New car technical innovations from Nissan, Volvo, Mazda and BMW


While ePOWER Nissans have been sold in Japan since 2017, the technology has just arrived in the UK, beneath the bonnet of the popular Qashqai SUV. ePOWER comprises electric propulsion only, using a 140kW motor. Yet, this is a hybrid, by virtue that a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine recharges the battery packs. Under full acceleration, or when driven at high speeds, the combustion-derived electrical energy is diverted from the battery pack to the motor directly, via an inverter. As is the convention with high-voltage vehicles, the system also boasts kinetic energy recuperation, under braking and deceleration.

While nothing novel, this engine also varies its compression ratios, between 8:1 and 14:1. The system works not using valve gear adjustments but an actuator changes the pistons’ strokes. While adopted for ePOWER, the variable compression technology was used first by Infiniti, as we highlighted last year ( genesis-new-car-technical-innovations). Unfortunately, Nissan’s luxury brand is neither built, nor available, in the UK any longer.

Nissan reports that, in low-power demand situations, such as cruising with a charged battery pack, high compression mode (combined, presumably, with low turbo boost pressures) is selected for efficiency and low emissions. Low compression situations are needed with high power outputs and Nissan reports that the compression adjustments are seamless. While the fuel consumption and emission figures are not confirmed at the time of writing, preliminary figures for the Qashqai ePOWER indicate 53mpg on the combined cycle and 119g/km.


Critics of Battery Electric Vehicles may be rubbing their hands with glee, as concerns grow about UK public charger access failing to meet projected demand. The same worries blight those of us that do not have access to private driveways and are forced to park curbside. Yet, wireless charging is nothing new. Even certain motorcars have wireless pads installed within their interiors to facilitate mobile ‘phones charging. Therefore, why can this technology not be upscaled for Battery Electric Vehicles?

Volvo thinks that it can, even for high-mileage applications. Currently, the Chinese-owned company is trialling wireless charging technology in its first BEV, the XC40 Recharge. Rather than being used occasionally, the cars will be put to work by Cabonline, the Nordic region’s largest taxi operator. Each vehicle is expected to cover at least a 12-hour shift, covering 60,000 miles per year.

These vehicles are charged wirelessly at a station, based at the company’s HQ in Gothenburg, Sweden. Recharging commences as soon as the vehicle parks over a charging pad, embedded in the ground. A 360-degree ADAS camera system is employed to ensure that the vehicle is parked accurately. The charging station energises the pad and this power is picked up by the car’s receiver unit. Volvo Cars claims that the charging speeds are four times faster than a hard-wired 11kW AC charger, although not quite as fast as a 50kW DC fast charger.

While we admit that these vehicles are not for commercial sale (yet), should the experiment be a success, it might provide a safe answer to urban issues of on-street EV charging.


With motor manufacturers desperate to slash CO2 outputs, many of them are pooling resources. More recently, several Toyota- based models have appeared that lean on the company’s self-charging, high-voltage hybrid prowess. First came Suzuki, with the Across PHEV (based on Toyota’s RAV4) and the Swace Hybrid (a tweaked Corolla estate). Now, the Mazda2 Hybrid enters the ring, looking strangely familiar…

While it looks like a Toyota and is built by Toyota, it is unsurprising that it is nothing more (or less) than an undiluted Yaris. This means that it benefits from Toyota’s fourth- generation hybrid technology, which has much in common with the same systems that are used with the larger petrol engines in the Toyota Corolla/Suzuki Swace and RAV4/Across ranges. Yet, the Mazda2/Yaris employ a 1.5-litre engine triple, which utilises Atkinson cycle variable valve timing (as is Toyota’s way) and a balance shaft to reduce the natural imbalance that afflicts three- cylinder units. Toyota also claims that this engine possesses the world’s fastest combustion speed.

Being a high-voltage Hybrid, the Mazda2/Yaris can be driven in electric-only mode and the engine can both recharge the batteries and drive the wheels. Working together, the electric motor and engine can produce 114bhp, enough to achieve 0-62mph in fewer than 10 seconds and an average of 72mpg.

Confusingly, the ageing conventionally-engined, third-generation Mazda2 (with its different bodyshell) remains on sale. Mazda justifies its decision, because it ensures that: “Our customers will have the widest choice of small cars in UK showrooms.”


While powering a relatively small coupé with a straight-six engine seems hardly revolutionary, we deem it worthy of inclusion, because the latest M240i xDrive is the only car in its class to be thus equipped. One has to hope that, in an era of engine downsizing, this is not the last Bimmer iteration of the straight-six, especially as BMW has canned its V12, Rolls-Royce models excepted.

Even so, the Germans have developed the M240i’s engine to be the most powerful in-line six in the company’s core engine portfolio. The unit was developed using the motor racing prowess of BMW M GmbH and features a closed-deck aluminium crankcase, an alloy cylinder-head, weight-optimised pistons/connecting rods and a forged steel crankshaft. The new 3.0-litre power plant develops 34bhp more than its predecessor, totalling 374bhp. The peak torque of 500Nm is also impressive, especially as it is available not at a set engine speed but between 1,900 and 5,000rpm. This explains how the range-topping M240i xDrive coupé can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds.

4-Focus – New vehicle innovations from Volvo, Suzuki, Nissan and MG


As a real world-first, Volvo’s innovative air ionisation and filtration system allows occupants to breathe cleaner air and will even clean the cabin air prior to entry. No other carmaker analyses air quality down to PM 2.5 fine particulate contents as yet. Blueair’s 25 years proven system in office environments has been adapted for car use, which gives airborne pollutants an electrical charge that makes them ‘sticky,’ so instead of simply passing through, they stick like magnets to the cabin filter. Volvo claims that that 95% of ‘invisible’ cancer-causing PM 2.5 particulates are prevented from entering the interiors of its cars thus fitted.

Should the driver’s mobile phone be equipped with the relevant app, the driver can compare both in cabin and exterior atmospheric conditions, detected by sensors that determine whether a cleaning cycle is required, prior to making a journey. If air quality changes while driving, the HVAC system will close off outside air and recycle and refresh cabin air. In addition, materials used inside all new cars are known to give off esters and particulates, factors that Volvo has been seeking to reduce significantly in recent years in all of its models and they are also filtered out.

Volvo’s Advanced Air Cleaning (AAC) occupies no more space, or weight, than the original HVAC system and is a size-for-size filter replacement, with a connection to the car’s fuse box to power-up the ioniser and provide a status check on the car’s touchscreen. Although not tested as yet on Covid-19, it is said to remove 99.97% of airborne viruses and bacteria. Intriguingly, Blueair also offers the system as an aftermarket retrofit, distributed by CabinAir of Sweden.


Suzuki, sometime holder of ‘leading UK value brand’ status, has just introduced its version of a Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT) to its sassy, 1.2-litre, four-cylinder, mild hybrid petrol-engined Ignis model. Reliable and relatively simple CVTs are known to help reduce CO2 emissions, when contrasted with manual gearbox cars. Consisting of a two-speed planetary gear set, an expanded range of six electronically managed step-off points creates a notional seven speed ranges, selected using steering wheel-located up and down paddles.

The torque converter is of a three element, single step and two-phase type, equipped with an automatic lock-up mechanism, which eliminates converter slippage, thereby increasing transmission efficiency, in D (Drive). The gearchange aspect consists of the planetary gear unit, both multiple plate clutch and brake discs, as well as the steel belt running between the primary and secondary pulleys. Using a high-pressure control device and a series of solenoids, accurate line pressure results and the changing distance between the pulleys avoids shift shock and provides seamless, constantly variable progress. For downhill gradients, the brake energy recovery system recharges the mild-hybrid battery (48v, located below front passenger seat) via the combined starter-alternator (ISG). As expected, the car’s stop:start technology is integrated fully with the CVT for smooth stops and restarts in D (Drive).


It is a sad fact of life that disasters occur as a result of natural, or man- instigated phenomena and power outages usually result. Yet, Nissan has been working extensively on a specially developed version of its Leaf EV that can provide a positive aid in the recovery process, its lithium-ion battery pack providing a dependable emergency supply of electricity for medical equipment, communications, lighting and other life support items. Known as RE-LEAF, its potential has been hailed as revolutionary by disaster management experts.

Access along debris strewn routes is achieved by raising the standard ride height (from 70 to 225mm), installing a protective underbody guard and fitting multi-surface tyres on forged alloy wheels. The rear seats have been removed to provide space for rescue equipment and a pull-out desk with 32-inch monitor. Yet, since the Nissan Leaf was launched, it has been equipped with a bi-directional charging ability; it can not only draw charge but also feed it back into the grid, or directly to charge other electric devices. Blessed with high reliability and a consistent supply of electricity a boot-located domestic socket is supported by a pair of weatherproofed external sockets, which can run a jack hammer, a ventilation fan, an ICU ventilator, a 100W floodlight, or other devices, for up to 24 hours. Since 2011, in Japan, the RE-LEAF has become a valuable disaster support medium and is a prime example of automotive technology providing further reaching human benefits.


Some carmakers will resort to any means by which to make their latest models appear up to date on the money and more sophisticated than they really are. KERS, or Kinetic Energy Recovery System, was developed for F1 racing cars, as a means to recover energy such as that generated by braking, or deceleration, which might have been ‘lost’ otherwise.

The recovered heat energy can be stored in a battery, a supercapacitor, or even as mechanical energy in a flywheel, ready to be redeployed as a power boost subsequently. The latest MG5, which is an EV, is the first road-going vehicle to feature a KERS button in its centre console switch bank. While a Formula One car can store 111Wh in each circuit lap, which equates to an extra 82bhp and just over six seconds of deployment time, it is a different mechanical ideology to that of the MG5.

While the MG uses Brake Energy Recovery as a means to extend the usable charge available in its main rechargeable lithium ion battery pack, it is not intended as a means to boost power momentarily for greater acceleration. Depress the KERS button in an MG5 and it reveals three-stages of energy recovery, from light and medium to heavy. The latter setting will allow the driver to slow the car rapidly and reduce the need to use the brake pedal in normal driving conditions. However, as innovative as the all-electric, only estate car model MG wishes to be perceived, its KERS is not as technologically capable as in an F1 car, however ‘cute’ the terminology might be.

Volvo D5 timing belt kit

Dayco’s Technical Team provide a 12-step guide to fitting a timing belt kit to Volvo’s diesel variants.

The 2.0 and 2.4-litre diesel D5 engines used by Volvo in almost every variant in the manufacture’s range, but notably in the popular XC60 and XC90 siblings, features a timing belt driven water pump. As replacing the belt also requires the auxiliary drive system to be removed, Dayco best practice recommends that all the system’s components, both primary and auxiliary drive, are replaced at the same time.

This step-by-step technical guide will help you through the process, avoiding complications and ensuring a first-rate, professional job. As with all primary drive system jobs, the work should be undertaken when the engine is cold – ideally, the vehicle will not have been run for at least four hours.


  1. Start by removing the engine cover, then the front right wheel and cowling to expose the two belts of the auxiliary drive system. Use the special slot to slacken off the belt tensioner (figure 1), remove the belt, followed by the five crankshaft pulley bolts. Then detach the ride height detector, remove the crankshaft pulley and then the tensioner.
  2. From underneath, take off the engine shield, securely support the engine and remove the engine’s lower links. Returning to the top, remove the cooling fluid reservoir, the upper engine support rod and mounting plate.
  3. Remove the two fasteners that support the hydraulic pipe by the timing belt cover, release the retaining clips and remove the cover.
Figure 1

4. Using the central crankshaft pulley bolt, rotate the crankshaft so that the crankshaft and camshaft pulley timing references align, then loosen the timing belt tensioner and remove the belt, followed by the tensioner.

5. As the camshaft pulley is not fitted directly on the shaft and its holes are slotted, to ensure it is refitted in the correct position, mark its position with paint before removing it (figure 2). Once the camshaft pulley is detached, take off the idler and then the rear timing belt cover to allow the removal of the water pump.

6. After flushing out the cooling system to remove any debris, cover both sides of the gasket with a thin layer of sealant before carefully positioning it in relation to the two pins in the housing before fitting the new water pump from Dayco kit KTBWP5920.

7. Now is the ideal time to replace the alternator pulley, so remove the bolts securing the alternator and the water hose above it, to be able to turn the alternator in order to remove and replace the alternator pulley with Dayco ALP2409 and fit the protective cap. Refit the alternator and reattach the hose.

Figure 2
  1. Refit the rear timing belt case and position the new belt tensioner from the kit, paying particular attention as its slot must be located in the corresponding lug on the engine (figure 3) and then fit the new idler and tighten its bolt to 25Nm.
  2. Using the mark painted on earlier, refit the camshaft pulley, followed by the new Dayco timing belt, ensuring its correct direction of rotation and leaving the slack section facing the tensioner.

10. With an Allen key, first position the pointer slightly past the right hand flange of its slot, before moving it so it points at the lug (figure 4) and tighten the belt tensioner bolt to between 24 and 27Nm, dependant on the engine variant.

Figure 3
Figure 4

11. Turn the crankshaft through two rotations and check the engine timing remains correct. Providing it is, refit the crankshaft pulley, tightening its central bolt to 300Nm and four side bolts to 35Nm + 50°. Refit the remaining components in reverse order of their removal but check, and if necessary, replace the auxiliary belt tensioner with Dayco APV2756. However, Dayco recommends that the auxiliary belts 5PK628EE (an elastic belt) and 5PK1121S are always replaced.

12. Finally, refill the cooling system, start the engine, check carefully for leaks, and ensure the radiator fan is operating correctly.

To view this installation, or any other Dayco technical video, visit and click on Dayco TV.

4-Focus – Innovative Technology – Vauxhall 4WD, Nissan & BMW Braking & Lexus Lighting

4-Focus – Iain Robertson takes a look at innovative technology in newer models.


Since Vauxhall (and its German sister, Opel) were subsumed into the French PSA Group, it was anticipated that the originality we have come to expect from the former GM dependent would be lost forever. However, those wily characters at the division’s German engineering base have managed to incorporate an intelligent 4×4 system within the Peugeot 3008 platform used for the Grandland X model. Where the French donor relies on clever electronics from Bosch for its traction and anti-slip front-wheel drive control, Vauxhall will introduce a space and weight-saving electric motor on its model’s rear axle that will drive the rear wheels electronically on-demand. The new car is scheduled for introduction to the new car scene in August. Intriguingly, there is no power- sapping and heavy propshaft running down the Grandland X’s mid-line, which also means that cabin space remains uncompromised. Clever Vauxhall/Opel. Less mechanical hardware also equates conveniently into lower maintenance bills and less demand on technician training, although their understanding of vehicle electronics must continue to grow apace with the arrival on the same model of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle status. With a promised 49g/km CO2 emissions and a combined 300bhp petrol engine and 13.2kWh Li-ion battery pack, its performance package is pretty hot too. 


While brake assist technology, a semi-autonomous driving aid, is not new, it has been described variously as one of the greatest contributions to driver safety and Nissan was in the forefront of its development. In fact, by adopting a ‘greater good’ policy with the release of technical information (much as Volvo did with its three-point safety-belt developments), an ADAS intelligent brake assist is now available on an increasing number of vehicles, including light commercials and trucks. In essence a three-stage system, developed in Japan, as a result of a desire to reduce the 29% most frequent tail-end type of collisions in that country, a laser radar sensor detects both distance to a preceding vehicle and its relative speed differential. The first stage issues both a visual and audible warning to the driver, giving time to take evasive action. Stage two, in the event of an unavoidable clash, the vehicle’s brakes are activated automatically, without driver intervention, to shave off speed and reduce potential damage. The third stage is a relatively new development that involves aspects of artificial intelligence, as the car’s braking system pre- energises to ready the brakes for instantaneous response by the driver, while the seatbelts are tightened around occupants as a means to mitigate injuries should a crash result. In its ultimate form, as Volvo has shown on its latest models, an autonomous steering correction can also be made to avoid any clashes, which almost removes the driver from the equation completely. 


For many years, German carmaker BMW has endeavoured to live up to its much-vaunted status as ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. The majority of its ‘M’ designated models have incorporated a number of driver configurable aspects, most of which have been centred on a blend of throttle responses, automated gear change timings and suspension settings. However, for its latest M8 model, being able to alter brake settings is an entirely new prospect. The brake-by-wire system brings together brake activation, brake servo and braking control functions within a single compact module. It is said to reduce the total system weight by around 2kgs and employs a vacuum-free brake servo to enhance the overall efficiency of the system. The brake pressure required is managed by an electric actuator, which enhances speed of reaction, while improving any interventions by the car’s stability control system. A fascinating side benefit is that the haptic feedback telegraphed to the driver’s feet is not just intuitive but introduces enhanced dynamics and a level of ‘feel’ unheard of outside a formula racing car. Precise metering of braking power is available at all times, regardless of road surface imperfections, the amount of lateral acceleration (such as when power-sliding), climatic conditions, or higher brake temperatures. In addition, the driver can determine one of two levels of sensitivity through either Comfort, or Sport selections, the former being closer to the current norm, while the latter is enhanced for track days. The system is available for both standard M compound brakes and the optional carbon-ceramic alternatives. 


Endeavouring to innovate is part of the Lexus remit. The luxury arm of Toyota was among the pioneers employing LEDs for vehicle headlights and the forthcoming new RX SUV model introduces another new form of illumination technology in BladeScan. It operates by shining light from the LEDs onto a pair of compact, blade-shaped mirrors that are rotating at very high speed, before it is transferred onto a lens, to illuminate the road ahead. The resultant wide-spread illumination is controlled precisely by synchronising the spinning of the blade mirrors, although, because they spin at over 900rpm, it is virtually impossible for the human eye to see them working as described and they do not introduce ‘flicker’, which can be equally distracting. The system also works as an adaptive type, which means that glare levels are reduced significantly and, even if there are vehicles ahead, sensors will detect their outlines and shut off individual LED elements to avoid it. However, the total spread of unobstructed light has been optimised both forwards and laterally and, as a measure of their improved performance, nocturnal pedestrian recognition has been enhanced from around 32 yards to 56 yards with the BladeScan system. It is also said to react better in difficult conditions, such as low-lying fog and mist. As Lexus possesses a sound reputation for model durability, we have to presume that the system will operate long after the car’s warranty period has expired. 


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

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


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.


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. 


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. 


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. 

Essential advice for turbo replacement on the 1.6HDI diesel engine

If you’re fitting a replacement turbo to the 1.6HDI diesel engine used in Citroen, Peugeot, Ford, Fiat Volvo, and Mazda models from 2004 onwards, BTN Turbo recommends you read the following technical tip. It could save you a whole lot of time and trouble.


Although they are usually strong, reliable performers, there is a high return rate of turbochargers from these engines, caused by engine related issues. The primary cause is carbon build-up, with carbon deposits circulating in the lubrication system leading to premature failure.


Find out what sort of journeys they usually take. If it’s mostly stop-start driving, the DPF might not be regenerating fully. This can quickly degrade the oil, so advise them to have their oil and filter changed and engine flushed before the recommended service intervals. Spending a little more on servicing is cheaper than a turbo!


Poor servicing or skipping services means the oil is more likely to be degraded, putting the turbo at risk. The wrong grade of oil; not following the exact requirements for oil changes; exhaust gas or fuel contaminating the oil due to loose sealing washers or supply pipe nuts, are all potential turbo killers.


The engine needs at least two oil flushing cycles to remove contaminants that could block the system. The first cycle may just soften the deposits, allowing them to work loose later. Check the drained oil for cleanliness and measure the oil pressure with a gauge in the turbo supply line. It should be at least 1.3 bar at cranking speed, with the fuel injectors and turbo actuator vacuum pipe disconnected.

Also check for variations between oil pressure at the filter inlet and in the turbo supply line. With the injectors reconnected, run the engine for five minutes and watch the two readings. If the oil pressure at the turbo isn’t within ± 0.4 bar of the filter inlet, you’ll need to investigate and remedy the problem.

Then check the oil pressure again with the engine warm. It should range from 1.2 bar at 1,000rpm to 2.9 at 4,000rpm.


If a component might harbour deposits that could find their way back into the system, clean it. If in doubt, replace it. This includes the dipstick (if it’s the yellow plastic version), the oil supply connector and sealing washers, and the oil supply and return pipes.

BTN Turbo stock a range of oil feed pipes covering over 1,000 key applications, including the PSA turbo. Make sure you order the pipes with the replacement turbo; failing to fit them could invalidate BTN’s two-year warranty.

Other parts that should be changed include the oil pick-up pipe strainer, air filter and the valve cover breathers. And of course, you’ll need fresh oil, oil filter and engine flushing additive each time you flush.

Phone: BTN Turbo helpline on 01895 466 666

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How to: Get that first-time fix

David Wagstaff looks at the essential tips that must be taken to promote a first-time-fix…

Cars are getting more complicated with every new generation and at the same time customers’ expectations are getting higher. They don’t really care about what goes on under the bonnet or behind the dashboard, when it goes wrong they just want it fixed. Taking it to a garage is an inconvenience, it could mean re-arranging work or struggling to do the school run. Taking it in once is bad enough, but if the repair is unsuccessful then customers tend to get unhappy quite quickly. They expect a ‘First-Time Fix’. Within the dealer networks this First-Time Fix is important; dealers are scored on their ability to deliver them. If the FTF rate drops too low, they could be penalised.
So how do we get that elusive First Time Fix?
Well, it starts with getting the right information. I recently looked at a Volvo V50 1.8 petrol with the EML on and exhibiting slightly poor performance. A quick plug in with a generic diagnostic tool gave a fault code of ‘P2006 Intake manifold runner stuck closed’. That could fit in with the symptoms, but not convinced it was telling me the truth, I connected to the genuine diagnostic machine to be given the code ‘ECM-0703 Brake pedal sensor signal too high’. Now, if you had believed the generic tool you would have gone down the route of a manifold fault. You could have spent hours looking for a non-existent fault. You could have even replaced some parts, cleared the codes and sent the car out, only for it to return. So, for starters, you need a tool that is going to give accurate fault reports.
What next?
Are you going to guess based on what it was last time or the part the dealers sell more of? Well, you have a fault code you can trust, so you change the part the computer tells you, right? Well no, we need to do a bit of investigation now. Can you verify the fault? By this, I mean, we are not just going to take the computer’s word for it, we are going to test and prove that the item is actually faulty. This is where live data and activations really come into their own.
Say you have a fault where the tailgate doesn’t open. Is it the switch, the body control unit, the latch or the wiring?
Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 19.15.43With a good diagnostic tool, we can look at live data in the body control unit as we press the tailgate release
button and watch the parameter change from unpressed to pressed. With this simple test, we can narrow down the area that needs investigating very quickly. If we get a pressed signal then we can say the switch is OK, the wiring’s good and the body control unit is seeing the command. Next, can we use activations to open the tailgate? Again, this will test power supply, the control unit’s ability to operate the circuit, the wiring and the latch. If one of these tests fails then we are closing in on the area of the fault. To narrow it down further, you’ll need to dig out a multimeter and a wiring diagram, but you should now at least know what bits you should be testing.
This approach works well with sensor faults too. I recently had a car in with a fault code of ‘Particulate filter temp sensor voltage too high’. Yes, it is likely the sensor is faulty, but how do we prove it? The customer was catching the ferry the next day and driving with their family down to Italy. How could I be sure that if I ordered a sensor it would fix the fault? If I just changed the part the computer said and it didn’t fix it, I would probably have some very upset customers. Looking at live data, the sensor showed a plausible reading of 346oC, was it really faulty?
Looking further through the list of data showed another sensor in the catalytic converter, the live data for this showed 87oC.  As this is further upstream in the exhaust it should be reading the same if not higher, so something is not looking right. Which one is wrong? To help pin it down I got an infra-red thermometer out and pointed it at the sensor in the particulate filter, it read 68oC. I could almost put my hand on the exhaust
without burning it, so definitely not 346oC. A final test with a multimeter showed the sensor to be open circuit. I had proved beyond doubt that the sensor was faulty. The next day the new sensor arrived, was fitted, codes cleared and the vehicle road tested. I was happy that the fault was fixed and could reassure the family that it would now be fine to travel.
This may all seem like a load of extra work, and when you are rushed for time, is it really necessary?
Well, doing this work puts you in control as you can clearly explain to the customer exactly why you have changed a part. The customer is happy you haven’t changed unnecessary parts and you haven’t got the headache of a car that bounces back. This builds customer confidence in you, they go away happier and
are more likely to recommend you to their friends. In the long term, your workplace is less stressful and you gain customers that are happy and spend more money with you.
That has got to be worth spending a few extra minutes on hasn’t it?
Becoming good at diagnostics is not something that can be gained by the purchase of a tool or an individual training course. It is a skill that needs to develop with experience.
It is detective work and as much about eliminating all the things it isn’t, as going straight to the problem. It
means gathering information from the customer and from tests, developing a theory as to what the root cause of the issue is, then carrying out further tests to prove or disprove this theory, finally coming to a conclusion and presenting this to the customer along with their repair options.
A good technician will then also reflect on their own work once they have found a result to see if they could
improve their own practice. Could I have got there quicker, or develop a test that would give more conclusive results? Do I fully understand how the system works or could I do with more training?
This refection can also be our downfall – I have often found myself saying, “Can I justify all this diagnostic time?” Or, “I should have tested this first?” The result is often not booking as much time to the customer as we should. A clear pricing structure, whereby a customer agrees to an initial assessment and a certain amount of time spent on the car, is better from both parties’ point of view. You don’t undersell yourself and the customer has a clear idea of what it is going to cost them. If you haven’t found a result in that time, you have to go back to the customer and ask if they want to spend more money looking for an answer. Keep the customer in the loop.
Above all, remember it’s the customer’s car, it’s their problem. Do not let them offload their problem onto you. If
they are struggling to get to work or get the kids to school, it’s not your fault, you didn’t break their car. Keep
communicating with the customer and try not to make promises you can’t keep about when it will be fixed or how much it will cost, just to keep them happy.