The secret service

The secret service

Glow plug control units are the often-forgotten service item, according to ignition specialist Champion®, and component ill-health can often go undiagnosed. We spoke with the specialist to better understand the issue…

Spark plugs are a petrol engine service item and we’re all too familiar with the struggle of snapped glow plugs in diesel motors. But what about glow plug control units? According to Champion, the ignition specialist of DRiV, the electronic brain behind chilly morning diesel combustion is an often-forgotten part, which should in fact be considered for replacement every 60,000 miles.

The glow plug control unit monitors conditions to ensure that the optimal compression temperature is achieved to provide efficient cold starting. Failure to meet these conditions can result in increased exhaust emissions, which is particularly bad news in the face of the stricter MOT regulations introduced in May 2018. Failure of the glow plug module provides similar symptoms as defective glow plugs – including an engine misfire, poor performance and low fuel efficiency – and can ultimately lead to non-starting.  

“Sluggish cold weather starting with visibly increased tailpipe emissions is often assumed to be old glow plugs that are past their best, or even a couple of weeping diesel injectors. Replacing these components can often mask the effects of a glow plug control unit that’s ready for replacement,” says Alexis Goslin, Director Maintenance Products, Power Tech Solutions, EMEA Aftermarket. “The control unit has an incredibly complex job and if it’s not working efficiently, can also lead to premature wear of the glow plugs themselves.”

Goslin explains that the most recent glow plug control units use a microprocessor to analyse different inputs received from the engine and regulate glow plug operation. This can include information such as when to provide current, how much and for how long, depending on different engine parameters. This is more complicated than it may seem, as current requirements differ during pre-heating to warm the engine, stand-by time during which the engine should be started and also post-heating as a means of providing enhanced control over cold start emissions. Imperfect alignment of conditions and performance can potentially result in poor starting and uneven running.

Signs that you may have a defective glow plug or control unit include white exhaust smoke caused by diesel leakage into the exhaust, starting difficulty and reduced engine power immediately post-start caused by inefficient combustion.

While it’s clear that glow plugs and their control unit share failure symptoms, according to Goslin there are tests you can do to establish unit health.

“It is easiest to check glow plug operation before moving on to the control unit,” he explains. “A reliable test is to connect a 12-volt test light to the positive battery terminal, disconnect the wires from each glow plug and touch the probe of the test light to the plug’s terminal. If the light doesn’t illuminate, the glow plug is ready for replacement. Alternatively, there are professional glow plug testing devices available, which make the process even simpler.

“We recommend that glow plug units should be replaced every 60,000 miles in most cases. By doing so, you’re proactively reducing the risk of being left stranded during a winter’s cold snap,” concludes Goslin. “However, if you’re trouble-shooting, then measure the battery voltage to the glow plug unit. It should be 12-volt, so a drop of over half a volt usually means that it’s time for a replacement unit.”

When it comes to fitting new components, Goslin is a staunch supporter of OE-quality components, stating that the fitment of reduced quality parts can potentially jeopardize engine performance and reliability. For example, the use of components constructed of sub-optimal materials can cause glow plug swell which can lead to later difficulties replacing the worn part, or the tip snapping off into the cylinder head and causing considerable damage. Champion offers a comprehensive range of OE-quality glow plug control units, developed and manufactured in-house at its leading European facilities using its decades-long experience of working directly with vehicle manufacturers.

Full details of the complete range of Champion ignition components and handy hints can be found at https://www.championautoparts.eu/.

Youtube Channel: https://youtu.be/eatRsemY2q4

Blog article: https://www.championautoparts.eu/news/glow-plug-control-module.html
Product page:  https://www.championautoparts.eu/products/light-vehicles/ignition/glow-control-units.html

About DRiV - the future Aftermarket and Ride Performance Company

Following Tenneco’s expected separation to form two new, independent companies, an Aftermarket and Ride Performance company (DRiV™) as well as a new Powertrain Technology company, DRiV will be one of the largest global multi-line, multi-brand aftermarket companies, and one of the largest global OE ride performance and braking companies.  DRiV’s principal product brands will feature Monroe®, Öhlins® Walker®, Clevite®Elastomers, MOOG®, Fel-Pro®, Wagner®, Ferodo®, Champion® and others. DRiV would have 2018 pro-forma revenues of $6.4 billion, with 54% of those revenues from aftermarket and 46% from original equipment customers.

Stefanie Vandeweyer Marketing Communications & Events Manager, DRiV

 

About Tenneco - Aftermarket EMEA

About Tenneco

Headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, Tenneco is one of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers and marketers of Aftermarket, Ride Performance, Clean Air and Powertrain products and technology solutions for diversified markets, including light vehicle, commercial truck, off-highway, industrial and the aftermarket, with 2018 revenues of $11.8 billion and approximately 81,000 employees worldwide. On October 1, 2018, Tenneco completed the acquisition of Federal-Mogul, a leading global supplier to original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket.  Additionally, the company expects to separate its businesses to form two new, independent companies, an Aftermarket and Ride Performance company as well as a new Powertrain Technology company, in the second half of 2019.

About DRiV™ - the future Aftermarket and Ride Performance Company

Following the separation, DRiV will be one of the largest global multi-line, multi-brand aftermarket companies, and one of the largest global OE ride performance and braking companies.  DRiV’s principal product brands will feature Monroe®, Öhlins® Walker®, Clevite®Elastomers, MOOG®, Fel-Pro®, Wagner®, Ferodo®, Champion® and others. DRiV would have 2018 pro-forma revenues of $6.4 billion, with 54% of those revenues from aftermarket and 46% from original equipment customers.

 About the new Tenneco - the future Powertrain Technology Company

Following the separation, the new Tenneco will be one of the world’s largest pure-play powertrain companies serving OE markets worldwide with engineered solutions addressing fuel economy, power output, and criteria pollution requirements for gasoline, diesel and electrified powertrains. The new Tenneco would have 2018 pro-forma revenues of $11.4 billion, serving light vehicle, commercial truck, off-highway and industrial markets.

 Safe Harbor

 This release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, (i) all statements, other than statements of historical fact, included in this communication that address activities, events or developments that we expect or anticipate will or may occur in the future or that depend on future events and (ii) statements about our future business plans and strategy and other statements that describe Tenneco’s outlook, objectives, plans, intentions or goals, and any discussion of future operating or financial performance. These forward-looking statements are included in various sections of this communication and the words  “may,” “will,” “believe,” “should,” “could,” “plan,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” and similar expressions (and variations thereof) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements included in this release concern, among other things, the closing of the transaction described in this release, the benefits of the Federal-Mogul acquisition; the combined company’s plans, objectives and expectations; future financial and operating results; and other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to materially differ from those described in the forward-looking statements, including the outcome of any legal proceeding that may be instituted against Tenneco and others following the announcement of the transaction; the possibility that the combined company may not complete the spin-off of the Aftermarket & Ride Performance business from the Powertrain Technology business (or achieve some or all of the anticipated benefits of such a spin-off); the possibility that the transaction may have an adverse impact on existing arrangements with Tenneco, including those related to transition, manufacturing and supply services and tax matters; the ability to retain and hire key personnel and maintain relationships with customers, suppliers or other business partners; the risk that the benefits of the transaction, including synergies, may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; the risk that the transaction may not advance the combined company’s business strategy; the risk that the combined company may experience difficulty integrating all employees or operations; the potential diversion of Tenneco management’s attention resulting from the transaction; as well as the risk factors and cautionary statements included in Tenneco’s periodic and current reports (Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K) filed from time to time with the SEC. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. Unless otherwise indicated, the forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date of this communication, and, except as required by law, Tenneco does not undertake any obligation, and disclaims any obligation, to publicly disclose revisions or updates to any forward-looking statements.

 

 

  

 

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