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Hello from Drag Radial Performance

Postby Pontisteve » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:02 pm

Hi fellow techs, I'm Steve from Drag Radial Performance. I specialize in performance (dyno) tuning American car's computers for aftermarket performance applications. I also do a decent amount of factory car and race car diagnostics. I have a Picoscope 4423 master kit, along with a WPS-500 pressure transducer. Looking forward to contributing, and learning.
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Re: Hello from Drag Radial Performance

Postby FioranoCars » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:53 pm

Hi Steve
Welcome and looking forward to hearing about your potterings and especially seeing WPS stuff, while it is niche, there is so much more I think we can achieve and learn about this kit and how to leverage it for more diagnostic learning outcomes.

Best
Richard
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Re: Hello from Drag Radial Performance

Postby Pontisteve » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:57 am

Hello Richard,

The in-cylinder pressure readings are one of my favorite things. I need to learn more about them, and how the peak compression readings compare to traditional compression tests. But already, the potential here is exciting.

While voltage is good, and amperage is great, I think it's pressure that holds the most untapped potential. Crankcase, manifold, exhaust, fuel, cylinder. There are so many interesting ways to learn something about the motor from pressure. A tuner colleague of mine recently turned me on to using a liquid pressure sensor in the cooling system on race cars, datalogging that, and looking for signs of increased coolant system pressure just before the motor lifts a head and blows a gasket. That's neat for racing, but I suspect it has a place in diagnostics too.

Regards,
Steve
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Re: Hello from Drag Radial Performance

Postby FioranoCars » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:34 pm

Pontisteve wrote:using a liquid pressure sensor in the cooling system on race cars, datalogging that, and looking for signs of increased coolant system pressure just before the motor lifts a head and blows a gasket. That's neat for racing, but I suspect it has a place in diagnostics too.


Hi Steve

The example here is clearly a great way on a racing car (and I used to race classic touring cars, which were pushing all those old parts well past their safe limits!) to proactively provide maintenance and avoid costly repairs (or downtime/reliability). I'm sure this sort of thing will make it's way to road cars one day.

My heart is definitely set, mind too, that pressure sensors will help both clarify other readings (volts and amps - which often can be done faster with less intrusive work needed, but not always!) BUT also help pinpoint the reason/component/system giving rise to the core fault not just the symptoms.

So Steve I agree completely and even in simplest form ... a starter motor, Volts and Amps often can be great for initial symptom id, though vague for root causes ... high/low starter amps, even with volt drop is not giving you a cause ... honest, add pressure and you're much closer, though not always conclusive.

However, even for instance, some of the PICO examples written up, I can't help but think, especially with NVH, that some of these could only be pinpointed after the strip down, and while we're in the infancy we do need to share, and build communal libraries/resources of the symptoms, captures with the faults and logic that could have got there, which PICO is doing pretty well at achieving (Visionary People!), as does this forum.

We have a long we to go though, but with pressure and NVH we move to a more generic approach and common data, Diesel and Petrol being quite different in some values, Direct High Pressure petrol being subtly different from old school injection, but the core principles and hence data values are shared amongst a much wider vehicle park (across many manufacturers/Model/Classes even) ... so hopefully this should help build the understanding.

It's almost easy to spot a problem/symptom, but much harder with all the logic the Engine Control Module (or other ECU) employs, to find the root cause ... we try to persevere to the end, but that's not always possible for street cars, as owners priorities don't allow it, short sighted and costly for them in long term, but other garages often are happy to spit bits, fix the symptom and get the owner's pants down a second time when it breaks down again!

So, I have no doubt that being thorough is best for the customer and ethically sound, just the number of garages who'll quote to fix a car without seeing it, let alone testing anything, is laughable, and even websites out there encouraging fixed bidding on a customers own write up ... I'll get off my soap box :oops: :oops:

Anyway back to Pressures et al, I'm keen to get better value from both the WPS500 kit and FirstLook type piezo sensors (I should add the NVH, but that's probably going to have to wait till a project comes along, with time to explore and learn), and having done some learning, reading and practical tests, I feel that while I know quite a bit, I still know very little relative to the full potential, and that alone (or our workshop team combined even) we'll never reach full potential ...

So, I'm very interested in how the knowledge can be shared, with critical constructive review ... could this diagnosis have been achieved another way (not hindsight, more methodical and structured approach stuff - often not easy at the coal face or the practicalities of the vehicle/packaging), did this method miss some potential alternative problem(s) that might have caused the same symptoms (not that it was a "lucky" guess, more that it's rarely the last test that COULD have been done that confirms the fault, equally nor the first) and then the actual data and analysis, was an earlier test giving hints of this, what is plain noise verse usable data, what has significance and what is chatter ... the analysis is becoming key, not just the timing overlay which is a big step, especially with 8+ cylinders and VVT but knowing/seeing examples of the nuances and what they mean ... both good and problems ... it's not quite that easy, but anything that moves us and our knowledge/understanding forward has to be beneficial.

I've lagged a little in both uploading and writing up post repair :o ... so this year I'm going to try to do both, for internal and external benefits, for one, to better understand how we can improve our approach to more complex problems (avoid chasing spurious things is a key goal!), but I really hope others will try to do the same, as we'll all learn faster through sharing, and often learn as much again from reviewing our own work, as we did from doing the job, but the same again from other members CONSTRUCTIVE questions and feedback or ideas regarding the repair.

Everyone, have a prosperous and healthy 2017, with plenty of potential to be tapped into and shared !

Best
Richard
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