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Strange Requests At The Service Counter

Sometimes, I have to wonder if certain ­customers’ brains are firing on all cylinders. But as an automotive service professional, I have to maintain a certain level of self-control while answering their questions, even though what they’re...

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Are All Cars ‘Supercars’ Now?

I attended an open house at Smokey’s Dyno in Akron, Ohio, last month. The shop was filled with Lamborghinis, Jaguars and other high-end cars. It was a great chance to look under the hoods of some supercars. The shop even had a rare McLaren P1 sitting...

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Documenting Inspections: Are You Leaving Maintenance Dollars on the Table?

How do you translate scribbles on a ­repair order into sales? There is no magic trick involved — the key is to document the vehicle ­inspection process. The more you know about your customers’ vehicles, and the more you are able to document...

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Mazda: Performing Regular Undercar Maintenance

This month, we’ll take a look at brake and undercar service on the Mazda vehicle lineup, with the footnote that even though this type of work ­becomes routine when you have a preventive maintenance mindset, good work habits from beginning to end are...

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Import Automatic Transmission Diagnostics

Don’t be alarmed if you pull an automatic transmission trouble code when diagnosing a “check engine” warning light! Since the automatic transmission operation has a major effect on grams-per-mile exhaust emissions, you’re going to see the...

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Honda: Vehicle Won’t Move or Barely Moves

A customer brings in a vehicle that won’t move forward, ­­backward or both. Check first to see if it grinds or clicks. And does the speedometer read a lot higher than you’re actually going? Chances are the driveshaft is disengaged. This can...

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TPMS Service Tip: Ask the Right Questions

If there is one piece of major advice for any tire tech facing a TPMS issue, it would be this: Test before you touch, and document the answers you get. Understanding the potential TPMS land mines can save time and money and eliminate frustrations. Get...

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False ABS Activation After Wheel Bearing Hub Replacement

Vehicles: All ABS-equipped vehicles Condition: Vehicle had wheel bearing hub replaced on one side. Repair Procedure: If you diagnose a bad hub bearing on one side of a vehicle and the ABS wheel speed sensor or tone ring is integral to the bearing,...

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Are you afraid of selling alignments?

I am starting to notice a trend when it comes to alignments. It’s not the vehicles that are changing, but rather the attitudes toward alignment services — and it happens at independent repair shops, franchise shops and even dealers. The alignment...

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iATN Exceeds 2 Million Forum Messages

The number of messages in the professional automotive discussion forums of the International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) exceeded 2 million in early December 2014, with the Shop Management and Technical Discussion forums being the most popular...

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Diagnosing Starter Misses

Contributing writer Gary Goms was called to a friend’s shop to help with a no-cranking condition on a 2006 Chevy Tahoe. After diagnosing a faulty PCM ground, locating the missing ground proved to be problematic. Find out how Gary solves The Case...

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Snap-on Adds Diagnostic Calculator To Website

Snap-on announces a new diagnostic calculator feature has been added to its website at http://diagnostics.snapon.com to help automotive repair technicians and shop owners determine how much profit they could be making by using a Snap-on diagnostic platform,...

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Home Electrical Diagnostic Dilemmas: Approaching No-Code Diagnostics

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1997 toyota camryThanks to the increasing reliability of modern vehicles, most diagnostic technicians are seeing fewer pattern-failure driveability complaints.

For that reason, many techs won’t gamble expensive shop time chasing an illusive no-code driveability complaint.

Instead, many will write “no problem found” on the repair order and move on to the next vehicle.

Unfortunately, at some point in time, the intermittent, no-code driveability will either be solved or the vehicle will be traded or sold for scrap. This month’s Diagnostic Dilemma will discuss in detail how I approached the no-code, intermittent driveability complaint on three
different vehicles.

The Stalling Camry
Last summer, I encountered a customer with a no-code, intermittent stalling complaint on a 1997 Toyota Camry. According to the customer, the stall most often occurred during engine warm-up or would manifest itself as an occasional hesitation at road speeds. photo 1: the ect (green connector) appeared to be a frequent culprit in many stalling complaints.

Although well-maintained, this vehicle had rolled up in excess of 200,000 miles. At this point, the crankshaft position (CKP) sensor had been replaced with no result.

While I don’t believe in searching for silver bullets, I do believe in doing preliminary research by consulting a professional database for technical and anecdotal case-study information.

It didn’t take but a few minutes online to determine that a faulty engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT) was causing many Camry stalling complaints.

The simplest procedure might have been to replace the relatively inexpensive ECT and let the customer drive the vehicle to verify the repair.

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Gary Goms

Gary Goms is a former educator and shop owner who remains active in the aftermarket service industry. Gary is an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician (CMAT) and has earned the L1 advanced engine performance certification. He also belongs to the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
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