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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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Comments

  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXPosts: 2,575
    It strikes me that once the car is out of warranty those systems are things that no one is going to pay thousands of dollars to have repaired. You should be able to just turn them off, completely disable them. But I would be willing to bet that is not the case.
    2018 Ford F150 XLT Crew Cab, 2016 Chrysler Town & Country Touring
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    Most of them can be turned off manually by the driver, and sometimes road conditions, and weather can make them unusable anyway at least for now. However, that tech is very desirable from a lot of drivers point of view and there is also the issue that these are under the heading of safety systems. Eventually they will be mandated across the entire vehicle fleet.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Doc, did you see that video of Eric from South Main Garage fixing a Dodge van that had the wipers activating every time you opened the back hatch or sliding door?

    Geez, if this is what future techs will have to go through, I pity them. Luckily, he found the problem quite by accident. Apparently the high speed CAN Bus shorted under the floor of the cargo area, and he only saw it when he knelt on the floor to adjust his scan tool. That particularly circuit affected multiple modules that would fire (or disappear) depending on how the wire was molested .
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    I didn't see the video but we talked about it last week when he attended our GM class.
    BTW here is a video that describes some of the other challenges we are discovering.

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 4,512
    edited October 2018
    At c.9 minutes 40 seconds in this video as they take apart a 2017 engine that was modified and used for drag racing: "Sure did eat that piston up!"

    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    edited October 2018
    That damage is the result of LSPI, or stochastic detonation as GM likes to call it. https://forums.edmunds.com/discussion/37375/ford/x/mega-knock#latest

    That is a form of detonation that occurs at low rpm, high boost and is a result of tiny oil droplets being scraped from the cylinder walls and igniting from the heat of compression. Some of the other damage that occurs is evident in the rod bearings. At 40,000 miles they should still have had a tight fit the rod caps, it was very evident that they don't since they stuck to the crankshaft and then slid down into the upper half of the connecting rod.

    The trouble codes that set actually are indicating that the engine was over boosted and they did get it right that replacing the sensors wasn't going to correct the reason why the codes set. The lesson here again is the codes tell you what test failed, not what parts are bad.

    I found it amusing that they didn't realize that the first thing you saw them remove was the balance shaft assembly. They kind of debated for a few moments about what it was and were starting to figure it out, but did you see the other surprise that was lurking when he first tried to remove the pulley and chain? First there was no keyway for the crank gear. That's part of how the chain get's installed and ensures precise cam/crank timing. The second thing was the torque on the balance shaft gear bolt. Being that tight it is very likely a TTY (torque to yeild) which means you don't reuse that bolt. I could look that up to be certian but with the way many engines are built today it is very unlikely that it is a conventional bolt.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited October 2018
    I wonder what boost level they were using. Also what spark plug heat range.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    edited November 2018
    From Pten "Professional Tools and Equipment magazine

    Having trouble communicating with certain 2018 vehicles?
    It’s probably not your scan tool….

    The cyber-secure vehicle is here. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) introduced the Secure Gateway Module into roughly half of their 2018 product line and nearly 90 percent of their 2019 vehicles. The Secure Gateway Module, which FCA refers to as the SGW, is essentially a firewall providing moderated access to the in-vehicle network diagnostic services. The gateway will ensure that the tool and user are authenticated (known) and authorized to perform certain levels of communication with the vehicle.
    Prior to 2018, access to FCA diagnostic services was unregulated and open to anyone who obtained the knowledge to do so.
    With current concerns about vehicle cyber security highlighted by a very public 2015 hacking of a Jeep, and a subsequent expose on 60 Minutes by DARPA, NHTSA has emphasized that the industry must find ways to prevent unauthorized access to the in-vehicle network that could potentially provide the ability to remotely control certain vehicle functions (acceleration, braking, steering, etc.). FCA’s answer to this concern is to introduce this SGW firewall to control access to certain functions, either through the diagnostic connector or the infotainment system in the vehicle.
    So what does this mean to you as a technician? As of today, if you are trying to perform any routine diagnostics on vehicles with the SGW, you will need to have the FCA dealer tool, wiTECH2 and a license with FCA, along with a live internet connection to the FCA server.
    In the near future, FCA is planning to initiate a process that will allow certain aftermarket scan tools to be able to unlock the SGW as well. This process will introduce a bridge server that will manage the connections from aftermarket scan tools and their respective manufacturer’s server and the FCA server that will provide the unlock keys.
    But what will this entail?
    The scan tool manufacturer must be a licensee of FCA’s scan tool data.
    The scan tool must be capable of connecting to the tool's manufacturer server to be able to request and receive the unlock key from FCA.
    A live internet connection must be maintained to the tool as it is connected to the vehicle in order to complete the unlock process of the SGW for that particular diagnostic session.
    If the diagnostic session is terminated or dropped, the full process must be repeated.
    The user of the tool and shop owner/administrator must register and provide a credit card to the FCA facilitator and pay a yearly fee.
    Every tool that needs access to unlock keys will have to be registered with FCA.
    There are many concerns about this process.
    How can I diagnose a vehicle where I cannot get a solid internet connection?
    Are the scan tools I have capable of this online procedure?
    Who is in control of my information, including credit card info?
    Can I be turned down by FCA and not allowed to work on their vehicles?
    But, the larger underlying issue is that FCA will not be the only car company introducing security methods for in-vehicle networks. It is assumed that all vehicle manufacturers will soon introduce enhanced security measures and, unfortunately, that they are all unilaterally developing unique non-standardized solutions that will wreak havoc for aftermarket scan tool manufacturers and their customers in repair facilities.
    With no coordination or standardization, it will become nearly impossible for aftermarket repair facilities to use traditional all-makes scan tool solutions.
    The Auto Care Association, The Equipment and Tool Institute and other aftermarket stakeholders have been encouraging auto manufacturers to develop a standardized process for repairers to safely and securely access vehicles for repair and maintenance.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Sounds like the answer to a question nobody asked. Is this really a response to 1 "hijacking" from 3 years ago?

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089

    Sounds like the answer to a question nobody asked. Is this really a response to 1 "hijacking" from 3 years ago?

    What?

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    https://toptechshifts.com/fixd/A4R1/?thrive=1&prog=1

    Stuff like this is probably never going to go away. :( :(
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490

    Sounds like the answer to a question nobody asked. Is this really a response to 1 "hijacking" from 3 years ago?

    What?

    What I meant was, do we need to install all this complexity for a problem that rarely seems to occur?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited November 2018

    https://toptechshifts.com/fixd/A4R1/?thrive=1&prog=1

    Stuff like this is probably never going to go away. :( :(

    Fear sells things. The auto mechanic is the perfect bogey-man. (definition--"a non-specific embodiment of terror"). Often shown as a gruff male who preys on females, or a crafty foreigner with the hands of a magician, able to switch parts and devise clever schemes to cheat you. It's really an almost perfect marketing tool.

    Historically, this stereotype has a historical basis. How did auto mechanics get such a bad reputation? Why not carpenters or electricians or appliance repair people? THEY are called "tradesmen" or "handymen" or "craftsmen". They are rarely called thieves.

    I think this problem goes back to just after WW II. With a scarcity of new cars available, both the used car business and the car repair business were absolutely BOOMING. And, as a consequence, anybody, and I mean anybody, looking for a way to make a quick buck jumped into this trade. You had ex-cons, street gangsters or grossly incompetent men who didn't want to do menial labor. So they hung out the "auto repair" shingle. There was no licensing, no test to take, no apprenticeship. The customers were like flocks of sheep, waiting to be sheared.

    And it's been an uphill battle ever since.

    I think it's getting better but ethics standards still need to go higher, and training certifications need to be ramped up considerably.

    I think media like YouTube has helped actually, even though it sometimes conveys bad information. At least you get to meet interesting and generous auto technicians who are trying to help you, not cheat you.


  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,245
    I suppose I should turn in my Carli app, my Peake Research RC5, and my Schwaben Scan Tool.

    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
    RB, I think Doc was referring to the tone of the ad, not the product so much. There are references to being "ripped off". More mud-slinging against mechanics, I think was his point (not trying to speak for him, just sayin' that's what annoyed me about the ad).
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,245
    I'd agree with you 100% on that point. What angers me is the attempt by some qiuarters to keep diagnostic tools out of the hands of DIY owners like myself.

    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
    You can buy whatever you want if you're willing to pay, can't you? Most DIY folks aren't going to fork over $3,000 bucks (or more) for a specialty scan tool or some heavy subscription fee.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,245
    I have less than $400 invested in the above tools and I can-among other things-pull BMW/MINI specific codes, reset adaptations, register batteries and code several dozen features. Doesn't the Peoples Republic of California ban shops like Autozone and Advance Auto from pulling codes for customers?

    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
    I don't think there is any law per se about code readers--the problem is that parts stores can't operate as repair shops. Still looking for this "law" everyone is talking about but can't find it...yet.


    These code readers make great revenue machines for auto parts stores, especially since more often than not the wrong parts are replaced.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    You'll find how it was enforced a number of years back based on this following regulation.

    https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/MARDA_Approved_Final_Regulatory_Text.pdf

    The BAR did a sting operation and found the parts stores pushing parts off of the free code pulls without doing any testing to see why exactly the system generated a code. The other issue that occurred at the same time was guys who hung out in the parking lots that would replaced parts for the parts store customers who were effectively running businesses without the appropriate licensing.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089

    I'd agree with you 100% on that point. What angers me is the attempt by some quarters to keep diagnostic tools out of the hands of DIY owners like myself.

    They want to get them out of everybody's hands. There are functions with some of todays cars that the dealer technician can only watch take place and isn't given any information on at all.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    edited November 2018

    RB, I think Doc was referring to the tone of the ad, not the product so much. There are references to being "ripped off". More mud-slinging against mechanics, I think was his point (not trying to speak for him, just sayin' that's what annoyed me about the ad).

    Correct. The tool (loosely described) doesn't really sell on it's own merits, so they resort to the old bad mouth the shops and techs garbage. Meanwhile the flaws in their presentation speak for themselves, provided the viewer actually does know something about the work. The cannister purge circuit code that was set can have many causes and pulling the code isn't a diagnosis. There is no way for them to predict what fixing a car with their own demonstrated problem should cost. Which for techs leads to when they approach diagnostics the right way, fixd has already painted them as dishonest.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The problem there is that the dealerships, especially, don't let techs and the general public interact, to explain things. So what you get is a very inexperienced "service writer" who is more often than not cranking on an "upsell" or, in the best case, not providing much information (because they don't know all that much).

    The Indie shops do a better job in that regard.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,245

    The problem there is that the dealerships, especially, don't let techs and the general public interact, to explain things. So what you get is a very inexperienced "service writer" who is more often than not cranking on an "upsell" or, in the best case, not providing much information (because they don't know all that much).

    The Indie shops do a better job in that regard.

    That's what I like about my BMW SA; he knows BMWs and we can discuss potential fixes and alternatives with no pressure.

    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
    I was talking to a young man who is a Ducati motorcycle technician, and he was talking about the shortage of technicians.

    He mentioned an interesting aspect of how Ducati trains their mechanics. I'm not sure exactly WHY Ducati does this thing that I'm about to describe, but they do.

    One day, while on a 3-day training class at company HQ, the instructor presented the students with a black box, into which they inserted their hands. They could not see inside the box. The instructor covered the box with a blanket and then inserted parts into the box, and the technician had to identify them without looking.

    Interesting? I thought so.

    Anyway, this guy said that it is virtually impossible for the dealer to find qualified people anymore. Ducatis are, as you know, pretty precise and temperamental machines, so you do have to know what you're doing.
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 817
    (Forgive me, did we discuss this previously?) What do you know about schooling gentlemen? I have attempted to research this and what I seem to find is that one has to attend one of three or so locations in the US for Motorcycle Mechanics Institute training, and that is before any OEM classes. Is that right? Who the heck is going to do that? It is one of those catch-22s where one must be employed and have a sponsorship dealer for training. For any other trade one would otherwise have several vocational schools in their immediate area. Hint: Go into welding nowadays...

    The hiring businesses have to drive this. Technicians are not going to appear out of thin air. My motorsports dealer experience matches closely with car dealers in that they just want to move inventory, including motorcycles and weed whackers of all things.

    I love the Ducati box test. The old adage "I could do this with my eyes closed" has a great deal of meaning for troubleshooters.

    Regarding Ducati bike complexity, I will not dispute that aspect, however many Ducati bike repairs consist of disassembling significant assemblies because the maker never considers that someone may actually repair the vehicle someday. "Excessive labor" is different from "complexity". Just sayin'...Ducati also creates the necessity for a lot of wholesale replacements, and very expensive ones at that. Replace computer $2000. Replace X, $700, etc. No need to build electrical components that can actually withstand the weather and vibration, just charge for a new object. You may never replace an ECU or such on a Universal Japanese Motorcycle, but the Italian model does not believe in robust standards that many others have agreed upon. More weird and unnecessary problems does not necessarily equal "complexity."
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089


    One day, while on a 3-day training class at company HQ, the instructor presented the students with a black box, into which they inserted their hands. They could not see inside the box. The instructor covered the box with a blanket and then inserted parts into the box, and the technician had to identify them without looking.

    With absolutely no feeling in my hands at all....

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    Techs are reporting finding Penta bolts in more places. Penta of course meaning 5 sided as a security fastener. The end result is yet another whole set of tools. Guess they figure we haven't been buying enough. http://www.pentabolt.com/Penta-Bolt-Sockets_c_13.html
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Where in the vehicle are these used? Mostly suspension?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,078
    Doc, have you had any experience with those "universal" sockets? The ones with all the little pins inside them to form fit different style heads. I think "Gator Grip" was one brand name I saw at some point.

    I thought about buying a few for those cases when I'm dealing with a marred bolt head that doesn't want to play nice with a wrench or socket, but they just came across as gimmicky to me.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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