Temper – Temper
The front office door swings wide and a mom holds it open for her son who is carrying in a steering column. The column is out of her sons little S-10. From the general appearance of the column it looked like somebody was trying awfully hard to steal the little truck. Everything was distorted and bent out of shape. The steering wheel was even bent, and the horn pad looked like someone had taken an ax to the center of it. There was hardly a part of the steering column that wasn't damaged in some way or form.
“My husband tried to change the turn signal switch but couldn't figure out how to get it off,” the mom tells me.
“Yea, I brought another column with us if you could use the parts off of it to fix this one,” the son said while sitting the bent column on its steering wheel in front of me.
“So what actually happened here? I see the turn signal switch is still in place but the whole column looks like it went through a war zone. Is this a theft recovery?” I asked.
No it wasn't stolen, it was dad. Seems dad had the idea he could fix it, and wasn't going to let some little steering column kick his butt. He had seen it done a number of times and even watched a video on how to do it. But it looked like the column was way beyond repair; at this point I’m thinking that good old dad didn't know what a non-mangled steering column looked like... if he would have known, he probably would have just replaced it instead of trying to bring this bent up piece of junk back to life.
The key was still hanging out of the ignition as the column sat on the counter; even though the column was bent and contorted completely out of shape it did somewhat remind of the leaning tower of Pisa with a lot of pieces missing. While the ticket was being filled out I reached for a pocket screwdriver and removed the key and tumbler so that I could install it into the other column. The look on the sons face was pure shock as to how easy it was to remove the key and tumbler.
“Dad worked on getting that key and tumbler out for hours, look mom he took it out with a pocket screwdriver,” the surprised young man said to his mom.
The son brought in the replacement column. It had all the correct parts in place and was in fairly good shape except for a problem with the hazard switch. (Pretty much what was wrong with the other turn signal switch) It too had the ignition key hanging out of it so I showed the young lad how to push in the retaining button and remove the key and tumbler.
Mom was pretty impressed and had a big smile on her face as she watched her son maneuver the key and tumbler into the replacement column.
“The tow truck was right behind us with my sons little truck. How soon can you have all of this back together?” she asked.
“Oh, a couple of hours should do it if I don't run into any problems. I'll change out the turn signal switch with the new one you brought since the replacement column has the hazard switch broken off of it too,” I told her, “But how in the world did the original column get in such bad shape if it wasn't from a theft?”
It was dad, good old dad had been working on the little trucks steering column all weekend and had finally given up on repairing it. Mom went on to tell me the whole story.
“He came inside the house, grabbed a beer and mumbled something about a sledge hammer. He headed back out to the garage and came back out with a hatchet. He was determined to get it apart no matter what. We all watched as he proceeded to go ballistic on the little truck. The next thing I know he was a cussin' and a smackin' that steering column. Parts we're a flying everywhere and that steering column still wouldn't budge for him. He kept at it until he was too tired to swing the hatchet one more time and then he just gave up, sat down next to the truck and drank his beer,” she told me while trying to hold back the laughter.
The son had that look of agreement on his face as if this was nothing new with good old dad when it came to something he didn't understand.
“Dad always tries to fix things around the house and after he gets done breaking things up pretty good mom will take over and save the day,” the young lad told me.
When I finally got to see the little truck you could tell somebody was really having a go at destroying that steering column. With a few marks in the headliner and some obvious missed blows whacking the dash panel there was no doubt he had made up his mind that the steering wheel and the column was going to come off one way or another.
The install was no big deal, luckily it was an old enough truck that there was no security system to worry about or any air bag system installed on it. Just bolt it back up, line up the shaft and put all the trim back together. (The trim needed a little TLC though)
With the replacement column (which was untouched by good old dad) and the original key and tumbler installed the repair was done in no time at all. I gave the mom a call and a few hours later the boy had his truck back on the road again.
“I told my husband his temper was going to get him, and it sure did this time. He's really a sweet guy, but you should see what he does with plumbing... we keep that number handy at all times.” (Chuckling as if this was nothing new with the family.) “I guess it's a male ego thing or something. He's really sorry about it all, just can't seem to get it through his thick head that he doesn't know everything.” she told me.
The son then tells me, “Yea, I don't think he's going to try that again.”
“Ma'am you know it would have been a lot cheaper if you would have brought it to me before it was torn apart,” I told her.
She knew that already, but like I said, it seems to be the norm at their house. Let dad have a whack at it first until his temper gets the best of him and then call the pros. Well what can ya say, he tried, he failed, and he took more than a few whacks at it… chalk it up to a lesson learned I guess.
The mom backed up sons comment that “dad” has sworn off car repair forever, and wasn't about to try anything remotely like auto mechanics ever again. Well, time will tell about that... temper, temper mister... why don't you take up basket weaving, model ship building, or perhaps some yoga. Maybe it’s time for a mountain retreat to work out your aggression's. One thing is for sure fella; your mechanical expertise is just one big hatchet job. Do me a favor there … “dad”… have another beer…………… but don't mess with the cars anymore OK?
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By Bob K
I'm 8 month's into the program and have made gains in many areas. Having said that I'm frustrated with all that I've learned, changed and tried, I feel more and more like the gerbil in the wheel going in circles. One month up and the next down over and over. Although our ARO is increasing, our car count is decreasing. Also I've noticed we've lost some regular customers possibly due to our increased prices and labor rates. While we are making more with less cars going through the shop, I'm concerned about the downward trend of defecting clients. Anyone else involved with ATI experienced the same?
Sounds, Gone but not Forgotten
As the automobile strives to become a more perfect personal transportation device, we may not have noticed the subtle changes that have occurred regarding the various sounds that emanate from our cars. There are a lot of different sounds that aren’t part of our driving experiences anymore. It seems all the focus is on all the new technologies and how much better cars have become, but we’ve overlooked some of the characteristic squeaks and squawks that made the car such a unique part of our daily commutes. And some of those sounds are not just gone, but gone forever.
Take for instance, the sound of an automotive horn. Years ago, each manufacturer had a unique sound all to their own, from a growling “grrr” sound, to the startling sound of an “Aoo-gah” horn. In today’s cars the horn tone is held to a perfect pitch; it’s practically the same tone in every car.
Not too long ago it was common place to hear the sound of a 4 barrel kicking in as somebody tromped the gas pedal to the floor. Today, all you hear is the sound of the engine speeding up because the transmission dropped to a lower gear. But, it’s not the same gut wrenching roar of a big 4 barrel carburetor opening up.
There are of course those various exhaust tones too. For the most part, those are manufactured sounds from somebody modifying the exhaust systems. People still modify the exhaust these days, although the sound isn’t anything like it used to be. Unless, we’re talking about spaghetti cars or some of the euro cars, or a few of our home grown muscle cars. They all have a different type of rumble from the tail end straight from the factory.
What about the different sounds of the starter motors? For years a lot of cars had a unique sound to their starter. A good mechanic back then could tell you exactly what kind of car it was just by the sound of the starter motor. One in particular was on Mopar products. They had a distinct whirring over spin sound just as the engine started.
Who remembers the sound of a 6 volt flat head engine cranking up? Especially the early foot operated starters. As you mashed the starter button, a slow methodic Rrr, rrr,rrr sound beckoned from the engine bay as the engine would lumbar to life. These days it’s a high torque, high spin rate starter that does its job to perfection. It’s a highlight of my day when I get the chance stomp on the starter button from one of those old cars and hear a sound from automotive history.
From the engine bay to body parts, seems everything had some peculiar rattle or noise that made them not so perfect. Even some of the door handles had a peculiar clunk to them as you would open the door, while closing the door added even more unique clicks or ‘ka-chunks’. If you listen to today’s cars, there’s hardly a difference between them anymore. They all have a perfect “click” and close with about the same sound as every other car.
Let’s not forget the column shift, the “three on the tree” with the non-synchronized first gear. They had an unmistakable grind as you slowly pulled it down into first gear, especially if you were backing out of the driveway and were in a hurry. There were even a few models that had an early form of a “key in the ignition” warning system. If you opened the driver’s door on one of these cars a loud obnoxious buzz could be heard from the engine compartment.
There are so many sounds, creaks, clanks, and pops on yesterday's cars. At the time, nobody made a big deal out of them. Like the ‘thunk’ of the heater door as you moved the cable from hot to cold, or the sound the license plate bracket made as you lowered it down to fill up the gas tank. (For those too young to remember, yes that’s right, the filler neck was behind the license plate on some cars, and they made an eerie creaking sound when you opened it.) When the designs and styles changed nobody seemed to notice those creaks and groans had disappeared as well. It’s a shame in a way; I kind of liked all those little nuances.
Who remembers the sound of the tail gate chains thrashing against the bed of the truck as you went over bumps? I do. And you know, I don’t remember anybody ever complaining about the paint getting scraped off because of it either. There’s the sound of sliding across a bucket seat covered in vinyl and the sound of a hood or trunk spring when you opened it. Where did all these sounds go?
Most of those old sounds we associated with our cars have been replaced with soft, quiet, and non-intrusive noises. Cars are quiet now, and some are so quiet the manufacturers are actually adding sounds back into them. Nowadays, the soft ding you hear from leaving the key in the ignition is a perfect tone that doesn’t have that obnoxious buzzing like the older models. And, again, the tone is basically the same from car to car. It’s as if they’ve manufactured out the personality of the individual car.
There for a while, I thought the talking car was going to be the next big trend. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve laughed myself silly over hearing, “Your door is ajar”. I think it’s hilarious. I’m sorry, but a door is a door, and a jar is a jar. I’ve even run across one that spoke in Japanese. The message always started out with an annoying loud “Ding”, and then this soft spoken Japanese woman’s voice came on and she would repeat the message over and over. I don’t speak Japanese, but I’m pretty sure it was something about a door… being … a jar. It could get mind numbing if you’re working on the car with the door open. Soon, you’d start to believe a door was a jar after all.
Maybe we just want things too perfect anymore. Could it be we are taking ourselves too seriously these days? I don’t think a few rattles or the unmistakable “thud” of the glove box door when it opened to sit your drinks on it while at the drive-in was all that bad. (Come to think of it, those were about the only cup holders back then too!) I guess it’s just the way things are these days. We live in a time when a squeaky seat spring isn’t acceptable.
A lot of these old sounds have gone into the history books and will never return to the automotive world. For me, those sounds may be long gone, but they’re definitely not forgotten. Sounds like perfection is what the manufacturers are striving for, conformative, acceptable, and quiet cars. Maybe what we really need these days is a few squeaks or clunks to remind us … everything doesn’t need to be perfect after all.
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Haven't been on the site for a while. I couldn't find the search button to see if there is a forum now for my question. So sorry if it is duplicating.
We have had a website for years, being this is our 3rd one. It is a HTML and everymonth we have to have our photos and newsletter added for us. I understand if we do a website in Word Press, we can add our own information by our selves. We like our own now, but we need to make another. Any suggestions will be appreciated. www.dufresnesautorepair.com
By Joe Marconi
Crash Repair Info is a web site that consumers can go to find information on the complexities of collision repairs. The site can educate consumers on a variety of topics, which builds value, in areas of insurance, salvage parts, shop certification and more. Basically, it’s a site to better inform the consumer should they get into an accident.
I don’t know if you checked out this site yet, but you should and give feedback.
Is the site useful? Can he used to help market our shops? Will this site build value in the eyes of the consumer?
Here’s the site link: