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Author Topic: Life in the Service Lane . . .  (Read 44920 times)
Oldcarsarecool
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« on: August 10, 2010, 11:36:54 AM »

I have spent the last ten years of my life working on the automobile for a living, with nine of those years being in the dealership environment.  While I certainly can't say "I've seen it all," like a tech with many decades of service, I have seen my fair share of noteworthy items during that time.  I've seen some really, really great cars that people dream about owning.  And, I've seen some really, really not-so-great cars that, no matter what I do, just don't ever seem to "go away.  

I've seen some truly "like new" old cars that were purchased new, driven sparingly, and brought back to the dealer for even the slightest of concerns, with no expense spared to keep the car in pristine condition.  And, I've seen some rolling wrecks that only show themselves when they are in need of another band-aid to get them through to the next oil change.  

I've seen some vehicles that have been really well taken care of, whether it be by my hands, or the vehicle owner's own hands.  And, I've seen vehicles purchased under the "it should last forever, right?" principle, where Mr or Mrs Customer is genuinely surprised when I say that something failed due to lack of maintenance, (I love it when they look at me and say, "I didn't know I had to do that").  

I've seen some vehicles arrive only when the state mandated Motor Vehicle Inspection is due because Mr or Mrs Customer does all of his/her own maintenance and repairs, and does them very well.  And, I've seen vehicles arrive at the dealership in pieces because Mr or Mrs Customer hasn't quite grasped the concept that, yeah, cars have changed since the last time you opened a hood in the 1970s.

I've seen some really, really well thought out, well engineered, well executed designs that make you proud to be, in my case, affiliated with Ford.  And, I've seen some really, really .  .  . fascinating .  .  . design decisions on the part of the manufacturers that result in a lot of angry customers in the service lane.

And, I've loved every minute of it, both good and bad.  Every now and then, I was smart enough to take a camera to work, and able to document what I see.  What follows are some of the highlights and lowlights of my career.  I'll add items periodically, in no particular order .  .  .
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 12:27:33 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 11:38:38 AM »

Customer States:  Vibration while driving .  .  .
August 9, 2010





It seemed like a relatively normal complaint.  The driver noticed a vibration while driving the truck and brought it in for us to have a look at it. 





Ok, looks like an ordinary tire here.  Nothing unusual.  Turn it around so I can see the inside .  .  .





 


Well now !  That's not good.  I've seen impact damage before, and bubbles that result from them.  But this is pretty impressive.





Actually, this thing is HUGE !








Another tech relieved the excess pressure with his pocket knife.  Funny thing is that even though the bubble was gone, the tire still held air .  .  .
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 12:30:44 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Imran
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 01:33:05 PM »

More!
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Rather B.Blown
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 02:12:08 PM »

Holy shit!! Is that a goiter?    That dude is lucky that didn't let go on the interstate.
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 04:01:37 PM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaTO8_KNcuo" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaTO8_KNcuo</a>
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Hey, I just passed you; and this is crazy. But, I'm in fourth gear, Vtec baby...
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 07:53:31 PM »

Is it fixable?

Yes  Grin


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RatherBNarizona
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 09:24:06 PM »

that'll buff right out  Smiley


MORE please!
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Mac
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2010, 07:44:39 AM »

WOW! That has to be the biggest one I've ever seen.

  at RBB!

Axe  Cheesy
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 02:15:22 PM »

WOW! That has to be the biggest one I've ever seen.



That's what she said.



 Grin
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FabZ
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2010, 05:19:22 PM »

That's what he said.




 Grin

fixed

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Hey, I just passed you; and this is crazy. But, I'm in fourth gear, Vtec baby...
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 09:58:00 PM »

 
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Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2010, 03:41:43 PM »

Customer States:  Mah seat's broke .  .  .
September 26, 2008





Dispatcher Brent handed me the repair order for today's concern  -  Customer states power driver's seat inop, advise.  The vehicle in question was a 1997 Ford F150 Supercab truck of average condition for a ten year old vehicle.  My mind began formulating a list of possible causes.  It could be a switch problem, it could be a motor/track problem, or it could be a wiring problem.  I'll verify the customer concern, (always the first step in ANY repair process), and start digging.

Sure enough, I push the seat controls and nothing happens.  So with the door open, I start pushing the control buttons and watch the dome light at the same time.  Specifically, I'm looking for the dome light to "dim" just a little bit when I push the button.  Why do I do this ?

The job of the automobile electrical system is to supply power to operate the vehicle's accessories.  The process is pretty straight forward - push a switch, and the system sends power to whatever the switch controls.  Things like power windows, power seats, and rear defrost need a lot of power.  In these cases, the system will then draw all the power it can from wherever it can get it.  This large draw will make the interior lights "dim" ever so slightly.  If you have ever held the power window switch down after the window has stopped moving, you will see the same thing.  

Using that same logic, if I had a seized power seat motor, I would be applying power, the seat would not be moving, but the electrical system would be drawing power from everywhere trying to make it move.  The dome light would dim slightly.  I push the seat control buttons and look up - the dome light is nice and bright, no dimming of any kind.  I now suspect that I have an open circuit.  Electrical current requires a circular path to travel - source to load to ground.  No path = no current flow = no additional load on the system = no dome light "dimming."

I use the Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual quite often for diagnostics.  The EVTM is a big book full of wiring diagrams for every electrical component on the vehicle.  It shows where each component gets power and ground, which fuse or fuses control the circuit, the colors of all the wires involved, where they are spliced in the harness, and how many connectors are located along the electrical path.  I always start diagnostics by checking the fuse.  

Not only is the fuse not blown, it has power to it as well.  At this point, I know I'm dealing with some sort of open circuit between the fuse panel and the seat, (i.e. an unplugged connector or broken wire).  So I know what the problem is, but have no idea where it is.  At this point, it's now time to expose the harness and follow the wire from fuse panel to seat switch.

The EVTM tells me where the multitude of connectors are located along the circuit.  All I have to do is follow the wire through each connector to see where the power disappears.  Sounds simple, right ? (I'll pause briefly while those of us in the industry get a good laugh).  I start pulling trim and tracing the harness.  From the fuse panel, the power wire for the driver's seat makes its way to the rear of the cab on the passenger side of the truck.  From the passenger side rear corner of the cab, it makes a right turn, and goes to the driver's side rear corner, then turns toward the front of the vehicle.  And then .  .  .





Well now !  I think I've stumbled upon someone's winter home .  .  .

The photos above and below show the area behind the driver's seat.  On a Supercab, a fold down seat is located here.  The well in the floor behind the side trim seemed like a great place for someone to build a home for the winter.  





Power comes from the interior fuse panel and goes to the seat switch along this wiring harness shown above and below.  I guess the previously mentioned winter resident(s) got hungry, and decided to feast on whatever was in chomping distanced, which happened to included any nearby wires, one of which supplied power the driver's seat.








My two part repair procedure consisted of a few minutes of clean-up with rubber gloves, a shop vac, and some One-Shot cleaner, followed by a simple wiring repair.  It is in this type of situation where the benefits of having a camera with you pay off.  I showed the pictures to the Service Writer, who explained the situation to the customer, who was bewildered .  .  .
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 12:43:36 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2010, 06:16:09 AM »

Necessity is the Mother of Invention .  .  .
July 28, 2010





In the world of fleet maintenance, a my radio doesn't work concern usually does not appear on the "must fix now" list.  But for a driver that needs his/her tunes, he/she can come up with some very interesting and effective repair procedures.  Take the case of this vehicle .  .  .





Here we have a 1990s Ford F-Series pickup truck.  Like most of the vehicles in our fleet, this one shows the battle scars of daily use - a few dents, scratches, and some rust here and there.  But, that antenna seems a little too rusty.





And why is that ?





When the driver of this vehicle tore the antenna off the front fender, he/she realized that the only way a replacement would be ordered is if he/she paid for it.  Well that is out of the question.  But you just can't go to work without your tunes.  Enter a 3 foot piece of all-thread .  .  .





That's awesome !


« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 12:48:40 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

MP3
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2010, 10:45:44 AM »

awesome.... and a whole lot more sturdy! Grin
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03_TrueBlue_GT
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2010, 11:30:27 PM »

Dang ole Bubba couldnt get no reception cause he didnt have it straight enough! Grin
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