Automotive Tech

Automotive tech is akin to black magic in Pakistan. Most new cars in Pakistan are electronically fuel injected (EFI) now, even the locally assembled ones. In fact, on the bigger cars, EFI has been quite common since the late 80’s. So as time has gone by, these EFI vehicles have started trickling into workshops around the country, mechanics all over the country are tearing out their hair (and emptying the owners’ wallets) in frustration.

In the west, one can buy a detailed service manual for any car which contains just about every thing anyone would ever want to know about that particular car. Here in Pakistan, one would think that the local manufacturers would also be providing this extremely vital service, for they claim to follow international standards. Interestingly enough, it seems that outside the actual factories (if even there) these manuals are considered a vital trade secret and nobody has them. Not even the official factory dealers! (Some do, but they keep them safetly locked up).

So with EFI engines there is nowhere to go to when something goes wrong. The beauty of EFI is that it tell’s you exactly what is wrong, or at least gives a general indication. Around here, even if the dealer has the service manuals and the necessary diagnostic computers, they don’t use them. Most dealers here don’t have diagnostic computers and on top of that think they’re a waste of money.

Back in the good old days, when cars were cars and guzzled petrol like no ones business, automotive engines were built without computers and all the other gizmos they use these days. Those engines -have- are going the way of the dodo. They were environmental disasters, and sadly become even more so every day. The majority (over 95 percent) of diesel engine trucks on Pakistani roads are moving testaments to just how bad regular mechanical engines can get. If an engine out of the factory is working at a 100 percent and spewing out x pollutants, once local mechanics get their hands on it, the same engine works at about 30-50 percent and spews out about 1000 times more pollutants!

EFI fixes these issues to a great extent. While all the electronics in the world cannot make up for a mechanical fault, they help a great deal in ensuring that the engine doesn’t reach that stage where it is killing off the local flora and fauna as it drives by. The newer versions of efi automatically tune the engine on the fly, and as the engine deteriotes with age, adjust accordingly. Google will tell you just about everything you’d ever want to know about efi systems, suffice to say that they were the first significant advance in engine technology since the late 19th century. There haven’t been any real improvements to the modern car since the first Model-T Ford rolled of the assembly line a century ago.

Here in Pakistan, while small passenger cars have wholeheartedly shifted over to efi, the entire automotive support industry is still firmly stuck in the dark ages. Things are slowly changing, but it’s interesting to note the state of automotive affairs today.

2 thoughts on “Automotive Tech”

  1. Very true ideed. My mechanic bypassed and closed all the vacuum pipes of the carburettor of my 1985 Daihatsu Charade, saying these pipes are not necessary.

    Moreover, he is a firm beleiver that setting the tappet gap is not really important; beleive me,this is the case with all the mechanics.

  2. My mechanic sucked in a rag through the air intake of my Ford Bronco II while doing some work on the tappets. The engine, a die hard Toyota 3L, ran for a week while the rag worked its way through the intakes and into the cylinders while jamming the tappets. And then the engine died hard.

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