Return to 'Giammalvo Quarterly' News Letter 'Page'
A Publication of Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service
Vol. 2 No. 5 FALL 1996

Technicians Join The Service Technicians Society.
Shop Purchases New Brake Lathe
Giammalvo's Joins Motorist Assurance Program.
On The Technical Side
Nelson Benevides Weds Victoria Estacio 
What Our membership In ASA Means To You Go to Sam's ASA page
Customer Rescued in Waltham
In Passing 

Our E-mail Address:

Our Phone Number Is 508-999-3213

Technicians Join 
The Service Technicians Society.

Recently our service technicians became charter members of the new Service Technicians Society, (STS). STS is a new affiliate of the Society of Automotive Engineers, (SAE).   STS members are a nationwide group of automotive technicians who are dedicated to advancing the skills, education, and professional image of technicians who service vehicles and systems for the mobility community. STS technicians can contact one another on the Internet from computers at their home or work. From their computers they can communicate and share information with other technicians. In addition, they will also be able to receive on-line training courses. 

Shop Purchases New Brake Lathe

This past September we purchased the Pro-Cut On-the-Car Brake Lathe by Snap-On Tools Corporation. The Pro-Cut Lathe is the latest technology in on-the-car brake lathes.   Several new vehicles in the marketplace are now manufactured with captured brake rotors. These rotors are not designed to be removed from the car when being refinished like most cars. Vehicles with captured rotors should be serviced with an on-the-car brake lathe like the Pro-Cut. In this case the technician will roll the Pro-Cut lathe up to the vehicle and refinish the brake rotor while it is on the car. This allows greater accuracy when refinishing the rotor and meets the car manufactures guidelines for refinishing captured rotors. 

Giammalvo's Joins 
Motorist Assurance Program.

We are now members of the Motorist Assurance Program, (MAP). MAP was formed in June of 1992 by a group of service providers, manufactures, associations, and others who were concerned about the reputation of the automotive repair industry. MAP works to improve communication and trust between the industry and its customers. MAP's purpose is to strengthen the relationship between the motorist and the automotive service industry through education of both the motorist and service provider, and through the creation of industry standards. MAP has established positive relationships with many consumer groups and regulatory agencies. These include: the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), American Automobile Association (AAA), Car Care Council (CCC), Consumer Information Center (CIC), Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB), and the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). MAP has special guidelines for technicians to follow regarding parts replacement on motorists automobiles. These are known as MAP's Uniform Inspection Guidelines. These guidelines help to reinforce a "high trust" relationship between the technician and the customer. A sample of some of their guidelines is below. 

Brake pad cracked through. 
Brake pad glazed.
Damaged ignition rotor.
Hole in exhaust pipe. 
Rusty pipe with no leak present.

Shop Procedure

Requires replacement.
No service required.
Suggest replacement.
Requires replacement.
Suggest future replacement.


On The Technical Side

If you have had a performance or driveability problem with your car that required testing of your vehicles onboard computer system, you probably noticed a fee on your invoice which talked about the use of a scan tool and / or analysis of the datastream. The datastream is the name given to the list of both sensor inputs and outputs that your cars computer is seeing and controlling. The scan tool is a device that we use to connect to your cars computer. It allows the technician to see the same information that your computer is seeing. The scan tool was developed from aircraft "black box" technology. Just like a plane's "black box" or what is correctly called a flight data recorder, a vehicle can be driven with the scan tool in record mode so that if a vehicle has an intermittent problem the technician can record the data and replay it back on the main computer at the shop. Our technicians attend training throughout the year to keep abreast of how to read the latest datastream technology. The technician not only has to know what each item is, he must know what each item should display. In addition, the readings change as vehicle speed and load change. Below is a data stream printout of a Pontiac Grand Am that came into the shop recently. The customer complained that the car was running rough and that there was black smoke coming out of the tailpipe. Lets take a look at what the technician saw while the car was idling in the service bay. The data displayed on the scan tool changes every 1-2 seconds as the car is idling this way the cars computer can always have fresh updated information so it can make informed decisions.   The readings that follow represent a one second snapshot recorded by our scan tool. The readings are normally abbreviated on the scan tool. We have spelled out the names to make it easier to understand: 

Sensor Input or Output Current Reading
O2 (Oxygen Sensor) 469 millivolts
Loop Status Open/Closed Open
TPS (Throttle Position) .40 volts
TPS% (Throttle %) 0%
IAC (Idle Air Control) 167 counts
Des Id ( Desired Idle ) 1200 RPM
MAF (Mass Air Flow to Eng.) 11 gams per sec. 
Pulse Width (Fuel Injector On Time) 8.2 millisec.
Knk (Eng Knock Yes/NO) No
Prom Id (Program ID Number) 3964
TIME (Time Since Key On) 10 min 45 sec.
Batt (Battery Volts) 13.2
CTS (Coolant Temp) 41 F
BK (Brake Pedal On/Off) Off
CF1 (Cooling Fan 1 On/Off) Off
AC (Air Conditioning On/Off ) Off
VSS (Vehicle Speed Signal) 0 mph 
PRNDL (Transmission Gear) Park
BL (Block Learn) 128
INT (Integrator) 128
SPK AD (Spark Advance ) 0 deg
Decel Fu Ct. (Decelerate Fuel Cut) No
HA (High Altitude) No
Codes None present 
 This car has a fairly small datastream and this particular problem was fairly simple to spot to the trained eye. Some cars datastreams are 80-100 lines long. In this particular data stream we can see the following information: The throttle is closed, we can see this by the 0% value. This means that no one is currently stepping on the gas pedal. If this reading was greater than 0% and no one was stepping on the gas, we would know that the throttle position sensor or circuit may be faulty. The desired idle is unusually high at 1200 rpm. The desired idle, is the idle speed of the engine that the computer wants. It should be around 800 rpm on this model. The idle air control motor is the device that the computer uses to control idle. This is normally at 30 counts. For some reason the computer wants the engines idle to be higher, hence the 167 counts. This would explain the high idle speed of 1200 rpm. The Mass Air Flow reading corresponds to the amount of air in route to the engine from the air cleaner in grams per second. This is generally around 3-4 gps at idle on this model. The current reading of 11gps is high because the engine idle is so high. The fuel injector on time is high at 8.2 milliseconds. With the car idling, this is normally 1 or 2 milliseconds. This represents how long the computer holds the fuel injectors open. The figure of 8.2 means the computer is forcing the fuel injectors to spray a large amount of fuel into the engine. This would explain the above high idle. But why does the computer want all this extra fuel sprayed when normally a reading of 1 or 2 milliseconds is only necessary at idle? Why is this figure wrong? Is the computer faulty? Are the fuel injectors faulty?  Lets look further. The coolant temperature reading is 41 F. How can this be? The car has been running for over 10 minuets and the engine is hot to the touch. This is the source of all our trouble on this car. After testing the coolant temperature sensor we found that it was faulty. It was sending the computer a temperature signal that was too cool. When we tested the temperature of the cars engine, we found it was normal at 195 F. The computer was being told a lie about coolant temperature form the coolant temperature sensor. The computer always assumes the sensor readings coming in are correct. The cars computer thought that the coolant temperature of the engine was 41 F. Based on that information, the computer sprayed more fuel out the fuel injectors in order to keep the engine running for a temperature reading of 41 F. This is because a cold engine requires more fuel to stay running. That resulted in all the other strange readings. All that extra fuel explained the customers complaint of black smoke out the tailpipe and rough running. It also explained the high idle readings.  You may be wondering...Why didn't the check engine light come on to warn me that this sensor was bad? That's a good question. If a customer reports that the check engine light is on, we will connect the scan tool to read the data stream and look for a fault code. A fault code is a 2 or 3 digit code that the computer remembers when it detects a fault on one of the vehicles sensors or sensor circuits. The fault code for low coolant temperature on this car is code 15. When we reviewed the datastream, code 15 was not present. Why? Lets look at the Pontiac Service Manual to see the parameters for a code 15.  The service manual states: Code 15 will set if: Coolant Temperature is less than -38 F for 60 seconds or more, or the coolant temperature sensor is unplugged for 60 seconds or more, or coolant temperature sensor wire #410 is open for 60 seconds or more. Although the coolant temperature sensor was "out of range" at 41 F. It was not at -38 F so no codes were set. Hope this helps shed some light on modern driveability diagnostics. 
Nelson Benevides Weds 
Victoria Estacio 

We are proud to announce the marriage of our employee Nelson Benivides to Victoria Estacio. Mr & Mrs  Nelson BenevidesNelson is a full time automotive technician here at Giammalvo's. Nelson performs vehicle maintenance service and advanced driveability diagnostic work on vehicles with computerized controls. Nelson is a graduate of New Bedford Vocational School and he is also a certified automotive technician with The National institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). He is also currently pursuing his masters degree through continuing education programs with ASE. Victoria is a graduate of New Bedford vocational School and Bristol Community College. Victoria is a full time secretary at Hawthorn Medical Associates. Nelson and Victoria were wed on August 17 of this year at Immaculate Conception Church in New Bedford. Their reception followed at the Century House in Acushnet. The couple spent their honeymoon on the cruise ship Monarch of The Sea's and visited the Virgin Islands. Congratulations and best wishes to them both! 

What Our membership In ASA 
Means To You 
Go to Sam's ASA page

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind serving approximately 14,000 businesses and more than 55,000 professionals from all segments of the automotive service industry. ASA's mission is to enhance the automotive service profession through ongoing technical and management education. ASA provides members with access to benefits such as legislative updates, technical information and assistance, and the most up-to-date environmental information. ASA members strive to improve the image of the automotive service industry by committing themselves to quality repairs and the best possible service at a fair price. The consumer's complete satisfaction is the ultimate goal of an ASA business. All members of ASA must agree to uphold the ASA Code of Ethics: 

-- To perform high-quality repair service at a fair price and a just price. 

-- To use only proven merchandise of high quality distributed by reputable firms. 

-- To employ the best skilled technicians obtainable. 

-- To furnished an itemized invoice for fairly priced parts and services which clearly identifies any used or remanufactured parts. Replaced parts may be inspected upon request. 

-- To have a sense of personal obligation to each individual customer. 

-- To promote good will between the motorist and members of this association. 

-- To recommend corrective and maintenance services, explaining to the customer which of these are required to correct existing problems and which are for preventative maintenance. 

-- To offer the customer a price estimate for work to be performed. 

-- To furnish or post copies of any warranties covering parts or services. 

-- To obtain prior authorization for all work done, in writing or by other means satisfactory to the customer. 

-- To notify the customer if appointments or completion promises cannot be kept. 

-- To maintain customer service records for one year or more. 

-- To exercise reasonable care for the customer's property while in our possession. -- To maintain a system for fair settlement of a customer's complaints. 

-- To cooperate with established consumer complaint mediation activities. 

-- To uphold the high standards of our profession and always seek to correct any and all abuses within the automotive industry. 

-- To uphold the integrity of all members of the Automotive Service Association. 

Customer Rescued in Waltham

Recently, this past September, we received a distress call from one of our customers who was out of town and having problems with her car. The customer was in Waltham and noticed that the low battery warning lamp was lit on the dash of her 1993 Toyota Corolla. Her call came into our service department and due to its urgent nature, was given top priority. The customer wanted to know who she could trust locally to perform the diagnosis. We knew we would have to work fast since the warning light indicated that either battery or alternator failure was imminent.  We consulted the Automotive Service Association (ASA) directory and plotted the locations of ASA shops on a Massachusetts state map. The closest shop to her current location was Ultima Ltd. in Waltham. We contacted the owner, Joe Sampson and advised him of the customers situation. Joe told us that he would look at the car as soon as possible. We contacted the customer and she was relieved that we had found a competent facility. We later contacted the customer to confirm that the car had been repaired correctly . The customer reported that the repairs were fine and she was very happy at the way  we handled the situation. 

In Passing 

We were saddened by the loss of both long time customers, John Tomlinson and William Whelan Jr. 

John Tomlinson was employed by the New Bedford Gas & Edison Light Co. as a foreman until his retirement. John was remembered by everyone in the shop as one of our senior customers with a very young personality. He will be missed. 

William Whelan Jr. was also formerly employed by the New Bedford Gas & Edison Light Co. as a foreman in the line department until his retirement. William and the Whelan family are long time customers with us. He will also, be missed. 

We also morn the passing of Mary Cabral. Mary was the wife of our customer Duke Cabral and mother of our customer Terri Cabral. The Cabral family are long time customers of Giammalvo's going back to the early 1960's when we first opened. Our heart felt prayers go out to the Cabral Family. 

As we go to print with this issue we were also saddened by the loss of the following customers: Antone Gilbert, Jose Bretal, Joaquin Gonsalves, Frank Perry, Alvin Glaser, Henry Isabelle and Edwin Beaumont. All of them and their families are long time customers. We are saddened by their loss. 

Thank you for your business.
Please drive safely.
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Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales, Inc.
1476 Purchase Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: (508) 999-3213
FAX: (508) 999-1343
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