Morin Brothers Automotive

San Luis Obispo Auto Repair

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Yearly Archives: 2017

Engine Oil Takes on New Roles in Engine Management

Engine oil now operates camshaft timing and other vital functions effecting power, fuel economy, and emissions. Car manufacturers have been trying to vary the camshaft timing of the intake and exhaust valve openings for years. While it became common place on racing car engines in the 70’s and 80’s no major manufacturer had been able to reliably incorporate it into production engines until Alfa Romeo introduced it on its fabled two liter twin cam four in 1982. Even then, its performance was unreliable at best. The breakthrough came with the convergence of several improvements and changes in engine design. Firstly, the thinner lubricants, such as 0/10 weight engine oil, used to lower emissions and improve fuel economy came out, along with the improved machining technology needed to maintain the close tolerances required to use such thin oil. Secondly, increasingly sophisticated engine management computers became capable of improved multitasking, and thirdly, intelligent CAD ... read more

Ford recalls 230,000 2013 to 2015 vehicles with the 1.6 L GTDI (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) engines

Affected vehicles equipped with 1.6-liter GTDI engines include: 2014 Escape – Louisville Assembly Plant, Feb. 12, 2013 to Sept. 2, 2014 2014-15 Fiesta ST – Cuautitlan Assembly Plant, Jan. 22, 2013 to May 27, 2014 2013-14 Fusion – Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Feb. 15, 2012 to June 6, 2014 2013-15 Transit Connect – Valencia Assembly Plant, June 13, 2013 to Dec. 14, 2014 Apparently these cars and trucks are prone to coolant leaks, and in spite of the fact they have a temperature gauge to alert drivers that the engine is overheating, if the coolant gets low it will stop circulating and the engine will get hot enough to crack the cylinder head. The crack exposes a pressurized oil galley that sprays hot engine oil onto the hot exhaust with predictably disastrous consequences. Ford’s fix is to install a “Low Coolant Level” sensor in the reservoir and a light on the dash. This same engine, made by a German manufacturer, is also fitted to a number of ... read more

Intensive Electronic Engine Managements Yields Lower Emissions, Greater Reliability, and Superior Fuel Economy

I replaced a Mass Air Flow sensor on a Volvo 850 yesterday. The diagnostic protocol I completed before condemning a $350 part reminded me once again how computers have taken over every aspect of engine management, up to and including “drive-by-wire” systems that actually control the throttle in response to inputs from the gas pedal, engine speed, gear range, etc. In other words, when you press on the gas, there is only an electrical connection to the engine from the pedal. Instead of a cable, there are two range sensors and a single redundant sensor to tell the computer how far down you have pushed the gas. The computer refers to its ‘look up’ tables and decides how much to open the throttle plate. Luckily for us there are redundant sensors and a ‘limp home’ mode that allows the car to be driven in event of a failure caused by an errant 44oz Coke. The Mass Air Flow sensor I replaced in the Volvo uses a precisely heated wire to tell the computer how ... read more

Categories:

Driving green

Bicycling as Transportation

The greenest form of transportation is attached to the bottom of your legs- your feet! The ‘carbon footprint’ of walking is about as small as it gets and it has the additional benefit of being healthy as well. However it takes time, and unless you only have a mile or less to go, getting around by foot can consume a large part of your day. Riding a bicycle, on the other hand, is a lot more efficient. Its’ carbon footprint is equally modest, and in small, relatively level cities like we have here in San Luis Obispo county, you can easily run errands and ride to work in less time than it takes to find a parking space. I began riding a bicycle regularly in my early forties, and have been a member of the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club (www.slobc.org) as well as several national cycling related organizations ever since. At first I learned a lot about cycling through trial and error, but when I began riding with more experienced riders I gained confidence, greater skill, and a ... read more

Categories:

Driving green