Vehicle Maintenance

  • Question: My car has as on-board computer and doesn’t require maintenance–right?
    • Answer: Periodic engine maintenance is as important as ever, perhaps even more so because the computer is able to camouflage some problems.
  • Question: I don’t need to take my car in for a tune-up — right? My car’s electronic system will always let me know if there is a problem by turning ON the CHECK Engine light–right?
    • Answer: Engine performance symptoms are subtle even impossible to detect on today’s vehicles. Periodic diagnostic and maintenance checks help keep your vehicle running trouble-free for years.

B & G’s Shop

  • Question: Sometimes when we price shop your prices are higher than other shops. Why?
    • Answer: When our technicans our repairing your vehicle all factory tolerances and torque specs are followed, when was the last time you seen a techincian torque the bolts on your valve cover, believe it or not there is a torque spec for these bolts and at B&G we take pride in knowing that when a vehicle repair is performed on your vehicle the repair procedure is done correctly according to factory procedures and specs. We also price our jobs using Mopar Parts or in some cases high quality after market parts that our technicians feel confident installing. Are attitude is if we won’t use it on are own vehicles we sure won’t install that part on your vehicle. Sure we could cut corners not worry about torque specs, find ways to short cut factory repair procedures or install low quality after market parts to increase our shop profit margin. But the bottom line is that would be an injustice to you our valued customer and the reason why B&G has been around for over 25 years repairing your vehicle right the first time!

Vehicle Tuning

  • Question: What is detonation, and how can it be controlled?
    • Answer: Detonation is often referred to as engine knock. This condition occurs when fuel ignites early i.e. before the piston reaches the position where the spark ignition is scheduled. This means that the ignition explosion is trying to expand a cylinder chamber that is shrinking in size. When this firing pattern occurs it attempts to reverse the direction of the piston and the engine. When detonation occurs, the internal pneumatic forces of the piston can actually exceed 10x the normal forces acting upon a properly timed high performance engine. Early detonation is generally caused by excessive heat, extreme cylinder pressure, improper timing of the ignition system, inadequate fuel octane rating or a combination of these factors.
      The most common factor that causes engine knock is excessive heat. Additional heat is produced in an engine as it generates an increased quantity of power. Today’s pump gas only tolerates a finite amount of heat before it ignites. If this measure of heat is reached too early in the engine cycle it causes detonation. Although adding a supercharger to an engine rarely causes detonation it does create additional heat. A forced induction engine actually produces far less heat than a comparable normally aspirated high compression engine. To address the issue of increased heat an intercooler may be added to the supercharger system. An intercooler is a natural solution for forced induction and is included in many supercharger kits on the market today.
      For engines currently experiencing detonation problems, the addition of an ignition/timing retard system, the use of higher octane fuel, or the addition of an intercooling solution may be used to address the issue. Ignition retard systems can be helpful in certain situations, but can greatly reduce the horsepower output of an engine. Any reduction in timing reduces horsepower. Reduction in timing can save a motor from detonation, but the excessive heat which was causing the detonation is still present. Intercooling is a more desirable option in most cases because it actually removes the heat which causes detonation, and allows higher boost levels to be safely run with full timing on pump gas. This setup produces the maximum benefit in terms of horsepower gains and engine protection, many times without additional maintenance or hassles.

Question: What is difference between the term ECM and PCM?

Answer:The terms ECM and PCM are often used interchangeably when referring to engine electronics, but there is a difference. Let’s talk about how they work, so you know how to troubleshoot, repair, or improve your car’s performance.

An ECM is an engine control module, sometimes referred to as an engine control unit (ECU). This computer takes incoming sensor data and uses that information to alter the function of electronic systems for better performance. The first ECMs introduced in the early 1980s could only control fuel injection, but as electronics and engine design have improved, the function of these devices has spread to almost every aspect of operation.

In a modern engine, the ECM will gather information from the intake, exhaust, cooling system and several internal components to judge the running condition of the engine. From there, it can decide the position of the camshafts, the throttle position, ignition timing, fuel injection timing and, in turbocharged cars, wastegate pressure.

Before we get into the PCM, let’s talk about the Transmission Control Module (TCM) since it works in tandem with the ECM. It’s sometimes referred to as a transmission control unit (TCU). This device uses incoming sensor data to determine when the transmission needs to shift. Over the years, the functionality of these devices have improved, adding input from the cruise control, throttle and traction control system, reducing gear hunting and wheel spin.

Both automatics and dual clutch manual transmissions have TCMs, but traditional manual transmissions do not. Electronic functions for manual transmissions are done by the ECM, if at all. For example, the Active Rev Matching in a Corvette matches clutch and engine RPM during shifts using wheel speed data from the traction control system and a shifter position sensor on the transmission.

The PCM (Powertrain Control Module) is the main computer in the automobile that controls all its functions. By placing control of both the transmission and engine into one unit, the PCM can better coordinate their functions for better power delivery and fuel economy. For example, when the PCM decides to change gears, it can back off the throttle to make the shift smoother.

Although a PCM may look like a single unit from the outside, most contain a separate ECM and TCM, each with their own processor and programming ROM. These act independently during most operations, sharing data when a function requires both systems to work together. For tuners, that means programming can be updated on one system while leaving the other untouched.

The PCM senses and monitors more than 100 factors in a car or truck. Here are a few of the most essential processes.

– Air-to-Gas Ratio – The PCM adjusts the air-to-gas ratio being pumped into the cylinders of the car, which saves fuel.

– Ignition Timing – The PCM can control the speed of spark plug firing, helping the engine deliver an optimum amount of power per RPM.

– Idle Speed – The PCM ensures that your car’s idle speed is not revved up to a higher than necessary RPM to manage any ancillary activities, such as air conditioning.

– Performance Monitoring – Using sensors such as temperature, oil and fluid level, air intake, emission level, camshaft angle, or throttle position, the PCM can monitor the car’s performance. When the PCM can’t restore them to ideal levels, the check engine light will appear.

There are three primary reasons why these terms are often confused:

– Vehicle Manufacturer – The types of computer modules you have and how they’re configured in your car depend on the manufacturer, so you’ll want to consult your owner’s manual to be sure of their specific terminology.

– Modern vs Older Vehicles – Since 1996, there’s been a shift toward a single operating unit (the PCM) in vehicles. The PCM manages all systems, but as noted earlier, they can still work independently. Older automobile models had two computers, the ECM and the TCM. The ECM controlled the engine function and the TCM controlled the transmission. For cars with a manual transmission, they only had an ECM because there was no need for a computer to operate the transmission functions.

– Electronic Control Unit – The term electronic control unit (ECU) is often used as a generic term for any built-in system that controls multiple electrical features in a car. It could include systems like the ones above, or Body Control Module (BCM), Brake Control Module (BCM), Central Control Module (CCM), Central Timing Module (CTM), and many others. This again depends on the car manufacturer.

Question: Our B&G Performance products for sale in California?

Answer: B&G Performance Products are “NOT FOR SALE” in California on pollution controlled vehicles due to California’s Vehicle Code sections 27156(c) and title 13, California Code of Regulations, section 2222(b)(2). Such parts replace or modify vital original emission components and manufacturer specified engine-operating conditions, and thus must be evaluated by CARB to demonstrate the vehicle’s continued emissions compliance.