4 Focus – Innovative Technology – Jaguar, Renault, Kia, Falken

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

JAGUAR – VIRTUAL REALITY IN-CAR 

It might be terrifying enough to have other road-users jumping out at you, while carrying out a test drive, but Jaguar is already working on the first application of Virtual Reality (3D technology) for its next-generation of head-up displays (HUD). Naturally, HUD is not new and the Land Rover arm of the company has already developed ‘virtual terrain’ technology using perimetric cameras to provide off-roaders with a virtual and augmented view of what lies ahead and just below the front axle, aspects that would normally dictate an external check first. However, Jaguar’s research is being carried out in conjunction with the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE) at Cambridge University. The intention is to develop a more immersive and safer driving experience that will match more closely real-life activities to make drivers react more speedily and naturally to hazards and prompts, when using the HUD (the graphic images of which are normally projected onto the lower section of windscreen). Perhaps more intriguing is the ‘split-screen’ technology that allows a front passenger but not the driver to view TV programmes on the car’s central touchscreen (nothing new) but 3D programmes can now be viewed without a need to wear special glasses. Both developments form part of Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Smart Cabin’ vision for the future, applying technologies that combine to create personalised in-car spaces, with enhanced safety, entertainment and convenience central to an autonomous, shared plan. 

RENAULT – ZOE BECOMES MORE ECO-FRIENDLY 

One of the core issues residing around the ‘eco-friendly’ claims made by various carmakers for their latest electrified vehicle offerings, apart from electricity being sourced from coal, gas, or oil-fired power stations, is that CO2 emissions are still high in manufacturing terms. Therefore, it makes it difficult, when attempting to state a positive environmental contribution, when the ‘costs’ associated with EVs are steeper than for ICE alternatives. Carmakers have been slow to introduce trim fabrics produced from rapidly renewable plants. BMW has managed it with its i3, in using bamboo fibres to produce upholstery. Now, Renault has joined the 100% renewable set with its much- revised Zoe model. Using a special carding technique, without melting or chemical reconstruction, the industry first process uses old seatbelts and recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastics that are already regarded as being inert and safe, in what is known as ‘short-loop’ manufacturing. It is cost- effective and reduces emissions by around 60%, in contrast with conventional fabric production. Applied to dashboard, centre console, door cards and seating, the result is a very high-quality finish. However, on upmarket versions of the Zoe, which feature a leather-like fabric alongside the cloth, no animals have been sacrificed for the more luxurious appearance. Again, a similar process has resulted in the leatherette fabric, which breathes similarly to hide and is even more wear and stain resistant, as added bonuses. 

KIA – RESOLVING TRANSMISSION POWER LOSSES IN HYBRIDS 

While pre-emptive gearbox shift technology features in the Nissan Skyline GTR35, see New Car Focus on page 60, problems confronting manufacturers of hybrid vehicles are, firstly, the type of transmission being used, which tends to favour constantly variable, secondly, the speed of perceived ratio changes and, as an adjunct, the enjoyment factor for the driver. Kia, while not unique, uses a fairly conventional, twin-clutch, automated-manual gearbox in its hybrid models. Renowned for effecting race-quick and normally smooth gearchanges, you might not feel that further improvements can be made. However, Hyundai, Kia’s parent company, has now developed ASC (Active Shift Control), which applies control logic software (that monitors gearshift speeds 500 times a second) to the Hybrid Control Unit (HCU) electric motor that aligns the rotational speeds of both engine and gearbox, to reduce gearshift times from 500ms to 350ms and make the changes smoother too. Most hybrids do not feature torque converters, as they can be very inefficient. Using the ASC, Kia’s tests resulted in better acceleration, increased fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions, with the added benefit of increasing the longevity of the transmission, by minimising friction during each gearshift. The speedier gearshifts impart extra driver satisfaction. Once the test programme is completed, ASC will be introduced to all hybrid cars in Hyundai-Kia’s ranges. 

FALKEN – USING TYRES TO DEVELOP ENERGY 

School-time physics ensures that most people know that motion energy can be turned into another form of energy. Therefore, it is fascinating to learn that Falken Tyre, which is part of the enormous Sumitomo Rubber Industries conglomerate, has been working in close association with the Kansai University in Japan. While energy is required and used by both engine and transmission to turn road wheels, the tyres heat-up and static electricity builds-up. If the energy were harnessed, it might be  used to generate electricity efficiently, as the wheels turn. The result of the exercise is the Energy Harvester tyre. Within its carcass are two layers of rubber, each of which is covered in an electrode, along with a negatively charged film that interfaces with a positively charged film. When fixed to the inside of a conventional tyre carcass, it generates electricity as the tyre deforms during rotation. Falken’s engineers believe that the Energy Harvester could lead to practical applications, such as a power source for sensors used by TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems), although it has to be noted that TPMS sensors are not especially power sapping, meaning that future development is needed for it to be of any practical use. Created as part of Sumitomo’s R&D programme to develop technologies that target improvements in safety and environmental performance, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (a national R&D body) has recognised it as a ‘seed project’ under A-STEP (a technology transfer programme). Sumitomo Rubber Industries will now advance its research with support from the Agency. 

 

Autologic Live supports with an issue on a Mercedes-Benz 212

Master Tech Kevin Hardy at Autologic HQ supports a technician working on a Mercedes-Benz 212 displaying various symptoms and warning lights.

Case Study for Mercedes 212, 207, 204 & 218 from production period 12/2011 to 03/2012

A customer reported various symptoms affecting a Mercedes-Benz 212, including different warning lights on in the instrument cluster.

Symptoms can vary depending on the model range of the vehicle. The warning lights could come on, some models might have various broken functions including the wiper washers, and for some models it can even result in the engine not being able to start, or not allowing you to select a gear. We have found that re-cycling the ignition may fix the issue temporarily.

FIXING THE FAULT

1 Carrying out a full vehicle scan will show most control units with numerous CAN communication faults. A typical fault read will give CAN faults in:

  • ESP
  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • EIS (Ignition Switch)
  • REAR SAM (Signal Acquisition Module) and xenon headlights (if fitted)
  • SRS
  • Multifunction camera
  • Parktronic

 

All reporting CAN issues will be stored faults. The common theme across all models is the codes in the rear SAM and SRS – this will give you a diagnosis point to the problem.

In the rear SAM you will have a few rear light codes, and the following:

  • A19600 (B219600) [Stored] The power supply of circuit 30g is < 7.5 V
  • A19700 (B219700) [Stored] The power supply of circuit 30g is < 8.5 V
  • A19116 (B219116) [Stored] The power supply of circuit 30g is outside the valid range. The limit value for electrical voltage has not been attained
  • A14B72 (B214B72) [Stored] The output for switch ‘Quiescent current ON’ has a malfunction. The actuator does not close

These codes are important as it will indicate the premature closing of the 30G relay in the f32 fuse box. The other sign of this being the cause are the codes in SRS:

SRS: Airbag. Part no. 212 901 42 04. 3 Faults:

  • A10F (B210F) [Stored] Event: Input ‘Circuit 30’ has a malfunction
  • 9C1A (B1C1A) [Stored] NECK-PRO head restraint ‘Front passenger’ has an open circuit
  • 9C14 (B1C14) [Stored] NECK-PRO head restraint ‘Driver’ has an open circuit

In 100% of cases, these codes will be stored in the SRS module if the 30G feed is shut off prematurely.

CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM

Defective no-load current relay in engine compartment pre-fuse box F32 (this is the jump point fuse box under the bonnet).

WHAT IS 30G?

30G is a 12Volt permanent live circuit which is shut down after a vehicle has been locked for six hours. This results in 60% of the control units receiving a hard reset (power off and then on again at vehicle restart), this has the effect of less vehicle problems.

2 The rear SAM checks after 75 minutes and will find a drain of >50mA.

3 It will then give a 5-minute warning to the other control units to shut down.

4 After the other control units have shut down, it will then shut circuit 30G by triggering the shut off, a control relay in F32 (front electrical pre-fuse box) without waiting the 6 hours.

a If the voltages/quiescent current is within spec, the rear SAM will go back to sleep

b The system will always try to ensure the vehicle is able to start

c The battery sensor has a diagnostic facility to help diagnosis of current drain faults

5 It’s important to disconnect the battery to replace the f32 fuse box.

Note: Remove the battery sensor in the correct way or this will cause issues after you’ve finished

a Procedure for disconnecting the battery (battery sensor):

  • Unplug the electrical plug from the sensor (B95 red and blue wires)
  • Unbolt the negative terminal

 

b Procedure for connecting the battery sensor:

  • Connect the negative terminal (terminal clamp bolt torque is 6nm)
  • Reconnect the electrical plug to the battery sensor, clear codes (on vehicles with option code 510 or 523, a clock reset is required)

ELECTRICAL CONNECTION FOR B95

Red +30 from battery positive Blue/white LIN wire to rear SAM

c When disconnecting the battery

  • Using the wrong sequence can cause arcing and contact bounce. This will cause a LIN communication error, putting the battery sensor (B95) into a passive state and at this point it will stop sending information to rear SAM. ECO Start/Stop will also stop working

Note: no steps are required for initial start- up of B95 battery control module

6 Once the battery is correctly disconnected, the f32 fuse box can be replaced with a new part from Mercedes-Benz (modified).

The old f32 has a design fault and will shut off without the command from rear SAM.

7 The battery will then be put back online after the replacement.

8 Clear codes as necessary.

9 Road test the vehicle on job completion.

 

 

Clutch and flywheel diagnosis and repair – By Rob Marshall

 

Investing in training and the correct tools will result in a more accurate diagnosis, faster repairs, reduced waste and higher profits. While clutches and flywheels were adopted very early in the motorcar’s development, Rob Marshall asks Schaeffler why so much misunderstanding exists in many of today’s modern repair businesses.

Watch the ‘Clutch/DMF Top Tips’ video HERE

As connecting the engine to the transmission directly is impossible, because the internal combustion engine cannot generate maximum torque from zero crankshaft speed, unlike steam engines (or electric motors), early motor car pioneers had to overcome the engineering quandary of getting the vehicle to set-off from rest, while being limited by the rudimentary materials of the time. This meant developing a clutch system that would not only disconnect the engine from the wheels but also could apply the engine power progressively. Some entrepreneurs did not even bother; in 1873, the Austrian inventor, Seigfried Marcus, raised the rear axle of his first car to start the engine and once running, he lowered the spinning wheels onto the floor. No historical record exists of how the driver brought the contraption to a standstill…

Other efforts involved slipping leather belts, using designs inspired by factories of the Industrial Revolution, but their limited effectiveness and questionable longevity saw their rapid demise. It was not long before friction clutches were employed, notably in Karl Benz’s Motorwagen of 1885. Yet, over 130 years of development has seen the clutch tolerate not only considerable increases in engine torque and efficiency but also higher customer expectations.

WHAT CLUTCH DEVELOPMENTS MEAN TO YOU

Just taking a 1950s classic car for a brief drive would reveal clutch pedal pressures that would be unacceptable to today’s average motorist. Especially in high-performance cars of those times, the clutch pressure plate contained several stiff coil springs, to provide sufficient clamping force to negate unintended friction plate ‘slip’. While increasing travel offers a partial solution to a heavy pedal, the real breakthroughs came with the inventions of both the diaphragm spring pressure plate in the 1960s and, more recently, the self-adjusting pressure plate, both of which were pioneered by Schaeffler, via its LuK brand, which supplies both car manufacturers and aftermarket repairers with clutches and flywheels.

While the diaphragm-spring design has become universal for passenger car applications, Malcolm Short, Schaeffler UK’s Technical Services Manager, reports that the Self-Adjusting Clutch (SAC) ensures not only a consistent clamp load and biting point throughout the life of the clutch kit but it also guarantees that increasingly higher clutch pedal pressures are not required, as the clutch wears.

For the uninformed technician, faced with replacing a clutch within a set book time, the SAC mechanism within the pressure plate can de-adjust during fitment if not installed correctly. Schaeffler recommends that you don’t attempt to reset it, either. While you can measure and check that the pressure plate diaphragm springs’ length remain the same from box and when fitted to the car, it would be too late, if you found a difference in length, indicating that the adjuster had been activated.

“There are other risks, too”, highlights Alistair Mason, one of Schaeffler’s REPXPERT technical trainers: “If you fit the pressure plate, by tightening its retaining bolts diagonally, not only do you risk pulling the threads out of the flywheel but you are also likely to subject the clutch to an uneven clamping pressure. This may cause the pressure plate cover to distort, which can prompt the mechanism to de-adjust slightly and this can lead to a clutch friction disc not clearing properly, or the customer complaining of judder. Even if a fault is not noticed by the driver, the best scenario is that clutch life will be reduced.”

The solution is to use a SAC fitting tool, which is bolted to the flywheel with the clutch fitted loosely. The tool applies pressure evenly to the centre of the pressure plate, so that its retaining bolts can be tightened. When used in conjunction with a friction plate centralisation tool, you can be sure that the clutch is fitted correctly before refitting the gearbox, reducing the risk of a potential warranty claim tying up a technician and a workshop ramp for another full day.

ANY EXTRAS?

Unfortunately, additional parts might need to be replaced that become obvious only once the customer has authorised the repair and the gearbox has been removed. Aside from driveshaft oil seals (which tend to be fairly inexpensive, easy to identify and straightforward to renew) a bent clutch fork, worn pivots, a deteriorated release bearing sleeve and weeping crankshaft and gearbox input shaft oil seals should be renewed but they add to the final invoice total and it’s worth preparing the owner for extra outlay. These components are not included within a typical clutch kit. Yet, to save the carmaker cost, concentric slave cylinders (known otherwise as the concentric release bearings/ centrally actuated release mechanisms) combine the hydraulic slave cylinder, release arm, clutch fork and related components within a single compact part, which should be replaced at every clutch change. To help technicians, Schaeffler, with its LuK brand, supplies replacement concentric slave cylinders with the clutch kit in either its RepSet Pro range, or the RepSet DMF range, in cases where a flywheel is needed as well.

“Should a standard-type release bearing be fitted to the car,” advises Alistair, “greasing the nose that runs on bearings with plastic centres can be counter-productive, because the lubricant traps contaminants and this can result in impeded release bearing movement.”

Similarly, Alistair notes that, during his training tours at independent workshops throughout the UK, many technicians believe that a self-adjusting release bearing with a centre hub that can be manipulated by hand is faulty. “They are designed to be like this,” he emphasises.

He also warns technicians to support the gearbox adequately throughout the procedure and never permit its weight to hang on the input shaft. While it is thought commonly that this action bends the input shaft, Alistair reports that the clutch friction plate is designed to be sacrificial – so it becomes damaged, instead of the transmission. Again, expect a warranty claim to be rejected, if either supplier, or manufacturer, sees evidence of clutch plate distortion that is typical of it bearing the transmission weight. Alistair recommends that all of the gearbox’s dowels are intact and that it is supported from beneath, prior to the bellhousing bolts being refitted.

ABSORBING THE SHOCK

Unfortunately, a number of motorists (and even technicians) believe there is a special place reserved in hell for the creator of the Dual Mass Flywheel (DMF). Common real-world accusations include that it is unfit for purpose and an unnecessary extra expense to replace. Yet, if you speak to a typical motor manufacturer’s engineer, praise is heaped on the high-tech flywheel, for permitting them to develop low capacity and lightweight engines that develop impressive torque figures at low RPMs, while protecting the transmission and even the passengers from exposure to excessive torsional vibrations and shock loadings.

Developed and patented by Schaeffler (LuK), the Self Adjusting Clutch addresses the weightier pedal and varying bite point, as the friction plate wears and causes the geometry of the release mechanism to alter. The self-adjusting mechanism is incorporated within the pressure plate, in which the original diaphragm spring angle is maintained by an internal adjuster ring.

 

 

 

 

 

This fully extended spring shows that the adjusting mechanism has compensated to its maximum extent for a worn friction lining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fully compressed spring on this LuK SAC pressure plate shows that the internal mechanism has not yet de-adjusted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An SAC fitting tool compresses the pressure plate fingers and preloads the clutch evenly. This prevents the clutch pressure plate from distortion, which is likely to cause the self-adjusting mechanism to de-adjust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is still possible to make elementary errors when installing a clutch kit. The technician had installed this friction plate the wrong way round, which resulted in it welding itself to the release bearing nose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understandably, the DMF has come a long way, since LuK pioneered the first production installation for BMW’s high torque, but low revving, 525e (‘eta’) ecological car in 1984.

While space precludes us from debating single mass flywheel conversion kits within this feature, Malcolm Short confirmed that a recent exercise, in which Schaeffler invited technicians to drive two identical cars, one possessing its standard-fit DMF and the other converted using a single mass flywheel kit, saw any initial scepticism concerning the DMF’s relevance evaporate rapidly, just by the differences in the driving experience alone.

Even so, Alistair Mason reports that a lack of understanding about how it works can result in many serviceable DMFs being replaced unnecessarily. When maintained and driven correctly, Schaeffler expects a LuK DMF to last two clutch changes. However, unless obviously damaged, or overheated, assessing DMF condition is difficult by sight alone. Rotational wear rates, in the internal arc springs and centre bearing/bush, or rock, must be measured with a special tool (LuK part number 400 0080 10). Every DMF possesses its own unique tolerances and Schaeffler ensures the technician can have swift access to this information, by dialling-in the DMF part number on its Checkpoint DMF app for mobile devices, which can be downloaded via Google Play. You can see this tool being used in a workshop application in the Clutch/DMF tips video HERE.

Some DMFs, especially those fitted to cars with Stop-Start technologies, are fitted with a friction control plate to restrict arc spring movement and some technicians confuse a working plate with internal wear, when using the DMF diagnostic tool. This is when taking advantage of Schaeffler’s clutch training and online services will help.

Alistair Mason adds: “Our team of technical experts carry out clutch training in a multitude of formats at technical evenings and trade fairs around the country and we offer more formal training courses at the REPXPERT Academy in Hereford. All clutch training includes DMF design, diagnostics and testing. Our on- site training is focused currently on double clutch systems, for which we offer a unique repair solution that concentrates more on gearbox operation and clutch replacement, rather than the DMF.

We also offer REPXPERT, our online technical portal, where you can download vehicle manufacturer fitting instructions and specifications, watch installation videos, get the latest product updates and service information, as well as spend the points you find inside our boxes in the bonus shop. Join for free atwww.repxpert.co.uk

EXTERNAL CAUSES

While it is well established that a poor driving technique will shorten clutch life dramatically, such as excessive slipping at high engine revolutions, or resting a foot on the clutch pedal when cruising, DMF longevity is influenced similarly by the driver. As smoothness is a key advanced driving technique with proven safety advantages, the car’s mechanical parts benefit as well. Erratic driving makes the DMF responsible for smoothing- out extra torsional vibrations, caused by abrupt, heavy and erratic applications of throttle, as examples. Similarly, the DMF masks, to a degree, the ‘kangarooing’ affect of labouring the engine in an inappropriately high gear. Allowing the engine to idle for very long periods of time, with the air conditioning activated, is also not conducive to long DMF life. Engine tuning and towing excessive weights can place both clutch and flywheel outside their intended design limits.

The DMF also masks certain engine running faults. While an engine misfire, for example, can have multiple causes, it creates extra vibrations that the flywheel covers-up, at the expense of its durability. Therefore, should you suspect that a DMF has failed prematurely, seek out the reasons why – such as failing injectors (or leaking seals), or even engine compression that varies significantly between cylinders.

If a DMF exhibits wear beyond its operating limits, the first sign might be a slight clutch judder, or a minor rattle that becomes most noticeable when idling, or when the engine is switched- off. Be wary of blaming noise from other failing components on the DMF, such as a delaminating crankshaft pulley rubber balancer, or a deteriorated air conditioning clutch. Ignoring DMF noises for long periods is inadvisable. Not only will the noise worsen but also, in rare cases, metal particles could be attracted into the starter motor, hastening its demise, prior to the DMF disintegrating and damaging the bellhousing case.

As Alistair Mason highlights: “This advice references a couple of specific issues, the first involving the Ford Transit, where the central thrust washer used to break and the two masses would come together to create swarf, by which time it would be knackered. This issue was rectified in 2004, by encapsulating the washer. Even if it broke, due to poor driving techniques, it stayed in place and prevented the clash. More importantly, when replacing the DMF, do not forget to clean-out the bellhousing. Damage in this area was incurred on certain Volkswagen Group products, when the noises were ignored for a long time. In severe cases, the arc springs can explode out of the primary mass, causing damage.”

While the humble clutch and flywheel have been in existence almost for as long as the motorcar itself, the technology has matured significantly. As they are wear items, automotive technicians need to keep abreast of the latest developments and why have they been necessary, to ensure an effective, long- lasting repair and minimal warranty comebacks.

Watch the ‘Clutch/DMF Top Tips’ video HERE

Thanks To: Schaeffler (UK) Ltd. 

Technical Helpline: 01432 264264

 

Should Automatic Transmission oil be changed?

Whether or not to change the oil in the latest automatic transmissions is an ongoing cause of confusion among vehicle owners and independent workshops alike, says Wayne McCluskey, Technical Training Manager at ZF Services. Particularly when described as ‘filled for life’, the transmission and oil are often presumed to perform reliably without intervention. However, improved understanding of the oil’s functions is leading a number of car manufacturers to rethink this position and recommend automatic transmission oil servicing at regular intervals to benefit performance and longevity. Although the details here refer to ZF transmissions, the advice can be viewed as best practice guidelines for any car equipped with an automatic gearbox.

The reliability of a modern automatic transmission depends on original equipment oils and filters to protect the complex internals.

While ZF’s newer transmissions are simpler in design, in terms of number of component parts, technological improvements demand that the oil itself is recognised as a highly engineered, multifunctional component. Aside from lubricating,

it acts as a coolant, enables hydraulic operation of transmission brakes and clutch packs, and transfers power to the remainder of the drivetrain via the torque converter. Overlapping application of clutch packs instead of freewheels, and controlled slip of the torque converter lock-up clutch, raise operating efficiency and deliver smoother gear changes, but also place greater stresses on the oil.

OIL CHANGE INTERVALS AND CHOOSING THE CORRECT OIL

Under normal operating conditions, automatic transmission oil suffers some degradation with use and age. Friction materials and load bearing surfaces wear and the oil endures repeated temperature cycling, potentially leading to judder, abnormal noise and deterioration in gear change quality. ZF recommends carrying out transmission oil and filter changes after 50,000 to 75,000 miles. Increasingly critical demands on the oil mean that only a single product is developed, tested and approved for each new range of ZF transmissions. The result is a range of ZF-branded ‘Lifeguard’ part-synthetic oils to suit its five, six and eight-speed automatic transmissions. These oils are also packaged and marketed under alternative references by vehicle manufacturers using the transmission. Reference list TE-ML 11, available at www.zf.com/lubricants, is regularly updated – any oil not on the list has not been tested and approved by ZF.

ZF oil change kits are available for all ZF 5, 6 and 8-speed automatic transmissions.

BENEFITS OF ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT FILTERS

The quality of the automatic transmission oil filter is equally important. Inadequate filtration or poor sealing can leave particulate contaminants circulating, which accelerate wear and increase the risk of seizure for parts operating within close tolerances, such as the pistons in the mechatronic unit. Conversely, over-filtration can lead to vital additives being excluded from circulating with the oil, and blockage of the filter.

OIL CHANGE KITS SIMPLIFY MAINTENANCE

For simplicity, all the parts required to carry out an oil change for any ZF five, six or eight-speed car automatic transmission are now available from ZF Services UK in an oil change kit. Oils, filters, sump pans and other spares can also be purchased individually.

Wynn’s automatic flush & fill machine

In the United States, it’s common practice to increase the longevity of automatic gearboxes by flushing the gearbox oil. Stuart White of Car Care Maintenance in Surrey has been looking to add this ‘while you wait’ service as he sees an increasing number of these transmissions into the workshop in vehicles such as the VW Touareg, Land Rover Discovery 3, BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne. Having seen a couple of examples of transmission flushing equipment in action, one of which was £500 to buy outright on eBay and another was a pay-as-you-go arrangement, Stuart was keen to see what Wynn’s had to offer with the TRANSERV® machine.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DOES THE TRANSERV DO?
“It changes almost 100% of the oil in the automatic gearbox. Normally, if you drop the sump plug and drain the oil and refill it, you’ll only get 40-50% of the oil out – a lot of it is contained within areas of the gearbox that don’t naturally drain. The TranSERV® does an oil transfer so you break into the cooler lines normally, so as the fluid comes to the cooler, it passes into the machine, is measured and puts the same amount back in. It has a gear pump that can only transfer an equal amount. It’s a very safe way of doing it. You put a flush in it first, so it operates while the engine is running and flush it through the gears, then you go the refill cycle and fill the gearbox up with the fresh oil and you should get 98-99% replacement of oil.”
This is a vast improvement over the traditional draining method in terms of efficiency but Stuart also points out
the cost and labour implications… “I had a Porsche in the week before I received the TranSERV ® machine. There was a problem that wasn’t related to the gearbox but we wanted to change the oil while it was here and I think we did 3 oil changes. Instead of 10 litres of fluid, I think we used 16 or 18 and it’s about £21 a litre.”
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO THE VEHICLE?
“People have to be realistic, if you have a major gearbox problem it’s not going to fix it, it really needs to be a service item. If you speak to most people who know anything about it, they’ll say the oil in the gearbox needs to be changed around 60-80,000 miles. What you should see is less wear so you should increase the life of the gearbox, you’ll also help prevent problems with gear shifting, give a smoother gear change, also helping to keep the gearbox cool – because the oil breaks down and picks up the wear particles. In the U.S., they have the kit to measure the amount of contamination in the gear oil  in the workshop. The 2006 Porsche we had in, it had done

about 80,000 miles and been well looked after – it belongs to a friend of mine so I know the history of it. when you looked at the oil, I wouldn’t have said it looked that bad.
When we connected it to the machine, we used a piece of clear tube so you could clearly see the change in colour and it was quite a difference. The vehicle had a slight gear shifting issue, Porsche Cayenne’s are known for this. The cost of repair on that would be somewhere between £3-4,500. They are difficult for parts, there’s a limit to the supply so they’re expensive to do. He had thought about getting rid of it but decided to keep it and repair if he had to, so we decided to do this as an experiment.
“I drove it and saw an improvement. We also reset the adaptions to start from as much as a fresh slate as we
could. Initially it was a bit jerky, which is quite usual after the reset. I probably did about 100 miles in it and I found it better by the time I drove it back to the workshop.
“I’d like to promote this as a service item, it’s really what people should be doing. I don’t want to be taking a gearbox out and stripping it down, I’d much rather be changing the oil and making sure it’s good. Ideally, we’d be
doing a filter change on the gearbox at the same time – that’s going to depend on the customer because with the
cost of the oil, on a big SUV, you’d be talking £300-400 cost for an oil service, although we’ve heard rumours that the manufacturers are charging up to £1,200 to do this.
CAN YOU JUSTIFY THIS ADDITIONAL SERVICE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS?
“If you look at a transmission repair, you can easily be looking upwards of £4-5,000. The oil in an automatic
transmission is not just lubricant, it’s also cooling and hydraulically operates the system. Especially with the modern gearboxes, it’s complicated, where there’s a mechatronic unit in the gearbox. Any contamination is going to cause problems – tiny little valves, all the electronics… A lot of people aren’t aware of how these systems work, it’s a series of wet clutches and those clutches do wear and this contaminates the oil, even at a low mileage you see signs of wear.”
Stuart say’s it’s not uncommon to see mileages of 150,000 plus on the SUVs that utilise these transmissions and they will still have a value of around £10,000, so he sees this as a beneficial service for his customers, to maintain these systems and prevent potential problems.
“There’s bit of work to do in educating customers, but I think the sales pitch is, you’re only going to do it once in the time you own that vehicle. If you are the second owner of that vehicle and its done between 40,000 and 80,000 miles the chances are it won’t have been done and if you do, there’s a good chance that transmission will see you through the time you own it.”
HOW WILL YOU COMMUNICATE THIS NEW SERVICE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS?
“We’ll search on our customer database for the target vehicles, we’ll write to them with an offer and brief explanation as to why we think they should have it done, with the cost and benefits.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT WILL BE ON THE EQUIPMENT?
“The unit costs around £3,800. Once you know what you are doing, I think you could get the work time down to an hour. It takes a certain amount of time for the machine to do what it needs to, like an zircon machine, but you don’t have to be standing over it. You’d probably want to be working on that vehicle, doing the brakes or the tyres.  We think you should be charging between £350-400 judging on what other people are selling it for, I would guess your costs would be less than £100 for oil, automatic transmission flush, filters and gasket – if you did the full lot. I reckon the return on the machine would be 20-30 jobs. For most people, I’d expect that to take around 18 months.”
OVERVIEW:
“I really like it and I’m not often that impressed. It’s a very simple machine and Wynn’s are obviously a big company with plenty of backup and they were great to deal with. They’re constantly looking ate the development of their tools – you need different connectors for different vehicles and that’s the bit that could cause problems. The machine came with two kits and they have people working in the UK that use the machine and patent additional connectors as an ongoing process.
“I can’t see how they could have made it any simpler to use, I was surprised how easy it was. It wasn’t much more complicated than doing an aircon service, which is now run of the mill. The process is automated and will get to a certain phase and then stop and will be safe to leave until you are ready for the next.”
For more information on TRANSERV®, call Wynn’s on 02476 472 634.