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TRAINING TO KEEP THE AIR CLEAN

TRAINING TO KEEP THE AIR CLEAN

Ever-tighter rules mean workshops need to take advantage of training opportunities

Klarius exhaust portfolio

With talk in the news of dirty air affecting public health means it’s down to the independent sector to have the tools and technical know- how to service these parts or risk losing business to other garage networks and franchise dealers. But where can they go to learn about the latest systems?

EMISSIONS TRAINING
Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi, says that technicians can benefit from enrolling onto the firm’s ‘Understanding Emissions’ course, that focuses on helping workshops diagnose and fix petrol faults without hassle. “Delphi’s ‘Understanding Emissions’ covers diagnosing petrol faults using the exhaust emissions data, looking at gases coming out of petrol vehicles and related ECU controls”, said Goulding. “It’s a one day course and the aim is to be able to accurately diagnose engine management faults”, adding that the firm also runs a ‘Diesel Emissions Exhaust After Treatment’ programme, allowing garages to repair EGR valves, DPFs and AdBlue systems effectively.

Similarly, exhausts manufacturer Klarius Products has run its IMI accredited scheme for over a year, with further plans to launch a second level instalment later this year. Doug Bentley, Head of Research and Development at the firm, explains more. “The Emissions Control Training is a scheme aimed at technicians operating in independent garages. The course is modular and runs over two days; covering new technology, best practice, legislation and failure modes regarding exhausts, catalytic converters, DPFs and additive systems”. He adds. “The course is held in various locations around the country with four modules offered in level one”.

DIAGNOSIS AND PROLONGIVITY
Although it seems imperative to train-up staff, Mark Blinston, Commercial Director at BM Catalysts, mentions that a large proportion of garages are still misdiagnosing DPFs, usually ending up with the clogged filter returning to the workshop or sent off for regeneration. “The issues garages are typically facing is a lack of understanding and awareness for the DPF to go faulty in the first place”, said Blinston. “One problem factor we hear of is that a DPF comes to the end of its life cycle but the technician forgets to reset the ash counter on the ECU during replacement. The car then thinks it’s still full of ash and before you know it, a warning light appears on the dashboard”. Delphi’s Julian Goulding agrees. He said. “The main issue is the correct diagnosis of what has caused the issue on the DPF to fail”.

UPCOMING TECHNOLOGY

Speaking about its catalyst and exhaust portfolio, Paul Newby, Commercial Director of EEC, explains that the
manufacturer’s parts contain a 409L (low carbon) steel grade providing added corrosion protection and durability while complying to industry standards. “All of our catalytic converters metal work elements are formed from stainless steel” said Newby. “The 409L steel grade features a specific amount of nickel and chromium on the substrate with high temperature corrosion resistance characteristics. Our exhausts, flanges and hooks are typically stainless steel coated with aluminum for high level corrosion resistance as well”.

In the near future, petrol- powered vehicles may have filters akin to a DPF fitted as standard. VAG plans to fit the first GPF (gasoline particulate filters) on the Tiguan and Audi A5 from next month, while the Group predicts around seven million of its models will incorporate this technology by 2022. VAG also claims that the new filters contain the same properties found in modern diesels and can reduce soot particles up to 90 percent.

Meanwhile, there will be many opportunities for workshops to clean or replace DPFs for some time yet, as despite the bad headlines, new diesel registrations are relatively unaffected. “As with the introduction of any new technology, significant uptake is going to take time for full EVs with a technology yet to be fully proven .” said Klarius’ Doug Bentley. EEC’s Paul Newby concurs. “We’ve seen strong growth in DPF sales and for the foreseeable future we will continue to see an increase in this area”.

As the old saying goes, ‘It’s better late than never’, a slogan some garages may act on if they don’t get to grips with the new emission laws, technologies and training soon to remain competitive and in business.

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TIGHTENING UP EMISSIONS

TIGHTENING UP EMISSIONS

Do you know your Lambda from your EGTS? Here’s a factor’s guide to what those small box parts actually do.

With the existing laws set by the Euro 6 legislation, the pressure for vehicle manufacturers to invest more resources into developing better vehicles that complied with the legislative guidelines are continuously scrutinised. Emission pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), total and non- methane hydrocarbons, as well as various particulate matters were expected to be reduced with the use of modern automotive technology.

Effective reduction of pollutants goes beyond ensuring that emissions control systems such as CATs and DPFs are up to scratch. Vehicle electronics and engine management systems are integral in optimising a vehicle’s efficiency and in turn, lowering its carbon footprint. With a wide array of products that support the lowering of harmful emissions, we thought it would be worth sharing some points about the significance of the various sensors that you deliver to garages everyday.

LAMBDA SENSORS
By the simplest definition, lambda sensors monitor the air- to-fuel ratio within the exhaust and relays the information to the ECU. Lambda sensors are vital to ensuring a vehicle’s optimal performance and aid to reduce harmful carbon emissions.

The perfect air-to-fuel ratio for optimum engine efficiency is known as the stoichiometric ratio. The stoichiometric ratio for a petrol engine is 14.7:1 in which 14.7 grams of air is needed for every 1 gram of fuel. This ratio allows for optimum fuel efficiency, wasting less fuel and in turn, producing the least amount of emissions.

Traditionally, lambda sensors produce a voltage signal based on the volume of air detected in the exhaust. If the mixture is too rich (too much fuel supplied), the sensor produces a voltage of around 0.9 volts. When the mixture is too lean (insufficient fuel supplied), it produces around 0.1 volts. A perfect stoichiometric ratio produces 0.45 volts. To compensate for imperfect mixture ratios, the ECU adjusts the fuel mixture by adding more fuel when the mixture is lean, or using less fuel when it is too rich.

Whilst traditional lambda sensors do the job of regulating the stoichiometric ratio, it was unable to provide the ECU with an accurate reading of how rich or lean the air-to-fuel ratio was. Lambda sensor technology needed to keep up with the demand of the tighter euro emission standards.

With the introduction of the 5-wire lambda sensor, the ECU is not only supplied with a signal that relays if the air-to-fuel ratio is running too rich or too lean, it also conveys by how much. This precise information is swiftly sent to the ECU to allow the vehicle to rectify the air-to-fuel ratio more efficiently and effectively and increate the overall performance of the vehicle.

EGTS

In comparison to lambda sensors, exhaust gas temperature sensors are relatively new. An EGTS measures the temperature of the exhaust gas that is monitored by the ECU to help prevent long-term damage to components. The EGTS protects a vehicle’s exhaust system from overheating, which is especially important when a diesel particulate filter regenerates. The DPF reduces the amount of soot that is released with exhaust fumes by collecting and storing it within the filter. Over time, soot accumulates within the filter and needs to be incinerated at extremely high temperatures
in order to remove from the exhaust system and release it in the surrounding air, safely.

Cambiare sensor thumb

Typically, exhausts run at temperatures in excess of 900C in order to successfully regenerate the DPF. At these extreme temperatures, thermal overload becomes a huge risk. The EGTS monitors the heat produced from the exhaust, supplying the ECU with a signal to ensure that the temperatures reached do not fall outside a vehicle’s safety parameters.

Due to the extreme conditions that EGTS operates in, they are prone to damage during exhaust component replacements. Therefore, they need to be replaced simultaneously with a DPF and/or exhaust, as opposed to waiting for the dashboard warning light to illuminate.

Timely replacement of an EGTS prevents damage to the DPF and subsequent engine damage. Our firm’s EGTS use two types of technology – positive temperature coefficient and negative temperature coefficient. PTC increases the resistance with the increase in temperature. NTC, works in an opposite fashion with the sensor producing Temp sensor less resistance as the temperature of the exhaust increases.

EGPS
EGPS are differential sensors that measure the pressure of gas between the intake and outtake the diesel particulate filter (DPF). By measuring the pressure, the EGPS communicates a voltage signal to the ECU. This enables the system to detect the level of soot and particles collected within the DPF. This information enables the ECU to monitor and detect when regeneration is required for efficient emissions reduction.

As a result, a malfunctioning sensor can cause a variety of problems which impacts the increase of oil consumption and emissions. If the sensor is faulty, DPF regeneration can increase unnecessarily leading to the shortening of the DPF lifespan.

Cambiare covers a range of applications within its portfolio of lambda sensors and EGTS. Stocking more than 100 EGTS and 500 lambda sensors, they are available from FPS via same/next-day delivery.

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KEEPING SECURITY CONTROL

KEEPING SECURITY CONTROL

Ransomware is affecting the motor trade on an epic scale. We speak to an expert on how to kerb it.

Cyber expert William Taaffe

Security is a big deal in this day and age. You’ll know that the NHS is still reeling after the WannaCry virus hit a number of machines on its network last month, as happened to government and corporate networks around the world. In case you are not familiar, the so-called ‘ransomware’ encrypts the files on an infected computer and in this case, threatened to delete them unless a ransom, paid in Bitcoin is received. Even then, it is unlikely that you’ll get you files back as it will take someone, somewhere to manually authorise it… which they have no interest in doing after they have both you money and your files.

What you might not know is that this type of software has been affecting the motor trade possibly more than most industries over the past few years. It has mostly been targeted at dealerships, but wherever there is a mixture of weak security and sensitive data, hackers will pounce. To find out what can be done, we spoke to an expert in cyber security in the motor trade. William Taffe was the Cyber Security Business Manager (he has very recently switched companies) at RDS Global, a firm that started as the IT department of one of the main dealer groups in the 1990s, but has since become an IT support and consultancy brand of its own, following an MBO in 2013.

Our first question is why is the motor trade particularly vulnerable? Taaffe explained that the industry is a sitting duck for wrongdoers. “Turnover is what people are looking for. One reason is because the vehicles and stock are of a high value” he said. “The other reason is there is huge amounts of data that is collected, that data is stored in different systems. That data is a
big vulnerability”.

Another draw for criminals is that the consequences of cyber crime are less than street vice. “I saw a story on the BBC website where a frontline fraudster who was dealing in data was asked ‘why are you doing this?’. He said: ‘because I make more in a single day doing this than in a month selling cocaine.’ I thought it was a great quote – it just shows the power of modern criminality, and it revolves around identity fraud” said Taaffe.

So, what steps can be taken to secure your network? Taaffe recommends that each company should have a ‘cyber audit’, which in the case of very large chains could take several days. “One of the first things we do is look at the physical security” Taaffe explained, “I don’t just mean on the network, I mean who can physically walk into a site”.

There are a lot of quick and easy measures that can be taken to prevent random people from wandering into your main server cupboard, such as a lock on the door at the most basic level, rising to more sophisticated access control cards that can log people in and out of parts of your building (and for these, Taaffe recommends a firm called Paxton Access). However, the most sophisticated lock in the world is no use if it is left open. “Processes are one of the most important things you can do” Taaffe said. “It’s about accountability, such as who’s job is it to flag things up if there is a breech and is it mentioned in management meetings?” These ‘cyber essentials’ as Taaffe refers to them are obvious, but he explains how common it is to find firms that don’t even have a policy in place for the staff
to follow.

CHANGING LAW
This brings us on to another point that firms might not be aware of. By 2018, every company with more than five people will have to implement a cyber security policy, or it will be breaking the law itself.

However, the problem of the day is not with people physically messing with the computers, but perpetrators in unknown countries infecting computers with malicious software, or ‘malware’ as Taaffe calls it. “It takes different forms, but what you are we’ve been seeing is ‘multi-faced’ malware” Taaffe explained. “It doesn’t have one specific line of coding, it has a group of different coding. It will sit on your network very efficiently and it won’t run any applications. You might have heard the phrase ‘zero data tag’ which means something that hasn’t been seen before, so it bypasses the anti virus software. It can get into your system and work out where the vulnerabilities are – and then work out what face to put on. Sometimes, with the right conditions it can lock your network up and ask you for Bitcoin to unlock it”.

Once the computer is infected, there isn’t much you can do. “The police will always advise you not to pay, but the reality of the situation is that it is not black and white: said Taaffe. “The cost to the company for being ‘down’ was £100,000 per day. Sometimes it is better to pay the ransom and then rebuild the network, rather than keep it offline for days and days”.

Taaffe recalls a recent experience where a hacker had exploited a vulnerability in a network to extort a ransom. “In this case, they had a process, but it just wasn’t followed. There’s no point in sending out a memo once a year it has to be followed up regularly” he said.

Another old tactic that has seen resurgence is phishing. This is where the user is duped into handing over data by someone pretending to be something they are not – and this has moved on a lot from the days of apparent Nigerian princes asking politely for your credit card number. “Modern phishing attempts are more advanced” said Taaffe. “Some will learn individual employee’s diaries and will pretend to be them at certain times of the day, asking for certain amounts of cash to purchase vehicles or whatever. You’d be surprised by the number of people that get taken in by them.”

As with so may things, training, vigilance and enforcing policy are the best guard against criminals. “There are two misconceptions in the market and the first is that you can solve security problems by throwing technology at it: You can’t. The second is that they go away if you install anti virus software, that just won’t cut it anymore” concludes Taaffe.

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FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

AN INVESTIGATION has found that defective second-hand tyres are being sold to motorists, after figures showed 989 deaths or injuries have been a result of these models over the last five years.

Evidence was gathered when trading standard watchdogs posed as customers and bought samples from a number of dealers in County Durham. An Inspector at TyreSafe concluded that six out of seven purchases were deemed faulty while one was classed as ‘legal’ and over 18 years old.

Two were seriously damaged after being under-inflated. Two had damage to the bead, a reinforced rubber section inside the wheel. One contained water, showing it had not been stored properly. Five had no official ‘part worn’ stamp, classing them illegal according to a report in the Sunday Mirror.

Previous data collated from TyreSafe backed up the paper’s sentiment, highlighting that 98 percent of second-hand tyres carry no ‘part worn’ markings while 4.5m are sold to UK motorists year-on-year.

A TyreSafe spokesman, said. “Competence among used tyre retailers is questionable and the majority of used tyres are not properly inspected. A tyre is classed as a waste product until it’s been fully checked”.

The National Tyre’s Distributors Association (NTDA) has expressed its dismay, describing these practices as ‘appalling’ and a ‘ticking-time bomb’. The federation also calls for a ban on used car tyre sales in an attempt to reduce further accidents and deter rogue traders from selling on faulty products.

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DOING BUSINESS ON THE EDGE OF EUROPE

DOING BUSINESS ON THE EDGE OF EUROPE

BGA Automotive stand at show

Why go all the way to Turkey to go to a trade show? It was certainly a question on my mind as I hurtled for an hour along miles of bus-only expressways on one of Istanbul’s Metro buses, which are both terrifyingly fast and constantly carry a crush-load of passengers.

If you’ve been watching the news recently, you’ll know that the country has had a period of instability. Tensions between secularists who want the country to resemble Western Europe and conservative Islamists who do not, have been bubbling under the surface for years, leading to a number of chaotic and occasionally violent protests. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan politically survived an attempted coup d’etat last year, after which he purged the country of most of the judiciary and any journalists that dared to question his strategy were thrown in gaol – all of which puts the UK’s bickering about the snap election in the shade.

IMPORTANCE
However, the importance of the motor trade in Turkey cannot be understated. It is both a huge producer and a consumer of parts and complete vehicles, and so the organisers of Automechanika chose to franchise a show here.

The show has the look and feel of other non-Frankfurt editions with a mixture of big OE brands, smaller and more specialist suppliers plus a mix of diagnostic tool dealers, car wash suppliers and accessory brands – of which a disproportionate number seem to sell little but garish curtains for trucks, complete with tassels and pelmets. It takes little more than a cursory look through the programme guide to note that regional and Far-Eastern producers have the lion’s share of stands and space. Turkish companies were by far the largest exhibitors, in terms of number of exhibitors with the Chinese coming in second place. Between them, the two countries took up two-thirds of stands. So did other exhibitors get a look in?

The answer according to some of the other exhibitors was yes. “Everything here rolls on rubber” Paul Aylett, a Sales Manager at UK rotating electrics firm Prestolite told us, explaining why Turkey was important. His statement is correct, road freight makes up the vast bulk of the infrastructure in what is both a highly industrial and geographically vast country. A look at Istanbul, a city of some 15 million people, shows that there is seemingly no end to the number of light vehicles snarled up in constant horn-tooting traffic.

But why would any of Turkey’s distributors, all of which we noted were present at the show, choose to take on products from smaller UK brands? “It is about quality, but it is partly down to brand UK” said Chris Cameron from BGA Automotive. “The service people receive from British companies is noted for being consistent, 43,874 for international which is a strength”. This point is repeated when we visit Land Rover parts distributor AllMakes 4×4. Richard Howe, the MD is keen to tell us about the ‘added value’ that firms like his can provide. “It’s all about knowing the standards and service that you can expect from a firm like ours” he said.

That isn’t to say that doing business in Turkey is easy, regardless of whether you are importing or exporting. Wherever there is political instability, there will be a fluctuating currency and when considering the value of our own plummeting pound, it might be that the bulk purchase you shook on a few months previously, suddenly seems not such a great deal after all. A chat with the team on the Autopumps UK stand revealed that the prices of some castings from Turkey had increased by a third in recent months – and while the quality is good, there are other options.

Another point worth mentioning is the language. If you have ever been to trade shows further east, in Dubai for example, you’ll know that English is widely spoken and the de facto language of business. In Turkey, this doesn’t seem to be the case, so whether you are planning to exhibit, do business, or simply visit a trade show in the country it would be wise to bring someone who speaks the lingo with you.

CULTURAL BUSINESS
There are other cultural factors to be aware of when doing business in Turkey as well as Sezin Ata of FM Consulting told us, following a presentation at the show. “The decision process is long, but don’t push it” she warns, adding that people rarely like to say ‘no’… and you’ll find that out when they don’t say ‘yes’. She said that most business leaders in the country trust their individual contacts rather that written agreements – which is not unlike the UK aftermarket, but it does stress the importance of making the effort to get out here and shake the boss man’s hand, even if the deal value is low.

Sculpture in Tuap Expo Centre

Another point Ata made was the form of business meetings. “Very often there will be more than one person at the meeting – the boss and a senior engineer is typical. However, you might note that the engineer doesn’t say anything… Doesn’t he have anything to bring to the meeting?” she says.

“Actually, this is because businesses in Turkey often have a strong leader and submissive employees. They’ll give their opinion on the meeting when the boss asks them later” she explained.
All this sounds like it is a matcho culture, but Sezin believes that business in Turkey is on the whole ‘more feminine than masculine’ because of the numerous decisions based on human relationships, rather than simply the balance sheet.

It is ironic that as Britain has been seeking to leave the EU that Turkey has been attempting to join it – although the brakes seem to have been put on that process for now. As both countries are on the periphery of the Eurozone, it seems logical that both will want to do deals and ties with each other.

COUNTRY PAVILIONS
Noticeable by its absence was any form of UK Pavilion, although the UK businesses that were exhibiting were mostly grouped in the same hall.

Until recently, SMMT would arrange an area for members to exhibit at various international trade shows, under the banner ‘Business is GREAT Britain’.

The reasons for dropping this varied depending on who we spoke to, but what you couldn’t avoid noticing was ho ‘brand Germany’ brought it’s A-game.

The gleaming white pavilion with a well-designed and uniform theme was a focal point for visitors who made a bee-line for the Teutonic gear (although they always scattered every time I tried to point a camera
at them).

Another small but important point about the German stands was that the Board of Trade had been organised enough to produce some decent printed material in the form of a booklet that gave a short and serious explanation of each of the companies and how they can help. This document aped the style of all of the official Messe Frankfurt literature –
it was a top job.

Brexit means that British companies are going to have to seek business outside the EU and it is my opinion as Editor that the DTI should pay close attention to the Germans and offer something similar at cost price.

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GSF OPENS BRISTOL NORTH BRANCH

GSF OPENS BRISTOL NORTH BRANCH

Factor chain GSF Car Parts has announced the opening of a new store in Bristol.

Located at the Aztec West Business Park, Bristol North joins its South and central branches within the region as part of company expansion plans.

Following a similar setup to other stores, the 10,000sq ft. facility houses GSF’s fastest selling lines including braking, filtration and clutches with a strong focus on OE equipment for workshops.

“We’ll be looking initially within a 15 mile radius for deliveries”, said Simon McMullen, Regional Director at GSF Car Parts. “Our analysis suggests this gives us well over 100 garages and associated trades to target, so there are lot of opportunities for us” adding that the factor hasn’t ruled out building more sites across the city.

He concluded. “We’ve got experienced staff in place who know Bristol well. It’s been a great team effort to find and fit out suitable premises, put the staff in place and open with stock on the shelves – all in under a couple of months. We’re sure there’s even more potential for us around the area and we’ve been excited by the enthusiastic response already.”

For more information on deliveries and opening times, garages can head over to the GSF website.

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THE FUTURE OF CLUTCH SALES

THE FUTURE OF CLUTCH SALES

Is there a healthy future for dual mass flywheels and conversion kits? Daniel Moore investigates.

Dual mass flywheels (DMFs) absorb excess torque and dampening vibrations to allow smoother engine running at lower rpms. This process is carried out by storing rotational energy and releasing it over short periods of time, which, in turn, provides a silkier ride for the motorist while conforming to VMs’ objective to lower fuel consumption and emissions.

ZF DMF

DMF FAILURE
However, some problems can occur if DMFs wear, usually manifesting in a noisy and unpleasant journey for drivers, along with potential damage to the gearbox and crankshaft before the DMF fails alltogether. Nick Symons, Clutch Product Manager at ZF Services UK, notes. “Driving in high gear at low rpm or running the engine while stationary for long periods (to maintain air conditioning while parked for example) can cause premature wear to the dampening mechanism of the flywheel due to low-speed oscillation”. Frank Massey, Owner of ADS Automotive expands on Symons’ statement. “Most DMF clutches are wet clutches that require services and oil changes. Incorrect servicing and oil being used, or the wrong tools used for transmission work can be contributing factors to DMF failure”, he said.

 

Miten Parikh, Product Manager at Comline, explains that a trend towards VM’s fitting DMF’s on newer vehicles could result in increased labour time and a cost for the garage, especially if a replacement clutch is needed. He elaborates. “Vehicle manufacturer production lines are increasingly utilising the more complex DMF clutch options with around 50 percent of all new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are equipped with a dual mass flywheel. From the garage perspective, this means more DMF clutch issues arriving in the workshop requiring increasingly complex and time-consuming repairs”.

CONVERSION KITS

During a time where most consumers are driven on price, there’s also been an uptake in solid mass flywheel (SMF) conversion kits entering the market, often used as a budget alternative and time-saving option to replace worn DMF’s and their associated components. Some may recall the four-piece clutch kit developed by clutch maker Valeo, introduced in 2005 that was produced as an alternative to cut out expenses and fitment times for workshops.

However, technicians are still faced with a dilemma whether to replace a similar DMF originally manufactured for the vehicle or order in a conversion kit to complete the installation procedure. According to Malcolm Short, Technical Services Manager for Schaeffer Automotive Aftermarket UK, there can be risks involved with installing conversion kits that don’t match the same criteria as the DMF taken off the vehicle. “Fitting conversion kits, essentially a solid flywheel conversion, doesn’t have the same conversion or capabilities that a DMF does. You can run the risk of damage to the gearbox and crankshafts”.

Malcolm White, Product Director at FirstLine, which owns the Borg and Beck brand, believes there is space in the market for conversion kits and DMFs to co-exist with one another. Speaking about his firm’s range of conversion kits he says, “This has been made possible by the development of the long travel damper, which uses advanced vibration clutch damper technology to create a damper capable of 40 degrees of torsional movement and is therefore comparable with the movement that was typical from the equivalent DMF at the time of the vehicle’s original manufacture”.

Comline SMF Clutch Kit

Aisin Europe’s Pierre Grégoire said the firm has developed a twin disc technology specifically for its SMF conversion kits. He elaborates. “Aisin Europe has developed a conversion kit to a single mass flywheel (SMF). What sets our conversion kit apart from our competitors is the utilisation of our unique twin- disc technology, a quality alternative for the price conscious customers who do not want to compromise on reliability, driving comfort and fuel efficiency”.

MARKET GROWTH
So the question on a stock vendor’s mind is ‘will there be market growth for DMF’s and conversion kits in the near future?’ As anticipated, there have been mixed responses from clutch makers and suppliers primarily down to electric cars that won’t require conventional transmission.

That said, LuK’s Malcolm Short notes: “There will definitely be market growth for DMF’s especially with the P2 Hybrid Electric Motor that is going into production this year which features a DMF on it”. First Line’s Malcom White takes a different view, saying that there will be a decline in the DMF and clutch market with the uptake of plug- in hybrids that incorporate an automatic or CVT transmission. “The growth of the latest petrol/ plug-in hybrids will represent a reduction for Dual Mass Flywheel and in fact clutch” said White. “VW being the exception as they continue to offer the DSG alternative on vehicles like Golf where customers are still looking for the manual experience”.

Peter Horton, Marketing Executive at Motaquip concurs. “Electrical vehicles don’t use conventional drivetrains, however are intelligence suggests we’re still over two decades away from electric vehicles making a Aisin Europe clutch disc significant impact on the clutch aftermarket”.

SEEING DOUBLE
There are other opportunities as well. “Double clutch is now fitted to VW, Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Fiat”, LuK’s Malcolm Short tells us. “We’re doing double clutch training every week now to emphasise to garages that this is something they should be getting involved with”. FLG’s Malcolm White takes the same stance as Short, noting that DCT is the next largest development project underpinned by VMs worldwide. “The growth of Double (Dual) Clutch Transmission is predicted to be more than 11 percent per until 2020”, he said. “These clutch solutions offer increased fuel efficiencies as well as an improved driving experience for motorists”.

Whatever the future brings, you can be sure that the long running debate over DMFs and solid f lywheel conversions has a little while to go yet, as the number of vehicles fitted with these transmissions runs in the tens of millions.

CENTRIFUGAL PENDULUM ABSORBERS
Some may remember the introduction of centrifugal pendulum absorbers on the BMW 320 in 2010. Although still classed as a newer technology, LuK’s Malcolm Short told CAT that the firm has developed this technology further by incorporating it into its dual mass flywheels to dampen judder and improve the overall driving experience. He added. “We now have a pendulum absorber contained in our DMFs. This started out on BMW where we developed it for them but now it is being fitted to high end passenger cars like Audi and Mercedes which will get spread across the board as it becomes more popular”. When first introduced, LuK produced a one-off solid conversion for the BMW and fitted it to a car. Visitors to the clutch fim’s factory in Baden-Baden would then be invited to go for a spin in the converted car and in a regular one in order to feel the difference for themselves.

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DOING BUSINESS ON THE EDGE OF EUROPE

DOING BUSINESS ON THE EDGE OF EUROPE

BGA Automotive stand at show

Why go all the way to Turkey to go to a trade show? It was certainly a question on my mind as I hurtled for an hour along miles of bus-only expressways on one of Istanbul’s Metro buses, which are both terrifyingly fast and constantly carry a crush-load of passengers.

If you’ve been watching the news recently, you’ll know that the country has had a period of instability. Tensions between secularists who want the country to resemble Western Europe and conservative Islamists who do not, have been bubbling under the surface for years, leading to a number of chaotic and occasionally violent protests. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan politically survived an attempted coup d’etat last year, after which he purged the country of most of the judiciary and any journalists that dared to question his strategy were thrown in gaol – all of which puts the UK’s bickering about the snap election in the shade.

IMPORTANCE
However, the importance of the motor trade in Turkey cannot be understated. It is both a huge producer and a consumer of parts and complete vehicles, and so the organisers of Automechanika chose to franchise a show here.

The show has the look and feel of other non-Frankfurt editions with a mixture of big OE brands, smaller and more specialist suppliers plus a mix of diagnostic tool dealers, car wash suppliers and accessory brands – of which a disproportionate number seem to sell little but garish curtains for trucks, complete with tassels and pelmets. It takes little more than a cursory look through the programme guide to note that regional and Far-Eastern producers have the lion’s share of stands and space. Turkish companies were by far the largest exhibitors, in terms of number of exhibitors with the Chinese coming in second place. Between them, the two countries took up two-thirds of stands. So did other exhibitors get a look in?

The answer according to some of the other exhibitors was yes. “Everything here rolls on rubber” Paul Aylett, a Sales Manager at UK rotating electrics firm Prestolite told us, explaining why Turkey was important. His statement is correct, road freight makes up the vast bulk of the infrastructure in what is both a highly industrial and geographically vast country. A look at Istanbul, a city of some 15 million people, shows that there is seemingly no end to the number of light vehicles snarled up in constant horn-tooting traffic.

But why would any of Turkey’s distributors, all of which we noted were present at the show, choose to take on products from smaller UK brands? “It is about quality, but it is partly down to brand UK” said Chris Cameron from BGA Automotive. “The service people receive from British companies is noted for being consistent, 43,874 for international which is a strength”. This point is repeated when we visit Land Rover parts distributor AllMakes 4×4. Richard Howe, the MD is keen to tell us about the ‘added value’ that firms like his can provide. “It’s all about knowing the standards and service that you can expect from a firm like ours” he said.

That isn’t to say that doing business in Turkey is easy, regardless of whether you are importing or exporting. Wherever there is political instability, there will be a fluctuating currency and when considering the value of our own plummeting pound, it might be that the bulk purchase you shook on a few months previously, suddenly seems not such a great deal after all. A chat with the team on the Autopumps UK stand revealed that the prices of some castings from Turkey had increased by a third in recent months – and while the quality is good, there are other options.

Another point worth mentioning is the language. If you have ever been to trade shows further east, in Dubai for example, you’ll know that English is widely spoken and the de facto language of business. In Turkey, this doesn’t seem to be the case, so whether you are planning to exhibit, do business, or simply visit a trade show in the country it would be wise to bring someone who speaks the lingo with you.

CULTURAL BUSINESS
There are other cultural factors to be aware of when doing business in Turkey as well as Sezin Ata of FM Consulting told us, following a presentation at the show. “The decision process is long, but don’t push it” she warns, adding that people rarely like to say ‘no’… and you’ll find that out when they don’t say ‘yes’. She said that most business leaders in the country trust their individual contacts rather that written agreements – which is not unlike the UK aftermarket, but it does stress the importance of making the effort to get out here and shake the boss man’s hand, even if the deal value is low.

Sculpture in Tuap Expo Centre

Another point Ata made was the form of business meetings. “Very often there will be more than one person at the meeting – the boss and a senior engineer is typical. However, you might note that the engineer doesn’t say anything… Doesn’t he have anything to bring to the meeting?” she says.

“Actually, this is because businesses in Turkey often have a strong leader and submissive employees. They’ll give their opinion on the meeting when the boss asks them later” she explained.
All this sounds like it is a matcho culture, but Sezin believes that business in Turkey is on the whole ‘more feminine than masculine’ because of the numerous decisions based on human relationships, rather than simply the balance sheet.

It is ironic that as Britain has been seeking to leave the EU that Turkey has been attempting to join it – although the brakes seem to have been put on that process for now. As both countries are on the periphery of the Eurozone, it seems logical that both will want to do deals and ties with each other.

COUNTRY PAVILIONS
Noticeable by its absence was any form of UK Pavilion, although the UK businesses that were exhibiting were mostly grouped in the same hall.

Until recently, SMMT would arrange an area for members to exhibit at various international trade shows, under the banner ‘Business is GREAT Britain’.

The reasons for dropping this varied depending on who we spoke to, but what you couldn’t avoid noticing was ho ‘brand Germany’ brought it’s A-game.

The gleaming white pavilion with a well-designed and uniform theme was a focal point for visitors who made a bee-line for the Teutonic gear (although they always scattered every time I tried to point a camera
at them).

Another small but important point about the German stands was that the Board of Trade had been organised enough to produce some decent printed material in the form of a booklet that gave a short and serious explanation of each of the companies and how they can help. This document aped the style of all of the official Messe Frankfurt literature –
it was a top job.

Brexit means that British companies are going to have to seek business outside the EU and it is my opinion as Editor that the DTI should pay close attention to the Germans and offer something similar at cost price.

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RISING AGAIN AFTER THE FLOOD

RISING AGAIN AFTER THE FLOOD

Keeping afloat after disaster strikes takes the most Streetwize of operators

New, efficient warehouse for Streetwize

Regular readers will have seen Murray Silverman and his team in the magazine many times through the years – first through his activities as the Ace Supply buyer’s agent and more recently through accessory brand Streetwize.

However, in the last days of 2014 the business nearly went under – quite literally as the warehouse and offices suffered a devastating flood.

“It happened on Boxing Day, and when I got back from holiday I saw the flood” recalled Silverman with typical understatement. A video clip on his phone reveals that a river had burst its banks, putting the nearby houses and businesses under four feet of fast-flowing and extremely muddy water. This was going to take a while to sort out.

The first problem was to find somewhere to physically do the sorting out. The area, still under water, had been cordoned off by the fire service so Silverman had to come up with another plan. “We had nowhere to go to, but there were some serviced offices over the road a little way, so I ran over and asked what they had”.

The answer was not much, but the manager of the building found a few rooms scattered between f loors, which at least allowed Murray, son and co-director Dale, Co-Director Dave Davis, Julie Bell from the Purchasing team and a number of other sales employees to phone around customers to explain what had happened – a situation complicated by the fact that they were not able to use the Streetwize telephone system.

HEAD UNDER WATER
“Customers were very sympathetic at first, but after a couple of months it started to wear a bit thin” explained Silverman. One of the problems was that after the water receded Environmental Health looked at the condition of the building and decided that it was something more toxic than mud that caked every surface and large swathes could not be used. The result was that pretty much all of the stock was written off as well as a whole load of computer systems and physical paperwork destroyed.

One of the problems when your business is imports is not loosing the stock – painful as it might be, it is insured – but replacing it will take at least twelve weeks and in the modern age of retail, that just isn’t acceptable. “It was a total battle, plus we had no premises,” recalls Silverman. “But I couldn’t just turn on the tap”.

In the short term, the management had to beg, borrow and call in favours to get space to hold the small amounts of stock they could get their hands on. Not wanting to risk a repeat of the incident, the hunt was on for a new and permanent home – although that was also problematic as staff wouldn’t want to move too far.

The lack of stock was a massive problem though. “We had stock here, there and everywhere, and we were losing orders left right and centre” recalled Silverman. “Some of the national accounts fined us because we couldn’t fulfil the order and some of them cancelled altogether. You can argue with your insurance all you like, but once you’ve lost an order, you’ve lost it and they let someone else in”.

However, in the modern North-West decent logistics space is at a premium. Fortunately, and at the last minute, Silverman found a warehouse in Manchester and the race was on to get it racked out before a large shipment of stock arrived.

To say that the transition was straightforward would be inaccurate, however the current property offers a number of advantages over the old place – and not just because of the reduced flood risk. First of all, wide loading bays and the brand-new racking meant it was easier and quicker to move goods in and out. Secondly, brighter and roomier offices on site meant the sales and buying teams could get on with their work. Finally, the site had a large upstairs room that leant itself well to being set up as a mock accessory shop.

LOSING ORDERS
The race was on to refill the stock room and the order book – and this led the company in a new direction. For some time, Streetwize had offered a range of camping and leisure products, but now it was in a position to expand on this. “I had a customer that was into mail order that opened a door for me for a national account, who wanted garden products” explained Silverman. These were easily sourced from the firm’s list of factory contacts, as were a number of caravan products. “We went to the shows and added an electric caravan mover to range” he said. “I knew the maker of old, so I asked him about securing the UK rights and it has been big business for us”.

Dale Silverman, Murray Silverman and Dave Davis

Leisure products, now sold under the sub-brand Leisurewize is now the fastest growing area of the company, though this hasn’t been without challenges. In a market that is dominated with the likes of Amazon and eBay, the firm has struggled with ‘substitute sellers’. Simply put, these sellers will use a picture of a Streetwize branded product, but actually send a generic unbranded item that the sellers have imported themselves. The team at Streetwize joined with other (mostly leisure) accessory distributors to have these sellers taken down – but it has been an uphill battle as the way that the nation buys and sells has changed. “I remember the days of Gordon Spice, Regor, G&M and Maccess – there were loads of cash and carry’s” said Silverman wistfully. “They’ve all gone now… The internet has changed the world” adding that the company has never supplied consumers directly and certainly hasn’t sold directly on Amazon.

EXPORT
Another new direction after the flood was to try exporting Streetwize branded products. “It was difficult, because no-one was waiting for Streetwize to turn up” admits Silverman. However, after going to a few trade shows he found buyers that were willing to listen to his message that while it might be easy to buy directly from China, it is much harder to buy consistently or well. For that you need long-established contacts as Streetwize has. “If they buy from us, they get the opportunity to buy good products with a strong brand” he says, adding that he loves sticking another pin in the map when he picks up a new international client.

A surprisingly strong market has been New Zealand and there is even an accessory shop on the tiny island of St Helena that is decked out with the firm’s wares.

On our visit, the peak season for wholesale buying leisure products was nearing an end, and the warehouse was full of water rollers, tow hitch locks, electric caravan movers and many other products that we weren’t familiar with. Dale Silverman and Dave Davis pop by to say hello, in between both of them sorting out complex deals on their permanently busy phones. The mock shop, which also doubles as a boardroom, is a fantastic size, but even this can’t display every product that the team imports.

Silverman started in the aftermarket by buying a job lot of ‘Grand Prix’ brand steering wheels that used an interchangeable boss to fit most cars on the road at the time. Today, the businesses’ fastest moving lines are various hands free accessories and dashcams, as well as the afore mentioned caravan mover. As Silverman says, the world has changed and so have the things people buy as well as the way in which they buy them, but you can be sure that the team from Manchester will be on the phone, constantly looking for the next big opportunity – whatever the weather throws at them.

NEW TO RANGE, ONCE APON A TIME:
Silverman’s thoughts on five great products from the last 30 years:

Fluffy dice

“These are essentially useless, but at one time we couldn’t stock enough of them”

‘Grand Prix’ steering wheels

“We tried to sell them to the likes of Maccess, but they said: ‘No way! You are a thorn in our side!’”

Max Power merchandise

“For a time, anything with Max Power on it would sell – absolutely anything. Funnily enough Fast and the Furious merchandise was a comparative disaster”.

Spitting Image merchandise

“I realised there was a market for this, so we got the licence and straight away sold 50,000 keyrings to Asda”.

Light-up washer jets

“I came back from Taiwan and told everybody about these. Without exception, they thought I was crazy…but I knew there was a market for them!”

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SMART FOR TWO 1998-2014

sf2

Way back in the 1990s, watch manufacturer Swatch had an idea that the manufacturing principle that it used to produce watches could be applied to cars. To cut a long and tortuous development story short, a deal was signed with Daimler Chrysler (as the company was then) and an all-new factory was built in Hambach which became known as ‘Smartville’.

Cars went on sale from 1998 with RHD versions (and official UK imports) from 2000. Having been through three generations, the two-seater model (originally known as City Coupé, latterly as For Two) it is the first two iterations that this guide is concerned with and most of this information can also be applied to the sort-live Smart Roadster. The three-cylinder petrol engine fitted to the vast majority of these vehicles received various upgrades throughout the production cycle, notably a start/stop system from 2008. There’s also a Mitsubishi- powered diesel fitted in some later cars as well as an all electric version, though these are rare.

ENGINE
The elephant in the room with petrol versions of these cars is the engine. Very early cars have a 599cc, three- cylinder twinspark unit, while later ones have 698cc and 999cc respectively. Loosely speaking, the the older the engine is, the fewer miles it will cover until a rebuild becomes necessary. According to specialist workshop Fudge Smart, the problem is with the oil control rings. These become ‘gunged up’ and prevent the oil being scraped back down to the sump. Instead it remains in the top end, causing the valves to burn out.

These engines are comparatively cheap to rebuild, but taking in a vehicle that needs such work is likely to knock out any profit that could have been made. Oil smoke and a misfire due to a lack of compression are the most common symptoms.

Not every misfire is a doomed engine. If you are lucky, it might just be the coil pack or the HT lead insulators – both are common faults on the ForTwo.

As with any forced induction engine, oil starvation can wreck the turbocharger. Luckily, this range seems to have pretty durable turbos as we haven’t heard many reports of them needing replacement.

Tridion cell makes vehicle safer than many believe

Tridion cell makes vehicle safer than many believe

Another common, and thankfully less serious, Fortwo engine part that puts the dash light on is the oil pressure switch. While a failing switch might be the cause of an oil leak, an intermittent illumination of the warning light may be the result of the pressure sensing part of the switch weakening. Technicians should also note that these engines are known to burn oil and therefore the oil level should be checked at the correct temperature and on level ground before diagnosis begins. (While the switch monitors oil pressure, very low oil level and air being drawn into the oil pump, has been known to cause the warning light to come on). An oil pressure check using an external, calibrated, oil pressure gauge should be used to also confirm the correct oil pressure before replacing the switch.

ELECTRICS
There’s nothing particularly wrong with the lights although unless you have pipe cleaner arms the headlamp bulbs are a swine to change.

If the car won’t start and the indicators flash nine times when the key fob button is pressed, then the key needs to be recoded.

Roadsters have a specific issue where the wipers are impossible to switch off. This requires a new motor, but at least you won’t get any parking tickets.

Tridion cell makes vehicle safer than many believe

Tridion cell makes vehicle safer than many believe

INTERIOR
Must and damp in the interior will probably be due to leaking quarter or rear windows as these. Evilution.co.uk suggest that this is due to the original sealant giving up. Simply re-sealing the windows should keep the inside dry.

TRANSMISSION
TecRMI point out that on early versions of the car, a faulty brake light switch can cause problems when selecting reverse while later versions brake light switch, clutch and software issues can cause difficulty in selecting reverse (N flashing on display).

EMISSIONS
Lambda sensors are a popular Cambiare part for these cars, often being replaced to get a car through the emissions section of an MOT test. Technicians should bear in mind that a spilt crankcase breather pipe can allow unmetered air into the engine and cause emissions related problems (causing lambda sensor and/or air flow meter fault codes). A blocked breather can increase crankcase pressure leading to increased oil consumption and again emission related issues. The breathers should be checked before replacing a lambda sensor unnecessarily.

SAM CONTROL UNIT
The SAM unit, according to 4smart.co.uk, can be a costly repair if it fails; with the main cause of failure being water ingress although this usually only affects roadsters. As with many parts of the Smart, the SAM is an unconventional design, as it is both a fuse box and an ECU in one combined unit. While it is possible to obtain a brand new unit from the dealer it is very expensive, so most in the trade will send them to a specialist for a rebuild. Note that you’ll need to send the main ECU along with it.

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