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Thread: Ranting and Raving

  1. #261
    Aspen and Volare Super Member Mopars1's Avatar
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    They have been slowly moving toward dealer only repair shops for the brand you choose to drive. That may not happen in my lifetime but it will happen.
    1977 Dodge Aspen R/T Super Pak T-Tops
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  2. #262
    Aspen and Volare Super Member doublechaz's Avatar
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    I just spent $1200 for a scanner to be able to do very basic service tasks on my 2009 300. There is a computer dedicated just to the passenger door in that car among about two dozen others.

    It also has no trans dipstick, you need that scanner I got to work on the brakes at all, the service manual requires disconnecting the battery in order to take the glove box out so you aren't killed by the bomb in a bag just above it. The radio in this car sets a trouble code (again, need that scanner to clear it) if you put in a CD with a scratch.

    I think they got rid of the radiator drain because after they switched to making the drain out of a cheap plastic piece of crap they all started breaking and leaving people stranded, so the obvious solution is not to use decent parts, but to eliminate the whole system.

    I won't be selling my older cars any time soon.

    I hear farmers are really having a good time with their new tractors that are like this only the manufacturers will not let anyone buy the tools or the manuals so a service call from a factory mechanic is required at several hundred dollars per hour starting when they leave the big city office.

  3. #263
    Aspen and Volare Super Moderator aspen79's Avatar
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    At the shop, we have probably $25,000 worth of scanners, plus the $200-$700 per month updates for each one. All newer vehicles have multiple modules that are multiplexed through multiple networks (LAN, LIN, modified LAN, Flex-Ray, optical, etc, etc, on and on). The vehicle with the most modules that I'm aware of is an Audi A8 which has up to 92 modules. The freaking headlight switch isn't really a "switch", it's a tiny computer module that sends a signal to a gate way module which then sends it to the front end module and the rear end module (among others) and those in turn send signals to the left and right headlight modules, left and right taillamp modules,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,well, you get the idea. That stuff is all fine and dandy until something goes wrong and then it's not cheap to repair, especially if it's a module that has failed. The module itself is expensive and then it has to be programmed to the car which can be a simple process or,,,,,,,,,,,,,,it can be a huge PITA involving buying a 2 day subscription license to access the manufacturers database using a Pass-Through device, lap top and internet connection. Many of the procedures, if they involve security can ONLY be done by a dealer. We just ran into that on a 2016 Fusion. I replaced the PCM and did the programming through Ford no problem. Then you have to gain security access to program the PATS (Passive anti theft system) to the new PCM so the car will crank and start. We tried everything possible with no success. A shop across town uses a remote programming service (which we're looking into) and ended up, even they couldn't do it. You have to be a dealer or be a licensed locksmith with a pass code to do the programming. Long story short, now we have to have the car hauled to a Ford dealer to complete the repair. We're just trying to program the keys to the new PCM, not launch nuclear weapons for criminies sake. Anything Chrysler, we can't do. In fact, Chrysler 2019 and newer, unless you're a dealer you can't even clear trouble codes. You need a security access code which only a dealer can have. We can read codes and do the repair, but can't clear the codes to verify the repair. Guess it has something to do with preventing hacking into the car and shutting it down or whatever while it's being driven. At least that's what they tell us, we don't really believe that reason though. It only gets worse every year.

    I always say, if I'd have known in 1982 what cars would become in 2020, I'd have gone into a different line of work and kept cars as a hobby only. I know of quite a few auto techs who say the exact same thing, especially if we're "seasoned" techs that started in the business when a sophisticated computer was an Apple II desk top with no graphics and the classic green screen display. I honestly don't know if I will make it the next 15 years until retirement. What will cars be like in 2030? I shudder to think about it.............
    Last edited by aspen79; 01-19-2020 at 07:46 AM.
    1979 Aspen Sunrise 500". Bought in 1987 with 72,000 miles and a mighty E24 California emission 90hp leaning tower of power/4-speed
    1996 Dakota with a torque monster (not) 3.9L V-6 and automatic owned since 1998. Now demoted to winter duty
    2008 Ford Mustang V6, the new summer daily driver

  4. #264
    Aspen and Volare Super Member Mopars1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen79 View Post
    At the shop, we have probably $25,000 worth of scanners, plus the $200-$700 per month updates for each one. All newer vehicles have multiple modules that are multiplexed through multiple networks (LAN, LIN, modified LAN, Flex-Ray, optical, etc, etc, on and on). The vehicle with the most modules that I'm aware of is an Audi A8 which has up to 92 modules. The freaking headlight switch isn't really a "switch", it's a tiny computer module that sends a signal to a gate way module which then sends it to the front end module and the rear end module (among others) and those in turn send signals to the left and right headlight modules, left and right taillamp modules,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,well, you get the idea. That stuff is all fine and dandy until something goes wrong and then it's not cheap to repair, especially if it's a module that has failed. The module itself is expensive and then it has to be programmed to the car which can be a simple process or,,,,,,,,,,,,,,it can be a huge PITA involving buying a 2 day subscription license to access the manufacturers database using a Pass-Through device, lap top and internet connection. Many of the procedures, if they involve security can ONLY be done by a dealer. We just ran into that on a 2016 Fusion. I replaced the PCM and did the programming through Ford no problem. Then you have to gain security access to program the PATS (Passive anti theft system) to the new PCM so the car will crank and start. We tried everything possible with no success. A shop across town uses a remote programming service (which we're looking into) and ended up, even they couldn't do it. You have to be a dealer or be a licensed locksmith with a pass code to do the programming. Long story short, now we have to have the car hauled to a Ford dealer to complete the repair. We're just trying to program the keys to the new PCM, not launch nuclear weapons for criminies sake. Anything Chrysler, we can't do. In fact, Chrysler 2019 and newer, unless you're a dealer you can't even clear trouble codes. You need a security access code which only a dealer can have. We can read codes and do the repair, but can't clear the codes to verify the repair. Guess it has something to do with preventing hacking into the car and shutting it down or whatever while it's being driven. At least that's what they tell us, we don't really believe that reason though. It only gets worse every year.

    I always say, if I'd have known in 1982 what cars would become in 2020, I'd have gone into a different line of work and kept cars as a hobby only. I know of quite a few auto techs who say the exact same thing, especially if we're "seasoned" techs that started in the business when a sophisticated computer was an Apple II desk top with no graphics and the classic green screen display. I honestly don't know if I will make it the next 15 years until retirement. What will cars be like in 2030? I shudder to think about it.............
    ^^^^^^ That is why I am glad I started in the mid seventies and am retired. Even though I worked for a dealer they (the manufacturer) cut the repair time as much and as often as they could so you couldn't make time anymore on a lot of repairs. It was real fun also when the Chrysler main computer went down and you couldn't flash any controllers for software upgrades or do anything else that required authentication from the manufacturer.
    1977 Dodge Aspen R/T Super Pak T-Tops
    2007 Dodge Ram 1500 HEMI Quad Cab 4WD
    2016 Dodge Dart GT Sport
    2017 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

  5. #265
    Aspen and Volare Super Moderator aspen79's Avatar
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    I worked at a Ford dealer from 1986 until it suddenly closed in 2007, then at an Audi/VW dealer until mid 2012 and,,,,,,,,,,I will NEVER work at a new car dealer ever again. The Ford dealer was great to work for and we had all good people that worked there but, as you said, warranty labor times kept getting cut and cut, then cut some more until it was impossible to even come close to making time, even if you had done that job 50 times, knew exaclty what tools you need and the procedure. The absolute ONLY thing you could come out on was automatic transmissions. After the trans guy quit to open his own shop in 1999 (ironically the shop I work at now) I became the auto trans guy and got pretty darn good at it (he says, trying not to brag, lol). I could still overhaul an AXOD/AX4S/AX4N with my eyes closed (Taurus/Windstar trans). The Audi dealer sucked to work at, the majority of the people I worked with were douche bags, always arguments in the shop, back stabbing, etc. Not only warranty labor times were ridiculous, they kept cutting the customer pay times as well. One day I said that's it, I'm getting the bleep out of this hell hole one way or another. Didn't help any when there was lack of work, which was way too often. To be there 43 1/2 hours a week but book 20 hours by no fault of your own, well you do the math. Every year I worked there my yearly income went down, down and down some more. One day called the shop I work at now and talked to the co-owner (who I also worked with at the Ford dealer for years, he was in parts) and told him if they were ever looking for another person, I'd like to have a shot. He says "well, as a matter of fact......." He told me it was hourly (not flat rate) because they stress quality of work over quantity, how much I per hour I would start at, vacation, IRA, and all the other details and if I wanted the job, it was mine. "When can I start?". Turns out, I knew I was hired in Feb of 2012 but had to wait until June to start when another guy was retiring (who I also worked with at the Ford dealer until he left and went to the shop). Those months of waiting were brutal, especially keeping it to myself and not letting something slip out! Finally the day came, I went and put my 2 weeks notice in and have never regretted it since. Best thing I ever did. The shop is great, the people are all great, I love it, despite the frustrations of some of the BS you have to go through on newer vehicles. I always say, I don't work FOR them, I work WITH them. Never an argument, never a raised voice from anyone. Of course, they do want you to produce but not produce at the sacrifice of quality. An incentive is, at the end of the year you get a fairly good cash bonus that's based off a percentage of the money you took in for the shop. Only downside is, they only pay the first $500/mo of your health insurance premiums and don't have dental or vision but to me, that's minor in the grand scheme of things. Every so often the Audi dealer will email or call asking if I will come back. Seriously, they couldn't pay me enough or give me enough benefits to even set foot in that place again. Sounds odd but, if they offered me 100K a year with 4 weeks of paid vacation and full benefits, I'd still say no. That's how much I hated that place. Sucks when you dread going to work and have to stop before going in and take a deep breath. Where I'm at now is the complete exact opposite of that.
    Last edited by aspen79; 01-19-2020 at 04:54 PM.
    1979 Aspen Sunrise 500". Bought in 1987 with 72,000 miles and a mighty E24 California emission 90hp leaning tower of power/4-speed
    1996 Dakota with a torque monster (not) 3.9L V-6 and automatic owned since 1998. Now demoted to winter duty
    2008 Ford Mustang V6, the new summer daily driver

  6. #266
    Aspen and Volare Super Member Mopars1's Avatar
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    The dealer I worked for was a family owned one and the family were people oriented as long as you did a good job. Of course if you consistently put out low hours you wouldn't be around too long but even when I did the heavy work as in all engine, transmission, rear axle repairs under the time constraints of warranty time (they charged warranty time for customer pay jobs) I probably only averaged 35 hours a week but they didn't can me. Once the new dealership building was built and the shop doubled in its taken in business Things got a little more serious but all the workers got along very well and I liked working there until the last two years when a new service manager came in. He is a Bast*** and I could not wait until I could retire which I did two years later. When I go back to visit or have warranty repairs done on my vehicles I still get along with them with one exception on course.

    If you ever have seen or see car haulers that have a big "C" on the door of the cab and the word "CASSENS" under that they are the company I worked for. They had just the one CPD dealership and owned no more. The transport company made all the money.
    1977 Dodge Aspen R/T Super Pak T-Tops
    2007 Dodge Ram 1500 HEMI Quad Cab 4WD
    2016 Dodge Dart GT Sport
    2017 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

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    Super Moderator 77rr2x4s's Avatar
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    There was a really good smaller Dodge dealer about 30 minutes from me. They always treated me well and cut me a break when needing work done. Then they got bought out by one of the mega dealers and the place went to crap. Almost all the original people were gone. The new people were not friendly and I haven`t been back since then.

  8. #268
    Aspen and Volare Administrator Rattle Trap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen79 View Post

    I always say, if I'd have known in 1982 what cars would become in 2020, I'd have gone into a different line of work and kept cars as a hobby only. I know of quite a few auto techs who say the exact same thing, especially if we're "seasoned" techs that started in the business when a sophisticated computer was an Apple II desk top with no graphics and the classic green screen display. I honestly don't know if I will make it the next 15 years until retirement. What will cars be like in 2030? I shudder to think about it.............
    ^^^^^ That right there was what dissuaded me. I was looking at what they were doing in the 80's and shaking my head as it got worse into the late 90's. I couldn't see it ever getting better, only increasingly complicated. Although I had no idea it would ever go this far it all just looked like too much headache to be involved with something I truly enjoy. So I do my best to stay playing with things that are now 30 years old and more. I'm not trying to get the equivalent of a college education just to mess with a car. The intentional over complication is what has killed a lot of the hobby. I know many if not most people feel the same as me about how much unnecessary garbage is in a car's systems today.
    Volare Magnet

  9. #269
    Aspen and Volare Super Moderator aspen79's Avatar
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    There's going to be a real problem in the future. Last I heard, to replace every 600 auto techs that leave the business, either from switching careers or retiring. there's only one new tech going into the business. This has been going on for many years now. It can be frustrating at times and what you have to know and be able to do to diagnose and fix cars now and you won't become filthy rich doing it but,,,,,,,,if you are good at what you do, you will never have to worry about being unemployed. In the 35 years I've been doing it, I've only been unemployed for a grand total of 2 weeks and that was when the Ford dealer closed suddenly one day with absolutely no warning at all. Everyone seems to think you need a college degree and thousand's of dollars of student loan debt to get a job. It isn't true at all. A 2 year tech school is MAYBE $5,000, not $50,000 like college. There is the same problem in other industries also, such as building, electrician's, plumbers, and most of the other trades. I hear it from contractors how they find it almost impossible to find employees to hire. Get a college degree and maybe get a job in your field after a year of looking, then pick up and move to a different city or state, and then never know if you will have that job as long as you want to do it. Go into the trades and unless you are totally useless, you WILL have a job and your choice of many that are available. In 30 years, who's going to fix the cars, build the houses, plumb the factory, rewire a house, come and repair your furnace, etc, etc.? As all those in the businesses now retire, it's only going to get worse. Heck, even now we have factories here that are constantly looking for people to fill the jobs. The excellent economy has something to do with more jobs than people to do them also. Besides, go to college and get indoctrinated into the Borg Collective or go into the trades and think for yourself. It's your choice.

    The new cars have so much unneeded crap on them that the majority of people don't care about, never use and/or don't even know the car has. The companies spend so much money on the electronic do-dad's and automatic this, automatic that, they ignore the parts that should have the money invested in like the suspension, steering, drivetrain and brakes. I've noticed a steady decline in quality and life span of those systems in the past few year. Should you really be putting timing chains in at 60,000 miles (GM Ecotec and 3.6L mostly), or replace leaking struts at 40,000, tie rod ends at 30,000, or transmissions at 100,000 miles, steering racks with 50,000 miles, just to name a few examples. I've repaired ABS wiring on 4 year old Impala's and Malibu's with barely 20,000 miles, replaced a brake line on a 2017 Impala already because it rusted through and leaked. I mean,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,it's friggin' ridiculous. Stuff that used to last well past 100,000 miles or outlast the whole car are failing at an alarming rate. Oh sure, the stupid touch screen crap works just fine but your A/C condensor is leaking on your 2 year old Silverado. I don't mean from impact damage but from poor quality parts that just simply fail for no other reason. You'll notice I give GM examples a lot, they seem to be the worst of the bunch (and guess where a lot of their parts are made? China) but a lot of it applies to most every other make as well, to a lesser extent. Happens every time a manufacturer uses the vendor with the lowest bid. I guess, it's all job security for people who repair cars for a living but still.
    Last edited by aspen79; 01-20-2020 at 12:37 PM.
    1979 Aspen Sunrise 500". Bought in 1987 with 72,000 miles and a mighty E24 California emission 90hp leaning tower of power/4-speed
    1996 Dakota with a torque monster (not) 3.9L V-6 and automatic owned since 1998. Now demoted to winter duty
    2008 Ford Mustang V6, the new summer daily driver

  10. #270
    Aspen and Volare Super Member Mopars1's Avatar
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    Right on!
    1977 Dodge Aspen R/T Super Pak T-Tops
    2007 Dodge Ram 1500 HEMI Quad Cab 4WD
    2016 Dodge Dart GT Sport
    2017 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

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