Gonzo’s Toolbox: ‘Wanna Be’ Technicians – UnderhoodService

Gonzo’s Toolbox: ‘Wanna Be’ Technicians

Technician trainingThere’s one situation all professional automotive technicians have had to deal with from time to time, and it involves the home-grown garage guy who just so happens to own a couple of ratchets, a repair manual and a broken-down car.

Some of these connoisseurs of the all-knowing repair manual skim through sections without truly comprehending them. Many just assume they already know how a certain system works based on previously having some luck on another system. And, after they’ve turned a few screws, glanced at a few more pages, and found their problem isn’t solved, then, and only then, do they head to a real repair shop. Of course, their repair manual is always laying on the passenger seat with the important pages carefully marked for the shop tech to examine.

In a recent case, the car in question wouldn’t start, and a neighborhood mechanic did his best to read and understand what was on the diagnostic pages of the manual, but he couldn’t make any sense of the wiring diagram for the fuel pump circuit. His final verdict, “It’s not getting any voltage to the fuel pump.”

This was one of those cars where the fuel pump doesn’t turn on until after the first spin of the crankshaft. In a lot of systems, especially older ones, turning the key on would at least let the fuel pump relay run for a few seconds, but not on this car.

I checked the signal according to the manufacturer specifications and, sure enough, the voltage (and ground signal) was at the fuel pump. All it needed was a new pump.

Now, the other half of dealing with the weekend mechanic is explaining the diagnostic results at the service counter. As usual, there’s a bit of distrust and an attitude accompanied with his response.

So, while still trying to be a professional in my latest run-in, and at this point somewhat of a teacher too, I answered his remarks with my own sarcastic response, “This vehicle doesn’t turn on the fuel pump relay until it knows you’re going to start it. Meaning, until the engine spins and sends a cam/crank impulse to the PCM, the fuel pump relay isn’t energized.

“The fuel pump fuse is activated after the relay, and since the relay isn’t on, there won’t be any voltage at the fuel pump fuse. But, I’m sure you knew all of that, because you had the page marked for me in your repair manual. In fact, you had it highlighted, too.” The expression on his face was priceless.

I know he’ll be back in about a year or so. How do I know? Because he did the very same thing with the very same car last year, and it had the very same problem. Of course, just like last time, he’ll run down to the same cheap-o parts store and buy the same bargain-basement fuel pump that might last another year or so, if he’s lucky.

You May Also Like

Auto Value, Bumper to Bumper Ultimate Vehicle Giveaway

Two lucky technicians will win a vehicle of their choice this spring.

Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper are revving the engines in 2023 with the Ultimate Vehicle Giveaway promotional sweepstakes this March and April.

“Two lucky grand prize winners will get to choose an ultimate new vehicle.  Maybe a new sports car, a new pick up, or even an all-terrain vehicle. said Jim Holik, director of marketing for the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Inc., program headquarters for Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper. “We are always ready to fuel some excitement for our technicians and this Spring it’s going to be legendary.”

SMP Expands Hybrid and EV Product Offering

Standard is prepared to meet the demand of the growing hybrid and EV population with over 4,000 parts available for 150 models.

Mitchell 1 Adds Google Campaigns to its SocialCRM

Shops can share positive reviews and testimonials directly to a Google business profile or Facebook page.

ASE, Goodguys Partner to Promote Education, Careers

They are joining forces to showcase the wide array of career paths in the world of hot rodding and automotive service.

SMP Introduces 276 New Part Numbers

Included in the release is new coverage for 77 product categories.

Other Posts

Programming Options

Let’s help keep the code secure and your sanity intact.

What’s New with Spark Plugs?

Spark plugs have changed over the years.

Ford EV Opportunities

Despite what you may imagine, there are still maintenance and repair opportunities in a Ford Mustang Mach-E.

EV Opportunities

You are gaining and retaining many service opportunities with Evs.