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    • By Counterman
      When I hear the term diesel, the first thing I always picture in my mind is an 18-wheeler. Then my thoughts drift to gleaming chrome stacks, tons of load-hauling torque and the sounds of a semi-truck. The next thing you know I’m kicking back to watch the greatest trucking movie of all time, “Convoy,” for what’s probably the 10th time.
      I’m sure it’s generational, because growing up, diesel engines were only popular in heavy-duty trucks. Whether the big rigs defined the persona of a diesel engine or vise-versa I’m not sure, but to me the term “diesel” always has been synonymous with power and strength. So, what’s a light diesel? It seems like a contradiction of terms to me.
      A light diesel in the simplest way of thinking is anything diesel-powered that resides in someone’s driveway as daily transportation, including everything from cars to pickup trucks. The true definition gets a little muddy at a certain point because the federal standards have different weight cut-offs for their light-truck classifications.
      Using these standards, most full-size pickup trucks are all considered light-duty, even when they’re equipped with torque-monster diesel engines. But, if it’s a dually crew-cab 1-ton, it just might make it into the heavy-duty classification. Either way, it really doesn’t matter. Parts are parts, and if they’re driving it and fixing it, they’ll look to you – the counter professional – for what they need.
      Diesel Drill-Down
      As with any subject, knowledge gives you the power to sell, so I’ll start with what’s different about a diesel. There are three things that diesels are typically known for: fuel economy; lots of power; and long life.
      Why does a diesel engine get better fuel economy? Diesel fuel has a higher energy density than gasoline. This means that it takes less of it to produce the same amount of power resulting from combustion. Diesel engines also have much higher compression ratios than gasoline because the fuel is ignited by the heat of compression, and higher compression ratios in general lead to increased combustion efficiency.
      Why do they produce more power? Although modern diesel engines have the ability to produce incredibly high horsepower numbers, the “power” normally associated with a diesel engine is actually high torque. Torque is low rpm power for pulling, and horsepower is the high rpm power for acceleration. Diesel trucks are designed for pulling, which is why torque is so important.
      When the air/fuel mixture burns in a gasoline engine, it burns quickly, and the force of the expanding gasses drives the piston down in the cylinder. This creates power. However, once the air/fuel mixture has burned and the piston is traveling downward, the further down it goes, the less force is exerted upon it.
      Diesel fuel burns slowly. When the combustion process begins, the force of the expanding gasses pushes the piston downwards, but the air/fuel mixture continues to burn as the piston travels downward, exerting continuous force on the piston until it nears the bottom of the stroke. This continuous force on the piston is why diesel engines produce so much torque. Modern electronic control of diesel-fuel systems has allowed them to precisely control fuel-injection time to maximize this effect.
      Do they really last longer? As long as they’re properly maintained, yes – and here’s why. Gasoline is a harsh solvent with no lubricity. It wreaks havoc on everything it comes into contact with, including the inside of the cylinders in an engine. Diesel fuel, on the other hand, has a high level of lubricity, drastically reducing cylinder wear.
      Another reason for increased longevity also has to do with the slower speed in which the diesel fuel burns. The combustion of gasoline is a violent process that applies incredible stresses on the rotating assembly, whereas the diesel-fuel combustion process is less violent, applying a steady, continuous downward force on the piston.
      Then there’s temperature. Diesel fuel ignites at a lower temperature than gasoline, so combustion temperatures, as well as exhaust temperatures, are lower. And finally, there’s construction. Because of the higher compression ratios, diesel engines are built stronger and sturdier from the block and heads to the rotating assembly, often with increased oil capacity and improved oiling systems.
      Sales Opportunities
      In recent years, there’s been turmoil and scandal related to diesel-powered vehicles, and now there’s plenty of speculation that the end of the diesel isn’t too far off. But diesel owners aren’t ready to give up – meaning parts opportunities abound. With fewer diesel vehicles available, there will be a stronger push to keep the current ones on the road.
      Some areas of repair – such as timing belts, water pumps and hoses – ultimately don’t differ from a gasoline vehicle. However, an area where you can capitalize is maintenance. Diesel engines can last a long time, and that longer service life extends the opportunity to sell maintenance items.
      Fuel Treatment
      An immediate area to take advantage of is fuel treatment. The fuel system is the heart of a diesel. Fuel quantity controls engine speed. There’s no ignition system, and there’s no air-volume control or throttle plates like those on a gasoline vehicle. (In case a customer decides to call you out, there are some diesels with throttle plates, but they don’t have anything to do with controlling engine speed – they only smooth out engine shutdown and increase exhaust-gas recirculation.)
      Diesels have complex and expensive injection pumps and injectors. Not only does diesel fuel extend cylinder life with its lubricity, but it also preserves the life of the fuel system itself.
      The problem is that in order to reduce air pollution, ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel was introduced in 2006. By losing the sulfur, diesel fuel also lost the majority of its lubricity. This can be, will be and has been a big problem. Diesel-fuel treatments add back this lubricity, and while they may seem expensive to a customer, a small bottle treats many gallons, and if it’s properly measured, it ultimately only results in a minor fuel-cost increase.
      Cold-weather performance is another problem. Diesel fuel has always had a tendency to gel in extremely cold temperatures, and the loss of sulfur has made it worse. Diesel-fuel additives will combat this problem as well. Additives also battle cylinder deposits, and on a diesel engine these deposits soak up diesel fuel and effect fuel economy. Fuel additives should be recommended for continuous use.
      Filters
      Next on the easy-sell list is filters. Air filters fall under standard replacement guidelines that you’re used to, but fuel filters are an area to concentrate on. Contaminants can be very damaging to diesel-fuel pumps and injectors, and water accumulation in diesel fuel is a common problem. Diesel fuel often is stored for longer periods of time than gasoline, and the water accumulation is a result of condensation from temperature change.
      For this reason, almost every piece of heavy equipment has an individual water separator, and even many small diesel cars have water-drain valves in the bottom of their fuel filters. Generally, water accumulation isn’t a problem at larger-volume gas stations, but there’s no way of knowing for sure, so it’s better to err on the side of caution. Diesel-fuel filters should be replaced at least once a year.
      Performance
      Performance upgrades are common among diesel enthusiasts – especially intake and exhaust systems – but it can be a difficult market to get into since there are so many different options and applications. The best opportunities lie with accessories and upgrades that fit all models, such as gauges, lighting and interior accessories.
      Oil Changes
      When diesel fuel burns, it leaves behind black soot. This soot finds its way past the piston rings into the crankcase and turns the engine oil black. Even when changing the oil, there’s almost always enough residual oil in the pan and throughout the engine that the new oil is black almost immediately. The soot doesn’t harm the properties and performance of the oil, but think of it like any dirt particles: If there’s too much of it, the oil performance will degrade.
      It’s easy to see oil condition on the dipstick of a gasoline engine, but on a diesel there’s no way of telling. It’s critical for vehicle owners to document oil-change mileage so they don’t go over. It’s best to follow manufacturer recommendations for oil type, and it’s a good idea to recommend a high-quality oil filter. While diesel-powered cars typically have standard oil capacities, many pickup trucks have much higher capacities – sometimes 10 quarts or more. If your customer isn’t sure, take the extra step of looking it up so they don’t get home and end up short.
      Cleanup
      If your customer is doing an oil change, this is the perfect time to sell latex gloves, disposable rags and other cleaning supplies. Diesel oil will stain your hands for an entire day, and it doesn’t help the look of your garage floor either. We always should wear gloves to protect our skin during an oil change, but admittedly I don’t always do that on a gasoline vehicle. Diesel is a different story.
      Diesel Exhaust Fluid
      For the 2010 model year, the EPA mandated that diesel engines reduce the production of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which is linked to the formation of acid rain and smog. Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is what allowed manufacturers to meet these requirements. DEF is a solution of urea and deionized water that’s injected into the exhaust system before the catalytic converter. The chemical reaction forms ammonia, which then works in conjunction with the catalyst to convert NOx into nitrogen and water.
      It’s ultimately a simple solution, but diesel owners need to keep the DEF reservoirs full. If the DEF runs out, the vehicle will not start. If they’re running, they won’t quit, but often go into a low-power mode.
      Block Heaters
      Historically, diesel engines were known for difficult cold-weather starting, since the heat of compression ignites the fuel. Modern combustion-chamber design and technology have greatly improved this problem, but in the far northern regions of the United States and in Canada, diesel owners often don’t have a choice but to install a block heater. Even in areas where starting isn’t a problem, block heaters are popular in the winter since diesel engines take a long time to warm up.
      There are two different types of heaters. Most factory-style heaters are designed to fit directly into the engine block in place of a casting plug, which places a heating element directly into the engine coolant. This is generally the preferred method, as it’s the most effective.
      The second type of block heater is designed to mount flat on the bottom of an oil pan. The heat travels up through the pan and warms the engine oil. These are effective, but only given that they fit the pan properly and are out of harm’s way. Some factory applications are designed like this, but aftermarket designs are intended to be “universal,” and they don’t always work as well. Familiarize yourself with the heaters you have in stock, and what they fit, or where you can locate an application chart. Most people shopping for a block heater will know they want one – it’ll be an easy sale – but getting the correct one for the application is the hardest part.
      Tips for Your Customers
      The best advice you can give your customers is explaining the importance of diesel maintenance. A critical tip, however, involves replacement of a diesel-fuel filter. When a diesel runs out of fuel, air is drawn into the lines, and they simply won’t start until the air is bled out. Cranking the engine won’t do anything except overheat the starter.
      Some diesel trucks and heavy equipment are equipped with primers, such as those you may be familiar with on small engines. They’re designed to draw fuel from the tank and fill the filter and pump. Some newer vehicles have electronic primers that do this when the key is cycled on, but many diesel-powered cars don’t have either of these features. When the fuel filter is replaced, it needs to be filled with diesel fuel before connecting the lines. It often requires a small funnel, and it can take a few minutes to get it done, but it’s mandatory.
      Seasoned diesel owners should be familiar with fuel-filter replacement, but it never hurts to ask and make sure they are. You can save your customer a lot of trouble.
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    • By KAVY Auto Parts
      Dedicated to developing and providing the premium ignition coils, makes Kavy a reliable manufacturer with an annual output of 6.8 million pieces, focused on domestic & overseas market.
       
      With an exceptional design and engineering capability to meet the OE standards or exceeds OE, Kavy has developed more than 700 SKU includes rail coil, distributor coil, block coil & pencil coils.
       
      Kavy’s over 95% product coverage enables us to meet the different application from American cars, European cars,Japanese & Korean cars and domestic cars.
       
       
    • By Counterman
      Continental has added a new line of filtration products to its fast-growing aftermarket portfolio.
      The new line features a wide range of OE-quality oil, fuel, air and cabin filters for applications on domestic and import cars, vans, SUVs and light trucks.
      “Built to ensure safe engine operation and clean air in the vehicle interior, our premium OE-quality filters are designed to deliver reliable protection against dirt, abrasion, ultrafine particles and moisture for injection systems, engines and passengers,” said Laura Huerst, Continental product manager. “These world-class filters are produced to the same quality and performance standards we apply to our original-equipment parts.”
      Continental premium oil filters are manufactured using the most advanced technologies and innovative filter media available to ensure the best engine performance and minimum fuel consumption, according to the company. This is especially important as the industry’s use of new “long-life” oils and longer service intervals continue to increase.
      The filters are offered in spin-on and immersion designs.
      Continental air filters help ensure a constant air supply to the combustion chamber by efficiently filtering out impurities and dirt particles that can clog injectors, increase engine wear and affect fuel consumption. They are designed to deliver superior efficiency and feature a high dirt-particle-absorption capacity, according to Continental.
      Continental cabin filters feature a pollen and active carbon formulation that provides the best possible atmosphere and comfort in the vehicle interior, even under adverse weather conditions.
      The cabin filters offer a very high level of efficiency and microbiological decomposition, as well as an excellent resistance to moisture. The pollen filters are made of nonwoven material that can capture more than 90% of particles with a diameter of over 2 μm. The nonwoven activated carbon filters can capture particles of 0.01 to 2 μm and effectively prevent gas, bacteria, fungi and odors from entering the vehicle’s interior, according to the company.
      Continental gasoline fuel filters employ cutting-edge technology to meet the demands of modern high-performance fuel injection systems. The filters are designed to retain impurities less than a micrometer and also separate water from fuel to help prevent power loss and potential engine damage.
      For more information, visit
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    • By Counterman
      As the automotive industry grapples with ongoing inventory shortages, consumers continue their shift to used vehicles.
      According to Experian’s “State of the Automotive Finance Market Report: Q2 2022,” 61.78% of all vehicle financing was for used vehicles, up from 58.48% in Q2 2021.
      The shift to used vehicles was present across all credit tiers, though near-prime saw the largest increase, going from 72.3% in Q2 2021 to 77.69% in Q2 2022.
      Subprime consumers saw the percentage of used-vehicle loans grow from 86.28% in Q2 2021 to 89.29% in Q2 2022, while prime consumers saw growth from 61.02% to 63.59% in the same time frame, according to Experian.
      “Between the inventory shortage and rising vehicle costs, consumers are looking to make the most cost-effective decision, which is often a used vehicle,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s senior director of automotive financial solutions. “The benefit of higher vehicle values is that consumers are able to get more for their trade-ins, which can help offset the increased cost of their next vehicle.”
      The shift to used comes amid rising average vehicle-loan amounts and monthly payments for both new and used vehicles. The average new-vehicle loan amount increased 13.21% year-over-year to reach $40,290 in Q2 2022, with a monthly payment of $667 compared to $582 in Q2 2021. Average used-vehicle loan amounts saw a sharper increase of 18.66% year-over-year, clocking in at $28,534, with an average monthly payment of $515, an increase from $440 in Q2 2021.
      As consumers financed more used vehicles, credit unions experienced significant growth. Credit unions saw a jump in overall market share, reaching 25.81% in Q1 2022, up from 18.32% in Q1 2021, coming in second only to banks (27.94%) and surpassing captive lenders (22.64%), according to Experian.
      Credit unions achieved growth in both new- and used-vehicle financing, though the growth was more pronounced in the used-vehicle space.
      Though captives still led new-vehicle financing at 46.14% in Q2 2021, credit unions increased to 21.35%, up from 11.15% last year. For used-vehicle financing, credit unions comprised 28.62% in Q1 2022, up from 23.49% in Q1 2021. The growth places credit unions just behind banks, which held 29.19% of used-vehicle financing in Q1 2022.
      “With the market dynamics we’re seeing right now, the shift in lender market share makes sense, as credit unions often offer two things that consumers are seeking: lower interest rates and longer terms,” Zabritski continued. “This helps to manage their monthly payment, which is often what consumers prioritize when looking at financing options. Understanding these trends will ensure lenders and dealers can help consumers make the most informed decisions when purchasing a vehicle.”
      Additional findings for Q2 2022:
      Leasing decreased to 19.65% of new vehicles in Q2 2022, down from 27.82% in Q2 2021. The market continues to move more prime with prime (45.74%) and super prime (19.57%) comprising more than 63% of all originations in Q2 2022. SUVs surpassed 60% of total financing in Q2 2022 at 60.43%, up from 58.57% in Q2 2021. The average difference between a new-vehicle loan and lease payment was $127 in Q2 2022. The average loan term for new-vehicle loans remained flat going from 69.45 to 69.46 months from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022; average used-vehicle loan terms grew from 66.14 months to 68.01 months, year-over-year. To learn more, watch the entire
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    • DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.

    • By Counterman
      The first of the Ford “modular” engines was a 4.6-liter V-8 that appeared in the 1991 Lincoln Town Car. The family soon grew into six unique displacements, including a V-10. Three decades later, the modular family is still around, most popularly in the current 5-liter “Coyote” trim.
      Let’s look back at some of these original engines, the vehicles they powered and a few of the reasons we still hear about this engine family on a regular basis.
      But first, a disclaimer: The “modular” name doesn’t refer to parts interchangeability, although some of these engine designs share common features. In this case, “modular” refers to the manufacturing processes used at the Romeo, Windsor and Essex engine plants to produce these engines quickly for a wide range of platforms. Each of these engines has distinct design features, and some need to be catalogued carefully – utilizing VIN, application and model-year information to properly identify components.
      The original 4.6-liter was a two-valve SOHC V-8 engine found in the Town Car, Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. The 4.6-liter was designed as a replacement for the old pushrod 5-liter and 5.8-liter (aka the “302” and “351”), a trend that continued as the pushrod engine slowly disappeared from the Thunderbird, Mustang and F-Series trucks throughout the mid to late 1990s. These early engines were built in Romeo, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, and the two have distinctly different timing drives and cylinder-head designs.
      Identifying Romeo-built and Windsor-built 4.6-liter engines can be as simple as decoding a VIN – providing the engine is still in its original vehicle. Unfortunately, Ford chose to identify the Romeo engines with a “W” in the 8th VIN position, while the Windsor engine was assigned the number “6”!
      Looking at the engines themselves also gives a few clear clues, in case you’re dealing with an engine “in the wild,” or a possible transplant. The valve covers on the Romeo engine are held down with 11 bolts, while Windsors feature 13/14 bolt patterns. Beneath the timing covers, you’ll also find that Romeo cam gears are bolted to the camshaft, and Windsor cam gears are pressed onto their shafts. Even bare blocks can be identified easily by locating the “R” or “W” casting marks on each engine – and this time “W” actually means WINDSOR!
      F-Series trucks received a new modular option in 1997 in the form of the 5.4-liter, another two-valve SOHC V-8. The same year, E-Series vans were the first to receive the new modular 6.8-liter V-10. These engines were manufactured in the two Canadian plants, so there are no Romeo versions. These modular truck engines became known as the “Triton” series, which became a point of confusion a few years later when Ford introduced a THREE-valve cylinder-head design to the family.
      Triton would seem to indicate “three” of something, just like tricycles have three wheels or triangles have three sides, but the name pre-dates the first of the three-valve designs introduced in 2004. Triton truck engines can be found in both two- and three-valve versions, and the last 4.6-liter modular engine (produced in 2014) actually was a two-valve Triton engine.
      In addition to the trucks, three-valve engines were found in Mustangs and SUVs, but the modular family also included a series of four-valve DOHC engines in both 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter displacements. These were fit primarily in SVT, Shelby and other performance-oriented vehicles, but the Lincoln lineup also received the four-valve DOHC treatment periodically throughout the modular years. The current 5-liter Coyote continues this 4V DOHC tradition, along with its derivative 5.2-liter Voodoo/Predator, and 5.8-liter Trinity cousins.
      The 4.6-, 5.4- and 6.8-liter engines were plagued with spark plug issues in both the two-valve and three-valve versions. 1997-2008 modular two-valve engines with aluminum cylinder heads were prone to stripping spark plug threads, often ejecting the spark plug forcefully from its cylinder port.
      The three-valve design did not have thread-stripping issues, but the unique two-piece spark plug that Ford used in the three-valve engines from 2004-2007 has a tendency to snap in half during removal, leaving a difficult-to-remove stump of electrode shell at the bottom of the spark plug well. Several tool companies have developed plug-removal kits for the 3V vehicles, and thread-repair kits for the 2V applications. Ford redesigned the 3V heads (and spark plugs) for 2008, and has since upgraded the plugs specified for the 2004-2007 engines. Aftermarket companies also have developed one-piece replacement spark plugs for these applications, which decreases the chances of that tune-up going horribly wrong!
      Even though these modular engines have been around for a long time, the applications in which they originally were installed lend themselves to longevity. They still are present in fleets, from taxis and police cars to cargo vans and work trucks. Of course, modular Mustangs of all varieties continue to be enthusiast favorites, from daily driving to competition at drag strips, autocross and circle-track events. The secondary market for the Crown Victoria also includes motorsports, as they have become the preferred demolition-derby car in most full-size classes, and there are even racing series exclusively for P71 (police-package) Vics!
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