Our Director Andrew Bourne from our Toowoomba branch has been around the diesel diagnosis and repair scene for decades, and he’s seen it all in terms of vehicle diagnostics. Here’s what he has to say about ” The magic wand of diagnosis”…
If you have read the Harry Potter books or watched the movies you will know that there are many types of wands. There’s Elder wands, ones with Unicorn hair, lots of different types & they’re certainly not all created equal. I often think how useful a wand would be in modern diesel engine diagnostics. It’s true that diagnosis is not a clear science, it never has been, but due to the complexities of modern diesel engines and the many systems that surround them, it hasbecome an area of particular expertise AND speciality.
In our business we specialize in diesel engines. We’ve been working with them for more than 70 years, particularly on Diesel Fuel Injection systems. You’d think we’d have seen all there is to see, right? Wrong! As much as we consider ourselves proficient in our field, we don’t kid ourselves into thinking that we know it all; we don’t. It’s
simply not possible in today’s world of diesel engines. Very often we come across faults or conditions that we’ve never encountered before, and the list gets longer.
If you call your doctor and explain your ailment over the phone it’s unlikely he will be able to give a diagnosis to allow you to cure yourself. He’ll invariably suggest you make an appointment so he can examine you. In his examination he will not only rely on his professional training and experience to aid
in his diagnosis, but also he will utilise an array of instruments and perform tests such as blood pressure, pulse
rate, electrocardiogram, blood tests, etc. His talent and the information from various sources allow him to arrive at a diagnosis.
Every day of every week we receive phone calls from people asking for assistance in diagnosing a symptom. Some are people just like you, and many are tradesmen from
reputable mechanical shops who may need a bit of support, or are just out of their depth. We do our best to help them
out. Sometimes it’s a relatively easy task, it may be something we have had experience with where we can say; “sounds like this” or “go and check that”.
Often though, an over the phone diagnosis does not reach a solution. We need to examine the vehicle, just as your doctor needs to examine you.
In today’s world of diesel engine technology, technicians are not unlike your doctor insofar as they require not only specific training and experience, and detailed
technical information, but also a workshop full of test equipment to assist in reaching an accurate diagnosis so that a cure can be found. Equipment such as scan tools
(multiple scan tools – one is never enough), oscilloscopes, dynamometers, fuel injection test equipment, emission testing equipment, have become an essential part of a vehicle workshop. Even with this equipment there are times when the diagnostic process can be challenging, and for those times a wand, or possibly even a crystal ball would be an advantage!
If you own a modern diesel powered vehicle take it to people who know diesels. Please understand that diagnosis of problems rarely takes just five minutes, and
that a quick scan of an ECU’s codes, or a run on the dyno doesn’t tell all things. It takes time and expertise. Even the most switched-on and talented technician can’t wave a magic wand and make everything right again.
Words by Andrew Bourne