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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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Comments

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    edited February 10
    The restricted exhaust is one of the original problems. The used engine was damaged either on removal from the donor vehicle or during installation. It's a simple mistake to make, while attaching/removing the torque convertor from the flywheel, the engine was rotated backwards. That results in the tensioner not being able to keep the chain under tension so it jumps time with the camshaft ending up advanced. In this case it jumped about five teeth. Yes this is a TSFI, a turbocharged GDI engine.
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 817
    Does the cat show signs of overheating such as discoloration of the exterior? I'm thinking plain steel possibly not.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225

    The restricted exhaust is one of the original problems. The used engine was damaged either on removal from the donor vehicle or during installation. It's a simple mistake to make, while attaching/removing the torque convertor from the flywheel, the engine was rotated backwards. That results in the tensioner not being able to keep the chain under tension so it jumps time with the camshaft ending up advanced. In this case it jumped about five teeth. Yes this is a TSFI, a turbocharged GDI engine.

    Oh man...and I'm thinking in a lot of cases, the installer would have no way of knowing this had happened UNTIL the engine get's started!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    guitarzan said:

    Does the cat show signs of overheating such as discoloration of the exterior? I'm thinking plain steel possibly not.

    Didn't look at it, so really don't know. All I was focused on doing was giving him the answers to what was wrong so that he could get this thing fixed and get it gone.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    edited February 11

    Oh man...and I'm thinking in a lot of cases, the installer would have no way of knowing this had happened UNTIL the engine get's started!

    Correct. It's way too much "unpaid" work to open one up and inspect stuff like that. As the person installing the engine you really only have the recyclers word on whether the engine ran and if they noticed any issues in what ever time they had it fired up. Used engines are a a roll of the dice, you can get a winner, or a big loser.

    It's a lot of work to install an engine in one of these. At least I was able to leave him with some choices. Instead of replacing the engine, he can fix the timing and he has to address the restricted exhaust. He was a bit amazed that something that had been driving him crazy for a month took less than an hour to figure out and get him back on track.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Those early GDI engines had some nasty carbon problems, too.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    Carbon deposits are common in GDI engines with only a few designs that won't suffer like the others. Toyota's D 4S system is an example of one that won't have deposits form on the intake valves. That design uses both port fuel injectors and direct injectors so fuel and it's detergents are regularly sprayed at the backs of the intake valves. Both GM and Ford are bringing out similar designs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    A slick solution but really, more complicated engineering to correct what should have been done in the first place. You'd think they would have anticipated this problem.
  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXPosts: 2,575
    I'm not an automotive engineer, or a mechanical engineer, but I suspect this problem (carbon deposits in GDI engines) was not that easy to predict or foresee. Yes, looking back with 20/20 hindsight it seems pretty obvious.

    And I would have expected them to run these engines at least one or two hundred thousand miles before committing to wide spread use. But those tests were most likely in the lab, or on the test track, and didn't duplicate real world conditions.

    Direct Injection does have real world benefits, including better power, better mileage, and lower pollution. And exactly how do you implement it without carbon deposits? The system described above by @thecardoc3 is fine, but is definitely going to add cost, complexity, and any time you add more moving parts you are going to reduce reliability.

    I don't see any really good one size fits all solution here.
    2018 Ford F150 XLT Crew Cab, 2016 Chrysler Town & Country Touring
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I don't see how they could NOT have predicted it, given that detergents have been added to gasoline for decades specifically to help eliminate carbon build-up. It's like saying "We had no idea that blocking off the water-softener in your plumbing system would cause your pipes to clog up".
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,253
    My MS3 had a GDI turbo and I never touched the valves for the 8 years and 158,000 miles I owned it. No problems whatsoever. I even made some third gear acceleration runs at around 150,000 miles and they were essentially identical to the times I measured when the car had less than 40,000 miles on it.
    We'll see what happens with the N55 and N20 motors that are in my newer sleds.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Your good luck is probably due more to the software design than the engine design. BMWs and Audi were notorious for this carbon buildup problem on the backside of the valves.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    If anyone was caught off guard and had to react to the valve deposits,  it would have been the early adapters such as VW and Audi. One of the major contributing factors was the lack of specific fuel additives that are found in Top Tier fuels. Today lots of brands of fuel are approved for Top Tier but ten years ago that wasn't the case.

    Other factors that contributed to formation of valve deposits was PCV flow rates that were too high. Oil separation systems that allowed microscopic oil droplets to pass. Excessive use of variable valve timing which increased valve overlap under stratified modes, and EGR. All of these together combined to create the carbon build up on the valves. Engineering advances served to reduce the tendency and severity but no engine is truly considered immune although the dual injection systems are close. 
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    edited February 26
    The aftermarket solution to Chryslers secure gateway module systems.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    From Automotive News..

    https://www.autonews.com/fixed-ops-journal/other-industries-raid-dealerships-talented-shop-veterans?ite=131351&ito=1397&itq=a0ed7813-832c-4930-9a22-33fc5d5e5e85&itx[idio]=7887464

    New-vehicle dealers have heard numerous alarms in recent years that they face a shortage of experienced service technicians as baby boomers retire and fewer would-be techs
    enroll in training programs. The National Automobile Dealers Association calls technician retention the "hottest topic" of the dealership performance improvement programs
    it sponsors.

    The shortage could become even more acute. Technicians dissatisfied with their compensation or work environment are finding greener pastures in other fields, often for higher pay. Moreover, as auto technicians acquire skills to work on advanced driver-assist systems, electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles, they become even more valuable to other industries that also face a shortage of highly trained technicians. They are potential candidates for poaching by industries such as heavy equipment, heavy-duty diesel,
    railroads and aerospace.

    A survey of 35,000 dealership technicians by Carlisle & Co. found that one-third plan to leave their jobs within three years. The survey did not break out how many plan to retire, move to other auto-tech jobs or change industries. But Harry Hollenberg, a Carlisle partner, says dealerships will need to hire 20,000 to 25,000 technicians annually over the next few years to cope with the shortage, and defection from auto retail is a significant factor.

    "Therein lies the challenge for our industry," Tony Molla, vice president of the Automotive Service Association, told Fixed Ops Journal. "An individual trained at a high level on the electronic side becomes very attractive to other segments of our economy, such as aerospace and fleet operations. We are competing for the same
    level of talent with other, more complex industries."

    Dan Jentel worked as a technician for seven years at Marquardt of Barrington, a Buick-GMC dealership in suburban Chicago, rising to the journeyman level. Now, though, $50,000 worth of automotive tools and testing equipment sit idle in his garage. Instead, he maintains industrial machinery at a company that makes office supplies.

    The factors that drove Jentel from the dealership echo frequent complaints from technicians: weekly pay that varied based on the workload and whether he could beat the clock under the flat-rate system, shrinking labor times for warranty repairs that reduced his pay and uneven distribution of work assignments that penalized more experienced, skilled technicians such as him.

    Jentel says he would fight to finish tough jobs on tight schedules, while less experienced techicians were turning more hours on easier jobs.

    "I did a lot of engines, and [General Motors] would shorten the labor times," Jentel says. "You would ask for more time because you want to do the job right, andthey would tell you, 'There's nothing left for it. This is all GM will pay at this point.' It didn't matter if every bolt on the cradle broke, that's what you get."

    Daniel Marquardt, an owner of Jentel's former dealership, agrees that shorter labor times for warranty work are "making it more and more difficult to acquire and retain skilled technicians."

    "For the manufacturers to [use] factory labor-time studies to justify shorting technicians versus actual times is just wrong, and I think it's morally bankrupt," Marquardt says.

    Quest for respect
    Robert Atwood, a management instructor at NADA Dealer Academy, says that how service techs are treated and the amount of respect they receive is the No. 1 reason they stick with a dealership for the long term. Giving only tough jobs to the top mechanics breeds unhappiness, Atwood adds.

    "You have an A technician who's been with you for 25 years, and unfortunately he ends up with all the s--- work because we know that person can fix it," he says. "They don't feel as though they are treated fairly. You have to go to this A tech and say, 'Look, I'll throw you some gravy later on, but help me out and get this done.'
    If we can do that on a regular basis, I think it goes a long way."

    Community colleges and technical schools training auto techs find that some potential students are turned off by the low starting pay — generally minimum wage to about $13 per hour for lube techs.

    Ira Siegel, professor of automotive technology at Moraine Valley Community College in the Chicago suburb of Palos Hills, Ill., notes that dealership shops don't need as many master techs as they used to. Because more work now consists of routine maintenance and basic repairs that lower-level technicians can perform, he says, there are
    fewer opportunities to move up.

    "Some of these students get impatient, and rightfully so, and they move on to another field," Siegel says. "I can tell you about six or seven guys who are working for various railroads, and these are guys who left a good dealership. It's just that they weren't getting moved up as fast as they want to."

    Train transfer
    One of Siegel's former students, Alan Saiz, worked at a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealership in suburban Chicago for two years under the Mopar Career Automotive Program while he earned an associate degree. His full-time job as a dealership mechanic paid $16 an hour. He stayed at the dealership for only two months before he left to work for BNSF Railway as a diesel locomotive mechanic — for $27 an hour.

    His former employer "was a good dealership to work at, and the environment was good," Saiz says. But he quickly discovered he wanted more than it offered. "It didn't seem like there were a lot of areas where I could progress or move up," he says. "You were going to be a mechanic, and that's about as far as it goes."
    Two years after he joined BNSF, he was a journeyman making $32 per hour. Now, at age 27, he works for GE Transportation in an office, helping Amtrak repair shops troubleshoot and fix locomotives by telephone and computer, without getting his hands dirty.

    Saiz credits the education and training he received in automotive tech for paving the way to a higher-paying job.
    "It gives you skills and an education that you will use forever," he says of his dealership experience. "But I could just tell that the dealership life was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."


  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    I posted a response to that one.

    How many more articles like this will have to be written before real changes are finally made? Service technicians have been telling "the experts" for decades that the (flat rate) system is broken and it's way past time that the entire trade compensation system gets an overhaul.

    One of Mr. Atwoods comments above shows just how out of touch the leadership is with the realities of a service technicians world. In the article he stated "They don't feel as though they are treated fairly. You have to go to this A tech and say, 'Look, I'll throw you some gravy later on, but help me out and get this done.' If we can do that on a regular basis, I think it goes a long way."

    He is right with the first part that techs don't feel like they are being treated fairly and then goes right into one of the classic mistakes that the service department makes with it's technicians. The idea that throwing some gravy work to the tech somehow makes up for failing to pay him/her correctly for the more difficult work is at the very least wrong and if I can steal a phrase from above "morally bankrupt" itself. Think for a minute how the techs feel when the gravy work that was supposed to "make up" the lost time fails to materialize in a timely fashion if it ever does at all.

    From Mr. Marquardt's quote "For the manufacturers to [use] factory labor-time studies to justify shorting technicians versus actual times is just wrong, and I think it's morally bankrupt," As I read that it reminded me about how long this has been going on. I left dealer life back in the eighties because of all of the things that were wrong back then and not only did they never get fixed it's gotten worse, much worse.

    It's been more than fifteen years since this technician's website was founded. http://www.flatratetech.com/ That website was founded out of desperation because of Ford labor time cuts. One of the hardest pills to swallow back then as techs battled with Ford over labor times was when someone at Ford stated (paraphrased) "The labor times are only designed for dealer compensation for the work that the service department performs and are not intended to set technician compensation. That is a separate agreement between the technicians and the dealer".

    Today there are numerous technician's Facebook groups and dealers (every repair shop) should start paying a lot more attention to what the techs are saying to each other. Techs often ask if they should change jobs or careers and the responses from the other technicians are rarely encouraging. When they ask about going to a particular dealer brand the first thing someone else says is how dishonest the labor times are. They talk about how many tasks they are assigned that often end up as unpaid labor (investigating noises or random failures and especially instances where no problem is found). They talk about charge backs because something they did started out as customer pay but then later on turned into a warranty repair. The point is, these are all good people who like fixing cars and who are members of most of these groups because they are sharing ideas and mutually helping each other's knowledge and skills grow and most of them can't find enough positive reasons to tell another tech that they should come onboard.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited March 5
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    edited March 6
    Yes and no. The biggest issue is tooling and training. O.E. targets when required can be very expensive. VW is over $8000 for their targets to set up their systems. In many cases existing shops aren't big enough. Toyota requires a perfectly level space 10meters deep and fifteen meters across in front of the car with nothing at all in that training area. Some businesses are erecting a building just for doing this kind of work. The O.Es state that this should not be done outside because of the potential for uneven lighting causing the training routine to be inaccurate.

    As far as targets go, there are aftermarket solutions such as Autel which can allow a shop to buy targets for just the manufacturers that the shop chooses to support, or they can buy the whole Autel set as it currently stands for around $20,000. Meanwhile the SAE is getting involved and investigating setting standards just like they did with OBDII because right now they consider it the wild west with all of the different tools and routines that are required to complete a calibration and training event. (I did mention that in a previous post)

    One of the worst issues has to do with knowing what systems are on a given car. While some can make it pretty obvious, (GM with their RPO codes) others require the tech to navigate through the onboard controls as well as use a scan tool with specific software just for the ADAS systems.

    One thing is for certain, the variations on the systems isn't going to slow down for at least a decade so studying to try to keep up is going to demand a lot of technicians time on top of everything else that they have to deal with.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,092
    So fantastic for this type of need is an endowment, which would be *easy* to achieve for either manufacturers or chain dealerships, that sets aside funds now in perpetuity. From these earnings, they can consistently invest in top-notch on-site training centers that will allow their techs the space, time, and expertise to be up-to-date. Doesn't solve the other (pay, etc.) issues, but at least removes the burden of this type of overhead, both from the perspective of capital investment and trainer/trainee pay at no cost to the shops and no (additional) cost to the consumer.

    The problem is, nobody seems to think this far ahead. :'(
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    Where would the money for the endowment(s) come from?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    From the Cardoc Foundation of course. B)
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    Are you going to start a "GoFundMe" page? :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Why not? Something like:

    "Little CarDoc has an empty drawer in his tool chest this morning. You can help....or you turn away..."
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,092
    xwesx said:

    So fantastic for this type of need is an endowment, which would be *easy* to achieve for either manufacturers or chain dealerships,

    Source listed in my original comment. Also noted, though, was that this takes vision, and most "leaders" lack that trait even moreso than the rank and file.

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094
    Definitely not following you here. You want the dealer to invest a large chunk of money for no return on the investment? When it comes to servicing the vehicles its difficult to get them to pay for things that will make the store money.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Dealer wants profit. Techs want more money. Where do you think all this $$$ is going to come from?

    The entire system is no good anymore.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,094

    Dealer wants profit. Techs want more money. Where do you think all this $$$ is going to come from?

    The entire system is no good anymore.

    There is only one place that it can come from.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That's me, right?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,092
    Well, it depends on what you think of as a return. My suggestion is that they invest a large chunk of money on something that will return, and will do it tomorrow and over generations. A one-time investment that can do that? Yeah, it's worth it.

    Like I said, it takes vision to build something like that, and such a trait is something that most people lack. Even most of those what would want to put money behind something like a training center would prefer to just put the money into building the center rather than putting it into building a legacy of training. Most people just don't think that far in advance or that holistically. It is why we are where we are.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's moving too fast for most people to catch-up or keep up. Worse than that, it's getting so complicated that no one person (or the rare person) understands the entire system in the car.

    Perhaps everything will break up into specialties, like in aerospace. One person does avionics, one guidance, one engines, etc. etc.
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