catalytic convertors

We are a small specialist business with many years of experience in the motor trade industry. The owners previously ran two large businesses; a bodyshop and a very busy mechanical workshop, including an mot station and a diagnostic bay, complete with rolling road. This lead us towards our preferred area of work as fuel injection specialists, which has had a natural progression on to LPG systems. We are heavily involved in LPG systems development, including a new diesel-blend LPG injection system.

The History of CRD Performance Ltd (t/a F1 Automotive)

F1 Automotive opened in Bolton in late 1999 as Fuel Injection repair specialists. Prior to moving to the new Bolton premises, proprietors Eddie & Jo Zyla had successfully operated 2 garages in the Trafford Park area of Manchester. Eddie began his career at Tom Mellor Ford in Rochdale and left soon after graduation to Senior Ford Mechanic to start his first business in Eccles, Manchester.

FCMIn partnership with his brother-in-law FCM Ltd (Fleet Contract Maintenance) they progressed their fleet maintenance and repair business into a recognised insurance company approved bodyshop specialising in repairing late model accident damaged vehicles.

In 1988 the partnership dissolved and Eddie continued the business from his new premises close to the Manchester United Old Trafford football ground.

In 1992 Eddie opened his second premises, ‘One Stop’, on Guinness Road, Trafford Park which was aimed more towards servicing vehicles belonging to the general public. An MOT bay was installed and a full diagnostic bay along with Eddie’s first Rolling Road – this was the start of what was to become a highly specialist diagnostic and tuning repair business.

Within a few months of opening Eddie had a chance meeting with Mark Howarth, an electronics design specialist in Trafford Park, working for a company called Avant Garde. Sharing an equal passion of motor vehicles in general, a friendship was born that would prove to change engine management system diagnostics and vehicle security forever.

Eddie & Jo married in 1992 and whilst Eddie continued to run the bodyshop near Old Trafford, Jo developed the retail operation at Guinness Road. Having come from a Main Dealer background herself she soon established the new business as the area’s largest and busiest MOT station, service centre and diagnostic repair business.

By 1994 vehicles were now subjected to catalyst emissions testing and it soon became apparent that with the recent introduction of catalytic converters, nearly all garages were unable to diagnose and repair vehicles having failed their MOT emissions test. By now Mark had already designed and built many small electronic diagnostic gadgets to Eddie’s specification to assist difficult engine management fault finding and repairs.

Within a few months the first Fueler prototype was made, several prototypes and improvements later, it soon became obvious that this unique tool could prove to become what every MOT station and diagnostic specialist was waiting for.

In the coming months, following interest from several diagnostic companies, including Snap-on, Sun and Crypton a decision had to be made whether or not to renew the lease on the bodyshop based at Old Trafford. By now Eddie was spending most of his time in developing and demonstrating the Fueler to local garages and the decision to close the bodyshop was made, this was an easy decision seeing how insurance companies were directing most of the accident repairs to their own bodyshops.

Fueler DemonstrationIn anticipation of one of the major diagnostic companies buying the license for the Fueler, Eddie then spent most of his days further developing and promoting the product.

By now the expectation levels were so high that even though Joanne was running the business entirely on her own and very profitably too, money made was being used to fund further development and worldwide patents. Sadly, without further outside investment the garage business suffered financial loss and the decision was made to allow the business to close in 1997.

The following 2 years proved very hard, Eddie was still involved in trying to take the Fueler to market whilst trading from his workshop at home as a mobile engine management repair specialist. Jo also worked from home during this time as an independent Finance Broker within the motor trade using her previous experience from working as a Finance Manager for the RRG group and Holt Drive Leasing Company.

In late 1999 Nigel Rawlings a good friend of Mark Howarth and in the business of venture capital investment, offered to help raise the necessary funds in order to take the Fueler to market. Funding came from 3 sources, The DTi, NESTA (National Lottery) and Enterprise Ventures PLC, in total this came to £450,000.00.

With Eddie living in Eccles and Mark in Ramsbottom it was decided to open a workshop between the two towns and the present workshop was chosen in Bolton and opened as a Training School and development workshop.

Although funds were now in place to fully develop the Fueler and take it to market it was quite obvious that initial sales might be slow and the workshop would have to generate additional income. As a result Factor 1 opened its doors to the general public and trade offering diagnostic repair services from its State-of-the-Art workshop.

Within months of launching the redeveloped Fueler and with the help of Bert Clegg of Ford Service Equipment (FSE) who incidentally Eddie served his apprenticeship under in Rochdale, the Fueler became Ford approved and supplied to many Ford Main Dealers in mainland Europe. Even though Factor 1 sold in excess of 300 Fuelers between January 2000 and December 2002 the business was unable to continue due to investor repayments not being able to be met and a lack of further investment.

In hindsight, we would have been better partnering an established diagnostics company for the product to sell in greater quantities rather than try to launch both an unknown brand and product ourselves, but as they say “hindsight is a wonderful thing”.

Eddie & Jo had by now gained full control of the workshop and the company name changed to CRD Performance Ltd (t/a F1 Automotive). The business had already become well known in the North West of England as probably the leading diagnostic and LPG conversion workshop.

Anti-Carjacking DevelopmentHaving retained possession of the Fueler patent and after being asked by a friend in the motor trade to design and build a one off vehicle security system, work started on a post theft anti-carjacking engine degredation device.

Existing fuel control technology was used but this time to make the engine run worse, not better, allowing a stolen vehicle to be slowed down safely without effecting steering or brakes.

It was whilst further developing the control unit to operate on diesel common rail injection systems that a colleague suggested that we develop a dual fuel diesel blend system, this initially was only intended for the HGV truck market.

With Eddie’s involvement with LPG systems and his and Mark’s background in the development of diagnostic equipment, and with the patents still being in the directors’ possession, the development of a diesel blend LPG system was a natural progression to take.

An excited original team funded this initial development and then along with some new investors, CRD Performance are employed to continue with the development and, along with CRD Technology, a major LPG system manufacturer are now getting ready to market the product.

An excited original team funded this initial development and then along with some new investors, CRD Performance are employed to continue with the development and along with a major LPG system manufacturer are now getting ready to market the product.

Eddie Zyla the owner of CRD Performance Ltd (t/a F1 Automotive) is also the Technical Director of Mobilizer Limited whose CRD Technology division in conjunction with CRD Performance have carried out research and development on what was originally a project to develop a control system specifically to allow Common Rail Diesels to be run on a blend of LPG or CNG and Diesel.

In order to help reach emission requirements it was necessary to develop a 3 dimensional mapping method to electronically reduce the amount of diesel being injected. This unique and patented method not only allows for diesel reduction but also increased fuelling if required.

“This development work has turned the CRD Technology’s Dual Fuel Controller (DFC) into what is probably the most advanced CRD diesel tuning ECU in the world” says Eddie

See the CRD Technology website for more information.

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