Friday, June 14, 2024

Automotive Technology Update #5

Brake Sytems class, at York Technical College!

I've been waiting a long time to tell this joke, and now that I'm in Brake Systems class, here we go:

Me: "I've become addicted to drinking brake fluid."
Brian: "Oh man, that sounds terrible!"
Me: "Yeah, it is, but I can stop any time I want."

I'll be here all week, try the veal, tip your server!

Bleeding a master cylinder on the bench, not on the car.
Not a paid endorsement of RC Cola.

OK, so, brakes. Week one was looking at brake systems in general, and then in week two we focused on drum brakes. That was educational, since I've never done anything with drum brakes. At least now I'm familiar with how they work, what all those parts are, and understand how they work. This includes most parking brakes too, so you just never know when you might need to know something. 

Some stuff your brakes might need. 

In week three we studied disc brakes, so even though this was more familiar to me, and I've changed pads and rotors before, there's always a lot more to learn. Here's a tip we've heard a few hundred times: every time you're going to drive a customer's car, check that brake fluid level AND pump the brake pedal a time or two, just to make sure you HAVE brakes! Our teachers have stories to go with bits of wisdom like that too!

Above the red flashlight is a Ford coil-on-plug and the separate rubber boot that covers it up. New to me is that instead of a wire sending the spark to the spark plug, that spring or coiled wire carries the charge. We were working on a Focus that had several issues and we got into checking a few things in brake class. Hey, stuff happens!

While I'm thinking about it, let me say THANKS again for whoever changed the GI Bill along the way and gave it to me and other veterans after 9-11. Specifically, this newer Post 9-11 GI Bill has been a really awesome experience for my family, since I was able to pass some of it to my daughter, used it for my master's degree, and it has taken care of two terms in the Automotive Technology program. 

One part of ABS systems, traction control, and other fancy stuff your car manages, relies on wheel speed sensors. In this photo, the ring in the yellow circle is next to the differential in back, and a sensor (up in the dark out of view) is telling the car computer the rear wheel speed so it can adjust ABS, stability control, etc. By the time the computer "sees" all 4 wheel speeds and combines it with other sensors like Yaw and lateral movement, it can brake or adjust engine output way faster than the driver can. Computers, go figure!

Now in week 4 we're looking at anti-lock brake systems, which you probably know is the ABS system. I have an idea how they work and can identify the little ABS module on a car now, so at least that's a start! One thing I'm not sure about yet is when the instructors will cover the Fred Flintstone braking method, so if you're familiar with that let me know. Ah heck, I'll just ask an instructor tomorrow and see what they say. 

Looking under the drum brake.

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