Auto Channel 25

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ISSUE 25 JUNE 2020


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On the ropes? How to fight back BUSINESSES SHUT DURING LOCKDOWN ARE UNDER A STRAIN THEY WERE NEVER DESIGNED TO WITHSTAND. AUTO CHANNEL CONTACTED BUSINESS CONSULTANT ARO ADVISERS TO HELP POINT BUSINESSES IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION dviser Dave Saunders answers our questions from the point of view of a workshop or smallto-medium automotive business:


Our income has taken a hammering and so has our bank balance, what can we do? Most business owners worry about making a profit — and you should. If you can’t make a profit over the medium term, your business isn’t viable, and that’s a very bad thing. However, it isn’t lack of profit that kills a business; it’s lack of cash. Cash is king. It’s the equivalent of oxygen for business — you can’t last for too long without it. If you don’t have a buffer squirrelled away for a rainy day, look at raising some finance such as a bank loan or taking a more handson approach to cash-flow management. If you’re wondering what the hands-on approach is, it is negotiating better payment terms with

suppliers, haggling for a rent reduction, examining all of your costs very closely — which you probably should be doing anyway — and making sure you get paid quickly. I think we need to cut costs. Where do we start? I often suggest using a process of elimination; rather than thinking about where you can cut costs, think about where you really shouldn’t cut costs first, then attack everything else. There are two things that really grind my gears when people look to cut costs to get a business back into the black. The first is when they reduce the value of what they are selling. For example, if you were offering tyres and you substitute good quality tyres for cheaper quality ones but continue to charge the same prices, there is a good chance you will piss off your customer base. That’s not a winning strategy, long term.

Aro Advisers’ Dave Saunders The second thing that I often see is businesses cutting back on their advertising budget — even when it is working. Unless you’ve got more work than you can handle or it is clear that your advertising isn’t working, cutting your advertising spend is about as effective as putting less petrol in your car to achieve better mileage — it’s not going to work. However, I often see businesses over time build up lots of bad spending habits and these rarely get looked at. Money leaks out of all sorts of places. So, the first thing I would do is go through a cash flow statement or a profit or loss statement in your accounting software and see where all of your hard-earned money is going out, line by line.



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SEMI-METALLIC FORMULATION Longer pad life and great pedal feel Improved performance for high-load applications The semi-metallic formulation of RCT Extreme pads offer long-lasting and consistent braking for vehicles carrying heavy loads. Semi-metallic brake pads can withstand temperatures greater than that of other braking compounds giving RCT Extreme users confidence knowing their brake pads will perform in varying applications from inner-city couriers to open-road towing and 4X4.

REPCO ROTORS NOW 500+ PART NUMBERS When it comes to the safety of you and your family, you need to have trust in your vehicle’s braking system. Therefore, we’ve designed a high quality, high carbon steel brake rotor made to withstand extreme heat and minimise warping, matching OE quality and feel for dependable stopping power every time.

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From the Ed.

28 Getting back to business

Cover / 8

Car News


A supply-chain perspective


Napa opens in New Plymouth


Positively identifying a negative


Feature Car: Nitro RX-2


A game-winning strategy


Kiwi innovators: E&H Motors


Old-school tools


Business Profile: Fenix Auto Parts


Tech Feature: Ethanol explained


Bedrock electrical principles


Product Profiles


Directory Listing



o far, so good. While an extended halt to operations puts strain on a lot of small- to medium-sized businesses, early indications are that some auto-trade businesses at least are finding that business is picking up again; some have even said they are busy. It seems that, while some business sectors are finding customers taking a cautious approach, or that social-distancing restrictions in Level 2 are reducing their capacity, Kiwis still need their cars. Most of the reasons Kiwis drove before lockdown still apply. While some people have discovered they can work from home at least some of the time, others are more reluctant to use public transport. If people are cautious at the moment about spending on larger items like cars — to what extent this is true is yet to be shown — and choose instead to hold onto older cars, that will result in an uptake in maintenance requirements. There’s no doubt, though, that a big hole in revenue will have consequences, and businesses, if they are not doing it already, should be looking at how to improve their efficiency. Our front page lead — an interview with Aro Advisers’ Dave Saunders — is a great place to start.


Ian Parkes, Editor

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Car News

Funky versions add lifestyle to Transit practicality FORD DEALERSHIPS WELCOME TWO INNOVATIVE TRANSIT CUSTOMS TO THE RANGE — THE FORD TRANSIT CUSTOM SPORT AND FORD TRANSIT CUSTOM DOUBLE CAB wo new Ford Transit custom models are giving the panel van some cool as well as practical cred. The Transit Custom Sport Van has more power and torque plus unique styling, interior treatment, and features. And the new Transit Custom Double Cab-in-Van (DCiV) model can carry up to six passengers while offering 4.4m3 of load space — under cover!


Fully loaded Like the rest of the new Custom range, the new vans feature Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection as standard. The Transit includes a full suite of Driver Assist Technologies as standard, building on its five-star ANCAP rating. These include adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, a blind-spot information system with a rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic headlamps with auto high-beam function. Ford New Zealand light commercial marketing manager David Herbert says the success of the Ford Ranger showed that continuous improvement helps vehicles stay ahead. He says some buyers are looking for greater versatility and more choice when it comes to their work vehicles. “With AEB as standard on every model, and the new Transit Custom Sport and Double Cab-in-Van body styles, we’ve covered practicality and personality for customers looking for capability and character.” The Transit Custom’s advanced common-rail two-litre turbo-diesel engine meets Euro 6.2 emissions standards, delivering 125kW of power, 30 per cent more than the prior model, and 390Nm of torque.

Its racing-inspired stripes and unique decals, 17-inch black machined alloy wheels, and a body styling kit with unique front and rear bumpers plus side skirts take the 320S Sport Van out of the ordinary. An upgraded interior includes a 10-way poweradjustable driver’s seat and partial leather trim. The rear load area features new LED lighting for greater visibility, complementing the steel bulkhead, sidewall trim board, and load-floor protection standard on all Transit Custom van models. The new Transit Custom DCiV includes the upgraded power train and six seats accessed by dual side-load doors — three at the front and three at the rear ­— as well as an ample 4.4m3 of load space. Like others in the range, the new vans feature an automatic transmission and SYNC 3 with a fullcolour eight-inch touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; 30,000km or one-year service intervals and a five-year or 150,000km warranty. Other equipment includes six airbags, dynamic stability control (DSC) with roll-over mitigation and trailer sway control, side-wind stabilization, load adaptive control and hill-launch assist, a rear-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors.


Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

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NOTICE TO ADVERTISERS Parkside Media uses due care and diligence in the preparation of this magazine, but is not responsible or liable for any mistakes, misprints, omissions, or typographical errors. Parkside Media prints advertisements provided to the publisher but gives no warranty and makes no representation to the truth, accuracy, or sufficiency of any description, photograph, or statement. Parkside Media accepts no liability for any loss which may be suffered by any person who relies either wholly or in part upon any description, photograph, or statement contained herein. Parkside Media reserves the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Parkside Media, the publisher, or editor. All material published, gathered, or created for Auto Channel is copyright 2019 Parkside Media Limited. All rights reserved in all media. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the publisher.

Auto Channel is the best way to reach the wider automotive industry. The publication is direct mailed to 11,298 New Zealand businesses in the following automotive sectors:

Performance kick The new Transit Custom 320S Sport Van adds performance with 136kW of power and 405Nm of torque delivered through a six-speed automatic offering practical, weather-proof load carrying with highly praised driving dynamics.


Ben Ireland of Offshoot Digital takes delivery of his new Transit Custom Sport from John Andrew Ford in Auckland

Automotive workshops, parts importers and distributors, transmission specialists, automotive recyclers, towing operators, panel beaters and painters, crash repairers, tyre dealers, suspension and underbody repairers, steering specialists, towing operators, auto-electrical repairers, newand used-car dealers, air-conditioning repairers, heavy-machinery dealers, trucking and transport



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Prices are recommended only and are net after discount and exclude GST. Recommended prices were correct at the time of printing. 2GetGenuine reward points are awarded only to trade customers registered under the GetGenuine GetRewards Programme. Some exclusions apply. Images shown are example parts only. For full warranty terms and conditions ask your authorised Ford Dealer. Promotion ends 30 June 2020.

Suzuki adapts and responds THE HARD STOP OF THE LOCKDOWN HERE AND THE COVID-19 RESPONSE OVERSEAS SENT RIPPLES IN BOTH DIRECTIONS ALONG THE PARTS SUPPLY CHAIN. HOW DID LOCAL DISTRIBUTORS RESPOND AND GET BACK TO BUSINESS? s the auto-trade business gets back into operation, the effects of the lockdown have also travelled back up the supply chain. Auto Channel asked Suzuki New Zealand’s general manager of parts and accessories, Phil Cornforth, what the impact has been on his parts supply in New Zealand.


Most vehicle workshops weren’t seen as ‘essential’ during lockdown, so how did this affect the parts business? As mentioned on numerous occasions during lockdown, we have all been living in unprecedented times over the past two months due to Covid-19, and this created a whole new set of challenges for the parts-supply chain. With restrictions in place, little motoring occurring, and dealers closed during Level 4, there was little parts-sales activity. However, staff working from home and warehouse operations maintained a parts service for Suzukis being used as essential vehicles and for Suzuki owners employed in essential services. Owners still managed to lose their ignition keys and suffer the occasional driving mishap or have an emergency servicing requirement even under lockdown. Suzuki NZ was able to process orders and distribute required items to the dealer network. What is happening on the shipping front? Can you still get parts? With the government wanting to avoid congested ports in case of a major emergency, Suzuki NZ

continued to receive container shipments and unpack these throughout lockdown. This is increasing considerably since we moved to Level 2 as more shipping movement occurs and, combined with more Suzuki PDCs [parts distribution centres] reopening worldwide, continuity in parts supply can be maintained. Airfreight shipping services have become one of the new challenges, with so many airline fleets grounded, finding cargo space for anything other than essential/priority freight is near impossible. We are reliant on sea-freight channels to maintain the supply chain at present. However, a number of airlines are slowly resuming key air routes, albeit on drastically reduced schedules, so these services should slowly be further restored as we emerge from the pandemic. How are you managing local distribution? Local distribution is another issue. Transport networks are experiencing huge backlogs of undeliverable freight because of businesses being closed. This is congesting their depots. On top of this, with people isolated at home, has been the massive increase in internet shopping. This has further inundated freight networks, adding delays to the usual overnight services.




Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

How has this affected other parts of Suzuki NZ? As the country emerged from Level 3, we saw the release of the facelift Ignis model and a number of new accessory lines to dress this trendy model. Suzuki NZ also released a new ‘Shadow’ Special Edition Vitara featuring black Misti alloy wheels and a range of black accessory trim items. Another effect of lockdown has been increased call-outs for Suzuki’s 0800 Roadside Assist programme to attend to flat-battery situations as vehicles had not been driven for a while and their batteries were not maintained. For more information on Suzuki genuine parts, call 06 349 1222, dial 1 for parts; for more on the GetGenuine rewards programme, see

What other impacts has this had on Suzuki’s parts business? Unfortunately, with most local workshops being closed, Suzuki NZ has not seen a great deal

Four full function alignment lifts utomaster’s own AM-6745WA four-post wheel alignment lift is a commercial-grade lift for vehicles up to 4200kg. It has removable front turn plates and multi-directional lockable rear slip plates on its 4800mm long runways. The lift platform has a low profile of 180mm and is fitted with 975mm drive-on ramps. The AM-6745WA is supplied standard with two 2500kg rolling jacking beams, so freeing all four wheels is possible, making tyre rotation or replacement a breeze. The double lock safety system activates automatically as the lift is raised and includes a cable breakage emergency locking system. The adjustable locking ladders in each post enable simple levelling of the lift and ensures all four corners are locked. Unlocking is a push button operation. Automaster brand lifts feature top quality oil pumps, cylinders, and electric motors and Automaster’s Gary Cotterell says this lift, at just $9575 excluding delivery and installation, will

of activity in its changed GetGenuine loyalty programme, which increased reward points for purchasing genuine Suzuki service items and the competitive pricing offer these items carry. The key benefit of this programme is that Suzuki owners get the assurance of quality Suzuki genuine parts being used in the service or repair of their vehicles. However, we expect this will pick up as more people use their cars under Level 2. Check these out with your local Suzuki dealer now and receive more points.

provide reliable, durable performance, even in the most demanding environments. If you are looking for a premium quality 6-tonne alignment lift, Powerrex’s SL-6000A four-post wheel alignment lift is fully made in Korea and comes with two 3-tonne jacking beams as standard. Three buttons control up, lock, and down and a 6-button remote control adds up and down control for each jacking beam. Each hydraulic jacking beam also has electrical switches on each side to operate them from under the car. The electrical double lock safety system is automatically activated. Operation is simple. One button to go up; lock button to rest the lift onto the locks. Lower button raises the lift off the locks and lowers the platform. This lift is fitted with removable front turn plates so operators can use the full length of the 5700mm runways, together with multi-directional lockable rear slip plates. It comes with 1200mm long drive on ramps.

A smaller version, the Powerrex SL-3600A four-post alignment lift, offers all the same features but for vehicles up to 4500kg. The two jacking beams have a 2-tonne capacity. It measures 575 wide and 4600mm long, compared with the 6-tonne version’s 600mm and 5700mm width and length. Its platform height is also slightly lower at 235mm, down from 280 for the SL-6000A. Neither of these Powerrex four posters need a pneumatic connection for operation. If space is an issue, the Powerrex SL5600A scissor hoist is specifically designed as a wheel alignment hoist with a 4.5-tonne lift capacity. It has the same 3-button control panel and 6-button remote control as the other Powerrex alignment lifts and jacking beams powered by the main hydraulic pump, avoiding the need to run pneumatic air lines to the jacking beams. This lift is also fitted with removable front turn plates and 1200mm long drive-on ramps. An angled approach at the rear of the platform also gives low vehicle access to the 280mm high runways. Automaster Equipment stocks a complete inventory of parts. For more information, see or call 0800 214 604.


The government loans on offer — are they a good idea and how much can I get? Much of what the government has released has been a bit of a moving target; it has evolved very quickly based on feedback from businesses, so it is quite possible that the Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme will evolve also. But as of right now [19 May], this is the situation: businesses that the IRD considers viable and that have up to 50 staff can use the scheme. No interest will be charged on the first year, then three per cent per annum after that, with no mandatory payments during the first two years. The amount you can borrow depends on your size. You can borrow up to $10K plus an additional $1800 per full-time-equivalent employee. This means if it’s just you in your shop, you can borrow $10,000 + $1800 = $11,800. If you have five staff, you can borrow $10,000 + 5 x $1800 = $19,000. If you have 50 staff, you can borrow $10,000 + 50 x $1800 = $100,000. At the moment, applications are open until 12 June. If that’s how much you can borrow, is it a good idea? Most businesses carry some debt, and almost all of it will be at a higher interest rate and have stricter repayment terms, so these loans do look reasonably appealing. However, the money will still need to be paid back — and IRD has way more collection powers than most other lenders. This isn’t free money, so if you do borrow it, use it wisely. Lockdown, the extension for WOFs, and customers spending less are reducing our income — what should we do? Boy, big question. You always need to start by looking at your costs, so go back a couple of questions and start there. Next up comes a very fundamental question: should you continue to operate in a similar way but focus on being more efficient, or should you operate a different way? We will come back to this in a second — a couple more questions to work through first. Tougher times are a good time to assess things and identify which products or services you make the best margin on. The reality is that most businesses don’t have a clear picture. Perhaps you do really well out of scheduled servicing but make very little on wheel alignments — so what should you be focusing on? Obviously, scheduled servicing. What we are really talking about here are the foundation blocks of your business model. Focus on what is best for your business, so start by assessing your margins on all your services and then orientate your workshop to do more of that work. Back to the first question. Is there something that your shop can offer that is recognizably different to others? Or can you deliver it in a different way? For example, when McDonald’s first came along, people in the restaurant scoffed at the idea of a ‘selfservice restaurant’. But it seems to have worked out pretty well for McDonald’s. A more relevant example but also from the US might be Wrench, an innovative approach to mobile mechanics. Part of what Wrench offers is fixed-price work, online quotes, and booking from an app. Despite being a young company, it now operates in more cities than we have in New Zealand. If you’re really clear on which services make you


Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

money and you know what your business model should be, it’s now time to promote and grow your customer base. This doesn’t mean discounting or cutting your price. It is very rare for the cheapest also to be the most successful! None of these steps is quick or easy, but if you want to come out in front on the other side of this, putting some hard work in now will pay off.

business owners believe that because of Covid-19, their legal obligations to their employees no longer apply. This isn’t the case. Word on the street is that already there are a number of employers who are going to get a call-up to appear in front of the Employment Relations Authority because of how they have treated staff during lockdown. Don’t be one of them.

If it becomes necessary, how do I make staff redundant?

What should we be doing right now?

Making decisions about the future employment of a member of our team is never fun and is something that shouldn’t be rushed. But it is inevitable that some businesses will face a reduced workload and may have to look at all their options. Redundancy is the result of a process called ‘restructuring’. Restructuring is the process of exploring all options and inviting input from your staff. Too often, business owners jump to the conclusion and decide to make staff redundant but, if you don’t follow the correct process, (a) you might miss out on some opportunities or valuable input from your team; and (b) you are at serious risk of being at the wrong end of a personal grievance. If you think you need to make some significant changes in your business that could result in roles changing or being removed, it’s worth seeking professional advice. If that’s a bit hard to do, at the very least make sure you understand and follow the correct process. It can be found here: business. If it is evident that you need to go down this road, don’t mess about. Make a start because it might take some time to work through properly. While it can be a painful process, if the survival of your business is at stake it’s essential to get on with it. One final point on this: it seems that a lot of

There are three things I would encourage any business to do at the moment: 1. Build a buffer. There is nothing like having a little more gas in the tank than you need to help you sleep at night. Right now, having access to a little bit of extra cash will make the difference during any lean months, so, if at all possible, build a buffer. The next point will help with this. 2. Keep costs in check. Now is the time to be ‘fiscally prudent’. This doesn’t mean not paying your bills or unreasonably screwing people down. It means being very considered about spending — not spending on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary, shopping around to make sure you’re getting value for money, and chasing up any money owed. 3. Get work through the door. What are some advertising or promotional avenues that are either cheap or offer excellent returns and are quick? If you know some of your customers are going to disappear, some concerted effort needs to go into replacing them. Coming out the other side of this downturn will be the time that market share will change the most. So, what’s it going to be for you — the losing side or the winning side? Dave Saunders advises and coaches small-tomedium businesses around New Zealand. To get in touch, email

RAASM — the reel deal FOR MANAGING AND STORING HOSES OR CABLES OF ANY DIAMETER OR LENGTH, LOOK NO FURTHER THAN RAASM REWIND REELS RAASM spring-operated rewind or handoperated manual reel allows easy access to a hose regardless of its weight or flexibility. These robust reels keep floors clear, reducing trip hazards. They also help in managing heavy-duty hoses, shouldering all the heavy lifting, thus reducing potential injury to the user. And they avoid damage and excess wear and tear on the hose. RAASM spring-operated rewind reels can be floor, wall, or even ceiling mounted, and the added advantage of automatic retrieval saves time and effort — and hassle — in rewinding the hose, which means it will happen more consistently. As an example, these reels can hold up to 60m of 15mm internal diameter (ID) hose or up to 30m of 25mm ID hose. RAASM also manufactures hand-rewind reels that can be floor or wall mounted within easy reach. They can house up to 50mm ID of hose and can hold up to 100m of hose or more, depending on diameter. RAASM stainless-steel reels can be supplied in 304- or 316-grade stainless steel. They are designed to hold pressures up to 600 bar. Retract-action reels can have other rewind drives, including pneumatic, 240V, 12/24V, or hydraulic options.


The all-important swivels on RAASM reels are robust. The swivel seals are made from Teflon, Viton, and polyurethane, which are compatible with hot water, cold water, potable water, compressed or breathable air, oils, grease, diesel, AdBlue, pesticides, herbicides, food gases, and the like. Emco can also supply custom-made stainlesssteel reels with any drive option for any application beyond standard hose requirements. So, if you have any hoses or cables, regardless of size or length, Emco can supply you with handling options. Call Emco on 07 850 5240, see, or email

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Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

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Top tools for a reason GEARWRENCH INNOVATION KEEPS THESE TOOLS AT THE TOP ince the launch of its original five-degree ratcheting wrench, the Gearwrench brand has racked up a series of breakthroughs in passthrough ratchets, sockets, screw/nut drivers, pliers, tool storage, and specialty tools. Gearwrench’s hand tool product manager, James McLellan, said the company’s industrial design team has grown and had “a massive impact” on its products in recent years. “The 90-tooth ratchet line is a great example of that,” he says. “The goal is to always be improving — to never settle for just good enough. So, we went and made these ratchets sleeker, with more teeth and greater comfort than ever before, improving them in every way possible.” Unveiled at the SEMA Show in the US, the 90-tooth ratchet line is stronger and provides better access, while being more comfortable in the hand, which is appreciated by professional mechanics who turn them countless times a day. Having 90 teeth provides a four-degree swing arc for greater access and control in tight spaces. The precision-engineered, high-strength pawl gives increased durability, helping the ratchets exceed ASME torque-performance requirements. The solvent-resistant cushion grip is comfortable but


tough enough to handle workshop life. Full polished versions — easy to clean and smooth to handle — are also available. The range includes 12 individual standard and flex-head ratchets to go with six sets. Six are fullpolished chrome and six will feature the cushion grip. They are available in ¼-inch, 3⁄8-inch, and ½-inch drives, plus a stubby flex-head ratchet in 3⁄8-inch only. In addition to the new line of 90-tooth ratchets, Gearwrench has also launched the new, innovative Bolt Biters. The new impact-rated Bolt Biters have a tapered flute design that grips on tight and removes damaged or rusted bolts with ease. They can remove any damaged bolts, even if they

are rounded below their original size. The unique tapered flute design means you can also tighten and reuse damaged bolts, minimizing further damage. Dual-sized sockets work with both metric and imperial fasteners. These feature a hexagonal base for use with impact-driver power tools, or conventional hand tools like adjustable wrenches, ratchets, or even pliers, and have the Gearwrench lifetime warranty. Gearwrench, from Apex Tool Group, is distributed locally by Accent Tools Ltd. For more information about the new 90-tooth ratchets, the innovative Bolt Biters, and more from the Gearwrench range, head online to




INSTALL A RYCO CABIN AIR FILTER. Ryco Customer Service: 0800 838 222 11

GM Ashdown-Ingram NZ Phil Hughes and GM Sales & Operations Napa NZ Tony Walker demonstrate the new Napa branding

Napa Auto Parts arrives in New Zealand WITH FOUR ESTABLISHED TRADE BUSINESSES AT ITS FOUNDATION, NAPA AUTO PARTS HITS THE GROUND RUNNING apa Auto Parts, well known in the U.S. and Australia, is set to roll out in New Zealand. The first New Zealand branch, Napa Auto Parts New Plymouth opened its doors on 2 June, and will be followed swiftly by another branch in Auckland. Napa Auto Parts is the trade specialist supply offering from GPC Asia Pacific. Owning and operating several trade specialist businesses across the country, GPC has decided to amalgamate Ashdown-Ingram, Appco, Automotive Supplies, and Sulco into Napa Auto Parts. Together, these companies have more than 250 years combined experience. GPC plans to build on this foundation to establish a market-leading automotive, industrial, and commercial supply business, under one roof. “Our existing plans are for a nationwide network of Napa Auto Parts branches,” said Jonathon Maddren, executive general manager of GPC New Zealand.“Napa Auto Parts will bring together the ranges, local teams, and industry knowledge of our stable of trade-only businesses. This is a true amalgamation and expansion that has been several years in the making.” GPC is investing in increasing the existing product ranges and inventory on site at Napa Auto Parts. In the New Plymouth branch, an expansion of the former Appco New Plymouth, the inventory on site is almost doubling in size following a significant



Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

investment in stock, premises, and people. “Automotive aftermarket is changing faster now than ever before and GPC is determined to create an aftermarket parts supply right- sized for the future needs of Kiwi automotive and commercial

Shelves stocked and ready to trade

industries.” said Jonathon. “Amalgamating the rich knowledge and capability of our existing tradeonly specialist businesses and their local staff was a logical next step for GPC. Add the power of Napa, with its strength in global supply brands, technology systems, and business solutions, and its well-known motor-racing pedigree, will make this a world-class offering.” Napa Auto Parts products and services include under car, under bonnet, automotive electrical, tools and equipment, thermal control, 4x4 specific, engines, fuel, suspension, steering, braking, oils, and consumables ranges. Napa Auto Parts New Plymouth is the first of a national network that will roll out over the next two years, joining a fast-growing Australasian network that includes 15 branches in Australia and 6000 in the U.S.

Don’t leave your customers stranded this winter

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Synonymous with innovation, quality and reliability, Century Batteries is committed to delivering a range of superior quality Automotive, Marine and Deep Cycle batteries better suited to New Zealand’s diverse climate and tough conditions. With an extensive product range, exceptional sales support, locally held stock, local product specialists and the ‘peace of mind’ that comes from New Zealand’s leading battery brand, it is clear to see why Century Batteries should be your first choice for stored energy solutions.

Hella: Made in New Zealand HELLA MIGHT BE A GLOBAL BRAND BUT, WITH A KEEN FOCUS ON QUALITY, HELLA DESIGNS AND MAKES PRODUCTS IN NEW ZEALAND ella New Zealand designs and manufactures lighting products across two sites in Auckland and Waihi for the global commercial transport, automotive, and marine industries. Hella’s design and manufacturing plant in Auckland has 180 staff and an electronics assembly plant in Waihi has 40. Dedicated in-house product, electronic, and optical design engineers utilize cutting-edge materials to develop innovative, ultra-reliable, and energy efficient products using the latest LED technology. The 7500 square metre Auckland site, home since 1980, has state of the art highly automated manufacturing capabilities and uses 100 per cent renewable energy. About 95 per cent of rejected product gets recycled into packing trays and glue tubes, and for purging machines between different types of plastics. In 2004 Hella New Zealand became the global headquarters for Hella Marine, strengthening Hella’s presence in New Zealand. The Waihi electronics plant, purpose-built in 2007, boasts the latest automated assembly systems


that place 70,000 LEDs daily onto circuit boards. Every product that leaves Hella New Zealand’s factories is individually tested, and every order line is QA inspected. Onsite testing facilities test products under extremes of temperature, intense UV light, exposure to chemicals, and in humid and salt-laden conditions. Only high quality, corrosion resistant materials that stand the test of time are used; materials such as optical nylon, which has greater strength and durability than other plastics. The factory’s moulds and machines are all custom-built and the extra investment in that tooling is paying off. This means Hella has a high quality and a low

Earn GetGenuine points on your rejection rate. Moulding tolerances can be as precise as plus or minusParts .02mm, which can make a Genuine spend huge difference between a compliant and a noncompliant product. When the local car manufacturing industry closed in the 1990s, instead of following suit, Hella New Zealand expanded its design capabilities to develop specialist products, becoming a pioneer in LED lighting. Today, Hella’s LED marker/signal lamps are viewed as the ‘fit and forget’ choice in the Australasian transport market. For more information, contact your local Hella stockist or visit

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Gearing up for heavy-duty business VEHICLES ARE GETTING BIGGER. ADDING HEAVY-DUTY WORKSHOP EQUIPMENT OPENS THE DOOR TO EVEN MORE CUSTOMERS he growth in the size and weight of commercial and trade vehicles is prompting some workshops to scale up equipment like lifts and tyre changers to handle these bigger vehicles. Upper Hutt-based nationwide supplier Century Distributors is responding to this trend, adding new equipment to its heavy-duty lineup. After 21 years in the business, family-owned Century Distributors is seeing a trend for more workshops to invest in heavy-duty gear. “It means workshops can be more flexible and offer a wider range of solutions,” says Century’s Todd Jenkins. “Being able to tap into new customer segments gives them more options when they need to fill the workshop.” Responding to this need, Century Distributors has added several newly released heavy-duty products to its workshop equipment catalogue. Newest in respected Korean lift manufacturer Heshbon’s line-up is the HL-55F, a 5500kg capable wheel alignment scissor lift. It follows on the heels of the recent introduction of the HL-48H, an 8.5-tonne four-post hoist. Todd says two of these hoists went straight out the door to two customers in New Zealand. For even bigger vehicles, Heshbon offers the




HL-410A, a 10-tonne, 4-post hoist with one of the longest platform lengths in its class — 6420mm. Both of these four-post lifts come with electric remote control and have the option of rolling five-ton jacking beams front and rear (making for a 10-tonne jacking capacity), controlled via buttons on the jacks or remote. For seriously big vehicles, Sice, from Italy, has launched the S60 fully hydraulic tyre changer. The S60 is designed to handle truck, bus, tractor, and earth-moving vehicle wheels weighing up to three tonnes and measuring up to 1800mm wide and three metres in diameter! Rotation is fully hydraulically driven, with three rotation speeds and the movements of the selfcentering clamp and tool arm are fully independent. This allows positioning of the wheel and the tools as freely and quickly as possible, says Todd. The S60 delivers an impressive 5500Nm of torque and 45,000N of bead-breaking force. It comes with radio remote control as standard, so there are no cables to interfere with the working area. For more information, see or call 04 567 1405. As a Capricorn supplier, Century Distributors can also offer Capricorn members a range of options when purchasing equipment.



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Redarc expands BCDC mounting range REDARC HAS ADDED MORE VEHICLE-SPECIFIC MOUNTING BRACKETS FOR ITS AWARD-WINNING AUSTRALIAN-MADE BCDC IN-VEHICLE DC-DC CHARGERS his takes the range to eight brackets, covering most popular 4WD makes and models. Each vehicle-specific bracket is tailored for secure fitment within the engine bay, avoiding the need to drill holes or make custom brackets as a part of a dual battery installation. This saves considerable time and provides a professional, neat install. Specific brackets are available for Land Cruisers from 2007 onwards, Hiluxes from 2005, D-Maxes from 2012, and Colorados from 2015. Joining the range are brackets for 100-, J100-, and J105series Land Cruisers, and a universal mounting kit (BCDCMB-007) suitable for many other vehicles. They all ship complete with instructions and fasteners. Redarc’s managing director, Anthony Kittel, says feedback from the launch of the first brackets in September has been “fantastic”. “Each bracket has been extensively tested in our state-of-the-art HALT and HASS testing equipment, which exposed the brackets to lifetime test conditions under extreme cold, heat, humidity, and vibration. These strenuous tests ensure [that the brackets] are designed to exceed


everyday vehicle applications and stand the test of time.” Like all Redarc products, the BCDC Mounting Brackets and Charger range comes with nationwide support, including a two-year hassle-free warranty and after-sales service to answer any questions. For more information, see

Kumho offers ground-breaking 4WD tyres BLAIRS TYRES HAS ANNOUNCED THE LAUNCH OF A NEW MUD-TERRAIN TYRE AIMED SQUARELY AT THE 4WD UTE AND SUV MARKET fter more than two years of development, Kumho says the new Kumho Road Venture MT71 will do nothing less than redefine the 4WD tyre segment. At launch, Blairs is offering six of the most popular sizes from 14-inch to 17-inch but Kumho aims to offer 27 sizes. "The Road Venture MT71 is a cornerstone product for Kumho. It will deliver the highest level of performance and we believe redefine the serious 4WD tyre market," says Blairs tyres sales manager Mike Baldwin.



Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

The MT71 features an aggressive tread designed for enhanced climbing performance and off-road traction, enhanced durability with extra cut and chip resistance, combined with excellent highway safety and stability. The Road Venture MT71 contains seven integrated steel and fabric layers, three-ply highstrength construction, two steel cord layers, and two nylon protection plies making it one of the most robust mud-terrain tyres available. "During pre-launch testing, the product scored well in slick rock traction, forward traction, front path stability, side-bite ability, and side slope traction, demonstrating severe off-road capability," says Mike. MT71 also delivers significant on-road noise reduction compared with standard MT tyres thanks to its packed centre block, as well as enhanced wet performance thanks to its fluid mechanics design. For more information, contact Blairs on 0800 809 096, or see

The good oil on Morey’s HEADQUARTERED IN AUCKLAND AND WITH AUSTRALIAN REPRESENTATION IN BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA, MOREY OIL SOUTH PACIFIC LTD IS A PRIVATELY OWNED FAMILY COMPANY, ESTABLISHED IN 1982 orey Oil specializes in high-quality lubricants, including Morey’s Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer, Upper Cylinder Lubricant & Injector Cleaner for petrol engines, and Diesel Smoke Killer & Injector Cleaner for diesel engines. Morey’s Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer — the company’s flagship product — is still blended to the formula developed in 1950 by American engineer Clinton H Morey. Products sold under the Morey’s label maintain an excellent reputation for high performance and quality. Morey Oil South Pacific Ltd also supplies food-grade lubricants, along with a comprehensive range of lubricating grease from light to heavy-duty industrial use. The company has also employed quality control procedures with international accreditation of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 since 1996. In line with its ISO 14001 accreditation, Morey’s supplies an environmentally friendly spill absorbent, aptly named ‘Naturesorb’. Visit for more information.







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How low can a bus go? AECS’ TECHNICAL HELP DESK TAKES US THROUGH A SUPPORT ISSUE AND HOW IT WAS SOLVED. AECS TECHNICIAN HAMISH VAN LIER SHOWS HOW TO CHECK IF SOMETHING THAT APPEARS TO BE GOOD, IS ACTUALLY AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS ATS WIFI 6004XM FOUR-CHANNEL SCOPE Problem presented to the technical support team The customer wanted to measure the vehicle’s CAN bus low and run the data through a CAN analyser to check for communication issues. They asked for help in carrying this out on their fourchannel wireless scope. The workshop had an ATS WiFi 6004XM scope, and a diagnostician who had completed the AECS CAN data bus training and was subscribed to AECS technical support. The diagnostician suspected there could be an issue on the CAN communication line between several ECUs and wanted to identify if this was the case.

side of the diagram, an object tree on the screen of preset measuring templates can be loaded into the scope with one mouse click.

The preset on the right sets up the scope ready to carry out measurements after running a test to check lead connections.

MEASURE We asked the technician to go into the scope’s software and use one of the preset measuring templates that are connected to the wiring diagrams in the automotive test and information software provided with ATS scopes. The wiring diagrams make locating the appropriate wires easy, as pinout information is provided. From the lists on the right


Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

Screenshot of ATIS (scope software) with wiring diagrams and pre-recorded sample patterns



Even though the pictures in ATIS clearly show with photographs how to hook up to the vehicle, we advised differently. The diagnostician had to back probe the channel-one scope lead to the engine ECU connect to the CAN low; and channel two to the transmission ECU’s CAN low wire, allowing direct comparison for analysis of CAN low wiring. The recorded pattern was posted to our forum for analysis.

What we wanted was to quickly see if all CAN messages were transmitted and received by all ECUs connected to the CAN bus. The difficulty is that only the CAN low was measured, and, for ‘normal analyses’, the CAN high is used.

MATHS TO THE RESCUE (AGAIN) The measurement software in the scope for CAN analysis needs to see rising signals, where the CAN low switches from 2.5V in a recessive state, down to 1.5V when transmitting a bit. With the mathematical functions within the scope known as I/O (input / output) you can even modify signals to make, for example, the CAN low diagnostics still possible. We then selected gain/offset function to invert the CAN low for our CAN analyser to function. This is as simple as dragging in the gain/offset I/O into the analyser. The function of the CAN analyser table is to decode all the signals recorded on the screen and create an alphanumeric representation so further analysis can be made of data transmitted.

CAN low v. CAN low on two different positions

DO THE MATHS The ATS scopes offer the unique ability to analyse the two recorded signals automatically. The maths functions of the scope allow many analytical tricks, but also a simple option like Ch1 minus Ch2.

The same CAN recording with the gain/offset line added (Math2), and with the gain line evaluated in the CAN analyser

CAN recording with analytical (live) math function added on the screen If you measure with two voltmeters on both ends of the same wire, both should show the same voltage. Whether it is 12V, 2.5V, or 1.5V on both sides doesn’t matter, because 12V – 12V = 0V, 2.5V – 2.5V = 0V. So, if the wiring and connections are in good order, you should always see 0V as the outcome on the maths channel. In the recording, the maths channel (pink) is not looking like a 0V line! Let’s zoom in. Zoomed in, it’s visible that the maths channel only shows very thin spikes when the CAN bus voltages switch. That’s nothing to worry about and has everything to do with wiring impedance, which we won’t be covering in this article.

Clearly visible in the gain recording are, for example, the acknowledge pulses. Those pulses are ECUs confirming the data reception of a message. In the CAN analyser, the acknowledges are represented by 1s. The data-pack ID is also clearly visible — the ID is sent by the ECU sending the data pack. Nothing untoward was seen in this recording, but testing at this level showed that this was not a case of a problem being missed. We just wanted to share what we do here at the AECS technical help desk when a simple recording is sent in for evaluation.

CONCLUSION Very quickly, with the help of a few mathematical functions, we could tell that the wiring on the CAN bus was intact and operating correctly. We could see that the data were being acknowledged on the recorded pattern and also on the CAN table. We could look at the CAN table and see that the same message data were not being repeated by the same sender. When computers have to repeat themselves, the receiver is not listening, which means something is wrong. So there were no selective hearing issues here! Very quickly, the technician could confidently eliminate CAN low as an issue. How long would it take you to reach the same conclusion? Please consider AECS equipment and its technical support team as a way to add a competitive edge to your business operations. We all love to help. For AECS Ltd, Hamish van Lier 06 8749077

Zoomed in CAN low recording plus math


Nitro Blast IT’S BEEN NINE YEARS SINCE WE FIRST FEATURED BRENT CURRAN’S RX-2 COUPE, BUT DUE TO CONTINUAL REWORKS IT’S NEVER A DULL MOMENT WHEN BRENT LINES UP AT MEREMERE FOR A PASS WORDS AND PHOTOS: MARCUS GIBSON t’s a chassis that has seen nearly every rotary engine combination you could dream of over the past decade, from the original 13B turbo that propelled it to a 7.6 during the first season, to the triple-turbo 20Bs back in 2011 when we first featured it, to the turbo quad-rotor that saw it dip into the sixes, then back to a 13B in search of 200mph (322kph); even a compound turbo set-up was flirted with for a brief second. For Brent Curran of Curran Brothers Racing (CBR), his full-tube-frame RX-2 has been and always will be a hot rod. More important, though, is that it’s a way for Matamata’s mad scientist to learn new tricks; test out crazy ideas and wild combinations; and, in the end, increase his skill set, so it should come as no surprise that once again the engine set-up has changed. Only this time the boost in performance has come via chemicals, not compressed air. The RX-2 had been a 13B turbo for some time, including for the period of its stint over in Australia, where it was campaigned at Jamboree. However, Brent admits that it wasn’t a combination that excited him. “I just wasn’t feeling it; I was even going to sit the season out. I mean who goes from a quad-rotor to a two-rotor?” he exclaims. In December he decided that he needed the big block back and began piecing together a four-rotor



Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

peripheral-port (PP) to slot between the Strange struts, but the resulting combination hasn’t turned out exactly as first planned. The original goal was to play with big amounts of nitrous oxide, although that plan has been curbed — for now — while Brent plays with the baddest of the bad chemical power-adders: nitromethane. While not new to fast naturally aspirated (NA) rotaries around the globe, in places such as Puerto Rico for example,

The RX-2 had been a 13B turbo for some time, including for the period of its stint over in Australia. However, Brent admits that it wasn’t a combination that excited him. in New Zealand, nitromethane has been a foreign combination until now. But, Brent being Brent, it’s something that has always intrigued him, although he could not quite get his head around tuning this explosive chemical until reading an old tech article that made it all click for him — at least in theory. In very basic terms, the reason that nitromethane

makes so much power is that it requires significantly less air in the combustion chamber than gasoline does to ignite. meaning you can cram a whole lot more of the explosive stuff in and less of the filler (oxygen). Although nitro has a much lower specific energy than gasoline, the fact you can use a lot more means it makes more than twice the power for a given amount of oxygen. All forms of motorsport that run nitro, mix it with methanol, with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Top Fuel class running up to a mandated maximum 90 per cent nitro. So far, Brent has only pushed up to 40 per cent in the few runs he has made. Building a motor for the combo was the big unknown, although that article pointed Brent down the route of lower compression, so S6 turbo rotors have been used instead of running high compression like other NA applications. This means that when running just methanol, the motor is lazy, compared with when it is running just gasoline, but as soon as the nitro mix is in the tank, the thing comes alive, and you can hear the very noticeable difference. The engine uses all Mazda OEM plates and housing with a CBR billet alloy front cover with bearing support. The block is actually made up of worn-out old spares — this is very much an experiment, so why risk new components? The intake features tapered runners to a large air box and twin Accufab throttle bodies on top. This means that each runner is devoid of a restrictive throttle shaft. The throttle bodies are different sizes, with one 90mm and the other 105mm, purely as these are what Brent had on hand. Eight 1700cc Indy blue injectors are mechanically fed via a beltdriven pump, and currently these are maxed out. However, the tune is still very fat (rich), with the FuelTech FT600 data showing there is still plenty to work with, and there is a need to lean it up to make

Brent was a little worried that they would end up with the world’s loudest ninesecond car, but the first hit out netted an 8.8 at 245kph the most of the chemical power-adder. Being that it’s a drag car, with zero noise restrictions, the four two-inch headers merge rather quickly and scream to 10,500rpm through a four-inch dump pipe before the front doors. Chassis-wise the car hasn’t changed all that much over the years. The one-piece front clip is now a Series 2 front and chrome bumpers have replaced the old moulded versions. The original steel roof and rear quarters remain, as does the Robert Tynan–built chromoly chassis and fabricated

diff housing with Mark Williams head. The only real changes here have been updates to items such as the shocks and other bolt-ons in the name of chassis tuning. As far as NA cars go, this one’s a little on the heavy side, being 960kg with Brent on board. However, there is still plenty of scope to drop a few kilograms by adding more carbon fibre than the already-in-place rear tubs. Brent was a little worried that in NA it might be a little boring to pedal, and they would end up with the world’s loudest nine-second car, but the first hit out netted an 8.8 at 152mph (245kph), the second pass an 8.6, and then those were backed up with an 8.53, exceeding all expectations and fuelling Brent’s curiosity to see just how quick they can go on NA. The next meeting, which took place on an unprepped Night Speed Drag Wars track, was when the nitro was added to the tank. They left the line at 3000rpm less than previously, at only 6500, but an 8.4 at 157mph (253kph) with 40 per cent nitro has Brent eager to really lean on the tune and see where he can take it. Sadly, the season is over thanks to the current coronavirus situation, so it will be at dyno time that Brent can really start to get on top of the combination. “At the moment, I’m finding it’s running much colder, but we are going to reach a point where we will start to get real heat into the engine and make some power. We need to go melt the thing to find that point. It’s probably the only fuel where you stop making power before you melt it, but with this shit I have a funny feeling that it will keep making power until it melts,” he says. Brent is very much at the beginning of this experiment, with only three nitro passes under his belt and plenty of dyno miles to clock up before the new season kicks off. Oh — and the moment he becomes bored with it, there’s always the nitrous system, which is plumbed and ready to fire!


How to hit your sales goals YOU’VE GOT THE RIGHT SPACE, THE SYSTEMS, THE TOOLS, THE TRAINING, THE TEAM — SO WHY ARE SALES STILL BELOW TARGET? f you think you have ticked off all the items on the recipe for success, what is missing? What could be keeping you from achieving success, keeping your business from running like a well-oiled machine, whether you are there or not? The good news is that you don’t have to buy anything.


‘Almost’ doesn’t count When you have everything you need and you continue to end up back at square one, chances are you’re missing effort. Is your staff giving less than 100 per cent on the job? Does it bother you when you almost hit your sales goals, or your team almost hits their hours-billed goals? What’s worse is that when you ask them why or what happened and their answer is: “We tried”. That can be very frustrating. Winners don’t just try; they make things


Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

happen. They overcome objections and bring their A game every time. When they miss their goals, they understand why and adjust so that they win next time. To use a footy analogy, not every attacking move pays off. They might score just a few times a game but they are working for the full 80 minutes, knowing only a few of those attacks will succeed. But the winning team comes to the line each time, confident they will score. They ruck and maul and run and pass every play, knowing full well that they are only going to be successful a few times! But they do it play after play, week after week, for those few scoring moves.

There is no ‘one thing’ or other shortcut to success. Just as in footy, winning starts with those hot summer workouts They have the best of everything — equipment, facilities, training programmes, like most other teams — but they also have the desire and attitude to win. The biggest difference between successful businesses and the rest is staff engagement — belief that what they do matters and that they are contributing to the business’s success — but that can only grow when the owners and leaders believe in that success and lead by example. You can create a winning attitude in your business by sharing your knowledge and your commitment to working all the angles. You must tell your staff how to be the best and why it’s important.

It’s too easy to forget the fundamentals. We stop doing the simple things like handing out business cards and asking for referrals. We stop setting the next appointment when we get busy, don’t we? How about follow-up calls? It’s easy to let those slide, too? Posting on Google My Business or Facebook business posts is also forgotten. And how about looking into your customers’ vehicle history to find out what service milestones are approaching, and other forms of customer-relationship building? Today, more than ever, customers want to deal with businesses that care.

There is no easy answer Educating the customer as to why they need to invest $800 for maintenance on a car that runs well takes a lot of effort and needs to be done repeatedly. Don’t ask, “What is the one thing I need to do that will make me successful?” There is no ‘one thing’ or other shortcut to success. Just as in footy, winning starts with those hot summer workouts, hours of practice, and 100 per cent effort each time they’re in the game and at the line. There is no one big thing; it is 100 little things that add to the score or sale — and the willingness to give it your all every time, and to share that thorough approach with staff. You know you won’t score or make the sale every time but are you willing to give it 100 per cent effort the next time you are on the line? So, talk to your staff and explain how you give 100 per cent effort and surround yourself with staff who will also do all those little things each time. If you do, you will surely find success and the business you have always wanted.



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The dyno room at work

E&H Motors — serious about winning BROTHERS’ COMPETITION IMPROVES THE BREED — MODIFYING AND TUNING CHAMPIONSHIP-WINNING CARS ACROSS MULTIPLE RACING DISCIPLINES &H Motors looks bright, tidy, and modern but otherwise unremarkable among other light industrial properties on Pukekohe’s main drag. But there is so much more to this place than the average small town workshop. Two race cars with dramatic E&H Motors livery parked out front, a Subaru WRX tarmac rally car and a Nissan Silvia GTRNZ track car, are hefty clues. Then you might notice the odd second-storey pop-top — like a squat bell tower, complete with louvres, on top of the workshop. It was built to vent air from three giant fans over the dyno garage. When engines pushing out over a 1000hp (746kW) are being put through their paces, you need a lot of fresh air to keep everything cool in there, and breathable. Then there’s the owners. Brothers Carl and Hans Ruiterman radiate the keenness they have for motorsport that has dominated their lives and shaped their business. In the finest tradition of Kiwi motorsport racers, they innovate, test, develop, and tune bits for their own cars, then test them on the track. And they win. Race-proven technology is one thing, but race-winning technology is what they do here. A modest cabinet just inside the door is stuffed with trophies including multiple D1NZ and National Drifting Championship awards. Carl won both the D1NZ and NZ Drift Series championship in the first year of drifting and won the NZ Drift championship the following year. He has competed overseas, and has also won four national off-road



Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

championship titles in the Yamaha YZX off-roaders he has developed. The off-roaders are now a strong line of business for the brothers. The turbo package they designed and install on the three-cylinder 1000cc Yamaha puts out nearly three times the horsepower of the standard unit. E&H Motors doesn’t just add a turbo. Aftermarket turbo units are just the start. Any parts that are not up to racing-performance standards are modified or replaced, the installation is designed for optimum weight distribution, and of course fuelling and ignition timing are remapped. E&H also supplies uprated engine air-boxes, steering arms, and suspension damper units — resprung and with modified valving — as well as CNC-bent roll cages and racing seats. Carl says the basic Yamaha unit is immensely strong so they don’t need trick billet crankshafts or con rods and they run standard gearboxes axles and brakes.

THE SECRET OF THEIR SUCCESS The secret to E&H’s success is no secret. The boys modify anything and everything they think could give them an edge, test it themselves, then, if it works — reliably — they offer it to customers. “Everything we do for ourselves we’ll do for customers,” says Carl. “Then it comes down to the skill of the drivers.” It’s not just their own success that drives business. They have tuned and prepared cars that

have won the New Zealand Rally Championship, the Race to the Sky–winning Subaru, the Leadfootwinning Subaru, the GTRNZ GT2 championship car, both the BMW A and B Open Series champions, the off-road U-class and S-class cars, and the winning RWD C2 class drag car. E&H Motors has spent hundreds of hours on the dyno developing ignition and fuel maps, developing parts on sacrificial test engines to learn how hard they can push engines and fuels to get the most performance reliably. They can plug in up to eight lambda sensors to see what’s happening in every cylinder, if that’s what’s wanted, as well as monitor exhaust-gas temperature (EGT) and all the other performance variables. If necessary, a performance car can be on the dyno for a couple of days. The dyno room is rarely empty, tuning an average of three vehicles a week, but performance and race cars are only part of the picture. Hans says a growing part of the business is people tuning diesel utes. For power, yes — but some want to change the engine characteristics or throttle response for towing, while others just want more economy.

COMPETITION IN THE BLOOD They say competition improves the breed and these brothers have always been intensely competitive. They used to race motocross together but now, perhaps wisely, they follow different motorsport disciplines. Having won the GT2 circuit racing championship — the classes are based on lap times — Hans is now building a car aimed at GT1. He has

Hans and Carl — car racers, tuners, inventors, fabricators, and engineers

built and fitted a new firewall to place the V6 engine as far back as possible and cut and reshaped the front wheel arches to improve airflow through them. Having built and raced the WRX out front for tarmac rallies, 4WD drifting, and rallycross demos — it still gets an outing each year at Leadfoot — Carl got involved in developing the Yamaha off-roader for Yamaha-sponsored drivers right from its launch here. Hans was 14 and Carl two years older when they converted their first car, a Ford Escort, into a potent street weapon, then moved onto a Skyline. Their father, Hans Senior, who started the business with business partner Eric (hence ‘E&H’) in 1972, always supported and encouraged them. He also had a car-parts wrecking business behind the workshop. Carl says having a ready supply of parts out the back certainly made it easy for them to push engines to the limit in their quest for more performance and reliability. Hans Senior still runs the wrecking business but stepped back from the workshop after the boys bought that business in 2008. Hans says their involvement in racing has certainly helped bring customers to their door, wanting the mods they have done on their own cars, and E&H is always happy to oblige. As well as all the standard tuning tricks such as

Numbers, grids, and charts — E&H does brains as well as brawn

exhaust mods and ECU reflashing, E&H makes a range of performance products such as a crankshaft trigger kit for SR and RB engines. It takes signals directly from the position of the crankshaft to trigger ignition firing. Most engines take their timing from the camshaft but any slap or stretch in the cam chain or belt under high load can mean the information the computer is receiving could be two to three degrees out on the crankshaft’s actual position. Sending the actual crank position to the computer could make five per cent more power, and be safer.

WORLD FIRST E&H Motors has also modified and added CNCmilled cylinder-head extensions to add variable valve timing to SR20 GTiR and VE engines. “It has variable lift technology but it will now have variable valve timing as well. I don’t believe anyone else has done that anywhere in the world,” says Hans. A squared-off ring of metal on the bench catches our eye. It fits between the motor and sump, adding about 20mm of depth, Hans explains. Under racing conditions, the oil would slop sideways under

G-forces, robbing oil pressure momentarily. This was an easy way to get more oil in there. I ask if the brothers patent any of their work but basically their pace of development doesn’t allow for it. Many times in the past they have evolved their designs, adding refinements or coming up with new solutions. Or new engines or equipment come onto the market and that becomes their focus. They have several customers who keep coming back for the latest mods, or simply wanting another step up in horsepower. While the workshop has the drills, lathes, and folding and bending gear you’d expect for making one-off parts, Hans says that he draws everything himself on CAD then almost all engine parts are CNC machined. The precision required and the complexity often mean it is more efficient to do this, even for one-off pieces. “We have got the contacts to do that now, and we’ve made most of them through racing,” he says. Despite all of this, E&H Motors is not just about race cars and performance cars, although that’s about 30 per cent of the business for the team of six. They also do warrants of fitness, mechanical repairs, routine maintenance, and servicing for everyday vehicles and for local fleets.


Old-school tools and techniques DON’T BE SO QUICK TO DUMP THE TEST LIGHT. ITS RESULTS CAN BE ILLUMINATING ust about any kind of troubleshooting requires the gathering of reliable data, and bad data are almost as bad as no data. When you are working on modern engines, it’s essential to know how much voltage is present — not just whether it is present or not — since sensor signals are primarily voltage, with practically no amps. That has prompted OEM automotive and heavy-truck instructors to tell mechanics to throw their test lights away and only use meters to work on modern vehicle systems. However, some oldschool auto electricians still use low impedance test lights because using a meter on everything can be finicky — and lights can also reveal some things recommended procedures won’t. Technician Dick McCuistan explains: “Logic probes are good for quick power-and-ground verification, such as in power window and doorlock testing, but beyond that I haven’t found them to be particularly useful. Sometimes my test light can tell me things a meter can’t. “Ford’s early shop manuals sometimes had us measuring voltages in their pinpoint tests when we actually needed to know more than how many volts were present. One day I got smacked around by an ABS problem on a Taurus because I was told to check the voltage at a particular relay output terminal. It should be higher than 10.5V. If it was, I was to move on to the next step. It was 11V, so I moved on. I shouldn’t have. At the end of the test procedure prescribed in the manual, the problem was still there. “When I got my test light out, I found that the relay had dirty contacts. While it showed 11V unloaded, that 11V dropped to zero as soon as the ABS controller put any kind of load on that circuit. When I saw that the current leaving the relay wouldn’t illuminate the 0.25A test light bulb, I realized I had a bad relay. In that case, testing with a meter only had cost me a lot of time.”



M Figure 1 — This is a simplified drawing of the fan test on the bench, but it’s even easier to do by removing the relay and connecting a test light between B+ and the relay socket terminal that leads out to the fan while turning the fan. If the light ever goes out during a full slow 360-degree fan rotation, the motor is bad — game, set, and match You can also check the air conditioning clutch circuit for continuity this way. Any current-bearing load circuit can be checked using this same method. Test equipment is more useful if it changes states depending on the load. Searching for short circuits can be made simpler with a self-resetting 8A or 10A circuit breaker wired parallel with a small light bulb and connected in place of the fuse. The circuit breaker will keep resetting every couple of seconds until you find and remove the short by disconnecting or manipulating harnesses, etc. (Figure 2).

BRIGHT IDEA A test light was even more illuminating on a 2002 Ford Focus with inoperative cruise control. The cruise module needed a ground coming through the stop lamp bulbs. Dick checked that with a test light, with the cord clipped to the battery positive and a back probe on the stop lamp. The test light was very dim. Testing the same circuit on a different Focus showed a very bright test light. It turned out that the owner had installed LED stop lamps, which didn’t provide a sufficient ground path to satisfy the cruise module. A test light worked better than a meter here. One of the more useful tests for a test light is the fan test. Remove the fan relay and connect a test light from the hot side of the battery to the terminal leading out to the fan (Figure 1). The light will illuminate. Turn the fan and if the light goes out at any point, you have a bad fan motor. That’s a gono-go test.


Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020


Figure 2 — A tool like this one is cheap and easy to build. You could put a buzzer in parallel with the breaker rather than a light. One way or another, you need some kind of indicator that will change states when you find the short or you may temporarily fix the problem without knowing what it was you did. On a circuit like this one that feeds a lot of lamps, the lamps that aren’t on the shorted leg of the circuit will cycle on with the breaker — the lamp on the shorted leg will never cycle on — another clue

OK, so we need to know how to use — and read — a meter, a test light, and a logic probe. Auto-ranging meters are only good if you’re in tune with the symbols and decimal points, so be careful. One of the most needful uses for our DVOM is the voltage drop test in which you check just one side of a circuit from point to point to see how much is being lost along the way. This is most regularly done with starter circuits, but will work on dim headlights or any other poorly performing load. Using a headlamp circuit as an example, connect one meter probe to the positive battery terminal and the other one to the headlight connector where power is flowing and then from the ground side of the battery to the ground terminal at the headlight. Of course, current must be flowing to take this measurement, and if you find voltage drop on either side of the circuit you have to find out where it’s being lost by narrowing your measurement points. Checking voltage drop across fuses to find parasitic drains is a good practice, if you set your meter on the lowest voltage setting. FLIR cameras are also good for finding hot relays or other leakages when searching for a parasitic drain. Another indispensable function is the meter’s amps function. With the positive lead moved to the amps measurement port on the meter and the selector switch set accordingly, the meter becomes a jumper wire, literally, that can report how much current is flowing, and that’s tremendously helpful when chasing parasitic drains — although an inductive probe with a scope is better for this. Also, you can remove a fuel-pump relay and feed power to the fuel pump through the meter to measure fuel-pump current. If the pump is spinning dry it’ll only pull a little more than 1A unless the pump motor has overheated and has partially melted windings. If it is moving fuel, it’ll be pulling between 4A and 9A. If, however, the vehicle has a fuel-pump module instead of a simple relay circuit, you’ll need to perform that test at the pump module connector instead. Oh, and when you’re done with an amp test, always remember to move your meter’s test probe back to the volts port on your meter, if you don’t want to have to buy a new fuse for it when you go back to measuring volts. A solid understanding of volts, amps, and ohms and how they interact in vehicle electrical systems is one of the key elements of vehicle electrical work. The other key element in electrical work on vehicles is knowing which tools to use, when to use them, and knowing how to interpret the data. Without those basic skills, it’s easy to get lost.

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Fenix’s JZX100 Toyota Chaser show car


enix Radiators has taken a step up behind the scenes as it settles into new premises, which have also given it space to work on more custom projects. Owner Adrian Andrew says the new, regularshaped 1500m warehouse in East Tamaki allows for greater efficiency. The move earlier this year also gave the company the chance to rationalize its stock, which effectively meant scrapping old stock that was simply taking up space. Adrian says he completed the process during lockdown, which he described as a bit eerie, stocktaking alone in a massive warehouse, ticking off thousands of radiators. The new space also features a workshop area where the team can fabricate and fit custom installations. Adrian says the performance side of



Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

the business is growing all the time and he is keen to explore this new dimension to the business. Fenix sponsors four-time D1NZ drift champion Gaz Whiter and Fenix’s general manager Ben Jenkins also competes in D1NZ. Adrian says he’s always been keen on cars but doesn’t have the time to race himself. However, putting Fenix’s expertise to the test on track works for performance-oriented customers — both for race cars, drag cars, and other custom builds, including boats. “All walks of motorsport,” says Adrian. “There are a lot more people looking for all alloy [coolers], and the guys like nothing better than to work through something like that.” This new side of the business was much in evidence on the day Auto Channel visited. A classic Dodge coupe sat rumbling outside the workshop,

its owner looking for a new radiator. Ben’s heavily worked Nissan Silvia drift car sat at another entrance and Fenix’s own dramatic show car, an extremely wide Toyota Chaser, sat in the parking lot. Fenix is investing heavily in research and development to grow this side of the business. It employs a full-time designer among the eight staff at the Auckland branch, working on expanding its range of full alloy radiators, oil coolers, intercoolers, and fittings for performance applications. Fenix is already marketing upgrade replacements for a number of OEM radiators and especially oil coolers that are known to underperform. Adrian simply describes this custom line as their ‘all alloy’ range. Perhaps 95 per cent of standard production radiators have aluminium cores but plastic top and bottom tanks. Installations are designed in-house, and often 3D-printed, while fabrication is handled by contractors but Adrian says they are close to bringing that work in-house too, to have full control of the process.

Fenix applies the same quality approach to the bulk of their business in replacement radiators. Adrian started working for the company 15 years ago, and bought it outright in January 2018. Fenix opened another branch in Christchurch in November last year. While the business started as a radiator repair shop, it became a radiator importer and distributor in 2004. Since taking over, Adrian has focused on quality. He’s always keen to get feedback from customers, and if any item doesn’t perform as expected or doesn’t fit the quality mould, Adrian will find better quality items from another manufacturer. He works closely with manufacturers overseas and — until Covid-19 — he would make a couple of overseas trips to manufacturers each year. He would visit factories and check on their quality assurance process and assess new product suitable for the New Zealand market. If having to swap to another supplier means he has to accept a lower margin, Adrian will still make that choice. Quality always pays in the end, he says. “If you have satisfied customers, they will come

back,” Adrian says. “You only have to upset them once, which sends them to another supplier, and you have lost them.” He says this side of the business is also steadily growing, and he expects it to continue following the slow restart following lockdown. Adrian says stock management is the other key to a successful business. While he brings in two 40ft containers of radiators a month — roughly 2000 radiators — it’s vital to ensure they hold the right number instore ready for despatch, so they don’t run out. “You can’t take your eye off the ball for a moment,” he says. The eight staff at Fenix in Auckland are still settling into the new premises. While systems are up and running and the branding is in place, there is one more project under way, and that’s the showroom. Once racking and display cabinets are in place, showing off their all alloy range and other accessories, it will be more obvious to visitors just how much talent and drive there is behind Fenix Radiators. Fenix owner Adrian Andrew

A customer wanting a custom radiator

Behind the scenes at Fenix

Adrian, right, and Curtis Jonson in the warehouse

The new workshop area

Fenix’s general manager Ben Jenkins


Bio gains: ethanol fuel explained SO YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT FILLING UP WITH ETHANOL? STOP: THERE ARE A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER FIRST e have all undoubtedly heard about the big gains that can be had when running an ethanol-blend fuel like E85, and you have probably been tempted to make the switch. But we don’t need to tell you that it’s not as simple as just filling up with an ethanol blend, and hey presto, your car will make more power. There are quite a few things to consider when switching, but before we delve into those, here is a little backstory on ethanolblend fuels, and how are they produced. Ethanol is derived from ethyl alcohol, AKA moonshine, and takes the chemical compound C2H5OH — the ‘O’ denotes oxygen. It is produced in the same way as any member of the alcohol family, through fermentation of organic matter containing sugar. The actual source depends on what country you get the fuel from. Our neighbours in Australia produce it from wheat or sugar cane, in the USA it’s produced from corn, and in parts of Europe and here in New Zealand it’s connected to our biggest industry, dairy. The casein precipitated when making skim milk is a vital part of many products — including adhesives, plastics and, primarily, various processed foods — and now it is also used in the production of four million litres of ethanol each year from Fonterra’s Reporoa-based Anchor ethanol plant.



Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

The vital component is lactose, which is a by-product of Fonterra’s casein production. The leftover lactose is fermented with yeast, resulting in a low-concentration ethanol (around two to four percent). The low-concentration ethanol is distilled to a 96-per-cent ethanol, which is suitable for printing, antiseptics, food service, etc. Fuel-grade ethanol, the stuff we want, is put through a further drying process that removes all water, taking it to 99.9 per cent purity. There are a few outlets also selling imported ethanol here on the New Zealand market.

WHY IS IT BLENDED WITH PETROL? The most common form of ethanol-blend fuel in motorsport is known as E85, which is 85-per-cent ethanol and 15-per-cent petrol. With an octane rating of 105 to 108, it will rival any of the expensive race fuels. You can efficiently run any blend percentage you want, with lesser blends like E10 very popular for daily motoring — think Gull Force 10. We Kiwis have been a little slow to catch on, with ethanol blends first making an appearance in the ’30s on American soil, and ethanol now part of 97 percent of its fuel supply, while countries like Brazil

run E100. That is not a very cost-effective option due to the quality required to match the petroleum’s energy output. Cold start is also a big reason why a blend is most commonly used.

WON’T IT KILL MY FUEL SYSTEM? Under New Zealand legislation all ethanol fuels are required to contain an anti-corrosive additive. Both of New Zealand’s largest suppliers use what is known as DCI-11. So little goes in that it’s not even included on the MSDS (material safety data sheet) — there’s around one litre of DCI-11 to 15,500 litres of ethanol. Why is it needed? Ethanol is hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs moisture — such as water (H2O). When stored in tanks that vent to the atmosphere, ethanol will absorb water present in the air, and therefore the oxygen compounds that are present in it. The oxygen content, although good for making power, is also known to cause corrosion in metals such as zinc, magnesium, aluminium, and steel. Most aftermarket companies that produce fuel-system components will offer ethanol-specific variants like items with anodized fittings and alcohol-rated lines. Ethanol’s taste for non-metals can become a problem if your fuel lines and tank foam are not rated for ethanol, as what commonly occurs is the rubber or foam degrades, with small particles breaking off and finding their way into the fuel filter, blocking it, or worse, getting into the injectors or carb jets and doing the same. This can be very costly. Even when running an ethanol-rated system many racers choose to drain and flush the fuel system with the likes of 98 after an event. This can

help with the life of rubber seals. If you are doing this you need to ensure that the system is properly drained of the petrol before refilling with your ethanol blend, as any petrol left in the tank will dilute your blend. If you’re not running a flex-fuel system and your high-compression engine is tuned specifically to E85, and you begin running E70, E60 or E50, then you could end up leaning out and destroying your engine.

SETTING UP A FLEX FUEL SYSTEM Modern cars are increasingly produced with flexfuel capabilities, meaning you can run any blend of ethanol safely, and your ECU will make those changes to the tune on the fly. The most common of all the flex-fuel sensors is a GM product, generally found here in late-model Commodores. Many of the big ECU companies offer their own branded sensors and it’s becoming a very popular addition to any ethanol fuel system. These sensors read the oxygen content and temperature of the fuel and relay it to the ECU. There are also control modules that allow you to run a flex-fuel set-up with many of the simpler ECUs including piggybacks, such as those from the likes of Nistune. You can also get a gauge that displays the percentage from a control module. The sensor is pumped inline on the return line of the fuel system. Commonly, these sensors are -6, so if you’re running a larger return line, you can plumb in parallel in order to not reduce the flow of the system. If you plan to run a specific blend all the time, rather than chopping and changing, it’s not necessary to fit the sensor. We are lucky down here in New Zealand, as our pump blends are far

more accurate than those in America. And if you’re blending your own, then it’s on you.

TUNING FOR ETHANOL If you plan to switch to E85 then you’ll need to change a few things in your system and your tune. The energy output of most fuels is measured in British thermal units (BTU). One litre of gasoline has an energy content of approximately 3698 BTU, while one litre of ethanol has an energy content of approximately 2110 BTU. What this means is that an internal combustion engine will need to burn more ethanol-blend fuel than gasoline to produce the same energy. Typically you will need to use at least 30-per-cent more volume of fuel to achieve a similar energy, so why would you switch? The octane rating of E85 sits between 105 and 108 octane, the higher the octane reading, the slower the combustion burn is. This means that you can run more advanced timing, with higher compression and higher boost pressure at the same AFR, and avoid detonation. Basically, that gives you upwards of 30-per-cent more power for the same ‘safe’ range of the engine. But you can also go further than that tune and see even more gains if the engine is built to take the boost. The cooling properties are also a huge benefit to consider. The fact that you’re running more volume of liquid to transfer heat to is one side of it, plus the latent heat of ethanol means the amount of energy (heat) absorbed as the liquid transforms into a gas results in a cooler intake temp and overall engine temp, and that poor hard-working turbo will last a little longer due to reduced heat. So E85 ‘wonder fuel’ has pros and cons, but overall we say it gets the big tick. While running it in

your factory naturally-aspirated street car won’t see massive gains, the higher compression that you can run in your weekend warrior will see a decent power boost from making the switch, even if you don’t increase boost. Talk to your tuner early on, and make sure you’re setting up the fuel system correctly. You will need to flow between 30- and 50-per-cent more fuel than on pump gas, and so that cost along with the added cost of the blend needs to be taken into account. We hope this has given you some insight into ethanol blends, and perhaps dispelled a few of the myths associated with it, as there is no doubt that it will only become more and more prominent both when racing, and at the pump.

TIPS FOR STORING FUEL • If you have an older car that is only taken out only every so often, these few pointers will help preserve your fuel and the integrity of your fuel system. • Use premium pump gas. Higher octane gasoline tends to be more stable and lasts longer than lower-octane fuel. • If your car is in storage, keep the fuel tank or cell as full as possible. • Store the vehicle in an environment with minimal temperature swings. This will help to prevent ‘breathing’, which leads to the ingress of moisture into the fuel tank or cell. • Sunlight can damage fuel. If you’re storing fuel in a jerry can or have an exposed fuel tank on your vehicle, make sure it’s stored where it has minimal exposure to sunlight. Sunlight can cause containers to ‘breathe’, leading to the ingress of moisture, and speeding up oxidization. Opaque fuel containers, such as those made of steel, are preferable.


Automotive electrical theory 101 FIRST PRINCIPLES AND A TIME-HONOURED TEST ne of the better ways to get started on electrical theory is to think of a simple water supply system. Imagine a water tank (the battery) and how the water will flow out of it wherever there is a pipe connected to the tank (Figure 1). The more water there is in the tank, the more pressure there is on the pipe. Voltage is the electrical equivalent of that water pressure. If the water tank is empty or almost empty (a dead or weak battery), that needs to be fixed first. To complete the ‘circuit’ we assume the water will go to ground and come back into the tank via a ‘ground’ inlet pipe.


keeps losing capacity until it’s too small and weak to spin the starter. Refilling the water tank is like recharging the battery. In a charged battery, the electrons (negatively charged) have been forced to the positive side of the plates and they desperately want to travel back to the negative side of the plates in that battery. Think of it as ‘electrical gravity’. Whenever there is a path back to the negative side of the plates in the battery, the electrons will travel as quickly as they can in that direction like water running downhill. Without resistance (as when laying a spanner across the terminals), the circuit becomes the load and the weakest part of it can get hot enough to melt. The battery will be drained at a very high rate until melting breaks the circuit. Fuses and circuit breakers are deliberately weak links put into a circuit to protect the rest of the circuit from damage. Anybody who has had to replace a bunch of melted wires understands this.


Figure 1: Electrons, like water, flow to ground. Large outlets equal fewer ohms or resistance; smaller outlets equal more ohms. Two small 10 ohm holes would be equal to a 5 ohm hole – which illustrates parallel resistors very nicely. Put a valve on that pipe and you have a switch. Opening the valve releases water pressure just as a switch allows current to flow to a load — a water turbine or an electrical motor. If the pipe is clogged where it leaves the tank (a dirty connection), you won’t have enough pressure to operate the load even if the tank is full. Resistance can be also illustrated — a small outlet would represent more resistance and a large outlet less resistance. It’s also handy to realise that it doesn’t matter which side of the load the valve or switch is on, the load won’t operate unless the switch is closed (valve is open), completing the circuit. Partially closing the valve is like adding resistance to a circuit, which reduces the flow of current. Of course, you can’t partially close an electrical switch but switch contacts can develop resistance over time. This means the analogy works but the electrical version is more dangerous — resistance coupled with current produces heat, oxidizes terminals, and melts connectors. Another difference is that the size of a water tank doesn’t change but the inevitable loss of cold cranking amps in a battery basically means the battery


Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

Figure 2: This is a simple diagram of how voltage drop testing should be done. Just make sure the starter’s spinning when the measurements are taken and be sure to include every suspect connection in your testing. Conventional wisdom is .1v or less on the negative side and .5v or less on the positive side. This kind of test can be done on any loaded circuit.

Next, we need to learn how to measure volts, amps, and resistance — and we definitely need to understand voltage drop (Figure 2), which offers a vital insight into electrical faults.

Figure 4: With the charger turned on during each measurement and off between measurements, you take the reading from the water in each cell. If there’s more than a tenth of a volt difference between any of the readings, the old school Sun test says it’s time to condemn the battery. Figure 3: Before any electrical issue is addressed, these connections must be dealt with, and the battery itself must receive a clean bill of health as well. Sometimes the connections will look just fine but will still be dropping voltage. Jimmie, one of my graduates, fixed a transmission concern on a Power Stroke diesel in about fifteen minutes by just cleaning the battery terminals. And that problem had whipped a transmission specialty shop for a month before it came to Jimmie. All electrical troubleshooting of a circuit should begin with a reliable test of battery health and a comprehensive inspection and cleaning of the battery terminals (Figure 3), even if they don’t look like they need it. You’d be surprised how many tricky faults have been cleared up just by cleaning battery terminals. As a quick way to diagnose a problem, test the battery with a battery tester or voltmeter without removing the terminals and then do another test of the battery directly on the posts with connections removed. Compare the readings. That should reveal any resistance between the terminals and the battery posts.

Specific gravity testing of cells with a refractometer is a good test too, but the age-old Sun Battery test (Figure 4) works as well as ever. To perform that test, wrap a piece of copper wire around the tip of a voltmeter and probe the fluid in each battery cell on batteries with removable caps, comparing the voltage among cells. The battery charger needs to be connected and turned on briefly while each reading is taken but turned off between measurements. According to the ancient Sun specs, any deviance between cells of more than 0.1 volts during this test is grounds for battery replacement. Sun also calls for a repeat of the test with each cell loaded at half the battery’s cold-cranking amps, though the charging test alone will detect a dud cell and therefore battery. Another handy test is to put the battery on high charge and check the voltage after three minutes. The charging voltage should be less than 15.6 volts. If it’s higher than that, the battery is sulphated and needs replacing. That’s a go-no-go test.



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Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

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The new Bolt Biter impact-rated extraction sockets have a tapered flute design, which grips tightly for removing damaged or rusted bolts easily. The Bolt Biter can even remove bolts that are damaged or completely rounded below their original size thanks to the minus-size sockets available in the sets. The unique tapered flute design means that the sockets can also be used to tighten and/or reuse damaged bolts. Dual-sized sockets work with both metric and imperial sizes. The hexagonal base works with impact wrenches, adjustable wrenches, and ratchets. Includes 1∕4-inch and 3∕8-inch driveshafts. Available in 8-, 15-, and 28- piece sets. Pricing starts from $105. Visit for more information.


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0800 472 787 0800 200 100 0800 445 889 0800 333 125 06 874 9077 09 414 3200 or 0800 422 228

      0800 246 478 or 0800 527 335 or 09 265 0622 09 836 6673

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  or 09 574 2288 or 0800 268 266

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    or 0800 227 422

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   or 09 525 4575 or 09 638 6439 or 0508 866 686 or 0508 269 727 or 09 978 6666

0800 465 855 0800 549 429

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   or 0800 227 422

      or 0508 837 248 or 0800 621 233 or 0800 533 698 or 0800 942 645

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0800 383 566 06 306 8446 or 0800 757 333 or or 09 272 2700 or 09 636 5980 0800 436 436

The Auto Channel supplier directory is your easy reference for sourcing a range of automotive products and services. This directory is a paid service for businesses who supply to the New Zealand automotive trade. To secure your inclusion, contact Mark Everleigh on 09 222 1729 or


Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

Supplying to the Trade

New Zealand Wide - Wholesale Only Warehouses in Auckland, Christchurch, Geraldine and Invercargill


• • • • •

Quality brands Prices to the trade Premium and budget tyre options available Excellent profit centre for tyre shops and garages Online ordering 24 hours

FREE PHONE: 0800 80 90 96



Ph: 09 813 9200 E:

Auto Channel has unsurpassed reach into the wider Automotive trade, direct mailed to over 11,000 business owners in New Zealand. Call me to today to discuss ways I can help you grow your business through NZ’s highest circulating automotive trade publication! Mark Everleigh - 09 222 1729

Stop Press Blackfern Cooperative welcomes Oil Distributors Ltd (distributors of Morris Lubricants and Petronas Lubricants) as a Blackfern supplier. Want to know more? Please contact 0800 70 10 10 or visit

For all your ABS ISSues L e a k s , B y p a s s e s , O b s t r u c t i o n s , V a lv e T e s t i n g , M oto r R e b u i l d s a n d E l ec t ro n i c R e pa i rs


Auto Channel is the best way to reach the wider automotive industry. The publication is direct mailed to 11,298 New Zealand businesses in the following automotive sectors: Automotive workshops Parts importers and distributors Transmission specialists Automotive recyclers

alue Tyres Ltd (VTL) has been supplying tyres to its customer base via e-commerce for over a decade, but, in response to the dramaticallychanged Covid-19 operating conditions, VTL incentivized its online system with exclusive online pricing. VTL managing director Bruce Donaldson says the move has been well received: “It has allowed Value Tyres to restart its operations at a fast pace while passing most of the cost savings directly on to our customers.” As VTL is a Blackfern Cooperative supplier, Blackfern has backed this up by putting all online orders placed with VTL in June in a draw for 5000 Blackfern points. “To achieve the incredible pricing we are currently offering in the market, we needed to be smart and lean heavily on our high-value online e-commerce system and streamlined distribution network,” says Donaldson. VTL’s e-commerce platform already processes a significant amount of the company’s orders, while simultaneously coordinating order logistics. “The more efficient our operation, the greater the benefit is to our customers,” Donaldson says. “Buildingup and incentivising sales via our e-commerce platform at this time is all about being lean so we can help our customers with their profitability. Actually, it’s about our customers’ profitability and cashflow, full stop. “Global automotive industries are all heading this way and we are proud to be at the cutting edge in New Zealand.” When the Covid-19 lockdown took VTL’s contact centre out of commission, the e-commerce platform allowed important customers to order and receive tyres for essential workers throughout Alert Level 4.



Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

Blackfern’s Roger Castelton said he is keen to support members’ efforts to ramp back up to something approaching business as usual as soon as possible. “And if this challenge leads businesses to operate in more efficient ways, that’s good for everybody and definitely something we will encourage,” he says. VTL is headquartered in Christchurch with nine distribution centres around the country; one in Christchurch, two in Auckland, and one each in Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Dunedin, and Invercargill. This enables VTL to offer deliveries anywhere in the country in under 24 hours. VTL represents the premium Hankook Tire brand in New Zealand along with the Hankook-made Laufenn brand, as well as Chinese entry-level brands such as Triangle, Firemax, and Linglong. For more information, see To get a login to VTL’s Easyorder e-commerce platform, resellers should contact their VTL area manager.

Towing operators Panel beaters and painters Crash repairers Tyre dealers Suspension and underbody repairers Steering specialists Towing operators Auto-electrical repairers New- and used-car dealers Air-conditioning repairers Heavy-machinery dealers Trucking and transport

Auto Channel Issue No. 26 distributed 30 June

Editorial: Advertising: Mike White All other enquiries to: Auto Channel is produced by Parkside Media, publishers of NZ’s three biggest-selling automotive magazines NZ Performance Car, New Zealand Classic Car, and NZV8.


Wide Range Available Now!

R A ts

s C i l R

a i E D ec

p N S U



M12 FUEL™ 3 Piece Power Pack 3P • M12 FUEL™ 13mm Hammer Drill/Driver (Tool only) • M12 FUEL™ 3/8" Stubby Impact Wrench (Tool only) • M12™ LED Stick Light (Tool only) • M12™ 4.0Ah REDLITHIUM™-ION Battery Pack • M12™ 3.0Ah REDLITHIUM™-ION Compact Battery • M12™ Lithium-ion Battery Charger (M12FPP3P-432B)



390pc Master Mechanics Tool Kit 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, 3/4” Dr. Metric/AF (RTK29100)


46" 9 Drawer Tool Trolley


1290 x 461 x 934mm. (MPTT9D-46IN)

• Suitable for 1.6 - 3.2 mm electrodes • Digital amperage display




7HP Petrol Pressure Washer

26” 6 Drawer Tool Chest & Trolley

• 3000 PSI, 9L/min • Great for all domestic, light commercial and industrial tasks (RPW3200-1)

Chest Size: 660 x 305 x 425mm Trolley Size: 757 x 461 x 868mm (WxDxH) (MPBCT8D-26IN)





Prices exclude GST and are valid for Repco trade account holders only. All advertised offers valid 8-19 June 2020.


Auto Channel Issue #25 June 2020

0800 472 787