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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    edited January 2013
    Paul Danner, AKA "scannerdanner" on YouTube has been working to keep pace with the technology in the cars. While our careers are different a lot of the goals are the same. He has a strong web presence and because of working through the school he has a lot more play time than I do. What he does with his time to play is noteworthy.

    http://www.scannerdanner.com/

    What you will find there is the blending of the academic skills that a technician must have today, with the raw talent that makes a person capable of being a great mechanic. Machines will never replace what a top mechanic has to be able to do, machines by nature will faulter and fail without trained and experienced people to take care of them.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    And old car hobbyists say it's the government that's trying to destroy old cars?

    IIRC, the government destroyed that one, once they seized it. I think they scuttled it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    one must presume it was already "modified" beyond redemption anyway.

    MODERATOR

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,040
    >IIRC, the government destroyed that one, once they seized it. I think they scuttled it.

    Do you know the story on that picture?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Do you know the story on that picture?

    http://www.floatingcubans.com/
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    edited January 2013
    Hmmm, I thought this would bring out some needed dialog. Or maybe everyone's been waiting because they want post #1000....

    When you really see what goes into diagnostics, which Dan has done a great job representing, it takes the perceptions like CarMD, and others who think pulling a code and slamming a part is all there is to it and proves they couldn't be more wrong with what they preach. It's never been the way that they want to try and say that it is and trying to convince the public that their toy of a tool will do everything that a consumer might need wasn't being honest with them. The trick is Dan's site doesn't even cover everything that we do today, he's only got on there material for his students to work from, not some of the really complicated stuff that we have to use to challenge the real master techs that are out there today.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    edited January 2013
    I thought this would bring out some needed dialog.

    First time through, I wasn't sure what we were supposed to look at on the site you linked to - scannerdanner.com. Went back and found out you could scroll through the graphics.

    It was hard to tell what they were trying to show, in some cases.

    Fig 17&18, I didn't realize some manufacturer's biased their O2 sensors above ground.

    Fig 23, not sure what we're looking at - injector current?

    Fig 4 (Saturated Switch Waveform) was really informative. So was 13, 14, & 12 (dirty throttle body).
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Fig 17&18, I didn't realize some manufacturer's biased their O2 sensors above ground.

    Yea that's a Chrysler trick. Toyota's A/F sensors are even stranger where you read the current flow to know what the actual A/F ratio is. The sensor voltage would be read between 3.0v (rich) and 3.5v (lean), with 3.3v being "normal".

    Fig 23, not sure what we're looking at - injector current

    Using the low amps probe and an oscilloscope is the right way to monitor many of the outputs from on board computers.

    Again, what you see there is the easy stuff, and actually the catalytic convertor test that he has there is actually flawed and isn't a good representation for what a tech needs to know. While to a certain level of understanding it is easy to expect that is accurate, with deeper education we learn why it's not a reliable test.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    What *IS* a reliable catalytic converter test? :confuse:

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    What *IS* a reliable catalytic converter test?

    A hacksaw, a straight piece of pipe, and a roll of "Tiger Paw (tm)" tape! :P
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    What *IS* a reliable catalytic converter test?

    Check for any exhaust leaks upstream of the catalyst, and before the downstream O2 sensor. Check for any TSB's and confirm that the PCM has the most up to date software. Monitor vehicle operation while checking fuel trim corrections and engine load pids, and if nothing is found then you trust the PCM in the case of a P0420, P0430.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    A hacksaw, a straight piece of pipe, and a roll of "Tiger Paw (tm)" tape

    That's a lot of work and it could be all for naught. We pull an upstream O2 sensor and install a pressure gage when possible, or pull a spark plug and install the pressure transducer and do a snap throttle and read the exhaust backpressure that way.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    edited January 2013
    In a departure from what I usually talk about with my weekly radio show I'll be having a guest come in who is one of the directors for Pittsburgh's yearly auto show. Traditionally when involved in any of the local auto shows the last thing that they want to talk about is what it takes to (or is going to take to) service and repair the next generation of cars. Meanwhile, that's all I'm ever really focused on so I need some input on exactly what topics should be brought up. The hour long show that I do typically can have six phone calls, and they will take care of themselves, that can leave some twenty minutes for host conversation.

    If you were in my place, what are the questions that you would like to ask? Keep in mind that at this moment I'm not sure the guest will be aligned with any one manufacturer. That's something I need to check on this week, I'm inclined to expect that he is not going to be manufacturer specific. If there are some topics here in Edmunds that might make for good subject matter, how about a link?

    I will say one of the fun things about the auto show is how my listeners react to the ticket giveaways we did last weekend. Seems lots of people are excited about going to the auto show this year.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,957
    edited January 2013
    When I went to the Detroit show a couple of years ago, I noticed that several manufacturers had "tech" displays of (mostly) engines and transmissions. Cut-aways or an assortment of shiny parts in a display case.

    My feeling was that these displays didn't get a lot of traffic and that besides looking the cars, people wanted to fool around with the video games and such. The "get your photo taken with a Fiat" exhibit was popular.

    Guess I'd be interested to learn if the demographics are getting any younger, and what displays really draw the people in.

    You may want to cross-post this over in 2013 Auto Show Season.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    That's a lot of work and it could be all for naught.

    Oh, I just meant that as a joke. Plus, nowadays the emissions controls are so integral that if you pull something off, you probably make it run worse!

    Just out of curiosity, when did they start putting O2 sensors in cars? Would something as old as my '79 5th Ave, or '85 Silverado have one? Or did they go in as soon as they started using catalytic converters? I know my old '88 LeBaron had one, because when it failed (or rather, a wire running to it got burned), it triggered something and made the engine start over-revving, and even at idle, I think it was pulling about 2000 rpm.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,510
    Wasn't Volvo's 'Lambda' sensor (1977) one of the first O2 sensor setups?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    In a departure from what I usually talk about with my weekly radio show I'll be having a guest come in who is one of the directors for Pittsburgh's yearly auto show. Traditionally when involved in any of the local auto shows the last thing that they want to talk about is what it takes to (or is going to take to) service and repair the next generation of cars. Meanwhile, that's all I'm ever really focused on so I need some input on exactly what topics should be brought up. The hour long show that I do typically can have six phone calls, and they will take care of themselves, that can leave some twenty minutes for host conversation.

    Here's my suggestion for a topic...

    While its related to the area you say your guests typically wish to avoid, how about asking where they see the repair techs coming from in the future (ie., what kind of educational backgrounds, training programs, etc.)? What places offer such an education? How do they feel the issue should be addressed? Are the manufacturers going to take over the training, or will they co-op with tech schools/universities to train new mechanics?

    Looks to me lie you could spend hours on the subject.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    I'm curious about what nanny technologies are likely to become more widespread in the next gen of cars, and how that might/will impact diagnostics and repair.

    For example, you have several makes with parallel parking programs that park the car for the driver. Subaru has its "eyesight" system that is supposed to warn the driver of lane departure, maintain following distances, etc. Traction control systems are getting more and more invasive and trying to compensate for the driver, etc.

    Of course all of this stuff is going to mean drivers in the future are even less competent at driving a vehicle than they are now, so keeping it functioning (or perhaps disabling it safely for those who still want to drive their own car) is going to be a big concern.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    BTW, is your show available over the Internet?

    Living in SC, I don't have much success picking up radio programs originating on-air in PA.

    I'd love to give your show a good "listening to"... I'm sure it is interesting!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Oh, I just meant that as a joke.
    I figured that ;)

    Just out of curiosity, when did they start putting O2 sensors in cars?

    That's something that I haven't really thought about for a while. For the most part they got phased in over about a six year period. I will actually have to look it up to find out who was "first".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_sensor

    Well it looks like it was Saab and Volvo in '76. I remember the first one I saw was associated with the Ford Variable Venturi 7200 carburetor. GM had O2 sensors on a couple models in 79, and then in 80 1/2 they came out with the C4 system (computer controlled catalytic convertor).

    It was almost six years later that some of the last aisan cars finally had feedback controls, and it wasn't until 95 that they had scan tool communication. GM had that in 80 1/2.

    Now back to the wiki article. I scanned over it fast, it needs a re-write in number of places. The article states;

    The sensor does not actually measure oxygen concentration, but rather the difference between the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gas and the amount of oxygen in air.

    That is incorrect.

    Rich mixture causes an oxygen demand. This demand causes a voltage to build up, due to transportation of oxygen ions through the sensor layer. Lean mixture causes low voltage, since there is an oxygen excess.

    That part is correct.
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