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Rocky Mountain Oysters - Do you have the balls??


Gonzo

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Rocky Mountain Oysters                                                   Gonzo Jan 2010
 
          At my shop I tend to do more electrical repairs 
than anything else.  It’s what I’m known for, and 
sometimes I get my share of odd ball electrical 
problems.  Sometimes it’s a factory defect where 
a harness has rubbed into a bracket behind the 
dash and shorted things out.  But, a lot of 
times it’s some add-on that causes the problems.  
Usually some sort of flashy-testosterone filled 
bling that the owner is using to show off his macho 
self to all who pass by.  
 
          Seldom do I see these “manly” things on a 
girl’s car… it’s mostly the guy’s… sorry dudes… it’s true.  
You guys can’t leave them alone.  
Ya gotta show your manhood somewhere on that Detroit steel.  
          
          I had this cowboy’s truck in the shop; it’s was a late 80’s Chevy pickup, jacked up to the sky and loud.  His only problem was his parking lights would blow a fuse.  My usual first question is, “When did ya put in the stereo?”  (Over the years I would say it’s probably the no#1 problem I find in the park light systems on these GM cars and trucks of that era.)   It never fails; some goof ball is going to use the gray wire as the radio ground.  I can usually tell these types of guys because they’ll “always” tell me how they used an ohm meter to check the wiring. (More testosterone showing... gotta make like they've got some "cojones"... at least, more than the mechanic who's going to fix the mess they created, you know.)  
 
        The gray wire will show continuity to ground because the dash light filaments will send the meter signal to the next bulb and the next until it reaches another ground source.  It’s really not a ground at all; it’s actually the positive voltage lead for the dash light circuit that is part of the factory radio.  However when you turn the park lights on (Which they won’t check until the next time they drive at night.) the fuse to the park lights will blow. Happens all the time.
 
          This hombre was safe… it wasn’t the radio.  Now I have to look elsewhere.  One of my many “tricks” to test a short circuit on these older trucks is with 2 fuses.  First stick one in the fuse box and turn on the park lights. (It came in blown, and I doubt you’re going to make it any worse) … Keep your eye on the fuse, did it blow quickly? … Or did it take a bit? When I say a bit… I don’t mean like… a second….I mean not immediately, let’s just call it a quick blink.  If the fuse takes a bit to blow that tells me the short is farther away from the fuse box than closer.   (Learning the difference may take some practice.)  
 
         In this case this saddle sore owner’s problem was not immediate, but an ever slight delay.  I’m going to look around the outside of the vehicle and see if it reveals any clues.  It could be in the back or the front of this herd chasing cattleman’s Cadillac.  I climbed out of the cab and headed to the south end of this northbound rig to check for any trailer wiring.  (It’s my 2nd usual place to look for faulty wiring on this type of truck.)   Any time you get the handy-dandy farmhand with his fence pliers working his magic on the horse trailer wiring, you’re bound to have problems.  
 
         Well, how about that… it was professionally done… and in fact the wiring looked great!  But there was this other foreign object dangling on the receiver hitch. Oh man … is this necessary? Bull testicles?  There’s a pair of fake plastic bovine male parts rocking back and forth with every sway of this pasture cavorting vehicle.  Now, I don’t know who this cowboy is trying to impress… ‘cause if I was a cow… I’d think there something wrong with this bull. And, if I was some gal in a car behind this boot wearin’, skoal chewin’, cattle jockey… I don’t think I’d be impressed either… or at all.
 
         But then something else caught my eye… and it wasn’t the swinging genitals. There’s a small wire connected to them, and the wire is connected to the brown wire of the trailer connector… which, is the park light wiring. OMG… no way…these rocky mountain oysters light up and glow with the evening sky.  I don’t remember animal husbandry being a part of my job requirements.  And I don’t think glow in the dark dangling beef ta-tas was covered in any of my training classes.  
 
         You mean to tell me, if I disconnect the wire from this cowboy’s dangling plastic bull parts that the park lights might work?  This is nuts!  I can’t believe this … … this is definitely not going well today.  Well, I’ve gotta try, it could be the end of my search of why the park lights are blowing the fuse … here goes… … with one hand, I grabbed this pasture-prowlers-artificial-cattle-creators and held on with an almighty firm grip.  With the other hand, I took steady aim with my trusty cutters--- “Snip” ---the deed is done.  
 
         Back to the fuse box and change the fuse, and then flip on the park lights. Well what do ya know, we have lights!  Tell all the Angus and Holsteins on the farm – the park lights are working perfectly! !   Ya Hoo!    
 
tp.gifI’ll have to admit, it’s the first time I have ever had to castrate a truck to get the park lights to work…  Well, I guess, there’s a first time for everything… might as well start up my new career…   You’ll find me on one of those late night infomercials or in the business yellow pages under; --- “Bull Castrator/Mechanic”--- . 

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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