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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:11 pm 
Installer

Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:01 pm
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Location: Yorkshire
Had a customer around the other day with a Merc he bought about 3 months ago fitted with a Tartarini seqeuntial system.

He's owned quite a few fairly old LPG converted vehicles over the years (usually Mercs, always buying pre-converted) and although he lives about 100 miles away, for the last few years he has always brought his vehicles to me for repairs / servicing - he reckons he trusts that I will actually fix the problem economically where installers he has used previously charged a lot of money for not fixing problems...

He described the problem as 'not running or idling smoothly on gas, bit like a misfire'. On this occasion he was only able to come on a specific weekday, so we had to arrange a date a couple of weeks in advance (I was busy for a couple of weeks on his free day of the week).

In the meantime, being anxious to get the problem sorted (he was driving a lot of miles with work) he visited a few other installers to try to get the problem sorted. The first installer he visited went through a few motions, did a few tests, and told him he'd need a new LPG system, quoted a lot of money for the new system, charged heavily for his time and bid him goodbye. The second installer he visited did a few tests, told him the problem was his spark plugs, charged for his time and bid him goodbye. The third installer he visited said 'sorry we don't do Tartarini, we don't have the cable for it, without that we can't do anything', so the customer bought the cable and software and visited this installer again. The installer put the customer bought software on his laptop, used the customer supplied lead and connected to the Tartarini system. Then told the customer there was no problem with his calibration, or setup, or engine, and that the car was running perfectly in his opinion... while the car sat idling in front of the installer and customer with a constant and very obvious misfire! This installer at least only charged him £20 for the incorrect advice.

The customer got in touch with me again, explained the above and asked if we could arrange a closer date for him to bring the car to me - He came on Sunday. The misfire was immediately apparent. I plugged in the code reader and it pointed to a misfire on cylinder 4 (front cylinder passenger side). The misfire disappeared on petrol and the engine ran very smoothly. I connected up my Tartarini interface and disabling Ginj4 the misfire disappeared (with the engine running on 5 cylinders on gas and 1 cylinder on petrol). We swapped the plugs (2 per cylinder) and coil packs between cylinders 1 and 4, reset the codes and tried again, the issue continued to be on cylinder 4. I said 'We've ruled out the ignition system, now we've narrowed it down to compression, LPG injector or LPG ECU, it's very unlikely to be compression, only just more likely to be the LPG ECU, most likely to be the LPG injectors'. Customer said 'b****y hell, none of the other guys I visited did anything like this tch tch tch'. I swapped the EVO7 injector pipes and wiring over between cylinder 4 and 5 and the fault followed the injector to cylinder 5. I said ' There you go, seems to be pretty conclusive that the problem is with the front LPG injector on the passenger side'. Customer said 'This is why I always come to you, others just seem to go through the motions and don't do anything like the testing you do, I think the last guy I visited only charged £20 out of guilt'. I said 'Surprising how little they all did, almost like they didn't want you there or couldn't be a***d, but particularly the first couple of installers charged you heavily nonetheless eh! - These tests I'm doing should be obvious to any pro. Problem we have now is that I don't have any EVO7 injectors in stock, I could get some, or just one if you don't want to spend much, but if it were me my car I'd just replace them all with new injectors, might be worth having a go at cleaning your injector out first though'. So we tried cleaning out the injector but the issue remained. Customer said 'I'm all over the place with work lately and don't know when I'd be able to come back - can you change all the injectors today, would that definitely fix my problem?'. I said 'That wil definitely fix your problem, I can change them all today but they will be a different type to yours, that won't be a problem though and out of the injectors I have in stock the ones I'd recommend we replace yours with aren't as expensive as yours'. He said 'Let's do it', so I replaced all his injectors with OMVL SL's, recalibrated his system, and his problem is fixed with the engine running very smoothly on gas...

One very happy customer who no doubt will come to me first again in future and probably won't visit those other installers in case I can't look at his car immediately. I was recommend to this customer before I first met him by one of his workmates. The mind boggles why some installers seem to fob customers off like in the above examples. Surely these installers, that seemingly manage to convert vehicles themselves, know how to diagnose problems? Surely they should want to learn their trade inside out, as many systems as they can, and gain a reputation for being able to economically repair any LPG system that is presented to them? Surely they must realise that although they might be able to make a couple of quid for pretending to go through motions, that this is unlikely to gain them repeat custom, or recommendations, or any kind of good reputation.

Simon

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:34 pm
Posts: 60
As with any trade there's good and bad, personally I enjoy doing a job right. I work mainly in accident repair side, sign of the times we seem to get not many thanks thesedays even when jobs spot on. Be happy that your reputation is a good one and well don't with your attitude to the job.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:41 pm 
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Depends I guess if they are just installers or problem solvers. I'm very good at problem solving and the mechanics of a car engine. I understand what happens if I do this and that.

Glad you got it sorted though.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:01 pm
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Location: Yorkshire
I can't really agree with that Scottyf - An installer needs to have problem solving skills to be any good as an installer.

In your situation as a mechanic at a garage, the garage wouldn't be very good if all staff could change head gaskets but none of them could advise the customer whether the head gasket needed changing or not.

Simon

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:13 pm 
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No Simon, you are confusing mechanics and installers with parts fitters which is what many seem to be these days. Problem solving, or diagnostics is a dying art. Different people are good at different things depending on how their brain is wired. To be able to diagnose a problem you have to understand how that item works in the first place and if you can't understand that, and you would probably be surprised at the number of people that can't, then they just can't get their head around diagnostics. It's like the first answer when the OBD code comes up to say the lambda sensor reading is wrong, the first thing they do is change the lambda sensor, not look at why it is reporting a wrong reading. Treat the cause not the symptom but if you don't know what sort of fault would cause a particular symptom then all you can do is keep changing parts in the hope that one of them will sort it out.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:18 pm 
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Location: Yorkshire
I see your points and wholeheartedly agree with most of them, but an LPG convertor needs to have skills associated with diagnostics or wouldn't be able to calibrate the system after the install, needs to have some engineering skill / be able to think a little laterally or wouldn't know where to fit components.

There are bad installers around for sure... but if someone is capable of converting a vehicle - deciding what parts to use, where all the parts should be fitted, having a few probs from time to time but overcoming them, knowing what needs to be physically changed in order to allow good software calibration - then surely that person should be able to similarly find faults on a vehicle with an install that isn't working properly.

Simon

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Servicing / Diagnostics / Repairs to all systems / DIY conversion kits supplied with thorough tech support
Mid Yorkshire
2 miles A1, 8 miles M62,
http://www.Lpgc.co.uk
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:35 pm 
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LPGC wrote:
but if someone is capable of converting a vehicle - deciding what parts to use,
The parts that came in the kit
LPGC wrote:
where all the parts should be fitted,
Anywhere there is space
LPGC wrote:
having a few probs from time to time but overcoming them,
Or sending the car out as it is and telling the customer that it's a 'feature' of running on LPG
LPGC wrote:
knowing what needs to be physically changed in order to allow good software calibration
Surely, that's what autocalibration is for? (and then telling the customer it's a 'feature' of running on LPG)

These are all the sort of things that get asked about on here with monotonous regularity so there may be more installers that aren't capable of diagnostics than you might think. Buy a kit specified for a particular vehicle and 9 times out of 10, it will work straight from the box. It may not be working at optimum but well enough for the customer to tolerate the odd quirk and think it is fine.

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'93 Range Rover 4.2 LSE, Lovato LovEco, sold
'98 Ex-Police Range Rover 4.0, Singlepoint AEB Leo, my daily motor
'97 Range Rover 4.0SE, eGas multipoint, a project.....

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:01 pm 
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Location: Yorkshire
Well, these guys do exist and when you put it like that I've got to agree!

What gets me is that the firms I referred to in my opening post are apparently able to convert vehicles to the satisfaction of customers - but when a vehicle arrives at their premises with parts fitted which they are not quite so familiar with, or maybe simply which they didn't fit themselves, any skills we might expect them to have and/or any intention of providing decent service seem to go out of the window.

Simon

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Servicing / Diagnostics / Repairs to all systems / DIY conversion kits supplied with thorough tech support
Mid Yorkshire
2 miles A1, 8 miles M62,
http://www.Lpgc.co.uk
Twitter https://twitter.com/AutogasSimon
07816237240


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:06 pm 
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Location: North Wales
All you did was the very basics of fault tracing. I would have probably tried the injector swap first unless it was a right pita to do.

I bet the one who charged him a lot but did nothing was the very nice man at Central Garage?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:29 pm 
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LPGC wrote:
What gets me is that the firms I referred to in my opening post are apparently able to convert vehicles to the satisfaction of customers
That's the whole point, what is the customer satisfied with? How many times have you seen posts on here where people will say that the MIL is always on but they've been told that is normal when you are running on gas? Others who change over to petrol to overtake because they have been told that the engine will produce less power on gas? Admittedly it probably will but not so much that you'd notice it unless you are drag racing against a stopwatch. It's only when they come on here, or visit a decent installer, and are told it isn't normal that they realise they've been fobbed off. Customers being fobbed off is probably a lot more common than you think.

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'96 Saab 900XS, AEB Leo, sold
'93 Range Rover 4.2 LSE, Lovato LovEco, sold
'98 Ex-Police Range Rover 4.0, Singlepoint AEB Leo, my daily motor
'97 Range Rover 4.0SE, eGas multipoint, a project.....

Proud to be a member of the YCHJCYA2PDTHFH club.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:15 pm 
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Location: Yorkshire
classicswede wrote:
All you did was the very basics of fault tracing. I would have probably tried the injector swap first unless it was a right pita to do.

I bet the one who charged him a lot but did nothing was the very nice man at Central Garage?

That's right mate, just basic stuff. Checked the ignition first because injectors, though not quite a pita to swap around, had tight pipes that wouldn't have reached to other injectors, injector brackets were a bit difficult to remove before the pipes would reach, customer had refitted a few plugs and wasn't sure he'd tightened them properly... One installer was from the NorthEast and one from Leeds this time - I dare say the man at Central Garage, or Autocraft would have charged more and done even less than the other two! :lol:

You're right, Gilbert... I've come to a realisation - Maybe 7 times out of 10 when a customer I haven't seen before comes to me with a problem with their LPG system, they have recently been to another installer with the same problem but obviously their problem remains. On each of these occasions I think 'dodgy installer'. The 7 out of 10 stat doesn't include Central or Autocraft or the stat would be higher! It's a sorry state if so many installers can't, or won't, fix LPG systems though.

Simon

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Full time LPG installer
Servicing / Diagnostics / Repairs to all systems / DIY conversion kits supplied with thorough tech support
Mid Yorkshire
2 miles A1, 8 miles M62,
http://www.Lpgc.co.uk
Twitter https://twitter.com/AutogasSimon
07816237240


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