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Playing ‘parts darts’ is a risky game

By autotech-nath on March 31, 2024

Autoelectro underlines the necessity of technical proficiency amidst the surge in sophisticated components.

Despite Autoelectro still selling dynamos, inertia starter motors and ACR alternators today, both the sector and the professionals it services find themselves amidst a technological revolution where electronic control units (ECUs) direct water-cooled, reversible alternators, stop/start systems, hybrid configurations, and a plethora of advanced starters, including tandem and dual solenoid varieties.

This change in direction requires a departure from the traditional approach of simply swapping out parts to address issues. Instead, the focus needs to shift towards understanding the intricacies of these modern components to diagnose and resolve the root causes of problems.

Finding the underlying cause…

For Autoelectro one of the core issues is the tendency to replace suspected faulty parts without delving into the underlying causes of the problem. This approach, addressing symptoms rather than causes, can lead to recurring issues and fails to provide a sustainable solution. It’s a short-term fix, not a long-term solution.

Autoelectro’s Harnek Bhogal said: “Our commitment to technical excellence sets us apart. Unlike the trend of batch testing, every part released by us undergoes two rounds of testing – first at the component level and then as a complete unit on OE-spec test equipment. This process ensures that our parts meet the highest standards before reaching the market.”

Harnek also highlighted the crucial role of its engineers by working with old cores and identifying common themes among specific part numbers. One such example is if a pattern emerges where every returned old core is contaminated with fluid: Autoelectro issues a technical bulletin advising technicians to investigate and correct leaks before installing replacement parts. Here are two examples of common issues found during its investigations of old cores:

AEG1472 (Ford Transit 2.0 diesel alternator (2016-onwards)): possible tensioning or belt issue that causes premature failure of the clutch pulley and, the premature failure of the alternator. It recommends changing the belt and tensioner at the same time as replacing the alternator to avoid the same pulley issue happening again. Failing to do so may lead to the same fault occurring on replacement parts.

AEY2803 (Vauxhall Antara 2.0-2.2 diesel starter motor (2011-2016)): a common fault where the wiring insulation on the vehicle is not correctly heat shrunk, causing the B+ terminal on the solenoid to overheat and melt, leading to the premature failure of the starter motor. Therefore, inside every AEY2803 box supplied, Autoelectro provides a warning notice, advising the technician and showing images of what damage to the solenoid and terminals looks like, to avoid the same issue happening again.

Harnek said: “Both of the faults on these part numbers can often be intermittent due to the nature of them; the tensioning issue, for instance, may cause the belt to slip, which can cause sporadic charging faults, while the incorrectly heat shrunk wiring insulation may cause intermittent starting issues on the vehicle, which will get worse over time. It is easy to see how a technician may think this is just due to wear and tear on the unit, when, in reality, that is not the case, and the root cause must be fixed.”

Autoelectro champions the need for technical expertise in an era increasingly dominated by complex and sophisticated vehicle components and adopts a collaborative approach where workshops and suppliers work hand-in-hand to address the root causes of potential issues.



About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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