Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

12467163

Comments

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I just talked to Beth on the phone. The doctor was in to report to her on their progress. All of her seizures have definately started in one very specific spot in her right temporal lobe. She wasn't able to give me more details other than to say the doctor called her a poster child for the surgery and they have upgraded her chance for being seizure free with the next proceedure. That will be Tuesday Sept 4th.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,400
    Great news, and Tuesday is just around the bend! :shades:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,380
    Agreed!

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    Ugh, Facebook comments? That's another pain point to navigate.

    With all the emphasis on "world" cars, how do the automakers think their cars are going to get serviced in places without trained mechanics? Ford needs to set up a Barefoot College and shift engineering emphasis from speed of assembly at the factory to ease of repair in the shop. Lots of people can fix stuff without having literacy, much less certificates on the wall.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Lots of people can fix simple stuff without having literacy

    Fixed it for you. Cars are never going to be simple ever again. Fuel economy requirements, saftey features, and many other overlapping technologies are all driving the complexity of the machines that we know as "a car".
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    http://www.drmarymeadows.com/

    Her other interests included a site called H2 pure power, one of those water for fuel scams...
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    They're still made up of systems. If the brake light goes on you've likely narrowed the issue down to one system right there. Then you figure out what sensor is setting off the light. Then you address the problem that triggered the sensor. The computers will soon enough narrow that down so finely that it'll tell you whether there's a broken wire at the left rear tire or if the fluid level is low. If that stuff is built in, then you can avoid a lot of expensive proprietary systems and leave the tough stuff to the real mechanics (yeah, I know - bleeding into that "other" discussion).

    It's kind of nuts to think that a new BCM costs $200 - $300 plus the programming. You could get a Galaxy Tab or Nexus 7 or iPad for the same money, hang it off the dash and replace every computer on the vehicle with it.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    As long as the denial stays as deeply rooted as what you just wrote we will be wrong if we don't invest and move forward with trying to keep pace with the technology in the cars and we will be wrong if we do because by doing so we simply can't be cheap enough for you. The problem right now is we can't wait for maybe someday, we either have to make the investment and be able to do the work today or we will be letting our customers down, today.

    Now would you care to try and explain why the article needed to be written in the first place?

    If they ever manage to make us totally irrelevant then so be it. You can just spend $40,000 for your next car and simply plan to throw it away and then five years later spend $50,000 for your next one..... TJTWISI
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    edited September 2012
    Not me, I drive them forever. They don't need much service these days (at least I've been mostly lucky with my '97 and my '99).

    What I got from the article is that auto mechanics isn't a field that pays enough and a kid is more likely to get good prep for doing the job nowadays from building his computer instead of wrenching on a hot rod out in his back yard.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    What I got from the article is that auto mechanics isn't a field that pays enough

    That part is correct

    and a kid is more likely to get good prep for doing the job nowadays from building his computer instead of wrenching on a hot rod out in his back yard.

    That couldn't be more wrong. In fact neither of those activities will prepare a young man or woman to join the trade.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    Back in the day, kids interested in cars would wrench on them. These days some kids "wrench" on their computers or more likely, write software for them. Without the interest, why would a kid prepare to join the trade?

    Tell me more - did you not tinker around with cars or bikes when you were in your teens or earlier?

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • It's kind of nuts to think that a new BCM costs $200 - $300 plus the programming. You could get a Galaxy Tab or Nexus 7 or iPad for the same money, hang it off the dash and replace every computer on the vehicle with it.

    UUmmmm..... Not quite. Every BCM and PCM must do their specific job at speeds which could not be matched by any laptop on the market today. Don't assume that an IPad is capable of measuring mass air flow and calculating the correct amount of fuel to inject for stoichiometric burn every millisecond. And that's only one of several dozens of tasks that must be done for each firing of each cylinder. On top of that, that computer must operate at temperatures from -50 degrees to near boiling, must withstand shock forces above 5g, and be at least water resistant. To top it all off, The programs in that computer must be BUG FREE. Automobile owners will not put up with a car that, once a week, for no apparent reason, outputs a message, "Fatal error at line 23487. You must restart your vehicle to continue".
    We tend to forget how many tasks are performed by our BCMs and PCMs, and how our very life can depend on bug-free operation of those systems, and the many fail-safe operations that are built into those programs. So even if those tasks COULD be handled by an iPad, you would still need to buy several thousand dollars worth of programs just to do the basic stuff that is accomplished by those onboard computers.
    Now, on the other hand, I ask this.... Why can't we get an optional car radio that will do the job of a Tech II? An iPad with a little additional I/O circuitry could definitely take the place of the GM proprietary Scan tool and terminal. Why not extend the capability of an up-scale radio to accomplish those tasks, thereby allowing ANY skilled auto tech to take care of our car, even though he doesn't have the resources to buy the special tools required by each auto manufacturer. OK, you say the dealers want to maintain a monopoly on the repair business? Then let them stop crying about the lack of skilled auto techs, and make it possible, even profitable, to enter the profession.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    Why can't we get an optional car radio that will do the job of a Tech II?

    Sounds good to me.

    Let the sensors do the remote measuring and send it to the radio (or tablet).

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,295
    Hey, I think it is way cool that my new car will tell me the exact air pressure in each tire, any time I want to know!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    The answer to whether I tinkered around or not is of course yes I did. But when I went to try and become a pro I found out that what I could do on my own was only scratch the surface and I was clueless about the other 99% of things techs had to be able to do in the 70's. Then computers and more and more complicated electronics came along and it's been quite a journey to make a living as an automotove technician.

    I would like to spend some time talking about the runaway KIA that made the news this week. How many people really have the training and skill to diagnose and repair that car, if it really was broken. (The whole scenario is BS, you never see brake lights until she finally stops.) I expect to see self appointed "Experts" coming out of the woodwork just like what happened with the Toyota situation and with a little background check don't be surprised if none of them would be qualified to step in and fill a real technicians shoes for a week or two. BTW there is a great video on you-tube which demonstrates the functionality of an identical car. Hit both pedals, and the engine shuts down. Hit and hold the power button for three sconds, and the engine shuts down. Shift the vehicle into neutral (so long as you don't have the shifter in the manual mode) and the car will go into neutral and slows down. Do that while while holding the gas pedal all the way to the floor at full throttle and it goes into neutral and you hear the engine racing and cuting out because of the rev limiter.

    Your attempts to try and say "but the manufacture should, or the onboard computer should or who or whatever should" and be able to do everything for free for you is a lame argument. Anybody who wants to invest the time to learn, and his or her personal resources to have the tools and equipment should be able to earn a living using those talents. Consumers when asked want to have a choice about where they take their cars. Your wish wants that choice to not exist.

    Right now, today if that KIA was really broken I have the tools and skills that would be required to diagnsose and repair it. That isn't supposed to have been a bad thing for me to have accomplsihed.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    edited September 2012
    found out that what I could do on my own was only scratch the surface

    That's true of any subject or any profession. The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know — the less you know, the more you think you know. Variations of that quote have been attributed to Socrates, Plato and a host of other people over the ages.

    Chances are if you have a knack for auto repair or computer programming as a kid, you'll pursue it, either as a career or as a hobby. Or like me with computer repair or my friend's nephew, the ex-BMW mechanic, someone may do that work for a while before moving on to the next career. I'm on number 5 or 6 now. I've counted three for you so far (tech, teach, write).

    With modern cars, a kid isn't going to get too far unless they delve into the computer end of things. You can look at a disk brake and sort of figure out how it works. You can get a lot done just by knowing the highpoints. But if the code for running the sensors is locked up, how's a kid going to figure out what signals the TPMS or ABS sensor is sending and what the computer module on the firewall or under the dash is doing with those signals? Do like the phone phreakers and dumpster dive for schematics behind the car supplier warehouses? I guess they could grab every signal hitting the buss and try to trace it.

    Kia has a nice technical website, open to anyone btw - kiatechinfo.com.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Kia has a nice technical website, open to anyone btw - kiatechinfo.com.

    That's not new for us, it's bn thr for about five years, Hundai has one just like it. But how about the hardware and the assoiated software that you need to make full use of that site? That's not included from there.

    See if you can negotiate your way through that site and confirm or dispute what I wrote about how to shut down that alleged runaway.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,583
    turn off the key. :P

    MODERATOR

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    It seems they forgot to include one in the design of this model....
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    found out that what I could do on my own was only scratch the surface

    That's true of any subject or any profession. The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know — the less you know, the more you think you know. Variations of that quote have been attributed to Socrates, Plato and a host of other people over the ages


    Now of course I'll be more sensitive to issues dealing with my trade but the effect is significantly exagerrated when it comes to fixing cars. Everybody has an uncle, brother, cousin, stepson, neighbor, who USED TO BE a mechanic and he said......
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    Decades ago my go-to person was a motorcycle mechanic. But I lost touch with her over the years, plus she moved on to an import business.

    Maybe that's part of the issue - the industry is ignoring half the available trainees out there.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,295
    Shifty just reminded me I really need to go over emergency stopping protocol with my wife on her new RDX, since it has the push button start.

    and as to woman techs, I was surprised to find one a couple of years ago when I took my Accord in to Tires plus to have the rear brakes down. The tech was a girl (she looked too young to call her anything else), but she did a real good job.

    I subscribe to the theory that you want the person that is not "normal" for the position, since odds are they probably wanted it really bad, and have to be better than average to make it in a male dominated field!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,583
    Don't you just hold down the Push Start button for a couple seconds?

    MODERATOR

  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    Decades ago my go-to person was a motorcycle mechanic. But I lost touch with her over the years, plus she moved on to an import business.

    This wasn't the mechanic you were referring too?

    image

    Uhh wait I didn't see that decades ago part.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,400
    The thing that annoys me most about antics like this Kia episode and the Prius blunder a while back is that the auto manufacturers come up with ways to make such perceived failures impossible to accomplish in the future. Generally, that means cars just move ever closer to the "mobile appliance" set and further from driving machines.

    For those of us who prefer to drive, it is rather infuriating.

    Of course, that says nothing about the repair aspect of it, but as you alluded - there is little likelihood that there was (or is) anything wrong with the vehicle aside from the loose nut behind the wheel. :P
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Posted here completely as written. Here are the words of one of the best GM technicians in the country.

    James Avery.......

    Looking through the LTG, I see G.M. has cut warranty times
    yet again. Many times have been drastically slashed and even
    the paltry .3 diagnosis time has been deleted from many
    labor operations for 2013.

    G.M. is slowly driving all their experienced technicians
    from the dealerships by their repeated time slashing. New
    techs do not seem to be entering dealerships and even ASEP
    students are leaving for the aftermarket pay scale after a
    short time.

    At the same time, G.M. vehicles are the most complex that
    they have ever been and new technology is constantly being
    introduced. What will happen when G.M. has driven away all
    the techs that can actually diagnose and repair their
    vehicles? Do they really care or are their corporate heads
    stuck in the sand?


    When I asked him if I could repost that he answered with this.

    I have nothing to hide. The post is 100% true. Here's an example. In 2009, replacing a tilt/telescopic steering column in a Corvette paid 1.4 & .3 diag. For 2010 thru 2013, it pays .5 & .3 diag. I don't know anyone who can replace the column and relearn SPS and telescopic end stops in .5, do you? Look at a 2009 Pontiac G8 rear wheel speed sensor....no time for diagnostics or road testing, just .3 to replace the sensor only. On the 2013 cars, many of the .4 module reflashes are reduced to .3 even though the setup procedure can be quite lengthy compared to earlier years. And the list goes on..................

    To answer his question, no I don't know anyone that can do the above repairs in the times listed. This in a nutshell says they don't care if truly talented technicians are available to repair their customers cars. They are telling you the consumer that your needs are not what is important.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    There's some talk still that GM (and Chrysler to a lesser extent) still have too many dealers, at least in GM's eyes. Maybe this is a way to try to run some of the marginal ones out? Wonder if Ford techs have the same complaint.

    leaving for the aftermarket pay scale

    Can you translate this for those of us not in the biz? Is he referring to indy shops or the franchise places like Mr. Goodwrench or Midas?

    (Hope your wife is doing okay).

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    leaving for the aftermarket pay scale

    $12.00/hr-$16.00 /hr plus a potential performance bonus of about $5.00/hr if they produce enough work. ($17-$21 max)
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Can you translate this for those of us not in the biz? Is he referring to indy shops or the franchise places like Mr. Goodwrench or Midas?

    Mr Goodwrench was killed off about five years ago.

    Envisioning any of the chain stores as viable full repair choices does more to demonstrate how far from reality the perception of what it takes to be a technician working on today's cars really is.

    As the debate rolls on in th technicians forum this gem was added.

    We recently had a problem with a 2012 Volt setting a trouble
    code only in ICE mode. The diagnostics pointed toward the
    PIM which is a restricted part. G.M. did not want to approve
    it due to uncertainty and expense. Instead, they sent out a
    powertrain engineer to diagnose the failure. After 6 hours
    and $1500 worth of parts, the vehicle remained unrepaired.
    Next, two engineers showed up and 8 hours later and $3000
    worth of parts, the vehicle remained unrepaired.

    The next day, the two engineers returned and after another 6
    hours finally diagnosed the problem as EMI in the drive
    motor 1 generator position sensor stator caused by 1 burnt
    coil in DM1. Nothing in the diagnostics in S.I. pointed in
    this direction

    And they expect us to diagnose this in .3 when their own
    Voltec platform engineers can't.


    Now right away some will say "But you can get other hours for abnormal diagnostics". The reality is that is available but they don't like to authorize the time and usually attempt to shame a technician for needing to request the time.

    BTW, Beth is doing real good so far, and we haven't noticed any side effects from the surgery. She was released from the hospital Sunday, and is currently staying with her sister so that she didn't have to travel with me this week.

    Knocking on wood, she has not had a single seizure since the surgery, not even one of the little ones.
Sign In or Register to comment.