NCVECS Automotive Research Laboratory

Since its inception the primary focus of NCVECS has always been light duty vehicle emissions Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) programs required by USEPA in the various states needing to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). While much has been made of the various test techniques to identify polluting vehicles, it is the service and repair industry that has had to shoulder the burden of properly repairing broken vehicles. And since the validation of repairs to vehicles is subject to the limits of the various test techniques, there are occasions when false results are reported back.

The Federal Test Procedure (FTP) is the acknowledged "Gold Standard" of the automotive industry in determining a vehicle's compliance with national motor vehicle emissions standards. All automotive manufacturers must prove their vehicle's emissions standards compliance utilizing the FTP. Because FTP type testing is inherently complicated, equipment intensive and very costly, the various test techniques utilized in I/M programs do contain some element of error when measuring against the FTP and as mentioned above false reports can be generated. As NCVECS training evolved to include more intense focus on the repair side, the need for confirmatory testing of repair strategies became apparent. NCVECS came to the conclusion that the ability to conduct FTP type testing at the campus would significantly and positively contribute to the effectiveness of NCVECS training in the service and repair industry.

In 1989 NCVECS began the process of creating an automotive test and repair laboratory. Space sufficient to meet the needs was made available in the Industrial Sciences laboratory building. The cornerstone FTP equipment was acquired by way of the USEPA. USEPA had, for a period of time, traveled the country with a mobile FTP test facility and had ended that particular program. That unused equipment was provided to NCVECS and in the summer of 1990 the laboratory became operational. Since the laboratory became operational NCVECS has conducted several hundred tests on a variety of vehicles. The ability of NCVECS to perform this testing has induced several automotive businesses to contract with NCVECS for testing. In addition, USEPA has listed NCVECS as a recommended laboratory for "511" testing, testing of aftermarket add-on devices.

The test cell features a Clayton ECE-50 twin roll hydrokinetic dyne with a maximum Emissions Test Weight (ETW) of 5625#. The sampling system was designed and built by AESI with the flow rate controlled by a positive displacement pump. The bag bench analytics are a combination of Beckman, Teco and Horiba instruments. A complete description of the test cell equipment, capabilities, properties, etc. is
attached.

NCVECS has also added a parallel sampling and analyzing system to the FTP test cell. This system was designed and built by ALS in Denver, Colorado. It utilizes a critical flow venturi (CFV) for creating a consistent flow and sampling rate and analyzers built by Horiba. The analyzers are those typically used in I/M 240 test centers around the country. This system, while a unique custom built system that has not been duplicated, has proven to be essentially equivalent to the original FTP test cell equipment.

As noted previously, NCVECS is focused on the repair of vehicles. The focus requires that the laboratory be equipped with the basic and specialized tools required in the repair industry. Therefore, NCVECS has equipped the laboratory accordingly. NCVECS has, and uses, several scan tools including the Snap-On MT2500, the Vetronix MasterTech, the Ford NGS, the Chrysler DRBIII, and the General Motors Tech 2. In addition, the laboratory has the EASE Diagnostics PC based scan tool and a CODA Products PC based Engine Analyzer. A portable, in-flight, 5 gas analyzer made by Vetronix is also used extensively as it will generate mass emissions figures as well as concentration measurements. Evaporative system failures sometimes require the pressurizing of the system to determine leaks and this is accomplished with a LeakMaster EvapTraceUV Leak Detection System by Champion. This system is capable of indicating leaks down to 0.020" in size. And finally, the laboratory is also equipped with two four-gas analyzers typically found in I/M programs.

This document highlights the NCVECS Automotive Research Laboratory as it currently exists. However, in order for the NCVECS laboratory to become more competitive for outside work it will need to make improvements necessary to accommodate the needs of testing requesters. As with any dynamic situation, the laboratory is continually evolving and striving to become the best that it can be.

The NCVECS Automotive Research Laboratory has proven its worth time and again. NCVECS will continue to utilize its capabilities to their fullest value and will provide any contractor with the best possible service.

To inquire about contracting with NCVECS for testing service contact NCVECS at 1-970-491-7240 or email NCVECS at ncvecs@cahs.colostate.edu .

ADVISORY REGARDING TESTING

July 6, 2007

The following KEYWORDS & PHRASES are useful in searches: emissions, emissions testing, testing, fuel, fuel economy, economy, aftermarket, aftermarket device, aftermarket devices, device, devices, fuel additive, fuel additives, additive, additives, oil, oil additive, oil additives, gas, gasoline, diesel, ionizer, magnet, 511, 511 testing, certification, 511 certification, evaluation, device evaluation, 511 evaluation, FTP, FTP testing, Federal Test Procedure, SHED, sealed housing evaporative determination, alternative, alternative fuels, alternative fuels testing, E85, ethanol, methanol, propane, LPG, CNG, compressed natural gas, biofuels, biodiesel.