Quantcast
Jump to content


Rigged and Runnin' -- DIY modifications.


Recommended Posts

Rigged and Runnin’

People have been modifying their family car since the automotive industries began. No matter what the car, or its condition, somebody will modify something to suit their needs or their artistic interpretation of what their car should be. On occasions, these changes are brilliant and far better than what the designers could have ever thought. However, there are those rigged up and overly engineered home modifications that can leave the original designers and engineers in shock. Not to mention the mechanics that service them.

It’s amazing how the human mind has such an endless imagination to even dream up some of these wild and outlandish contraptions. They are more than just four wheels and transportation to the creators of the masterful works of art. Although at times, some of these wacky rides might appear a bit unorthodox to the onlooker. Art cars for example, don’t follow any technical bulletins or accepted engineering practices that any sane professional mechanic would understand. Safety and performance issues are put aside for the sake of artistry. Whatever looks good is good enough for them. Whether it’s modifying an old car to look like a cow or stretching a limo so far that it can’t possibly turn at an intersection are all in the name of creativity.

Then there are the backyard engineers who are not into the artistic side of the cars anatomy, but are merely after cheap functionality, no matter what it looks like. Sometimes it’s back to nature for spare parts. Logs for bumpers, wood slats for truck beds and fenders made from a sheet of plywood, just to name a few. Maybe it’s the cost of the repairs, or perhaps there are no parts to be found, so the only resource available is what they have on hand.

But, not all of these intrepid designers stick with natural products to modify their rides. Some use whatever is available at their local hardware store. Bathroom faucets for heater controls, PVC pipe made into shifter handles and things like door hinges to hold a gas pedal in place. Of course, there are the “traditional” DIY fixes that everyone has tried at one time or another. You know, duct tape, coat hangers, and bailing wire. But, we can’t leave out those fixes that seem to generate from the household kitchen either. I’ve even seen repairs made using a fork, knife or a spoon from their very own kitchen to supplement the loss of an inside door handle.

There are those more sophisticated modifiers who still leave me gasping. Like the large wheel rims and thin tires, or the lift kits on a family sedan that leave one wondering how much time these folks spend at their local chiropractor. Others, will spend a fortune on things like huge stereo systems or ultra-bright headlights, but never take in account the load they are putting on the electrical system of the car. Then they wonder what could be wrong with their car when they come into a professional repair shop and tell the mechanic, “I burned out four alternators in a row. So, there must be something wrong with the charging system.” Yes, you’re right. There is something wrong, but it’s not the charging system.

To go to even more extremes, there are the aftermarket modifications for the engine computer control systems. There are all kinds of computer programs out there that can modify the factory specifications. Some are for racing applications, some for better towing capabilities, and some are for street performance. With all of these updates and reprogramming for the car’s computer, you better know what you’re doing before downloading them into the vehicle’s data stream. It’s kind of late to find out your car won’t run correctly or not start at all after you’ve installed some back door program from parts unknown.

Maybe some people are thinking things are like they were in the early days of the car computer systems. Back then it was as simple as changing out the chip in the computer, but the chip has been done away with a long time ago. Now it’s a matter of installing a program with new data and information for the computer to interpret. Not as simple as changing a carburetor or putting in a different size cam. These days it’s all about the electronics.

Just the other day a guy called and told me he has this special computer flash program that he bought to modify his diesel engine. “All you’re supposed to do is download this software into the car’s computer, but every time I hook it up it says there is no communication with the car,” he told me, “But, I had it checked at another shop and they said their computer will talk to the car. They told me to call you and see if you can make my stuff work.” Now, I’m not the kind of mechanic who would pass up a challenge, but I think this guy has a problem with his aftermarket device, and it might be wise to go back to the company he bought it from and see if their little gizmo is having some issues. (Seen this before, been there, done that.)

Whether it’s a chain welded onto the car with a padlock attached because the door locks quit, or a computer modification that might end up as a malfunction it all leaves me just shaking my head sometimes. But my all-time favorite rigged up repair has to be the guy who used an old fashion horn button mounted on top of his brake pedal. This guy had two wires hooked to this horn button and taped them to the brake pedal support arm which traveled up to the factory brake light wires. So, when he put his foot on the button and mashed down on the pedal he could apply the brakes and the brake lights at the same time. Crude, but ingenious. That one made me giggle for sure.

I have to admire the people out there who have thought through a problem and found a way to rig up something that gets the job done without heading down to the local repair shop or parts store. However, as a professional mechanic, I can’t justify repairing anything that way. It’s just not the way it’s supposed to be done. Problems are repaired and diagnosed with a factory manual that explains not only how the system works, but the proper procedures to make the appropriate repairs. When it comes to these home grown modifications on the other hand, all bets are off.

Somehow, someway these home grown engineered cars with all their whatchamacallits and thingamajigs still managed to do the one thing the owner was really after, and that’s to keep their rigged up rigs runnin’ down the road. That is, until it messes up, then it’s off to a professional shop to solve the problem. Will there be some new doohickey added onto a car next week or next year that I haven’t seen before? Oh, you can bet there will be.


View full article

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Gonzo: Used to be more mechanical modifications, as now with electronics, especially software it is more tempting to go in and make changes without getting into will it fit, meaning you don't need a machine shop to modify anymore! If you can make it look easy to do, there out and willing to try.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I get a kick out of these DIY mods. is when they bring their car in with a problem and I tell them it's do to their add on they look at me as if I'm an idiot. Cause, they all the same thing, "I just put that on. So, that can't be the problem." amazing, simply amazing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seen my share of modifications too. I remember when a customer installed a toggle switch on his dashboard to turn on his cooling fan. He would watch the temperature gauge and when it climbed up he would flip the switch. Well, we all know what happened when his wife borrowed his car!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
         4
      Typically, when productivity suffers, the shop owner or manager directs their attention to the technicians. Are they doing all they can do to maintain high billable hours? Are they as efficient as they can be?  Is there time being wasted throughout the technician’s day? 
      All these reasons factor into production problems, but before we point fingers at the technicians, let’s consider a few other factors.
      Are estimates being written properly? Are labor testing and inspections being billed out correctly? Are you charging enough for testing and inspecting, especially for highly specialized electrical, on-board computer issues, and other complex drivability work?  Is there a clear workflow process everyone follows that details every step from the write-up to vehicle delivery? Do you track comebacks, and is that affecting production?  Is the shop layout not conducive to high production? For example, is it unorganized, where shop tools, technical information, and equipment are not easily accessible to every technician?  Are you charging the correct labor rate and allowing for variables such as rust, vehicle age, and the fact that most labor guides are wrong? Also, is there effective communication between the tech and the service advisor to ensure that extra labor time is accounted for and billed to the customer? These are a few of the top reasons for low productivity problems. There are others, but the main point is to look at the entire operation. Productivity is a team effort.  Blaming the techs or other staff members does not get to the root cause in most cases.
      Maintaining adequate production levels is the responsibility of management to create the processes that will lead to high production while holding everyone accountable. 
  • Similar Topics

    • By carmcapriotto
      On Record with Greg Buckley. Greg discusses extended car warranties. You must educate your customer!
      Greg Buckley, owner of Buckley’s Auto Care in Wilmington, and Millsboro DE.  Greg’s previous episodes HERE.
      Show Notes:  
      Extended warranty- used car market has been hot over the last few years. People want a ‘protection’ What types of companies underwrite policies?  You must educate the customer on what they already purchased for their vehicle- most contracts are limited  Ask for a copy of the contract, review it, look for ‘what’s not covered,’ and explain to customer. Additional testing time? Labor? Rust?  “Do your own warranty” before you fall into the marketing funnel of extended warranties  Are these customers one and done? Only repairing what is covered and not doing proper maintenance.  Better margins with OE for warranty claims You must have oil change records- regular service receipts  
      Connect with the Podcast:
       
      Aftermarket Radio Network
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partner:
       
      Dorman gives people greater freedom to fix vehicles by constantly developing new repair solutions that put owners and technicians first. Take the Dorman Virtual Tour at www.DormanProducts.com/Tour
       


      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      On Record with Lauren Fix as she discusses the used car market and the importance of car maintenance.
      Lauren Fix, Car Coach Reports,  Total Car Score Podcast, is an automotive expert and analyst based in Buffalo, NY. She has written three books on automobiles. She has appeared on CNN, Fox News, Newsmax TV, CNBC, and USA Radio’s Daybreak USA show. Lauren's previous episodes HERE
      Show Notes:  
      Car Coach Reports Prior to covid selling cars: 17.5 million vs 13.7 million now. Average car profit to manufacturer: 10K...4 million sales lost People are buying out their car lease now Dealerships have 30% retention for car repair Repossessions are increasing- people bought cars during COVID, inflation and recession “Doing maintenance now will save you money down the road” Which cars can last 300K miles? Iseecars.com  “Never invest more in a car than it’s worth” USAmotorjobs  
      Connect with the Podcast:
       
      Aftermarket Radio Network
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partner:
       
      Dorman gives people greater freedom to fix vehicles by constantly developing new repair solutions that put owners and technicians first. Take the Dorman Virtual Tour at www.DormanProducts.com/Tour
       


      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      How do you truly empower your people? What does it take to be a strong leader of your business? How do you motivate and inspire your employees while avoiding burnout? We have an All-Star panel of industry peers willing to share their own experiences and learning curve as business owners.
       
      Brian Sump, Avalon Motor Sports, and Urban Auto Care, CO. Brian's previous episodes HERE
      Darrin Barney, VP of Operations, Elite Worldwide. President of Barney Brother’s Off-Road and Repair, Grand Junction, CO. Darrin’s previous episodes HERE
      Andy Bizub, Midwest Performance Cars, Chicago and Northbrook, IL.  Andy’s previous episodes HERE.
      Jerry Kezhaya, The Auto Shop, Plano, TX.  Jerry's previous episodes HERE.
      AJ Nealey, Nealey Auto Service, Edgewater, MD. AJ’s previous episodes HERE
      Show Notes:
      They need to feel loved because it's the right thing to do (part of our Noblesse Oblige) - but some won't reciprocate what you pour into them.... why? They need to have autonomy, but with that autonomy must come extreme clarity on what, why, and how They need to be held accountable - mediocrity doesn't help anyone - but you must establish the criteria as to why they are not accomplishing what you require of them; do they know how, can they and do they want to? Trustworthiness - high integrity, truthfulness, transparency, good stewardshipLoyalty - showing up early, staying late, attending company functions, asserting themselves to honor the company and its people, being a brand ambassador, saying, "tell me what needs to be done, and I'll do it" People WANT strong leadership - top-performing companies have strong leaders. Strong leaders help to create more leaders, not followers. One of the dichotomies of leadership Implementing EOS- empower your employees to solve issues on their own People come to work for people, not companies. The 5 Love Languages  
      Connect with the Podcast
       
      Aftermarket Radio Network
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partners:
       
      Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management getshopware.com

           
      Delphi Technologies: Keeping current on the latest vehicle systems and how to repair them is a must for today’s technicians. DelphiAftermarket.com

      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Live from the 2022 Transformer's Summit, keynote speaker John Dijulius categorizes the automotive industry as a 'grudge buy' for customers when they are at their most vulnerable. How is this an opportunity for your business to be the 'hero?' How do you make price irrelevant? John Dijulius, John Robert’s Spa, The DiJulius Group. John's had the privilege of working with world class companies like the Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Cheesecake Factory, Bausch & Lomb, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A, Entrepreneurs Organization, YPO, Aveda, and many more. Listen to John's previous episodes HERE Show Notes
      Drove for UPS- his wife was a hairdresser, and they opened a salon. John started getting involved in the business. “We aren’t going to be the best salon, we will be the best experience of your day.” Chambers of commerce businesses started asking John for business consulting.  20 years ago John’s first book came out and took him to the next level Business and Artistry Pengeleum   Making price irrelevant- based on the experience your brand consistently delivers, your customers shouldn't have an idea what your competitors charge because they aren’t window shoppers. Who is more expensive? Why are they?  “We do $10 haircuts” vs “We fix $10 haircuts.” Give the experience before you charge for it and justify it -“What does a $1,000 haircut look like? What is that greeting like? How is the massage during shampoo? What does a $1,000,000 keynote speech look and sound like?”  Grudge buy and losing time- automotive repairs. When you can come to the rescue when a customer is at their most vulnerable, there is an emotional connection and memory made. Customers asking about price- opportunity The biggest cause of anxiety is uncertainty- no update update for customers   Level 1 through 10 hairdressers based on expertise  “Discounting is the tax you pay for being average.” Things that make a brand something customers can’t live without- the quality of work, consistency, employee evangelism (educate vs sell), how do you make me feel, Capitalize the ‘C’ in Customer to show the emphasis in your policies and procedures  Building relationships with FORD- family, occupation, recreation, dreams Disney- know your role and be ‘on’ when you’re on, leave your problems at the door The Customer Service Revolution: Overthrow Conventional Business, Inspire Employees, and Change the World- John Djulius The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the Digital Age - John Dijulius
      Connect with the Podcast: Aftermarket Radio Network Subscribe on YouTube Visit us on the Web Follow on Facebook Become an Insider Buy me a coffee Important Books Check out today's partner: Learn more about NAPA AutoCare and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting www.NAPAAutoCare.com
         
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Joe Marconi
      As we close out 2022, it's time to reflect on the past year. Review your accomplishments, the state of your business, your personal life, and things that could have gone better. The key thing to remember is that it's better to have a plan and goals instead of trying to fly blind. 
      Establish your goals for 2023 and beyond. Include family time too, and time for yourself.  It's not all about business. Having the right balance will actually make your business more successful.  
      Speak with your employees too. Find out from them what went wrong, what went right, and what they would like to see in the coming year. While you can't always act on what your employees want, getting their perspective will not only help you create the plan moving forward, it will help to build morale, a win/win for all. 
       
       


  • By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

    By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

  • Our Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...