Engine and Transmission

Fake car parts situation is getting worse


  1. Posted on May 16th, 2017 by Rob Marshall
  2. It appears as though the fake car parts scandal is worsening, since our last blog on the topic. In a worrying recent development, we have come across an honest motor trader getting caught-out, by receiving counterfeit shock absorbers through his well-established, trusted and reliable parts supplier. Thankfully, the technician noticed that there was a problem […]

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Practical problems of ditching diesel


  1. Posted on April 11th, 2017 by Rob Marshall
  2. Last month, the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, advised that drivers should, “Have a long, hard think about diesel.” While he did not think that diesels would disappear completely, his statement advised that city drivers, in particular, should buy a “low-emissions” car. Leaving aside the technical cases in favour of diesel engines and the very high […]

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Advertising Standards Authority acts on Diesel Particulate Filter removal


  1. Posted on February 9th, 2017 by Rob Marshall
  2. Ironically, while the Volkswagen Group is still bearing the brunt of the diesel-gate scandal, the aftermarket act of removing and/or disabling anti-pollution features on cars continues to be advertised openly. One of the most common of these procedures includes the removal of Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF – one of which is pictured) and tricking the […]

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Which is better? Timing belts or timing chains?


  1. Posted on January 11th, 2017 by Rob Marshall
  2. Popularised by overhead camshafts appearing on road car engines from the 1970s, the once durable last-for-life timing chain was replaced by an externally-mounted replaceable timing belt, which also synchronised the engine crankshaft movement with that of the camshaft, to ensure that the valves and pistons did not make sudden, unexpected and violent content. If you […]

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Diesel Particulate Filter introduced for petrols


  1. Posted on August 24th, 2016 by Rob Marshall
  2. Despite the heavy criticisms that have been directed at diesel engines in the past few years, the fuel still offers advantages. Recently, I liaised with a committee that influences the UK government’s air quality policies, which recommends the diesel scrappage scheme (of which I do not approve, as written here). I queried, if people scrap […]

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DSG gearbox tips


  1. Posted on April 11th, 2016 by Rob Marshall
  2.   Made popular by the Volkswagen group, the compact DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox, or Direktschaltgetriebe) was the first twin-clutch transmission to be released on mainstream sale from 2003. Other carmakers have developed their own versions, in collaboration with transmission specialists, so we shall call ‘DSG’ “Twin Clutch Transmissions”. Pictured is Ford/Volvo’s version, called Powershift – […]

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Debate diesel before changing policy


  1. Posted on June 30th, 2015 by Rob Marshall
  2. Following GEM’s earlier blog on the political tide turning against diesel cars, it appears that Glass’s Guides, one of the UK’s foremost automotive valuers and data providers, shares my concerns about hasty government policies being adopted, without any in-depth debate. Indeed, Glass’s agrees that knee-jerk responses to the alleged negative impact that diesel car emissions […]

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Your guide to clutch faults – Part 2


  1. Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by GEM Motoring Assist
  2. An ailing clutch can be expensive to repair but Rob Marshall explains the high labour charges involved with a clutch change and advises on how to prolong its life. Despite being so essential, the clutch comprises of just three parts, known collectively as a clutch kit. A friction plate is clamped against the engine’s flywheel […]

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Your guide to clutch faults – Part 1


  1. Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by GEM Motoring Assist
  2. A clutch that will neither engage nor release correctly can not only damage your transmission but, as Rob Marshall argues, an incorrect diagnosis can also cause your wallet serious harm. Rectifying clutch faults can be expensive, time consuming and inconvenient. On most front-wheel-drive models, replacing the clutch kit often requires the transmission and part of the […]

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Your Guide to Servicing: Timing Belt Replacement


  1. Posted on November 29th, 2013 by GEM Motoring Assist
  2. Timing Belt replacement tends to be an expensive exercise that appears to make little difference to how a car runs, although failure and trying to live without it might prove impossible. Therefore, Rob Marshall advises that the outlay is both worthwhile and essential. WHAT IS A TIMING BELT? As comedians tell us, timing is everything […]

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