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■ Servicing Electric Power Steering A


■ TPMS Sensor Corrosion

■ Capturing Engine Containments


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TeckTalk: Variable Valve Timing 12





Emission Update

Service Solutions

Catalytic Converter Concerns Since their introduction in the 1970s, catalytic converters are considered to be one of the most effective devices for controlling exhaust emissions. Contributor Carl Fedele provides an in-depth look at this device and its importance in today’s vehicle’s emissions control system.

Addressing TPMS Corrosion Issues TPMS became standard equipment in 2008, and now many sensors are starting to show their age and fall victim to corrosion. Andrew Markel brings you tips that can help techs avoid snapping stems, saving your shop in replacement costs.

Editor Edward Sunkin, ext. 258 email:

Graphic Designer Dan Brennan, ext. 283 email:

Managing Editor Jennifer Clements, ext. 265 email:

Publisher Jim Merle, ext. 280 email:

Technical Editor Larry Carley

Ad Services Director Cindy Ott, ext. 209 email:

Contributing Writers Gary Goms, Scott “Gonzo” Weaver, Bob Dowie and Randy Rundle

Circulation Manager Pat Robinson, ext. 276 email:

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Editorial advisory Board Brent Crago, owner Top Tech Automotive Cleveland, Tennessee

Marvin Greenlee, owner Meade & Greenlee Inc. Salem, Oregon

Marc Duebber, owner Duebber’s Auto Service Cincinnati, Ohio

Anthony Hurst, owner Auto Diagnostics Ephrata, Pennsylvania

Audra Fordin, owner Great Bear Auto Repair Flushing, NY

Roger Kwapich, owner Smitty’s Automotive Toledo, Ohio

Rick O’Brien, technician Coachworks Portland, Maine Tom Palermo, general manager Preferred Automotive Specialists Jenkintown, Pennsylvania

Glenn Warner 330-670-1234, ext. 212

Paul Stock, owner Stock’s Underhood Specialists Belleville, Illinois Michael Warner, owner Suburban Wrench Pennington, New Jersey

Van Pedigo, owner Richfield Automotive Center Richfield, Ohio

List Sales Manager Don Hemming 330-670-1234, ext. 286 Classified Sales Tom Staab 330-670-1234, ext. 224

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UNDERHOOD SERVICE (ISSN 1079-6177) (August 2013, Volume XVIII, Number 8): Published monthly by Babcox, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 U.S.A. Phone (330) 670-1234, FAX (330) 670-0874. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH 44333 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to UNDERHOOD SERVICE, 3550 Embassy Parkway Akron, OH 44333. UNDERHOOD SERVICE is a trademark of Babcox Media, Inc. registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All rights reserved. A limited number of complimentary subscriptions are available to individuals who meet the qualification requirements. Call (330) 670-1234, Ext. 288, to speak to a subscription services representative or FAX us at (330) 670-5335. Paid Subscriptions are available for non-qualified subscribers at the following rates: U.S.: $69 for one year. Canada: $89 for one year. Canadian rates include GST. Ohio residents add current county sales tax. Other foreign rates/via air mail: $129 for one year. Payable in advance in U.S. funds. Mail payment to UNDERHOOD SERVICE, P.O. Box 75692, Cleveland, OH 44101-4755. VISA, MasterCard or American Express accepted.

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» Directions Di r ect i ons

By Edward BYSunkin Edwar| EDITOR d

You Derserve

A Little Recognition


ime is running out to nominate yourself or a technician you know for the Best Tech Award, sponsored by WIX Filters in conjunction with Brake & Front End, ImportCar and Underhood Service magazines.

The Best Tech award ( recognizes the skills and professionalism of today’s automotive technicians, from demonstrating excellence in the automotive service industry to engaging in the

local community. The deadline to enter online is August 26. Three finalists, one from each of the magazines mentioned above, will be announced in the September issues. The Best Tech winner, chosen from the three finalists, will be named in the October issue and provided travel and accommodations for the AAPEX/SEMA shows in November, as well as other gifts. The winner also will be

AVI PLAY’s iPad Winner Thank you to all our readers who took part in the “WIN with AVI PLAY” promotion. The winner of the iPad Mini for his repair shop is Dave Cooper of Dave’s Auto Service in Cedar, MN, Be sure to watch for additional opportunities to WIN with AVI PLAY in upcoming issues of this magazine. AVI PLAY is an Augmented Reality (AR) App that provides smart phone and tablet users with the ability to unlock valuable technical and training content from the pages of the magazines. To download the AVI PLAY App to your smart phone or tablet, visit ■


August 2013 |

profiled in an article in the December of this magazine. This is the third year a recipient will be recognized. Previous winners were Thomas Palermo of Preferred Automotive Specialists, Inc., Jenkintown, PA (2011) and Kim Brant from Joe’s Tire & Auto Sales, St. Joseph, MO (2012). Don’t delay — Nominate yourself or a tech you admire at

» Gonzo’s Toolbox Turn Interrogations from Customers Into Trust-Building Sessions


ccasionally, I’ll have a new customer approach the service counter not just to have their car repaired, but also to interrogate every part of my process in finding the solution. More often than not, these customers are referrals from another repair shop or previous customer. I seldom get interrogated by someone who has seen an advertisement or drove by the shop and stopped in for repair. I know they don’t intend to come across as an interrogator from the German Gestapo, but the electric shocks, brass knuckles and bright spotlights are all that seem to separate their questions and re-questioning from the interrogation scenes in those old WWII movies. My guess is the customer probably went to their friend for advice or the first repair shop with the intent of that particular shop being their primary car care facility. However, when the first shop refers them to another shop, their suspicions as to the second shop’s abilities

become their largest concern. It’s as if they walk up to the counter armed with large spotlights, black jacks and any other paraphernalia that could be used to badger me into submission to their way of thinking. It’s even worse when they bring “friends” as material witnesses because that forces me into the position of answering not just to one person, but to several. I thought I was gathering information on the symptoms of a car problem, but instead I find myself explaining Ohm’s law, defending my mechanical and electrical background, clarifying how I got started in the business, recalling the first wrench I ever used, and answering

By Scott “Gonzo” Weaver


August 2013 |

» Gonzo’s Toolbox questions such as, “Are you planning to use a scanner to diagnose my car?” Even though the wording varies, each question is ultimately asking the same thing: “I was referred over here, they said you could fix this, can you? Are you sure? Have you done this before?” These inquiries are usually followed by a stack of paperwork, jotted down notes and Internet information dropped on the counter for me to read. I briefly look at the papers, then inform them they can take it home because I have my own information and diagrams. Unfortunately, that generally leads to more interrogations. The customer continues to ask all kinds of questions, ranging from where my information comes from, to how much the repair will cost and how long it will take. To add insult to injury and before I even get the car in the shop, they typically repeat everything they just asked, told and informed me about. Because their buddies have all been under the hood intensely studying this problem, the interrogation eventually turns into an explanation of how much they already know about the problem and how they can help me solve it. In fact, this isn’t a concern of mine whatsoever, as I’m pretty sure I can take care of the problem myself. Furthermore, I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the “SAPI (Slap-A-Part-In) party.” The customer and his “techie” friends may say, 10 August 2013 |

“Well, I just need you to check it out and not spend a lot of money on finding the problem because we’ve already spent so much time on it. If it gets too expensive to find out what’s wrong, I’m not going to get it fixed.” If given the symptoms, diagrams and necessary tools, a good technician can solve any problem on a car. The biggest concerns are time, money and parts. A trained tech knows how to repair vehicles and, chances are, it won’t take him or her very long to sort it out. This is a highly skilled trade, not just a bunch of guys and gals that learned “lefty loosey-righty tighty.” It just makes my job more difficult when I have to deal with interrogators continually questioning what I’m doing and attempting to answer the problems with their own brand of logic. Someday, I’d like to reverse the interrogation and set up a small desk and a single chair in the middle of the lobby, shine a bright light right at them and ask them a series of questions. Just as every job has potential problems, each facet of car repair is unique and requires specific expertise. This is why many repair shops refer certain repairs to other shops. In this business, techs and shop owners all know who is the best in town for certain types of work. So, if a customer trusted the first shop, there’s no reason to doubt their ability in referring another shop with the same kind of integrity. We can interrogate the car, just leave the other interrogations to the WWII movies. ■

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By Gary Goms, technical contributor


hen the topic of variable valve timing (VVT) comes up, few realize that the concept of increasing low- and highspeed engine torque by automatically advancing and retarding valve timing isn’t a recent development. For example, I recently discovered an old variable camshaft timing gear that I bought during the 1960s featuring a torsion spring device that retards valve timing in response to the increased rotating torque needed to turn the camshaft at higher engine speeds. In theory, I could enjoy the advantages of low-speed torque and high-speed horsepower. In practice, however, it didn’t seem to work


August 2013 |

due to its reliance on rotating torque. Nowadays, a historical discussion of the various engineering approaches to variable valve timing could fill an encyclopedia. But computerized engine management systems have made variable valve timing a practical reality for most vehicles. Coupled with tuned intake and exhaust systems, variable valve timing can dramatically increase low- and high-speed engine torque, increase fuel economy and reduce exhaust emissions. On the other hand, variable valve timing has brought with it some specific issues concerning engine lubrication and diagnostics.

» TechTalk To keep this text simple and to the point, I’ll leave the more unique VVT designs to the pages of history and electronic valve timing to the pages of the future. In the meantime, let’s look at the basics of how VVT affects engine performance, how it might fail and then follow up with a few tips on how to troubleshoot suspect VVT systems. See Photo 1 on page 16.

Valve Vs. Camshaft The variable “valve” timing that most of us see in our shops is actually variable “camshaft” timing that improves low- and high-speed torque by advancing or retarding the camshaft timing on single overhead camshaft (SOHC) engine applications. In contrast, some double-overhead camshaft (DOHC) applications perform those same functions by separately advancing or retarding the intake and exhaust camshafts. Fully variable valve timing can be achieved only by using computer-operated solenoids to precisely control the intake and exhaust valve opening and closing events. Although the various combinations of valve timing events are theoretically infinite on an electronically controlled system, its applications are limited due to issues of cost and, in some cases, reliability.

ton from pushing the intake air back into the intake port and manifold. But when intake air velocities increase with engine speed, the intake valve should close later to help pack more air into the cylinder. In theory, most VVT designs begin to change intake valve timing when intake air velocities begin to dramatically increase at 2,500 to 3,500 rpm. Of

With VVT, the valve duration can be matched to the engine speed, torque requirements and valve overlap. So, an engine can produce both low- and high-end performance without any erratic idle condition or high-end loss. In Theory…. Effective valve timing is very dependent upon the velocities of the intake air flowing through the engine’s intake ports and the exhaust gases flowing out of the engine’s exhaust ports. On most naturally aspirated engines, the intake valve doesn’t close until the piston begins moving upward on compression stroke. When intake air is moving slowly at lower engine speeds, the intake valve should close early to prevent the pis-

course, the PCM’s actual operating strategy depends largely upon the engine design and the speed limitations of the engine. While exhaust valve timing isn’t as critical to engine performance as intake valve timing, it theoretically can be advanced on DOHC applications to increase valve timing overlap at higher engine speeds and retarded to reduce valve overlap at lower engine speeds. Valve timing overlap is desirable at higher 13


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Photo 1: This Kia Constant Variable Valve Timing engine is but one of the many VVT engines now on the market. Kia recommends its original equipment oil filter to ensure adequate oil flow to the VVT mechanism.

engine speeds. Simultaneously holding the intake and exhaust valves open as the engine goes from exhaust to intake stroke allows the engine to make use of the slight negative pressure created by exhaust gases exiting the exhaust port to help draw the intake charge into the cylinder. But at lower engine speeds and gas velocities, high valve overlap produces a loping idle due to exhaust gases pushing back into the intake manifold, plus it reduces engine running compression. Keep in mind also that changing the exhaust valve timing can create an “EGR” effect that helps reduce Nitrogen Oxide (NO) emissions in some applications.

16 August 2013 |

Cam Lobe Design In passing, it’s helpful to understand the basics of camshaft lobe design. To prevent excessive stress on the valvetrain, a cam lobe must be designed to gradually accelerate the mass of the lifter, push rod, rocker arm and valve. Overhead camshaft designs reduce valvetrain stress by replacing these components with a simple cam follower. Unfortunately for mechanical camshafts, variations in valve lash will cause slight changes in valve timing. Since hydraulically adjusted camshafts don’t require a lash clearance, valve timing remains very consistent. In either case, the cam lobe must be designed to

» TechTalk gradually decelerate the valvetrain to prevent valves from bouncing off the valve seats at peak engine speeds. While camshaft lobes can be ground to increase air flow by increasing valve lift, the increased valve lift increases stress on the valvetrain as well as the potential for piston-to-valve interference. See Photo 2.

Phasers Ready Variable camshaft timing on early singleoverhead camshaft (SOHC) engines was achieved by using a camshaft “phaser” consisting of a spring-loaded hydraulic piston forcing a beveled drive gear against a similar beveled drive gear Timing setup and sensor locations on a 1.8L Volkswagen mounted on the camshaft. engine. Precise camshaft timing can be achieved by using the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) comparing the relative positions of the camshaft to apply oil pressure to the piston by pulsing an position sensor (CMP) and the crankshaft position oil control valve. Since the piston incorporates an sensor (CKP). If those positions don’t correspond orifice to bleed away oil pressure, cam timing can with the programmed data, the PCM should set a be changed by increasing the pulse width applied P0010-series or P0340-series trouble code. to the oil control valve. Some VVT designs also incorporate a separate If the electronics fail, a phaser return spring will valve timing sensor (VTS) to provide a more prepush the piston to its default timing position. The cise valve timing feedback to the PCM. While PCM will also monitor camshaft position by most modern VVT designs use the more compact vane-type phasers to adjust valve timing, they continue to use the same basic arrangement of sensors and oil pressure control mechanisms to allow computer control. See Photo 3 on page 18.

VVT Failures

Photo 2: The valve timing overlap between the intake and exhaust lobes is clearly visible on this rebuilt cylinder head.

As you might have already guessed, VVT diagnostics is very application-specific because it not only depends upon whether the engine is an in-line or V-type block, or a SOHC or DOHC configuration, but also upon the configuration of the phaser and system electronics. In addition, there are literally dozens of “global” P0010- and P0340-series trouble codes, not to mention manufacturer-specific 17

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Photo 3: Although this VVT engine came in running, a few missing cogs on the timing belt were enough to illuminate the check engine light and store a P0340 DTC.

P1000-series codes that can be stored due to a valve-timing problem. But, by applying basic operating principles, it’s possible to diagnose most VVT failures, regardless of configuration. It’s obvious that most VVT failures will result in a loss of low- or high-speed engine torque and affect intake manifold vacuum. When the camshaft is not responding to the positions commanded by the PCM, the PCM should store a camshaft-related timing P0340-series error code. On V-block engines, a camshaft timing error on one bank might also result in P0300-series misfire codes for all cylinders on that bank. In addition, remember that valve timing and valve overlap affect cylinder compression. With a single-bank failure on a V-block engine, the bankto-bank cranking compression should differ, as should the bank-to-bank fuel trim numbers. Also, keep in mind that with the re-introduction of steel timing chains, a single loose chain or a worn tensioner or chain guide on one bank can 18 August 2013 |

retard cam timing and perhaps affect cold starting and driveability performance. Engine oil viscosity as well as oil filter flow capacity can definitely affect the ability of the cam phaser to control valve timing, as can the service life ratings of the oil. In many cases, a non-OE approved oil, coupled with a low-capacity oil filter, can cause sludging or varnishing, which causes cam phasers to stick in advanced or retarded positions. This may also cause the oil passages in the cylinder head, oil control valve and phasers to clog with sludge or become contaminated with metal chips. Even when using OE or OE-approved oils, keep in mind that engine oil must be changed at recommended intervals. Last but not least, many advanced diagnostic technicians routinely collect labscope samples of known-good CMP and CKP sensor waveforms for future comparison with those produced by a similar model afflicted with a suspected valve timing problem. ■

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» Aftermarket Update

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Wagner Brake Products Announces Low-Copper Friction Breakthrough Wagner Brake Products has announced a breakthrough in lowcopper automotive brake friction technology that has resulted in the brand’s best-ever levels of stopping power, noise control and fade resistance. The new Wagner OE21 ceramic formulations are available immediately in Wagner ThermoQuiet CeramicNXT brake pads. “Our engineers have developed an advanced technology that immediately meets the requirements of impending environmental restrictions and provides across-the-board improvements in performance, NVH control, durability and dusting characteristics,” said Martin Hendricks, vice president and general manager, braking, Federal-Mogul. “The OE21 formulations have enabled us to make Wagner ThermoQuiet CeramicNXT brake pads the best pads we have ever produced for the aftermarket.” Reduction of copper content in vehicle friction materials is required with the recent passage of environmental legislation in California and

Washington. Currently, legislation mandates that the use of copper in new original equipment and replacement brake pads be reduced to less than 5% of material content by weight by Jan. 1, 2021. Rather than wait for the 2021 deadline, several global vehicle manufacturers have worked with Wagner brake engineers to integrate low-copper OE brake pads into next-generation models soon to go on sale. “Given the success of our OE lowcopper technologies, vehicle manufacturers have made copper reduction an immediate priority across their passenger vehicle platforms,” Hendricks said. “The implications of the legislation extend far beyond the two states that have passed these rules. This issue is critical for all OEMs and will soon become a key issue for the aftermarket as well. The launch of our new Wagner OE21 low-copper formulations is well ahead of the legislative deadlines, and these new brake pads are

now available throughout the U.S. and Canada.” The proprietary OE21 formulations were developed through an advanced tribological “fingerprinting” process that enabled Wagner brake engineers first to map the dynamic properties of copper in a full range of operating conditions and then identify alternative materials that could provide improved stopping, NVH control, wear and dusting characteristics. The new formulations offer 15% greater stopping power and are 35% quieter, on average, than previous Wagner ThermoQuiet CeramicNXT formulations. In addition, ThermoQuiet pads featuring the new formulations offer up to 40% greater fade resistance than those equipped with previous materials. To learn more about the OE21 lowcopper friction formulations and Wagner ThermoQuiet CeramicNXT brake pads, contact your Wagner brake supplier or visit

MAHLE Clevite Inc.

Relocates Headquarters to Farmington Hills to Consolidate North American Headquarters The MAHLE Group recently relocated the MAHLE Clevite Ann Arbor office to Farmington Hills, MI, where it now joins the corporate MAHLE family. The move consolidates MAHLE North American headquarters’ central functions, placing marketing, sales, test systems, engineering and all corporate activities onto one campus. “The decision to consolidate operations onto the Farmington Hills campus creates a synergy among all active functions within the MAHLE family,” said Dan Moody, president, MAHLE Clevite. “Having all of our operations centrally located solidifies our commitment in North America and strengthens our daily interactions as a company, allowing us to better serve our customers and continue our growth as a leader in product innovations. The move also demonstrates


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MAHLE’s commitment to the state of Michigan and the automotive industry,” concluded Moody. The address of the Farmington Hills location is: 23030 MAHLE Drive, Farmington Hills, MI 48335. The main telephone number is 248-305-8200. For more information, visit ■

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» EmissionsUpdate


Service and Replacement of the Catalytic Converter Auto Emissions Controls Part II By Carl Fedele, contributor


ince 1975 catalytic converters have been the most effective devices for controlling exhaust emissions. Before that, carmakers had done a somewhat effective job of controlling emissions by use of other systems. But controlling emissions with these systems alone meant lean mixtures and exotic ignition timing, which severely penalized power and fuel economy. When the use of catalytic converters was introduced, much of the emission controls could be taken out of the engine and moved into the exhaust system. This change allowed carmakers to retune the engine for better performance and improved fuel economy. A catalytic converter contains a ceramic element coated with a catalyst. A catalyst is something that causes a chemical reaction without being part of the reaction. A catalytic converter causes a chemical change to take place in the exhaust gases as they pass through the converter. Most of the harmful gases are changed into a harmless gas. It modifies the threshold for a reaction, allowing an otherwise impossible reaction to take place. Three catalysts are used: platinum, palladium and rhodium. Platinum and palladium are the oxidizing elements of a converter. When HC and


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CO are exposed to heated surfaces covered with platinum and palladium, a chemical reaction takes place. The HC and CO are combined with oxygen to become H2O and CO2. Rhodium is a reducing catalyst. When NOx is exposed to hot rhodium, oxygen is removed and NOx becomes just N. The removal of oxygen is called reduction, which is why rhodium is called a reducing catalyst. Platinum converts HC and CO, palladium converts HC and CO and rhodium converts NOx. Catalytic converters that contain all three catalysts and reduce HC, CO and NOx are called three-way converters. Catalytic converters that affect only HC and CO are called oxidizing converters. Some vehicles have mini-converters, which are small oxidation converters that heat quickly and are placed near the manifold. They are used before the main converter reaches operating temperature. These converters are also called “pre-cats” and are designed to reduce emissions while the main converters are warming up. These converters warm up very quickly because they are very close to the engine. Ford vehicles use this type of set up for their con-

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verter systems on many of their models. One drawback on these mini-converters was that they are part of the exhaust pipes that connect to the main converters. Replacement of this system can be very costly. The three-way converter will convert all three pollution gases — HC, CO and NOx. The front bed is used for NOx, while the rear bed is used to convert HC and CO. It is lined with platinum and palladium. On some engines, fresh air is injected by the secondary air system between the two catalysts. This air helps the oxidizing catalyst work by making extra oxygen available. The air from the secondary air system is not always forced into the converter; rather, it is controlled by the secondary air system. Fresh air added to the exhaust at the wrong time could produce NOx, something the catalytic converter is trying to destroy. Newer converters contain cerium, which is an element that can store oxygen. Oxidation of rich fuel mixture is accomplished with the oxygen stored in the cerium rather than oxygen supplied by a secondary air system. This need for oxygen explains why the efficiency of a converter is dependent on the constant swings of rich and lean mixtures. When the mixture is lean, oxygen is extracted from the NOx in the exhaust and stored by the cerium. When the mixture is rich, the stored oxygen is used to oxidize the HC and CO in the exhaust.

Inspection and Testing Many states and localities have legislated annual automobile emissions testing that checks the actual emission contents. During an inspection the exhaust emissions test checks for the absence of a converter or a malfunctioning one. It is illegal in some states to remove a factory-installed converter and replace it with a test pipe. Converters can fail by becoming clogged or poi24 August 2013 |

soned. There is no inspection port to see if the converter is clogged. Quite often, the only way to tell if a catalytic converter is malfunctioning is to remove it and check the change in engine performance. On some converters, you can perform a tap test on them. Simply smack the converter with a rubber mallet and listen for a rattle noise. A rattle indicates loose catalyst substrate, which will soon rattle into small pieces that will clog the exhaust system. Another way is to use a vacuum gauge and watch it while the engine is accelerated. If the reading drops to zero, the converter is clogged. You can remove the oxygen sensor and insert a pressure gauge in its place. Bring the engine speed up to 2,000 rpm and hold it steady. The desired pressure reading will be less than 1.25 psi. A very bad restriction will give a reading of over 2.75 psi. The converter should be checked for its ability to convert CO and HC into CO2 and water. One of the tests is called the delta temperature test. Using a handheld digital pyrometer, check the pipe before and after the converter by touching these areas. There should be an increase of at least 100° or 8% above the inlet temperature reading as the exhaust gases pass through the converter on the pipe going to the muffler, out the converter. If the outlet temperature is the same or lower, the converter is not operating properly. To do its job efficiently, the converter needs a steady supply of oxygen from the air pump. A bad pump, faulty diverter valve or control valve could be at fault. These components need to be checked. Another test is called the O2 storage test and is based on the fact that a good converter stores oxygen. Begin by disabling the air injection system. Once the converter and analyzer are warmed up, hold the engine rpm at 2,000 rpm. Watch the readings on the analyzer, once the numbers start to drop, check the oxygen level on the gas analyzer. The O2 readings should be about 0.5 to 1%. This shows the

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» EmissionsUpdate

converter is using most of the available oxygen. A final converter test uses the principle that checks the converter’s efficiency. Once again, make sure the converter is warmed up before using this test. Calibrate the gas analyzer and insert the probe into the tailpipe of the vehicle. Turn off the engine and disable the ignition system. Then, crank the engine for 10 seconds while pumping the throttle. The CO2 on fuel-injected cars should be over 11% and carbureted vehicles should have a reading of over 10%. As soon as you get the readings, restart the engine. Do this as quickly as possible to cool off the converter. If, while the engine is cranking, the HC goes over 1,500 ppm, stop cranking; the converter is not working. Also, stop cranking once the CO2 readings reach 10%; the converter is good. If the catalytic converter is bad, there will be high HC and, of course, low CO2 at the tailpipe. Do not repeat this test more than one time without running the engine in between. If the converter is found to be defective, Go to

replacement will be necessary. A converter can be damaged in several ways: • Misfiring cylinders will cause overheating to the unit; • Use of leaded fuel or leaded additive and along with antifreeze contamination; and • Rich fuel mixtures that cause a rotten egg smell due to sulfur conversions. A plugged converter will cause loss of power at high speeds, stalling after starting, a drop in engine vacuum as engine rpm increases, or sometimes popping or backfiring at the throttle plate. Remember, in order for a catalytic converter to be effective, the fuel control system must cycle from rich to lean. The lean cycle allows the converter to store oxygen, and the rich cycle uses the stored oxygen. The fuel control system should adjust the air/fuel mixture so it toggles back and forth from a stoichiometric ratio. Editor’s Note: Last month, we highlighted the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) components. For an online version of that article, visit: ■

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» TechFeature


CAPTURING CONTAMINANTS By Larry Carley, technical editor


very engine is equipped with an air filter to keep out dirt. And that’s no easy job. An engine sucks in a lot of air when it’s running: about 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel it burns! Consequently, the air filter has to have a large surface area and plenty of filtering capacity to trap and hold all of the contaminants that may be present in the air. One of the most common ingredients in airborne dirt is silica, a hard, abrasive mineral that’s found in sand and clay. If silica gets inside the engine, it has the same effect as sandpaper. It scours the piston rings, cylinders, valves and bearings, and causes the engine to wear rapidly. Air filters remove dirt by trapping contaminants as the air flows through the filter media. The percentage of particles removed is a measure of the filter’s efficiency. A good-quality air filter generally traps upward of 98.5% of the


August 2013 |

incoming dirt. Filter manufacturers use SAE J726 test procedures to evaluate their air filters, and try to aim for the best balance between filtering efficiency, filter capacity and pressure drop (restriction). Low-quality filters are typically less efficient and may not have as much holding capacity as a quality, brand-name filter. Filter efficiency depends on the type of media used. Most of today’s dry paper pleated element air filters are made of a mixture of cellulose and

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synthetic fibers. Generally speaking, the higher the perIn normal highway centage of synthetic fibers, the driving, engines in better the filter. today’s vehicles are not Better-quality paper filters are subjected to high levels also treated with resins so they of dirt. After all, 65% can withstand moisture. of roads in the U.S. are Untreated paper filters may be damaged if rain enters the air paved and engines are filter housing. sealed more tightly As dirt builds up on the surthan those of previous face and in the fibers of an air model years. Most dirt filter, it begins to restrict airgets into the engine flow through the filter. through the air filter or Eventually, the point is reached leaks in the air inducwhere the increasing restriction tion system. For dirt begins to affect engine performroads, de-iced roads ance, choking the incoming air and construction sites, supply. consumers should use Ideally, filters should be premium air filters. For replaced before they get to this either driving condipoint and become too restrictive. This requires inspecting tion, consumers should the filter and replacing it if it’s follow the vehicle obviously clogged with debris manufacturer’s — but also replacing the filter recommendation for after so many miles (typically replacing air filters 15,000 to 30,000), regardless of and inspecting air its outward appearance. Why? induction systems. Because it’s often hard to see Source: WIX Filters how much dirt has become embedded within the filter fibers. Most experts recommend inspecting the air filter every time the oil is changed (every three to six months), and replacing it yearly


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or every 15,000 miles for preventive maintenance. Most vehicle manufacturers say to inspect the filter at 15,000 miles and to replace it at 30,000 miles in their scheduled maintenance recommendations. Replacing a dirty air filter can improve fuel economy, performance and emissions. It’s hard to say how much of a difference a new filter will make because the improvement depends on how dirty the old filter was before it was changed. However, according to the Car Care Council’s latest Check Lanes Final Report, nearly 20% of the vehicles on the roads today are in need of a new air filter.

Filter Inspection Many people don’t know how to inspect a flatpanel air filter. If they just open the top of the filter housing and peer inside, the filter may look good

as new. That’s because they are looking at the “clean” side of the filter that is downstream of the air inlet. The bottom side of the flat-panel filter is the dirty side that is often caked with dirt, debris and dead bugs. The right way to inspect a panel air filter, or a round air filter in an older vehicle, is to remove the filter from its housing and hold a shop light behind it. A little discoloration is normal, but if the filter is dark and blocks the light, it’s overdue for a change. Some people think all they have to do is bang the filter on the ground to knock loose the dirt, or blow it from the inside-out with compressed air to clean it. This will dislodge some of the surface dirt, but it will not remove any of the microscopic particles that are embedded in the filter media. When replacing a filter, it’s a good idea to

PASSENGER PROTECTION Did you know that Americans spend about 5.5 billion hours in traffic each year, yet many drivers are unaware that when driving in heavy traffic, the air inside a vehicle is likely of worse quality than the outside air? As a result, it is important to check the cabin air filter annually on your customer’s vehicle, since the filter is designed to protect passengers from harmful airborne pollutants. Cabin air filters are designed to capture contaminants, such as soot, dirt and other airborne pollutants, in most systems before they can enter the vehicle. In addition to reporting that motorists waste billions of hours idling in traffic congestion, the 2012 Annual Urban Mobility Report from Texas A&M also noted that traffic jams on the way to or from work averaged 38 hours of commuters’ lives in 2011 — nearly four hours longer than the average workweek. The end result was clogged roads costing Americans $121 billion in time and fuel in 2011. 32 August 2013 |

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Like any filter, cabin air filters work in similar fashion to oil, air and fuel filters for the engine, must be changed and have a finite life. According to Edward Covington, vice president of quality assurance for WIX Filters, cabin air filters often go unchanged because most car owners do not realize their vehicle has a cabin filter. However, more than 80% of all domestic and foreign nameplate vehicles sold in the U.S. are equipped with a cabin air filter. The recommended replacement? — A one-year or 12,000- to 15,000-mile change interval is recommended by most manufacturers, however it’s a good practice to look up the guidelines for your customers or check their vehicle’s owner’s manual. Source:

compare the old and new filters to make sure they are the same size and thickness. A filter that does not fit the air cleaner housing properly will leak and allow unfiltered air to be sucked into the engine. Close attention also needs to be paid to the filter housing. Some plastic housings can become distorted as a result of heat exposure, causing them to leak. On some later-model diesel trucks, a new type of “axial-flow,” conical air filter is used. The filter uses a corrugated media that forces the air to flow lengthwise through the honeycomb channels before it turns 90° and passes through the filter media. The filter provides a lot of surface area, but is a patented design, which means it’s expensive if a customer has to buy it from a new car dealer. Fortunately, several aftermarket filter manufacturers 34 August 2013 |

now offer replacement alternatives for these pricey filters, including a retrofit filter kit that allows the OE axial-flow, round filter to be replaced with a standard flat-panel filter. Some paper air filters are also being pre-oiled by the filter manufacturer so the filter will trap and hold more dirt. These types of filters are not reusable and should be replaced once they become dirty. ■

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TPMS Sensor Corrosion 5 TIPS TO HELP AVOID A SNAPPED STEM By Andrew Markel, editor


ince TPMS became standard equipment in 2008, many sensors are starting to show their age. While some of these sensors may have a lot of battery life left, the sensors’ stems are starting to fall victim to corrosion. Here are five tips that can help you avoid snapping stems, saving your shop in replacement costs:

1. Replace Valve Caps If someone put a chrome or steel valve cap onto an aluminum stem, there will be galvanic action, causing the cap to seize to the stem. The appropriate valve caps are plastic or aluminum or a type of valve caps that have a nickel coating on the outside to prevent them from seizing. Many manufacturers are finding that their vehicles in the salt belt states that have the correct aluminum valve caps are still experiencing corrosion and caps are sticking to the stems. Some manufacturers are recommending that you change all the valve stem caps to plastic caps. Depending on where you live, this may be a good proactive course of action.

2. Advising a Customer about Stuck Valve Cores A valve core that is stuck in the stem can be a productivity killer and potential problem for your shop and customer. The core can become stuck due to corrosion or crossed threads. You have three options and all of them involve telling the customer before possibly snapping off the stem. The first option is to leave it alone and tell the customer about the condition. This can prevent getting a car stuck in the bay or the customer stuck in your waiting room. The second option is to exceed torque limit when trying to remove the valve core. It could come loose or it could snap the stem. Make sure to sell the customer a sensor before attempting this. The third option is to drill out the old stem, tap the


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opening and install a specialty replacement stem. All three methods involve telling the customer ahead of time before attempting to remove the valve core. It is not your fault if a stem breaks due to corrosion.

3. Ask If Previous TPMS Work Has Been Performed If a customer brings a car in with a TPMS light on, ask them if there has been any previous work performed on the vehicle and if any sensors have been replaced. Hopefully, your shop replaced the sensor, but if another shop did the work, you need to check the sensors before you give the customer an accurate estimate. If one or more sensors do not look like the others, you could be stuck in a diagnostic conundrum. Some aftermarket sensors need to be programmed by proprietary methods to clone the OE sensor. This can be a problem if your shop does not have the tool.

4. No More Dish Soap and Water Water and dish soap have always been the tire technician’s best friend. But, to the TPMS sensor, it can be its worst enemy. Water inside the rim and tire can cause corrosion. Also, dry air and humid air have different properties. Water will cause the TPMS light to come on sooner as the tire cools or heats up. Use only mounting paste. The price of a small bucket of paste is less than the cost of a comeback.

5. Always Install a New Nut

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The best way to prevent corrosion is to replace the kit every time the sensor is removed or disturbed. The typical kit includes a nut, valve core, grommets and valve cap. Each component has a specific function and lifespan that is not only determined by time, but what happens when — and after — it is installed. This goes for sensors that are six months old or six years old. TPMS fastener nuts are designed in anodized aluminum to eliminate the contact of two dis-

Âť ServiceSolution similar metals that would create galvanic corrosion and material deterioration. The nut has a bonded lubricant to help provide the proper torque required for seating a new grommet. If a nut is reused, the anodized surface may be scratched away and corrosion could occur between the sensor, wheel and stem.

WHY SENSORS FAIL The number one reason TPMS sensors fail is physical damage. Sensors operate in a harsh environment of extreme temperatures and vibration. These forces can damage transmission coils, pressure and temperature sensors. Another reason sensors fail is due to damage during removal and installation. One false move with a bead breaker or tire iron can break the sensor at the stem.

In the very near future, dead batteries will be the number one killer of TPMS sensors. One manufacturer of sensors claims the battery life of a sensor is between three and 10 years. Some manufacturers say seven years is the average life of the battery. Battery life can vary due to the vehicle, drive cycle and how long the sensors are awake. Many 2004 domestic and import vehicles with TPMS are nearing the magic seven-year mark when the batteries in the sensors start to die. On most applications, the battery is sealed inside the TPMS sensor and cannot be replaced separately. If a battery is dead, you have to replace the sensor. It is within reason that if one sensor fails due to the battery, the others should also be replaced. â–

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By Andrew Markel, editor, Brake & Front End magazine


lectric Power Steering (EPS) is replacing hydraulic power steering in many new vehicles today. One of the advantages of EPS is that it eliminates the power steering pump, which can use as much as 8 to 10 horsepower under load. This improves fuel economy, while also eliminating the weight and bulk of the power steering pump and hoses. Getting rid of the hydraulics also does away with fluid leaks and the need to check the power steering fluid. Electric power steering is also quieter than hydraulic systems because there is no pump noise and no fluid flowing through hoses and valves. But the most noticeable differences are in handling and steering refinement.


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» ComponentConnection Electric power steering can be fine-tuned with a precision that is hard to match with hydraulic controls. By monitoring the driver’s steering inputs, vehicle speed and other suspension dynamics, the system can provide just the right amount of steering feel and effort to match rapidly changing driving conditions. EPS can deliver extra effort when the driver needs it, and reduce steering effort when the driver doesn’t need it. It can even provide steering assist when the engine is off. Better yet, because the system is software driven,

44 August 2013 |


it’s possible to tap into the steering module and modify steering effort and feel. This can be done with a factory scan tool on some applications, and with aftermarket “tuner” scan tools and software. It has been estimated by one scan tool company that every EPS system will require at least one reflash to address customer concerns. Many systems set codes and will alert the driver by turning on a malfunction indicator lamp on the dash that typically resembles a steering wheel. But some systems alert the driver by a message in the driver information center.

» ComponentConnection EPS Applications EPS can be found on many Asian nameplate vehicles including the Acura NSX (which was the first production car with this feature), Honda S2000 and Insight Hybrid, Toyota Prius and RAV4.


The Toyota and Honda hybrids all use EPS so the driver has assist while the engine is off. Both systems use 12 volts, so there is no excuse to send a power steering-related problem to the dealer. Audi started using EPS in 2003 on select models. By 2009, EPS was on all of its vehicles, including the A4. The system goes by the names Dynamic Steering Control and Active Steering Control. The controller module for the system is linked with a highspeed CAN bus to the ABS/ESC, ECU and BCM. Volkswagen made EPS standard on the Jetta, Golf and Passat in 2005. BMW has been using EPS on its 1 Series, 3 Series (since 2004), 5 Series (since 2003) and Z4. BMW calls its system Servotronic or “active steering.” These systems are typically made by ZF.

How Electric Power Steering Works A typical EPS steering application uses a bi-directional brushless motor, sensors and electronic controller to provide steering assist. The motor drives a gear that can be connected to the steering column shaft or the steering rack. The brushless bidirectional permanent magnet motor and gear perform the same function as the power cylinder in a hydraulic system. Though some of the older electric power steering systems were actually “electro-hydraulic,” and used an electric motor to drive a conventional hydraulic pump, the latest generation of EPS is all electric/electronic. The steering gear itself is a manual rack with an electric motor mounted on the steering column or the rack. Reader Service: Go to

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Âť ComponentConnection

When the driver turns the wheel, a steering sensor detects the position and rate of rotation of the steering wheel. This information, along with input from a steering torque sensor mounted in the steering shaft, is fed to the power steering control module. Other inputs such as vehicle speed and inputs from the traction control or stability control system are factored in to determine

how much steering assist is required. The control module then commands the motor to rotate a certain amount, and a sensor on the motor provides feedback to the control module so it can monitor the motor’s position. Measuring the steering wheel position angle and rate of turn, which are critical for ESC systems, is the job of the steering angle sensor (SAS). The

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» ComponentConnection

scan tool will typically display the information in degrees. The SAS is typically a part of a sensor cluster in the steering column. The sensor cluster will always have more than one steering position sensor; some sensor clusters have three sensors for redundancy and to confirm the data. It’s important for the ABS/ESC module to receive two signals to confirm the steering wheel’s position. These signals are often out of phase with each other.

Diagnostic Tools for EPS Replacing mechanical components of the EPS system is straightforward, but diagnosing the components requires training and special tools. Scan Tool: It requires an enhanced or factory scan tool to access the EPS control module and look at the data from module and the related sensors. Many of the codes are proprietary to the OEM, but most codes start with the prefix C-. In addition, a good scan tool can read which software version the module is running. Since EPS systems need information like wheel speed, steering angle, input torque and accelerometers, it’s important that your scan tool can display this information. An enhanced or factory scan tool can be used to reset and 48 August 2013 |


calibrate steering angle sensors. Scope: A scope can be used to monitor and measure signals from the steering position sensor. Many digital or optical trigger wheel steering angle sensors can give false readings to the steering module that can cause the system to overheat and shut down. The only way to check is by back-probing the sensor. Digital Volt Ohm Meter: A good meter can be used for checking fuses, voltage drops and grounds. Service Information: Many Audi, BMW and other vehicles with EPS require detailed service information to resolve inoperative and intermittent complaints. Many OEMs have a diagnostic test that can save you time resolving a problem. Also, service information and TSBs can alert you whether there is a new reflash program to resolve your customer’s problems. Alignment System: If a vehicle has too much toe, camber or caster that causes the driver to change the angle of the steering wheel to keep the vehicle going straight, it could lead the EPS motor to overheat or cause premature failure. So, it’s critical that an alignment is performed to make sure the vehicle is tracking properly and the steering wheel is centered. ■

» MemoryLane


The 2013 Great Race A FAMILY AFFAIR FOR FRIENDS OF FIRST AVENUE The 2013 Hemmings Motor News Great Race is in the history books! By Randy Rundle, contributing writer


his year’s race began June 22 in St. Paul, MN, and ended nine days later in Mobile, AL, after stopping off at its most southern point of Covington, LA. I met up with the race at an overnight stop in Hannibal, MO, on June 25. This year, I again sponsored Howard Sharp of Fairport, NY, who had driven the famous 1911 Velie to victory in 2011. (See for more on the 1911 Velie.) The Velie has earned a much-deserved retirement, and has been replaced by a 1916 Hudson Pikes Peak Hill Climb car. The 1916 Hudson is an open car much like the Velie, but with a few technological improvements that make the car a little easier to drive and maintain. (The Hudson Motor Car Company had considerably more capital to work with than the Velie Motors Corporation of the same era.)

Father and Son Start Anew Changing the car you enter in the Great Race isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s actually the start of a long learning process. When you’ve driven a car like the Velie for 10 years and thousands of miles as

Howard Sharp with his Hudson.


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Howard and his son Doug have, you develop a sixth sense and you know how the car will react in any given situation. You know its good points and its bad points. It takes a lot of years and thousands of miles of practice to get a car figured out in order to be completive in the Great Race. Much to everyone’s surprise (because of the “new” vehicle), Howard and Doug finished a very respectable fifth place in this year’s Great Race Championship class. Typically it takes five years before you finish in the top five, especially in the Championship class, which is the best of the best of all of those entrants who have won their respective classes and moved up. This is the top of the food chain so to speak. These guys show no mercy, especially if you’ve won the Championship class as Howard did in 2011.

» MemoryLane


The 1916 Hudson performed flawlessly despite some pretty severe weather along the way, including hail, high winds and 100° days. A few more years of getting to know the Hudson will no doubt put Howard and Doug in the winner’s circle.

A Grandson Learns from the Best Another entrant in the 2013 Great Race with ties to Fifth Avenue was John Hudson and his grandson Scott from Baldwinsville, NY. John, a Chevrolet man through and through, drove his 1940 Chevrolet Master Deluxe. John knows those old Chevrolets like the back of his hand. And, he knows how to make them reliable. So confidant was John in his Chevrolet and his mechanical skills that he put a few spare parts in the trunk along with a few tools and he and Scott headed for St. Paul, MN, and the start of the 2013 Great Race from his hometown of Baldwinsville,

John Hudson (right) and his grandson Scott took on the 2013 Great Race in a 1940 Chevy.

NY. He drove from St. Paul all the way to the finish in Mobile, AL, finishing fourth in his class (and in the money), and then drove the Chevrolet back home to New York. John is a laid-back, easy guy who does what he has to do with little fanfare or drama. Besides preparing is 1940 Chevy for the Great Race, he has helped Howard and Fifth Avenue prepare the Velie for the Great Race. His grandson Scott is following in his footsteps. Scott could not have a better mentor. When John decided to enter his 1940 Chevy in the Great Race in 2012, he called Fifth Avenue and said, “I am going to enter my 1940 Chevrolet in the Great Race; here is what I need to order from you.” It was as simple as that; he knew exactly what he wanted from me. The relationship that John has established with his grandson is priceless. Scott does the navigating during the race, and is quite good at it, as evident in their fourth-place finish. Scott has picked up the navigation very quickly and they work together very well as a team. They have built a very close relationship that goes way beyond the Great Race and will last a lifetime!

Husband-and-Wife Team Apprehend Small Town’s Attention

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Then there is Jim and Louise Feeney of Endicott, NY, and their 1936 Ford Fordor Deluxe Police Car. Jim and Louise have been participating in as well as organizing car rallies for many years. They are also long-time Great Race entrants and have proven to be very dedicated and competitive entrants. This was their year — they won the Expert class of the 2013 Great Race! I first met Jim and Louise about 10 years prior at

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a Great Race event and they eventually became loyal customers. Initially, I was drawn to their old police car like an ant to a picnic. That car looked like it was waaaay too much fun. Jim had already bought and installed 1936 Ford Fordor Deluxe Police Car owned by Jim and Louise Feeney. a Fifth Avenue electric radiator cooling fan, fuel I said, “Come on by. Call me pump and various parts many when you’re 30 minutes out years prior, but his alternator and I’ll swap out your alternator while you’re parked here in front of the store, and you and Louise can soak up some A/C.”

The Local Buzz

Corky Coker of Coker Tire, poses with Louise and Jim Feeney.

was one he bought locally in New York before we knew each other. Jim always said that one day he would have a Fifth Avenue alternator. That day came in 2010 when Jim called my store, said they had been to a vintage car rally in Texas and he and Louise were going to be passing through Kansas on the way home to New York and could he stop and get an alternator. He said, “This alternator is giving me fits again, and it’s time to get one from Fifth Avenue, and I will install it when I get home.” Go to

When Jim and Louise arrived, I took them to lunch while the car was cooling down. When we got back, there was a crowd around the car. The locals wanted to know all about the police car and why it was here and if it was going to be in the movies, etc. That was all it took for Louise’s sense of humor to come out and she became the publicity agent for the car, telling where they had been, where they were going, where they lived, etc. The locals could not believe they had driven a car that old across the country more than a half dozen times! Meanwhile, Jim and I changed out the alternator and cleaned up some of the wiring under the hood, and in less than an hour he was ready for the road. He now had a Fifth Avenue alternator of his own. He couldn’t wait to try it out. The Fifth Avenue alternator charged 35 amps at the 600 rpm

» MemoryLane idle speed of the Flathead Ford engine — over twice what the other alternator output was at the 600 rpm idle speed. That increased output made the lights brighter, the car start better when the engine was warm, and the siren and police lights worked while the car was idling, something that could not happen before. The smile on his face said it all. After I restocked their cooler with bottled water, they were on their way. It’s that kind of day that makes it worth being in business. Not only did I get to spend part of a day with good friends and loyal customers, the locals got to see what I do for a living, first hand. The local coffee shop was buzzing for a week afterward. In a small town like Clay Center (population 4,300) not much exciting happens…so when

a 1936 Ford police car shows up parked on a downtown street in the middle of the day, it takes less than an hour before the whole town knows it’s there. Some people only saw the car go by, some saw it parked in front of my store and some actually watched us work on it. Take those stories, combine them, stir vigorously, add a few creative details and bake for six days at 95° or until done. Everybody finally had the straight scoop when the local newspaper ran a story with full details and pictures. Meanwhile, Jim and Louise made it back to New York safely, much to the amazement of a few locals who still had some doubt that the local newspaper got it right. ■

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» TechTips

Honda \ GM \ Chrysler This month is sponsored by:

HONDA EXPERIENCES ENGINE OIL LEAK AT THE CYLINDER HEAD COVER Applies To: 2006-’09 Accord L4, Civic Si and Element — All 2007-’09 CR-V — All 2010 Accord L4 — 2-door: From VIN 1HGCS1…AA000001 through 1HGCS1…AA019624 4-door: From VIN 1HGCP2…AA000001 through 1HGCP2…AA176309 2010 Civic Si — 2-door: From VIN 2HGFG2…AH000001 through 2HGFG2…AH701325 4-door: From VIN 2HGFA5…AH700001 through 2HGFA5…AH702233 2010 CR-V — 2-door: From VIN 5J6RE3…AL000001 through 5J6RE3…AL040816 4-door: From VIN 5J6RE4… AL000001 through 5J6RE4…AL083214 2010 Element — 2-door: From VIN 5J6YH1…AL000001 through 5J6YH1…AL005948 4-door: From VIN 5J6YH2…AL000001 through 5J6YH2…AL007988

Symptom: The cylinder head cover is leaking engine oil. Probable Cause: There is paint overspray in the gasket groove of the cylinder head cover. Corrective Action: Remove the cylinder head cover and sand away the paint overspray.

Figure 2


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Figure 1

Required Materials: Liquid Gasket: P/N 087170004 Tool Information: 1/8” thick plastic putty spreader, cut to the dimensions in Figure 1. Diagnosis: Is there engine oil leaking from the cylinder head cover in the area marked in Figure 2? Yes — Go to Repair Procedure. No — This service bulletin does not apply. Continue with normal troubleshooting to find the source of the engine oil leak. Repair Procedure: 1. Remove the cylinder head cover. 2. Check the gasket groove (Figure 3 on page 58). Is there paint overspray in the cylinder head cover gasket groove? Yes — Go to the next step. No — This service bulletin does not apply. Continue with normal troubleshooting to find the source of the engine oil leak. 3. Wrap a 1-1/2”-wide strip of 120 grit sandpaper around the putty spreader tool. See Figure 4 on page 58. Insert it into the cylinder head cover

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Honda / GM

gasket groove where there is paint overspray. Sand the groove until the paint overspray is removed. 4. Clean the cylinder head cover and the gasket. Replace the gasket if needed. 5. Reinstall the cylinder head cover using the original gasket, unless the original was damaged. 6. Wait for at least three hours after installing the cylinder head cover, then start the engine and check for leaks. Courtesy of Mitchell 1.

Figure 3

Figure 4

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» TechTips


GM CONCENTRIC SLAVE CYLINDER BLEED PROCEDURE If you’ve been installing clutches for a while, you’re probably familiar with the dreaded Ford Ranger concentric slave cylinder and the difficulties and uncertainty presented when attempting to bleed it. Unfortunately, General Motors has followed similar suit with other concentric slave cylinders. Most GM vehicle designs do not provide access to the slave cylinder without removing the transmission from the engine. Additionally, some models do not have bleed ports. To assist with bleeding these problem-

atic slaves, the following steps detail the proper procedure to correctly bleed the system while the transmission is off the vehicle.* 1. Verify that the clutch master cylinder has a full fluid fill. If not, add fluid until full. 2. Ensure that the clutch master cylinder is mounted level on the

Figure 5

firewall. Some vehicles may require the master cylinder to be unbolted, leveled and re-mounted to the firewall. 3. Install the concentric slave cylinder on the transmission. Note: Some slave cylinders have the input shaft seal built in. (See Figure 5.) This seal MUST be lubricated! Failure to lubricate will result in seal damage and leakage. 4. Lift the transmission up into the vehicle but do not mount the transmission to the engine. With the transmission lifted, reach up and connect the hydraulic line to the slave cylinder. 5. Once the slave and hydraulic line are connected, reach into the

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» TechTips

GM / Chrysler

Figure 7

Figure 6

bell housing and push the slave cylinder back in its bore (Figure

6), then release and let it return to its original position (Figure 7).

Repeat this process 12-15 times. Following this procedure will force any air trapped in the hydraulic line back up through the master cylinder, through its vent cap and out of the system. Bleed complete. *This procedure will work on any concentric slave cylinder application. It is the only way to bleed many newer applications that do not have bleeder valves. Courtesy of Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket.

Battery Not Charging After Replacement of Chrysler PCM Application: 1996-’98 Cherokee (XJ), Grand Cherokee (ZJ), Dakota (AN), Ram Truck (BR/BE), Ram Van (AB), Wrangler (TJ) 1998 Durango (DN) Problem: No charging condition after replacing the PCM. Cause: It has been found under certain Key On or momentary Key Off conditions, when the black connector is unplugged, the PCM may attempt to write information to the EEPROM processor within the PCM. Sometimes this inadvertent write will set the target charging voltage to zero volts. The result will prevent the charging system from charging the battery. If this occurs, the only correction is PCM replacement. This problem may occur when a unit is being installed for testing purposes and then unplugged before the key is turned off. Reference TSB 18-21-98. Whenever any connector on the PCM is disconnected, the ignition switch must be in the Off position for a minimum of five seconds before the connector is removed. Courtesy of CARDONE Industries, Inc. ■

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» Spotlight



THE SECRET TO A GOOD TUNE-UP. MAKE SURE YOUR PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE GOES THE DISTANCE. When your customer comes in for that scheduled tune-up, look beyond just your trusty wrenches, screwdrivers, and power tools to get things done right under the hood. Permatex® has a few innovative “chemical tools” that can help make life a lot easier and help you make your preventative maintenance efforts count. Whether you’re changing antifreeze or oil, popping in a new set of plugs and wires, checking fluid levels, swapping out filters, replacing light bulbs, taming a squeaky V belt, servicing the battery system, or just making sure nothing shakes loose and falls off, Permatex offers some handy “problem solvers” you can use to make all of your service jobs better and more reliable. HERE IS A QUICK REVIEW OF THE CHEMICAL TOOLS THAT WE SUGGEST YOU KEEP IN YOUR TOOLBOX OR ON YOUR WORKBENCH: • • • • • • • •

Permatex Permatex Permatex Permatex Permatex Permatex Permatex Permatex

Dielectric Grease Pro-Strength Brake & Parts Cleaner Anti-Seize Lubricant Throttle Body, Carb & Choke Cleaner Battery Cleaner Silicone Lubricant Belt Dressing & Conditioner Engine Degreaser

For additional information, please visit: or contact your local jobber: Reader Service: Go to



» Spotlight

MAHLE Clevite

Are You The Best In The Business? Working in the automotive field is challenging and can be a thankless job at times. While you may feel unnoticed or underappreciated, MAHLE Clevite applauds the hard work, dedication and commitment you’re making to the engine building industry. “MAHLE Clevite wants to salute the hard work and commitment of the thousands of engine technicians around the country,” said Ted Hughes, marketing manager for MAHLE Clevite. “Sponsoring the Champion Technician contest is just one of many ways we want to roll out the red carpet for those who support us day in and day out.” The Champion Technician contest will recognize the passion, talent and forward-thinking mindset of engine technicians and specialists by rewarding one expert who exemplifies a “champion” in every aspect. The winner will receive a VIP trip to the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week™ in Las Vegas. This once-in-a-lifetime NASCAR experience will include coach-class airfare for two to Las Vegas; a three-night hotel stay; a special meet-and-greet with a NASCAR® personality; access to NASCAR Victory Lap™, NASCAR After The Lap™, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ Awards Ceremony and the NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon; and much more. Winner of the 2012 MAHLE Clevite Champion Technician contest, Derek Martel, commented on his experience, “The trip was absolutely amazing and something my wife and I will forever remember.” Earn your unforgettable experience by entering the contest today. To enter, nominees must have a minimum of five years of experience working with engines in a professional capacity. Engine technicians working as a custom engine rebuilder; in an automotive machine or repair shop; as a production engine rebuilder or race engine builder; or as an instructor in an engine program are encouraged to enter.

MAHLE Clevite Don’t miss out on this exclusive experience. The nomination process will begin soon so please check frequently for updates.


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» Shop CRP Automotive offers a range of ContiTech Pro Series Plus Timing Kits that solve special service problems by providing technicians with all of the components needed to perform a proper timing belt and water pump service. For example, some water pumps use a plastic impeller and are very prone to failure on select European models. CRP offers techs a choice by providing kits with either an OE-style plastic or a more robust metal impeller that helps to prevent failure. The kits are built around the OEquality ContiTech timing belt and include the water pump, front cam and balance shaft seals, tensioners, and idlers when needed. Reader Service: Go to

The Ultimate Import Wire — Genuine Intermotor Import Ignition Wire Sets are unrivaled for quality, coverage and original match. According to Intermotor, no one provides more extras like factory-installed separator clips, anchors, protective loom and trays to keep wires sorted properly and safely. Intermotor ignition wire sets install with ease for exceptional power, performance and extra-long service life. Visit Reader Service: Go to

The EnviroShield Cabin Air Filter — NAPA Filters’ EnviroShield Cabin Air Filter has the added advantage of BioShield75, a unique, patented coating to the filtration media, formulated to destroy harmful molds, bacteria, allergens and other pathogens. A dirty cabin air filter clogged with dirt, dust, smelly mold and allergens can have a negative impact on the performance of a vehicle’s defroster, heating and A/C systems. Reader Service: Go to

Standard Motor Products has expanded its TechSmart brand by adding 44 new premium parts, covering more than 60 million vehicle applications, to several key categories including OE-matching keyless entry transmitters, VVT solenoids for Ford and Hyundai, plus two complete distributor assemblies for GM 5.0/5.7L V8s and 4.3L V6s. Visit Reader Service: Go to

Smooth-running accessory drives get things moving in your garage. INA overrunning alternator pulleys (OAPs) from Schaeffler Group USA Inc. minimize vibration and protect against breakdowns. New belts alone won’t help. Only the timely replacement of complete new OAPs can ensure full-functioning and compelling benefits for long-term customer satisfaction: extended life of the auxiliary drive belt, belt tensioner and belt drive components; smoother, quieter running of the auxiliary drive; and noticeably lower vibration level in the vehicle. Original replacement parts in OEM quality from INA. Reader Service: Go to

66 August 2013 |

It’s Fast, Easy and Accurate! Get FREE PRODUCT AND SERVICE INFO from the companies featured in this issue of Underhood Service. >> VISIT and click on the company from which you want information. >> OR, go to and click on the Underhood Service Rapid Response Logo.



AAPEX Airtex Corporation ALLDATA Art Blumenthal Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Autodata Autolite AutoZone Bartec USA, LLC BlueDevil Products Castrol DENSO Products and Services America, Inc. Dipaco Inc. Federated Auto Parts Fel-Pro Intermotor/SMP Jasper Engines & Transmissions King Electronics MAHLE Clevite Mitchell 1 Motorcraft,Ford Motor Company NAPA O'Reilly Auto Parts

Cover 2 3, 54 46 52 19 Cover 4 40 36, 37 14, 15 41 55 35 29, 45 58 23 26, 27 5 57 62 21, 64 11 Cover 3 Cover Card,1,33 7

Parts Plus Permatex Inc Schaeffler Group USA Solv-Tec Inc. TechSmart/SMP TYC/Genera Corp. US Motor Works Volkswagen Parts & Accessories Wagner Brakes/Federal-Mogul WIX Filters

39 63 8, 9 65 25 43 60 47 Insert 30, 31, 53


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Simply the Best Lists: Automotive Aftermarket Truck Fleet & Powersports Markets What Type of Direct Marketing Initiatives Do You Have in Store for 2011?  Direct Mail  E-Mail Marketing  Telemarketing  New Business Prospecting  Drive Web Site Traffic

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Don Hemming, List Sales Manager Babcox Media, Inc. Phone: 330-670-1234 x286  Fax: 330-670-0874 

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Why switch to PDQ? PRICES. Low prices. High Quality. Always. 1st time buyer? Order from this ad and receive these special prices.

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Advertising Representatives The Tech Group Bobbie Adams 330-670-1234, ext. 238 Dean Martin 330-670-1234, ext. 225 Sean Donohue 330-670-1234, ext. 206 Glenn Warner 330-670-1234, ext. 212


Filters Mechatronics Kits Oils Hard Parts Manuals Torque Converters Audi • BMW Jaguar • Porsche Range Rover • VW

Authorized Distributor

ERIKSSON INDUSTRIES • 800-388-4418 Old Saybrook, CT • FAX 860-395-0047 •

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John Zick 949-756-8835 List Sales Manager Don Hemming 330-670-1234, ext. 286 Classified Sales Tom Staab 330-670-1234, ext. 224


» TestDrive Heavenly Ride Last month, Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche headed to Rome, Italy, to personally greet Pope Francis and hand over the keys to the Pontiff’s new Popemobile, a modified Mercedes-Benz M Class. According to news reports, Zetsche and the pope discussed sustainable and safer mobility during his visit. Zetsche is an admitted fan of the Papacy and has previously revealed that he was first lured to work for Mercedes-Benz when as a youngster he saw Pope Paul VI being driven by one of the automaker’s cars. This latest Popemobile follows a long line of Mercedes-Benz cars used by the leaders of the Catholic Church for more than 80 years. While other vehicle makers have, over the years, supplied the Pontiffs with vehicles such as a Toyota Land

Cruiser in 1976 and a series of Ford cars in the 1960s and ‘70s, Mercedes has been the dominate donor when it comes to vehicles presented to the pope. In 1930, Pope Pius XI received a Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460 as a gift from the automaker. That was followed by a 600 Pullman Landaulet and 300 SEL for Pope Jon XXIII. Pope Paul VI also travelled in a Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet and, later, a 300 SEL. The phrase “Popemobile” was first used in the 1980s in reference to the modified MercedesBenz G Class that Pope John Paul II used for celebrations in

Saint Peter’s Square. The GClass Popemobile was designed to allow the pope to be more visible and safer when greeting large crowds. While some Popemobiles are open air, others have been equipped with bulletproof glass due to assassination attempt on John Paul II. This new vehicle replaces the Mercedes-Benz M Class that was delivered to the Vatican in 2002 and later used by Pope Benedict XVI. The license plate on the vehicle reads SCV 1. SCV abbreviates both Stato della Città del Vaticano and Status Civitatis Vaticanae, which are the Italian and Latin names of Vatican City.

iATN TECHNICIANS’ SALARIES REPORTED HIGHER THAN BLS AVERAGE A recent poll of members of the International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) found that the average 2012 salary for iATN member technicians working in the United States was $51,000, comparing very favorably to the $39,000 average salary reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2012, for all technicians and mechanics in the country. iATN’s poll asked for responses from those working full-time as a technician, though responses from all members were permitted. From the 6,338 total responses, 1,617 chose to abstain, and the average salary for the remaining 4,721 responses was $54,000. After excluding those not working in the U.S. and those with a title other than exclusively “technician,” 1,420 responses remained. Accounting for differences in per-capita income


August 2013 |

by state using data from the 2010 U.S. Census yielded an adjusted average salary of $51,000. “The results of this poll are not surprising to me, nor likely to any of our members,” said iATN President Scott Brown. “Although it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between our results and the data reported by BLS, due to differences in how the data was collected, it would make sense that there is a strong correlation between iATN membership and higher salaries. By virtue of their activity on iATN, our members have shown that they have a strong interest in staying at the leading edge of their field and learning the latest diagnostic techniques and trends in shop management. At every level, our members have a strong desire to improve our industry.” Source: ■

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