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What people are saying...

"Enjoyed reading your website very much. I am an instructor for a non-profit auto club... your website is the best I have found to date. Thanks very much, Steve." Marvin

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"...I also wanted to let you know how much impact those books you sent me have made in the automobile industry right here. I call them a blessing because they have really increased the number of calls I receive in a day for repairs. I told you I would be the best some day. My dream is comming true. Even franchised dealers call me for some service. Thanks to the world of electronics! " Victor T, Zambia

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"Found your web site quite informative. We are a dealer in Ontario Canada faced with a Driveclean program that will be effective on July 1st. Thank you." Serge, Shop supervisor

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"Just wanted to thank you for helping me diagnose my Mustang high NOX problem. Your site clearly led me to correctly replacing the defective EGR Valve. It passed wonderfully today. Thanks again." Wayne

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"I reviewed your information on the internet prior to retaking my EA Smog Tech Exam. I am impressed and appreciate your making available this material. Again, Thanks!" Charlie

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"I have recieved my electronic order and have found your material very useful....I've been introduced formally to a whole new world of tools that will make my life so much easier...I have already used near all the material plus showed some other guys. I really didn't know where to start,but I don't think I could have made a better choice. Electrical fundamentals that I never seem to grasp (I have taken a number of classes) have finally all come together.I really can't thank you nough...Thank-you... " Shawn

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"The training in electronics is vital because electrical components, or a series of related components, account for nearly all malfunctions in modern vehicles"
US Department of Labour, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-07

 

 

 

 

 

"The ability to diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately requires good reasoning ability and a thorough knowledge of automobiles. Many technicians consider diagnosing hard-to-find troubles one of their most challenging and satisfying duties."
US Department of Labour,
Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-07

 

 

 

 

 

"The increasing sophistication of automotive technology now requires workers who can use computerized shop equipment and work with electronic components while maintaining their skills with traditional hand tools."
US Department of Labour,
Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-07

 

 

 

 

 

"Today, integrated electronic systems and complex computers run vehicles and measure their performance while on the road. Technicians must have an increasingly broad base of knowledge about how vehicles' complex components work and interact, as well as the ability to work with electronic diagnostic equipment and computer-based technical reference materials."
US Department of Labour, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-07

 

 

 

 

 

"Opportunities should be very good for automotive service technicians and mechanics with diagnostic and problem solving skills, knowledge of electronics ... and mechanical aptitude." "Average Annual job openings, 33,930"
US Department of Labour,
Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-07

 

     

 

What are you going to tell the customer when you can't fix their vehicle right the first time?

Don't worry - I can help you understand what is going on and how to make fast, easy repairs.

Have you ever asked questions like:

  • How do I diagnose problems with egr valves, oxygen sensors, pcv valves, and map sensors?
  • HC, CO, CO2, O2 and NOx - which exhaust gases do I need to know about?
  • What about carbon dioxide emissions and NOx emissions - what levels are acceptable?
  • What makes a vehicle run rich or lean?
  • TAC, EFE, AIR, CAT, TP, MAP, ECT, KS - what if they have problems? What can I do?
  • Feedback carburetors and fuel pumps - can you help me understand them?
  • What is OBDII?
  • Can you explain electricity, circuits and digital signals to me?
  • I don't know how to use a lab scope for diagnosis. Can you teach me?
  • How do I get a pattern on a scope? And what does it mean?
  • Is it safe to probe the wires?
  • What's the difference between primary and secondary ignition?
  • Why do I need to know about relative compression?
  • I am taking the California Smog Check License Exam - what do I need to know? Can you give me practise questions and answers?

Get the answers to these questions and more right here. Quickly discover what you need to know so you too can perform successful auto repairs. As an automotive teacher I explain things in plain English so they can be easily understood. I cover electrical, computers, emissions, engine performance, as well as how to diagnose effectively and efficiently. Let's get you some auto repair information now. (CA smog techs please click here.)

Let's start with some basics...

Basic Needs of an Engine:

Let's review the basic needs of an engine. We will be looking at the air/fuel ratio needs of an engine, depending on the condition when it's operating. We'll also throw in a few comments about ignition timing needs during these conditions.

1. Cold Start: When starting cold, the sprayed fuel tends to condense on cold engine metal, so we need a very rich air-fuel ratio to get enough vaporized fuel to run properly. When the engine is cranking there can't be a lot of timing advance or the burning will complete before the piston is at the top of the stroke and it will try to push the piston down backwards.
2. Warm Start: When starting with the engine not as cold, or maybe warmed up, we still need a slightly rich mixture to get started, but not as rich as a cold start. There will still be some condensing of the fuel on engine metal that isn't up to total operating temperature.
3. Cold Idle: We still need a richer mixture than normal running because of the vaporization problem, but not as rich as a cold start. We could also use more timing advance for a smoother idle.
4. Warm Idle: Once we are warmed up, the air fuel ratio can get closer to our middle stoichiometric ratio for clean emissions and we will still have a reasonably smooth running engine. Some manufacturers run at stoichiometry, some may run the engine slightly rich to give a smoother idle.
5. Warm Cruise: Now with higher engine speeds and moderate engine load (higher load means the engine is working harder-it has more air coming in) we can run right at the ideal stoichiometric air fuel ratio for clean emissions or even leaner to get good fuel economy. Our ignition timing needs to be very advanced now. Since the engine is spinning faster, we need to start the spark sooner so that the burn is complete when it's time for the expanding gas to push down on the piston. And leaner mixtures take longer to burn too, since the fuel is more diluted among the oxygen.
6. Heavy Load or Sudden Acceleration: Under these power conditions we need a slightly rich air fuel ratio. It helps to get more power out of the engine. And our timing can't be as advanced because the richer mixtures burn faster, and the heavier load also burns faster. So we don't need to start the spark as soon to have the burn complete by the time we want the expanding gas to push down on the piston.
7. Deceleration or Coasting: This is easy, when decelerating we don't need any fuel at all, so we can turn the injectors off.

Input Sensors:

Now the whole job of the computer is to analyze the inputs to figure out what condition the engine is running under. Then it uses the logic to figure out what fuel, timing etc. is needed for this condition. Then with the actuators, it outputs to the engine what it needs. A problem occurs when some part of this process goes bad.

Since the computer doesn't have eyes and ears like you and I, it has to have sensors to tell it what's going on with the engine. These are the usual types: Engine speed (and position) or RPM, Engine Load, Throttle angle or position, Coolant temperature, Air temperature, Exhaust gas air/fuel ratio, and a Knocking, pinging or detonation sensor. (There may be lots of others, but these tell the major story.)

Let's look at each of these in more detail, and what kind of information you will see on a scan tool. Pay attention to the initials used to symbolize each of the sensors, you will want to know that for later..."

Next I cover things like map sensors, throttle position sensors, oxygen sensors and egr valves.

more free info...
The above info is from pages 24 and 25 of my "Smog Refresher Course" book. Special offer here. Electronic information available worldwide, instantly!


Emission Control Devices

Here we're going to talk about PCV, Fuel Evaporative Systems, Thermostatic Air Cleaners, Air Injection, EGR, and Catalytic Converters. What theory do you need to know about how they work? How do they usually fail and cause problems? How do we test them? And we'll have some sample test questions.

PCV:(Positive Crankcase Ventilation):

These were our first emission control devices. (Unless you want to call a gas cap a smog device, but the first gas caps were vented, right?)

Inside the engine crankcase, where the oil lives and breathes we have gas vapors that got there by sneaking past the piston rings when the piston is compressing the air-fuel ratio or the fuel is burning up. And the more power the engine is developing, the more of these HC vapors get crammed into the crankcase. So, what to do?

If we have a crankcase that is totally sealed, this gas under pressure will eventually blow out the seals. So we have to find a way of relieving this pressure.

In the old days, when I was a child, we had road draft tubes and open oil filler cap covers. That way the pressure could get out, and as the car drove down the road, suction was created at the road draft tube and it helped pull out the gas vapors. Fresh air could come in through the oil cap and help keep the engine oil from being too contaminated by the gas. This helped the oil last longer.

But, then came pictures of L.A. smog, and the smart scientists realized that we could cut down on about 20% of the smog if we didn't let that gas out that we paid for anyway. So now we have what is called a closed crankcase.

The oil filler cap should not let out any fumes. And the oil dip stick should also be sealed, in some newer cars better than some older cars. And we have a fancy PCV valve or orifice that lets the intake manifold vacuum recycle and burn that gas we paid for.

Inside the PCV valve is an orifice regulated by a plug and a spring. When manifold vacuum is high, this plug is sucked in hard against the spring and we just have a small calibrated orifice for blowby to flow through. Then, as engine load increases, the vacuum drops and the plug is pushed back by the spring and we have a bigger opening for more crankcase flow.

But if we have no vacuum, the plug is pushed against the other end by the spring, and we have no flow. This is a flame arrester in case of a backfire. We wouldn't want the flame in the intake to spread to the crankcase. Also in this system, instead of a road draft tube, we have some sort of vent tube usually running between the crankcase or valve cover and the air intake or air filter area.

Here's how the PCV flow goes...

more free info...
The above info is from page 45 of my "Smog Refresher Course" book. Special offer here. Electronic information available worldwide, instantly!


Want to learn how to diagnose quickly and accurately?

Do what the pro's do - use a lab scope! This will significantly reduce diagnosis time and more importantly increase accuracy. Never used one before? I will teach you how! And if you already have one and want some advanced skills, I cover that too.

How good do you want to be at fixing cars? Just OK, so you can fix the easy ones? Or do you want to be able to figure out almost anything that comes your way? Thatís the edge using a lab scope can give you. Let me put it another way. If you wanted to look at something pretty, would you want an old, faded black and white photograph, or would you rather look at it with a video camera on your widescreen TV? Thatís what a lab scope can do for you that a scan tool canít. Oh, you need a scan tool nowadays to fix cars. But if you arenít using a lab scope, with amp probes, thereís a whole world you are missing.

This book is designed to get you into that worldÖ†

Some techs canít use a lab scope at all, and others can get a couple of patterns up on the screen. But they donít know how to make it really fly. They get nervous and confused trying to get a pattern on the screen. When it doesnít work at first, what do they do? What does the pattern mean? How do you know if the signal is good or bad?

Without a lab scope and amp probes...there's a whole world you are missing.
Thatís what this book is about. You could call this ďLab Scopes for DummyísĒ, except Iíd probably get a call from the lawyer of the group that puts out all those books, and we donít want that.
Automotive Lab Scopes    

We keep it simple. The purpose of this book is to get you measuring all kinds of things with your lab scope. And I firmly believe that if you canít make something simple when you explain it to somebody else, you donít really understand it. Later on, weíll get into some more complex applications of lab scopes. But weíll still make that simple, too. (Youíd be surprised at all the testing you can do that will help you with your diagnosis.)

This book is designed for the technician who doesnít really know how to use a lab scope, also called a DSO. (Digital Storage Oscilloscope) Or the tech who wants to take his diagnosis to the next level. Weíre going to explain these things:
  • How does a lab scope work? (in very simple terms)
  • When you look at a pattern on the scope, what are you seeing, and how do you know if it is bad?
  • How do you get a pattern on the scope, how do you do the adjustments to make the pattern look right?
  • What do you do when you canít get a pattern on the screen at all? (A lot of guys have this problem, but donít admit it to their friendsÖ)
     Fluke Multimeter reading
  • What are some of the different things you can do and see with the lab scope? (Most technicians donít know how much diagnosis you can do with an inexpensive scope, and a few attachments.)
  • Where and how do you hook up the scope to the circuit? Does it make much difference?
more free info...
The above info is from page 1 of my "Lab Scopes: Introductory & Advanced" book. Special offer here.
Electronic information available worldwide, instantly!


Compared to a Scan Tool: Many of you are used to working with scan tools. You pull up the data on a screen, and you read something, let's say the throttle position sensor. Maybe it says 0.6v. How quickly can that number change when the throttle changes? On many scan tools it can take a second or more, right? So, what happened in between those numbers? Did things happen that you didn't know about? That can be a problem.
Lab Scopes and Scan Tools
Scan tool data only shows what the PCM thinks it sees, and it doesn't update very fast.


Some scan tools let you graph data, so you get the info updated at much quicker internals. But it still isn't as fast as you can get from a good lab scope. You could be missing something. Let's think of an example.

You are driving along in a Ford, you decelerate for a stoplight, and you hit a chuck hole that causes the engine to shake. This causes the TPS voltage to go below your normal 0.6v at closed throttle, down to 0.4v, just for an instant. (The TPS has started to go bad, but hasn't set a code yet.)

A lab scope draws a picture of the voltage...

Now the computer thinks this is your closed throttle idle position. So when the TPS is back to 0.6v at the stoplight, the computer thinks you're cruising. So it keeps the idle speed high. (It's preparing to drop the idle speed slowly for you when do your next deceleration, to keep the emissions low.) You have just duplicated the high idle problem your customer was complaining about, but will the scan tool have recorded your glitch? Probably not, with a fast glitch.

Remember, those numbers on the scan tool that just sit there and don't change, don't mean the...

more free info...
The above info is from page 9 of my "Lab Scopes: Introductory & Advanced" book. Special offer here. Electronic information available worldwide, instantly!

Why Should You Listen to Me?

My name is Steven McAfee. After working as a mechanic for almost 30 years, teaching for 10 years and assisting in developing numerous training programs and classes for both private industry and community colleges (technical institutes), I can tell you a lot about automotive repairs. I understand the frustration you experience when you don't understand what's going on under the hood or the agitation and insecurity you feel when you can't fix the problem. How do you find out what's wrong with the car before you waste money on parts that you hope might fix the problem? I can help you with that.       Automotive Instructor Steven McAfee

I have been priviledged to have factory training from Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, GM and BMW so I can pass on some of that information to you.

My first book the "Smog Refresher Course" was written to help California smog technicians pass their Smog License Exam but because it has general information about gas analysis, emission control devices, feedback carburetors, dynamometer testing and OBDII, people requested I make this information publically available. I was teaching in California at the time I wrote this book and I was recently asked to teach overseas so I am now in New Zealand, enjoying the beautiful scenery and sharing the knowledge I have of automotive electrical, computers, emissions and engine performance diagnostics and repairs and using a lab scope for effective diagnosis. More about me...    See my special introductory offer here.

I teach entry level to advanced classes in the following subject areas:

Electrical; Autotronics; Emissions; Basic and Advanced Clean Air Car Course; Engine Performance; ASE A6 Preparation; A6 Alternative; ASE A8 Preparation; A8 Alternative; ASE L1 Preparation; L1 Alternative; OBD II (On Board Diagnostics - 2nd generation); Fuel injection and computer controls for: Bosch, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Autotronics, ABS Brakes.

See my resume here.

Books to Help You Succeed

You could spend days searching on the internet looking for free information hoping it might cover everything I go over here. Or you could spend a couple of minutes and get all the information you need delivered to you instantly. Quickly discover what you need to know so you too can perform successful auto repairs. To help you get started I have a special offer for a limited time only - buy two electronic books together and get a $10 discount off the regular price (Regularly $24.95 each). The "Smog Refresher Course" and "Lab Scopes: Introductory & Advanced" will enhance your knowledge and help you work more efficiently. Click here to order now There is a 100% money back guarantee on all purchases. Delivery time: instant.

    Smog Refresher Course, Lab Scopes: Introductory & Advanced

You get a link to open the books as soon as your order is complete. And don't worry, if you lose the link, username or password for the electronic items you ordered, you can get them again by simply emailing us (tell us your name, date of purchase and items purchased) - we will verify your order and gladly send you the information you need.All e-books need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to open them. Most computers already have this. If you don't have the free Reader, you can get one by clicking here, and following the instructions from Adobe Acrobat for your computer.

The "Smog Refresher Course" contains 120 pages packed with theory, examples and questions. It has 141 sample test questions and answers. These questions are similar to what is on the state test. I can't give you the actual questions - the BAR would skin be alive! Individually priced at only $39.00 for the printed version (direct from the printers) or $24.95 for the electronic version, this book is definately worth it. E-book priced at $19.95 for a limited time with this special introductory offer

"Lab Scopes: Introductory & Advanced" is 75 information packed pages and contains lots of screen captures and pictures to help illustrate procedures. Individually priced at only $39.00 for the printed version (direct from the printers) or $24.95 for the electronic version, this book will open up a new world of diagnosis. E-book priced at $19.95 for a limited time with this special introductory offer

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Available Worldwide

No matter what country you live in, getting the right information is the difference between success and failure. And that information is not always readily available. I have changed that. Electronic books make accessing information fast and easy no matter where you live in the world. After receiving two e-books, this is what Victor from Zambia had to say:

"...I also wanted to let you know how much impact those books you sent me have made in the automobile industry right here. I call them a blessing because they have really increased the number of calls I receive in a day for repairs. I told you I would be the best some day. My dream is comming true. Even franchised dealers call me for some service. Thanks to the world of electronics! " Victor T, Zambia

Shawn from Florida had this to say:

"I have recieved my electronic order and have found your material very useful. Suddenly I felt like I was in high school again. Most refreshing to get a glimmer of that feeling again. Life was so simple then. Thank-you..." Shawn, Florida, USA

How do I get this information?

Ordering is fast and easy and comes with 100% money back guarantee. You may click on the Order Form button on this page or go directly to the section you are interested in by clicking one of the department links below.

Department Prices
Articles ................. Range between $1.59 and $3.49
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Special Offer ......... $39.90 for two E-books (normally $49.90)
Printed Books........ $39.00 Order directly from our printers, Automotive Electronic Services (AES) Smog Refresher Course or Lab Scopes: Introductory & Advanced

If you're still not sure about ordering, you don't have to buy a whole book - the Smog Refresher Course is broken down into shorter articles (or chapters) ranging in price from $1.59 to $3.49! Try something cheap, and if you like it, you can always come back and buy more. And if you don't, you can get your money back by emailing us (tell us your name, date of purchase and items purchased). As soon as your order is completed you will receive a link to any articles and e-books you chose. No waiting time. Printed books take one week to arrive (within the continental U.S.A. and longer for overseas orders).

To California Technicians taking the Smog Check License Exam:

The "Smog Refresher Course " was originally written to help mechanics in California pass their Smog Check Technician License Exam by an instructor (Steven McAfee) who assisted in developing training materials for the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Many people have written or called to say they have passed their test after reviewing my information. I'm glad I can help.

In the Smog Refresher Course, I emphasize Diagnosis, the area where most technicians have trouble with the test questions. I try to keep it simple, and maybe a little silly in places to keep you awake after a long day's work.

You probably noticed how the BAR divides their Smog Test into nine subject areas. And the knowledge needed in their diagnosis and repair areas seems so broad it's hard to know what to study for. Through years of experience teaching smog preparation classes I have found it most helpful in diagnosis to cover the following four areas:

1) Five Gas Exhaust Analysis
2) Computer Inputs and Outputs
3) Emission Control Devices
4) Rules and Regulations

All this and more is available in the Smog Refresher Course book. The information in this book is also helpful for those preparing for the ASE L1 test. 2/3rds of the information overlaps. For example the Exhaust Gas Analysis and Scan Tool (computer diagnosis) sections are similar to the L1. And the Emissions Devices section will also help.

This information packed book contains 120 pages of theory, examples and questions. It contains 141 sample test questions and answers. These questions are similar to what is on the state test. I can't give you the actual questions - the BAR would not be happy with that! At only $39.00 for the printed version (direct from the printers) or $24.95 for the electronic version, this book is definately worth it and has helped many people.

If you're worried about taking the test, listen to what Charlie wrote:

"Steve - I reviewed your information on the internet prior to re-taking my EA Smog Tech Exam. I am impressed and appreciate your making available this material. Again, Thanks!" Charlie

To get my special introductory offer of the two electronic books, "Smog Refresher Course" and "Lab Scopes: Introductory & Advanced" click here to order now

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All orders must be in US funds. If you pay by check, we have to wait 7 days for the check to clear the bank before we can mail your order out. Please note that articles and e-books are not available using the printable order form. Articles and e-books are only available through online ordering.

School Orders:

For schools wishing to purchase multiple copies of any of the books, we offer school discounts (please contact our printers, Automotive Electronic Services at (559) 292-3533 or carlos@aeswave.com). Schools may order by using the printable order form or on this website. For those wishing to use purchase orders we have ISBN numbers for our two most popular books:

Title
ISBN #
Smog Refresher Course
0-9776453-0-4
Lab Scopes: Introductory & Advanced
0-9776453-6-3

Purchase orders and printable order forms may be faxed, emailed or mailed to our printers, Automotive Electronic Services at (559) 292-3533 or carlos@aeswave.com Please include your email address so we can confirm receipt of your order.

Smogsite.com, Steve & Lynley McAfee
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Email: support@smogsite.com

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