Rolex watches are nowadays considered as luxury goods, which was not always seen like that. A Rolex watch was initially meant for harsh use, while the fine watches of the past century were reserved for special occasions. Manufacturers such as Longines or Omega had already proven themselves for more than half a century in the production of precise timepieces, before a start-up called “Rolex” showed up. Using inexpensive Swiss movements, Rolex focused on the ruggedness of timepieces that would later be used by divers, mountaineers and the military. Other leading manufacturers were initially too fine for so called “tool-watches”, which cleared the way for the young brand Rolex. Continue reading “The Journey of an Explorer – Rolex 16570”
Continuing digitization has brought the businesses of many companies into the world of the Internet. The biggest problem the German car industry currently faces is the transition from the expiring combustion engine to the electric drive with digitized equipment. The classic product of the “vehicle” is transforming along with the Industry 4.0 slowly into an online service that encompasses the entire transport system. This change not only affects the major car brands such as Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Audi or Porsche, but also the suppliers to the automotive sector such as Schaeffler, Continental, Leoni or Dürr. In the future, German car manufacturers are likely to be obliged not only to implement the technological change, but also to implement a change in the scope of services, and especially in the expansion of online services. In doing so, the country, which is famous for its mechanical engineering industry, faces the challenge of successfully advancing into the online world of digitization. Currently, investors on the German stock exchange do not seem to believe in the success of such a change, so that almost all German mechanical engineering stocks listed in the German leading index DAX had to suffer heavy losses in the course of the current year.
This report will deal with the crucial question of how such a potential transition would be possible for Volkswagen and German companies in general. It will take all threats, effects and opportunities in account, and offer a solution concept for the entire German automotive industry. Thereby the Chinese industry will serve as a reference example, where future technologies are easier to implement, and a sound infrastructure for future technologies has already been widely established. In particular, the German car manufacturer Volkswagen is used to draw up a solution, as it operates in both countries, and has already taken various steps in the e-commerce sector.
Volkswagen itself has an extremely ambitious goal for the future. By the year 2025, the Volkswagen group wants to become the world market leader for electric cars. The project is called “Roadmap E” for the e-car offensive. In the coming years, at least one variant with electric drive will be developed and launched on the market for the approximately 300 Group models. However, the “E” in “Roadmap E” does not only stand for the electric motor, but also for the online trade, that is, e-commerce. Customers should be able to put together their vehicle in the network and also complete the purchase there. So far, it lacks the latter: “The majority of the purchase decision is now taking place online, but for a complete shopping experience missing the test drive with the vehicle.
The Porsche Fuhrmann Engine (Type 547) was named after its inventor Ernst Fuhrmann, and built from 1953 to 1964. The Type 547, also called “drawer engine”, is an air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine with four overhead camshafts that are powered by four vertical shafts. The crankcase, cylinder and cylinder heads of the engine are made of aluminum alloy. The special feature of this engine is its small size and low weight, which is achieved by the materials used and the clever construction.
The 4MATIC was named after the automatically switchable axle drives, which, in contrast to conventional all-wheel drives, are only activated when needed. To control the drives different driving situations are evaluated electronically. With its performance-oriented fully variable torque distribution it combines the advantages of four-wheel drive with those of a rear-wheel drive. This means traction and driving safety combined with a high level of driving pleasure.
☞ The designation 4MATIC was protected as a trademark of Daimler AG until the end of 2014.
A vehicle with 4MATIC is capable of drifting, since the fully variable torque distribution also allows for pure rear-wheel drive. Many vehicles were also equipped with a drift mode specifically for the racetrack. And in the opposite case, it leaves nothing to be desired. For increased driving safety, the adjustable multi-disc clutch, especially on snow and ice, guarantees maximum traction on all four wheels.
Porsche has always been known for its outstanding transmission units. This is no different with the Porsche Tiptronic, the predecessor of the Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK). The Tiptronic, which can also be operated automatically or manually as needed, is a good combination of both worlds.
The development of the Porsche Tiptronic transmission was based on the Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK) used in 1984 in the Porsche 962 racing car. For the first time in 1990, Porsche used the term ‘Tiptronic’ for the four-speed automatic transmission available with the Porsche 964 Carrera 2. Previously, there was the semi-automatic “Sportomatic” from 1968 to 1980. In 2008, the street version of the Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission replaced the Tiptronic in most of the sports car models.
☞ Although the brand name ‘Tiptronic’ belongs to Porsche, it has also been used by Volkswagen and Audi.
With the version Tiptronic S, which was first used in the 1995 model of the Porsche 993, shift paddles werde added to the steering wheel. The function of the manual shifting was thereby transferred from the shift knob additionally to the steering wheel, which was not usual at the time. After the introduction of the PDK, the Tiptronic S was mainly used on the Porsche Cayenne.
Among sporty Porsche drivers, for whom driving pleasure plays an important role, Tiptronic is not very popular. It does not meet the requirements of many enthusiasts with its switching times and the switching behavior. In contrast to the PDK transmission, which is pretty successful with its excellent shifting times, many buyers prefer the traditional manual transmission instead of the Tiptronic. Nevertheless it’s a good transmission, and on this point one should not forget that Porsche purists are generally skeptical of any kind of vehicle component with the terrible additional designation ‘Automatic’.
For every Porsche fan, the three letters ‘PDK’ carry a magical meaning. This could be partly because they abbreviate a complicated German term like ‘Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe’. On the other hand, it is due to the seven speed dual clutch transmission technology behind it.
Porsche PDK Dual-Clutch Transmission
The PDK dual-clutch transmission is in principle an automated gearbox, which enables automatic gear changes without power interruption thanks to two sub-transmissions. The gears are either sorted automatically or selected by the driver via the shift paddles on the steering wheel or by tapping the gear lever. In contrast to conventional automatic transmissions with hydraulic torque converter, the transmission of the torque takes place via one of two clutches which connect two partial transmissions to the drive. While the driving force is transmitted to the wheels via a clutch and the first partial transmission, the next gear is engaged in the second partial transmission. When changing gear, one clutch is opened, the other closed simultaneously. While one of the partial transmissions carries the even gears, the other takes the odd ones. The gears are already engaged when shifting, so that the traction is not interrupted when changing gear. This principle allows, like in an automatic transmission with hydraulic torque converter, a gear change in milliseconds.
The first six gears of the PDK have a sporty gear ratio, which means that the maximum speed is reached in sixth gear. In seventh gear, the long gear ratio lowers the engine speed, which optimizes fuel consumption.
The operation of the Porsche PDK largely corresponds to the handling of other fully automatic transmissions. The intervention of the driver is only required when driving off, reversing and parking. On request, the driver can also change the gears manually by using the shift paddles on the steering wheel or by tapping the gear knob.
In the 1980s, Porsche introduced the dual-clutch transmission for racing. The Porsche 956/962 was the first to be equipped with the PDK transmission, and thus achieved great success. With its 54 victories, the 962 is still one of the most successful racing sports cars Porsche has ever built. Since the technology and the computer capacities were still very limited, the serial development was not pursued at that time. In 2008, the PDK dual-clutch technology was transferred to the streets, and replaced in the Porsche 911 the previous automatic transmission ‘Tiptronic S’. At the time of its introduction, the PDK was up to 60 percent faster at shifting gears compared to other automatic transmissions. Following the Porsche Carrera, which was the first to get the new dual-clutch transmission in 2008, a year later the transmission was also offered with the Boxster and Cayman models.
One of the popular features of the Porsche PDK is the launch control. It enables optimal acceleration during start-up, preventing the tires from spinning through ideal power transmission. The engine speed is leveled for maximum drive without loss of traction.
☞ In 2011, the Porsche 911 991 introduced a 7-speed manual transmission based on the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The top speed is achieved as in the PDK in sixth gear, after which the seventh gear is used to save fuel.
The PDK transmission of the Porsche 911 GT3
In 2013, the PDK was improved in its speed and performance, and installed in its new version in the Porsche 911 GT3. In addition to lighter gears and wheelsets, which make the transmission about two kilograms lighter, it has shorter gear ratios. Unlike the usual PDK, where the seventh gear is used to save fuel, the GT3 reaches the top speed in seventh gear. The later model of the popular sports car was also offered on request of many enthusiasts with a newly developed 6-speed manual transmission. Although the PDK with launch control accelerates the GT3 by 0.5 seconds faster than the manual transmission to 100km/h, has shorter shift times, and is offered at the same price, many still choose the ‘slower’ manual variant. The good old manual transmission is not so easily beaten. With intermediate accelerations from low speeds on the circuit, in many cases it proves to be at least as fast as the PDK.
Porsche PDK vs Manual Transmission
An important question Porsche buyers often face is whether they should buy their car with PDK or manual transmission. For the hardcore purists nothing can replace the mechanical feeling you experience when changing the gears with a traditional shift knob. For others, the small bit of additional performance that the PDK offers is in the foreground. When it comes to launching, the manual can’t match the precision of PDK’s clutch control. Many do not care, because in this case you can not use your driving skills. However, you can’t go wrong with the precise PDK, which can also be operated manually in a certain way.
In the case of a used car purchase, the PDK can serve the buyer as an assurance for a durable gearbox. With a manual transmission there is always the risk that the teeth on the transmission cogs were worn out due to faulty gear changes.
It should be appreciated, however, that Porsche (still) offers its sports cars with a manual transmission. Maybe these are the last of their kind. Many other sports car manufacturers like Ferrari or Lamborghini have already discontinued these gearboxes, and only install dual-clutch drivetrains. This is partly because their clientele hardly chooses the manual option. Thus, the Porsche enthusiasts are the last of their kind who can still proudly carry out the gear change themselves.
☞ If you want to know how to pronounce ‘Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe’ in German, you can watch it here:
VANOS stands for variable camshaft control (German: Variable Nockenwellen Steuerung), and is a trademark of BMW AG. It represents a device for influencing the valve timing of the engine by controlling the camshaft. This regulation of the valve opening times allows an increase in the efficiency of the engine, depending on the respective load behavior, which can be used to increase performance and torque and to save fuel. In camshaft drives without such an adjustment, the rotational movement of the crankshaft is transmitted in a certain ratio to the camshaft via a geometrically fixed connection.
The VANOS unit was introduced by BMW in the early 1990s, and is located between the camshaft and the drive gear. While in a conventional valve train, the relative angular position of the camshaft to the crankshaft is always constant, regardless of the engine load, the VANOS makes it possible to set the position of the camshaft in relation to the drive gear, depending on engine speed, load and engine oil temperature. Thereby the relative timing between inlet and exhaust valves is changed.
The first generation: Single VANOS
In a single VANOS, only the intake camshaft is adjusted, which serves primarily to set the inlet closing of the valves, which can optimize torque and performance. Depending on the cam contour, the maximum torque or maximum power can be positively influenced. A back flow of the gases from the combustion chamber into the intake passage can be avoided by the speed adjustment of the closing timing of the intake valve.
The adjustment of the intake camshaft is used in the lower speed range for internal exhaust gas recirculation and increasing the torque. At higher speeds, the aim of the adjustment is an improved power output.
The second generation: Double VANOS
With a Double VANOS, both the intake and exhaust camshafts are adjusted. The variable displacement mainly controls the amount of residual gas. This allows an improved fuel consumption, because with increasing residual gas content, the engine throttling and the charge exchange losses decrease. In addition, the process temperature drops, which leads to lower nitrogen oxide formation.
Another advantage of the VANOS on the exhaust side is the possibility to improve the exhaust dynamics in the lower speed range and thus to increase the torque. The adjustment of the exhaust camshaft thus serves the optimum idling quality or to achieve maximum exhaust gas recirculation rates.
Similar systems are also used by other car manufacturers, such as:
- Ti-VCT – Ford
- VarioCam – Porsche
- Neo VVL – Nissan
Some early VANOS systems are prone to problems with the inner seal rings on high mileage engines. In this case, the factory-installed O-rings made of nitrile rubber are affected because they tend to wear, which leads to problems in the adjustment of the camshaft. A repair is not complicated, but time consuming.
Der Mercedes M 178
Als Geschwistermodell des M 177 hat der Mercedes M 178 DE 40 AL Veränderungen am Triebstrang und der Ölversorgung, sowie verbaute Leichtbauelemente. Der leistungsstarke 4.0-Liter-V8 Biturbo mit Direkteinspritzung wird als Frontmittelmotor an der Vorderachse des AMG GT (C190) verbaut, und kommt mit dem Siebengang-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe von Getrag, welches in Transaxle-Bauweise an der Hinterachse montiert ist, zum Einsatz.
Der Mercedes M178 V8-Bitorbomotor (Quelle: Hersteller)
AMG ist zuständig für die High-Performance-Fahrzeuge von Mercedes-Benz. Die Marke ist bekannt für ihre Leistungsstarken V8-Motoren, die jeweils mit einer vom Monteur unterschriebenen Plakette gekennzeichnet werden. Mit dem M 178 liefern die Affalterbacher einen leistungsstarken V8-Biturbomotor für den Mercedes AMG GT (C190).
Der Biturbo des M 178 versorgt die Zylinder mit einem maximalen Ladedruck von 1,2 bar. Er beliefert damit den Motor mit 2,3 Mal so viel Sauerstoff wie bei einem Saugmotor. Für eine schmalere Gesamtkonstruktion befinden sich die beiden Turbolader nicht wie üblich an den äußeren Zylinderbänken, sondern sind im Innen-V der Zylinder angebracht. Dadurch verspricht man sich zusätzlich zur tieferen Einbaulage eine optimiertere Frischluftführung, da die Turbolader zentraler im Luftstrom stehen. Zwei Ladeluftkühler stellen sicher, dass die von den Turboladern erwärmte Ladeluft vor dem Eintritt in die Brennräume auf maximal 25°C über der Umgebungstemperatur abgekühlt wird.
Durch die Trockensumpf-Schmierung wird eine tiefe Einbaulage mit niedrigem Schwerpunkt ermöglicht, was durch die direkte Ölabsaugung aus den Kurbelräumen vorteilhaft für die Ölversorgung bei Fahrzeugen mit hoher Querbeschleunigung ist.
Mit einem Verbrauch von 128PS pro Liter Treibstoff und einem Durchschnittsverbrauch von unter 10 Litern auf 100km ist der M178 zugleich kraftvoll und effizient.
Mercedes M178 DE 40 AL (Quelle: Hersteller)
Im Laufe der Zeit können Verbrennungsmotoren aufgrund unterschiedlicher Gründe an ihrem Leistungsniveau einbüßen. Hauptsächlich liegt das daran, dass durch die Alterung des Motors der Brennprozess nicht mehr allzu flüssig und ‘reibungslos’ wie zu Beginn abläuft. Hierfür spielen die Luft- und Treibstoffzufuhr, sowie die Verdichtung und die Zündung eine wichtige Rolle.
Die Abnutzung der Luftfilter können dazu führen, dass der Motor stärker arbeiten muss, um Luft aufzunehmen. Glücklicherweise lässt sich dieses Problem mit einem einfachen Filterwechsel mühelos beheben.
Der Gaszug kann mit der Zeit seine Spannung verlieren, was zu einer ineffizienteren Leistung führt. Das lockere Kabel muss daher wieder festgezogen, oder gegebenenfalls ausgetauscht werden.
Ablagen und Verstopfungen im Schalldämpfer können den Ausstoß der Abgase, und somit den allgemeinen Kreislauf des Motors blockieren.
Was die Treibstoffzufuhr betrifft, spielen die Einspritzdüsen eine wichtige Rolle. Abnutzung kann hierbei zu Fehlzündungen oder ungünstiger Treibstoff-Gas-Mischung führen.
Eine unzureichende Treibstoffzufuhr kann auch aufgrund einer altersbedingt ineffizienten Benzinpumpe zustande kommen, was sich besonders starker Leistungsnachfrage im hohen Drehzahlbereich bemerkbar macht.
Die Zylinderkopfdichtungen verlieren durch die Reibung am Brennraum mit der Zeit ihre Effizienz. Dadurch entsteht eine verstärkte Entweichung aus der Brennkammer, was schließlich zu einer schwächeren Verdichtung des Treibstoffgemisches führt. Wichtig für eine Langlebigkeit der Zylinderkopfdichtungen ist eine ausreichende Ölversorgung.
Eine ineffiziente Verdichtung kann auch aufgrund der Einlassventile zustande kommen, falls diese im Taktungsprozess nicht wie vorgesehen schließen.
Neben einer verringerten Motorleistung weisen Fehlzündungen, Startprobleme oder das Ruckeln beim Fahren auf defekte Zündkerzen hin. Kaputte Zündkerzen erkennt man daran, dass sie entweder einen Sprung in der Keramik-Isolierung oder Unreinheiten an den Kontakten aufweisen.
Check Engine Code Reader
It can be quite worrisome to see the “Check Engine” light flashing in the dash. One panics and hopes that the car has no major defect. In such a case, it is advantageous to have a motor code reader / scanner to perform a quick diagnosis. It can help you decide whether to continue driving or park the car. After all, early diagnosis of a small defect can prevent more damage. An engine code reader might not always tell you exactly what’s wrong with your car, and in many cases you have to go to an auto repair shop. But you usually get good first clues about the problem during a critical situation. Anyway, that’s more helpful than looking clueless under the bonnet and wondering where to start screwing
things up. For the operation of such a diagnostic tool you do not necessarily have to be a proffessional vehicle mechanic.
OBD1 & OBD2
Since their introduction, the devices have been constantly evolving. The first generation (OBD1) was only able to signal simple error messages. With the second generation (OBD2), introduced in 1996, one can read detailed values and states of many mechanisms on the vehicle. For example, you can read out the emission values or the current state of the airbags in graphic format. Most OBD2 diagnostic devices are updatable and can even enable a deep diagnosis. In some cases, even a manufacturer-specific diagnosis is provided. Meanwhile, the devices have become so cheap that car owners can buy a decent one for little money.
BAFX Products OBD2: The simple Android Tool
The most popular diagnostic devices usually have a high quality display and are compatible with a variety of automobiles. In addition, attention is paid to the ability to update, because newer vehicles may require software changes in the future.
The operation of an engine code reader is based on a simple and highly efficient sequence of processes whose aim is to check the functionality of the technical system a vehicle for possible errors and to evaluate them using technical error codes. Engine management systems control the injection of fuel, thereby ensuring maximum engine performance while at the same time saving fuel. When an error occurs, caused for example by external influences or corrosion, it is immediately stored in the error memory. An engine code reader is a simple car diagnostic tool that connects to the vehicle’s computer unit and reads out the error codes. If an error is measured during vehicle diagnostics, the device recognizes the type of error and the associated product-specific error codes. These are indicated after the conclusion of the examination depending on the motor code reader as error codes or in the form of a text.
An OBD device is easy to stow in the glove box, and is almost the basic equipment for every vehicle. In important situations it can be very useful and save you a lot of trouble. Therefore, it is advisable to keep a motor code reader / scanner in the car for problem situations. The device can also be used to control the work of a car repair shop.
☞ If you regularly read the error memory, you can detect malfunctions before they cause major damage.
What to Consider
An engine code reader executes only the pre-installed test processes and thus can only detect those errors which can be determined by the given test routine. If, for example, a device is specifically programmed for the electrical or engine technology of a particular vehicle, only the respective area can be checked and measured. The errors from other areas are therefore not visible in the test results. Therefore, it is advisable to note when purchasing which vehicle models are compatible with the respective device and which areas of the vehicle can be analyzed with it. For private use, universal code readers are recommended, which are designed for most common vehicle models.
Compatibility issues may arise with older vehicles as the onboard diagnostic (OBD) standard was first introduced in the US in the late 1980s. It was not until the middle of the 90s that it was common practice to install control bodies that were able to indicate the faults on the vehicle.
Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)
Diesel exhaust fluid (also AdBlue) is a standardized urea solution consisting of a urea-water mixture. It is used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions in diesel engines, which is achieved by a cathalytic reduction. Actually, you need ammonia, which is not easy to use in its pure form. Therefore, harmless urea is used, which is converted into ammonia only when needed.
While the name DEF is used in America, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) protected the name AdBlue for the standardized solution.
|BRAND||DIESEL EXHAUST FLUID|
Since diesel vehicles have to comply with certain emission standards, they must not drive without the diesel exhaust fluid according to the legislature or only with lowered torque. The vehicles are therefore designed by the manufacturers so that they do not start the engine in such cases, or allow normal operation until the diesel exhaust fluid is refilled. For this reason it’s important to take the warnings in the dashboard seriously.
Storage of Diesel Exhaust Fluid
According to the current safety data, no special measures are required for the storage of DEF. It is chemically stable and does not cause any irritation on the skin or in the eyes. The freezing point of the urea solution is 12.2°F (- 11°C). Frozen DEF can be thawed and used as it does not affect its functional properties. Based on current knowledge, the product also has no harmful effect on the human body. Nevertheless, for safety’s sake, it is recommended to avoid contact with the skin.