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iATN Review: Newsletter for Members
First Quarter 2011 EditionWorld's Largest Network of Automotive Professionals
Table of Contents
Third Year Running
Chrysler PCM Horror Stories and Simple Solution
6.0 liter PSD EGR Cooler Test
Those Annoying Nissan P1320 Codes
Importing & Exporting IDS Sessions
2008, 2009, 2010 Mazda 3 Cabin Air Filter
Not All Transistors are Created Equal
5.4L VVT Follow Up
Pressure Transducer Practice
Evil Parts Stores Who Ruin Our Business

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Third Year Running
By Scott Brown

This issue marks the beginning of the third year of the iATN Review and we have some excellent examples of the level of collaboration taking place on the network daily, and some very useful tips! The first article is one that is simply unique, and if you have ever observed one of these Chryslers, you will certainly appreciate this tip. We have a few other topics of interest including an optional test method for PowerStroke EGR cooler leaks, some useful scope techniques for checking coils, power transistors and valve timing. And if you're hungry for more info, there is a very thorough article covering Ford IDS session handling, a nice pictorial highlighting inspection points when working with Variable Valve Timing issues on the Ford 5.4, and another excellent shop management article by George Witt.

We appreciate you taking the time to check out the iATN Review and look forward to our next issue this May.

Best Regards,



Scott Brown
iATN President

Full Article


Chrysler PCM Horror Stories and Simple Solution
Technical Tips Forum
Vladimir from New York

Over the years I have read enough horror stories about Chrysler PCM (old style no CAN vehicles). Like swapping it from another car for testing purposes and now the donor has not start condition. It happened because of VTSS system. This system is optional and could be turned on by DRBIII but could not turn off once enabled. Option is sitting in a body computer and it could be evoke only from there. There is not such option in PCM. It will acquire this option once and forever the second it sees VTSS message on communication network (CCD or PCI bus). So the only way to make such PCM working on non-VTSS vehicle is to make it on in body computer. Sometime it is not even possible because Chrysler has low tech BCMs without this option. More often a hardware (like door switches) not installed on particular vehicle. So you can turn it on but in case this system goes off owner will have a hard time to disarm it and start the car. VTSS system has nothing to do with SKIM or SKREEM and not VIN related, so any PCM from VTSS vehicle will start another VTSS vehicle without any additional procedures if SKIM module not installed.

There is a way to remove VTSS system form PCM though I bet not many people know how it can be done. In case you did such stupid experiment swapping PCMs between two cars and now have donor with no start you should do following.

Plug PCM from donor back to the car which has VTSS option in body computer on. Turn ignition ON.

With ignition ON short two CCD wires together or PCI line to the ground. This will effectively kill communication between modules.

Shut ignition OFF, disconnect PCM and plug it back to the vehicle it belongs. Donor car should start right away.

You can do your own research to prove I not making this up. Let say you have vehicle in your shop which has VTSS on. Let say it has PCI bus. Try to short communication line to ground (with ignition off) and start the engine. It will be not possible because PCM not getting VTSS message from BCM. OK, next step -- remove short from line and turn ignition on. With ignition on short communication line again. And now watch what a surprise, car will start with line shorted every time. Learned VTSS system is permanently removed from PCM configuration.

Full Article


6.0 liter PSD EGR Cooler Test
Technical Tips Forum
Rob from Oregon

2004 Ford F-450 Super Duty XL, Engine/Propulsion Photo2004 Ford F-450 Super Duty XL, Engine/Propulsion Photo
I actually stole this tip from Charles Ledger :) but have been using it for the last couple of weeks with very definitive results.

Using a rubber band and a latex glove, attach the glove to the de-gas bottle. With IDS or similar tool set idle to 1100 and command the VGT DC from 10% to 85 %

Here are the results of VGT DC @ 10%, very little pressure in the glove [2004 Ford F-450 Super Duty XL, Engine/Propulsion Photo]

Here are the results after about 5 seconds at 85% DC [2004 Ford F-450 Super Duty XL, Engine/Propulsion Photo]

There are a few other methods of determining a blown EGR cooler but this one is certainly the easiest.

Full Article


Those Annoying Nissan P1320 Codes
Technical Tips Forum
Todd from Georgia

2002 Nissan Pathfinder LE, Ignition Waveform2002 Nissan Pathfinder LE, Ignition Waveform
I learned this test a few years ago. I continue to be amazed by how many technicians I talk to that want to replace all of the coils on the Nissan V6's for the P1320 codes. Now I understand that some Maximas have updated coils to address this code and the TSB says replace all 6. This is usually a hard sale to a customer that has a car that runs fine. This test works on all COP Nissan and Infiniti models.

Hook up you scope to the Power Transistor wire at each coil. Scale is not too important since you are pretty much looking for the odd man out. You do probably want to be set under 20v though since the signal is about 0-4v. You should get a pattern similar to this on the good coils [2002 Nissan Pathfinder LE, Ignition Waveform]. This is a known bad coil but the patterns tend to vary on the bad coils. [2002 Nissan Pathfinder LE, Ignition Waveform]. The idea is to look for the coil or coils that have a different pattern. I have fixed at least 20 cars successfully without replacing the entire set of coils so far.

If the pattern on each coil is the same you will need to look closely at the pattern. If you have a nice square wave with little or no ramp up you probably have the wrong spark plugs installed. Bosch Platinum plugs will give you a pattern that looks exactly like a bad coil.

I know that this code has been the cause of quite a few comebacks for a lot of people so I thought that I would share this tip.

Full Article


Importing & Exporting IDS Sessions
Tool & Equipment Forum
Robby from Alabama

Archiving IDS sessionsArchiving IDS sessions
This subject came up from here:

[Technical Discussion Forum] It Appears That I Need To Be Educated

This is how you do it.

If you are exporting or "archiving a session", the must first save the session and recordings. Go to "Previous Sessions".

Step 1: [Archiving IDS sessions]

Step 2: [Archiving IDS sessions]

Step 3: [Archiving IDS sessions]

Step 4: [Archiving IDS session]

The session should now be saved to your computer wherever you put it.

To import a session, do this:

Step 1: Close the session you are in (if have a session open). Go to "Previous Sessions" and [Archiving IDS sessions]

Step 2: To view any recordings, [Archiving IDS sessions]

Read the entire article here.

Full Article


2008, 2009, 2010 Mazda 3 Cabin Air Filter
Technical Tips Forum
Eric from Wisconsin

2009 Mazda 3 i, Photo2009 Mazda 3 i, Photo
While performing the 30,000 mile service on this 2009 Mazda 3 I needed to replace the cabin air filter. For some reason Mazda thought it would be a good idea to make this task more difficult than it should be.

To start with the cabin filter is located under the dash at the firewall at the front of the tunnel. You need to remove the under dash hush panel from the passenger side and the right side tunnel trim panel. Then you need to disconnect and remove the passenger side fuse panel. Remove the two nuts securing the fuse panel mount bracket and remove the wire harness retainer clips from the bracket. Remove the 4 screws that hold the cover for the cabin air filter in place and remove the cover. The cabin air filter is a two piece unit. You slide the first piece in and lift it up and hold it in place while you slide the second piece in place.

Reassemble everything and you are all set. First time including pictures took me about 25 minutes. It should take about 15 minutes after you have done one or two.

Full Article


Not All Transistors are Created Equal
Technical Theory Forum
Jonathan from Alabama

2004 Honda Accord EX, ECM/Inputs/Outputs Waveform2004 Honda Accord EX, ECM/Inputs/Outputs Waveform
This past Saturday I ran into a fault that made me do a double take. This Honda comes into the shop with a blower that sometimes works, sometimes not. The tech reported to me that it had a faulty blower motor. Well guess what, no dice. After he installed the blower he reported back to me that the blower worked for a little while then went dead again. He also made an observation that when the blower was not working the A/C compressor would not function either. I asked him how he tested the motor originally and I was told that he had power on both sides of the motor but no action =). After a quick look see at the wiring diagram I realized the mistake that he had made.

Labscope in tow I head to the blower TRANSISTOR and hook up to both the blower control and blower speed terminals. ---data had some description of how the circuit worked but it was vague. I expected to see a square wave signal on the blower control circuit and a varying voltage return back to the controller. No dice. What I found was a solid 9v on the control signal and battery voltage on the blower speed return signal. Not convinced that the controller is faulty I changed the blower speed through the control head. The blower control signal remained at 9v. Hmmm. So I decided to play the odds and check these signals with a known good transistor. With a new part the system worked fine. I noticed as I increased the speed through the controls the control signal to the transistor would increase voltage and the blower speed return voltage would get lower as the fan got faster. A little more curious about the design I took the time to take some captures of the waveforms when the system is initially powered up (fan set to low observing signals just after key on)

Faulty transistor

[2004 Honda Accord EX, ECM/Inputs/Outputs Waveform]

Good transistor

[2004 Honda Accord EX, ECM/Inputs/Outputs Waveform]

The red and white circles show where the systems power up during key on transition. A short pause then the controller goes into action.

Looking at the good signal you can see that the controller sends out near 2v to achieve low speed. The controller sees that the blower speed signal from the transistor is acceptable and in turn keeps the voltage near that level.

You can see in the faulty waveform that the controller keeps increasing the control voltage and does not get an acceptable return signal. This would inform the A/C control unit that there is no blower movement allowing the control unit to keep the compressor from turning on so as not to freeze up the evap core.

Most solid state control devices use square wave pulses to achieve a desired outcome but some don't.

Full Article


5.4L VVT Follow Up
Technical Discussion Forum
Mike from Ontario

2004 Ford F-150 Lariat, Engine/Propulsion Photo2004 Ford F-150 Lariat, Engine/Propulsion Photo
Just a follow up to a post from last week. This is my first with photos; sorry, got carried away. I had asked about what you were seeing for phaser failure, a set degree error or erratic readings. We could quickly see that bank 2 was 17.5* out. After the covers were removed, we could easily see the problem. [2004 Ford F-150 Lariat, Engine/Propulsion Photo] good. [2004 Ford F-150 Lariat, Engine/Propulsion Photo] bad. With removal of the timing components, we also found the locator pin on the back of the failed phaser had sheared damaging the cam as well. [2004 Ford F-150 Lariat, Engine/Propulsion Photo] . The rivets that hold the phaser pieces together were also broken allowing the timing difference. [2004 Ford F-150 Lariat, Engine/Propulsion Photo] Just incase you have not the chance to do one of these, the chain tensioners should also be replaced as the seal behind them tends to fail. [2004 Ford F-150 Lariat, Engine/Propulsion Photo] After getting everything back together, I did notice that the VCTADV & VCTADVERR pids were rock steady, unlike the 05 F-150 we had in while this job was under way. My thoughts are this may be a good way to see the amount of stretch in the chains/ leakage of the tensioners.

I have screen shots from the IDS as well, but can't figure out how to upload them as the file size is too big. One shows cam error at around 720* with another icon I have not seen before on that line.

Hope this info may help someone other than me. Sure makes you appreciate how much work those instructors put into getting classes set up.

Full Article


Pressure Transducer Practice
Technical Discussion Forum
John from Pennsylvania

2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Engine/Propulsion Waveform2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Engine/Propulsion Waveform
A local body shop called and asked for an estimate to have a timing belt replaced on a 2005 Elantra, that was six weeks ago. They claimed that the car was hard to start unless they unplugged the VCT solenoid. The PCM would constantly set a P0016 code for crankshaft / camshaft correlation error.

The owner reported that "he had talked to this person, and to that person" and they all said the belt was out of time. That's why he wanted a price on resetting it a while ago. He also pointed out the fact that the dealer had done the belt less than 5000 miles ago. So all he wanted was for it to be re-timed, if it needed more than that he was just going to send it to the auction.

Now a couple years ago, pulling this apart and going for the check of the belt timing and subsequent adjustment would have seemed routine. Today, there's no way that I'm not going to pull a waveform off of this before I pull it apart.

So, here it is...

[2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Engine/Propulsion Waveform]

Lets add some cursors to see exhaust BDC and TDC.

[2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Engine/Propulsion Waveform]

Yep, that's out of time. Let's tear it apart.

Hmmm.

[2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Engine/Propulsion Photo]

[2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Engine/Propulsion Photo]

Uh-oh......

Now what????

Think it through. Then look here.

[2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Engine/Propulsion Photo]

[2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Engine/Propulsion Photo]

Full Article


Evil Parts Stores Who Ruin Our Business
Shop Management Forum
George from Nebraska

There is sure a lot of talk about this subject. I hope this helps give you a strategy to deal with "the competition".

I am surprised and disappointed that so few of us truly understand the business we are in and who our target market really is.

I hope that none of you really believe that those people laying on their backs in the parts store parking lots all across this great country of ours are really any kind of prospect for our repair businesses. Good Heavens.

I'm equally disappointed that you have not mastered the basics of selling diagnostic time to your own customers.

Here's the deal: The ideal prospect for a "Do-it-for-me" (DIFM) business is someone who won't put in their own tail light bulb. There are lots of those people and I hope lots of them are coming to your shops right now.

The WORST prospect for a DIFM is a "Do-it-yourselfer" (DIY). They'd rather spend $800 replacing every sensor under the hood to turn off a check engine light than to spend $100 on a professional to locate and hook up that vacuum line that fell off under the hood that no one has seen yet... The DIYer will feel good that he has prevented "all those future problems" with new parts, despite the fact that the car is still broken.

Of course, once that is done, that same DIYer will come to us, complain about our prices and beg us to fix it free or super cheap (many times they want to lay the blame on us that they've already "spent all their money and have none left").

We need to understand that, just because someone comes into our office doesn't make them a prospect for our business. There are some people out there whose business we can't afford to have and a great many of them are standing in line at parts counters all over town.

So, *WE* get all ticked off, mad, wound up, "how dare they?" and generally angry when these people call or come in. The result of this is that we're now in a poor state of mind to greet our true potential customers with a warm smile and mean it.

Does anyone else find it odd that we are now shooting at our own feet over this situation and doing so with apparent deadly accuracy? VBG

Your correct response to these people is, "here's what we do, here's what it costs. Would you like to schedule a time to have this done?" The answer will be yes, no or maybe. You might try one more selling point, seek agreement and see what happens. Take the appropriate action depending on the potential buyer's response.

Do not let their response or attitude bother you. If they don't want to buy from you, it's simply because you either don't sell what they want to buy or you lack the selling skills to convince them that you do. End of story, no problem. They need to seek the next potential seller, because it's apparently not you.

Finally, use your mental energy and positive thoughts on your own best (and prospective) customers. If you sell investments or insurance, you'll soon find out that the selling process is less about the sales pitch itself than it is about simply sifting through hundreds of prospects to find the one that is needing what you offer. When that happens, the sale is automatic. It's easy once you understand the process.

Anyone can sell a good prospect, one who really wants what you have to sell and *NO ONE* can sell a bad prospect, one who doesn't want what you have to sell.

So, stop prospecting for new business among those who populate any auto parts store, anywhere. And, please stop making villains of those honest parts stores who are seeking to sell to people who just want parts. The store is not evil for selling stupid people a bunch of stuff they don't need if those people really want to buy that stuff. The stores are only filling a need for a group they have identified as their own "target market".

Focus on your own target market and work it to the best of your ability and, to some extent, that means ignoring those who stumble mistakenly in your door. Don't use up a good attitude. Save it for those who might give you money. Oh, and it might not hurt to see if there's some good sales training available....

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