Thursday, 8 November 2012

Testing Times

Taken from May 2012 VicRoads RWC Newsletter to testers 

Older vehicle standards
VicRoads Vehicle Fitness receives the occasional call for help from testers who have to inspect a very old car.
Wooden spoke wheels and two wheel brakes can be a bit daunting to inspect when compared to modern vehicles.

Standards for older vehicles
The standards that apply to older vehicles are those that applied when the vehicle was first built. 
For example, a 1910 model T Ford does not need front brakes, a high beam headlight or indicators to meet roadworthy standards.
When assessing the condition of an older vehicle, you should apply your trade knowledge to make accurate decisions about the vehicle’s roadworthiness. 
If an older vehicle has substantial or significant modifications, the tester should use their best efforts to test the vehicle for compliance with any guidelines or vehicle standards information sheet applicable at the time of modification.
If you are not sure, please call VicRoads Vehicle Fitness on (03) 9811 8380.

 This document constitutes a direction under CHAPTER 6 - TESTING AND REPAIR OF VEHICLES of the Road Safety (Vehicles) Regulations 2009.
Photographic evidence
As explained in VicRoads’ letter, dated June 2011, licensed vehicle testers must take and store digital photographs of the vehicles being inspected during a roadworthiness test. 
From 1 January 2012 all testers should have been meeting this requirement.
While the photograph requirement was implemented to ensure there is evidence that the vehicle was tested at the time and place specified on the certificate of roadworthiness, there are other benefits.
VicRoads’ requirements are based on existing good practice by some testers who were using photographic evidence to protect themselves from claims of poor vehicle inspections, poor repairs or damage to clients’ vehicles in their workshops.

 What camera to use – at least five megapixels
To take good quality colour photographs that can be enlarged, you need to use a camera with at least five megapixels or more. The camera may be part of another device, such as a mobile phone, provided it has a five megapixel resolution or more.
It is recommended that the camera can also record video. This allows the tester to make a video of the vehicle or the vehicle’s parts if desired, however this is not mandatory. A separate video camera might also be used for this purpose. As with photographs, any video footage should show the vehicle at the tester’s premises, the vehicle’s odometer reading, Vehicle Identification Number, Inspection Certificate Number and date and time of inspection. 
Roadworthy certificate number
The roadworthy certificate number only needs to be displayed in the first and last photograph of a series for the first inspection. If the vehicle is found to be roadworthy on the first inspection no other photographs are required. Further photographs may be taken at the tester’s discretion.
Second inspection photographs
If you are inspecting a vehicle for a second time, you must be able to validate, with a photograph that the vehicle was in your workshop for a re-inspection at the date and time specified. This photograph should show the roadworthy certificate number. Further photographs may be taken at the tester’s discretion.
Keep photos for seven years
To cover any future inquiries, you must keep all digital photographs for at least seven years and provide electronic copies to VicRoads upon request.

Taken from Dec 2011

White Walls
Wide white walls used to be common on cars (particularly those of US origin) in the 1950s and then thin white (and red) walls or stripes were provided on tyres fitted to some cars, usually sporty models such as Ford Falcon GTs and Holden GTS Monaros, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 
These were fine by the tyre manufacturers of the time but they are generally no longer readily available. 
However, it seems that to reproduce this effect for restored cars (and for some other customised vehicles) a process of lathing or buffing a flat area or a groove on the side wall of the tyre and painting or fusing a coloured strip to this area is being used.
In many respects, the sidewall of a tyre and its structure are critical to a tyre’s safety as it is much thinner and subject to much more flexing than the tread area.
Any alterations to a tyre sidewall are not acceptable for several reasons:
o in some cases the tyre size and other information is being removed
o the removal of sidewall material is likely to adversely affect the structure of the tyre
o the addition of sidewall material is likely to adversely affect the structure of the tyre
o the addition of sidewall material may also conceal sidewall damage. Repairs to tyre sidewall are prohibited (refer to VSI 16).
Any modification to the structure of a tyre (and this includes tread re-grooving on a tyre not marked as suitable for this process) requires the written approval of the tyre manufacturer confirming that the tyre still meets the standards before it can be accepted.

Taken from March 2011

 Motor Cycle Rear Mudguards You might get the impression that motorcycles don’t need mudguards when you see many of the sports bikes getting around showing off their massive rear tyres. The truth is a little different though. There are very specific mudguard requirements in the ADRs. A rear mudguard (with or without a flexible flap) or the body, or a combination of both, must extend over the full width of the tyre cross section and from the front edge of the rear wheel and down to a point at least 45O behind the axle line as shown below. 

It appears that manufacturers are providing all sorts of bits on the back of the bike so that it can be certified as ADR compliant. These bits are often removable components (as can be seen in the next image) that satisfy the mudguard specifications above but perhaps do not give the appearance the customer desires. Those assemblies are then removed after registration making the bike non-compliant. 
Motorcycle testers need to be aware of this practice so they don’t get caught out. They should also explain to customers that it is illegal to remove components and make a bike non-compliant. It is also an additional offence to do so while a RWC is current. You should also note that many bikes, particularly off-road or trail bikes with soft suspensions and long suspension travel may not meet this requirement when you just look at them sitting there. The picture below is a typical example. However, the ADR specifies that the checking of the mudguard must be done when a mass of 45kg is on the seat so you need to take this into account when you check the compliance of motorcycle mudguards. 

Motorcycle Turn Signals 
The Motorcycle Lights article in Testing Times 25 could give the impression that all motorcycle turn signal lamps must be at least 300mm apart but this is not strictly correct. 
The Australian Vehicle Standards Rules (AVSRs 
-the registration standards that apply to pre ADR vehicles) require that the centres of front and rear turn signals on motorcycles must be at least 300mm apart. When the ADR which covers lights and signals on motorcycles (ADR 19/00) was introduced it required that the inner edges of the illuminating surfaces of front turn signals be at least 300mm apart (an even greater centre to centre spacing than that required by the AVSRs). This ADR also specified that the inner edges of rear turn signal lamps be at least 240mm apart which realistically means that the centre to centre spacing will still be about 300mm. However, later ADR versions (ADR19/01 & ADR 19/02) relaxed these spacing provisions with the inner edges of front turn signals being only required to be at least 240mm apart and the inner edges of rear turn signals being only required to be at least 180mm apart. While this still effectively means that the centre to centre spacing of front turn signals will be about 300mm (there is also a minimum clearance requirement from the low beam headlamp which could result in an even greater distance between the turn signal lamps) the rear turn signal lamps can now be significantly closer together than previously. 
Because the registration standards exempt a vehicle from complying with a standard applicable to it because of its date of manufacture if it complies with a later standard it really means that the minimum spacing of turn signals on any motorcycle are those allowed by ADR 19/02. 

Brake Lines The importance of a thorough inspection of brake lines cannot be stressed enough. Metal pipes, used where there is no relative movement between components, need to be checked for leaks at all joints and fittings AND for signs of wear or damage at all support clips and any other location where they pass through or close to the vehicle’s structure. Remember, while there is no significant relative movement between components, vibration can still cause the metal pipe to rub on adjacent parts and mounting clips, etc with resultant damage. Flexible hoses (sometimes protected with a metal braid) need to be checked for any damage or fraying where they join the end fittings and the whole length needs to be checked for damage, abrasion and cracking. 
The check should include a careful inspection at any intermediate supports and don’t just do the check when the hose is in the static position or with the wheels straight ahead. It is necessary to move the hoses to different positions to see if there are cracks that open up when the hose is bent or twisted. Flexible brake hoses should not touch or rub on anything except at the end fittings and any intermediate supports and, as stated in Testing Times 25, they should not pull tight in any normal combination of suspension and/or steering movement 

Taken from Dec 2006

Braided Flexible Brake Hoses
Way back in Testing Times 9 we talked about
braided brake hoses but they were not in
common use back then. However, they have now
become much more popular so it is time to
review the issue.
Braided flexible brake hoses used to look like
normal flexible brake hoses covered with
stainless steel braiding. They were often about
the same overall diameter as normal flexible
brake hoses, too. It may have been this overall
size that made it difficult for them to pass the
Australian Design Rule (ADR) No 7 whip test.

The ADR 7 test
involves fixing
one end of the
hose and
“whipping” the other end many
thousands of times to simulate typical road use.
The early braided hoses often could not cope
with their own mass and stiffness and failed at
the swaged ends where the flexing was most
If you look at current
braided flexible
brake hoses you will
note that they are
much smaller in
diameter than the
comparable unbraided
The new designs addressed flexibility and
improved the swage system. Consequently,
there are now many braided flexible brake hoses
that do not have a problem passing the ADR 7
whip test.
However, all the points made in Testing Times 9
are still valid. Braided flexible brake hoses
should only be accepted in a roadworthiness
test if they meet one of the following:
· they were supplied as original equipment
by the vehicle manufacturer;
· they have the manufacturer’s identification
mark (ie trade mark, or trade name);
· they are on a modified vehicle such as a
rally car and covered by an engineer’s
report; or
· they are fitted to a pre1970 vehicle (these
vehicles do not have to meet the ADRs).

The manufacturer’s identification mark should be
clearly visible. It is often on a snug fitting sleeve
placed over the hose before the end fittings are
crimped on.
The mark may also be stamped into the end
fittings themselves as below.
In addition to the above requirements the end
fittings MUST be a machine swaged type. Self
assembled or screw together type fittings are not
The hose and end fittings should not show any
sign of leaking or weeping and there should be
no signs of bulging or displaced braids that could
indicate internal damage. As the strength of
these new type braided flexible hoses is largely
provided by the outer braiding, there should be
no signs of broken braids or fraying or abrasion
that could weaken the braiding or any evidence
of the braiding becoming detached from the
swaged fittings.
As many braided flexible brake hoses will have
been fitted aftermarket it is also very important to
check that the hose is the correct length for the
vehicle and does not foul, rub or pull tight
throughout the whole suspension movement and
lock to lock of the steering.

Taken from Dec 2005

Reference Materials

Time moves on and standards change. What was acceptable last year might not be OK this year. You may need to be able to show the customer the current standards to avoid a dispute. In fact you should be in the habit of showing customers what the standards are every time they have a query about your testing. It helps to make sure that you know the requirements. If you don’t keep up with the current requirements, you might let through something you should not have accepted. This may leave you liable for a compensation claim by the person who purchased the vehicle.
Alternatively, if you reject something you should not have rejected and put the customer to some expense to get the vehicle up to your requirements, then they may also be able to claim those additional costs from you. And it may not be just the actual cost. The initial rejection could have resulted in a loss of sale or some other significant inconvenience and people are more and more likely to take legalaction for even minor things these days. It is therefore important that you have current copies of the Regulations, all the Vehicle Standards Information sheets and other reference material.

All Testing Times can be found here
Licensed Vehicle Testers Testing Times

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