Tag Archive | "Diesel"

HANDLING DIESEL COMPONENTS

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HANDLING DIESEL COMPONENTS


Injectors and related components need special care, but do garages appreciate this?

Diesel system components are a paradox. On one hand they survive for years if not decades in a harsh, high temperature and even higher pressure environment of an engine. On the other hand, when the parts are out of their clean, contamination-free safe zone the are immensely fragile and even the slightest knock or the tiniest contamination particle can render them useless.

CR Injector

It is interesting to note that the component manufacturers take getting injectors through the factory, to the garage and into the engine, extremely seriously. “Delphi’s common rail injectors are manufactured and packed in conditions of utmost cleanliness in our OE facilities. All outlets are fitted with protective caps and plugs and the injectors are sealed into VCI (Vapour Corrosion Inhibitor) bags. The bagged injectors are then packed into strong, durable cardboard cartons for delivery to distributors and end users” explains Gail Flint, UK Category Manager, Fuel Injection Systems, Delphi Product and Service Solutions. She adds that on fitting, garages are encouraged to vacuum (as opposed to blowing compressed air across the component) when fitting and that the old core should be returned packaged in the same way complete with end caps when being returned to the factor.

DEBATE
However, a thorny debate arises when it comes to remanufacturing that core. Arguments over what is a repair and what constitutes being a remanufactured item are as old as the industry, but in the days of high-tech electronics and ultra-sensitive precision parts the topic has never been more pertinent. Part of the problem, according to various remanufacturers is a lack of universal build specs from OEMs. Chris Paxman, MD of TT Automotive said: “There always has been companies who want to do the job properly, and others who want to get it working to a fashion and make a quick buck”. He adds that where there is official field repair information available from the OEM ‘most reputable diesel repair shops will be using this to remanufacture the unit’.

Graeme Stock, MD of Hirsche Automotive said a key difference between repairers and reconditioners is the way they’s approach each unit. “Repairers would solve the immediate fault, and if there were 10 racks the same, perhaps with different faults, they’d just repair that one challenge. What we do in R and D is we solve the issue across the board. Every time we produce it, we will strip the whole thing down and build it back up. You have to change the mentality, if you don’t do that, you aren’t a reconditioner, you are a repairer”.

PROGRAMME
The OEMs do have various diesel programmes, but some in the industry want this expanded and formalised. The one fundamental change [that we’d like to see] would be that the OEMs recognise the value of an approved diesel centre network that they promote the benefits of using the same, that they introduce new programmes quicker through this network and making sure that the component parts are competitively priced” said Ian Neill, Director, Diesel Systems at Carwood. “This would ensure that the approved networks who have made very significant investments in equipment and training would capture a major share of the available market before the non – genuine repairers got a foothold”. He adds that in his opinion the reason that this is not happening as a given is because it is in conflict with the OEMs own reman programmes.

Despite the bad headlines, there are as many diesel vehicles on the road as ever and while the parts are delicate and difficult to transport until fitted, there is no denying that a modern workshop cannot simply refuse to take diesel work on.

NO SHORTCUT FOR DIESEL PARTS

An important point to understand about diesel components is that there is no such thing as a cheap price- fighting brand on new components. On glow plugs, for example, there are only half a dozen companies that produce them, and all have various OE contracts. The reason for this, as outlined in the main text, is that all diesel components are highly precision engineered parts and even the slightest error in the length of a glow plug, for example, could result in the crown touching the piston which would result in significant engine damage. A year ago CAT visited the Hidria glow plug factory in Slovenia, and were surprised how few people were involved in the physical production, as the vast majority of operations are automated and in clean room conditions. As with other diesel system components, each product is coded for traceability and are subject to many tests before leaving the building, including a fast heat change test, plunging the plugs from a hot ambient temperature to -40° in a flash.

Hidria

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FUELLING SYSTEMS: WHAT’S REALLY THE PROBLEM?


In many cases, the injector and pump are not the cause but the victim of the piece.

The fuel system market is growing, with a recent report citing continued growth globally to 2022. Europe is the second largest market for fuel injectors, partially due to improving economic conditions and tougher emission standards, which is expected to grow the market further.

These emissions standards are at the forefront of manufacturers minds and therefore the onus is on their suppliers to develop products that keep vehicles running efficiently. This has put pressure on the fuel system, which is constantly developing to keep up with the demands of the modern world, and forcing the aftermarket to keep up with innovation, causing problems when it comes to identifying faulty units.

FINE TOLERANCES
Petrol and diesel injectors are intricate parts, with holes around 50 microns wide. To put this into perspective, the human hair is around 100 microns wide, which really highlights the tolerances they’re put under. Any form of dirt or grime pulled through the system from the tank or lines could cause issues. As fuel has to be injected at high pressure, a reduction of 8-10% efficiency could cause a misfire due to a leaner fuel mixture.

Yet a number of fuel system parts can be replaced when they are not the main cause of any issues. The injector is the point that can be observed when a problem is being diagnosed, meaning if there is a report of low fuel pressure, some garages can believe the injector is the issue, leading to a replacement that is not necessary, especially if the original issue remains.

Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi explains: “The problem causing a loss of pressure could be further down the chain. For example, the pump may have an issue, may not be generating enough pressure, or in terms of diesel, it could be contamination in the rail. It is important that garages therefore carry out a full diagnostic of the system before replacing the injector, then that will resolve the problem. Where the problem becomes visible, may not be the root cause.

“Our distributors see a lot of parts that are returned due to the fact that they have failed early, and this is down to the fact that the original issue has not been rectified, damaging new parts much quicker. It may be a simple flush of the system that is required, but with a set of injectors costing £800 to £1,000 it can be costly to a garage if the part is misfitted or not required.

Garages must also play their part in ensuring injectors and pumps are not damaged or contaminated during fitting,” Goulding continues. “The areas where such components are stored and worked on need to be clean, torque settings must be adhered to and care must be taken, after all, especially in the case of diesel, the fuel system is a high-pressure system.”

Injector testing kit in action

Karl Horton, Warranty and Technical Manager at Carwood, believes there are other reasons as to why a number of units returned are not faulty:

“From injectors being returned to us, we have a three percent return rate on our remanufactured products,” he comments. “Of this, around 1.2% is accepted as we recycle a lot of products in our remanufacturing facility. The remainder is returned either due to contamination or incorrect fitting, or there is no fault found with the unit. What customers do with the products can depend on the level of training on the fitment of these items. We find that some garages are fitting injectors and pumps as a process of elimination, and we return these once we have tested them to see if they are working or not.

“One thing we have also found is that customers are not programming injectors properly. Automatically they then think that the problem is with the product rather than what they are doing. If you look back at vehicles from the 1980s compared with modern ones then there are big changes. A lot of injectors and pumps today are programmed and there are technicians that don’t carry these procedures out, expecting them to work rom the off. In many examples, that isn’t the case.”

UNDER PRESSURE
What then, could be the cause of fuel system issues? “The pump itself is a durable part within the fuel system and under good conditions ‘should’ last for the lifetime of the vehicle,” explains Chris Newey, Product Manager at Cambiare. “However, the fuel pump isn’t the only part of the fuel system that can experience problems which could result in a lack of fuel being delivered to the engine. Typical causes for low fuel pressure include a dirty fuel filter in which the fuel is being obstructed from flowing at the required pressure,incorrect tank venting in which the quantity of air coming into the fuel tank is insufficient to allow fuel to be withdrawn by the pump or restricted fuel lines in which the diameter of the fuel lines is insufficient to support the f low of fuel.”

“Damage during fitment is not an uncommon situation for fuel pumps and injectors. The most common issue we experience with ‘damage during fitment’ is broken fuel pipe connectors on the latest electric pumps. Whilst care should be taken when connecting and securing the pipes to ensure a tight seal, fitters should not over-tighten them as it can cause damage.

Bosch diesel injector

“Removal of old injectors can also be problematic. Over time, the O-Rings can harden and the cylinder head can corrode seizing the injector in place. Once removed, it important to ensure the fuel rail is free from any residual material to ensure the correct fitment of the new injectors and the new seals provided with the new injectors should always be used.”

HIGH LEVEL OF DETAIL
Ian Proctor, Diesel Product Manager at Bosch, adds: “We estimate that around 300,000 Bosch injectors are replaced in the UK every year and it is a part that is made up of very intricate pieces. Most injectors tend to see a lifespan of eight years, however the tolerances they are subjected to are great. Any contamination in the system can mean particles being pushed through the small injector holes which can cause wear, this can add to early failure of a component and is included in that high number of yearly injector replacements.

“When you take an injector apart, there are pieces inside that can easily become lost. For example, a garage may remove the injector and start to take it apart to clean it, before realising that the number of components within is greater than they realised. Without taking care, they may have already lost one of the tiny bearings that lie within, which will mean the entire unit will need to be replaced, or sent to a repair centre where an expert can examine it, at cost.”

DIRTY FUELLING
Which procedures should garages be undertaking to make sure of a correct diagnosis? Chris Newey of Cambiare adds: “Check the electrical circuits to ensure connections are in place, undamaged and in particular, free from rust.

“Fuel injected engines are extremely sensitive to the pressure of the fuel. Technicians should check fuel pressure using a pressure gauge to identify if the pressure is not running too high or too low. If the pressure is too high for the vehicle and the pressure regulator is faulty, the fuel consumption will increase causing a rough idle and surging. If the pressure is running too low for the vehicle, it can cause lean misfire, hesitation, rough idle and misfire when accelerating.”

A common theme is that of contamination in the system, which throws garages off the scent when diagnosing fuelling problems. Cleaners can therefore play their part in repair, sometimes before the idea of replacing the injector or pump should come into question.

Carl Ebanks, Brand Manager at Redex, comments: “Not so much contamination but dirt deposits from the fuel builds up on the fuel injectors, which alters the spray pattern and dosage so they become less efficient, making the car overall less efficient. Fuel System cleaners reduce emissions, clean up the dirt deposits in the fuel system, improve engine performance and save fuel. Cleaners stop dirt deposits building up on them, but do not prevent issues in the case of mechanical breakdown.”

As such an expensive and mechanical piece of the vehicle, diagnosing the problem in a fuel system is only part of the job and taking time to explore and rectify potential problems could save much future hassle. Parts are delicate and care is required, while attention is mandatory.

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WHO BENEFITS FROM SCRAPPAGE?

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WHO BENEFITS FROM SCRAPPAGE?


As before, the VMs stand to gain from a scheme, but is the aftermarket organised enough to mount a challenge?

Mike Owen

The jungle drums are beating and the environmental lobby, whilst not yet in full howl, is becoming vociferous about the state of the air pollution in our cities – they are not wrong! However, as usual, the first choice of action is to rain hell-fire and damnation in the shape of increased congestion charges and additional parking costs for anybody who has the temerity to drive a diesel vehicle and the second, to throw money at
the problem.

Once again the ‘scrappage’ word is being bandied about as the way of removing these vehicles from our roads but, the question must be asked, will this not reward the perpetrators of the crime? Some of the vehicle manufacturers by producing ‘non-compliant’ vehicles could be said to have added to the problem; will those named-and- shamed be excluded from the list of ‘acceptable’ vehicles to benefit from any such scheme? – I feel that I can answer this conundrum, No!

POLITICS

Those of us who can remember the hedonistic days of Tony Blair, his sidekick Gordon Brown and the ‘New Labour’ movement will remember that during their reign they were actively promoting diesel, due to its economy. As with so many things from that era, the genaral public are once again left holding the baby.

Have we learnt nothing from the last scrappage scheme? The ‘dirty’ old vehicles are not the ones that will be replaced – the owners of these old ‘nodders’ don’t do so from choice, they own them because they can’t afford to replace them so a new scheme benefits the VM’s and the new vehicle owners.

Scrappage starves the used market by frustrating the cascade of vehicles down to the cheap seats. If a scrappage scheme is introduced the VM’s will squander it in the name of increased vehicle sales and it will not benefit our sector one jot.

CONVERSION RATE

If the diesel devil is the problem why not champion a ‘conversion’ programme; convert diesel vehicles to petrol or other propulsion methods? “Can’t be done!” I hear various commentators shout; as my old apprentice master used to say ‘you can do anything you want but first you have to want to do anything’ – of course it can be done but are the cost, benefits and the rewards big enough?

I admit the problem will be the infernal electrics but nothing is insurmountable. If we look outside our own sector of the industry ‘transplants’ are common; those who can remember the original Leyland National bus will remember, probably with scars to remind them, that the original ‘headless’ engine was a god- awful contraption and were almost entirely substituted by Cummings or MAN engines; look at the boat industry and you will see the same happening across the globe – it can be done.

MAGIC OPPORTUNITY

There is no magic bullet, there will be several years of transition if the problem is to be sorted but we need to be looking at how we can turn weaknesses into opportunities and avoid strengths being threatened. With the ‘dirty old dogs’ could we, the Independent sector, not champion a need for maintenance? We know that vehicles which are not serviced are a large part of the problem – within the aftermarket there are a myriad of cleaning products; injector cleaners, fuel system cleaners, oil additives etc. which all help; the EDT engine cleaning system, I can attest, gives startling results both in economy and emissions. But we need to be careful that we are not seen to be peddling snake-oil, we need measurable, certified results and strong representation. Is the time not right (again) for us to promote the legislative need for vehicles to be maintained?

The Government though will once again be lobbied by those with the loudest voice, the VM’s who will offer a quick fix and an offer to tick the box to appease the need rather than cure the problem.
So why does the aftermarket never look at to providing the answer? Is it because we are fragmented with little enclaves each doing their ‘bit’ but no joined up thinking or holistic solution seeking? (By which I mean one firm sells parts, but  another fits them; with each player being prepared to prey on the other rather than forming an alliance– hardly an environment for solution seeking nor likely to inspire confidence in others at the table looking for a solution).

Fuel can open a can of worms

Fuel can open a can of worms

INDEPENDENCE

Once again our sector finds itself marred by its ‘independence’ – who will really represent our sector? The only voices heard around the corridors of power are the SMMT, the VM’s by any other name, and the NFDA representing the dealers but the Independent sector – either garages or factors – name your champion, when did you last hear their voice? So when the tide of opinion once again turns in favour of the VM’s, as it will, the independence from each other, the lack of unity, will have denied you a voice.

Those of you who have tested yourselves using the now slightly outmoded SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) will have realised that there is no black and white only shades of grey (I’m not referring to ‘that’ book) – an opportunity could have been as the result of a weakness and not to address it is now a threat but you could turn it into a strength so into which category do you put it? Now ask yourself the same thing about the Diesel fiasco, the problem is that it gets put into the ‘too difficult tray’ and the VMs become, by default, the only show in town.

If, as we expect, this Scrappage MkII is going to get off the ground can we, the independent sector, try not to get caught napping; can we get our backsides into gear and organise ourselves? The old adage ‘are we failing to plan or planning to fail’ springs to mind – there is one racing certainty and that is if you’ve got nothing to say, don’t be surprised if nobody is prepared to listen.

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‘CUSTOMERS ARE ANGRY’ DAVID MASSEY TELLS TV VIEWERS

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‘CUSTOMERS ARE ANGRY’ DAVID MASSEY TELLS TV VIEWERS


screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-11-58-53David Massey of ADS Preston has appeared on the BBC’s One Show to talk about the issues facing the owners of diesel car owners.

“Diesel cars are now subject to much more stringent testing… In my opinion these cars now have a limited shelf life” Massey told reporter Vicky Butler-Henderson during a segment that sought to explain why the danger of diesel emissions have come back on the political agenda.

“A lot of customers are very angry. They were promised by government that the cars were cheap to run, buy and repair, but this is no longer the case” added Massey.

The feature also included Greg Avery, an Essex-based car dealer who noted a drop in demand for diesel cars by about a quarter as well as a shot interview with John Prescott, who was Transport Minister at the time that the government encouraged the up-take of diesel fuel.

Butler-Henderson talked about the possibility of a new scrappage scheme and offered a few practical tips for motorists to pollute less when using their cars.

Meanwhile, both David and Frank Massey are preparing for another edition of the AutoInform training event, which will be held in March at GTG Scotland.

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COLD COMFORT FOR EURO 5 DIESELS


Euro 5 diesels could be operating with ‘pollution controls partly turned off’

Scrappage SchemePollution from many popular diesel vehicles gets much worse in cold weather, according to a report.

Information compiled by test data firm Emissions Analytics suggests that Euro 5 vehicles are the most affected.

Tests were done on 213 models across 31 manufacturers and the findings indicate that vehicles could be operating for much of the time with their pollution controls partly turned off. There is a suggestion on the BBC website that VMs are taking advantage of the rule to switch things off, even in mild weather, because it improves the consumption of the car.

“I would say from the Euro 5 generation of cars, it’s very widespread, from our data. Below that 18 degrees [Celsius], many have higher emissions… the suspicion is, to give the car better fuel economy”; Emissions Analytics CEO Nick Molden told the BBC.

“If we were talking about higher emissions below zero, that would be more understandable and there are reasons why the engine needs to be protected. But what we’ve got is this odd situation where the [temperature] threshold has been set far too high, and that is a surprise”.

The firm also recently tested a number of current Euro 6 engines and found in real-world applications all of the four-cylinder engines on test produced more NOx than the largest V12 petrol motors fitted to super-luxury cars.

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