Quantcast
Jump to content

Free The ECM's


Gonzo

Recommended Posts

FREE THE ECM'S

Gonzo Jan 2010

 

Sometimes, I'll find faults with the so called "experts" advice or information. Not that I think I'm smarter than the engineers… no, not that at all. But if something strikes me as not being completely correct I might want to question what is on that diagnostic tree. Mind you, my entire day is filled with meeting the expectations of my customers. I have to be dead on with my repairs and diagnostics. Not some of the time, no, ALL the time. And, I expect the same from the people that provide the information and parts. The way I look at it, you're only as good as the information provided.

 

Where does that leave me when the directions or diagnostic tree doesn't lead to an answer? Usually frustrated, and disgusted. But what happens when you follow the diagnostic tree to the letter and something is still very, very wrong.

 

Several years ago, back in the 80's or so, back before we had computer based information, email, and the internet we used big thick books to find our diagnostic information. You've all seen them, they're somewhere in a back room of the repair shop these days gathering dust, next to that dwell meter and carburetor adjustment tools. All my big diagnostic books are on a shelf, standing like old soldiers of days gone by, proudly showing their age. Each of them has grease marks, scratches on the covers and worn edges on every page from years of service.

 

Back when the books were in their heyday I had a couple of interesting issues that a guy like me just couldn't leave alone. I find something not right; I'd like to find out how to make it right. Even if the book is wrong, I'd like to know why the book is wrong.

 

There was this mid 80's GM with a service light on. I broke out my overly large books of knowledge and started to follow the diagnostic tree to find the solution to the problem. As I went thru each step I would note the results of the test and then continue onto the next step.

 

When I came to the very bottom of the diagnostic tree, there on the final line of the final test was this statement: "If the answer to the last question was "yes" - release the ECM". Now what it in the world are they talking about now? I'm 99.9% sure they actually meant "replace" ECM (Electronic Control Module), but that's not what it said. It clearly said "release"

 

I'm wondering if they know there's a typo in their book… I think I'll call them… you know, just for a laugh. Not that it's all that important, but what the heck… let's have some fun with this.

 

I called, as seemed to be the norm back then it took a few phone transfers to get to the correct department, and as each operator put me in touch with the next operator I started to put together a story.

 

When I finally reached the engineering department, I had to play it up…

 

"Can I help you with a diagnostic problem?" he said, sounding all official and all.

 

(Like he had a clue what was going to happen next)… I let him have it with my own version of stupidity.

 

"Yes, I'm following this diagnostic tree and trying to come to the possible results, but I'm having some problems with it. Now, I'm not one to think there's a problem with the diagnostics but this one, well, I'm a little concerned… it said, very clearly "release ECM".

 

"Hmm, so what did you do?" he asked. (He's not getting it.)

 

Let's see if this guy can follow along with my idiotic logic, or see if I lose him in the translation.

 

"I disconnected the ECM, set it outside the shop, gave it a little pat on its PROM and said to the little aluminum computer box… "YOU'RE FREE! GO-BUDDY-GO, LEAVE, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN, HIT THE ROAD! YOU'RE RELEASED!!" and you know what… it just sat there. It never moved… now I'm wondering, I followed the diagnostics correctly. The car is still in the shop and it still won't start. And this dang computer doesn't want to be released…. Ya got any suggestions? Because the test ended with "release ECM"… there were no more steps in the test so I did what it said… I released it -- what now?" I told him.

 

There was a dead silence on the phone. I'm guessing, this guy doesn't get the joke, or he's really thinking that little ECM should have taken its chance and run for the hills before this wack-o mechanic comes up with something else.

 

He cautiously answered, "Can I call you back on this? I'll have to consult with the engineering department on this one."

 

Is this guy serious? Really, fella, can you not see this is just a joke? I would have thought most intelligent people would see right through my little story… not this guy, he was dead pan serious. He took down the page number and said he would get back to me later that day. Now I'm waiting for "Mr. Engineer" to get back to me.

 

A few hours later he did call back and informed me that it was a misprint and it really should have said "replace".

 

"I know," I said, "I just thought you guys would like a little joke. I thought you'd like to know that there was a mistake in the books, that's all."

 

"Thanks for telling us, we all got a pretty good laugh over it," he answered, "We like to think we have the best books in the industry and we pride ourselves on giving you guys the most precise information possible."

 

We ended the phone call with both of us laughing about the whole thing. Little did he know, he would get another phone call. A few days later I had another problem to deal with. It was a knock sensor code and the test procedure said; "Take a 4 oz. hammer and tap next to the sensor while observing the scope reading".

 

You know, I couldn't leave this alone. After getting this uptight engineer to loosen up on that last phone call, I just had to call him again.

 

"OK, what is it this time?" he asked.

 

"I don't have a 4 oz. hammer to do this test. You know, you told me you have the most precise information… and I don't want to deviate from the book without knowing I'm on the right track."

 

"Ah……., I'll have to get back to you," he told me.

 

Seriously? I'll bet this guy never gets the punch line of a joke. Several hours later he called me back, and said that it wasn't a misprint this time, and that any small hammer would do. This might be one reason why I never became an engineer. These guys are way too serious for me. Lighten up dudes… geez.

 

"If you find any other mistakes in our books, would you send what you find to us in writing for evaluation. We are working hard to keep these problems from arising… so it would be very helpful if you could do that for us. Thanks for your cooperation," he said.

 

Do ya get the feeling this guy doesn't want me to call them anymore… hmmm, I wonder why? Maybe I've given them a little more incentive to recheck their work a little more. These days, I haven't seen as many mistakes. I suppose with spell check and a few careful proof reads it's less likely to have these kinds of mistakes again.

 

I guess in some respects, it's a good way of avoiding phone calls from smart ass mechanics like myself.

 

 

These stories are here for your enjoyment before sending to the editors for publication and editing. Some stories make it, some don't... but you guys/gals help decide which ones.

Leave a comment, I'm listening.

 

Visit my website for even more stories and info www.gonzostoolbox.com


View full article

Edited by Gonzo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
  • Similar Topics

    • By nptrb

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By Hands On
      Hi folks. A quick search and I did not see any recent alignment machine posts. I have a quote from Hunter, $86,000 includes a scissor life and the concrete work to flush mount it, shipping, the machine with wall mount cameras. Some accessories. If I do conservatively 3 alignments a week my break even is approx 4.5 years, a bit longer depending on financing cost.
      I lease my shop, and one of my biggest fears has been getting kicked out of here. Should I be looking at obtaining a location instead? I am always nervous about taking on the massive cost of a bigger building, especially when I struggle so often to hire good people. I talked to a friend that went from a small shop like I have to a larger facility and he said it was a lot more headaches with very little increase in income. I want less headaches, less stress.
       
      Maybe it is my small shop that makes it hard to hire? Is this the right time to try to get a new location? How do I even start finding financing, I do not have a ton of cash saved up right now. Should I get the alignment machine now, and continue to save up for a new location? How much do I need down for a new spot? Should I keep my eye open for other shops that might fail in the coming year and hold off on the alignment machine and continue to stack cash? I am kind of tired of loosing an employee for 30 minutes to an hour to run an alignment across town that may or may not get done to the same quality standards I hold my employees to.
    • By carmcapriotto
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Recorded Live at MACS (Mobile Air Climate Systems) 2024 Training Event & Trade Show, Joe Long at discusses the evolution and importance of coolants. Joe shares his expertise on the impact of coolants on engine systems, the specifics of coolants for electric vehicles, and the challenges posed by new technologies. He also explores the transition from conventional to organic acid coolants and the importance of proper coolant testing and maintenance. The conversation also covers diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), its testing procedures, and maintenance tips to ensure fluid quality in automotive and heavy-duty applications. Joe emphasizes the need for education and proper maintenance to prevent system failures and maintain vehicle efficiency. Joe Long, Director, Heavy Duty Business Development, Old World Industries Show Notes
      Joe Long's background (00:00:42) Joe Long's extensive experience in the trucking industry and his transition to working with Old World Industries. Old World Industries and Peak brand (00:02:06) Discussion on Old World Industries and the Peak brand as a leading supplier of various coolants for heavy-duty and automotive applications. Importance of coolants in automotive and heavy-duty applications (00:02:51) The critical role of coolants in engine maintenance and the impact of coolant-related engine downtime. Battery electric vehicle coolants (00:05:19) The development and testing of coolants for battery electric vehicles, including the challenges and specific requirements for these systems. Longevity and types of coolants (00:08:09) Insights into the history and types of coolants, including the case of Dex-Cool and its compatibility issues. Coolants for hydrogen-powered battery electric vehicles (00:10:16) Research and development of coolants for future hydrogen-powered battery electric vehicles and the challenges associated with this technology. Coolant color and types (00:11:18) The significance of coolant color and the distinction between conventional and heavy-duty coolants in different vehicle systems. Testing and maintenance of coolants (00:14:57) The importance of testing coolant for compatibility and the recommended test procedures for automotive technicians. Color, Clarity, and pH (00:18:59) Discussion on testing for color, clarity, and pH levels in coolants, and the significance of organic acid technologies. Water and Glycol Content (00:19:48) Explanation of the purpose of water and glycol in cooling systems, and the impact of temperature and driving conditions on the glycol-water ratio. Refractometer Testing (00:22:02) Importance of using a refractometer to accurately measure water glycol content and freeze point in coolants. Coolant Blend and Inhibitors (00:23:17) Discussion on maintaining the proper blend of glycol and water, and the consequences of diluting inhibitors in the coolant system. Testing for Inhibitors (00:24:00) Explanation of the importance of testing for inhibitors in coolant systems and the differences between old and new technology. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and SCR Systems (00:26:37) Overview of the evolution of diesel exhaust systems, including EGR, DPF, and SCR systems, and the role of DEF in reducing emissions. DEF Composition and Shelf Life (00:29:11) Insight into the composition of DEF, its production process, and factors affecting its shelf life such as temperature and sunlight exposure. Testing and Storage of DEF (00:33:20) Guidance on testing DEF quality, considerations for storage, and the impact of temperature on its shelf life. DEF Maintenance and Testing (00:34:57) Discussion on the importance of maintaining DEF quality, testing procedures, and the significance of color, clarity, and odor in DEF. Cleaning Coolant Systems (00:38:38) Discussion on washing coolant balls with soap and water and proper cleaning methods for refractometers. Fleet Maintenance (00:39:21) Importance of proper cooling system testing and maintenance in fleets, and the need for education and awareness. Coolant Evolution (00:40:34) Transition from nitrite-based to nitrite-free coolants in automotive and heavy-duty applications, and the impact on cooling system performance. Coolant Failure Analysis (00:43:39) Joe Long's expertise in analyzing coolant failures, identifying causes, and providing solutions. Cooling System Cleaners (00:44:24) The need for cleaning coolant systems to address rust, corrosion, and other contaminants, with specific products for different types of failures. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) Inspection (00:47:00) Discussion on DEF freezing, white crud formation, and the need for regular inspection and maintenance. Platinum DEF Product (00:51:10) Introduction of Blue DEF Platinum with added inhibitor to prevent white crud formation, and the importance of using the right DEF for vehicle maintenance.
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Learn more about NAPA Auto Care and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting https://www.napaonline.com/en/auto-care Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Join Our Private Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1734687266778976 -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections    
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Recorded Live from MACS (Mobile Air Climate Systems Association) 2024 Training Event & Trade Show, shop owner and MACS board member Tim Iezzi discusses his family's legacy in the business and his passion for air conditioning and being a perpetual student. Tim also shares his experiences in working alongside other local shops, particularly when specialized services are required. This spirit of mutual support and knowledge exchange is what propels the industry forward, ensuring that we all benefit from shared wisdom. Tim Iezzi, MACS Board Member, Owner of Iezzi’s Auto Service, Reading, PA Show Notes
      Learn More About MACS (Mobile Air Climate Systems Association): https://macsmobileairclimate.org/ Engineering School Experience (00:03:24) Tim's experience in engineering school and its impact on his problem-solving skills in the automotive industry. Specialties in the Shop (00:04:08) Tim's passion for air conditioning and electrical problems, and the significance of drivability work. Industry Collaboration (00:08:10) The value of testing and the collaboration among industry professionals for the benefit of the automotive industry. MACS Board and Industry Representation (00:11:12) The role of MACS board members in representing different sectors of the automotive industry and advocating for industry concerns. Teaching and industry events (00:19:48) Tim's involvement in teaching A/C best practices and the importance of industry events. Networking and industry support (00:23:57) Discussion about the renaissance of industry support, the value of networking, and the sophistication of the automotive industry. Future of the industry and business (00:24:28) Insights into the future of the automotive industry, potential changes in refrigerants, and the future of Tim's auto service business. The evolving automotive industry (00:27:11) Tim's positive outlook on the future of the automotive industry, the impact of technology, and the professional level of the aftermarket. Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX and NAPA TRACS Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2024. Mark your calendar now … November 5th-7th, 2024. AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at http://AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at http://napatracs.com/ Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Join Our Private Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1734687266778976 -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections            
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Can a break-up be the catalyst for an entrepreneurial leap? Find out during Shawn Gilfillan's 20 questions in 30 minutes episode! Shawn also discusses the importance of a strong business culture, mentorship, and the joy of hobbies like aviation. Shawn shares strategies for managing gross margins and the significance of client experience. Shawn Gilfillan, Automotive Magic, Kenvil and Lake Hopatcong, NJ. Shawn’s previous episodes HERE Show Notes
      Automotive Magic (00:00:17) Shawn Gilfillan discusses the founding of Automotive Magic on April Fool's Day in 2003. Life Calibration (00:00:41) Shawn talks about his work with Chris Lawson and the high-performance team coaching program at Life Calibration. Life Calibration: From Burnout to Balance [THA 348]: https://remarkableresults.biz/remarkable-results-radio-podcast/a348/ Mentorship and Self-Development (00:04:54) Shawn discusses the impact of mentors and self-development in his journey as a shop owner. Hobbies (00:06:10) Shawn talks about his hobbies, including aviation. Motivation and Business Culture (00:07:46) Shawn shares his motivation for getting up in the morning and discusses how he creates opportunities for others to thrive and elevates their performance. Advice and Fear (00:11:49) Shawn shares advice on overcoming fear and empowering employees as an owner/CEO. Book Recommendation (00:13:13) Shawn recommends "Hero on a Mission" by Donald Miller and discusses its impact on his perspective as a business owner. Building Business Culture (00:14:50) Shawn discusses the challenges and importance of building a strong business culture from the top down. Culture and Team Dynamics (00:15:40) Discussion on creating a positive work culture and building a cohesive team. Leadership and Vision (00:16:29) The importance of establishing a vision and values from the start, and involving the team in maintaining the culture. Client Experience and Relationship Building (00:19:36) Strategies for understanding and meeting client needs, and building strong client relationships. Adaptability and Change (00:20:47) The significance of embracing change and adapting to business challenges. Leadership Crisis and Team Support (00:21:00) Dealing with unexpected managerial crises and the importance of team support. Personal Development and Skills (00:23:14) The desire for new skills and personal development, such as learning magic tricks. Business Management and Gross Margin (00:24:14) Strategies for managing gross margin and keeping front-end operations efficient. Car Count and Scheduling (00:25:35) Strategies for managing car count, scheduling, and maintaining workflow in the shop. Future Reservations and Client Commitment (00:27:21) The importance of setting future reservations and ensuring client commitment to scheduled appointments. Leadership Communication (00:29:17) Encouraging a shift in language and communication to emphasize the importance of future reservations. Hiring and Relationships (00:30:12) Discussion on hiring and relationships in the workplace, including the impact of personal relationships on work performance. Dream Car (00:31:37) Shawn's dream car and the enjoyment he derives from it. Opening a New Shop (00:32:11) The three important needs for opening a new shop: location, good people, and effective marketing. Marketing Strategy (00:32:33) The success of giving away the first hundred oil changes for free as a marketing strategy. Firing a Customer (00:33:52) A recent incident of firing a customer due to their attitude and behavior at the shop.
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Learn more about NAPA Auto Care and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting https://www.napaonline.com/en/auto-care Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections    
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


  • Our Sponsors

×
×
  • Create New...