Analysis Without Equipment by Mac Van Den Brink


1. Leakage, like a poorly seating valve has a greater chance to be diagnosed at low speed, typically cranking RPM. The reason is simple, because it has more time to leak down. Example: A burned valve may feel like a misfire at idle, but performance wise there is very little negative effect at high RPM, because the leakage is so minute at that speed.

2. A vacuum leak drives the fuel trim positive at idle, but equals out at high speed when the leak has very little  effect. That is how you know the difference between lean injector and vacuum leak.

3. A leaky injector has more timeto drip at idle, while at high speed there is less time and may be only a few drops.

4. Carbon build-up may keep the EGR valve open causing a rough idle. At high speed the EGR valve should be open anyway to control NOX. Therefore carbon build-up at EGR has no negative effect at high RPM or load.


1. Here are some examples of fuel starvation: An 80% restricted fuel filter is no problem at idle, but you won’t make it driving uphill when volume and demand is far greater.

2. The same holds true for a defective fuel pump. It may have a perfect fuel pressure, but fails to supply enough volume at high speed when high demand is critical, causing surging under load, yet may pass every function at lower demand at idle.

3. Also a restricted exhaust has a greater negative effect when the volume is high at wide open throttle and the accumulation of inhaled air is at its peak.

4. A lean injector may pass at idle, but fails at high speed, typically at fast acceleration when the computer cannot keep
up with compensating for the lean condition. This can be easily demonstrated with a snap-test (when the computer does
not respond fast enough to compensate), on the ignition scope pattern.

FAILURE AT ANY SPEED: A dead hole at any speed can mean almost anything from absence of fuel, or spark, or
compression. The fact that it is at any speed makes analysis simpler because it does not fall under those above categories. Reading the code tells which cylinder.

Final advice! Don’t memorize — analyze!

Mac Van Den Brink
Dynamic Auto Test Engineering Corp
Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Mac’s website is: www.datec,us