Quantcast
Jump to content

First The Basics


Gonzo

Recommended Posts

First, The Basics,

 

Let’s talk diagnostics. Do you follow any kind of diagnostic procedure, or do you just throw darts on a wall, or play “pick-a-part” and hope you fix it before you or the customer runs out of cash. I hope you don’t do that. That might work some of the time, but it’s not a good way to get to the source of problems quickly or accurately.

 

One of the tire shops that I do business with dropped off a 2003 F450 with a 7.3 diesel for me to look at. It’s one of their service trucks that died on the highway.

 

These guys are super, I’ve known them for years, and they’ve got a great reputation and excellent work force. In fact, I buy all my tires there, and they do all my alignments. They try to fix their own trucks “in-house” and sometimes, well……the repair/diagnostics are a little out of their comfort zone. This was one of those times.

 

Now, they don’t try to keep up with the scanning or diagnostics on most cars and trucks. It’s a tire shop that specializes in tires. They stick to what they do best, tires, wheels, and undercarriage stuff. The only “techy” stuff they get into is with the TPM systems. Most generally, when it comes to their vehicles they’ll go with the tried and true…”throw a dart and whatever it hits we’ll change.” Of course they’ll ask around first, but you know, second hand information hardly ever gets the job done these days.

 

They had it at one of their stores in another town for about 3 weeks trying to solve the problem. When that didn’t work they decided to tow it up to another one of their stores, and see if the guys there had a better dart. Another couple of weeks and several darts later, all they had were holes in the wall and no truck running. Then my phone rang.

 

“Can you program a PCM on a F450?” the shop asked.

 

“No, sorry I don’t do those, but I know who does. I’ll call him and see if he can come over and do that for you,” I told them.

 

A day or two went by and the phone rang again. “Hey, this thing still doesn’t start. The guy that programmed it said it sounded like an electrical problem”. Ok, somehow, I’m getting involved now.

 

“Sure, bring it over,” I told them.

 

Well, they towed it over with a strap pulled by an F250 diesel truck. The F250 looked like a toy truck compared to this behemoth. With a push and a shove from the F250 the guys got it lined up and into one of my service bays.

 

The big concern was the IDM relay, it kept chattering like a machine gun. Instead of checking codes I thought it best just to start with a complete wire to wire check to determine if there was some lost signal that was causing the problem, or a wire that was scraped and grounding out. Removing the inner fender on the driver side I could gain access to the Injector module (IDM) and the PCM (Power control module). Seemed easier to start here than any place else. It didn’t take long before I tracked down a problem. On pin #71 of the (new) PCM there should have been 12 volts from the ignition. No voltage at the terminal.

 

Tracing the wiring diagram thru its maze it led back to the in-car fuse box on fuse #22. I grabbed my test light and checked the fuse… (Rolling my eyes about now) the fuse,… oh man… the fuse is blown. Good grief… all this for a blown fuse.

 

Well, better change the fuse, and see if it starts. Sure enough; it fired right up… sounded great, good throttle response, and no service lights.

 

Now the big challenge, what blew the fuse in the first place? Following the wiring diagram again…. I traced out all the components on the fuse circuit. There was one that caught my eye as the likely culprit. The brake cut-off switch mounted on the master cylinder. (It’s the one that had the big recall a few years ago.)

 

The updated replacement piece was in place but somebody forgot to secure the wires. The replacement piece has a newer style connector and an adapter connector to allow you to attach it to the original style fastener. Which makes it a little longer than it originally was from the factory. It was hard to tell where the new wire and connector started, and the old one ended, because the whole thing was lying on the exhaust manifold, and had melted down to a glob of wire and plastic.

 

Looking around under the hood there were all kinds of new parts installed. The nicest part……they were all installed correctly. There were no other wires out of place, or any signs of scraps or melted wiring. The important thing is that it runs, and the truck can go back to doing what it needs to do. I think the biggest thing that threw everyone on this job was the chattering relay. It sounded bad, sounded expensive… but, all it turned out to be was a loss of proper voltage to the PCM, because a fuse blew from a lead that grounded out. This was due to the improper installation of one small component.

 

The PCM couldn’t spread enough voltage and ground signals to all the necessary systems when it was missing the voltage it needed. As the relay would engage, the voltage drop was too much to keep the relay engaged. The IDM would pull more signal voltage as the relay would come to life. Then the PCM would have to drop the ground signal to the IDM relay to compensate for the loss of voltage. All this was going on very rapidly … on and off, on and off… making the machine gun sound coming from the IDM relay.

 

The guys at the tire store were extremely grateful that I got the job done, so they could use the truck again. For me, it’s another day at the shop. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the guys at the tire shop. Hey they tried, I’ll give them that.

 

But one thing I wish they would do next time --- CHECK THE BASICS—BEFORE BUYING PARTS! It’s cheaper that way…

 

 

 

I'd like to thank ASO for allowing me to post these stories. Everyone here gets to see them before I send them to the editors for final approval. Not all stories make it into print and a lot of times I use your comments and interests in the story as a gauge to whether send them on. (Ya haven't let me down yet...!)

 

Enjoy, any comments you have are appreciated. Gonzo

visit my website for additional stories and info www.gonzostoolbox.com


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, The Basics,

 

Let’s talk diagnostics. Do you follow any kind of diagnostic procedure, or do you just throw darts on a wall, or play “pick-a-part” and hope you fix it before you or the customer runs out of cash. I hope you don’t do that. That might work some of the time, but it’s not a good way to get to the source of problems quickly or accurately.

 

One of the tire shops that I do business with dropped off a 2003 F450 with a 7.3 diesel for me to look at. It’s one of their service trucks that died on the highway.

 

These guys are super, I’ve known them for years, and they’ve got a great reputation and excellent work force. In fact, I buy all my tires there, and they do all my alignments. They try to fix their own trucks “in-house” and sometimes, well……the repair/diagnostics are a little out of their comfort zone. This was one of those times.

 

Now, they don’t try to keep up with the scanning or diagnostics on most cars and trucks. It’s a tire shop that specializes in tires. They stick to what they do best, tires, wheels, and undercarriage stuff. The only “techy” stuff they get into is with the TPM systems. Most generally, when it comes to their vehicles they’ll go with the tried and true…”throw a dart and whatever it hits we’ll change.” Of course they’ll ask around first, but you know, second hand information hardly ever gets the job done these days.

 

They had it at one of their stores in another town for about 3 weeks trying to solve the problem. When that didn’t work they decided to tow it up to another one of their stores, and see if the guys there had a better dart. Another couple of weeks and several darts later, all they had were holes in the wall and no truck running. Then my phone rang.

 

“Can you program a PCM on a F450?” the shop asked.

 

“No, sorry I don’t do those, but I know who does. I’ll call him and see if he can come over and do that for you,” I told them.

 

A day or two went by and the phone rang again. “Hey, this thing still doesn’t start. The guy that programmed it said it sounded like an electrical problem”. Ok, somehow, I’m getting involved now.

 

“Sure, bring it over,” I told them.

 

Well, they towed it over with a strap pulled by an F250 diesel truck. The F250 looked like a toy truck compared to this behemoth. With a push and a shove from the F250 the guys got it lined up and into one of my service bays.

 

The big concern was the IDM relay, it kept chattering like a machine gun. Instead of checking codes I thought it best just to start with a complete wire to wire check to determine if there was some lost signal that was causing the problem, or a wire that was scraped and grounding out. Removing the inner fender on the driver side I could gain access to the Injector module (IDM) and the PCM (Power control module). Seemed easier to start here than any place else. It didn’t take long before I tracked down a problem. On pin #71 of the (new) PCM there should have been 12 volts from the ignition. No voltage at the terminal.

 

Tracing the wiring diagram thru its maze it led back to the in-car fuse box on fuse #22. I grabbed my test light and checked the fuse… (Rolling my eyes about now) the fuse,… oh man… the fuse is blown. Good grief… all this for a blown fuse.

 

Well, better change the fuse, and see if it starts. Sure enough; it fired right up… sounded great, good throttle response, and no service lights.

 

Now the big challenge, what blew the fuse in the first place? Following the wiring diagram again…. I traced out all the components on the fuse circuit. There was one that caught my eye as the likely culprit. The brake cut-off switch mounted on the master cylinder. (It’s the one that had the big recall a few years ago.)

 

The updated replacement piece was in place but somebody forgot to secure the wires. The replacement piece has a newer style connector and an adapter connector to allow you to attach it to the original style fastener. Which makes it a little longer than it originally was from the factory. It was hard to tell where the new wire and connector started, and the old one ended, because the whole thing was lying on the exhaust manifold, and had melted down to a glob of wire and plastic.

 

Looking around under the hood there were all kinds of new parts installed. The nicest part……they were all installed correctly. There were no other wires out of place, or any signs of scraps or melted wiring. The important thing is that it runs, and the truck can go back to doing what it needs to do. I think the biggest thing that threw everyone on this job was the chattering relay. It sounded bad, sounded expensive… but, all it turned out to be was a loss of proper voltage to the PCM, because a fuse blew from a lead that grounded out. This was due to the improper installation of one small component.

 

The PCM couldn’t spread enough voltage and ground signals to all the necessary systems when it was missing the voltage it needed. As the relay would engage, the voltage drop was too much to keep the relay engaged. The IDM would pull more signal voltage as the relay would come to life. Then the PCM would have to drop the ground signal to the IDM relay to compensate for the loss of voltage. All this was going on very rapidly … on and off, on and off… making the machine gun sound coming from the IDM relay.

 

The guys at the tire store were extremely grateful that I got the job done, so they could use the truck again. For me, it’s another day at the shop. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the guys at the tire shop. Hey they tried, I’ll give them that.

 

But one thing I wish they would do next time --- CHECK THE BASICS—BEFORE BUYING PARTS! It’s cheaper that way…

 

 

 

I'd like to thank ASO for allowing me to post these stories. Everyone here gets to see them before I send them to the editors for final approval. Not all stories make it into print and a lot of times I use your comments and interests in the story as a gauge to whether send them on. (Ya haven't let me down yet...!)

 

Enjoy, any comments you have are appreciated. Gonzo

visit my website for additional stories and info www.gonzostoolbox.com

 

 

I have printed out the last few of your articles and gave them to my service writer and lead tech. You manage to make a tiny lesson into an interesting anecdote. Keep em coming.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LMAO --- you are so right Joe... reminds me of my story "Breaker, Breaker" I think I posted that one a while ago... LMAO gotta lovem... even with all the high end electronics... human mistakes still happen. Then I start thinking what would happen if the world really was taken over by the "machines" LOL doubt it will ever happen... because every time a computer goes into snail mode (processing, processing, processing) that's just enough time for some dumbass human like me to slap the sh$t out the dam thing.... LOL

So even though we humans have our faults... it's still ain't a bad thing... thanx for the comments. Gonzo

We all need to be reminded of the basics from time to time. Too many times in this hi-tech industry the tech looks for the most complicated reason for failiure. How many times have you heard of techs condeming a fuel pump when the problem was "no fuel" in the tank.

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 carmcapriotto
      Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX, NAPA TRACS, and Automotive Management Network By leveraging tools like digital vehicle inspections (DVI) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, businesses can significantly improve their operations and customer experience. These integrations allow for a more streamlined process, from diagnosing vehicle issues to maintaining consistent communication with clients. Ben Dexter, National Training Manager, NAPA TRACS Show Notes
      Ben's journey in the automotive industry (00:00:55) Ben's progression from service writer to National Training Manager and his experience in the automotive industry. Importance of shop management systems (00:02:04) The critical role of shop management systems in the automotive repair industry and the support provided by NAPA TRACS. Value of training (00:03:21) The significance of investing in training and the impact of leadership participation in training programs. Building customer rapport (00:11:22) Ben's approach to building customer rapport and the importance of effective communication and attention to customer needs. Significance of scheduling (00:13:12) The shift from reactive scheduling to a coordinated approach, addressing the issues of timely and accurate repairs through effective scheduling. The power of software integrations (00:15:37) The commitment to utilizing shop management software and the potential of integrations with other tools like DVI and CRM for business growth. Utilizing shop management systems (00:19:08) Encouraging the use of shop management systems and the availability of resources for business advancement. Role of technology in DVI (00:20:42) Discussion on the coordinated effort required for effective Digital Vehicle Inspections (DVI) and the benefits of real-time communication. Challenges in utilizing software (00:22:32) Exploring the reasons behind the underutilization of software tools and the need for effective leadership and training. Importance of testing and measuring (00:25:13) Highlighting the significance of testing and measuring business performance for improvement and growth. Communication and customer service (00:28:27) Emphasizing the importance of effective communication with customers to prevent unexpected breakdowns and enhance customer satisfaction. Impact of scheduling on service advisors (00:30:07) Discussing the influence of scheduling on service advisors' decision-making and the need for consistent customer recommendations. Rethinking business analysis (00:32:47) Encouraging a reevaluation of business statistics and reports to identify missed opportunities and improve overall business strategies. Morning Meetings and Reporting (00:33:21) Discussion on the importance of morning meetings, sales reporting by service writer, and constructive performance discussions. Maximizing Existing Resources (00:34:55) Emphasizing the significance of making the most of existing resources before seeking more car count. Linear Quantity Opportunities (00:36:32) Exploration of the linear quantity opportunities in parts matrix, addressing traditional matrix problems and opportunities for improvement. Commitment to Lifelong Learning (00:38:54) Highlighting the importance of lifelong learning for success in shop management and overall strategy. Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX, NAPA TRACS, and Automotive Management Network 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/ Get ready to grow your business with the Automotive Management Network: Find on the Web at http://AftermarketManagementNetwork.com for information that can help you move your business ahead and for the free and informative http://LaborRateTracker.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 Changing The Industry
      The Basics of Owning An Auto Repair Shop - Part 6
    • By Changing The Industry
      The Basics of Owning An Auto Repair Shop - Part 5
    • By carmcapriotto
      Matt Fanslow explores the complexities of electricity in automotive diagnostics. He breaks down fundamental concepts of volts, amps, resistance, and Ohm's law, using practical examples to clarify their roles in vehicle electrical systems.
      Show Notes
      Challenges of Explaining Electricity (00:01:15)  Fundamental Aspects of Electricity (00:02:42)  NAPA Auto Tech Training (00:18:20) Understanding Voltmeter Readings (00:19:21)  Ground Reference and Voltage Drop (00:20:29)  Effect of Resistance on Voltage (00:22:44)  Series Circuit and Voltage Split (00:29:17)  Verification of Electrical Issues (00:32:29)  Fuse Block and Voltage Verification (00:34:44)   
      Voltage Drop Testing (00:34:55)
       
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Autotech napaautotech.com
      Email Matt: [email protected]
      Diagnosing the Aftermarket A - Z YouTube Channel HERE
      Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com/
       
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Transmission Repair

      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.



  • Our Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...