Thursday, September 29, 2011

Selling myself

Over the last couple of days I have been out trying to expand my business. This is no easy task walking into a shop and trying to sell my service. For the most part shop owners are pretty busy and it is hard to get their attention. Most of the time I get a head nod and the usual response of  "We do diagnostics here too." I try to get my main points across in a hurry. I typically have about 3 minutes. Yes, I have timed it. In 3 minutes I have to convey to the shop owner that I am capable, equipped, and on his side. The capable part is usually the easiest. I tell a little bit about myself, my past, etc. The equipped portion is a little harder. All the shops have scanners, some have labscopes, some have J2534 programming capabilities, a few have low amp probes. What the average shop owner/tech doesn't realize that there are limitations to aftermarket scanners and J tools. While many aftermarket scantools claim that they are OE level tools unfortunately they are not (look at my ongoing Ottotest posts). That is where owning factory scantools is essential. This is by no means a knock on any shop or shop owner at all. There is a lot of misinformation out there, 90% of the time a quality aftermarket scantool or J2534 tool will do the job. The other 10% of the time I can help them with OE tools, along with my knowledge and experience. This is where I earn my keep. The convincing the shop owner I am on his/her side is by far the hardest. I make sure to mention numerous times I only service professional shops only. I am not the competition. I am not here to take anybody's job or to rub someone's nose in a problem. Nor, do I hold myself above anybody else. My service is a supplement to an already well performing shop. As any of the shops that I service will tell you I am also not secretive. I teach as I diagnose or after. I am not one of these guys that says change that part because "I say so." I always share with anyone who will listen how I arrived at that decision. My service helps keep the shop's customers in their bays instead of somewhere else. Diagnostics does not pay the rent in a shop. Do not let anyone fool you. But, solid diagnostics keeps them coming back in for the brakes, exhaust, and service work that does pay the rent. I have to get all of that across in 3 minutes or less to a person who probably is worried whether Mrs. Jones' check is going to clear, how he is going to meet payroll, the parts house is 2 hours late with a part that the customer is waiting for, etc. Most shop owners are masters of multi-tasking. That is another reason why my service works-I am focused and can give my undivided attention to that problem that is eating away at shop productivity and bottom line. I always follow up with shops after the initial meet and greet in about 2 weeks. I can usually get a feel if the shop is going to use me after that. I always try to stay positive with my visits. There are a lot of great people in the automotive industry. I have met some real good quality individuals stopping in and saying hello. I never stop trying to get new business and I always take the time to help out a shop. You never know when it could turn into some newfound business. Now, if a shop decides to use me they usually throw a problem vehicle that they have been knocking their head against the wall at me. It is like a trial by fire type of scenario. If I solve the issue and impress the shop I get the business. In this business you definitely have to walk the walk.           

Monday, September 26, 2011

1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

There it is the 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with 128,191 miles with a 3100 motor that seemed posessed. The car was towed in for a no start. The shop diagnosed it rightfully so as a bad fuel pump. Customer decided to supply their own parts. Shop installed customer supplied pump and car leaves. Car comes back a couple of days later with fuel pump belly up. Shop owner convinces customer to install a quality fuel pump assembly instead of best price unit. Customer agrees, pump is installed and car leaves. Car comes back with complaint of lack of power. Fuel pressure is at spec. Shop takes a look at load under WOT (Wide Open Throttle) and it is barely 60%. We like to see 80% or better on a naturally aspirated vehicle. In went a remanufactured Mass Air Flow sensor and now we have 82% under WOT conditions and the car is thoroughly road tested. Car leaves and customer returns a couple of days later thoroughly incensed. Now the complaint is the car is cutting out, runs bad, etc. This is where I come into the story. This shop owner is pulling his hair out. Do we have a defective remanufactured MAF sensor? Another bad fuel pump? The shop owner let's me road test the car. So I hook up my Tech2 scantool arm it to take a snapshot and head out. This car runs rather well. I sneak a peak at the load and MAF pids under various driving conditions and they seem right on. I road test the vehicle close to 12 miles under every concievable driving condition and it runs great. Back at the shop I pop the hood and the first thing I notice is it looks like it has the original ignition coilpacks and ignition wires. Hmmm. I grab my spray bottle of salt water and mist away. It wouldn't be the first time I have seen poor secondary components causing this issue. This car doesn't miss a beat. So I hot soak it for a half hour still nothing. I low amp probe the coilpacks and the injectors-nothing! The shop owner agrees to take it on an extended road test. The next morning he calls me and tells me he got it to act up after about a 30 mile road test. I tell him I will be by later for another road test. Again, I arm my Tech2 and go for an extended road test. After about 20 minutes of driving I feel a sputter. I immediately hit my record button. It sputters some more. This is a hard shudder. Like someone shutting the key on and off.
Back at the shop I download my snapshot. I choose to look at 5 pids closely. Engine Rpm, Cam Signal, Ignition 1, 24x Crank Sensor, and Spark Timing. This 3100 motor has a 7x Crank Sensor in the block that reads off notches on the crankshaft. This sensor is the engine speed input to the Ignition Control Module. From there the module then conditions this signal and produces what is called Ckt. 430. This is the main rpm input to the PCM for engine speed calculations, ignition timing, fuel injection control, etc. We also have a 24x crank sensor that reads off the front of the crankshaft via windows on crankshaft dampener. This signal is sent directly to the PCM. The PCM uses this signal for low speed timing events. Typically this signal stops being looked at above approximately 1600rpm. Then there is a Camshaft Sensor which is utilized for sequential fuel injection. Every year has different wrinkles for each of these sensors. What I layed out is a generalization. So, if we look at the snapshot above the first thing I see is that 24x is above the usual rpm limit of approximately 1600rpm. It is at 2184 rpm. The other pids look ok. Let's go backwards in the snapshot.

Here you see typically where I see 24x stop incrementing. Looks go back even further.

Here you see that Engine RPM and 24x are under 1600 rpm and are within 50 rpm of each other. This is when the car is running well. Lets look at when this car was really having issues.
Here we have a real issue. The Engine RPM is under 1600 rpm but 24x is above. What gives here. I have seen weird things happen with 24x sensors as well as Cam sensors. Thankfully, most of the time you can just unplug the offending sensor and road test to confirm if that is the problem. So, at this point I feel pretty confident that after I unplug 24x sensor this car is going to be alright. So, off I go figuring I am done here. Well the car still hiccups and runs poor. Feeling dejected I plug the 24x sensor back in and decide to look at the 24x rpm counter when it hiccups. Sure enough every time it hiccups it gets a stupid rpm increment. There are times that you fix a car more with your gut then a scantool or a fuel pressure gauge. With this in mind. I hook my scope to the 7x Crank Sensor and CKT. 430.
Here it is 7x on Channel 2 and CKT. 430 on Channel 1. I didn't even make it out of the parking lot when I got this. We have nice 7x but no 5 volt square wave on CKT. 430. Here is another one below out on the road.
There is the money shot! This is during a hiccup. We have proper signal into the Ignition Control Module but improper out. We are missing CKT. 430 pulses. I torture the modules power and grounds to make sure we do not have a power or ground issue. This car needs an Ignition Control Module. I advise the shop owner that the original secondary components should be replaced with the module as well. As far as the scantool data. I am thinking that when there is a CKT. 430 issue the normal rpm increment for 24x goes out the window. I know for next time. You never stop learning in this business. This is a perfect example of a vehicle coming in with multiple issues. Since there was no history with this car and the car came in as a no start you have to stay on your toes for sure.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Driven: 2012 VW Beetle Turbo

It's finally here. The long awaited replacement for the Volkswagen New Beetle is finally hitting dealer lots. And we had the chance to drive one. Our test car was a candy white Launch Edition Turbo. Having driven and owned many of the outgoing New Beetles since 1998, the new 2012 edition is a welcome addition to the VW family. Many of the New Beetle's downfalls have been addressed including size, handling and power.

First thing you notice is the size difference. At first glance, it doesn't appear to be much larger, but the more you look at it, the more apparent it becomes that this isn't the small Beetle of old. You are also drawn to the elongated hood that more closely resembles the original Beetle. One styling cue I am still trying to adjust to, is the squared off front bumper that is part of VW's new design DNA. It just doesn't scream Beetle when you look at it. But who am I to argue? Moving to the side we find one of the best styling cues adapted to the Beetle yet, pillarless doors. They really suit the Beetle's design. The roof, much lower and elongated also carreis a few styling cues from the Beetle of the 1970s. An interesting styling touch is the partial roof panel attached tot the rear hatch. This adds the extra rear seat headroom. Out side, it also carries the roof mounted antenna, carried over from the previous New Beetle. The tail end of the car we find some great styling features. A true dual exhaust system with polished tips. Large, while not round tail lamps do have a few design cues from the past as well. Another nice touch is the addition of the VW emblem/trunk release seen on some other VWs, but never adapted to the previous car. This is a much welcome addition.

Our test car was also equipped with the optional 19 inch wheels wrapped in Continental ContiPro Contacts and the Turbos featured red brake calipers. 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS on all 4 corners. Unlike the previous New Beetle, the 2012 features a new fully independent 4 link rear suspension and a MacPhearson Strut front suspension. A Sport suspension package will be available as an option. The turbo is equipped with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder that has 200 horse power. Our test car came equipped with the optional 6 speed DSG automatic.

Moving to the interior, you are greeted by deep bolstered sport seats that come standard on the Turbo. The fit and finish of the interior is top notch compared to the VWs of old. I was surprised to find hard surfaces for th top of the dash, but the quality of the materials used are excellent. The new dash layout is excellent, a really nice feature is the body colored door, dash and steering wheel accents that really give the interior some splash. Storage is one thing there is no lack of in the Beetle. My particular favorite storage spot is the "KaferFach" glovebox. It captures the style of the original Beetles dash perfectly. The driving position is suited perfectly as one would expect from a car as sporty as the Beetle. And the flat bottomed steering wheel is an interesting touch. The rear seating area is greatly improved also, additional head and leg room is a big plus, as is the new 50/50 split rear seat vs. the New Beetles solid rear seat back. The trunk area is almost doubled in size. The lower edge of the trunk opening is almost flush with the trunk floor making loading and unloading easier. The rear cargo shelf attaches with string to the rear hatch to lift automatically just as in the Golf/GTIs. Under the trunk floor hides a full size 16 inch spare tire and a full tool kit. Of the entire interior, the only creature comfort missing that I would have liked to see was the addition of a center armrest. Outside of that there were very few.

The driving characteristics are very Volkswagen. Its fun to drive and packs plenty of power and handles like a go cart. We put it through its paces on some twisty roads and were very impressed with the cars characteristics. It stays planted on the road with only a tad of over steer. Performance was brisk in both full automatic and in manual shift modes. There is minor road noise with the windows up thanks to the larger wheels and low profile 235/40R19 Continentals. Cruising around, we managed 23 miles per gallon. While VW rates the 2.0T at 22 City, 30 Highway. In summary, I was very pleased with the new 2012 VW Beetle.

A special thank you goes out to Billco Volkswagen for letting us use of their car for this review.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: Car Guys vs. Bean Counters

Bob Lutz, love him or hate him is one of my heroes. I see a lot of similarities between him and myself. Not only with the business prowess and the want to succeed, but also the fact that were are true dyed in the wool car guys. Having read Lutz's previous business book, Guts. I anxiously awaited the arrival of Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The battle for the soul of American Business. At around 230 pages, I couldn't put this book. Every time I would pick it it up, I would get lost in the world of the auto industry I so truly love. There's a brief history lesson about GM's rise to to be the largest auto maker on the planet and the height of their style setting trends of the Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell era at  GM Design to loosing their ways in the Roger Smith era. But it's not all doom and gloom. There are plenty facts about what GM was doing right. And there's some interesting tidbits about other auto makers like Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, and VW. And lastly why the GM bankruptcy was an unfortunate truth that had to happen. bob Lutz is no stranger to the auto industry. His career has spanned nearly 5 decades and he has worked for all of the Detroit Big Three. I won't give away too much, but if you are passionate about cars and you are looking  for a great book to read. I highly recommend picking up Car Guys vs. Bean Counters.

What's the Best Chevrolet of all time?

As part of Chevy's centennial this year, the fine folks over at GM created an online contest to pick the best car out of Chevrolet's 100 year line up. Cars like the 53 and 63 Corvettes, 57 Bel Air, 69 Camaro, 70 Chevelle SS, the 1912 Classic Six, 09 ZR1, and even the 2011 Volt and a handful of others were all up for voting over the last few weeks with the winners heading to next round. By the time it was all said and done, the Chevy fans, chose the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro is the Best Chevrolet of all time. The Camaro won with an astounding 25,000+ votes. 2nd place was the 1970 Chevelle SS with only 18,000 votes.

Source: Chevrolet, General Motors

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The last Ford Crown Victoria heads on the last patrol

The Ford Crown Victoria can undoubtedly be classified as one of Ford Motor Company's best selling vehicle lines. Even it was fleet sales. Millions are in use throughout the world as police cars and taxi cabs. The Panther platform in which the Crown Vic was built on was first introduced 32 years ago and served all of Fords major divisions. The Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car and the ill fated Mercury Marauder all shared the same chassis architecture.

What might be the most sad though about a true American workhorse fading in to glory is that the final Crown Victoria won't be preserved by Ford or by any collector that we're aware of in the U.S. Nope, the last Crown Vic is headed to Saudi Arabia. Hopefully who ever ends up with the final Crown Vic will realize just how special this car is to automotive history and won't run it til the wheels fall off.

Only time will tell what future lies for a rear wheel drive, V8 powered sedan for Ford holds. This is the first time since 1932 that there has not been one in Ford's line up. Many police departments and taxi companies have been hoarding Crown Victorias in an effort to keep their fleets going especially as many older models were killed off during the failed Cash for Clunkers program. And many aren't enthused with the new Taurus police interceptor.

Long live the Crown Victoria! Thanks for 32 great years!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little known history of the Chevrolet Bowtie.

Some automotive brands are pretty clear about how their corporate logos have come about. Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Porsche and Ferrari all come to mind. One that's not well known, but also shrouded with a bit of mystery is the bowtie logo of GM's Chevrolet division.

Several stories have emerged as to how the now famous logo originated. One from Billy Durant's daughter who says that it originated from her father's imagination one night at dinner. Another from Durant's widow saying that her husband found a similar logo while reading a newspaper while on vacation in 1912. Others say it is a stylized version of the Swiss flag cross as Louis Chevrolet was born in Sweeden.

The official origin from General Motors is that Billy Durant saw the logo as part of the pattern on some wallpaper in a Paris hotel that he would tear down and return to Detroit with in 1908. The earliest known use of the the bowtie logo dates to 1913. So who's to say which one is the true meaning behind the bowtie? Durant passed away in 1947, so the answer has certainly gone to the grave at this point. But there is no denying that it ended up being the right choice as now, 100 years later the Chevrolet brand is still in business making cars.

Press Release:

DETROIT, Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Globally recognized today, the Chevrolet bowtie logo was introduced by company co-founder William C. Durant in late 1913. But how it came to be synonymous with the brand is open to wide interpretation.

Durant's version of how the logo came into existence is well known. The long-accepted story, confirmed by Durant himself, was that it was inspired by the wallpaper design in a Parisian hotel.

According to The Chevrolet Story of 1961, an official company publication issued in celebration of Chevrolet's 50th anniversary:

"It originated in Durant's imagination when, as a world traveler in 1908, he saw the pattern marching off into infinity as a design on wallpaper in a French hotel. He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show friends, with the thought that it would make a good nameplate for a car."

However, conflicting accounts have emerged, each of which is plausible enough to deepen the mystery and suggest it may never be solved. Two of the alternate origins come from within the Durant family itself.

In 1929, Durant's daughter, Margery, published a book entitled, My Father. In it, she told how Durant sometimes doodled nameplate designs on pieces of paper at the dinner table. "I think it was between the soup and the fried chicken one night that he sketched out the design that is used on the Chevrolet car to this day," she wrote.

More than half a century later, another Bowtie origin was recounted in a 1986 issue of Chevrolet Pro Management Magazine based on a 13-year-old interview with Durant's widow, Catherine. She recalled how she and her husband were on holiday in Hot Springs, Va., in 1912. While reading a newspaper in their hotel room, Durant spotted a design and exclaimed, "I think this would be a very good emblem for the Chevrolet." Unfortunately, at the time, Mrs. Durant didn't clarify what the motif was or how it was used.

That nugget of information inspired Ken Kaufmann, historian and editor of The Chevrolet Review, to search out its validity. In a Nov. 12, 1911 edition of The Constitution newspaper, published in Atlanta, an advertisement appeared from by the Southern Compressed Coal Company for "Coalettes," a refined fuel product for fires. The Coalettes logo, as published in the ad, had a slanted bowtie form, very similar to the shape that would soon become the Chevrolet icon. Did Durant and his wife see the same ad – or one similar – the following year a few states to the north? The date of the paper was just nine days after the incorporation of the Chevrolet Motor Co.

One other explanation attributes the design to a stylized version of the cross of the Swiss flag. Louis Chevrolet was born in Switzerland at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchatel, to French parents, on Christmas Day 1878.

Whichever origin is true, within a few years, the bowtie would emerge as the definitive Chevrolet logo. An October 2, 1913 edition of The Washington Post seems, so far, to be the earliest known example of the symbol being used to advertise the brand. "Look for this nameplate" the ad proclaims above the emblem. Customers the world over have been doing so ever since.

Many variations in coloring and detail of the Chevrolet bowtie have come and gone over the decades since its introduction in late 1913, but the essential shape has never changed. In 2004, Chevrolet began to phase in the gold bowtie that today serves as the brand identity for all of its cars and trucks marketed globally. The move reinforced the strength of what was already one of the most-recognized automotive emblems in the world. More than 4.25 million Chevrolets were sold in more than 120 countries and regions during 2010.

About Chevrolet -- Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at

Source: GM

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where is Henry's punch bowl?

It's no secret that Henry Ford was one of the greatest minds to have lived in the 20th century. Aside from building some pretty fine automobiles, Henry Ford also dabbled with racing. In 1901 Ford, participated in a race put on by the Detroit Driving Club. He built a car specifically for the race, all in hopes of securing backers for his next automotive venture, which was of course, Ford Motor Company. Also participating was Alexander Winton, a fellow car builder from Cleveland, Ohio who was also considered the best driver in the country at the time. Winton's entry in the race was secured by letting him pick the trophy for the race which was a cut glass punch bowl set. And it was picked because Winton had a spot in front of a window in his home where it would look perfect and "really tie the room together". What Winton didn't count on was Henry Ford's determination. The race officials changed the format from a 25 lap endurance race (that was a lot in 1901) to a 10 lap sprint. While Winton's car was vastly more powerful than Henry Ford's "Sweepstakes" racer. The size and light weight of Ford's car gave the advantage. Catching and passing Winton's car by the eighth lap. Winning the race, Henry Ford did was any driver would do, by taking the punch bowl home. After Henry Ford's wife Clara's death in 1950, many of the Ford's possessions were auctioned off. This included the punch bowl, which sadly, no one knew the meaning of.

Now, Edsel Ford II want's it back. Ford Motor Company and the Ford family now fully understand the special meaning of the punch bowl and want it back, badly. The punch bowl is wanted for a new addition to The Henry Ford museum called Racing in America. All in an effort to teach and raise awareness of the science and technology of motor racing. And the punch bowl is an extremely significant part of that history.  Edsel Ford is hoping that thanks to the Internet that the punch bowl can be found. It is known that it was purchased by a private collector in the 1950 auction. So hopes are that it's out there somewhere. Look at the picture carefully. Perhaps it is sitting on your grandmother's dining room table. You could be the hero of the Ford family!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In the garage: 2012 Scion xB

Many of you may remember how impressed we were with the 2009 Scion xB as one of our first test cars. So much so that another has been added to the fleet. We recently picked up our new tester and have enjoyed it just as much as our last Scion. Our new xB is painted in a very understated Army Rock metallic, and like our previous 2009 is void of options. That being said, you do get A/C, a 160 watt Pioneer stereo with CD player,  iPod and MP3 jacks, standard disc brakes w/ ABS, traction and stability control, power windows and locks, and just about everything else you'd expect to find standard.

Our car again has the 2.4 liter DOHC 16 valve 4 cylinder that offers relatively good performance at 158 horse power. This time, we opted for the 5 speed manual transmission. Toyota rates the fuel economy at 22 City/28 Highway. So far we have averaged 23.3 MPG, though it's not like we're exactly light on the gas.
 Inside the xB is very roomy. the seats sit at chair height and are fairly comfortable. Since our 2009 xB, I have noticed that one major change Scion made was the addition of a traditional center arm rest for the front seat passengers.  The radio, heater and A/C controls, and the gear shift are all right at your finger tips. With the  5 speed manual, this makes for a very comfortable driving position. Otherwise, the car really has changed very little. But that's not really a bad thing. The only recommendation that still carries over from the 2009 xB is to have the addition of an arm rest for the 60/40 rear split seat. This would make for longer trips more comfortable for those riding in the rear seat. Look for more updates soon!

Monday, September 5, 2011

1997 Dodge Stratus

I am called to Mr. D's shop to look at a 1997 Dodge Stratus 2.4 liter with an overheat condition at an idle in traffic conditions. The car has 182,374 miles on it so the sky is the limit. Given the fact that it only seems to overheat at a standstill makes me really want to look at the cooling fans and the cooling fan circuitry. I hook up my scanner and check for codes. No codes are present. The reason I check for codes is for circuit integrity. If there was something open or grounded in the control circuitry it should set a code for that particular circuit. In this case we have low speed and high speed fan circuits. These fan circuit codes don't always trigger the MIL lamp and I never take anything for granted. Next thing is I command the fans on low speed and high speed with my scanner. I hear the fans come on so I know something is happening. With that being said.  I start the car and select from my scanner the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor pid along with Time From Start, Low Speed Fan Command, and High Speed Fan Command. When I start the car the temp is around 85F. I use time from start all the time for coolant related issues. It is very useful for looking for thermostat issues, etc. As I let the car warm up I graph my pids. I am also listening to the banter at Mr. D's shop. It is one of those fun shops. You never know when you are going to get sprayed with carb spray and then lit on fire. Or, if you drop an attached caliper from the control arm while doing a brake job Mr. D will yell out "should I order a brake hose now?" Meanwhile, he is all the way across the shop at his desk and you ask yourself how did he know? Yeah, it keeps you on your toes but at the same time it keeps things light. Shop life at it's best.
Alright back to the overheat. About 12 minutes later the temp is creeping up to low speed fan turn on temperature which is about 221F. I see the low speed fan command flip to "on" on my scanner and I hear the fans come on. The temperature however instead of dropping stays right around turn on temperature. I look at my fans and only the drivers side fan was on. The passenger fan is dead. Huh? I know from experience that these fans run at the same time. I smack the offending fan with a backend of a screwdriver and it comes to life. Ok, we are on to something. I am still worried about the quick time to get up to operating temperature.
It was a little quick for me. I shut off the vehicle and check the coolant level. Well a gallon of coolant later and we are filled and I am back monitoring. Now, both fans are coming on and the temperature is behaving. Was I seeing things with that fan not coming on? At this point I can look at the fan motor's integrity through my low amp probe. I have two pretty much identical motors so I can compare.
This is the drivers side motor. It is drawing about 8 amps and has a nice even signature. I see nothing wrong here. It is drawing properly and the pattern is excellent. Now, let's look at the passenger side.

Geez. I wasn't seeing things. This motor is drawing close to 22 amps and the pattern is awful. My low amp probe confirms that this needs a cooling fan motor. I advise Mr. D of this and show him these pictures. Oh by the way there was a leaking hose connection that caused the low coolant level. Now if I can get out of Mr. D's without getting set on fire..... 

Ottotest Update

Well I am happy to report that after the last update to my Ottotest. I was able to graph ABS data on my Dodge Durango. This must have been one of the "Client requested enhancements" that they have on the update screen. I will have to see if graphing has been added across the board to all modules and all makes. At least I can say they are listening. I am using the tool more and more as time goes on. It is still slow and the tablet battery life is horrible but the tool is evolving. It is nowhere near any of my factory tools. Then again what aftermarket tool is.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another Pittsburgh dealer closes its doors

After 41 years serving the North Hills. Demors Linclon ceased operations as of Tuesday. Demors began business as a Lincoln Mercury dealer in 1970. However due to the loss of the Mercury brand and struggles that still exist in the auto industry caused Demors to be one of many long time dealers in the area to close their doors. McKnight Road is no stranger to automotive dealerships. Currently North Hills Toyota, Baierl Kia, and Mick's Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep all make residence on McKnight. McCrackin Ford also made its home on McKnight before closing in 2007. Their building still sits empty on one of the busiest sections of McKnight, sitting across the street from Ross Park Mall. That area seems to be struggling  for new business and a makeover as many storefronts in the Ross Towne Center is also void of many stores after Circuit City, Damon's and Roomful Express have all vacated within recent years.

But back to Demors. What does this now mean for Lincoln and Mercury vehicle owners in the North Hills? Of course any Ford dealer can service the cars with no problems. So that gives owners the option of servicing at Shults Ford in Wexford. Unfortunately, this leaves the sales gap open at a very crucial time for Ford Motor Company as it works with the Lincoln brand in redeveloping its image. Just as General Motors is doing so with Cadillac. Will we see another Lincoln dealer open in the North Hills? I certainly hope so. With the brand image that Ford is moving forward with, with Lincoln being a stand alone brand. I can see an entirely new dealership built to reflect the Lincoln image. But it would have to be north of Ross Township to better compete with other dealers. Both Cadillac and Lincoln are working to take on a more youthful buyer segment and thus the DeVille and Town Car nameplates respectively have been dropped by each brand. Hopes are to bring entirely new flagship vehicles to each brand, but both are difficult vehicles to replace. Just as dealerships are. We are sad to see Demors close, but it unfortunately is one of the necessary evils that we have to face in the auto industry.