Get On The Can Bus I’m old enough to remember the days when cars only had one computer, the engine control unit, aka the “ECU”. Now a days most cars have not not one, but dozens of computers or modules all talking to each other over what is called a Controller Area Network or “CAN Bus”, somewhat like the “USB” (Universal Serial Bus) of your home computer. Cool idea as it simplifies running hundreds of individual wires, but it really ups the technology service game. Here we are programming a replacement part, known as RDC module, that is part of [...]
Problem occurs with both "S" and non "S" models Carbon Deposits On Intake Valves As the largest Mini Cooper service specialists in Maine, at the Atlantic Motorcar Center we've noted a significant increase in late model Mini Coopers with cold start or cold running problems, even to the point of stalling, or Check Engine warning lights coming on. We've found that many of these Mini Cooper direct injection engines suffer from an excessive carbon build up on the back of the engine intake valves. The carbon build up can cause drivability issues such as stumbling, flat spots and lack of power, [...]
Car presented with Incorrect air flow out the heat/ac vents. Upon inspection we discovered that a previous servicing facility had worked on the vehicle and left the ACC system in total disarray. Vacuum lines were disconnected, flaps were wire tied closed, actuators were disabled, vacuum manifolds were plugged, in short, the ACC air direction system was non-functional. This required removal of the dash pad and center console to fully inspect and access what was needed to make the system operational once again. Subsequently upon removal we found broken flaps, damaged cable actuators and stripped gears. This is a major undertaking, [...]
Engine oil sludge does not just affect Saabs, take at look at the oil pan and lower engine on this VW Passat. That black gooey substance is not tar, but engine oil sludge. Unfortunately the car was switched over to a full synthetic engine oil too late in its life, for the first three years it was run on a conventional oil, you can see the results. It is cheap insurance to always use a fully synthetic engine oil on all European autos newer than 1999. We use Castrol Syntec in our workshop, it is the factory fill on many [...]
With only 22,000 miles, rodent damage on the ABS rear wheel speed sensor data cables. Somehow a mouse found its way inside the car, under the seat, under the carpet, under the foam padding, and into the rear wiring harness conduit for a quick snack. Required extensive work to diagnose and then removal of the passenger seat and carpeting to service.
A fun and rewarding job, installing a stainless steel sport exhaust on a brand new BMW M3 coupe. Looks pretty and sounds even better!
Audi/VW timing belt replacement is a bit of a project as it requires the removal of the front nose of car. When replacing the timing belt it is critical to also replace the engine water pump and thermostat as they are located behind the timing belt, requiring belt removal to access. Not the most technician friendly design. It is also strongly recommended to replace the tensioner roller, serpentine belt and inspect the tensioner seals for oil leakage.
A/C Evaporator Core Service, requires extensive dash removal. Car suffered repeated loss of refrigerant, testing dye did not indicate external leakage but internal to dash. Note the yellow dye stains on the removed evaporator core, lower right photo.
Engine oil leakage from timing chain tensioners. Previous service facility had replaced the timing belt but not checked/serviced the tensioners seals. The new timing belt had been ruined by oil leakage and required replacement. Continued use of the car with the oil leakage and damaged timing belt would have resulted in severe engine damage. The timing chain tensioner seals should always be inspected for leakage during timing belt service.
Failed engine water pump, requires removal of the front nose of car. The engine water pump and thermostat are located behind the timing belt, requiring belt removal to access. Not the most technician friendly design. Always replace the water pump and thermostat when servicing the timing belt.