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How “U” Doin’? -D i a g n o s t i c s-

August 2010    1

*Details available at your authorized BMW center. 2    Master Technician Online

Original BMW Parts

The Ultimate Driving Machine®

August 2010    3


Feature Stories 14 The Cadillac Story by Kerry Jonsson

These days, when we see a wheel speed sensor code can we really afford to just throw a new sensor at it?

22 Smog Checks, the EPA, and

the Future of Vintage Vehicles by Henry P. Olsen

Improve how a vintage carbureted engine performs by properly tuning the ignition system and carburetor.

32 Speeding Bullet by John Anello

John Anello, Auto Tech on Wheels, is called to a shop to perform a program update on a 2006 Ford E250 van with a 6.0L engine. There are many precautions that must be observed while programming a vehicle...

42 Auction Action P1 & P2 by Glen Quaqmire

What’s the deal with auctions? Where are they held? Who runs them? How do they work? How do you buy? How do you sell? Can you just go to watch? What costs are involved? What’s a consignment? What’s a reserve? Here’s the deal.

Cover Story

6 How “U” Doin? Diagnostics by John Anello

John Anello, Auto Tech on Wheels, was called to a shop on a 2004 Chevy Corvette with a no-start condition. There was no communication with the PCM and the security light was on.

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Christopher M. Ayers, Jr. President/Publisher:

Bob Freudenberger Editor:

John Anello • Steve Campbell • Paul Cortes Kerry Jonsson • Phil Fournier • Chip Keen Greg McGoniga • Tony Molla • Tom Nash Henry Olsen • Matt Ragsdale • Dave Russ Contributing Editors:

Christopher-Michael Ayers Art Director, Project Mgr.:

Joann Turner Circulation Manager:

Editorial, Circulation, Advertising Sales and Business Office: Master Technician Magazine 486 Pinecrest Rd. • Springfield, PA • 19064 P.484.472.8441 • F.484.472.7460 If you have a letter to the editor, a Tech Tip or story idea, Email:, or visit: Master Technician is published by Master Technician, LLC. The publisher and editors of this magazine accept no responsibility for statements made herein by advertisers or for the opinions expressed by authors of bylined articles or contributed text. The current Issue of the Master Technician Emag is free to qualified automotive repair shop owners, managers & technicians. Contact for more information. All other content is available on a subscription basis. Visit for subscription information.

Advertiser Index August 2010

AIRSEPT.................. 55 Autologic US............ 17 BMW.......................... 2 BASF.. ....................... 47 Castrol.. .................... 25 CRP.......................... 19 Dayco......................... 9

Mercedes-Benz......... 13 NISSAN.................... 53 NUCAP.................... 37 SEMA....................... 45 SKF.. ......................... 39 Volkswagen.. ............. 29 Volvo........................ 41 August 2010    5

H o w “U” Doin? Diagnostic s

How “U” Doin’? -D i a g n o s t i c s-

by John Anello, “The Auto Tech on Wheels”


was called to a shop on a 2004 Chevy Corvette with a no-start condition (Figure 1). There was no communication with the PCM and the security light was on. This prevented the engine from cranking. The tech had already checked all PCM powers and grounds, but was reluctant to condemn the engine control module because of the costs involved if he was wrong. There was a good chance that ithis would turn out to be a costly marriage,, and there’d be no turning back. Divorcing an unneeded part is always a bad scene. So, at this point the garage opted to call me in for a second opinion.

Figure 1: 2004 Chevy Corvette with a no-start condition.

verify the complaint. I could not get any communication with the PCM. This could be due to a loss of power or ground, an open or shorted data line, or possibly a bad PCM. I chose to test the entire network to see whether or not this When I arrived at the shop, I hooked was an isolated communication fault or up my GM Tech 2 factory scan tool to a network problem. This vehicle uses a 6    Master Technician Online

P o s t e d A u g u s t 6 , 2 0 1 0  |  K e y w o r d : d i a g n o stics

one-wire communication system, and if the PCM was off the network there would be “U” codes stored in other controllers. A controller that sets a “U” code is basically pointing a finger out into the network and saying “How ‘U’ Figure 2: Class 2 DTC Check feature Doin!” so as to draw attention away allows the scan tool to interrogate from itself. A “U” code does not mean each controller for a health check the problem lies within the controller and code status. you are scanning. The Tech 2 supports network checking that most aftermarket scanners don’t. It’s a very important feature that can reduce the diagnostic time on a vehicle. It’s like doing a role call that pingsing all modules on board to see who responds and who is alive on the Figure 3: After initiating this network. Simply navigating to the Class 2 function we received the “No Communication with DTC Check feature (Figure 2) allows the Vehicle” message. scan tool to interrogate each controller for a health check and code status. When I initiated this function, I received the message “No Communication with Vehicle” (Figure 3). This Corvette did not just have a PCM communication failure but also a network issue causing all controllers to be unresponsive. This is why it so important to use your scan tool to interrogate all possible modules that it supports because you just don’t know how wide your problem is.

Figure 4: Two star network connectors conveniently located next to the PCM.

Some manufactures will place network lines into one accessible area for simplified testing, while others may August 2010    7

H o w “U” Doin? Diagnostic s

Figure 5: Removed the star connector combs from the connectors and installed the Kent Moore tool.

fragment different groups of network connectors throughout the vehicle. This Corvette had two star network connectors conveniently located under the right side dash next to the PCM (Figure 4). I was lucky that day to have in my possession the Kent Moore Tool #J42236-A. I purchased it a while before to hook into both of the network connectors. This isolates the PCM from all the controllers on board and directly links PCMit to the data link connector to program the PCM in isolation mode. This prevents any controller network noise from affecting PCM programming. This tool has the ability to isolate each controller to the data link connector one at a time by the use of two selection knobs, allowing me to go into each controller seperately to see which one had an issue. I removed the star connector combs from the star connectors and installed the Kent Moore tool (Figure 5). I printed out a computer data line diagram from Mitchell-On-Demand and started checking off controllers that did respond as I moved the tool selector knobs (Figure 6). All responded except for the Electronic Suspension Controller Figure 6 (Left): A print out of the computer data line diagram from Mitchell-On-Demand and checked off controllers that responded as I moved the tool selector knobs.

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August 2010    9

H o w “U” Doin? Diagnostic s

jFigure 7: Still no communication with the scan tool. I next cut the RCDL line.

module, Remote Control Door Lock module, and the Driver Seat Control module. The fact that all the other controllers worked independently proved to me that one of these three unresponsive units was at fault. It was like rolling the dice at this point -- I had to decide which one of these three was the culprit. I removed the tool and placed the star connector combs back in place. I cut the wire to the ESC module and I still had no communication with the scan tool. I next cut the RCDL line (Figure 7), and, lo and behold, I got communication back with all the modules on board (Figure 8). The security light went out,

Figure 8: Communication is reestablished with all the modules on board. 10    Master Technician Online

so next I cranked the car and the engine causing communication failures. There started. Okay, I got the car running, but were three wires at the RCDL module what about the RCDL issue? consisting of power, ground, and a signal line. When I checked the ground, I located the RCDL module in the left it was elevated at 12 volts. This to me rear compartment (Figure 9) and checked seemed like an open ground, and the 12 the wiring to it before condemning it. It’s volts was probably back-feeding from not uncommon for a bad module to back the module 12-volt feed line. I decided feed power or ground into the network to back probe the wire with a ground. When I did, I saw an arc. This was not a bad ground, but rather a12-volt feed shorted to the ground line within the module, or externally to the ground feed line from another source. I immediately unplugged the RCDL module, but the 12 volt short remained on the ground feed line. I followed the ground wire back Figure 9: Locating the RCDL module through the vehicle and it led me to in the left rear compartment, a juction block in the right kick panel I checked the wiring before condemning it. (Figure 10). A closer inspection here showed a 12-volt feed line next to the RCDL ground (Figure 11). This line bridged itself to the ground feed and burned the ground all the way back to a firewall splice where it was stopped by a heavier gauge wire that led through the firewall out to the the frame rail in the right-side engine compartment (Figure 12). The splice gave in, but the heavy-gauge wire leading back Figure 10: Following the ground wire back through the vehicle, it to the frame well held its ground led me to a juction block in the (no pun intended). right kick panel.

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H o w “U” Doin? Diagnostic s

Figure 11: A closer inspection here showed a 12-volt feed line next to the RCDL ground.

What a turn of events in this diagnostic delemia. It was amazing to me that none of the controllers, or my TECH II, got damaged from 12 volts shorting on the data line. I can only guess that most manufacturers prepare scan tools and onboard controllers for these events and build in a fail-safe system to prevent component damage. You just don’t know what to expect anymore. You can’t just condemn the computer when there’s no communication. It’s vitally important to check all powers and grounds at the controller in question. Never leave out the possibility of a shorted to power or ground data line. I hope this story has inspired you! Figure 12: Firewall splice. 12    Master Technician Online

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August 2010    13

C a dillac Story


Cadillac Story These days, when we see a wheel speed sensor code can we really afford to just throw a new sensor at it? For most GM vehicles, that means a whole wheel bearing assembly. With parts and labor being what they are, we’d better make sure.

by Kerry Jonsson Image courtesy GM. © GM Corp.


f you had asked me at the beginning how this repair was going to end, I never would have guessed right.” Yes, we often make general assumptions that a problem could be due to component failure, a wiring issue, or maybe software. But most of the time we believe down deep that replacing a component will take care of things even though in this day and age we should know this is not always the case. For the most part when we see a warning light (or, in this case a few warning lights) we reach for our scan tool. A good move considering that the self-diagnostic system has reported 14    Master Technician Online

a problem and our scan tool can retrieve that information. We also know it is not going to tell us what is wrong, unless it is a catastrophic failure that could just as well be identified by a simple visual inspection. But in the very beginning of a diagnosis, how do we know if the problem is deeper?

The Truth The truth is we never do. We’re sure most of you have the good sense to road-test the vehicle thoroughly before it is delivered to the customer. But how much time can you invest in this? In this

P o s t e d : A u g u s t 3 0 , 2 0 1 0  |   K e y w o r d : C a d i l l a c S tory

economy, customers are tightening their belts, so unless you’re in some kind of niche market you have to work harder for every dollar you earn. This may lead to shortcuts, and in the end this one cost us. We were lucky the customer was understanding and realized the problem was difficult to see on this 2002 Cadillac Seville SLS. The car came in with the ABS and brake light on, and a warning message in the driver’s information center of the instrument cluster. It reported that the ABS and Traction control System (TCS) were no longer working. We found a code C1227 Left Rear Excessive Wheel Speed Variation. We also retrieved a U1000 code Class 2 Data Link Malfunction, but after recording failure records we cleared the codes and the U1000 did not return. So, we put that one on the back

burner to see if it would resurface later. After a short road test the C1227 did return. During the drive we looked at the indicated wheel speeds with our scan tool data and everything appeared to be fine. There did not appear to be any difference between the left rear speed and that of any other wheel, let alone the right rear. A quick look at the tires indicated they were all of the correct size and were all the same model. In extreme cases, you may need to look at tire wear. A brand new tire can have a significantly larger circumference than a worn one. Remember, customers may be replacing these tires one at a time these days. ABS units can pick up on this small variation in wheel speed, but this was not the case here. Even though the problem was not evident yet, we were already starting to think wheel bearing/sensor assembly.

his 2002 Cadillac Seville SLS had come in with the ABS and TCS warning lights on and this code C1227. The U1000 code never returned, but the C1227 did. Our first inclination was to change the bearing/sensor assembly.

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C a dillac Story

We knew it was possible that the signal was dropping out faster than the scan tool’s display could catch it. It was also possible the signal was getting weaker as the bearing was put under load in turns, which can increase the air gap between the tone wheel and the sensor pickup. We couldn’t inspect any of this since it is incorporated in the sealed wheel bearing assembly. We usually ask for one hour of diagnostic time, particularly if the problem is intermittent. Although the code came back during a road test, it still appeared okay while watching the data. Well, this customer was going to get his money’s worth. We put a vehicle on the lift and checked the sensor connections. Everything looked good. Took a quick

After road testing and scanning out data, we saw the wheel speeds were very close together and did not think that this would set a code. The problem was deeper, so we put down the scan tool and started checking with our DMM. 16    Master Technician Online

look at wheel bearing play. It didn’t seem particularly bad, but this vehicle did have 100,000 miles on it. Are you reading what we’re trying to convince ourselves of? After the work, we road tested it and no code reappeared. That was easy. A few days later the vehicle was back in. We spoke with the customer, who happens to be a nice guy. He said it took a few days, but the warning lights did come back on. He understood it may be something else and left us with the vehicle for a few days. I immediately pulled codes and there it was C1227 all by itself. Another road test and everything is the same. Almost no variation in wheel speeds. Keep in mind it is normal for the front wheel speeds to vary by a few miles per hour in turns. The wheels are actually traveling at two different speeds, so don’t be fooled by that. These are also the rear wheels we are flagging codes for. After taking a look at the failure records available with a Tech II scan tool, we found that the problem was occurring at very low speed -- under 5 mph! Depending on you aftermarket scan tool, you may or may not be able to see failure records. That’s okay;

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August 2010    17

C a dillac Story

you just may have to be more thorough with your testing. During our road test we were traveling at normal road speeds, but the problem occurred at very low speeds. We were monitoring the wrong situation. We decided to perform a low speed road test and see if we could see the problem. Another feature of the Tech II is that you can graph plot the data that you have recorded in a snapshot (on most scan tools you can graph data and possibly see the wheel speed variation at low speed). The graph did show the variation in wheel speed below 5 mph. The difference was only one to two miles per hour. We have seen this before on scan tools and it never flagged a code. Where else could we look?

We checked resistance at the sensor for both the left and right wheels. There was a 200 ohm difference between the OEM bearing and its aftermarket replacement. We had to ask if this was enough of a difference to flag a code. 18    Master Technician Online

Maybe we had a bad replacement part. It was not OEM and we hear there are a lot of cheap parts being made in developing countries that make their way to our parts shelves. We were going to have to diagnose this problem all over again. We went back and checked the resistance of both sensors. The new replacement sensor read 1,300 ohms, whereas the old sensor on the other side measured 1,100 ohms. Was this enough to generate a difference in the AC voltage pattern? We decided to check the AC voltage coming off the wheel speed sensors while spinning the wheels by hand. With each wheel, we were able to generate .5 of a volt and both were pretty even. These measurements were taken at the sensor itself, so the wiring leading to the control unit wasn’t taken into account. What were we going to have to do to check that? On this Seville the EBCM is mounted underneath the hood, towards the front inner sub-frame -- not an easy place to get to. If you remove the air filter for the secondary air pump you can access the control unit connector. Pull out the locking tab on top and rotate the connector tab to the unlocked position and you should be able to pull down the connector. Looking at a wiring diagram, the left rear signal line is pin #22, a black

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August 2010    19

C a dillac Story

wire. Pin #8 is a red wire and it is the ground. Here we were able to measure the same 1,300 ohms we measured at the sensor. Pins #9, brown, and #23, white, are the signal and ground respectively for the right rear sensor. Here we measured the same 1,100 ohms. So, wiring appears not to be a problem, at least at the moment. Where to look next?

only used four drops on the four pins for the rear speed sensors. I then prepared for the arduous task of connecting my scope leads and running them safely into the cabin so I could watch the signals I was about to scope. I needed to see the signals during the problem. This may sound simple, but the reality is that it’s fairly difficult. We have to scope the signals while driving and therefore keeping the wheel speeds even. To run scope leads from either the rear sensors or the EBCM is a time-consuming task. Finally, we got to drive.

As a matter of course, I typically clean any control unit connector that I unplug. There are any number of suitable solvents available through your local parts supplier. In this case, it just so happened I had my Stabiliant-22 bottle While looking at the scope signals within easy reach. Being expensive stuff, I during the drive (with someone else driving, of course -- this is for the lawyers), we noticed The graphing function is a great help in diagnosing wheel speed sensors is. Here we a slight difference in the have sensors that are pretty close together, amplitude of the voltage but little did we know the problem was only at very low speeds. signal. The right rear was putting out just under one full volt, but the left rear was putting out just over one volt, maybe 1.25 volts. Remember that the resistance values were slightly different and therefore the AC voltage signals could be slightly different. We were stumped at this point, so we started thinking outside the box.

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We once had a Honda where the ABS sensor wire was routed close to the alternator output wire. When the alternator started to charge it would flag a left front wheel speed code. We were hoping that we did not have to look for a problem like that, but as luck would have it we no longer had a DTC for the left rear sensor and all the warning lights stayed off.

wheel speed sensor. If we hadn’t followed our habit of cleaning pins and applying electrical contact enhancer whenever we unplug a connector, the problem would still not have been fixed. Now, we may have actually had a bad bearing. The problem did take a few days to come back. It had seemed like a straightforward repair at the time.

Our lesson learned here is to check and Cleaning the connector at the EBCM clean all electrical connections involved and adding the Stabiliant-22 corrected with the code. In this case, that would the electrical connection of the left rear be the pins in the EBCM connector and the sensor itself. If there We also scoped the two rear wheel speed had been a connection sensors together and even though there was a slight voltage difference the code did in the harness we would not return and the scan data reflected the have cleaned that one as correct speed even when at low speed. well. This may be slightly more time consuming, but if you include the time in the initial estimate the customer may pay for the additional labor. If the car comes back for the same problem it is a harder sell. In the end, we had to eat the additional hour spent on this diagnosis but at least the problem was dealt with and we maintained our good relationship with our customer. In the end, that’s all you could ask for.

August 2010    21

Vi n tage Vehicles

Smog Checks, the EPA, and the Future of Vintage Vehicles

by Henry P. Olsen

Tuning a vintage carbureted engine to be less polluting does not necessarily mean that the engine will lose power and driveability. In fact, proper tuning of the ignition system and carburetor should actually improve how the engine performs.


he Associated Press has recently run several articles that say stricter emissions standards may be required in areas of the country that currently have smog check programs, and that places that don’t currently have such a program may be forced to implement one. The Environmental Protection Agency would require an area to meet these new proposed standards, or face sanctions such as the loss of federal highway funds. These stricter emission standards may also be applied to vintage carburetor-equipped vehicles that are currently not required to meet any smog standards. 22    Master Technician Online

Tuning a vintage carbureted engine to be less polluting does not necessarily mean that the engine will lose power and driveability. In fact, proper tuning of the ignition system and carburetor should actually improve how the engine performs. Having both spark advance and air/fuel mixture curves properly tailored for the unleaded and reformulated gasoline of today will produce the most drivable power and the least possible exhaust emissions. The people who own these vintage carburetor-equipped vehicles have a passion for their cars, and are always searching for ways to make their engines run better.

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In these days when everyone is trying to get the most value from every dollar spent, your shop can offer a service that will provide customers with great running engines that produce the lowest possible exhaust emissions for a reasonable price. The three main areas that need to be addressed in tuning an engine to reduce exhaust emissions are engine deposit removal, the ignition spark timing curve, and the air/fuel mixture curve.

Engine Deposits and Exhaust Emissions Back in the days of leaded gasoline and carburetor-equipped engines, part of a proper tune-up included the use of a cleaner to remove the carbon deposits that build up on the intake valves and

The deposits that build up on the back of the intake valves will reduce an engine’s power, fuel mileage, and driveability.

in the combustion chambers. Even with modern fuel-injected engines, decarbonization should be part of any tune-up because the act of burning any gasoline unavoidably produces deposit build-up. These carbon deposits will reduce the engine’s power, fuel mileage, and driveability and can contribute to detonation and NOx formation. Those that form on the top of the piston and in the combustion chamber can also cause detonation and excessive NOx emissions because they increase both the heat of the burn and the compression ratio. The carbon deposits that form on the intake valves restrict the flow of the air/fuel mixture into the cylinders, interfere with proper swirl, and negatively affect fuel vaporization. When the fuel is not fully vaporized and properly mixed with the air, part of it will leave the cylinders as unburned hydrocarbons, and too much HC can cause a vehicle to fail a smog check. Also, carbon deposits can cause cold-start and driveability problems as the engine warms up because they can actually act as a sponge by momentarily absorbing, then releasing, some of the fuel.

Blasting Deposits Most of the gasoline sold at your local August 2010    23

Vi n tage Vehicles

station has some level of detergents to help prevent and reduce the build-up of fuel-related carbon deposits that both increase exhaust emissions and reduce engine performance. Several of the world’s top automakers worked together to establish a “Top Tier” standard for gasoline that would contain a higher level of deposit control additives. Many retailers sell gasoline with a lowerquality additive package, so unless your customer’s are using gasoline that conforms to Top Tier standards, you

These very dirty fuel injector filters are from a engine that ran on compressed natural gas.

The deposits that form on a fuel injector’s tip will distort the spray pattern.

In this cutaway of a fuel injector you can see the tiny filter. 24    Master Technician Online

Fuel injectors being cleaned in a ultrasonic bath.

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Vi n tage Vehicles

should recommend the regular use of some form of deposit-control additive.

This shows what the spray pattern looks like from a typical set of injectors.

The use of a in-tank fuel system cleaner such as Chevron’s Techron Concentrate Plus is a good idea as a part of your customers’ regular maintenance routine on a schedule of every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. There are also several air/fuel system cleaning chemicals on the market, such as BG 44K, Sea Foam, Run Rite, etc. that can be used to rapidly and thoroughly clean the deposits in the combustion chambers and on the intake valves.

Fuel System Deposits

The flow from the injectors should be within 3% of each other.

A carburetor-equipped engine does not have anywhere near the fuel system deposit problems that a modern fuelinjected engine has. The injectors are designed to spray the fuel the engine needs in a precise pattern of fine droplets that mix with the incoming air charge. If

The swelling that can occur when a vintage carburetor is exposed to today’s reformulated gasoline can be seen by looking at the rubber tip of the needle on the right. Compare it to the new one on the left. 26    Master Technician Online

This accelerator pump failed when it was exposed to gasoline with a high level of ethanol.

any deposits form on or near the injector tips, they may degrade the spray pattern or reduce the flow of fuel from the injector. These deposits form on the tip of a port fuel injector mainly during the hot soak period after the engine is shut off. This condition causes the gasoline that is left in the fuel injectors to overheat and turn into a hard varnish, thus beginning deposit formation. The use of a Top Tier gasoline will help prevent this phenomenon and clean fuel injectors as you drive, but sometimes more cleaning is necessary. The chemicals mentioned above can be used to clean fuel injectors, but even the best cleaner cannot confirm that the injectors are flowing properly. The best method we’ve found to both clean and then check the flow from the injectors is the use of an ultrasonic fuel injector cleaner/flow bench. The ultrasonic cleaning method breaks up deposits (you should also replace the tiny filters that are in the inlets of the

This accelerator pump from AC Delco has updated materials that will withstand today’s reformulated gasoline.

injectors). The flow bench allows you to both confirm the volume of flow from the fuel injectors and actually see the flow pattern from each injector, which lets you confirm that all the injectors are working as new. Unless all the injectors supply all the cylinders with an equal and correct amount of atomized in a perfect pattern, the engine will not perform as well as it should, and it will produce higher levels of exhaust emissions. August 2010    27

Vi n tage Vehicles

The CNG Alternative CNG, or compressed natural gas, is an environmentally-friendly alternative to gasoline because it is a very clean burning fuel. CNG-powered vehicles have lower maintenance costs than gasoline powered vehicles, but they still need service. The fuel injectors that are used with CNG have much higher flow rates than those for gasoline, but they still use the same tiny filter. The CNG injectors we have serviced have had filters that are much dirtier than any other injectors we have seen. The debris that flows thru the fuel system, plus the oil vapors from the CNG compressor can cause fuel injector flow problems as the filter becomes restricted and deposits build up on the fuel injector tip. It would a good idea to have the fuel injectors cleaned and flow tested on a cleaner/flow bench whenever the engine is in your shop for a scheduled tune-up.

Modern Reformulated Unleaded Gasoline The gasoline of today is quite different when compared to the leaded gasoline that was sold at a corner station in the 1960s and 1970s. The main differences between today’s gasoline and the leaded gasoline of days past that effect how your engine 28    Master Technician Online

performs are density, volatility, and burn time. The leaded gas that most carbureted engines were engineered to operate on allowed the engine to perform quite well even if the ignition spark timing or the air/ fuel mixture was not properly tuned. The same cannot be said for the reformulated unleaded gasoline of today. Unless the ignition spark timing and the air/fuel mixtures are properly tuned to match the needs of the engine, performance and drivability will suffer dramatically. Modern gasoline is blended with the goal in mind of reducing the evaporative and exhaust emissions of a EFI engine. Reformulated unleaded gasoline does not vaporize as easily in a carburetor-equipped engine as leaded gasoline of days past did. These changes in how new fuel vaporizes can cause driveability problems when it is used in a vintage carbureted engine. We’ve found that many we tune perform better with more initial advance than the original factory setting for leaded gasoline. Reformulated unleaded gasoline actually burns at a different rate than that of leaded gasoline. The total mechanical ignition spark advance (including the initial timing) the engine needs is about the same as it was with leaded, but we’ve found that the vacuum-based spark advance an engine needs is less than it was with leaded. This means that the mechanical and vacuum ignition advance systems will need to be tuned for the blend of

August 2010    29

Vi n tage Vehicles

gasoline you are using if you want the engine were tuned slightly richer than the ideal to run at its best. air/fuel mixture the engine would need to run its best on. As exhaust emissions standards became stricter, many new Modern Gasoline carburetor-equipped vehicles began to and Carb Parts have driveability problems since they Most carburetors have parts that contain were being tuned on the lean side of ideal natural or synthetic rubber (such as in an effort to reduce exhaust emissions. the needle and seat’s rubber tip, o-rings The stoichiometric or chemically ideal a/f and the accelerator pump) that may (air/fuel) mixture for an engine running swell or leak when they are exposed to on pure gasoline is about 14.7 parts of air today’s reformulated gasoline. The parts to one part of gasoline by weight, while for containing rubber that are in a carburetor a gasoline that contains 10% ethanol this kit in most cases have been updated to reduce the swelling problems, but this can still be an issue with gasoline that has a high percentage of oxygenates. The formulation of today’s gasoline can also cause the rubber fuel lines and the fuel pump diaphragm to swell, crack or leak. Whenever you work on a carburetor-equipped vehicle, you should inspect all of the rubber fuel lines for potential problems and replace any older rubber hose with fuel lines made from materials that are designed for the gasoline of today. The density and formulation of these new blends of unleaded gasoline will cause a carburetor to supply the engine an air/fuel mixture that is about 3% leaner than it was with the leaded gasoline. Since exhaust emissions were not a major concern until about 1966, most engines 30    Master Technician Online

The handset of this 5-gas exhaust gas analyzer can be used in a wireless mode. The gas bench can be placed in the vehicle’s trunk during a road test and you can still look at the readings.

is about a 14.2 to one. So, the 14.7/1 ratio is often too lean for the needs of a vintage engine. This means that the carburetor should be tuned or “jetted” richer. This can be done with an exhaust gas analyzer and/or a wideband oxygen/lambda sensor-based air/fuel meter. An engine that has had both its air/fuel mixture and ignition spark advance systems tuned for today’s gasoline will give its owner great performance along with the lowest possible emissions.

The air/fuel meter has the advantages of low cost and a very fast response rate to changes in the air/fuel mixture. A exhaust gas analyzer is more expensive and its response rate is in the five to eight second range, but because it looks at the five main gases in the exhaust its reading can provide a tuner with a

lot more information than just than just the air/fuel ratio. The CO (carbon monoxide) reading is used to determine the a/f mixture; the HC (hydrocarbon) reading tells the misfire rate; the CO2 (carbon dioxide) reading is an indicator of engine efficiency; and a high NOx reading points to over-advanced ignition spark timing. The best tuning results will be achieved by first using an exhaust gas analyzer to establish a baseline, then switching to a digital air/fuel meter to read the a/f ratio curve in real time on a engine dyno, or on a road test. Many of the top race engine tuners and builders use an air/fuel meter system with one lambda sensor per cylinder so they can see the ratio of each cylinder both on a dyno and in the transient conditions the engine will see on the track.

The use of a portable 5-gas exhaust gas analyzer is the best way to read what tuning changes are needed to allow a vintage vehicle perform at its best with today’s gasoline.

August 2010    31

S p eeding Bullet

by John Anello, “Auto Tech on Wheels”


was called to a shop to perform a program update on a 2006 Ford E250 van with a 6.0L engine (Figure 1). This is a task I am asked to do on a daily basis. There are many shops that do not make the investment to purchase a programming interface, or to subscribe to automotive manufacturer websites to download programming files. This may be due to the fact that they may not get enough calls for reprogramming to justify the cost, or they may not want to expose themselves to the liabilities involved in reprogramming.

(Figure 2). This device will maintain a uniform voltage in the battery under the different load conditions caused by power consumption changes during reprogramming, as when cooling fans or even headlights come on in the process. If system voltage falls out of

There are many precautions that must be observed while programming a vehicle. The most important one is having the proper battery charger, such as the Fronius Power Supply Figure 1: 2006 Ford E250 van with a 6.0L engine.

32    Master Technician Online

P o s t e d A u g u s t 6 , 2 0 1 0  |   K e y w o r d : b ullet

range, the programming procedure could be aborted with a possible loss of a controller. The other dangers are the loss of the Internet connection, a scan

tool running out of power, or vehicle cabling disconnections. Any of these malfunctions will result in the loss of a new control module that cannot be returned if it is corrupted in the reprogramming process.

The tech at the shop provided me with a service bulletin he found to resolve a code P061B (Internal Control Module Torque Calculation Performance) and a drivability problem in the form of a throttle response issue. This is common practice today with all the resources that are now available to techs either through subscriptions from different aftermarket information companies, or directly from manufacturer websites. To verify the Figure 2: Fronius Power Supply. complaint, I hooked up the Ford factory IDS scan tool to view the codes stored in memory. There were no codes stored because the shop tech had erased them all. This is something many technicians do without realizing that if someone else were to get involved with the vehicle, there is no longer any information left behind to aid in the diagnostic process. When codes are erased, so is the freeze-frame information that can sometimes hold Figure 3: make note of the codes called many valuable clues to -these are not saved in memory.

August 2010    33

S p eeding Bullet

what conditions were present when the problem occurred, thus aiding in the solving of code-related problems. Luckily, the tech at this shop was smart enough to write down all the information in detail (Figure 3). That was impressive!

reprogramming phase are removed. The final step was to shut off the key and then turn it back on to reboot the new PCM software. I then started the vehicle, but it did not run very well and the MIL/Check Engine light came back on. When I went back into the codes menu, the same code P061B had reappeared in memory (Figure 4). The software update I installed addressed this code (as you can read in the service bulletin link 07-23-07 for this situation) when I highlighted it at the upper left side of the IDS screen (Figure 5), but the software update did not resolve this vehicle’s issue.

After reading the codes he wrote down, I proceeded with reprograming to provide him with the latest updates available from Ford for this vehicle. I followed the step-by-step procedure with the Ford IDS tool, and when the programming process was done the scan tool cleared codes. This is done to assure that any “U” codes that were created in the other controllers in the network At this point, the tech knew he had made when the PCM went to sleep during the a bad decision to opt for reprogramming

Figure 4: Code P061B -The software update addresses this code, but does not resolve it. 34    Master Technician Online

(Above) Figure 5: Service Bulletin 07-23-07. (Below)Figure 6: MAF, rpm, and TPS parameters in a graph mode to view what t he the PCM was seeing.

August 2010    35

S p eeding Bullet

as a cure for the problem, but it is not uncommon for this to happen. There are many times when there are software updates intended to address particular issues on a vehicle, but this should be the last step to take after you have exhausted all other possible causes of the problem. Today, I had arrived as a software salesman only, but it was now the shop’s choice to allow me to take off my salesman’s hat and put on my diagnostician’s hat. Code P061B deals with any correlation problem between the Throttle Position Sensor and the Mass Air Flow sensor. The engine had a hard time revving up, and it was blowing a lot of black smoke

out of the tail pipe -- it was being overfueled. The most common cause of this condition would be a MAF sensor out of range. I needed to verify MAF operation by doing some simple data integrity checks. I placed the MAF, rpm, and TPS parameters in a graph mode to view what the PCM was seeing (Figure 6). Looking at data PID values changing in a digital format is not what I would prefer to do unless I were a number-crunching pro. Graphing signals is a major asset to diagnostics because it gives a technician the visual associations between PIDs over time to help better see what is happening. Viewing the graph you could see that the MAF was well out of range at 129 GPS at a given value of 1371 rpm

Figure 7: Details of what can set code P061B 36    Master Technician Online



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August 2010    37

S p eeding Bullet

with only a 26% throttle opening. It was a no brainer as to why the vehicle was running so rich that it was blowing black smoke. This vehicle had a MAF sensor that was out of range. Or, was it?

Figure 8: pulling off the air cleaner cover, we found part of the air filter missing.

Figure 9:Inspecting the MAF sensor, the missing air filter bullet jammed into the MAF inlet!

Figure 10: Removing the MAF housing to clear the passage. 38    Master Technician Online

One of the cool features of the Ford IDS scan tool is that it will tie into service manual information on a code. By simply highlighting the code in the upper left-hand corner and scrolling down, the information window on the right-side screen displays the details of what can set this code (Figure7). Ford says that if you encounter a code P061B, you should inspect for an improperlysealed air box or air filter, which can result in inaccurate measurement by the air flow sensor. In addition, Ford claims that if water or snow contacts the hot wire element of the MAF sensor, it may cause a spike in air measurement. This is all good information, so at this point I needed to dig into the filter housing to check the integrity of the sensor assembly and its connector feed circuits prior to throwing a new MAF sensor at the problem. When I pulled the air cleaner cover off, I was surprised to see part of the air filter missing (Figure 8) -- the bullet-shaped cone. Then I inspected the MAF sensor and was shocked to see the missing air

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August 2010    39

S p eeding Bullet

Figure 11: Rechecking the data graph, and now the MAF sensor reads a normal 25 GPS...

filter bullet jammed into the MAF inlet (Figure 9). I removed it from the MAF housing (Figure 10) to clear the passage, put the air cleaner housing back in place to prevent any cross-flow air from passing over the sensor, and started the engine. Now, it ran like the powerful Triton it claimed to be. I re-checked my data graph, and could now see that the MAF sensor read a normal 25 GPS at a given value of 2,489 rpm at about a 20% throttle opening (Figure 11). This poor engine had had a serious air volume flow problem. This air filter speeding bullet had an adhesive failure (Figure 12), flipped over, got sucked through the filter element, and jammed itself into the MAF housing. This created a venturi effect and allowed a rush of air 40    Master Technician Online

to flow past the MAF’s sensing device, which falsified the sensor signal. This is a rare thing to happen, but it teaches us two lessons: Beware of cheap, off-brand parts, and always check the basics before you move on to reprogramming, or any other high-tech procedure!

Figure 12: This air filter speeding bullet had an adhesive failure.

August 2010    41

Auction Action by Glen Quagmire

Part 1

Photos courtesy Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. LLC. ©2010 Barrett-Jackson. All rights reserved.


ost of us who love cars have seen classic car auction coverage on television. The lights, the excitement, the crowds and, mostly the cars, are captivating. And we’ve all got our favorite cars and dream of owning one, two, or more of them. Many of us have long fantasized over a particular we’d love to own one day – a GTO, a split-window 63 Corvette coupe, a Plymouth Road Runner, maybe even an original or reproduction Cobra. Still others have a passion for foreign or exotic sports cars – a British Triumph or MG, a Porsche, or maybe even a Ferrari. Such are the passions of those of us that have 10W-30 running through our veins. And the excitement and spontaneity of an auction just add fuel to our passion. 42    Master Technician Online

P o s t e d M a y 7 , 2 0 1 0  |   K e y w o r d : A u ction

But what’s the deal with auctions? Where are they held? Who runs them? How do they work? How do you buy? How do you sell? Can you just go to watch? What costs are involved? What’s a consignment? What’s a reserve? Here’s the deal. Auctions are fairly frequent, they’re held all around the country, they’re great fun, they’re affordable, and you don’t have to buy or sell a car in order to share in the excitement of a classic car auction.

Who Runs Them? There are many companies that conduct auctions of antique, classic, racing, and sports cars. And these auctions should not be confused with the used car auctions that offer newer everyday grocery-getters. Classic car auctions typically restrict auction vehicles based on age, scarcity, condition, or other criteria relating to collectibility. And, for the most part, these companies specialize in auctioning only vehicles and related items – not real estate, machinery, or antique furniture. Most of us who have seen classic car auction coverage on television are aware of the name Barrett-Jackson which has, for years, conducted major collector car auctions are featured on television. But there are many other companies in the business as well, including names like Mecum, and many others. Because these companies specialize in auctioning classic and collectible cars, they have developed policies and practices that assure that the vehicles they offer are high quality, often well-documented, and carry clear title. They’ve also learned how to make their events easy and enjoyable for all involved.

August 2010    43

A u ction Action

Barrett-Jackson photo.

Some auctioneers specialize in certain types of cars. Mecum is well-known for muscle cars; Bonham’s for exotic sports and racing cars. Others, like BarrettJackson, are known to offer a variety of types of vehicles, ranging from nostalgic, restored-to-original collectibles from the ‘50s and’60s to antique vehicles dating back to the early 1900’s. Such auctions may also include non-automotive vehicles, like trucks, motorcycles, and even the occasional airplane! The prestigious nationally-publicized events usually draw the largest crowds and serious collectors and, therefore, high-quality, rare, and desirable cars. The cream of the crop are usually offered during prime time, usually a Saturday or Sunday. Less special (and therefore less expensive) vehicles may be offered on Thursdays, Fridays, or in the evening. 44    Master Technician Online

Bear in mind, however, that even the larger auctioneers conduct smaller, local or regional auctions that can feature more vehicles that are less “special,” and therefore more affordable. These lower-key auctions will often include a few “Feature” or “Star Cars” that are included in order to generate added interest and attendance.

Who Are The Buyers? Who Are The Sellers? The nature of the buyers and sellers at classic auctions varies with the nature of the auction itself. The nationallypromoted, large-scale auctions usually attract the highest-quality cars and, therefore, they attract buyers with the interest in, and means to buy, these special vehicles.

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A u ction Action

Sometimes celebrities will be on hand to help promote the sale of a particularly noteworthy car they’ve been associated with. Such notables may include movie stars, custom car designers, racers, or race car builders. Barrett-Jackson photo.

Realistically, you should expect most of the buyers and sellers at the major national sales are professional collectorcar brokers or serious investors/ collectors/restorers. So don’t plan on getting a steal of a deal on that alloriginal 427 Cobra whose true value goes unnoticed by other bidders. These people, for the most part, earn their living by buying and selling collector cars and will bid them up to their true market value. These national events may also be attended by celebrities and other notables who have the financial 46    Master Technician Online

Auction vehicles almost always bring substantially higher prices when supported by restoration photos, owner histories, service records, and other supporting documentation. Having pretty girls display these documents doesn’t hurt either…

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A u ction Action

horsepower to pay six or seven figures for a vehicle “they just have to have.” Regulars at such auctions include wellknown figures and car enthusiasts like Jay Leno, Reggie Jackson, and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick. You certainly don’t want to get into a bidding war with one of these guys.

Bidders’ assistants make sure that your bid gets recognized by the auctioneer, and often do so in a colorful and exciting fashion in order to add fun and theater to the event. Below: Long before the bidding starts, auction vehicles are available for inspection, and even if you have no intention of bidding or, or buying, a car, these pre-sale previews make for a fun and interesting car show and, except for the largest sales, often for not much more than the cost of a movie ticket and a large bucket of popcorn.

48    Master Technician Online

Likewise, the sellers at these major events are often individuals who earn their living buying, refurbishing or restoring, and re-selling collector cars. However these events may also include special or particularly interesting vehicles that may come from estates or individuals who have had them tucked away for years or even decades, and the owners are now ready to cash out. Smaller, less prominent auctions, on the other hand, are much more likely to

attract first-time sellers who may have owned a particular car for some time and have finally decided to part with it. Likewise, such events tend to attract buyers who have finally put their kids through school, gotten their daughters married off, paid down much of their mortgage, and are now ready to treat themselves to the car they’ve been dreaming of for years.

Can I Just Go to Watch? Sure. Spectating at a collector car auction can be great fun, and a great family activity if your kids and/or significant other also has an interest in cars. In fact, attending a few auctions is absolutely mandatory if you harbor thoughts of buying or selling a car at auction, since you’ll learn a ton about the process while seeing some really interesting cars and getting to do some serious peoplewatching. Expect to pay a modest fee as a spectator. Kids are often admitted free with a paying

adult. Bear in mind that general admission does not normally allow you to buy or sell. A separate buyer’s registration fee, as explained in Part 2 next time, is usually required along with documentation to demonstrate that you have the funds necessary to complete a purchase. Furthermore, there’s usually lots going on besides the auction itself. It’s very common to find a vendors’ area with folks selling everything from new and used parts to T-shirts and other souvenirs like die-cast cars and other memorabilia. Sometimes there will be dedicated parking areas for various car clubs, sometimes a Show ‘n Shine car show, or other activities to keep the event festive and interesting. Tune in next time when we’ll discuss how to buy or sell at a collector auction.

Resources: Hemming’s Motor News: Sports Car Market:

Major collector car auction companies: Barrett-Jackson: Mecum: Carlisle Auctions: RM Auctions: Russo and Steele: Gooding and Company: The Branson Auction:

August 2010    49

A u ction Action

Auction Action by Glen Quagmire

Part 2

Images courtesy of McCullough Public Relations


ast time we discussed the basics of collector car auctions -- the companies that run them, the nature of the people who most often show up to buy or sell, and what you can expect if you decide to drop into an auction for an enjoyable day or two’s worth of entertainment and enlightenment.

If You’re Buying… In order to bid on, or buy, a car at a collector car auction, you need to register with the auctioneer. There’s a fee to register, which can vary from a modest figure up to several hundred dollars, depending on the scope and prestige of the event. You’ll also have to provide identification, like a driver’s license, and you may have to show that you have proof of insurance on an existing vehicle (so that a car you might buy will be automatically covered for a period of time – often 30 days, depending on your policy).

This time we’ll dig a little deeper and discuss the procedures involved in actually buying (or at least bidding) or selling at a collector car auction, along with a discussion of the people and policies involved in the process. And, finally, we’ll share a caution or two that might benefit your piggy bank, your Perhaps most important, you’ll have to sanity, and maybe even your marriage. provide evidence that you have enough 50    Master Technician Online

P o s t e d A u g u s t 3 0 , 2 0 1 0  |   K e y w o r d : A u c t i o n A c t i on 2

money in your possession to pay for a car you might buy. Depending on the auctioneer, they may accept a certified or cashier’s check or cash, and most will happily accept a letter of credit from your bank that you can draw against. If you’re thinking about buying a car at auction, be sure to check the auctioneer’s terms before you go. And while you’re doing your homework beforehand, be sure to check for other costs and fees. Nearly all auctioneers add a Buyer’s Premium to the gavel price of a car (hey, they’ve gotta eat too…). Typically this fee is several percentage points of the gavel price.

their auction, called a consignment fee, plus you’ll pay a Seller’s Premium – a commission – as a percentage of the selling price. This fee helps serve as an incentive for the auctioneer to get as high a price as possible for your vehicle. Expect the auctioneer to require you to bring a clear title so ownership can be transferred on the spot.

Certainly you’ll want to present your car in the best possible condition, so prepare and detail it as much as humanly If You’re Selling… possible. Also, provide and display If you have a car you’d like to sell at a all documentation and history you collector car auction, you’ll typically pay have available, including photographs a flat fee to have your car included in showing any restoration or major repairs

August 2010    51

A u ction Action

performed, in order to demonstrate the a seller chooses to set a reserve price, so value of your car. that the auctioneer gets paid regardless of how the seller chooses to sell.

What’s the Deal With a Reserve?

A reserve is a minimum price the seller agrees to accept, and is established when the owner agrees to have it auctioned. This reserve price is not divulged until bidding is complete, and serves as a sort of “insurance policy” that the seller will not see his car sold for an unacceptably low bid. There are plusses and minuses to having a reserve price. As noted, the reserve does offer some protection to the seller, but it also may discourage bidders who don’t know for sure that the gavel bid will actually result in a purchase. Also, when bidding does not reach a seller’s reserve price, the auctioneer does not receive either a buyer’s or seller’s premium. So the auctioneer usually establishes a different fee structure when

52    Master Technician Online

Also, a seller has the option to “lift the reserve” at any time during the bidding process. So if the seller has set a reserve price and the bidding approaches that price, he may “lift the reserve” so that the car will indeed change hands when the gavel drops. Often, when a seller lifts the reserve, bidding accelerates, since buyers know a sale is certain, and in many cases the bidding actually goes on to exceed the reserve that was initially set.

Who Are Those People in the Tuxedos? The more upscale and prestigious auctions employ “bidders’ assistants,” who basically serve several purposes. They help auctioneers notice every possible bidder, which is important when there are a large number of bidders




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August 2010    53

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present. They also serve as intermediaries to communicate a bid to the auctioneer so that bidders don’t have to shout to be noticed.. But perhaps the most valuable service they perform, at least from the auction company’s perspective, is to provide face-to-face encouragement to bidders to raise the ante “just one more time; just a thousand dollars more, and that car can be yours…”

Finally Buyer Beware… This point can’t be made often enough or loudly enough. Buyer beware. At auction, all sales are final (and properly so…). So do your homework and know what you want to buy and how much you want to pay. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of an auction, and it’s easy to find yourself in a bidding war based on adrenalin. Also, bear in mind that you don’t have a lot of time to evaluate a car prior to purchase, and you aren’t likely to have the opportunity to raise a car on a lift to evaluate the undercarriage for degree of

restoration, originality, or signs of previous damage or repair. There are no guarantees, no returns, no recourse; once you’ve bought it, you’ve bought it. Also, understand that people and things are not always what they appear to be. The country bumpkin you’re bidding against may well be a shrewd collector car broker, and may even be the representative of a celebrity who doesn’t want his/her identity known. And, for all you know, the person you’re bidding against could even be the seller, who’s trying to boost your bid for his car. The best thing you can do is to do your homework, tame your adrenalin, and steer clear of the bar until the day is done, and deal with a reliable, well-established auction company who will do their part in assuring clear title and representation as honest as they can make it. After that, it’s up to you.

August 2010    55

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56    Master Technician Online | April 2010


August 2010, MasterTechnician