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Is Change always a Good thing


Gonzo

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Is Change always a Good thing

 

A body shop dropped off a 2005 Nissan Titan XE for a trailer light problem. It was hit in the rear and had folded the bumper under the body. This particular body shop I have known for years, and they pride themselves on doing a top notch repair on every vehicle that they are associated with. This truck was being a problem though. All the systems were working except for the trailer turn signal lights. To be thorough, they went back thru each and every part that they had replaced or disturbed. Nothing, not a thing… 2 days of checking it out led to a dead end.

 

That’s where I came into the picture. As always, the first thing I want to see is the wiring diagram. You know, I’ve always said change is a good thing… this time, I should rephrase that to… it’s a good thing that “things change”… and I hope this does real soon, because, this was about the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s not the first time I have ran across trailer lights going thru computer systems but it’s the first time I ran across only the trailer turn signals running thru the BCM (body control module) not the trailer park lights, not trailer brakes… nope, just the turn signals. Right there on the print… plain as day… R-trailer turn and L-trailer turn… oh please… what were you dudes thinking? (Referring to the engineers)…What was the reasoning behind this?

 

I checked the rear wiring and all the circuits involved along the underside of the truck… all of which were in impeccable condition. I couldn’t help but stare at that BCM on the wiring diagram… I said to myself, “You mean to tell me I’m going to have to change an expensive BCM just for trailer lights… come on… guys?” (Engineers)

 

The BCM is attached to brackets just above the gas pedal. Once I managed to get into position to see the BCM, I moved the wire harness out of the way to get a better look at it. All of which looked great. Another glance at the print showed that pin 51 and 52 were the trailer turn signal wires, one yellow/black and the other green/black. Using a test light I checked the leads output signal directly at the BCM connector… I was so glad to see the test light flashing with the turn signals… what a relief… at least it’s not the BCM… it’s wiring in between the BCM and the rear connector. Another long stare at the print with my head under the dash, all wedged in between the driver’s seat and my feet dangling out the door, one hand holding the wiring harness out of the way… flash light by my right ear, the test light and the wiring diagram all getting cramped in what little space that’s provided… but I still couldn’t see the problem. Since I already checked the wiring running into the truck and the signal was coming out of the BCM I had to be close… real close. I was starting to understand why the body shop spent two days looking for the problem and couldn’t find it.

 

I knew what I had to do… start hand tracing the two leads again from start to finish… one-more-time. At this point anything would be better than spending another minute “sardined” in this truck. As I moved my arm out of the way and was about to slide out from under the dash I noticed right where I had my hand holding the harness out of the way were two small in line fuse holders… almost opaque in color right on the green/black and the yellow/black wires leading away from the BCM. AHA! THERE IT IS! Two in line 10 amp fuses to the trailer lights… Wowser!!! Fixed, done, works perfectly … the prints did not show any fuses in the circuits… it only showed the wiring leading from end to end. Unbelievable, no wonder the body shop couldn’t find the problem… I even missed it till I move my hand out of the way and knew the correct wire colors. It’s not the sort of thing I’d expect to find … factory fuse holders in-line with the BCM… but there they were, you can be guaranteed that I made a note about this one. I won’t forget next time.

 

It doesn’t help that the prints were wrong, and it doesn’t help that the manufacturer ran the trailer turn signals leads thru the BCM… so I guess I can officially change my status from “change is a good thing” to “good thing it changes” now do me a favor there engineers… Change it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crazy, I think it's nuts....! ! If it isn't the customer not wanting to pay for a tough repair, it's the engineering, or the company that prints the schematics. There are so many different pitfalls everywhere you turn.... it's a wonder I don't keep safety lines attached to the roof beams to keep me from falling over everytime I get into one of these situations.

 

Oh, I charge them, I give them the option before I start and if they say YES, I'm going to go for it.... .... .... yea I know, I'm still going to get an argument... "Why does it cost so much." It never ends....

 

I'd like to back charge the engineer

 

 

Doesn't stuff like that just drive you crazy. That poor design caused the body shop and you to take all of that time to find what I call a "Mickey Mouse" problem. Who winds up paying for all of those hours? It is hard to convince a customer that it took four hours or $200 or whatever it was to find a blown fuse. We recently had a car that drove us mad with a very intermitten running problem. When the issue was finally solved it was with the battery.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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