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Grip : November 2011
AFTERSALES GRIP TEchNicAl ExcEllENcE TESTED iN JAPAN By Paul Smith, National Technical Advisor The skills of Subaru Australia-trained technicians have long been highly respected at Subaru head office in Japan, and the recent final of the Subaru World Technical Competition again underlined this reputation. Held at Fuji Heavy Industries Academy in Tokyo, the contest drew 12 challengers from Australia, Argentina, Canada, China, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. Representing Australia was Michael Cooper, from Suttons in Rosebery. The competition comprised four challenges: a written test, a troubleshooting time race, a measurement test and an electrical circuit test, with the potential to earn a maximum 400 points. The 40 question written test was first, to be completed in 60 minutes, and Michael was the only technician to score a perfect 100 result. Next stage was inspection of the vehicles used for the troubleshooting time race - MY10 Japanese specification Legacy 2.5i CVT sedans, with the Japanese technician allocated an MY12 USA specification Outback. Each technician was given a standardised tool kit and, to maintain a level playing field, the only additional tools they could use were their own multi meter and a flashlight. The problem presented was “Engine star t failure”, with technicians given 40 minutes to diagnose two or three possible vehicle faults, which would only be confirmed once the engine was running. Though this was a time race, points were deducted if the Subaru Select Monitor (SSM3) and other test equipment, such as a multi meter, were not used to diagnose/confirm the faults. Michael star ted this race as we had practiced - guard covers first, then checked battery voltage and confirmed the fault stated on the job card given to him. For the first 20 minutes Michael had to work on his own. All I could do was turn the ignition on or off for him. After less than nine minutes Michael had the engine cranking (the main relay was the cause here), then at the 10-minute mark he confirmed there was no fuel pressure (the fuel pump fuse was replaced). By the 12-minute mark, the engine was running, but had a miss. Therefore, one fault still remained – and it threw all the technicians a fair bit. Simple roughness monitor (on the SSM3) didn’t detect which cylinder had an issue, so Michael had to start from scratch. Finally, at the 38-minute mark, he had the last fault nailed and was finished. When the buzzer went off some other technicians had not managed to diagnose all faults. While 38 minutes might seem a long time, when you have a large audience watching, plus a judge looking over your shoulder making notes of everything you do, it’s not simple to do. After lunch, Michael had to disassemble part of a D5AT automatic transmission, take several measurements, select the correctly required part and reassemble the removed components - all within 20 minutes. Then it was straight onto section four. Michael had 20 minutes to draw the required electrical circuit, then build the actual drawing on a circuit board and carry out several voltage checks. Overall, it was a mighty test, won by the Japanese technician on 322 points, with Argentina second on 306 and China third on 303 points. Michael missed the podium but represented Australia with distinction, following on from his win at the national series, and deserves great praise for his performance. One valuable lesson was that the winning Japanese technician followed step- by-step procedures to a tee, earning the most points over the four sections. What can everyone learn from this competition? Procedures and diagnostic steps are there for a reason, either to keep you out of harm’s way, or fix the vehicle right first time. Australia’s Michael Cooper (L) with Subaru’s Paul Smith at the finals in Japan. INSIDE GRIP HOME PAGE AFTERSALES PARTS & ACCESSORIES WHO’S WHO MARKETING AMBASSADOR TOURER CONCEPT BRZ CONCEPT STI BRAND COMPARISON DEALER RANKINGS SPORT
GRIP October 2011
GRIP December 2011