Maintenance

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Round 12: Techs Helping Techs

Techs Helping Techs is turning 12 And it’s time for another roundup of useful tips and tricks courtesy of your fellow technician readers. While our writers share their expertise in every issue, it’s extra special when our readers share what they’ve learned from their days and nights working in the service bay. Thanks to all who shared their advice.


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The Benefits of Current Ramping

Current ramping is an easy art to learn and returns many good returns. Virtually every 12 volt output device that is controlled by the PCM can be current ramped by using the low inductive current probe non intrusively by simply clamping around the voltage feed wire or the ground side control wire.


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Analyzing Oxygen Sensor Failures

Keeping the internal combustion engine as close to the stoichiometric ratio as possible will result in optimum catalytic converter efficiency and fuel economy. The stoichiometric ratio simply means that all the air (14.7 parts) and fuel (1 part) going into the cylinders are being converted to water and carbon dioxide exiting the exhaust. This is the perfect combustion reaction, but this desired stoichiometric operation can’t happen without fuel control.


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The Ins and Outs of Fuel Contamination

What happens when a vehicle’s fuel tank is filled with “bad” fuel? Well, it varies depending on how bad the fuel is and if the engine is gasoline- or diesel-powered. Fixes can range from cleaning the system with a fuel additive (isopropyl alcohol), flushing the system and refilling with “good” fuel, to needing to repair damage to the fuel system and/or engine.


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Heat Pumps Extend EV Range

Our early fleet of electric vehicles all struggled with range in the wintertime. A used 2011 Leaf had a range of 85 miles in the summer, but only 50 miles in the winter. A Chevy Bolt EV in 2017 had a range of 230 miles in the summer, but again the winters took it down to 160 miles. What did they have in common? The cabin heat was created by the high voltage pack heating antifreeze for the heater core. How old school.


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Lesson Learned From a Tool Chest Mishap

I learned a hard lesson. Although I love my tools and treat them with respect, tossing miscellaneous bits and pieces into one drawer was a big mistake that I’ll never repeat.  Imagine this happening in the midst of a job while the customer begins to fume due to the delay. Learn from my dumb mistake. Don’t treat your tool chest like a dumpster. One little mistake can bite you hard.


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Wheel Bearing Tech

How to Isolate the Issue and Service Them

Unless you have just started in the automotive field in the last few weeks, you likely have faced this work order. A customer is concerned about exhaust noise. You get in the vehicle and start the road test. The exhaust is quiet, but the familiar hum or growl of a wheel bearing is oh so familiar.


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The Diagnostic Value of the DSO

Digital Storage Oscilloscopes and Their Benefits

During my five plus decades of being in the automotive service and repair industry I have learned that diagnosing an engine performance problem, drivability problem or electrical problem is not an exact science. I have always favored symptom-based diagnostics, where once we have identified the symptom we focus our testing on a specific area


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Understanding High Voltage Leak Codes

Know Where to Look

High voltage (HV) is isolated from the chassis for good reasons. When any high voltage part has a connection to the chassis, that could spell trouble, depending on how much current the connection can carry. The engineers have cleverly designed circuits and strategies that can determine a “lack of isolation” and report that to your scan tool and set a warning light. How does that detection system work?


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Developing Diagnostic Strategies

It’s Important to Establish a Plan of Attack

Performing diagnostics is something many of us do each day, without much thought, but most seasoned technicians have a detailed diagnostic approach that they employ. They have an action plan — a diagnostic checklist — that they follow from start to finish with remarkable success.


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ASE to Host TPMS Webinar

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is hosting a free webinar about tire pressure monitoring system service on Tues., Sept. 13, at 4 p.m. ET.


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Are You Ready for 800 Volts?

Education Is Key When Servicing EVs

This article will compare the low voltage system to the high voltage system and explain how a 12-volt brain can get confused. It is essential that you master the principles of electronic controls, reprogramming, oscilloscope usage, reading wiring diagrams and all aspects of electronic systems used in today’s modern vehicles in order to transition into high voltage systems.


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Mastering the Multimeter

Use All Functions to Your Advantage

All technicians are aware that the scan tool holds the No. 1 priority in our initial diagnostic strategies. In my personal experience, the No. 2 tool in diagnostics is the DVOM, known as the digital volt-ohm meter or multimeter. In the event of an electrical problem, the DVOM is the essential tool.


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Engine Oil Technology

There’s More to Consider Than Merely Viscosity Numbers

While the installation of the correct engine oil may not be an important item to a customer when they arrive at our shop for service, the type of oil that is installed in the engine is beyond important. As technicians it is our job to ensure that the correct engine oil is installed that will meet or exceed what the manufacturer expects.


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Brake Caliper Service

Proper Inspection, Repair, Replacement & Hardware

Check the bleeder valve. If you suspect a bad caliper, it may be an issue with sticky/seized piston(s), but don’t jump to that conclusion right off the bat.


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