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Coil-On-Plug Technology and Diagnostics Tips

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Coil-on-plug, or COP, features an individual coil dedicated at each cylinder, with the COP connected directly to the spark plug, eliminating the need for plug wires. Due to variances in COP design among auto makers, spark control, troubleshooting and diagnostics can vary. This article is intended to provide education relative to COP, along with tips and precautions regarding testing and diagnosing engine misfire issues.

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Random Rants on Current Issues

The engine bay of the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport.

Do you fear the engine cover? Of course not. You work on late model vehicles every day, and you’re accustomed to popping them off in order to gain access to a variety of vacuum lines, spark plugs, sensors, etc.

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Electrical Troubleshooting Made Easy

Electrical Troubleshooting Made Easy

As a mobile tech, when I get called by a shop to diagnose or troubleshoot a problem vehicle, I never really know what I will be up against. All I do know is that I will have to be on the top of my game.

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Fuel Trim: Finding a Vacuum Leak and Performance Issues Using Fuel Trim Data

Fuel Trim: Finding a Vacuum Leak and Performance Issues Using Fuel Trim Data

A customer doesn’t generally care about whether their vehicle is in fuel control, but they certainly care if it’s not running correctly or the service engine soon (SES) light is illuminated. Accurate fuel control is needed to maintain the correct air-fuel ratio (AFR) that is supplied to the engine’s combustion chambers for ignition.

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7th Annual ‘Tips From Techs’

7th Annual ‘Tips From Techs’

Our industry is made up of dedicated people who share a passion for all things automotive. Technicians who service vehicles on a daily basis routinely discover solutions for various repairs that go beyond what a service manual provides.

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Shop Referrals: A Shop’s Got to Know its Limitations

Shop Referrals: A Shop’s Got to Know its Limitations

Who among us doesn’t smile when we watch the classic 1973 movie “Magnum Force,” as Clint Eastwood, playing his iconic character Detective Harry Callahan, walks slowly away as the corrupt Lieutenant Neil Briggs’ (Hal Holbrook) car explodes and he mutters his infamous line, “A man’s got to know his limitations”?

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6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Fuel System

6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Fuel System

As you know, a diesel engine differs from other liquid fuel engines in one major respect: the fuel/air charge is ignited by cylinder pressure and resulting heat, instead of via an electrical ignition system (diesel-fueled engines don’t use spark plugs).

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Why Your Shop Should Worry About Faulty Airbags

Why Your Shop Should Worry About Faulty Airbags

Faulty inflators are fueling concern for airbag service safety. According to reports, this includes approximately 34 million vehicles in the U.S. and over 85 million individual airbags, when we consider steering wheel, passenger and side airbags.

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Understanding Vehicle Stability Control

Understanding Vehicle Stability Control

Just what is stability control? And why do we have it? My GMC pickup caught me totally off guard when I was going up a familiar hill on a damp morning recently. I was accelerating normally when the rear end started to break loose. Before I could react, however, the StabiliTrak light started to flash, the rpms dropped, and I could hear the anti-lock brake system (ABS) pump running and the solenoids cycling. I never hit the brakes but my immediate reaction was to let off the gas... but by then my truck had already returned to the direction that I’d always intended. Almost before I lost control, I had it back again.

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Fuel Pump 101: The Basics of Fuel Pump Diagnosis and Repair

Fuel Pump 101: The Basics of Fuel Pump Diagnosis and Repair

The most common cause of fuel pump failure is frequently running the tank low on fuel, which causes the motor to overheat. The second most common cause is fuel contamination, usually dirt and rust particles that clog the fuel strainer and prevent the pump from drawing enough fuel under high engine load. If enough contamination gets past the pump’s intake strainer, it can actually jam the pump and stop the engine immediately.

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Diagnosing Steering System Noises

If power steering fluid is contaminated, the system should be flushed. If foamy, the system...

The most common cause for power steering noise is low power steering fluid level. The resulting noise will likely be a whining that is heard when turning the steering wheel. A high-pitched or “screeching” noise is usually caused by a worn or misadjusted power steering drive belt.

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Cooling System Service: Common Sense Guidelines for Covering the Variables

Cooling System Service: Common Sense Guidelines for Covering the Variables

Generally speaking, a 50/50 mix of water and “antifreeze” is the recommended norm. However, when mixing concentrated antifreeze with water, avoid using tap water, as this may contain excess calcium or other materials which can promote corrosion. Use only distilled/deionized water for the mix. Granted, some coolants are available as 50/50 pre-mix that eliminates the need to add water.

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Avoiding Brake Job Comebacks

Avoiding Brake Job Comebacks

There is no worse feeling for a tech than to have performed a straightforward, uncomplicated brake job and see the vehicle return with a concern or a complaint. The customer can raise his concerns immediately after the repair or in the weeks or months following.