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Case Studies


Dear reader,

In the menu below you will find some interesting articles we have published over the years. Most articles are extracts from technical assistance calls to our help desk, and how they were brought to a proper conclusion. If you are interested in, or have further questions regarding one of the technical articles please contact us.


The following articles were published in 2017. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

A/F Off

Inside, Herbert discusses intricacies of O2 Sensors in A/F Off.  He simplifies a real workshop situation that was put to our help desk.

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O2 Sensor Diagnostics

Peter shares on oxygen sensors, been only a small sensor it can be problematic to numerous scenarios.  

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Today's Scope Technology

 Peter our Application Engineer brings to life scope technology, and the importance of scope diagnostics in your workshop.   

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Aircon Conned Part 2

Paul our guru of all things Aircon, takes us into Part 2 of a continuing saga.  (You can read Part 1 of Air Conned here).  

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Why Work in Automotive?

In a change to the usual technical article this month we are looking
directly at why a career in the automotive industry is an exciting and smart prospect!

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The following articles were published in 2016. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

Aircon Conned

We discuss in detail, some of the many myths around automotive products. Most of these have been raised by people at our seminars.

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Terrible Transit

Problem presented to the Helpdesk
Vehicle was brought to a workshop equipped with AECS gear from another workshop who wasn’t
keen in learning the “new” technology (?) on this now 8-year-old vehicle. Customer complaint was that
the vehicle was hard starting especially when cold, stalling just after start-up and engine not revving
until it warmed up, when warm it runs fine for the rest of the day. The vehicle sometimes lacks power
which required pulling off the road until throttle response comes back.
This vehicle has done over 200,000kms.

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Failing Fuso

A 2011 Mitsubishi Fuso Fighter truck with a 6M60 engine presented to a workshop with reports of a misfire and hunting at idle.
The truck had already been to another workshop who had already removed all 6 injectors and sent them away for testing.
Four were reported to be faulty and replaced and the other two were returned with no fault found. The returned injector set
was then fitted and re-coded before the engine was cranked over until the battery went flat.
The ECU main power fuse was found to be blown and was replaced before the battery was recharged and further cranking took place. The engine now fired but ran very badly.
That’s when the decision was made to call for additional help.

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Filter Fizz

This Nissan Navara was towed into our workshop, it is winding over but does not start. We scanned it, it has no fault codes.
The customer (a colleague workshop) said that it had starting issues when cold, but it would start and then cut out, Now it does not start at all. 
We have your ATS scope, I would like some help with the following recordings please. 
It looks like the rail pressure is too low.

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Launch NZ. Changes for the better

The Launch products have been sold in NZ since early 2000. The automotive industry has seen many changes in the last 20 years or so.
The complexity of electronics in modern vehicles make it impossible to do even the simplest oil change without the need of advanced equipment.
The increase of electronics has automatically increased the occurrence of electronic faults. Fault finding by just swapping parts is in most case not possible anymore.
This article compares the various generations and variety of Launch products over the years.

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Injection Rejection

There is a misfire on Cylinder 3. A P0303 fault code is stored and wont erase.
This car has been of the road for about 6 months now, it has been to several workshops who done all sorts work. One work shop removed the ECU after trying everything else and send it to an ECU expert in NZ. They found some faults and repaired that. Another workshop sent the ECU to an ECU repair specialist in the UK, who returned it after they had found no faults. They updated the software. All to no avail. The car still has the same fault code and cuts out after a few seconds running.
This AECS customer could not fault anything and was close to making a decision that the ECU needed to be replaced for a brand new one.
He asked us to look over this case to see what we at the help desk could find.

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Fine Familia

Car is driving fine, P0351 fault code is popping up every 10 minutes or so while idling or driving. The code description in the Launch for P0351 is: Ignition
Coil A Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction. We scoped the ignition system and cannot understand the fault code detection logic as everything is basically there and the car is running fine.
Can you please explain a little about this?

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Halted Honda

Car was driving fine, parked up, next morning it would wind over but not fire up any more. No combustion at all.
We have scoped ignition and injection, both are not present. Injection is flat lining at 12V, so does not get triggered by the ECU. However, we do have a crankshaft and camshaft sensor signal
Where do we go next?

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Sore Soarer

This Toyota rarely starts and runs, other times it appears to run on some cylinders very briefly but then dies. The vehicle was towed to the workshop.
 
The vehicle was purchased with mechanical warranty so when the fault occurred the owner took it to a workshop to be repaired. Finally, after a lot of “swapnostics” it was taken to a workshop equipped with diagnostic equipment. Being of this vintage the vehicle only had the older 20pin Toyota diagnostic plug, we tried to establish communication with the Launch Pro3 however the tool informed us that only flash codes could be extracted and that we should monitor the check engine light to get the codes.
When looking closer no check light or oil pressure light were present!!!
Nevertheless, the diagnostician was not distracted by what could potentially be a blown MIL light bulb and grabbed an ATS scope.

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The following articles were published in 2015. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

BT50 being shifty

“We have a BT-50 that cranks at good speed but is slow to activate the injectors. It is worse when cold. When it does start it runs fine. To me it seems that the rail pressure is slow to build up and injection doesn't occur until over 1volt is reached.
I have included patterns of injection, crank signal, pressure sensor and suction control. Unfortunately we only have a two channel ATS scope.
There are no fault codes. What are your thoughts?”

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BM trouble you

This BMW came in with misfire under load. We scanned it for codes. it had a cylinder no-3 misfire fault code. We replaced two coils, then all four coils, then spark plugs. This gave us a big improvement but the engine still has a misfire underload. We scanned it again and it now has a Vanos (variable cam timing) code. We replaced the exhaust cam timing solenoid. Fault code gone is gone now. However the engine still has a misfire under acceleration. We performed a compression test and a leak down test, all OK. We found that the eccentric shaft (Valvetronic shaft) feedback sensor plug was oily. We cleaned it and it ran perfect. Checked 30mins later misfire back again. If we unplug the Vanos solenoid the misfire goes away. Also if we unplug the Valvetronic actuator motor the misfire goes away.
 
The workshop who was working on the car had also lifted the rocker cover to see if there were any mechanical issues. Nothing untoward was found. The workshop decided to drive the car over to a friendly colleague who owns an ATS 4 channel scope.

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Jumpy Jeep

This Jeep blows clouds of white smoke under light ac-celeration and stalls under heavy acceleration or under heavy load. After it has stalled, it starts again straight away but detonates and blows lots of white smoke.
We have scoped the rail pressure sensor, the pressure regulator and an injector.
The injection signal stops just before the engine stalls, but it still has rail pressure and duty cycle to pressure regulator when it stalls. We have also scoped crank and cam sensors but cannot see anything that could cause this problem.

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Introducing new high quality AECS courses for 2016

The team at AECS have been working very hard to produce new trainings and update some existing training seminars which we plan to roll out to you in 2016. 
Herbert has developed a new 1 day Scan tool supplement training (SCAN 2) that complements the 2-day SCAN Course.
The training is written around the Launch Professional series (Pro 2 & Pro 3) scan tools but is NOT limited to any other brand scan tool.
A highlight of the training is diagnosing live data recordings (practical study cases). We achieve this by having a number of live data recordings loaded on our training forum, for you to diagnose and learn from in a class room situation.

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Mid Winter Sprinter

The vehicle came in with a power steering fluid leak and it had the glow light in the dashboard staying on unusually long.
We rebuilt the power steering pump and now it winds over, fires up briefly and dies again. It sounds just like it is running out of fuel every time!
The van was running beautifully before we removed the pump.
We scanned for fault codes and all we get in the engine management system is “2134-004 Glow plug cylinder 2 open circuit”.
We checked everything we possibly could have disturbed, while removing/refitting the pump, and cannot find anything.
In the close proximity of the pump is the throttle body, the intake air-pressure sensor, the crankshaft sensor, fuel hoses from the filter to the high-pressure common rail pump and its return hoses. None of these looked damaged or disturbed. This van truly leaves us out in the cold! This should have been an easy and profitable job; it has turned into a nightmare!
Can you please help?

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Broken Beamer

The customer complaint is that the car starts perfect, it idles and it revs perfectly.
After about 10 minutes car will either start run-ning rough and then stall or cut straight out after starting and will not restart until it has cooled down. There are no fault codes.
The diagnostician who owns AECS Diagnostic equipment with technical support told us;
“I have not driven the car, as I do not want to be stuck in Auckland traffic”. Fuel pre-delivery pressure and flow to the high-pressure pump stays constant.
Just looking at an ATS scope pattern on a big screen I wonder if I have a control unit (ECU) issue. The sudden pressure rise followed by a loss of the injector signal with still good crankshaft signal would point that way, would you not agree?
The Scan tool also shows that the pressure reading is going up just before stalling. The increase of duty cycle indicates the rail pressure increase is commanded by the ECU, why?

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Aching Actros

This V8 truck arrived at the workshop (who owns AECS diagnostic equipment) running on 4 cylinders.
The diagnostician used the Jaltest truck scan tool as the check engine light was on with the fault codes indicating that the injection system on cyl. 2, 4, 5, 6 was faulty. What shall we do? replace or measure?

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Done Dyna

The truck was referred to the workshop (who owns AECS diagnostic equipment) by another garage, as they were at the end of their diagnostic ability.
The truck has this complaint, that when the engine was warm; you could not rev it over around 2500 RPM as it would start to misfire and smoke really bad.
The garage who first worked on the truck had replaced the air cleaner, injectors, injection pump, cleaned the intake manifold and blanked off the EGR channel. Because there were no fault codes, they even tried another ECU.
All to no avail! I am unsure what the total costs were but the replacement (new) injection pump by itself was around $4500.
What would you do next?

Full Article

Elf by Itself

2003 Isuzu Elf. Truck is hard starting followed by a brief period of bad running and in some cases no starting at all.

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DPF Really faulty?

2012 Mercedes ML 300 V6 3.0L Turbo Diesel with DPF sensor code 118D00.

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What is in store for 2015?

Are you going to pass a portion of the work on to a specialist yet again?

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The following articles were published in 2014. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

Different point of view

Looking at diagnostics from a wider perspective.

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Exhausted E-Class

2003 MB E-320 CDI The vehicle became harder and harder to start, untill no more.

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P(r)oxy Voxy

2002 Toyota Voxy. The vehicle has a bad surge at light throttle below 2500 RPM, and intermittently at idles.

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Polo dont go

This car refuses to fire up, it winds over, but not one beat of fire.

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Closed loop common rail

2008 Nissan Vanette CR diesel with a misfire at about 1300-1500 RPM.

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Sly sylphy

This car with direct injected QR20DD, has been hesitating on acceleration, pinks under load and the engine check light comes on intermittently.

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Making money, diagnosing

"We are running a workshop here for many years already, but we shy away from getting into electronic faults.... "

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FSI fizzle

2005 VW Golf GTX 2.0 Ltr FSI (AXX engine). Engine starts and idles fine, but as soon as you try to accelerate, the engine fizzles away.

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Bizarre XR

A 2003 Ford 5.4L 260kw Boss XR8 with a light surge at cruise and under slight acceleration up gradients.

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Sorento Sorrow

A 2007 Kia Sorento common rail Diesel was presented with a massive oil leak and a badly smoking engine.

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Training with AECS

A candid look into how we gather information for our training

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The following articles were published in 2013. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

Why Hyundai H1

The engine is accelerating fine when you take it slow but bogs down when you accelerate fully.

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Coding and Flashing

Coding ECUs and re-flashing files.

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Suzuki V6 zoom zoom

Suzuki V6 with a slight misfire under load on one cylinder only

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Isuzu Wizard with 4JX1 engine

I thought we would never see these HUEI systems again. However they are still around and still trouble.

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Truck communication protocol J1939

Interesting article about inter ECU communication on Trucks and Busses, and how to diagnose.

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Training Europe

We need to be trained up aswell, read up about technology fed to us.

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Rumbling Rotary

Rotary Mazda every so now and than hard to start.

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New Training

We have a new and exciting training seminar developed. Deals with all the latest technologies. Stay current!

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Munted Mondeo

A 2008 Ford Mondeo Common rail Diesel, refuses to start after timing belt job.

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The following articles were published in 2012. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

Grand Elgrand

2003 Nissan Elgrand 3.5 Ltr V6, does not fire up anymore after engine rebuild.

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Croaky Cruiser

2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser with a hesitation over 60km/h. 

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Vitals on Vitara

2001 Suzuki Vitara Bosch Common rail Diesel with a lack of power and misfire.

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Wizard Wise

Driving over a bump with this drive by wire petrol V6 Isuzu Wizard causes the engine to briefly misfire.

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CAN Communication

Faulty CAN data bus communication analysed with the ATS scope. Communication decyphered.

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The following articles were published in 2011. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

Leaping Lexus

Lexus with drive by wire throttle, Idling at 3500 RPM!

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Hilux Problem

Surging Toyota Hilux Diesel, only a really detailed look at the scope patterns revealed the problem. Experts only!

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Mercedes Murder

This Mercedes A190 was tried to be repaired using an internet hobby forum as a source. Very Costly!

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Curious Citroen

This Citroen Xantia had simply a new starter motor fitted, after, which it would not run anymore. Solved with ATS signal generator.

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Capella Problemo

The Mazda Cappela (626) would drive fine but every now and then, maybe two times in a day it misfired ever so gently..

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Cranky Camry

The Toyota Camry would not start when cold. It would crank and try to fire but would not start up. No fault codes stored in the engine ECU.

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Impractical Prius

A Toyota Prius with a very loud knocking engine gets needless written off.

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The following articles were published in 2010. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

Hybrid HELP!

This Toyota Hybrid was presented to a workshop with all sorts of warning lights on and low on power. The Master warning light in the dashboard was on and on the centre TV display, all sorts of warnings and messages in Japanese scrolled along the screen.

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Towed Toyota

The vehicle starts fine and runs fine but intermittently stalls, sometimes it runs for several minutes and sometimes it stalls immediately after start up. There are no fault codes present.

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Nissan Ignition

A number of Nissan ignition problems analysed.

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Hopping Hatch

A Toyota with a leaking shock absorber gets a substandard suspension job. Read how this was analysed and fixed up. 

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VW Smoking gun

This VW Golf is running so rough. It is smoking black and smells badly. Wherever you start the car up it leaves a dirty big black stain on the ground. 

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Bogging Benz

During firm acceleration it sometimes holds back. Releasing the throttle and depressing it again would often ‘clear’ the fault and makes the car accelerate firmly.

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Delicate Delica

The vehicle was bought 6 weeks ago. The engine had a slight knock which developed very quickly in a destroyed number 4 big end bearing,...

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The following articles were published in 2009. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

No-Go Nissan

This vehicle only came to our attention when the problem was solved. Yet it is still a nice case to get the teeth into, and such a likely fault to come your way!

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Surging Atenza

Vehicle starts surging at high revs. Starts fine and runs reasonably well.

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No-Go Nadia

Vehicle is sometimes impossible to start, it winds over but does not fire. Other days it runs fine.

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Funny Familia

This car was presented to garage with apparent gearbox problem. Surging realy badly under full acceleration.

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The following articles were published in 2008. Please contact us if you are after any article in particular.

Lacking Legnum

The vehicle lacks power when flooring the throttle.

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Horrible Hi-Jet

The engine was hunting badly at idle. The idle control valve had been replaced and throttle position was adjusted.

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Gappy Golf

Car is 'flat spotting' during moderate acceleration. Car has had regular services.

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Tragic Transit

Van falls back to idle during a long climb resulting in no throttle response. Turning key off solves the problem.

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Failing Vito

Vehicle won't start days after a full system overhaul. Scantool found oil level/pressure/quality sensor fault code.

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Lumpy Legacy

The car has a high tension misfire. Only easing the throttle down increases the revs.

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Sick Cefiro

The taxi has a slight mis at low revs and seemingly only on 1 cylinder. The car has had a new water pump fitted. 

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