A vehicle recently came to us with the ESP light on. An initial diagnostic scan found faults relating to the inlet and outlet valves, and the brake fluid pressure to be at 200 bar, even without pressure on the brake pedal.
We then proceeded to remove the ABS module and inspected the valve block. It was clear to see that water ingress had occurred, to the extent of causing visible corrosion within the valve block. An OEM part was ordered and fitted, then the brakes bled-out using our diagnostics equipment. The customer was back on the road in no time.
Our customer was fed up with frosted mirrors during the winter months... however, we were more than happy to provide a suitable solution. A few modifications were carried out to the wing mirror mounts to conceal the new wiring, then an extra wiring loom was made and connected through the existing door hinges. This meant no wires were exposed, and you’d hardly even know this modification had been carried out!!
Then the mirror glass was removed from its housing and a heating element fixed to the rear of the glass. Once the door wiring had been completed, we then had to supply the wing mirrors with power for the heating element to warm up. Instead of a separate switch being fitted to the dash we wired in a relay circuit from the heated rear windscreen, this meant that when the heated screen was activated, so was the heated wing mirrors. Genius! Problem solved!
Recently, a Volkswagen Touran 1.4TSI came to us with the engine malfunction indicator light on. We were told it is a notoriously troublesome engine, and “don’t touch with a barge pole”. But undeterred, and with our Volkswagen premium grade diagnostics, we were ready for the challenge and well placed to investigate such a fault.
This particular fault related to the variable valve timing solenoid being out of range and camshaft/crankshaft correlation, which is a good indication that the valve timing had become out of sync. We could (and many garages do) just rely on those fault codes and go ahead, all guns blazing, and start ripping the car apart, but we never like to rely solely on a diagnostic report. We believe it’s best practice to confirm the fault before informing the customer or pricing up the job.
Technicians who replace parts purely on what the diagnostic machine tells them are playing a risky and potentially costly game (a cost usually passed on to the customer). Diagnostic fault codes are quite often symptoms of a fault not the cause. The engine’s on board computer can only tell you what it is detecting, it can’t always determine between a faulty component or a wiring fault, for example.
To confirm our diagnostic suspicions, we needed to check the valve timing was indeed correct. A quick performance check of the sensors proved they were doing their job correctly, but did reveal that the crankshaft and the camshaft were not sufficiently aligned. So, electrically everything was working correctly, therefore it must be a mechanical fault. Proving the sensors are working but the position of the cam/crankshaft was out, is proof enough that the timing needed to be corrected.
It is at this point we are 100% sure of what the fault is and can accurately price the repair and inform our Client. We never do any work without our Client giving us the green light, and go to great lengths to ensure the Client is fully aware of; what the problem is, what we are going to do to fix it, and crucially how much it is going to cost.
Once we had the all clear it was time to set about the repair. The first job was to remove the offside front wheel, plastic inner arch lining, engine sump, auxiliary belt, water pump and suspend the engine to remove an engine mounting. Once these things had been done we could then remove the timing chain cover to reveal the faulty timing chain assembly. Visually it looked like everything was ok but after trying to lock the engine in its service position it became clear what had happened. After getting cylinder 1 piston at top dead centre (TDC) a locking plate should be able to be inserted into the back of the camshafts, however the inlet camshaft was nowhere near where it should be. After replacing the pulleys, guides, chain tensioner and the chain itself, we could correctly time/lock the engine in position and tighten everything up. As a safety precaution, we manually turned the engine over a couple of times and re-checked the locking position ensuring everything was synced correctly, and thankfully it was.
All that was left to do was bolt the car back together, refill with new Shell lubricants and start the engine. Starting the engine for the first time is always a nervous moment but this time the engine fired into life instantly and the malfunction light was no longer illuminated on the dashboard. Before the car was handed back to the customer it under went several road tests and diagnostic scans to ensure everything was ok. We even gave the car a thorough wash. Another good day’s work! Find out more about us at www.okeedrive.co.uk
Editorial from Mark Lawson, Operations Director at Okee Ltd
A common MOT failure is excessively worn tyres and it is amazing how many tyres we see that have worn unevenly, and prematurely. It is rarely a fault with the tyre and is usually a suspension issue.
One of the most common suspension issues we see in the workshop is ‘bush wear’. In fact, bush wear is a common MOT failure and you may have already experienced this problem in the past.
Suspension bushes are rubber mountings that link your vehicle’s suspension arm to the chassis. The rubbery material is vital for absorbing movement and vibration when travelling on the road. If all suspension components had rigid metallic links and hinges, the ride would be harsh, noisy and very uncomfortable, so these rubber bushes are vital for a smooth and enjoyable driving experience.
And, because it’s your vehicle’s suspension that holds the wheels in place, worn or soft bushes can have a detrimental effect on wheel alignment and ultimately lead to premature tyre wear.
As cars have advanced over the years, wheel alignment has become crucial for the safety of road users. Modern vehicles, with traction control and ABS, must perform to strict guidelines and tolerances to ensure road users’ safety. If the vehicle does not drive or brake correctly the ABS/TCS may not be able to prevent an accident.
So, if you notice; uneven tyre wear; or your steering wheel is not pointing straight when driving straight; or the car pulls to the left or right while driving or braking; or you hear a knocking coming from your suspension, you should take it to your garage for a suspension check and wheel alignment, as soon as possible.
Ben Grave, Mark Lawson