Tech Tip: Understanding the Relationship Between the Body Control Computer and Trailer Harness
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. I have known this particular body shop for years and they pride themselves on doing a top-notch repair on every vehicle that they work on.
Gonzo’s Tool Box: Shift Happens
Jo was a new customer referred by an old-time regular. Her little KIA had a transmission problem that seemed to be getting the best of the transmission shop. The story goes that the SUV was constantly in limp mode, and would never shift properly … ever.
Scott ‘Gonzo’ Weaver: Me, a Flasher?
Ok, you got me … I’m a Flasher … or more to the point a Re-flasher. With today’s cars and components, it’s not uncommon to have to flash some driveability controller or theft system.
Tech Feature: Finding Electrical Shorts on Multiple Circuits
When I was a kid, I saw a movie called the “Juggernaut” with Richard Harris as the main character. It was about a cruise liner that was about to blow up because a terrorist had planted 55 gallon drum bombs all over the ship. The premise of the story line is that Richard Harris was going to save all the people on the ship by defusing the bombs. All through the movie, there were references to the different relays and electrical circuits.
Looking for ‘Sum Guy’
Have you ever noticed a lot of work shows up at the shop with some sort of story attached and the customer almost always knows who sent them to you or what the last tech did to their car? It’s pretty common at my shop. This “other” mechanic seems to always be busy, sometimes too busy to finish the customer’s job completely. I don’t know who this dude is, but he gets all the work in town.
Diagnosing Airbag Systems After Suspension Repairs
Diagnosing airbag systems is a matter of having the correct scanning equipment and the correct repair procedures. There are several manufacturers that offer a way to count the flashes of the airbag light for diagnostic purposes. Determining faults and repair procedures differ from manufacturer to manufacturer – way too many to break down into one article. My advice is to read up on those systems that you will be dealing with and learn everything there is to know about them.
Backyard Engineers: When Realities Clash
During the years and years of running my shop, I have run across a lot of hot rods, home built contraptions, and those “super-upper, make it better than the factory did” cars. I sometimes wonder why I take on these projects – maybe it was slow that day and I needed something to do. Or, the owner may have had one of those personalities and charisma that made me want to truly believe in their dream as much as they personally did.
Gonzo: Death of the Shadetree Mechanic
Is it fair to say that the shadetree mechanic is a thing of the past? I think so, that is if we are talking about today’s modern cars that we all drive and depend on, and we are trying to get a car repaired by your next door neighbor who is “pretty good at fixing cars.” But, that doesn’t mean you won’t see a 68 Camaro or a Model T up on blocks in some guy’s garage. I think that will be there for a long, long time.
Can do CAN: A Simple Look at a Complex System
Ever wonder how your cable TV comes into your home on that single coaxial cable? In simple terms… it’s like a CAN system. A good definition of a CAN system would be: High speed communication sent via data lines to and from components.
The Bruising Brake Job
A retired lady, who had been in several times before, needed a brake job on her little Buick. I said sure, why not, I could do that for her. I put the car up on the lift, checked it out, and gave her an estimate.
Management: Diagnostic Fee or Diagnostics Free
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the same lines from customers after I have diagnosed a problem: “Well, I could have done that myself,” “I would have looked there for the problem if I had the time” or “I don’t know why you’re charging me for something so simple.”