Gary Goms, Author at Brake & Front End - Page 5 of 20
Diagnostic Solutions: Exhaust Restriction Diagnosis

To put exhaust restriction diagnostics in perspective, import specialist shops have been dealing with loss-of-power complaints caused by exhaust restriction since catalytic converters were popularly introduced in 1974. Early “cats” experienced frequent failure because the carbureted engines of that era were notorious for poor fuel control.

Tech Tip: Gaskets from Different Eras Vary Quite a Bit from More Modern Vehicles

When selling engine gaskets, the modern parts professional is often faced with a dizzying array of gasket technologies. The difference in gasket technologies among a ’50s-model pickup truck, a ’60s-vintage, high-compression muscle car and a modern bi-metal or aluminum engine is often quite dramatic.

Diagnostic Solutions: Diagnosing Chassis Noises

Customer interviews are critical to the noise location process. Keep in mind that the grinding noise that you hear might not be the squeaking noise that the customer hears. In most cases, a test drive with the customer might help to identify the noise with which he or she is most concerned.

Diagnostic Dilemmas: When Over-Voltages Electrocute PCMs

During the past nine months, I’ve had three instances of powertrain control module (PCM) failures on Jeep Wrangler vehicles that were evidently caused by an over-voltage condition. The first case involved an owner who requested that a local shop replace the fuel pump because his 1998 Wrangler was slow-starting in the morning. The shop found the pump pressure was marginal and replaced the pump. Because the Jeep still had the problem, the owner complained about the fuel pump, first to the shop and then to the local jobber supplying the pump.

Diagnostic Solutions: Cylinder Head Repair

Cylinder head gasket failures are one of the most common mechanical issues facing today’s modern import technician. One reason head gasket failures are common is because the cylinder head gasket itself can become a wearing part. Since the aluminum cylinder head expands at a slightly higher rate than the cast-iron cylinder block, the cylinder head actually slides a few thousandths of an inch across the gasket surface as the engine warms up to operating temperature.

Diagnostic Solutions: Selling Brake Friction Replacements

A decade ago, an import shop’s profitability depended heavily on the routine replacement of spark plugs, timing belts, mufflers, shock absorbers, clutches and brake friction. Due to advancing vehicle technology, many of these profit centers have steeply declined or have altogether disappeared. One of the remaining exceptions is brake friction replacements.

Diagnostic Solutions: Solving Insufficient Fuel Problems

Solving cranking, no-fuel or insufficient-fuel driveability problems on late-model imports can be challenging, especially if a technician doesn’t take into account the way that modern fuel systems operate. Some vehicles, for example, limit vehicle speed by deactivating fuel injectors. In some rare cases, a miscalculation in vehicle speed can cause an insufficient fuel condition.

Wrangling in Jeep Spark Timing Dilemmas

Every once in a while I get a Diagnostic Dilemma that takes me back to the basics of how modern engine management systems work. This month’s happened to be a 1992 Jeep Wrangler equipped with the 4.0L engine and manual transmission. Of course, a vehicle of this vintage and configuration has to be about as basic as modern technology can get, right? Well, there are always exceptions.

Service Solutions: Lessons Learned Regarding ‘Old School’ Ignition Diagnosis

Recently, I’ve been confronted with driveability complaints on older vehicles that appear to defy conventional wisdom. Diagnosing such problems usually forces me to re-examine the fundamentals of engine

Diagnostic Solutions: Diagnosing Misfires

Although diagnosing misfires can be a tough assignment for any driveability technician, the diagnosis can be made much simpler if he understands the basics of misfire diagnosis. For example, when the first OBD II misfire monitor was first introduced in 1996, technicians were puzzled by problems with false misfire diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). Case in point, vehicles being driven on washboard dirt roads began recording false misfires.

Diagnostic Dilemmas: Solving No-Code Performance Complaints

For many diagnostic techs, nothing is more discouraging and time-consuming than dealing with a no-code driveability complaint. Today’s second-generation On-Board Diagnostics II (OBD II) can be extremely sophisticated because the OBD II powertrain control modules (PCMs) in modern vehicles have far more computing capacity than did the older, pre-1996 OBD I vehicles. Nevertheless, we occasionally have to deal with a no-code performance complaint on a modern OBD II vehicle.

Tech Feature: Solving Steering Wander

As frustrating as diagnosing steering wander complaints might be, most can be solved by thoroughly inspecting the physical condition of the vehicle. In the following text, I’ll cover some of the most common causes of steering wander and how to detect them during an undercar inspection.