, Issue 6): 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 September 2013 |

Career Corner

Job Search DiagnoSticS Tips on Landing the Job You want

Job searches, especially in recent years, have become difficult and stressful. Sometimes, it feels like you’re just unable to burst through and make the best impression in the middle of a stressful job search, especially when you have so many other things on the front of your mind. Don’t let these things affect you, though. Take the advice here from and eliminate little mistakes that have a huge impact on finding your next auto technician job.

10 Tips to Improve Your Job Search 1. Mediocre References Aren’t Good References — Surely everyone knows to stay away from bad references, but what about the ones that are not good, but not bad? Those types of references can look even worse to a recruiter. Don’t ask for a reference if you know that they won’t go the extra mile for you.

2. Drop the Negative Talk About Former Employers — Although the phrase, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all,” still holds true, sometimes it speaks volumes to say something positive about a bad former situation. Yes, you were laid off, but what was the positive that came out of that situation? No job recruiter wants to focus on the negatives. Neither should you. 3. Producing A Bad Resume — Many people think that the more stuff they cram on their resume, the better it will be. That’s not going to help, especially if the job recruiter can’t read it. Never use a hard to read or small font and always check your spelling and grammar. 4. Saying Too Much In An Interview — The interview is a conversation between two parties, not a speech given by you. Keep your talking to concise points, be inquisitive, listen to what the recruiter says and end your responses with a Continues on page 43


September 2013 |

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.



he Byron Nelson Solar Car, designed by students from Byron Nelson High School, Trophy Club, TX, took first place in the annual Solar Car Challenge earlier this summer. The vehicle, driven a total of 660.2 miles with an average speed 21.63 mph, is powered only by solar energy. The Byron Nelson Solar Car’s total miles was almost 50 miles farther than the second best car operated by the students of Greenville High School, Greenville, TX, and hundreds of miles better than half the field of cars. The victory is the first ever for Byron Nelson. The Solar Car Challenge is an education program designed to help motivate students in science, engineering, and alternative energy. The program was developed to teach high school students how to plan, design, engineer, build, race, and evaluate roadworthy solar cars. According to event organizers, the program enables students to demonstrate that green technology can create a better world. For this summer’s event, high school teams began preparation for the year-long project during education workshops scheduled in September 2012. Additional workshops, on-site visits, and mentor opportunities helped propel the projects to a successful completion.


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After qualifying this summer in mid July, the teams got the opportunity to drive their solar cars from the Texas Motor Speedway beginning July 23rd, to Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, arriving on July 30th. The Solar Car Challenge began in 1993 as a high school extra curricular program named the "Winston Solar Challenge." The program's popularity has since grown rapidly and become its own non-profit entity. More than 65 schools in 20 states now take part in the Solar Car Challenge. Top Science & Technology Magazine recently named the Solar Car Challenge as one of the top science and engineering programs in the country. The Challenge has 107 high school solar car projects in various stages of development in anticipation of an upcoming solar racing event. Teams are located in 30 states and Puerto Rico. See page 10 for the Top 10 finishers in this year’s Classic Division. For more information and results from other divisions, visit:

2013 Results: Classic Division 1. Byron Nelson Solar Car: Byron Nelson High School, Trophy Club, TX, advisor: Josh Withers, Vehicle Name: Cat 3.0 2. GHSolar Team: Greenville High School, Greenville, TX, captain: Jacob White, advisor: Joel Pitts, vehicle name: Iron Lion 3. Bullard Solar Team: Bullard High School, Bullard, TX, captain: Austin Gwartney, advisor: Stacy Gwartney, vehicle name: Miss Boxy Boom Boom 4. The Devon Panel: Devon Preparatory School, Devon, PA, captain: Jacob Riedel, advisor: Eric Riedel, vehicle name: Sol Tide 5. Ben Barber Solar Car Racing Team: Ben Barber Career Tech Academy, Mansfield, TX, captain: Chase Grigsby, advisors: Jackie Bishop, Robert Goodson, vehicle name: Shine Runner II

6. Solar Saints: All Saints Episcopal School, Fort Worth, TX, captain: Ryan Drobnich, advisor: Dr. Lyle Crossley, vehicle name: Apollo's Chariot 7. Grosse Pointe South Sun Devils: Grosse Pointe South High School, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, captain: Chris Fowler, advisor: Scott Brunner, vehicle name: Scotty B 8. Liberty Christian Solar Car Team: Liberty Christian School, Argyle, TX, captains: Michael Kephart and Neiman Walker, advisors: Brent Dragoo and Kirk Porter, vehicle name: Solis Bellator 9. Zon Vermogen: Tappan Zee High School, Orangeburg, NY, captain: Chris Perez, advisor: Jim Keelty, vehicle name: Supernova 10. Wylie East Raiders: Wylie East High School, Wylie, TX, captains: Kyler Lay and Dalton Rains, advisor: Tony Roseberry, vehicle name: The East Beast

Kevin Borchert Named 2013 Mitchell 1 Automotive Technology Outstanding Student Kevin Borchert from Racine, WI, was recently named the 2013 Mitchell 1 Automotive Technology Outstanding Student during the North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) conference held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Each year, Mitchell 1 recognizes one U.S. or Canadian high school senior for outstanding achievement in automotive technology and auto shop repair scholastics. Borchert received a $2,500 scholarship, a check for $500 and roundtrip airfare and accommodations for himself and a guest to attend the NACAT conference. Borchert graduated from Case High School in Racine, WI, in May 2012. He is currently enrolled in the automotive technician associate degree program at Milwaukee Area Technical College and is expected to finish in October 2014. His ultimate career goal is to work as a professional technician at an aftermarket repair facility that installs and repairs performance equipment.

Ferris State Student Wins Medallion of Excellence at WorldSkills Competition Kieron Kohlmann of Racine, WI, and a student at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI, represented the United States in Leipzig, Germany during the biennial WorldSkills Competition and won a Medallion of Excellence (scoring at least 500 out of 600 points) in the Automobile Technology competition. Kohlmann competed as a member of the United States “WorldTeam.” The 42nd international event was held July 2-7, 2013. Kohlmann was also recently awarded the gold medal and received “best in nation” in Auto Service Technology in November 2012 during the WorldSkills America’s competition in Brazil where the United States competed against 23 other countries in preparaDo you have an outstanding student or a tion for the WorldSkills Competition. Kohlmann works at Bohl Automotive in Racine and took group of students that needs to be recognized automotive technology classes at Washington Park High for an automotive-related academic achievement? School, which has an ASE/NATEF certified program. ■

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10 September 2013 |

Under the Hood

Adapted from Gary Gom’s article in



t’s no secret to any parts professional that a very high percentage of in-tank electric fuel pumps returned for warranty aren’t truly defective. Unfortunately, some techs assume that, because they can’t hear the typical whining noise that a good fuel pump makes when the ignition is first turned on, the fuel pump itself is to

blame. If that assumption is the sole rationale for replacing the fuel pump, it will probably be sent back on warranty return.

Figuring out the Configurations Before we discuss fuel pump diagnosis, let’s look at three

basic fuel pump configurations. Early dual fuel line fuel pump configurations consisted of a fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel pressure regulator, fuel pump relay and, in some applications, oil pressureactivated or inertia-activated safety switch. When the ignition is turned on in these systems, the pump is momentarily activated to pressurize the fuel injectors. As the engine is cranked, the crankshaft position sensor indicates to the PCM that the engine has reached a minimum cranking speed of about 250300 rpm. At that point, the


September 2013 |

PCM re-activates the fuel pump. In some applications, an oil pressure safety switch will activate the fuel pump circuit as oil pressure builds up in the engine. During the late ’90s, auto manufacturers began consolidating fuel pump components into a single fuel line system in which the fuel pump, fuel pump filter, fuel level sensor and fuel pressure regulator were

Photo 1: Begin diagnosing an inoperative fuel pump by checking the condition of the fuel pump fuse. integrated into the fuel pump module. Most of these systems rely on the crankshaft position sensor to act as a safety switch to deactivate the fuel pump if the engine stalls. If the vehicle is involved in a collision or rollover accident, modules associated with safety-related devices like the air bags might be also used to deactivate the fuel pump in some applications. Pulse-modulated fuel pumps are the latest variation in fuel delivery systems. While pulse-modulated systems are generally modular designs, the fuel pump speed and fuel pressure are controlled by the PCM through an external fuel pump module. In most cases, pulse-modulated systems require the tooling and expertise of the professional technician to diagnose and repair. See Photo 1.

the reasons for a shortened service life is that the fuel pump design can’t withstand sustained high-load conditions. In some cases, the aftermarket has upgraded these pumps to increase their service lives. Dirty fuel can also be responsible for premature fuel pump wear. If the fuel filter is contained in the fuel pump module, dirt clogs the filter and the fuel pump begins to actually draw a partial vacuum inside the fuel filter. This partial vacuum causes bubbles to form in the fuel line that, in turn, causes a loss of fuel pressure. If the system has an external fuel

filter that has become clogged with dirt, the fuel pump begins working much harder to push fuel through the filter. Because the increased load will rapidly wear the fuel pump out, some fuel pump manufacturers won’t warranty a new fuel pump without a new fuel filter being installed. See Photo 2 on page 14. If the fuel tank has been contaminated with dirty fuel, it should be washed with pressurized soap and water and then thoroughly dried with warm air. Fuel tanks with extensive baffling should be replaced because they often can not be effectively

Fuel Pump Fail Any in-tank electric fuel pump has a normal service life. In some applications, that service life might be as little as 60,000 to 80,000 miles. One of 13

cleaned. It’s important to emphasize that fuel should never be added to a modern fuel tank from a dirty gas can or from an external fuel storage tank that isn’t properly vented and filtered.

Contributing Components Related component failures like stuck fuel pressure regulators can reduce

Photo 2: If a fuel filter appears old and neglected, it’s probably due for replacement. fuel pressure and, thus, mimic a worn fuel pump. Another factor that can mimic a worn fuel pump is badly deteriorated gasoline. While this condition is relatively rare, it’s entirely possible to fill a vehicle with gasoline from which all of the “light-end” fuel components have long ago evaporated. Symptoms generally include hard starting and lack of throttle response and power. Last, the PCM can miscalculate the air/fuel ratio because it’s receiving false input data from a faulty throttle position sensor, ambient air or coolant temperature sensor, or mass air flow (MAF) sensor. Because these false data inputs often cause a leanfuel condition that mimics a worn fuel pump, the fuel pump is replaced without curing the problem. Here again, the services of a welltrained technician equipped with a professional scan tool are required to diagnose false sensor data inputs. See Photo 3 on page 16.

Getting Wired All modern vehicles are equipped with safety mechanisms that deactivate the fuel pump if the engine stalls or if the vehicle is involved in a collision. To illustrate, the mechanical air flow sensors on early import vehicles incorporated a fuel pump switch that was designed to deactivate the fuel pump if the engine stalled. The pump would be re-activated during cranking and start-up. Technicians need to be aware that the fuel pump won’t

14 September 2013 |

Photo 3: A faulty MAF sensor can mimic a worn fuel pump. Because MAF diagnosis can be complicated, it’s best left to a well-equipped professional. activate if the ducting between the air flow sensor and the engine throttle plate is leaking or missing. See Photo 4 on page 18. Some manufacturers often use an inertia switch to deactivate the fuel pump in an impact collision. The vehicle owner’s manual is usually the best guide for locating the inertia switch. The inertia switch is also usually the best location for testing the fuel pump electrical system. Keep in mind that it’s common for an inertia switch to disengage during severe off-road driving or minor collision. Simply pushing the red button located at the top of the inertia switch will reset the switch. Oil pressure switches are generally used to provide a safety backup for the fuel pump relay or as an emergency shut-off if the engine loses oil pressure. In any case, a fuel pump wiring schematic will reveal the presence and function of fuel pump oil pressure switch on any specific vehicle application. Because some of these early electric fuel pumps were grounded to the vehicle’s frame, it’s always important to clean and lubricate the frame

16 September 2013 |

ground connection during testing and installation. Because some applications had problems with the electrical connector at the fuel tank either corroding or melting, most fuel pump manufacturers include a new pigtail that should be installed in the wiring harness along with the new fuel pump.

Passing the Test The simplest method for testing post-1996 OBD II fuel pump electrical systems is to connect a professional scan tool to the vehicle’s OBD II diagnostic port and use the scan tool’s bi-directional controls to activate the fuel pump relay. If the relay makes a clicking noise without activating the fuel pump, the fuel pump relay, wiring or fuel pump motor is defective. If the fuel pump activates, it should be tested for specified pressure and volume. If the volume is low, the external fuel filter should be inspected and, in most cases, replaced. If the pressure is excessively high or low, the fuel pressure regulator might be at fault. If the system is equipped with an external fuel pressure regulator and the fuel pressure

is too high, the regulator might be stuck closed or the return fuel line to the fuel tank might be restricted. I might also mention that a malfunctioning vehicle anti-theft system, remote starting system or defective ignition key can cause a failure of the fuel pump to activate. The symptom is the engine stalling shortly

Photo 4: Low fuel pressure can be caused by a worn fuel pump or a defective fuel pressure regulator. after start-up. In any of the earlier scenarios, the anti-theft module is failing to identify the ignition key. In one case I experienced, the fuel

pump was replaced without result. The real problem was that the identification chip had fallen out of the ignition key.

Going the Extra Mile Pays Off When Diagnosing Fuel Systems Tech Tips for You: Problems often crop up for even the most experienced technician when servicing and/or installing fuel pumps or modules. Looking beyond the obvious — and even being a bit proactive with customers — helps ensure the job is completed efficiently and the new parts last longer. A malfunctioning fuel system can prevent an engine from starting, but so can other problems such as lack of spark, a blocked air intake, or a broken timing belt and no fuel in the fuel tank. Be sure to rule out these possibilities before continuing to diagnose the fuel system. Making a quick inspection for issues often overlooked can save hours of diagnostic time and trouble. Visually inspect the fuel system components for bent or kinked hoses and pipes, damaged electrical connectors, and a dented or collapsed fuel tank that may be preventing the fuel pump module from operating properly. Check the ground wire leading to the pump or module and in the harness for connection integrity — and test for ground continuity. Also, inspect for rodent damage, because vehicles parked for extended periods often fall prey to mice and other animals that may chew on the wiring. Tips for Your Customers: When customers come in for service and you notice they’re driving on “E,” make sure they know that operating with little or no gas can contribute to premature failures and other malfunctions. Fuel cools the pump motor, so when drivers are running on little to no gas, overheating can result. Besides heat damage, running a vehicle on low fuel causes the pump to pull the dirtiest fuel from the bottom of the tank and possibly cause increased wear. This can destroy or shorten the life of an electric pump. Unfortunately, there are no visual indicators of overheating. Performing an electrical check can only identify a pump in this condition. It will either be bound, not turning or show as an open circuit. Overheating will cause it to fail. ■ Courtesy of Delphi Product and Service Solutions

Service Advisor

Adapted from an article in

CommuniCation Breakdown

Seeking the Right Answers For VW Problems


ommunication is important in every aspect of our lives, and particularly in the automotive repair profession. Being able to communicate with customers, delivery people, parts providers and coworkers is the very basic mech-


September 2013 |

anism that allows us to do our job with the kind of success that keeps us in business. Training for communication takes on many forms but, as yet, there is no substitute for experience. Communication skills are a learned and absorbed talent.

Photo 2 Photo 1: Hidden in all of this are the communication wires for various control modules. But what do you do when the communication is with a machine; one that just will not talk to you no matter what tricks you try? Where do you start when your significant other does that? You start with the basics, get to the root of the problem and work through it, or at least that is what is supposed to work.

Dialing into Diagnostics This article is about communication faults and problems that have occurred on Volkswagens over the last 10-plus years. Many of the same problems still exist on the newest models, but as these vehicles age, get repaired or damaged, problems come up (see Photo 1) that can challenge even the very best technicians. The disclaimer for this article is that just about every time we think to have a full understanding of how VW puts its cars together and controls things, something changes. With OBD II diagnostics and CAN bus-connected components, diagnosis and repair should be getting easier, but the pattern failures continue to point to new and different failures. Having the proper and updated test equipment is the only way to properly diagnose these cars, but

there are some steps that can be taken before you make a huge investment in equipment for cars you don’t see on a regular basis. We are going to focus on some very commonly seen faults, and what to look at first before going after a gremlin that may not exist at all. You are going to need access to repair information that is very specific to the model you are looking at. Just knowing the make, model and serial number isn’t enough. Since VW imports vehicles produced all over the world, you will need to know what you are working on. Locate and write down every scrap of information (see Photo 2) you find on the car you have, and precisely match that with the repair information, or you will be going down a lot of dead ends. Some of the qualifiers for repair information are obviously model, engine size and date of manufacture. For VWs, add country of manufacture, engine and transmission code, accessories installed and sometimes a submodel classification like GL, GLS or GLX, as these may make for significant differences in specifications, wiring diagrams and component locations. Just relying on engine tags isn’t always the best policy either. Especially with the late-model turbo engines where cylinder head replacement has become commonplace, and the mixing of engine codes (marked on cylinder head) and models doesn’t always match. Having accurate vehicle history is great, but often isn’t always available. This is where patience and experience pay off. Always take the time to “certify” the car you are working on. Look for obvious signs of replaced components (see Photo 3), repairs or damage, and work from there.

Finding Fault So many times, techs take off on a wild goose chase looking for a fault without first checking the basics. Cars with dead batteries or faults that were generated by a battery disconnect will require some additional steps to get the car back to a starting point for diagnosis. Battery condition and charging state is crucial for diagnosis and repair. If the car comes in with a dead battery, or loss of electrical power, charge the battery before 21

Photo 3: Every little bit of information can be useful for diagnosis. This ECM was found in a car built before the manufacture date of the module! doing any other diagnosis, and don’t rely on a jumper to provide the necessary power to sustain any involved testing. One often-overlooked step on VWs is checking the fuses. Especially on these late-model cars where there are numerous fuse panels (see Photo 4) and other protection devices. For models with the fuse panel on top of the battery, a thorough inspection and testing of the output circuits is needed, as melted connections are not always obvious. On older VW models, one of the most common problems has been the ignition switch. In doing a basic inspection for stalling, intermittent or inconsistent problems, that is the first stop for a problem. So many things can go wrong if the ignition switch (electrical part) is bad (see Photo 5). Since you have to turn on the ignition to start any diagnosis, just wiggle the key a little and gently turn it against the detents to make sure it is up to the task of powering up the car. A front counterperson who sees the customer remove the ignition key from a 5-lb. wad of stuff can give you a heads up on this one. On today’s models, security systems are installed on almost all models and are wired into the car as an integral part of the diagnostic and

Photo 4: Basic diagnosis should start by locating and checking all the fuses.

Photo 5: How is this possible? The engine is running, but no gauges, no charging. Obvious ignition switch fault. CAN system. From multiple or lost keys to dead batteries in remote controls, it doesn’t take much to cause these systems to misbehave. A good place to start with suspected immobilizer faults is by acquiring all of the available keys for the vehicle and making an attempt with each. An aftermarket security system installation can cause significant problems since some of the factory system will remain and may not be compatible with the aftermarket piece. Some of these systems can work for awhile and then go crazy when just the right set of circumstances causes a shutdown of the car’s systems. An easy diagnosis starts with acknowledging the installation of an aftermarket component and questioning the customer on the timing of the fault and the installation of the new equipment.

Tactical Tip: Test fuses with a circuit tester rather than just visually, and also look for missing fuses. If a fuse position has terminals for input and output, chances are there should be a fuse there. 23

For the basics, one other item can be considered. Like your PC at home, the communications network on a car can get stuck or “lock up” due to a piling on of faults or improper operations. Performing a “cold boot” on the entire car (when nothing else works) should be a final step in eliminating communication problems before going into a more indepth diagnosis.

Test Tools A good part of the operating costs for any auto repair facility is the tools needed to stay current with newer models. In Photo 6: A close look will show addition to specialthe paper clip holding the ized tools for throttle plate open so the car mechanical work, the cost of repair informa- would idle. This will prevent tion and testing equip- basic setting from completing. ment today makes it imperative that you know what models you are going to work on and specialize in. For VAG cars, basic diagnosis can begin with a generic

scanner, but once codes are pulled, or the battery is dead or disconnected, a VAG-compatible scanner is needed to perform the necessary resets needed, as noted earlier. A compatible scanner will have the functions available for performing “basic setting” operations. Checking various system components through measuring blocks will also

The Cold Boot Procedure: 1. Disconnect both battery cables. 2. Momentarily touch the cables together, then separate and insulate. 3. Wait 15 minutes or more before reconnecting the battery (good time to recharge). 4. After restart, shut down and perform the basic settings for throttle control module. Throttle basic settings must be made on a cold engine. 5. If the car still won’t communicate at this point, diagnosis with the proper equipment is necessary. This same type of reboot procedure can be done for a number of control modules by disconnecting them, allowing them to power down completely (disconnected for 15 minutes), and then reconnecting and restarting.

Did You Know? Heat Ranges One of the most misunderstood aspects of spark plugs is its heat range. It is believed by many that the heat range measures spark temperature or intensity. This is incorrect as the heat range is actually a measurement of the plug’s ability to transfer heat away from the tip of the spark plug. One cannot change the temperature of how hot a fuel burns. A hot spark plug has an insulator design that will be slower to draw heat away from the plug tip (thinner insulator mass), whereas a cold plug has an insulator design that will be faster to draw heat away from the plug tip (thicker insulator mass). For a spark plug to function properly it must have a tip temperature hot enough to invoke self-cleaning, while remaining cool enough to avoid pre-ignition. For most vehicles, the factory recommended heat range is sufficient; however, on some modified or special use engines alternative heat ranges may be necessary. Often hotter heat- ranges have been used to attempt to correct an underlying fuel or oil consumption problem; this is merely a cover-up fix and the underlying issues will ultimately have to be addressed. The image below is a representation of the difference between a hot and cold heat range. NGK spark plug’s heat range goes from 2 (hottest) to 11 (coldest). For further information on NGK spark plugs, please call NGK Technical Support at 1-877-473-6767 ext. #2, or visit us on the web at

1 (877) 473-6767 ext. #2

24 September 2013 |


help in pinpointing problems when some sensors are out of normal operating range. Scanners without measuring block capability won’t allow you to check for zero or basic settings for a number of components, like the transmission, steering and ABS. A digital volt-ohm meter (DVOM) is needed to get into component and wiring diagnosis. A collection of probes and noninvasive connectors to test the various circuits is handy. A circuit tester that can test and provide power for circuits is a valuable tool.

Testing for Interference: 1. Using a DVOM, test for battery power at pin 7 of the Data Link Connector (DLC). 2. If FULL battery voltage is present, the K-line or communication circuit has been compromised. A reading of 2 to 10.5 volts is OK. 3. Check for installation of aftermarket accessories. 4. If there is an aftermarket radio installed, remove and inspect the electrical connections at the black (OE) electrical connector. Pin 3 of this connector is the communication line. 5. Eliminate any possible power from this circuit from the new radio. Remove the wire from the connector or clip the wire and tape the ends. 6. For other aftermarket installations, you will need to test for battery power sources and eliminate them before any other diagnosis can be done. 7. Recheck for a proper reading at the DLC, pin 7, (2 to 10.5V). Remember that since these cars use a CAN circuit that connects all of the various control modules on a single communication line, any interference can be a problem, and it can come from any component that is incorrectly wired. You will need pin-out locations for the various modules to know which pins are used for the DATA line.

ECM (and through the CAN data system other modules), idle and wide open throttle positions of the accelerator pedal and the throttle body. Since most 2000 and newer models are totally drive-by-wire, this is a critical test and confirmation for safety and control. This procedure is required anytime there is a battery disconnect, throttle body replacement or removal, or ECM disconnect. Here is the shortened version of the setting procedure: 1. Visually inspect the throttle body and clean, if needed. There are cautions about the use of any spray cleaner that might get into the throttle body module and damage it. It’s better to just spray cleaner onto a rag and wipe it by hand. 2. Make sure that the throttle plate operates smoothly and freely through its entire range. On models with a cable attached to the throttle body, make sure the cable is properly installed and there are no modifications that would prevent completing the test. 3. Clear any remaining codes. Key must be on, park brake set and auto trans in park or neutral. Keep your foot off the brake and accelerator pedals. 4. Depending on the scanner and the language used for basic settings, go to ENGINE (01) and to Function 04 Basic Settings. 5. Throttle basic settings are displayed in either group 060 (most drive-by-wire models) or 098 (cars that have a cable attached). 6. Once you have selected the proper group, again depending on the particular scanner, the test will auto run or press enter. 7. The fourth line in the data screen should display “ADP RUNS,” and after the throttle opens and closes to determine its range, it will change to “ADP OK.” 8. At this point, you need to back out of the adaption screen, turn off the ignition for a minute or so, and restart the engine without touching the accelerator pedal. 9. Road test the vehicle, noting that the throttle is working correctly, and then recheck for faults. The readiness flags will not be completed until the car has been driven through a complete drive cycle.

Lessons Learned Reset & Road Test After resolving communication faults on a VW or Audi, certain steps must be taken to re-establish the basic settings of components before a restart. The main one that comes up routinely is the Throttle Control Module basic settings. The purpose of this step is to confirm for the

This is just a small clip of possible communication scenarios for VW/Audi cars. If you service one of these cars that just won’t communicate, take the time to get to know it better, ask some simple questions at first and then start narrowing the problems by eliminating the obvious ones. It works in life, so it should work with a car! ■ 25


Adapted from a tech feature in

GaininG Stability

throuGh brake JobS

Handling BMW Stability Control/Brake System Components


utomotive technology continues to evolve in several directions. While many manufacturers are concentrating on electric and hybrid technology, higher mileage, and smaller and lighter vehicles, others are focused on performance, horsepower and ever-higher top speeds. All manufacturers, however, are concerned with safety and ease of control, mostly due to upcoming U.S. Federal safety mandates. By 2012, all passenger cars will need to have some type of stability control system installed. Then, there are some manufacturers, like BMW, that look at all aspects of automotive technology. From the fuel-sipping, but sporty MINI, to the 1 Series and diesel power, on up to the most luxurious models including SAVs (Sports Activity Vehicles), BMW is bringing the newest technology to the market now, rather than looking years down the road. Vehicle control systems have been on many BMW models since the late 1980s; to say the company has experience with vehicle stability is an understatement. If you do maintenance or repairs on vehicles with stability control systems, you are going to need to learn how every change is connected to

In the last couple of years, the number of developments in handling, braking and stability systems have been dramatically increasing. Though BMW and Mercedes-Benz are ahead of the industry in providing vehicle stability systems, all of the major manufacturers have installed stability controls on many of their models. The need for auto technicians to stay current and knowledgeable of these technology changes, and the need for continuing education, is more important than ever.


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the other systems on the car, and how making repairs or simple adjustments may mean additional steps. Good diagnosis is going to require the front counterperson to ask the proper questions and the technician having a plan to make sure the diagnosis is complete and correct, based on the description from the customer, the write up from the advisor and having some knowledge of the vehicle maintenance history. This article cannot begin to teach you everything you need to know about the advanced technology on BMW cars, but, hopefully, will inspire you to seek more information, and refer to the available information that is just a few mouse clicks away. Online repair information is a good, resourceful first step to making successful repairs. The problem with any information made available for the aftermarket is the lag time between when the new models come out and when information of any kind is available. That is where having a good working

relationship with a local dealer, especially the parts and service department, is so valuable when that new car owner shows up and you don’t want to send him away. As new technology comes to market, car owners are going to bring “problems� to you that turn out to be design changes meant to enhance vehicle control. More electronic controls make the need for additional test equipment and better diagnostic techniques a priority. In this article, I will present some of the technology that has been introduced on BMW cars over the last few years, where the patternfailures have tended to appear, and the best way to go about diagnosing and repairing them, without sending them off to the dealer. Be aware that, in some cases, that may still be needed, particularly where 27

Photo 1

re-programming or recoding is needed. Not all shops are going to be able to invest in the equipment needed to do those final steps that will make the car whole again. Keeping in touch with other local independents, or joining on-line tech forums in conjunction with on-line tech information services, can help you diagnose difficult problems. I would also caution you that when we are talking about cars with extremely high-performance capabilities, taking shortcuts on repairs, or trying to get by with lesser quality parts, may be dangerous. Some customers may not like the prices of certain repairs, but the cost of doing a lesser repair could be much higher.

It All Starts with the Brakes As mentioned earlier, having a proper plan in place to make a good diagnosis is going to produce a successful repair. Just as important is exceptional attention to detail when it comes to doing even general maintenance. Using the wrong fluids, not taking the time to clean components completely or failing to lubricate them properly could cause other problems that will make additional repairs necessary when control units sense a problem.

The most important system on BMW cars, as well as most other brands, is going to be the brake system (see Photo 1). Because the brakes are used as the “control� for stability, traction control and ABS, the brakes have got to work properly to prevent setting codes in any of the systems. Whenever there is a problem in any of the various stability systems, the brakes should be evaluated before any further diagnosis. Everything on these cars is interconnected through the CAN bus wiring (some models are phasing in wireless communication), so a problem in one system can adversely affect one, if not all, other systems. Over time, seemingly unrelated problems can change how the main components work and interact. For this reason alone, it is important to have some knowledge of the vehicle history, particularly major repairs, to have any chance of tracking down a problem with complex vehicle control systems. Additionally, you need to have at least a basic understanding of how the various control systems work and how they interact. For particularly difficult problems, a look through the owner’s manual can sometimes be a first step in resolving what seems like a more complicated issue.

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Like many vehicle owners, I still don’t have much luck working the various versions of the I-drive system. A lot of the various control systems can be “user” adjusted, and what seems normal for one driver may throw another driver in the household into paranoia thinking something is going wrong. Just about every one of the newer technologies has an adaption component that makes changes based on typical driver inputs, so your test drive might not be representative of the way the car is usually driven. With all that said, there are going to be large numbers of these cars coming out of the factory maintenance program that have had little, if any, regular maintenance. It’s usually the second owner who starts encountering the problems left by the original purchaser. That is where it becomes necessary to get involved with driver orientation, particularly if the new purchaser doesn’t have the owner’s manual.

Integrating Stability Functions ABS, traction control, variable-rate steering and limited slip differentials can all be considered vehicle stability components, but it is when they are connected and work together to control a number of functions that they become an integrated part of vehicle control operation. On the latest BMW models, these functions have been combined into control systems with new acronyms: DSC (Dynamic Stability Control); DTC (Dynamic Traction Control); and DBC (Dynamic Brake Control). Then, there are components of these systems that control various parts of the driving program, such as Active Steering, Adaptive Transmission Management and the BMW allwheel-drive system, xDrive. Since we won’t see these newest cars for a few years, we’ll focus on the cars that have been around the block a few times and are just starting to come off lease, or being resold as things start to deteriorate and repairs are imminent. As cars reach 50K without having much more than oil changes (sometimes only two!), there will be some failures or overlooked faults that will be showing up, just as the new owner gets comfortable with his/her new ride.

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Taking Control Some form of stability control has been on certain BMW models since 1987 with the introduction of the traction control system, ASR. In the mid-1990s, Electronic Stability Control was added to some of the high dollar cars and, by the 2001 model year, it was standard on all BMW models. As ABS, ASR, and steering and suspension control have improved, they have been integrated into the current Dynamic Stability Control system. Control of just about every system on the car, from the throttle body to HVAC, can be taken away from the driver while the DSC is operating. On some models, DSC can’t be overridden to manual control. There may be more or less functions to the stability system, depending on the year and model of BMW on which you are working. So, you will need to do a little homework on any vehicle that comes into the shop with faults before you begin any diagnosis so you don’t go off on a wild goose chase looking for a system that doesn’t apply. Because all of the various control systems are connected to the same communication network (CAN), a fault in one may cause a fault code to set in another.

Tactical Tip: Before diagnosing any fault code, you also need to realize that a fault code often gives you only the component that isn’t working, not the component or components that are the cause of the fault. Pattern failures for DSC codes on most of the models from 2002 to 2007 have mainly been caused by either programming or communication errors, which can come from anywhere. Problems with the TPMS systems (either wheel mounted or integrated with the ABS system) can cause codes to be set that will eventually get to the DSC system. Wheel slip caused by weather factors can cause throttle control module movement that could set codes. Body repairs, water leaks and even something as strange as having a CD in the player during diagnosis have been

reported as causing problems. Communication errors have come from pins being pushed out of multiplugs during repairs, or not connected during body repairs. Since the sensing components are located in various places on different models, any added accessories or upgrades need to be suspect. Steering angle faults have been caused by a number of seemingly harmless repairs, like wheel alignments or component replacements after accidents.

fault. This is where access to an online data service is helpful to indicate whether there are applicable TSBs or pattern failures. 6. If TSBs indicate coding or reprogramming functions that you don’t have the capability to perform, this is the time to attempt a reboot on the car by disconnecting the battery to clear any codes. You should have the customer’s approval for this,

as it will erase memory in many of the onboard control units. You should also have all of the keys normally used to start the vehicle available to program, just in case. Unlock the doors, put the windows down, disconnect the battery cables (both) and then connect them together for 20 to 30 minutes. Continues on page 42

Tactical Tip: Always start your diagnosis by eliminating the basics and exploring the vehicle history.

Diagnostic Plan of Attack So, how do you deal with a car that comes in with a DSC/DCX indicator light on, but no obvious driveability problems? Here is my suggestion on how to proceed. How you work through the diagnosis is going to depend a lot on how much initial information you have on a particular vehicle. 1. After getting as much information from the car owner or service writer, you should take a test drive to verify any obvious faults the owner might have missed. Pay attention to braking, steering and any unusual operational quirks. 2. Check for codes if you have the proper software and a compatible scanner. 3. Do a physical inspection of the vehicle, looking especially at the brakes, sensor wiring and evidence of damage or previous repair. Pay close attention to tire condition, size, location on the car (some models have different size wheel/tire specs front and rear) and pressure. 4. Check the condition of the battery. BMW recommends that a battery charger that can supply a consistent voltage be used during any diagnosis that will require extended periods with the key in the run position. 5. Assuming there are codes, check available service and repair guides for direction in locating the 31

Component Connection

Adapted from Gary Goms’s article in

Handling SuSpenSion and Spring Service I f all roadways were glass-smooth, we wouldn’t need springs and suspension systems in modern vehicles. But, in the real world, roadways have bumps, dips and potholes that can severely damage a vehicle. To smooth out these irregularities in road surfaces, we couple a compressible spring with a flexible suspension system to smooth the ride and increase the driver’s control of the vehicle. Unfortunately, the elastic strength of the steel in a modern spring diminishes due to high loading and repeated flexing. The most noticeable symptom of spring wear is a sagging suspension system or uneven vehicle ride height. Less common are springs that break due to


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metal fatigue or to a stress riser caused by corrosion or physical damage on the spring’s surface. In other cases, springs are replaced to enhance the load-carrying or handling characteristics of a vehicle. A good understanding of how springs are rated and how they operate is indispensable for achieving the anticipated outcomes in spring modifications. With these issues in mind, I’ll cover the basics of how springs operate and how to choose a spring that will enhance vehicle performance.

Rating System Spring rate is the amount of pressure required

to compress the spring one inch. Spring rate on coil springs is most affected by wire diameter, spring diameter and the number of active coils, while spring rate on torsion bars is determined by bar diameter and length. The length, thickness, number and position of the individual spring leaves affect spring rate on leaf springs. Most spring manufacturers supply charts that use these and other factors to mathematically determine the rate of their springs.

Coil Considerations

Photo 1

Coil springs are generally rated by free length, compressed length, outside diameter, number of coils and wire size. Most modern passenger vehicles use coil springs because they’re compact and versatile.

Photo 2

Most coil spring rates are linear, which means that spring compression is directly related to load. Coil springs can also be progressively wound, with the coil spacing closer at one end of the spring. This creates a spring rate that progressively increases as the spring is compressed. Progressively wound springs allow a smooth ride, while at the same time providing enough spring capacity to support heavierthan-normal loads. See Photo 1.

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Raising the Bar Modern trucks generally use lateral bar-type torsion bars on their front suspensions because torsion bars are compact and allow the suspension to be easily adjusted to its correct height. In most cases, a torsion bar breaks when the metal loses its torsional strength. The downside of torsion bars is that they can be built only to a linear rate. When replacing torsion bars, remember that the right- and left-hand tor-

Photo 3

sion bars aren’t interchangeable on many vehicles and, like all springs, should be replaced in matched pairs. See Photo 2.

Leaf Springs The unique feature of leaf springs is that they are a progressive-style spring that not only supports the weight of the vehicle, but also attaches the vehicle’s drive axles to its frame. Leaf springs are still used in most truck rear suspensions for this reason. In addition

to performing the functions listed earlier, the friction created between the spring leaves as they are extended and compressed tends to dampen spring rebound. In most modern applications, a leaf spring is built with one or more main leaves that are usually connected to the frame by a fixed mount at the front and a flexible shackle mount at the rear. The pivoting shackle allows the arched main spring leaves to change length as the spring compresses. Additional leaves of varying thickness and length are added to increase the load-bearing capacity of the spring. Short, thick leaves are often installed at the bottom of the spring stack to act as “over-load” springs. All of the leaves are held in position by a center bolt that also locates the spring assembly onto the axle housing spring perch. See Photo 3. Leaf springs generally fail when one or more leaves break. When the center bolt breaks, the axle assembly will shift in relation to the chassis, which causes the vehicle to “dog-track” while in motion. Worn fixed-mount spring bushings can cause the same dogtracking symptoms, but to a lesser extent. Because 35

Photo 4

the center bolt is generally located forward of the mathematical center of the top leaves, leaf springs are often installed backward, which will dislocate the axle and cause a similar dog-tracking situation. When leaf springs wear out, they lose the arch originally built into the springs. Wear in leaf springs can generally be detected by observing the amount of travel left in the rear spring shackle with the vehicle at rest and at normal load. If the rear shackle is fully extended, the spring should be replaced.

Turning to Geometry To preserve a geometrically correct relationship among its individual parts, independent suspensions

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systems are designed to operate at a specified suspension height. Photo 4 shows the tie rod resting at a slight downward pitch with the suspension at normal height. This is the normally correct position for both tie rods and control arms because the suspension can be depressed slightly without seriously changing the angle of the tie rod. On the other hand, if the suspension height is increased or decreased beyond specifications, the tie rod will no longer maintain a correct geometric relationship with the suspension system. Consequently, modest changes in suspension height will cause extreme changes in toe angle. This phenomenon, known as “bump steer,� will cause the steering system to become over-sensitive to road contour and will cause premature tire wear. A dramatic change in suspension height will similarly affect independent rear suspensions. Photo 5 illustrates the geometric relationship among the lower control arms, anti-sway bar and rear axle half-shaft.

A dramatic change in suspension height will similarly affect independent rear suspensions.

Âť Spotlight




Clearly, this type of suspension is difficult to modify without developing extreme adverse effects on suspension and drivetrain geometry.

Servicing Performance Requests Extreme suspension modifications are better left to shops with the experience and tooling needed to make these modifications. As for working with the street performance enthusiast who wants to increase the overall handling or appearance of his vehicle, it’s important to understand some spring performance basics. For example, it’s important to understand the relationship between the spring, shock absorber and anti-sway bar. In general, stiffer springs require softer shock absorbers, while softer

Photo 5

springs require stiffer shock absorbers to maintain rebound control. Similarly, stiffer springs require softer anti-sway bars, while softer springs require stiffer anti-sway bars to keep the vehicle level while cornering. A vehicle modified for dirt-road driving generally requires softer springs that will better absorb irregularities in the road surface and longer springs to increase suspension travel. These features allow the shock absorber to better control suspension rebound. It goes without saying that shock absorbers used on dirt-road applications need a lot of piston area and oil capacity to better dissipate heat. Sway bar performance should be appropriate to the application. In road-course racing, a stiffer sway bar might be appropriate, whereas off-roading might require maximum suspension travel, in which case the sway bar might be eliminated altogether. Pavement performance can better utilize stiffer springs because the road surface is smoother and the tires have better adhesion during high-speed cornering. Stiffer springs also allow the vehicle to operate at slightly below specified suspension height without bottoming out. Here again, the shock absorber should be matched to the spring rate. Stiff shocks mated to stiff springs might create a suspension so rigid that the wheel lofts off the pavement, thus decreasing tire adhesion. In any case, it’s always a more efficient approach to buy a suspension performance package that matches individual components to their intended use. Most performance spring manufacturers have technical help lines that guide technicians and retail customers toward spring packages suited to their individual needs. Whatever the situation, always remember to replace springs in pairs and remember also that springs and correct suspension height go hand-in-hand to create maximum suspension and steering performance. ■

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Adapted from Andrew Markel’s article in

ID, Please TPMS Relearn Procedures


o understand any TPMS relearn procedure, you have to understand this: SENSORS ONLY TRANSMIT, THEY DO NOT RECEIVE. No vehicle asks a sensor for information on how it is doing. I know you’re thinking a sensor does receive signals when the vehicle is in relearn mode and the technician holds a TPMS tool to the sidewall of a tire. The tool excites the transmitting antenna with either a magnet or a radio signal at a preset frequency. This is more like a “poke” or “nudge” that triggers the device. Some early sensors do not have this feature and require the technician to deflate by 10 psi in 20 seconds during the relearn procedure. When the sensor is poked, it will transmit its sensor ID and other required information. This must be done in a pre-determined sequence so the vehicle module knows where each sensor is positioned.

Normal Operation In normal operation, sensors transmit information at programmed intervals when the accelerometer is activated by movement or if the pressure sensor detects sudden deflation of the tire. When it is moving, it is transmitting information in 15-, 30- or 60-second intervals, depending on the application. The sensor will also stay active approximately 10-20 minutes after the car is parked. Knowing the exact amount of time required for the sensor to go to sleep can be helpful for some relearn procedures. If a relearn procedure is attempted on some vehicles with the sensors active, it can make the relearn procedure impossible because the system might hear more than one sensor talking at a time.

Signal Strength The sensor has to last at least seven years on the same battery. This means that the transmission from the sensor is relatively weak when compared to other radio signals that could be in its surroundings. But the signal only has to travel a few inches or a few yards, depending on the application. For an outside device to interfere with a TPMS signal, it must do three things. First, it must be transmitting a signal in the same bandwidth. Second, it must be transmitting for a long enough period of time that it interferers with multiple transmissions from the sensor. Third, it must transmit a signal with the same code or protocols as the sensor. In


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other words, the interference must occur at the right time, right place, while saying the right things. Cell phones cannot interfere with a TPMS system. The same is true with Bluetooth devices. Their signals are not continuous and they are not in the same bandwidth. The biggest problem for some sensors and systems is sensors from other vehicles transmitting during the relearn procedure. Some OEMs recommend that the relearn process is performed away from other vehicles and outside. The main culprit for sensor interface during the relearn process is not a high-tech gadget, but the car itself. Sometimes a sensor can have its signal blocked by a brake caliper, control arm or other large metal object placed between the sensor and antenna. The only solution is to move the car forward a few feet to unblock the signal. On some vehicles, the wiring harness or electronic accessory can create problems if the wires get close to the antenna. CAN bus or other serial data wires can interfere with TPMS signals if the data wires get close to the antenna.

require a rapid deflation or driving. Check the service information or the sensor’s manufacturer information. When a relearn process is started, vehicles want only one sensor talking at a time. Sometimes all of the sensors are active and sending out signals because the vehicle was repositioned or there is radio interference. For the sensors to go into a sleep mode, the car has to be still for a set amount of time (which varies from vehicle to vehicle). If you are having a difficult time with a relearn procedure, let the vehicle sit for 20 minutes. This should put the sensors into sleep mode, and then you can turn the sensors on one at a time so the IDs and positions can be read by the TPMS system. Most TPMS systems are smart enough to realize that something is interfering with the signals, and will disregard a bad sample and wait for the next transmission from the sensor before turning on the light and warning the customer. By that time, the vehicle has moved away from the interference source. ■

Saving IDs If a tire is dismounted or the sensor is disturbed, the TPMS sensor ID# should be recorded and saved in the customer’s records. Also, some scan tools can read and store the IDs. Regardless of the method, save the IDs. In some cases, a camera can be used to capture the ID. Why? It comes down to productivity. First, it can save you from having to dismount a tire to check the ID number once the relearn process has started and a dead or inactive sensor has been detected. In some cases, a transmitter may not function properly and may need to be replaced. For this procedure, the system must be reset so the control module can relearn the transmitted ID of the replaced sensor. Second, depending on the type of sensor you are using, having the ID can help you code or program a new sensor. Third, if you have a repair where the keyless entry systems or TPMS module have been replaced, having the sensor IDs and locations can help during the relearn process when writing IDs to the vehicle. Last, it can serve as a way to check that the TPMS module has the correct IDs written onto the module.

Take Your Time Technicians can become frustrated by new sensors stuck in storage or “super sleep” mode. Sensor makers are putting sensors in this mode to increase their shelf life by conserving the battery. Waking up a new sensor may 41

CrossWord PuZZle


Tomorrow’s Technician September Crossword

1. Tire's remaining-life indicator (4,3) 5. Caliper-gripped item 8. Front and rear impact absorbers 9. Pleasure-oriented road trips 10. Annual 500-mile race, briefly 11. Manual-transmissions' partners 13. Underhood power producer 15. Cylinder inlets and outlets, ____ valves 18. Completely remove A/C refrigerant 19. Metered ride 22. Side-impact collision type (1,4) 23. Exceed safe engine RPM 24. Live, dead or portal parts 25. Substance blended with gasoline

DOWN 1. Repair shop's online presence 2. Adjusted the headlights 3. Removed brake-system air 4. Used-car transaction 5. Tire-maintenance task 6. Small-bottle contents, ____ paint (5,2) 7. Succumbs to corrosion 12. Policy providers 14. Hypoid lubricant (4,3) 16. NASCAR track shape, sometimes 17. Piston's TDC to BDC travel 18. Fram ____ Guard oil filter 20. Ohio's "Rubber City" 21. Auto-repair pro, briefly

Solution at Continued from page 31

7. If the fault codes return after reconnecting the battery, there may be a need to replace one or more control units if another (sensor) fault cannot be located. The car will most likely need a trip to a dealer to recalibrate or reprogram systems to get full functionality back if you don’t have access to the needed scanner or software.

Final Notes Nothing about auto repair is going to get easier. To maintain an up-to-date knowledge of current and future technological advances, you need to continue to learn. The

difference between good and exceptional technicians has always been the desire to understand how things are designed to work so they can be repaired to operate as designed. In the next few years, you will be seeing a lot of these advances on every car from the low-priced to the most expensive, from the grocery getter to the all-out performance car. Active suspension, active steering, electric braking and steering are all technologies that are just now being introduced on the most technologically advanced models. We will all need to learn how they work so we can fix them when they break. Murphy’s Law lives on. ■

Product Release Ranger Introduces New Wheel Balancer Ranger Products, a division of BendPak Inc., has equipped the Ranger DST64T wheel balancer with DataWand, allowing operators to automatically enter wheel parameter settings in less than three seconds for exact balancing every time. A soft-touch keypad and display panel includes dynamic, static and variable alloy settings, and features dynamic tire and wheel graphics to help guide techs through balancing procedures. Go to wheel-balancers/dst-64t-wheel-balancer.aspx for details.


September 2013 |

Continued from page 6

good question to further the conversation. 5. Being Too Hard On Yourself — Once again, negativity can seriously damper the job process. Put a positive spin on everything, and if you really don’t think that you’re good enough for the job, tell the recruiter that you no longer want to be considered. You can be assured that if you’re hard on yourself, the recruiter will be too. 6. Focusing On How Long and Difficult Your Job

Search Has Been — Even if you’ve been on the hunt for years, you can still find a way to talk positively about the experience. Focus on the great contacts you’ve met during that time, the training and knowledge you’ve been able to fine-tune, and the trends that you were able to keep up with. 7. Being Too Honest — It’s always tricky to answer the “tell me about your greatest weakness” question. Focus on how you corrected the weakness and overcame a challenge instead of divulging too much about what’s wrong with you. 8. Don’t Force Things — The job process takes a long time. Things can drag on for a while, especially when there are many people involved with the hire. Don’t pester a company until they become annoyed with you. Instead, close each meeting with a hiring manager by asking what you should expect next in terms of the hiring timeline. 9. Don’t Talk Salary Too Soon — There’s a time to talk salary, and a time to prove that you’re worth the salary. If you focus early on in the interview process on your accomplishments and worth to the company instead of what you want to make, it’ll be easier later on to have a discussion about how much you expect to make. 10. Applying to Jobs Blindly — You need to focus on job openings that you have connections to, not jobs posted in a classified or general job site. Use niche websites, like, that already have a strong network for you to tap into. Then, use your already existing network to find more job leads. ■ Source: 43

Report Card

Kia Motors’ Concept Used to Gauge New Platform Perceptions

arrangement providing dip and main beam lights, strip daytime running lights around the edge of the lighting housing as well as built-in quartered spot lights. Entry is by dihedral “butterfly” doors that open into the roof panel and swing up high and with low-set flush handles. Mounted directly onto the side windows are milled “Plexiglas” door mirrors with inbuilt downward-facing cameras.

Kia’s dramatic new Niro urbanlifestyle concept, unveiled at the Internationale Automobil Ausstellung (IAA) show in Frankfurt, Germany this month, hints at a possible future B-segment contender ready to take on the city environment with style and tenacity. The vehicle, described by Kia designers as playful but gutsy, sturdy yet impish – is ready for any challenge that the assured modern motorist may throw at it. The Niro combines a mischievous character in a clearly robust and substantial yet stylish bodyshape featuring a mix of contrasting materials in compact, purposeful dimensions.

Power Specs

Compact Size on a New Platform Although Niro has been created to deliver a sturdy and muscular outline, it has relatively compact dimensions on an all-new platform that will form the basis of future Bsegment products from Kia. The menacingly dark “Nightfall” colored exterior is sharply and


attractively offset by a brushed, stainless steel roof. Enveloping the entire cabin, this two-finish construction gives a unique and strongly technological edge to Niro’s appearance. Also adding a feel that the car is virtually bursting out of its skin are runningboard type “blades” above the lower side-sills – echoed by similar creases in the front and rear lower valances. The aggressive front look is enhanced by an ice-cube light

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Niro comes with a variant of Kia’s turbocharged 1.6L ‘Gamma’ engine, developing 118kW (160ps). While the engine and sevenspeed, dual-clutch transmission serve only the front wheels, an electric-hybrid system powered from regenerative braking delivers up to 33kW (45ps) to the rear wheels – when road conditions require extra grip. Niro’s sturdy look is completed by special 225/40R20 tires mounted on milled aluminum 20-inch fivespoke wheels. Kia Motors reports there are no plans for Niro to go into commercial production in the immediate future. However, Niro’s appearance at the IAA show will be used to gauge public opinion and possible demand. ■

Tomorrow's Technician, September 2013  
Tomorrow's Technician, September 2013  

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