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Everything posted by Gonzo

  1. Gonzo


  2. Heading to Kansas for the Vision Convention.  Who else is going?  Hope to see you there. 

  3. Twas the Night before Christmas (Mechanic style) Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the service bay, Not an engine was stirring, just old Santa’s sleigh. All the air hoses were hung, by the compressor with care, The mechanics had the day off, I’m the only one there. I was just an apprentice, but wanted to show St. Nick just what I knew, My boss was all for it, said it was OK if I turned a few screws. With visions of being a full time mechanic, dancing in my head I was going to give it my best shot;
  4. 12 Days of Christmas at an Automotive Repair Shop You know the song, so just sing along with me in the holiday spirit. On the 1st day of Christmas a customer sent to me: A cartridge for my grease gun. On the 2nd day Christmas a customer sent to me: 2 Latex gloves, and a cartridge for my grease gun. On the 3rd day of Christmas a customer sent to me: 3 Wrench ends, 2 latex gloves, and a cartridge for my grease gun. On the 4th day of Christmas a customer sent to me: 4 Wire straps, 3 wrench ends, 2 latex gloves, and a c
  5. mechanic's pay at best is $35 an hour. A $20 diagnostic over 5 minutes is more than enough for that and even overhead. yes, $35 an hour is pretty good. And yes, $20 over 5 minutes ain't bad, if a diag. actually only took 5 minutes, most diags can take 30 to 60 minutes at best. This includes all the research time and equipment use. Let's do the math, at $20 per 5 minutes, diag. comes to $240 per hour. hmm, I'm pretty sure the labor rate ain't that high.... yet. Meaning, an average diag. should fall somewhere between $120 and $240... depending on the amount of time it took to diag.
  6. Doctor's Orders The field of automotive repair and body work has always been plagued with a few unscrupulous individuals. But, I would say that every trade has their share of them as well. I pride myself on doing the best that can be done for my customers and I don't take kindly to anyone who thinks this job is anything but a professional. This is not a job that can be mastered overnight; it takes years of experience and understanding. Even though I carry the title “ASE Master Technician” I don't consider myself a “Master” of the
  7. EGO vs. Ability For some reason, especially in the auto repair business, there’s a tendency for the ego to overshadow the actual abilities for a lot of mechanics. Sure, I can say my ego has stepped over the line a time or two, but for the most part, the ever changing industry usually keeps a person humble. For some guys, there’s no stopping their ever-unchecked ego from stepping out beyond their tool box. Especially, if they’ve landed a position that is far above their abilities. Some of them reach beyond the typical, “I
  8. Breaker, Breaker… In my many years of repairing cars I’ve helped out a countless number of other shops with their electrical problems. Some shops I would see a few times a month, and others only once in awhile. This was years before the internet was around, and cell phones were only a fad and way to expensive to have. So, most everything was done by a land line or over the CB radio. Back in the mid 80’s and 90’s I had one shop that I talked with nearly every day. Great guys, but not so great as mechanics.
  9. I'm so freakin' pissed.  If you receive the Sept. issue of Brake and Frontend you'll notice a cover story about diesel particulate filters.  The weird part is that there is no author to the story listed.  Well, that author is me.  I did NOT authorize this story to be printed again (originally printed in 2015) and it's obvious that they don't want YOU to know who the author is because there is NO mention of it anywhere.  I'm currently seeking something to be resolved about this.  Mainly, because this is my lively-hood  since I was forced to sell my shop (due to health reasons)... So, why am I telling all of YOU about this for???   I need your support. Call the Babcox magazine and complain on my behalf.  I'm seeking restitution for this blatant attempt at making money using my writing skills without any recognition by publishing this without my name attached.  These stories are there to sell advertising and how they approach new clients.  It's also how I introduce myself to prospective clients who are in the need of a writer/mechanic... which is exactly my status at the present time.  So, if you want to help out an fellow mechanic/writer... call them and bitch them out for me...  thanx in advance.  and... if you're wondering... there is NO agreement with Babcox on 'owning' and reproducing an article.  It's strictly a hand shake deal... which is not binding in the court of law.   Basically put, NO they DO NOT own the story... but they seem to think they do. (I've already talked to a lawyer) 

    1. xrac


      What a sneaky, lowball, scandalous move on their part. Shows they are thieves with no integrity at all. 

    2. Gonzo


      Andrew Markel (the editor) called me.  He tried to play it off as if they (the magazine company) had all the right to do whatever they want.  When I mentioned to him about not putting my name on the story his answer was..."Don't need to. We own the story."  I said, "So, I guess if I find something that you wrote and just threw it out there without any recognition... you'd be fine with that too?"  He hung up on me.  Gee... what's that tell ya??? 

  10. if wasn't for the emission quality we have today... I'd have to agree with ya. but, yes, elec. ign. made life a whole lot easier.
  11. Restoration for the Mechanic Electrical issues on today’s cars have certainly taken center stage. Mechanical issues are still there too, but it’s not uncommon to have a mechanical problem be diagnosed, monitored, or calibrated by some electronic means. You just can’t get away from the electrical if you’re in the automotive repair business these days. It’s taken over just about every facet of the automobile. Today’s mechanics have become something entirely different from the stereotypical mechanic from just a few decades ago. It’s
  12. I find the real harm is in customer/repair shop relationships. If you start your relationship at the repair shop with, "I already know what's wrong, and I know how to fix it... you just do what I tell you to." Is not a good way to begin. This guy, well, he was probably the worst I had to deal with over the years.... because... he made it a point to tell me... straight to my face.... that I was subordinate to his refined education level. If I was any less of a gentleman, and not an upstanding business owner... I would have reached across the counter and showed this guy the alternative uses
  13. Geek With Attitude Now I realize I'm only a mechanic, and not an Ivy League scholar, and I may not qualify as the next inductee into MENSA, but I’m still a pretty smart guy. Oh, I may not know all there is to know about every single make and model out there, but I have enough background and technical ability to solve just about anything that goes wrong with the modern car. But, for some people the mere thought that a mechanic might actually have a few brain cells just baffles them to no end. A few weeks ago I got a call from
  14. HillBilly HoeDown “Time for an old fashion sing-a-long. You know the tune, now sing it like you know you do when you’re in the shower!" Come on now… you can do it! First a little Banjo pickin’ … ya got it… OK Here we go…. --------------------------------------------------------- Come listen to my story about a man named Jess A do it yerself guy who kept his car a mess Then one day while in a tinkerin’ mood . . . Out from the engine came a bubblin' crude . . . Oil that is, .
  15. I had a run in with a mid 80's Taurus that needed an ECM. Went thru 5 of them until they got the right one. A-1 Cardone was the only place that had them, and they 'generic'd the ECM's into one part number. This one had a different transmission (factory) than the standard tranny. Something about how many teeth were on the reluctor inside the tranny. Anyway, on the 6th one... it happened to be the right one. Otherwise the car would start (of course) but wouldn't come out of 2nd gear. A total pain to do... and as usual...after all the time spent on it... the profit margin fell to a dismal
  16. and ya know... years ago... you could rig up a repair and get a customers car back on the road. now... well... that ain't possible. some customers get super pissed as if it is your fault.
  17. Well, that's all ya gotta do to fix it anyway... Sent from my SM-J727V using Tapatalk
  18. Zombie Cars “Brains, Brains, we need Brains!” Zombie cars? What’s a zombie car? Way back, when we used points and condensers and later the basic electronic ignition systems, cars didn’t need brains (ECM – Electronic Control Module), but that all changed in the mid 70’s on some imports and pretty much on everything else by the time the 80’s came around. Some of these brains were only cursory, and didn’t actually control the car, but merely watched for emission issues, while others played a major role in the actual ignitio
  19. Poking it with a Sharp Stick It's not so much that I work with the general public in my daily business, it's more of what kind of 'public' gives me the business. I'm not talking about people who can think and reason like most educated, knowledgeable people. It's that ever present cave man mentality. You know the type, the guy who's elevator doesn't go to the top floor, or the couple who can't seem to keep both oars in the water. The all seem to lack one simple characteristic, common sense. The very quality that every halfwit adventure I've either s
  20. It’s Doing the Same Thing Being on the mechanic's side of the counter, I've often wondered what does "the same thing" really mean? Nearly every time a customer comes up to the service counter, who has no background in automotive repair, or any idea at all on how repairs are made and what's all involved, but tells me, “It’s doing the same thing”, I have to ask myself… “How do they know?” Is it really doing exactly the same thing? Funny, how it turns out (99.9% of the time), that it’s NOT doing the same thing.
  21. 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
  22. 3 GALLONS OF TROUBLE It was shortly after opening time when one of my long time regular customers brought their teenage son into the shop for a little discussion and repair time. The father and I go way back, and he knew I'm not one to take a lot of gruff, especially before coffee. He looked at his son and told him, “Gonzo, probably hasn’t had his coffee yet so go easy on the old guy,” he said with a quick little nod and wink in my direction. He was right about the coffee, but that still didn’t prepare me for the story I was about to h
  23. Newspaper circulation is dropping by the day and is next to nothing, bulk advertising mailers aren’t near as effective as they were years ago, radio time can be costly and can pigeon hole your advertising dollars with the type of clients you’re looking for, local television is only available in those off hours and I’m not sure how many new prospective customers I’ll find with broken cars at 3am, and internet advertising isn’t as local as you’d like, and at best is unpredictable. So what’s an affordable, useful, and productive way to advertise your small busin

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