Audi S4 Case Study – Multiple ailments and a host of suspects

Troubleshooting faults in a workshop is rarely a dull moment whether you’re a newbie, beginning your deep-dive journey into modern vehicle fault assessments, or a seasoned pro who thinks they’ve seen it all. I am sure some of you readers can sympathise – my mind can sometimes wander, and I’ve been known to have the occasional brain fart, varying from slight to beyond moderate on the scale!

In preparation for the latest job to enter the workshop I read the job card the night before and made sure to have a brief conversation with the customer at drop off to get a better insight into the reported symptoms.

It was at the point of questioning the customer I felt one eye become ever so slightly lazy, picturing myself wearing a shaggy beige raincoat chewing a cigar and thinking about the ‘case’ in front of me – for those of you old enough to remember, and cherish, the memories of Columbo, detective extraordinaire. The irony here is that I floated the concept in my last piece

for AT that ‘we are analysts more than technicians.’ In some respects, we’re just as much detectives in the case of fault troubleshooting, which I think for a lot of us is the grit that keeps us doing what we do, to a good standard, day in day out. I digress….

Gareth found a useful collection of TPI’s all relevant to random alarm siren activity with no other DTCs stored.

The vehicle in question is a 2017 Audi S4 and had been in with us four weeks previously for a replacement battery. I had not paid much attention to the car in question at its previous visit. The customer’s concern was that the Stop Start system was not working and it never seemed to kick in, the A with a line through symbol would appear frequently when warm, but no matter what the circumstance or length of drive, it did not work. Furthermore, he asked us to investigate the heated rear windscreen not working on cold mornings, but the mirrors cleared quickly when the button was depressed. He also added an additional concern of reporting the alarm going off intermittently.

I began to consider the outcomes and fault patterns whilst ODIS was doing its thing conducting a full vehicle scan. Tool choice here was natural given I wanted to look at some key pieces of data and check a function had been conducted post battery replacement. Alarm triggers were going to be my go- to for the one customer concern, quiescent current analysis (battery replacement history, type, serial no, A/H) the next, and rich live data for the rear window concern. I had already created a 3-stage hit list, but I’d also reminisced of previous learnings on jobs and the importance of vehicle behavior patterns when it thinks one thing and is actually another.

In terms of stored DTC’s, there was not a lot to go on, 1- Alarm triggered, and that was it. Where to next? There was no guided fault finding or test plans created because there were no DTC’s. My next port of call before having my sacred brew and read was to put some more meat on the bone. It was unlikely in the time I had that I would get the alarm to misbehave going on the very intermittent frequency reported by the customer, but in terms of a quick road test (car was already warm from drop off ) I set off to observe Stop Start activity, and then a quick check of the rear window heater being switched on at the climate control panel, and a thermal camera to definitively confirm mirrors working, rear window not. The outcomes were as described, Stop Start did not work when I expected it should and the mirrors got toasty within a matter of seconds, with no sign of the window doing anything at all. With the faults confirmed, it was time to take a brief pause to do some research. I set about the following hitlist checks as a baseline start:

• Any TPI’s (Technical Product Index) relevant to any of my fault patterns?

• Current flow diagram of the rear window heater (note the setup is different for Avant and saloon so be careful, and in addition the Germans call it a rear window defogger, remember those search term definitions!)

Ensure data is the latest revision

The information search was useful. I fished a collection of TPI’s, see image above, all relevant to random alarm siren activity with no other DTCs stored, this bulletin has been updated several times. A TPI can have multiple revisions which is useful, but it can mean you come unstuck later if you are not reading the latest revision, as the guidance, or more importantly the SVM code, may have changed. The fix for the alarm was a Body Control Module software improvement, and had been through multiple changes, notably changing the SVM code for use within the ODIS SVM function, every time. I accessed the TPI through Alldata and the SVM code did not work. I rechecked the TPI’s within ODIS and then noted the latest change to the SVM and it applied correctly. Worth remembering when evaluating data and information, if in doubt, send a ticket as it may have changed in a short period of time and could leave you puzzled when you knew you were on the right track.

I was able to locate a current flow diagram, see below. Note the Asterisk marks that refer to a number code, advising on difference between model variants so you can follow the correct path for the control and wiring. I did not, however, yield a result on any relevant Stop Start issues.

Current flow diagram of the rear window heater.

Heading to the car it was time to begin some actual ‘doing.’ First port of call was the Stop Start issue. I headed straight for the battery management side of data. The reason being, I had pinned hopes on the battery replacement we had conducted potentially not being ‘registered’ in the car’s control unit, so it was still thinking it had a discharged poor state of health battery fitted. If this was the case it would validate the Stop Start issue without further troubleshooting, but in addition, may shed light on the rear window issue. ‘How so?’ I hear you cry. Well, little did I know some years ago, I had to investigate a rear window ‘defogger’ not working on a BMW 1 series 5-door hatch back. I ‘dithered’ away hours on drawing a blank on wiring checks, covers and trims off, checking this, checking that, to find that the car had the impression a poor state of health battery was fitted. I found this info eventually and checked the battery state of health data according to the IBS (Intelligent Battery Sensor) control unit log. The car had already had a new battery fitted a few months before being presented to me for troubleshooting. I registered the battery and low and behold, button depressed, windows getting warm! What?! Logical when explained and researched. Battery charge preservation becomes essential when the vehicle

(control supply) side of the circuit. One quick test and much of the circuit confirmed as good. Things then got a little more interesting. There appeared to be a ‘suppressor’ in the circuit, likely to reduce the effect of a high current consumer affecting something else in the rear screen when the high current consumer is activated. I checked the literature again, confirmed the rear screen was a busy affair, not only having the heater element, but also the antenna for the radio embedded within it. Further reading stated on my variant that there was a window suppression unit on the NSR D Pillar and a radio suppression unit on the OSR D pillar. With the NSR D Pillar off I confirmed the location and fitting of the suppression unit. Interestingly, at this stage, my sleuthing nature noted the presence of filler dust and body shop hallmarks, and rechecking in the NSR quarter area where the relay was located, there were also hallmarks of a previous repair. Now I’m not paid to judge, or spoil people’s days. The repair seemed adequate, but it did add an extra element we should always be mindful of when troubleshooting – human interference and disturbance.

The control relay was easy to access and test.

Human error

At this point I continued with my test plan. What’s happening at point B (the screen element connection) and what role is the suppressor playing? Above, you can see my test light showing a healthy voltage coming into the suppressor, confirmed by the meter, see below, right, and bright test light, but I had
no output at the screen just a stone’s throw away from the suppressor. I took the unit off given it appeared at the previous epicenter of damage/body repairs, checked resistance in preparation for a load test of the suppressor prior to ordering a new one (which at this point I had already found on the parts catalogue and was priced at a very reasonable £12 direct from TPS). My picture shows, I had failed to identify the fitment was incorrect, probably at rebuild stage by the body shop. The output wire for the rear screen was fitted to the centre bolt hole to hold the suppressor to the pillar, and not the output + terminal (ironically marked on the suppressor). No wonder it did not work. I moved the wire connection and cycled the window heater. Dew Dew (pun intended), on a thermal camera the window is now working! Stupid is as stupid does. The reality is this was as honest a mistake as the individual made when rebuilding the car in the first place. But it does show you have to have your mind in the zone and your wits about you when assessing faults. Test and check everything relevant, and always stop to reevaluate where you where, are, and plan to be within the task/process.

I smiled on reflection, and out of curiosity load tested the old and new suppressors. I had differing results so opted for the menial cost to advise and supply the replacement regardless of findings and despite proving the original could work. But nonetheless a useful learning, followed by the warm inner glow that I got the right culprit, I could leave on a Columbo quirky cliché and ‘limp’ off into the sunset. In reality it was pop to the loo with sheer excitement and collect the next job card!

I like documenting my tales and findings from the real- world workshop, as much as I like reading those from other like-minded technicians case studies. We need to keep up the fight, to research, understand, test and be confident in a job well done. Keep going, and never stop being the best you can be.

4-Focus – New Car Technical Innovations from Ford, Hyundai, Audi & Honda

HYUNDAI KONA N – N DCT…

Clearly, the mighty Hyundai Motor Corporation has taken a hint from European manufacturers, when selecting the transmission options for its first sporty SUV – the Kona N. Based internally on the manual gearbox, the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) gives the convenience of a traditional ‘automatic’ but with lower cost, fewer complications, and faster ratio changes.

While aftermarket technicians are more familiar with the Volkswagen Group’s DSG, Hyundai has developed its own
DCT. The original Hyundai Transys 7-speed DCT possessed dry clutches but a wet clutch eight-speed version featured in high- torque models, such as the Santa-Fe 2.2-litre diesel. This latter unit has been refined further for the 280PS 2.0-litre GDI turbo petrol engine that powers the forthcoming Kona N.

The main differences involve revised gearing and differential ratios, plus a different ECU that promotes even faster changes between ratios. Electronic management also provides extra features for the driver, possibly one who would like to imagine that he/she is driving a racing thoroughbred and not an SUV. The resultant ‘N Power Shift’, ‘N Grin Shift’ and ‘N Track Sense Shift’ modes manage both shifting and engine output algorithms, according to driver mood. Perhaps more interesting is the ability to disable the ‘creep’ function, a hangover from traditional epicyclical-geared automatics.

Hyundai emphasises the extensive durability trials, held at its dedicated testing centre at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, where the N DCT was subjected to 1,350 endurance laps during the development phase. Crucial to mechanical longevity is effective clutch cooling and the N DCT boasts
a dedicated high-flow, electrically-powered oil pump that lubricates the gears and transfers heat from the clutch packs. The second pump provides the low-flow but high-pressure facility to an internal accumulator that activates the gear shifts. Hyundai emphasises that this twin oil pump layout increases the DCT’s maximum torque limits and prevents clutch pack overheating during hard driving.

FORD TRANSIT/TRANSIT CUSTOM- FULL DISPLAY INTERIOR MIRROR…

We thought it an April Fool when Ford announced a ‘smart mirror’ on the 1st April that allows a commercial vehicle driver to see through metal. Far from being a joke, the system is a valuable safety aid, when a vehicle possesses either windowless rear doors, or a solid bulkhead behind the seats. Yet, passenger cars have featured high-definition screen rearview mirrors before, including the Cadillac CT6 and various Range Rovers.

The Full Display Interior Mirror works by displaying a live feed from a camera that is mounted to the cab’s rear. It features automatic brightness control (i.e. self-dipping) for optimum visibility in day and nighttime conditions. The mirror unit itself is located in the centre of the windscreen and Ford claims that it offers a field of view that is twice the width of a conventional reflective rearview mirror.

While Ford highlights that the system helps drivers to spot cyclists, pedestrians and other vehicles that may be behind them, it thinks the system will be especially beneficial for delivery drivers that make frequent drop-offs in cities, where they are more likely to encounter these more exposed road users.

Ford is not the only company offering such a feature on new vans: it has been available on certain Mercedes LCVs
since October 2020. Yet, Ford says that any of its franchised dealerships can supply and retrofit a Full Display Interior Mirror to a post-2013 Transit and any Transit Custom, built from 2012. Yet, we hope that the price is not an April Fool. Retailing close to £645, which Ford could not confirm includes fitting at the time of writing, it has to be considered that aftermarket alternatives are on the market for considerably less money.

Ford Rear View Mirror

AUDI E-TRON GT – CO2 REDUCED ALUMINIUM…

Realising that it takes considerable mileages to offset the high carbon dioxide levels that EVs produce at their manufacturing stages, vehicle manufacturers seek to reduce CO2 at assembly and from their suppliers, wherever possible. The optional-fit 20-inch wheels of the e-tron GT might not look very special but they are the fruit of Audi’s 2018 initiative to decarbonise its supply chain.

Aluminium production is a headache for carmakers because its production is immensely energy and CO2 intensive. Yet, the Canadian company, ELYSIS, produces aluminium by a unique process that it claims is disrupting the industry. As the smelting process releases oxygen instead of carbon dioxide, it causes no direct CO2 emissions, when compared to traditional aluminium production.

The 20-inch wheels use some of this aluminium, mixed with low-carbon aluminium, produced by Alcoa, a company that claims to have invented the aluminium industry in 1888. These raw materials are supplied to RONAL of Germany, which manufacturers the wheel. The Ronal Group, incidentally, is pioneering low-CO2 alloy wheel production, having produced the first carbon dioxide neutral alloy wheel at the end of last year. Audi, Alcoa and the Ronal Group are members of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). At the beginning of 2021, Audi was the first car manufacturer to receive the ‘Chain of Custody’ certificate from the ASI, which certifies that the company works with aluminium that is produced in a sustainable way, taking not only ecological but also business ethics and social aspects into account.

Audi E-Tron

HONDA E – SIDE CAMERA MIRROR SYSTEM…

Honda’s virtual mirror is similar to Ford’s Full Display Interior Mirror, except a camera is mounted to each front door, which feeds live footage to six-inch screens that are positioned either end of the fascia. It seems to be a completely illogical exercise to do this, but it makes more sense for an Electric Vehicle (EV) application. The diminutive camera unit is protected by a compact housing (which also incorporates the side repeater lamp), mounted to each front door skin, meaning that it is less likely to get smashed in a careless car park knock, compared to a reflective glass pane. It also negates the expense and weight of folding mirrors.

The smaller housings are also more aerodynamic, reducing drag for the whole car by almost 4%, which drains the all- important range. Of more relevance is that EV drivers are more sensitive to wind noise because no combustion engine-related waves help to disguise the din.

As the driver can select between standard and wider angle views, Honda claims that the Side Camera Mirror System cuts blind spots by half. As the tiny camera lens features a water repellent coating, reflection from droplets is less likely to cause dazzle as it would do on conventional glass mirrors. In low- light conditions, the screen can auto-dip part of the image, instead of the whole thing, by adapting its contrast settings. While conventional electric-adjusting mirrors can index themselves towards the floor, the Side Camera Mirror System combines the reversing camera function, by selecting the image area closest to the ground and adding guidelines, when the driver engages reverse gear.

Honda - Side Camera Mirror System

Hot under the collar: Audi RS6 case study

Autotechnician contributor Gareth Davies, who runs a German car specialist in South Wales, is reminded of the importance of validation in the diagnostic process.

As vehicle technicians/business owners, I am sure we have all at some point in our careers been subjected to the curse of “Ever since you did/changed…”. It’s never a pleasant feeling, and even the coolest of operators can struggle to make peace with the explanation to the customer of why/how it’s unfortunate but unconnected. A few summers back, I found myself potentially facing the same scenario but stopped as soon as the warning shot was heard. My case study touches on the humanistic element of this particular job, and also the technicality.

The job in question was an Audi RS6 ‘plus’ 2009 5.0 v10 TFSI. I checked the job sheet and saw that the customer requests were: Investigate rumble/vibration under load, AC not cold, and rear-view external mirrors not demisting. The customer was also a new, first timer. I walked out to the car park to get the vehicle prepared for a road test to check the rumble/vibration before going into the workshop for more tests. Unfortunately, that’s when the warning shot went off. I attempted to start the car and it simply cranked with no engine start. Trying again, I got the same result, non-start. Now at this point, a conscious decision was made before any investigation to advise the customer of the fault and ask if they’d like us to look into it. They were surprised but agreed. I was also surprised as it was driven to us earlier that morning under its own steam.

An initial scan showed multiple faults in various controllers, some of interest to perceived complaints, some academic or possibly historic. The faults of interest were stored in fuel pump electronics and engine ‘Fuel pump control unit defective – Static’ and ‘Fuel rail pressure too low – Static’. I left the car for a few hours and returned to the car to push it in, armed with a brace of technicians, and to my amazement, the car started and would restart on multiple occasions.

Moving on with my process, I now had the task of understanding the plausibility of the faults now that the car had returned to a running state, with no intervention other than some pixies that may have happened upon it without me noticing.

LET’S START WITH THE BASICS

Looking at the system layout loosely, it was evident that the fuel system was made of a pre-supply pump in-tank, a return regulator and pipe system to feed returned high pressure fuel to the left side of the saddle fuel tank over to the right side where the delivery unit was. Moving from low pressure to high pressure, there were two high pressure fuel pumps in the engine bay, both with integrated regulators (one feeding each bank of five cylinders) being supplied by a single common feed from the tank. The delivery unit is regulated by a fuel pump control unit and pressure is measured at two locations, low pressure feed at Y-Piece for split to high pressure pumps, and in the rail on one bank of cylinders, using a dumb logic that rail pressure will be equal in both rails, even though monitored in only one.

Beginning with the ‘Fuel pump control unit defective’, which by now had gone sporadic, I wanted to ascertain some basic checks. Most modern high pressure injection systems, both petrol and diesel, are now likely to have a fuel pump control unit to control pre-supply pressure as it offers greater control over the delivery unit by means of a Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) signal, rather than a straight 12v on/off state controlled by a relay, as it was for many years before. The rationale being greater control over the unit’s operation can be achieved by pulsing voltage (like a dimmer switch) versus on/off. Before getting too deep into PWM signals and what is right or wrong (known goods and so on) I wanted to establish the fundamentals of what a control unit needs to be effective. A simple test showed on a meter a 12v supply was present to the unit and a good ground reference.

Looking up reference data and noting the fault code, it advised probable causes as a faulty control unit or defective wiring. A final control output test using the scan tool showed the fuel pump to operate and the car remaining in a starting working state. Satisfied at this stage a control unit was looking likely, one was ordered for a few days’ time. Continuing to cover the bases, some fuel pressure serial analysis was logged while road testing to verify the vibration complaint, and all looked correct under periods of request.

I SPOKE TOO SOON…

Conclusions were drawn on other repairs required for the original complaints and duly authorised, along with the fuel pump control unit. Over the coming days the car was moved in and out, acting up selectively. I continued to troubleshoot the issue whilst in a faulted state to try and be as sure as possible I wasn’t missing anything. Whilst in a faulted state, the car was registering limited fuel pressure at the rail and pre- supply pressure sensors. The fault for ‘control unit defective’ had returned to a static entry. Thinking about the next test I would do after replacing the unit and it not fixing it, I set about controlling the in-tank fuel pump myself with the control unit removed from the equation. I simulated a voltage across the pump, the pump worked, and the car started. Confident the control unit was confirmed as the fix, I rested easy and waited for parts to arrive.

The unit was changed, vehicle road tested and was cleaned awaiting collection. The customer had arranged collection in a few days and boy am I glad pick up was delayed. The car continued to be moved in and out of the workshop and to my horror, the next day after repair, went non-start and gave the same fault code entries for fuel pressure and fuel pump control unit. How could this be?

Feeling under 10 times the pressure of norm, I went back through my workings in the faulted state. I failed to recheck the voltage supply to the control unit in the faulted state. I’d jumped straight to the ‘next test’ before revalidating the known ‘knowns’. When I had checked the voltage supply initially, I had 12V to the control unit. Now in the faulted state, I had 3.5V. Interestingly, I also had thought some more about when it faults. Never first thing in the morning or last thing at night, only in the middle of the day. Temperature changes of somewhere between 12deg ambient at 7am, to 30deg ambient in the day was having an effect. This was amplified in the car too.

Looking at the wiring diagrams in greater detail I wanted to understand where the supply came from for the unit, as I had previously covered by a 10w bulb test light on all fuses on the multiple boards, they had all subsequently checked out as OK. The location of the power supply was in the boot (spare well area) and a standalone 30A strip mega fuse. On closer inspection, I found the culprit. The fuse was changing state with temperature, causing the intermittent volt drop to the control unit. I am well aware in my experience (particularly with VAG group) that control units get very unhappy if not operated within the safe voltage range 10v 15v. This explained why the ‘Control unit defective’ fault was being stored.

One new strip fuse later, I wiped the sweat from my brow, confident this was a confirmed fix. In terms of reflection after the job had gone out, I took stock of the importance of data validation. Considering the relevance of fault structure, frequency, setting criteria and existential factors that may be affecting the fault.

It was a harsh learning, that could have been harsher and more embarrassing. Ensuring when carrying out fault finding that enough of the right testing and data acquisition is acquired during the faulted state, is key to a successful diagnosis and repair. Is this a chicken and egg scenario? There must be a reason for the fuse to be have been weakened. In a dry area internally, no corrosion effect, so was something internal in the control unit affecting the fuse? What value current draw from the in-tank pump was present, was this having a silent background affect?

I’m a mere mortal after all and am happy(ish) to take a learning from every job I undertake. If it makes me a better technician as a result, then it’s not all in vain.

Gareth Davies, Managing Director, Euro Performance Ltd, IMI Master Technician CAE AMIMI.

4-Focus – Innovative technology – BMW, Hyundai, MG & Audi

Iain Robertson takes a look at innovative technology in newer models.

BMW – CHANGING 1-SERIES FROM REAR TO FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE 

As similar as the new BMW 1-Series looks to its 2004 originator, it has been the Bavarian firm’s Millennial present, the MINI, that is driving it from rear to front-wheel drive, although engineering for 4WD is also a major consideration. Of course, BMW seldom makes changes to its range, unless it can, firstly, offset costs against other products and, secondly, ensure 

that the research and development is carried out by a sister brand. In this case, the core architecture of the new 1-Series hatchback comes from the BMW X1 SUV, while the mechanical package is a direct lift from the MINI Countryman…and you just thought that ‘Mini’ was becoming ‘Maxi’… The search for greater cabin flexibility and space lies behind the decision, with a simpler rear axle in 2WD form (no propshaft) and suspension set-up. However, BMW also gains around £600 saving per unit, as a result of swapping inline to transverse engine layout. The X2 Tourer was the first BMW to go front- wheel drive and lessons learned from that model have been incorporated in the new higher volume 1-Series, which will also share its 4WD hardware in due course. Featuring a similar chassis vectoring system to that which debuted on the i3S (EV), the revised layout proposes to be the best front-driven car presently on sale. 

HYUNDAI – THE VIRTUAL COCKPIT WILL BE WITH US SOON 

HMI is the Human-Machine Interface that is said to make car dashboards more intuitive and user-friendly. Hyundai intends to replace all hard keys with touchpads, to increase both clarity and flexibility. In addition, both user-customisable aspects and even haptic feedback (increases tactile switch sensations), via the steering wheel, are yet to make volume production but they are being readied presently. Hyundai’s next-gen proposition features a steering wheel equipped with two displays that are larger and ergonomically adjusted, with adaptable ‘pads’ on either side of the cross-spokes. The instrument cluster will be changed to a multi-layer display. It allows a natural method of attention control, using visual 3D effects, with one part of the graphic shown on the front display and the other part on a rear display. Information indicated on the steering wheel located screens changes according to the instrument cluster menu level and also by reacting to the driving situation, which can display ‘shortcuts’ tailored to individual driver needs. Unsurprisingly, the technology is similar to smartphones. The end of the road is not yet in sight for production readiness but Hyundai will use the results of the human clinics taking place in Korea, North America and Europe to integrate them into its future car interior Virtual Reality development plans. 

MG – TURNING A 3 INTO A RACE CAR 

Chinese carmaker SAIC has produced the MG3 hatchback since 2013 (revised last year). It is well-regarded for its comprehensive equipment list, affordable pricing and five years manufacturer’s warranty. Intended as a budget car, it relies on traditional engineering that is both inexpensive and easy to maintain. SAIC also hosts a number of British and overseas student interns at its UK Technical Centre at Longbridge, Birmingham, whom it tasked with building a race-viable version of the MG3. 

The company provided the base model and set a budget of £5,000. Starting with a used car, it proves to be an inexpensive means to go motor racing and is a most welcome project in an otherwise high-cost arena. Apart from a trim strip-out, fitting a roll-cage, race seat, safety harness and fire extinguisher system (regulation essentials), the suspension and brake friction materials were upgraded and the car repainted and liveried. It can be raced on road tyres, or uprated alternatives. Driven at Castle Combe racing circuit (Wiltshire), the car handled neutrally, shifted gears effortlessly, stopped and steered perfectly and was immense fun to drive surprisingly quickly. The MG interns have also created a 250pp ‘Build Book’, which outlines all project ‘how to’ details. Whether you, or your customers, wish to go motor racing, the development of this truly cost-effective means to do so legally is now available. 

AUDI – REVISITS ‘TWINCHARGER’ TECH FOR ITS LATEST S5, S6 AND S7 MODELS 

Volkswagen Group is renowned for trying different types of forced induction on both its petrol and diesel engines, even employing both turbo and supercharging on the same unit. For the first time in the history of Audi’s ‘S’ series models, a torque-rich 3.0-litre V6 diesel factors-in a high-performance option. Developing a
substantial 516.3lbs ft of torque, it is augmented by a 48V electrically-powered compressor (which sits in the vee of the engine) that combines with the exhaust-driven turbocharger to produce 350bhp. The supercharger pre-empts any hint of turbo-lag, to which conventional turbocharging is susceptible, to provide vigorous mid-range urge and, with a 250milliseconds spool-up time, near-instant responses to throttle input. The result is a 0-60mph time of 4.7s and a restricted top speed of 155mph. Yet, it also features Mild Hybrid technology, with a belt-driven alternator-starter and a 10Ah lithium-ion battery located beneath the boot floor. Apart from a ‘Start/Stop’ facility, its direct connection to the crankshaft allows it to recover up to 8kW of power under acceleration that is stored in the lithium- ion battery for later deployment. However, the engine can coast for up to 40s, with the ICE deactivated, which helps the car to return up to 36.2mpg and emit just 162g/km CO2 (WLTP figures). Advanced cooling provides speedy warm-up and the engine is exceptionally refined overall. 

 

New car focus: Skoda Scala and Kamiq

NEW SKODAS TACKLE EMISSIONS BY GOING MAINSTREAM

Considering its parent company’s reputation being dented severely by ‘Dieselgate’, and its subsequent statements about ditching internal combustion, it is surprising that two new petrol and diesel Skoda models have been launched that lack EV, or even hybrid options. Yet, Iain Robertson reveals that the VW Group’s flexible AOB modular platform (part of the MQB family) that underpins its new hatchback Scala and SUV Kamiq mean that things have not regressed entirely. 

All of the Skoda Kamiq and Scala’s engines are conventional direct- injection units with turbochargers and DPF/GPFs. While they come with brake energy recovery as well as Stop/Start technology, no hybrid is available for now.

With VW Group now presenting well in excess of 200 variants of models across its four main brands, Skoda, Seat, Audi and Volkswagen, platform sharing is both an economic and a flexibility requirement. Cutting manufacturing costs, by up to 40%, while reducing both model development and manufacturing times, are key priorities. Scala will replace the Rapid model, while the Kamiq is a new car entirely in the SUV class, despite the significant sharing of both models’ underpinnings. It is worth noting that, in previous generations, the descriptive term, ‘platform’ included the metal floorpan pressing. 

 

For the all-new Scala hatchback (the first in-house Skoda rival to the VW Golf ) and the Kamiq, the AOB compact car designated platform is common. The only fixed dimension for the engineers is the area between front bulkhead and the midline of the engine location; all other measurements, front to back and width, are flexible. At the same time, Skoda has been taking a more rational view of its part in the much-publicised VW ‘dieselgate’ debacle. We shall concentrate on the Kamiq. 

1. Engines 

Each of the Kamiq’s engines are direct-injection units boosted by turbochargers. They come with brake energy recovery, as well as Stop/Start technology and comply with the latest Euro 6d TEMP emissions standard. The entry-level, three-cylinder 1.0-litre unit delivers 92bhp and 129lbs ft torque (145g/km CO2) and drives through a 5-speed manual gearbox. An 112bhp/147lbs ft alternative (142g/km CO2) comes with a 6-speed gearbox as standard and a 7-speed DSG (twin-clutch automated-manual) as an option. 

Active Cylinder Management works by closing the valves via a camshaft actuator for cylinders 2 and 3 and disabling their fuel injectors in low engine load situations

The top petrol engine is the familiar four-cylinder 1.5TSi with a power output of 147bhp/184lbs ft (6-speed manual/7-speed DSG) and Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) that shuts down two cylinders automatically (153g/km CO2), when the load is low, to save fuel and reduce exhaust emissions. All three units are equipped with petrol particulate filters (GPF). A new 1.0 G-TEC engine (87bhp; 66g/km CO2) is designed to operate on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) that promises even lower emissions and enhanced fuel economy. The CNG option is unlikely to be made available to the UK market, which does not have a viable refuelling infrastructure. 

The four-cylinder, 1.6TDi diesel (112bhp/184lbs ft; 6-speed manual/7-speed DSG) is fitted with a SCR AdBlue system and a DPF (152g/km CO2). 

2. What about EVs? 

With a constant drip-drip diet of EVs and hybrids being heralded as ‘the future’, it may come as a surprise to appreciate that Skoda has hybrid technology in its sights but no visible signs are evident in the Kamiq. While VW is the declared ‘bad boy’ in this arena, the Skoda division appears not to be swayed by the negative publicity, instead relying on more traditional means of cutting pollution and increasing fuel economy. 

While VW Group has stated that it will cease internal combustion engine manufacturing within seven years, Skoda may appear to be cocking a snook at the plans. A petrol-hybrid model is rumoured strongly within the next three years but a change to EV may be someway distant, even though the platform is ‘EV-ready’. 

The ‘Vision X’ concept car that was also produced on the AOB platform and preceded the Kamiq, featured space for CNG tanks, which can be adapted readily to accept a Lithium-ion battery pack and either partial electrification, for the forthcoming plug-in hybrid model, or full electrification for a potential EV variant. Skoda is being very tight-lipped about these future models, although a source told autotechnican that they are coming. 

3. Re-engineered platform 

VW Group’s long-term environmental plan demands waste reduction and even more sharing of core engineering, which includes the platforms.

Boasting 37mm additional ground clearance over the Scala model, Kamiq’s ‘chassis’ combines SUV aspects, with the agility of a compact car. It is not 4WD. However, Kamiq features an optional Sport Chassis Control that lowers the standard ride height by 10mm and introduces firmer damping, with four electronic, driver-adjustable settings in the Driving Mode Selector: Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual. Optional and readily removable underbody protection is available. Model dependent alloy wheel options range from 16.0 to 18.0-inches diameter.

4. Future-proofing 

Unsurprisingly, the new Skodas boast a number of ADAS systems. The optional Side Assist can detect vehicles that are up to 70m away and wanting to overtake, or that appear in the car’s blind spots.

Should Skoda pursue a 4WD future, the Kamiq would be its first without a propshaft. Lower weight would mean less fuel consumption. Drive to the rear axle would engage an electric motor that starts only when required. The combustion engine, equipped with another electric motor, would feature a belt- driven starter-generator, while the rear axle-mounted electric motor would be powered by a 48V Lithium-ion battery system, recharged while driving, using kinetic energy recovery, on both over-run and braking. The battery pack would also provide a 51lbs ft torque boost at both start-up and for short bursts of speed. 

 

5. Reducing maintenance requirement 

Skoda’s oft-mentioned and well-intentioned stance on value- for-money means that these totally mechanically-conventional cars are unlikely to throw-up any servicing anomalies, as they enter aftermarket workshops. Thanks to enhanced connectivity, updating the sat-nav maps now takes place ‘live’ and does not necessitate a dealer visit. Using a Skoda-based app, traffic conditions can be monitored more efficiently in a Kamiq, which means that more economical progress can be made, which also helps to reduce the car’s environmental impact. 

Summary: Renowned for a practical approach to both new technology (which tends to be fitted on an ‘as required’ basis) and the company’s historical place in the market, Skoda demonstrates with the new Kamiq (and its Scala hatchback sister model) that it is not looking to shake-up the market. While both cars employ a flexible and up-to-date platform strategy, they are mechanically conservative. Intentionally tech-friendly, however, the brand’s responsibility to individual territories will determine its next move in the UK, a factor that may be reflected in later launches of EV, or hybrid, alternatives – but not for now. 

 

 

Deciphering the code

When a vehicle is presented with multiple faults it is difficult to know which one to tackle first, or which fault is going to relate to the customer concern. A classic example was an Audi Q5 which was here at Gotboost’s workshop recently.

The customer complaint was an intermittent lack of performance accompanied by warning lights on the dashboard. The fault started happening occasionally a few months ago but was now becoming more frequent and occurred on all trips lasting over 20 minutes. The customer had an EOBD code reader and was able to extract and clear the fault codes but was unable to determine the cause from the codes alone.

At the time the vehicle was presented, the fault had not occurred on that journey. So, a test drive was conducted until the symptoms became apparent. The following five codes were stored in the Engine Electronics Module:

  • 4698 (U1113-00) Functional impairment due to received fault value (Sporadic)
  • 4124 (P0651-00) Sender reference voltage ‘B’ open circuit (Sporadic)
  • 4881 (P1440-00) EGR Valve N18 open circuit (Sporadic)
  • 4087 (P0322-00) Engine speed sender G28 no signal
    (STATIC)
  • 5243 (P0191-00) Fuel pressure sender G247 implausible signal (Sporadic)

 

Some vehicles can store more than just the code and the fault description when a failure occurs, and this additional data is presented in a ‘freeze frame’. A bit like the black box on an airplane, it captures a snapshot of the operating conditions  at the time the fault code was triggered. The extent of the data captured varies but it can provide some useful additional information. This can be used in a number of ways and should always be saved before clearing the diagnostic data.

In this case, each code description was accompanied by the following information:

  • Time
  • Date
  • Odometer Reading
  • Fault Priority
  • Malfunction Frequency Counter
  • Unlearning Counter/Driving Cycle
  • Engine Speed
  • Calculated Load Valve
  • Vehicle Speed
  • Coolant Temp
  • Intake Air Temp
  • Ambient Air Pressure
  • Voltage Terminal 30

 

The date, time and mileage counters are useful for matching codes with a customer complaint, enabling the technician to select the codes that arose at the same time as the customer outlined during the diagnostic interview. The fault priority is a classification used by VAG to rank the fault on its influence on drivability as outlined in the table.

The date, time and mileage counters are useful for matching codes with a customer complaint, enabling the technician to select the codes that arose at the same time as the customer outlined during the diagnostic interview. The fault priority is a classification used by VAG to rank the fault on its influence on drivability as outlined in the table.

No.

Meaning

1

The fault has a strong influence on drivability, an immediate stop is required.

2

The fault requires an immediate service appointment.

3

The fault doesn’t require an immediate service appointment, but it should be corrected with the next service appointment.

4

The fault recommends an action to be taken, otherwise drivability might be affected.

5

The fault has no influence on drivability.

6

The fault has a long term influence on drivability.

7

The fault has an influence on the comfort functions but doesn’t influence the car’s drivability.

 

Figure 1

The malfunction frequency counter displays the number of times the fault has occurred since the diagnostic data was last cleared. The unlearning counter counts back from the number of drive cycles that must be completed before the fault clears itself (Maximum 255, but it can be less depending on the faultcode). Each time a drive cycle is completed without the fault occurring the counter counts back, a useful indicator of a faultthat is no longer present but has not been cleared using a scan tool. The rest of the data is self-explanatory and concerns itself with the operating conditions of the engine when the fault triggered the code.

The owner of the Q5 had unwittingly removed much of this additional evidence by clearing the codes, which also clears the freeze frame data. A useful piece of information is the fault status, Static or Sporadic in this case, is used to describe whether the fault is permanent or intermittent in nature.

Using the additional information presented we were able to build a picture of what was happening, see Figure 1.

Here’s a summary of what we know from just the fault codes, freeze frame data and a quick look at a wiring diagram:

  • All the codes are linked to the 5V reference circuit – this information was obtained from the wiring diagram.
  • The EGR valve is the component that has triggered the most faults (5).
  • The engine speed sensor fault is current.
  • The highest fault priority is 2, the fault requires an immediate service appointment, for all but the Functional impairment Code, which has a priority of 6
  • All the faults occurred on either the drive to the workshop or during the test drive – identified by the mileage, date and time stamps.
  • The operating condition reported via the freeze frame data snapshots proves that this fault ‘trips’ its monitors once the engine has warmed up, and when the vehicle is driven under light load. So, this condition must be matched after the repair to ensure that the fault will not reoccur when the vehicle is handed back to the customer. It also highlights the problem with the approach of clearing codes and only concerning yourself with the codes that return immediately as a diagnostic procedure.
  • Monitors only run under conditions when components/ systems are likely to pass, to prevent erroneous fault codes being generated. They monitor the operation of components, circuits and vehicle systems in a number of ways. Once ideal conditions are met, they operate either continuously or non-continuously, testing against fault enabling criterion. Understanding how monitors operate can explain how a vehicle can have an obvious fault but no code stored. 

 

Figure 2

Knowing this enables us to develop a test plan to prove what is causing the fault. The most likely suspect is the EGR Valve, followed by the engine speed sensor, based on the information provided by the freeze frame relating to the frequency and status of the monitor failures.
Using an oscilloscope, the 5V reference was measured on three of the circuits concerned and the engine speed signal hall output. After a short period of driving the Audi dropped into limp home mode, the 5V reference had been compromised as shown in the screen capture. Unplugging the EGR valve electrical connector restored the 5V reference voltage and restored the engine speed signal as shown in the screen capture, Figure 2. Removing the EGR Valve cover presented us with further evidence, if it was needed, for the cause of the failing 5V reference, see Figure 3. 

Figure 3

 

 

New car tech – a detailed look at innovation in newer models

Iain Robertson takes a detailed look at innovative technology in newer models.

DS7 – ACTIVE HEADLAMPS 

Virtually all carmakers for the past decade have been creating LED headlamp signatures for their various cars, to differentiate between models in a range and, with fancier arrays, to also highlight more expensive variants. While the Vauxhall division of the PSA Group equips some models with Intellilux matrix- style headlighting (next issue), the luxury arm, DS, uses an Active LED system. Fitted as standard to higher-spec DS7 models (an option on lower grades), at start-up, or switch-on, the three LED lamps in each headlamp array illuminate in purple and then swivel through 180-degrees and ‘dance’ prior to settling into their active modes. It is a remarkable display, reminiscent of the swivelling lamps of classic Citroën models but also proves to be highly efficient. A fixed LED projector unit sits alongside in each unit. At night, with the lighting selector on ‘automatic’, the beam adapts in width and range to the road conditions and the vehicle’s speed. Six lighting modes are available: Parking (no glare), Town Beam (picks up on the edges of the light pattern), Country Beam (detects lighting ahead but broadens the beam width), Motorway Beam (faster driving expands light range), Adverse Beam (takes weather conditions into account and reduces lamp intensity) and High Beam (also dips automatically). While the spread of illumination is greater than with Xenon lamps, safety is also enhanced with the rear LED lights that activate in an instant and benefit from a lifespan as long as that of the car.

AUDI – PROACTIVE, PREDICTIVE AND REACTIVE 4WD 

For more than three decades, the quattro 4×4 system has been synonymous with Audi. While mild upgrades have taken place on a tried and trusted system, Audi has repurposed it for longitudinal engine layouts and branded it ‘Quattro-ultra’. The developments involve an array of sensors, linked to an ECU that controls the predictive use of 4×4, although its default position will be traction-controlled front-wheel drive, to improve fuel economy. As expected, Quattro-Ultra’s electronics are networked with other systems in the car. In proactive mode, the car will detect wheel slip, angles and both lateral and longitudinal acceleration, within defined parameters, before enabling four-wheel drive. In predictive mode, the sensors take driving style, status of the ESC (stability control), dynamic Drive Select (chassis adjustability) mode and towing detection into account, while the reactive setting will detect if the car’s tyres move suddenly from dry tarmac to an ice-covered road. For front-wheel drive, two clutches are used in the front transaxle, with a ‘wet’ multi-plate clutch (oil bath) at the gearbox take-off that disconnects the propshaft. An integrated decoupler in the rear-axle differential also opens, shutting down the primary cause of drag losses in the rear section of the drivetrain. The all wheel drive, wet multi- plate clutch is located at the rear of the transmission, where it uses an electric motor to drive a spindle that operates it. The quattro drivetrain is nearly four kilograms (8.8 lb) lighter than the previous system, despite the new technical components. 

VOLVO XC60 – LARGE ANIMAL DETECTOR 

When talking with Scandinavian residents about the most problematic aspects of driving in their splendid countries, they will tell you that elk avoidance is a priority. Although you might not think  it, between horses, stray cattle and deer, our on-road hazards can be almost as serious. It will come as little surprise that Volvo Cars, which operates an insurance industry leading crash test and accident recovery programme in Sweden, has introduced a Large Animal Detection system in its vehicles’ forward-facing, City Safety, ADAS crash mitigation program. Even a low-speed clash with wildlife can cause substantial damage on a vehicle, let alone the animal and the vehicle’s occupants. Using a monocular camera, in conjunction with milliwave radar, located in the Volvo’s radiator grille, a graphic representation of the animal is displayed in the ‘head-up’ display, the main instrument panel and also on the vertical display screen in the centre console. While the responsibility for travelling at a sensible speed and for taking avoidance action is in the driver’s hands, the City Safe program will also operate the relevant Volvo model’s autonomous braking system and even the ‘swerve’ control related to steering deflection, all without the car losing control. It is not a fail-safe system but anything that provides any degree of assistance to even the most engaged of drivers, to avoid a major incident, must be considered worthwhile. 

FORD – KNOCK FOR KNOCK 

We are a ‘car proud’ nation. We lavish millions of Pounds annually on our vehicles, with new polishes, cleaning cloths and detailing gear topping the sales charts at accessory shops around the UK. A few years ago, clearly before car owners thought about the potential damage arising from screw-fixing a rubber deflector (usually complete with reflective disc) to their vehicles’ doors, the range of slide-on, slip-over and bolt-on options was surprisingly comprehensive for something so inexpensive. Yet, at resale time, if the owner did not spend a final Sunday afternoon with the touch-up paint, those annoying little dings and paint-chips that occurred invariably on the edges of the driver’s and front passenger doors could cost several hundred pounds in lost value. While the latest Ford Focus and Fiesta models now feature the Door Edge Protector either as standard on higher specification models, or as part of an optional kit, it was available on the previous generation Focus. It is an ingenious ‘pop out’ device produced from dark grey, compliant plastic. With the door closed, it is invisible. As the door is opened, it springs into place and protects the most scratch vulnerable section of door edge. With parking spaces becoming more cramped, it is a surprise that Door Edge Protectors are not standardised across other brands. As a technological innovation, it may not seem like much but it possesses tremendous value to the car proud individual. 

Case Study: Audi RS6

Clive Atthowe Tuning in Norwich take in an Audi RS6 that has baffled the local Audi Dealer – Can they fix what the dealer can’t?

We were asked by a regular customer with an Audi RS6 if we could take a look at a very frustrating problem on his car. The vehicle has a low mileage and is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, having only covered 13,000 miles. 

The story was that the owner had experienced an intermittent fault where the four-wheel steering light would come on, followed by just about every warning light on the dash. As the car was under warranty the customer had booked it in with his nearest dealer to try and resolve these issues. After three weeks the car was returned, but the problem was still there. The dealer had originally diagnosed a faulty ABS controller and when they had replaced it with a new one, they couldn’t code it to the car. 

Our initial diagnostic process revealed multiple communication faults and the common denominator appeared to be the ABS controller. Also logged was a low voltage to the controller, which could easily cause a communication issue. 

After clearing the faults, several road tests and starting the car over two days, there always seemed to be an issue when starting from cold on the first start. The fault was quite difficult to replicate but a pattern emerged. “The dealer had originally diagnosed a faulty ABS controller and when they had replaced it with a new one, they couldn’t code it to the car.” 

After consulting the owner, we formed a plan to investigate further. We obtained the relevant wiring information online from Audi for the ABS controller and started with load testing all the feeds and grounds. We discovered that one twelve-volt feed on pin seven would not carry current and after load testing the fault was then permanent. We substituted the supply and all faults cleared, so this was now a confirmed fault – all we had to do now was find the cause. 

Looking through the wiring information we could see that this voltage supply came from fuse number twelve in the driver’s side fuse board. We tested the supply at source, and it was perfect. 

 

 

 

The wiring from the ABS control unit is routed under the passenger side wing under the wheel arch liner and then through the A post into the car behind the screenwasher bottle. Tracing the wiring inside the vehicle, we located the wire inside the main loom close to the A post and carried out a continuity test back to the fuse board. This was perfect, so we knew that the fault was between the wiring inside the car at the A post back to the control unit. 

Stripping out the wheel arch liner and the washer bottle we were able to unclip the large rubber grommet inside the car and pull the wiring loom through. This is when we found the fault – the wire when installed had looped back on itself and been damaged. A small amount of moisture had crept into the loom via the washer bottle and corroded the wire causing the volt drop. Carefully, we cut out a section of loom and soldered in a new wire suitably insulated. We retested the repair and then reassembled the car. 

Conclusion: Careful diagnostic testing with a structured approach was the key to correctly diagnosing and repairing this fault and yes, we could fix what the dealer couldn’t! 

Diagnostic results in a flash

Autotechnician visits BMW & Mercedes specialists Burton Motor Workshop to see how pass-thru diagnostics has affected their business. 

Burton Motor Workshop, a large, independent MOT/repair and used car sales business in Burton-on-Trent, has evolved alongside vehicle technology over the years, with owner Jeremy Scott investing in the latest diagnostic equipment and training for his staff, to ensure they remain competitive with local dealers. When we visit, there are three diagnostic jobs in the workshop where Burton Motors are the second or third garage the vehicle has been to, they often get referrals from other local garages. 

This time last year, they invested in the Delphi DS-Flash Pass- Through package, which enables independents to undertake dealer-level diagnostics and services. It facilitates online access to vehicle manufacturer’s websites, enabling workshops to reprogram and update electronic control units. 

We spoke with technicians Michael Rowland and Carl Atkinson to see how they are getting on with the equipment. 

In a nutshell, what does the DS-Flash package enable you to do? 

Michael Rowland (MR): “The interface enables you to access the dealer – Volkswagen Audi Group, Vauxhall, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover… It comes updated with everything that each particular manufacturer requires to run their Pass-Thru system. First, you have to set up an account with BMW; with VAG you have to get your user ID, get your GeKo license [this allows teaching of engine immobiliser components and keys] to be able to use their software. Once you are up and running, you can use it as a diagnostic tool.” 

Was it easy to set up?

MR: “There is no user manual, as such. It’s a case of playing with it. Every manufacturer is different; how it’s set up, what it allows you to do, what it doesn’t – and it’s down to you to find out what it’s capable of but Delphi’s Technical support team are there to help you get set up.”

What is the benefit of using the DS-Flash over a dealer tool?

MR: “For us, it’s the ability to carry out software updates and code.”

Carl Atkinson (CA): “If you buy the dealer tool on its own, you are restricted to a computer per manufacturer, whereas what Delphi has managed to do is partition the computer.”

MR: “We are a Bosch Car Service garage, I attend regular courses and we bought the KTS 590 to get ready to do it ourselves [perform pass-thru] but each manufacturer wants the computer set up in a different way to the others, so we’d need a laptop that could run Toyota on, one for BMW, VAG and so on. Plus, you need to sit down, figure out what it needs, make the investment on each laptop… With the Delphi machine, although we’ve still got the Delphi interface to hook up to the various VMs, we’ve managed to hook up ICOM to that pass-thru computer, a BMW dealer level interface. Software updates are now a lot faster.”

Have you experienced any problems whilst using it?

CA: “If you are struggling with a connection or there’s something not quite right about the configuration of the computer Delphi has a helpline so you can get the computer back online, so we don’t have to spend days messing about with it. When updating the BMW drivers, as it loaded a Java update onto our system,
it crashed. We would have had to sit down and work our way through that, whereas we could just leave it. We rang the Delphi helpline, they took us through a few items then they took control of the computer and dealt with BMW direct. We wouldn’t have had the time… they were just brilliant.” 

MR: “Two days after calling Delphi, they had BMW Germany involved in it, it was a massive issue. There’s no way Carl and I would have been able to sort that.” 

CA: “We might have moved a bit away from the Flash box for BMW, but that’s our main business. If we were a general workshop, not specialising in BMW, we wouldn’t have invested in ICOM, the BMW interface, it’s just that its quicker for us…. There are some big BMW software update files that can take days.” 

MR: “We use the Flash every day and we can’t afford to be without it for that time.” 

“We’ve got new broadband, it’s about 82 MBPS now and that’s made a massive difference. You really have to have the infrastructure in place.” 

How has the DS-Flash impacted on the business? 

MR: “We specialise in Mercedes, VMW and VAG. We were in limbo… we were sending work elsewhere, we knew pass-thru was the way forward. If you specialise in something, you have to operate at dealer level. Couple of phone calls later, we had a demonstration in the workshop and we knew straightaway that was the one.” 

Is it mainly used for software updates? 

MR: “We mainly use it for BMWs, we tend to get a lot of them. Every manufacturer is different in how they run their online platform tool, but BMW takes a read of all the control units and a full identification. It will generate a fault code list from that and generate test plans. I’ve learnt it can make you lazy. You’ve still got to use your diagnostic process. It will be specific, in the sense that sometimes the CAS (BMW antitheft alarm system) goes out of alignment. I had one where another garage had constantly been starting it, as it was a non-runner. That’s thrown the CAS out of line with the DDE [Digital Diesel Electronics system manages all engine functions in BMW diesel models]. So, it generated the CAS alignment fault code and it instantly took me to realign the CAS and that was all within half hour.” 

CA: “With BMW, once you have a fault code locked, it will give you a test plan and if you follow it, it will ask you to test something and lead you to where that fault lies. These cars are so clever, think how many times your computer will do a Windows or OS update, a car’s the same. A lot of faults can come down to a software issue rather than a physical fault.” 

Can you give us an example of how the DS-Flash was particularly helpful with diagnostics? 

CA “We had a hybrid Lexus in and two cells in the battery were faulty…” 

MR: “It attached a photo of the live data of the battery block that had gone under voltage. You can take it with you and see the live data, so we could pinpoint which cells were dropping out. We just went in, ripped the battery out, ordered a new cell. So that’s one job we’d never have been able to do without that tool. When you think that a battery replacement would have been four grand? Seven? He came to us from the main dealer. The dealers do us a big favour by not doing things quite right!” 

Paul Sinderberry, Delphi Technical Sales Manager, admits it can be a complicated tool to use because you’re accessing VM software and they all differ in their set up but for garages who are already heavily involved in diagnostics, it’s capabilities can prove very lucrative. “Many garages who will buy this product are workshops who are already doing a lot of diagnostics and they want to take their business to the next level – they may be doing diagnostic work for other workshops,” Paul explains. “One of the great things with the DS-Flash and using the OE software is that you get very in-depth diagnostics. When you have to replace a control unit, it normally means a trip to the dealer and dealerships tend to put independent garages to the back of the queue and you have to wait days to get it programmed.”

The DS Flash comes complete with a DS-FLASH VCI, cables, a battery support unit, licence keys and a laptop PC – pre-configured for VAG Group, BMW, General Motors, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Customers get a 12-month support package with the equipment, support via the technical helpline and a full day of training, for anybody that’s maybe not used to vehicle manufacturer software. They can come along, set the accounts up, install the software on the day and get some basic user interface training – how to navigate the websites and the software. It is a complex product and to use it to its full potential you need to understand the ins and outs of it – the training incorporates an overview of what pass-thru is and its capabilities. 

Delphi’s VE2 & VE3 courses ensure technicians are up to speed with the principles of EOBD, ECU communication and CAN protocols. This level of knowledge is essential to ensuring that they get the most out of the DS Flash. 

 

HELLA equips A7 Sportback with intelligent lighting functions

Together with the vehicle manufacturer Audi, HELLA has developed a striking lighting technology for the new Audi A7 Sportback, the headlamps for which are available as LED, Matrix LED and HD Matrix LED with laser high beam variants. The system uses a new control unit, which takes care of all of the  lightingfunctions and in addition, Audi and HELLA have also developed a new interior lighting concept.

HELLA’s lighting technology, which is already successfully serving the Audi A8 will also provide the new Audi A7 with optimal road vision and its glare-free high beam function will, for example, allow other road users to be ‘eclipsed’ from the light beam, thus avoiding glare. Reliable communication between the front camera, sensors and headlamps is naturally a prerequisite for the HD Matrix LED with laser high beam, so the HELLA control unit required for this task controls the headlamps and takes care of all lighting functions, from low to high beams to wiping direction indicators and animations for welcoming and seeing off the driver, meaning only this single control unit is necessary.

Future-oriented control unit enables individual configurations

In the Audi A7, eight control unit channels are used for the LED headlamp variants, which means that all 32 light emitting diodes of the HD Matrix LED module can be controlled individually. In addition, it emphasises the vehicle’s daylight signature that consists of twelve light segments separated by narrow gaps. As soon as the driver unlocks the doors, the headlamps display a light choreography. The animation runs in reverse order after the trip and when locking the vehicle door.

The control unit meets the latest standards in functional safety, automatically taking into account headlamp levelling for optimally adjusting the headlamp, for example, thus avoiding glaring other road users. It is also equipped with a ‘fail safe’ mode, which ensures that sufficient light remains on the road for the driver in the event of an error.

Customisable interior lighting concept creates pleasant atmosphere

Not only did HELLA jointly develop the headlamp variants and their intelligent control with Audi, but also the interior lighting concept. With the optional ambient lighting package, light guides in the dashboard, side panelling in the doors and the door light ensure the occupants enjoy a pleasant atmosphere. The multicoloured, shaped ambient lighting package extends the lighting concept even further, so that the quattro badge incorporated into a chrome trim inside the dashboard on the front passenger side is illuminated at night, providing an especially elegant effect. Additional light guides in the doors and in the centre console provide a further highlight, both of which are framed by chrome trims. This creates a particularly high-end appearance of the interior and was made possible by using a special injection moulding process.

The second generation RGB LED modules developed together with Audi form the heart of the shaped interior ambient lighting and enable the driver to adjust the colours to suit their own taste.

With an overhead control unit in the front vehicle area, the company links its lighting and electronics expertise. The control unit comprises an SOS button and, depending on the vehicle equipment version, also the moonroof control, sensors for passenger compartment monitoring and a microphone. The integrated reading light in the front is touch-free and in the rear, a reading light is installed in the ceiling centre, the brightness of which can also be individually adjusted.

With its lighting and electronics products in the A7, HELLA offers even more products with great added customer value, thereby underlining its vision of actively shaping tomorrow’s mobility.