Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2002   by CARS Magazine

SSGM Reader Feedback (May 01, 2002)

Editor: Bob Greenwood certainly stirred up a hornet's nest with his February column entitled "It's time for competent shops to turn up the heat":Mr. Greenwood,With regards to your comments in the Feb,...

Editor: Bob Greenwood certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest with his February column entitled “It’s time for competent shops to turn up the heat”:

Mr. Greenwood,

With regards to your comments in the Feb, 2002 article that slammed all dealerships in general, I must say that you sir are a jackass. After serving 9 years as a technician and 5 years as a S.M. at a VW dealership in Ont., I must point out a few facts you chose not to mention in your article of anger. I work hard. My team works hard. We like and appreciate our customers and value their hard-earned loyalty and business. The hardest thing for me to take in life is prejudice. What your article offered was simply that. How dare you judge all dealerships in such a malicious fashion? What gives you the right to publicly lump us all into one group? I have always taken great interest in the stories and management tips offered by SSGM and when I read your article, I once and for all came to the realization that it is “us against them”. That to me is sad.

In many cases, we get the car only after some twit has bungled through a half ass repair only to find he has made the problem worse and wasted the customer’s time and money. We are then stuck with repairing it and then the actual problem. If I had a dollar for every car I’ve fixed over the phone, I’d be a wealthy man. I do it because there is one simple fact you overlooked. WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER!

Why not tell your story as a bad service experience and have some fun. Lighten up a little and give all technicians and business owners their due where it is deserved. Do the independent technicians care more? In some cases, maybe. Do dealership technicians and service managers care? Yes, in many cases they do. Please for the sake of all the SSGM readers, wise up!

Greg Allin

Dear SSGM:

I found Bob Greenwood’s article in the February issue of SSGM very interesting to say the least. I felt that after reading such a one sided view of his “visit” or “experience” at the dealership, that I had to write some kind of response. Now, I’m not trying to say that his “visit” was a perfect one, or even close. But I think that anyone else who did not arrive at the door looking for ways to cut up the service, would not have found the service that bad. The thing that blows me away about this story is how Bob pretends to have visited the dealership for “market research” when in fact, he just didn’t want to pay to have his car repaired at his independent client’s shop. The other thing is that we are all technicians trying to do our best, no one is trying to rip off customers, and do second rate work. I get sent a lot of work from independent shops in our area that they can’t fix. But I would never “bad mouth” their shops for it because when I get in an off brand car, I would rather send it to them because in that case, they are more the expert than I. Like it or not, Independents need the dealerships to solve the problems early, to generate the service bulletins, special tools, and service manual updates that we all use in later repairs. But that is getting a little bit off topic, because I do have rather good relationships with the local independent shops.

In closing, I have used Bob’s letter as a management tool myself to demonstrate to my techs, advisors, and other service employees such as the “robotic cashier” how even with our best intentions and sincerest apologies, we need to improve. I will say that the service writer in the story should not have written “rear fog lamp bulb out” on the work order; since there is no such thing as a rear fog lamp bulb, they should have recorded it as a cornering lamp or reverse lamp. Also, someone should obviously have cleaned up the grease that was left in the car before it was returned to the customer. That was unacceptable. And quite possibly if the car was further road tested after the intermittent concern was ‘repaired’ to verify the repair, perhaps the comeback could have been averted. And as for the broken trim part, we all need to be careful doing our jobs, but accidents will happen.

I would like to make it clear before I finish that I am not from the dealership that “Bob” visited. But we have had similar experiences of our own and have dealt with it in much the same way. I just do not like someone who is not a technician slamming technicians, and not analyzing the problem from a managerial standpoint, which is Bob’s specialty.

Well, that is what I think anyway. Thanks for your time; I look forward to the next issue.

Michael Craig

Mike Craig is a shop foreman and 5-year technician at a GM dealership in Peterborough-Ed.

Editor: Ron Brown of Auto-Know in Oakville, Ontario, wrote to emphasize the need to add volume testing to Glen Hunt’s fuel pump diagnosis on page 28 of the March issue of SSGM.

Dear Jim:

One important item not mentioned in Mr. Hunt’s testing procedures on page 28 of the March issue is the importance, and necessity of fuel pump volume testing. Most present systems, even with a partially restricted filter and a pump with even 2 to 3 volts drop in the electrical circuit, will still show specified pressure at idle because there is very little demand. However, when the engine comes under load such as driving, the extra demand requires increased volume in order to maintain the fuel pressure at the injectors. This is where filter restriction shows up, and if the pump is not getting required voltage, the pump rpm will not be high enough to produce full flow, and the pressure will therefore drop.

The preferred method of flow testing (Bosch’s original procedure for example) is still to open the return line, usually at the pressure regulator, and attach a suitable adapter hose placed into a container, and then activate the pump by remote methods (scan tool, or jumper between appropriate terminals) or operating the engine. Typical volume of one litre in 20-30 seconds is considered satisfactory.

Some pressure testers have a vapour bleed hose attached, which may be an alternate and easier method if the bleed valve can be opened enough to allow the rail pressure to drop 2-3 p.s.i. below regulator pressure and still pump the required litre in 20-30 seconds through the bleed hose.

The caution here is that the bleed valve on some testers will not open enough to allow the pressure to drop 2-3 p.s.i., in which case there will not likely be sufficient volume through the bleed valve to even make the test on a good system, let alone a weak one.

Another point to keep in mind regarding flow testing: Some instructions suggest that this test is best made by first attaching an adapter hose to a disconnected fuel rail supply line, then activating the pump by various methods and measuring the flow. This is not a reliable check for two reasons: – (1) Since the supply line is open, there is no pressure build up, so even a poor pump with low voltage would have increased flow under these conditions because there is no load on the pump; and (2) even a restricted filter would probably allow adequate flow to “pass” the volume test as there is no down-stream pressure past the filter.

Ron Brown, Auto-Know Inc., Oakville, Ontario

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