Rocky Mount Radiator adds its fourth generation

MACS is profiling multi-generational member businesses this year and no one fits that description better than the Braswell family of Rocky Mount Radiator of Rocky Mount, NC – MACS members since 1987.

Bryan and Chuck Braswell of Rocky Mount Radiator

Bryan and Chuck Braswell of Rocky Mount Radiator

“We are family owned and operated and have been since 1927,” third generation owner, Chuck Braswell tells us. “My grandfather founded the company with one helper, my father, Charlie Braswell, who grew the business and designed and built the building we are in now. I worked in and around the shop as a kid, for as long as I can remember. (I will never forget working the bench one summer at 12 years old).”

“I came into the business full-time, fresh out of college in 1982, and began learning the management side of the business. My wife, Tammy, is our office manager. My son Bryan is vice president of sales and marketing. My daughter Betsy has also contributed as a driver and office assistant. We believe in family. But we also believe in our extended family, the employees that make us who we are,” Chuck explained.

Rocky Mount Radiator is multi-faceted, relying on 3 distinct profit centers: 1.Retail service shop specializing in cooling system and A/C service, also performing full service automotive and HD truck, bus and off-road service. 2. Radiator shop, with 3 NARSA HD Certified radiator techs. This shop is well equipped to handle the largest construction and agricultural applications, stationary gen-sets, antique radiators, radiator rebuilding, re-coring etc. and DPF cleaning. 3. Parts warehouse, selling over the counter retail, wholesale jobbers, dealers, body shops, school bus garages. They also sell radiator shop supplies, paint, chemicals, etc. Rocky Mount Radiator derives its business with 40% radiator, 40% A/C and 20 % general parts.

Chuck wishes every one of his customers knew, “We are more than just a radiator shop. Our name can be our biggest asset but also our worst enemy. We have had the name “Rocky Mount Radiator” for 88 years – since 1927! That’s great if you have any kind of known radiator leak. But what if you need timing belt or head gasket replaced? A/C or brakes? Trailer hitch? DPF cleaning? It’s impossible to say everything in a name.”

So how does Chuck feel about his son becoming a part of the business? “At first, my wife and I tried everything to convince Bryan to find a different line of work. One with less pressure, fewer headaches, more money, more time off, etc. Plus, we didn’t know for sure the business could withstand another generation in an economically depressed community. But now that he is an integral part of the team, we couldn’t be happier. He has taken a lot of pressure off of us, and we are trying to immerse him in every aspect of the business from the ground up. Bryan brings a business degree to the table, and that helps him with his decision making and customer service skills. He is a great salesman and his charisma continues to open doors for us, especially the Gen X and Y customers. His computer marketing and social media skills enable him to attract new business from his generation, while staying in contact with mine. I am excited to see what the next generation of our company will accomplish with Bryan leading the way, “ Chuck said.

What does Bryan think of his new career? “My current take on the service and repair industry is that we are in the beginning stages of a major change. Millennials are starting to become a larger percentage of sales and have a different way of handling transactions and business than most of our industry is used to. Technology is rapidly changing and our industry is having a hard time adjusting to these changes. The process must grow with rest of the service world and become faster and more efficient. The days of the hand written repair orders are over; apps, emails, and text messages are the new forms of communication,” Bryan explained.

“I can see the industry in the beginning stages of accepting these changes; however, I do not think that this will be an easy one for most of the older repair shops. For me, this is a fairly easy process to adhere to. As a 27-year-old, I’m fluent in social media and the latest forms of communication. The shops that have an adaptable staff will have an easy learning curve, but those who are not familiar and open to this will struggle with the next generation of customers.”

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Bergstrom to host MACS heavy duty and off road mobile A/C training class-Friday, September 18th

MACS members and those who should be MACS members are increasingly working on more heavy duty and off-road vehicles. The MACS database is full of trucking, fleet, agricultural, mining and industrial vehicle businesses. In response, MACS and several heavy duty manufacturer members have been working together to host a series of top-shelf, high-value factory centered training events for the heavy duty and off-road vehicle mobile A/C technician.

Bergstrom Headquarters, Rockford, IL

Bergstrom Headquarters, Rockford, IL

On Friday, September 18th, heavy duty A/C trainer, Blake Gordon of Polar Mobility will focus a training session on the challenges of servicing A/C systems in heavy duty and off-road vehicles and Bergstrom will host a plant tour of their facilities.

“MACS launched this program almost a year ago and response has been overwhelming,” remarked Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and chief operating officer.

Due to locating this class at a manufacturing facility, attendance at this class is limited!
RSVP now by registering at the MACS website at or call 215/631-7020 x 306.

Class fees are $75 for MACS members and $125 for non-members. Continental breakfast and lunch are included. Registration will close on September 11, 2015.

Not a MACS member yet? Why not? Join today at 215/631-7020 x 0

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MACS attends 1-800-Radiator A/C Workshop

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Last Thursday night was A/C training night in Bensalem, PA! Hosted by NE Philadelphia’s 1-800-Radiator & A/C owner and MACS member Tony Alimenti, the two conference rooms were packed at the Hampton Inn on Street Road.

IMG_4156 Figure 1

MACS Member Tony welcomes guests as he introduces tonight’s presenter, Richard Hawkins.

A long time MACS distributor member, 1-800-Radiator & A/C presents several Mobile A/C Workshops throughout North America, hosted by their local area stores. “Last night was Yeadon, PA, and tonight it’s Bensalem. Next week there’s another class in Indianapolis; then I get to stay home for a while,” remarked Richard Hawkins, instructor for tonight’s class. When he’s not on the road teaching classes, Richard is helping store personnel and customers through 1-800-Radiator & A/C’s AirTech Support Line. “Working the Tech Line is both challenging and rewarding at the same time. It’s great when you can help someone tackle a tough A/C issue.”

IMG_4160 Figure 2

Richard covered topics ranging from temperature testing and lubrication issues to component compatibility.

A key component of Richard’s class pertained to questions every technician should ask before starting their diagnostic procedures. What type of A/C system are you dealing with? Does the system cycle or is it constant run? Are its controls based on temperature or pressure? Is the compressor a fixed or variable displacement output? What is the ambient temperature and humidity in the shop that day?

IMG_4172 Figure 3

Two screens made it easier for everyone to see the presentation.

IMG_4209 - Copy Figure 4

Amongst those in attendance were long time MACS members Tim Iezzi of Iezzi’s Auto Service, Reading, PA and Joe Randazzo and Chuck Chambers of Randazzo Automotive, Lansdale, PA.

A raffle drawing at the end of class awarded prizes to several attendees. Among the items to win were several A/C service kits, a Santech flush gun and two cylinders of refrigerant!

IMG_4210 Figure 5

A lucky attendee wins the $100 grand prize!

Looking for quality A/C training? Are any classes being held in your area? Interested in participating in the next MACS event? Send an e-mail to or check out our website at for more information!

Visit the MACSWorldwide YouTube Channel to watch highlights from this training class!


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Got an Idea for Training?

By Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and Chief Operating Officer


Planning for the 2016 MACS Training Event and Trade Show is now in full swing and we need to hear from YOU! Sure, the 2015 event just wrapped up a couple of months ago, but it takes a full year to produce a program designed to meet the needs of all participants.

The training to be offered is key to the value of the experience for shop owners and technicians. We have collected and analyzed feedback from participants at this year’s annual meeting. That tells us how effectively speakers were able to communicate their information, and provides a comparative assessment of the training “menu” offered.

One major change we’ll make as a result of the feedback received, is to reduce the length of most of the training classes. That will allow us to double the number of training topics and allow participants to benefit from twice the number of training clinics during the event.

Now we need specific input from front-line people manning the service desk or working in the bays about the kind of information and training they need to do their work more effectively and efficiently.

Think in terms of the real problem jobs you have encountered and the information and/or training which would allow you to resolve those problem jobs.

And be specific! While we appreciate any well-intentioned input we can get, much of what we do receive is too vague or general to act on. For instance, “more electronics” and “marketing” were a couple of the suggestions we received through our surveys, but each of those topics, while legitimate, cover a lot of real estate.

Suggestions we are soliciting are not restricted to automotive and light truck A/C and engine cooling. Those in our industry deal with virtually every kind of vehicle on or off the road, including buses and limos, heavy duty truck, off-road equipment for agriculture, construction and mining – anything with a cabin that requires HVAC and thermal management.

The input you provide is important for more than just the annual training event. Suggestions will be provided to our technical writers, who generate a new technical publication each month. Ideas will inform content for webinars that MACS conducts throughout the year. They will also help shape the A/C Update clinic book MACS produces each year for spring training classes throughout North America.

I look forward to hearing from you and getting your idea(s) into our training program.

Send me an email:

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It’s a Family Plan at Universal Air Conditioner

If you looked around you at the 2015 MACS Training Event and Trade Show, you saw an increase in young faces and this is a good thing! Another phenomenon observed is second and third generation MACS members, also a good thing. As we move through 2015 into 2016 MACS will be focusing on the next generation of mobile A/C members and how they are shaping the future of our industry.

The Coll family of Universal Air Conditioner (UAC) in Mansfield, TX is one of MACS’ most active and engaged members. UAC is family-owned, founded by Luis Coll. Educated as an oral surgeon, he chose to pursue his passion as a mechanic and engineer and created a company in Puerto Rico that manufactured mobile A/C parts, ultimately exporting them. In 1987, Luis created UAC to supply the manufacturing facility. Luis passed away in 1990 and his son Carlos left his profession as a lawyer to run the business.

Carlos quickly put his stamp on the company by importing parts from Asia, collaborating with Chinese factories and focusing on product development. Carlos refined logistics, grew the company to new success and was named a Mobile A/C Pioneer in 2006.

Product development and customer service are two of the company’s core pillars. Ensuring product quality controls and timely new product launches in addition to having a customer-focused and service-oriented team differentiates UAC from its competitors. Given the trend toward parts proliferation, UAC understands that its customers rely on it to be well-inventoried and have the ability to ship quickly.

Now history repeats itself for the Coll family as both daughter Sophia and son Francisco are the next generation to join their family business. The next generation will leverage their father’s industry experience and expertise while contributing and executing on their own unique skill sets.

The Coll Family

Francisco, Carlos and Sophia Coll

So everyone is together at work, what is that like? Carlos explains, “It’s invigorating and it drives me to keep going, with youth comes passion, motivation and new ideas. It is important to stay innovative. Both Francisco and Sophia have skills and networks that add to what UAC is trying to accomplish. Plus, they are smarter than me… Just the other day Sophia did a task in 30 minutes that may have taken me several hours. Soon they’ll be my boss!”

Sophia is a 2013 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics; she also interned at Goldman Sachs in New York. How does she see her role at UAC? “After 1.5 years in the industry, I finally feel like I have a grasp of the products, the customers and the competitive landscape. It’s a very steep learning curve, especially for someone with no relevant industry experience. On the other hand, it’s incredibly rewarding to learn something new every day. My role initially focused on shadowing my father, which entailed interacting with UAC’s top customers and executing on daily priorities. One of my biggest contributions has been implementing process-oriented guidelines around some of our key functions to enhance efficiency and accuracy.”

The deadline for this article came just as Francisco, a Financial Economics and East Asian studies graduate of Vanderbilt University was moving back to Texas from New York and he shared his first impressions for this story, “Given that I joined UAC about two seconds ago, actually this week (March 9), I still haven’t formed a comprehensive view on the A/C industry. I’m currently at (0,0) on the learning curve but am constantly drinking out of a water hose. My previous experiences of working at large investment banks in NYC have equipped me with many tools that I feel can help UAC grow and evolve. Specifically, I will look to focus on (1) human resources – people are a company’s greatest asset, (2) business development – how we can win new business and increase our share of wallet with existing customers, and (3) financial / operational efficiency.”

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Over one million served…

DSC_3909Section 609 certification continues to be the most popular leader led class the trainers from MACS Worldwide teach (we’ve certified over one million techs) followed closely by MACS Mobile A/C Best Practices and MACS annual Mobile A/C Update Class. Need mobile A/C training at your shop or ours?
Give us a call at 215/631-7020 x 304.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit for more information.

You can E-mail us at . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Mobile A/C The Next Generation, February 11-13, 2016 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.


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J-2534 flashing, an essential automotive maintenance skill

“It’s not if you offer J-2534 flashing to customers; it’s when,” asserted David Hobbs, a senior automotive aftermarket trainer for Delphi Automotive. With this “hook,” Hobbs grabbed the attention of shop owners and technicians attending his seminar titled Diagnostics Under the Dash during MACS 2015 Training Event and Trade Show this past February in Orlando, FL.


“Forty percent of the vehicles in your shop have one or more modules that need flashing,” Hobbs emphasized. “Examples include turning off false malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) warnings, eliminating pattern failure components, battery rundowns, drivability complaints, HVAC performance issues, fuel economy issues, rough idling, component longevity enhancements, and more.”


According to Hobbs, being properly trained is essential. “Don’t try to wing it,” he cautioned. “Technicians must know the difference between reprogramming and reconfiguring. Reprogramming is the process of electronically erasing and replacing data with an updated version transferred via the internet or cloud, whereas reconfiguring is a process that doesn’t require an internet connection. In addition, not every scan tool is your friend — some scan tools will flash only, some will let you to reprogram, and some will even enable you (with a subscription) to emulate a factory scan tool. The closer you are to having or emulating an automaker’s scan tool, the better.”


“Think networks and systems, not just components and circuits, when diagnosing and J-2534 flashing. Purchase factory scan tools for the primary lines you service, and a good general aftermarket scan tool for the other brands. Invest in a J-2534 device to supplement your scan tools. Then gather other resources and learn where to locate online flashing information and instructions to take the guesswork out of servicing.”


Looking at J-2534 flashing from a high level, Hobbs shared six basic steps in performing module reprogramming:

  • Baseline the reprogramming session to determine if flashing is warranted.
  • Determine whether a module can be programmed; some modules can only be replaced.
  • Ensure the equipment you use meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the vehicle brand you are working on.
  • To transfer the calibration to the vehicle module, know where to find vehicle-specific calibrations.
  • Validate that the module has been updated to the current calibration.
  • After configuring a module, you may have to reintroduce the module to others it’s connected with in a vehicle.


“Here’s the bottom line,” Hobbs concluded. “Those who continue to ignore J-2534 flashing are missing service opportunities that can be sold as easily as informing your customers that their vehicle’s onboard computers have a number of updates that need to be downloaded. Some vehicles fixes today can only be addressed by performing these software flashes. In the very near future, this will become more prevalent. It’s time to get prepared now.”

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit for more information.

You can E-mail us at . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Mobile A/C The Next Generation, February 11-13, 2016 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

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Mechanical fan clutch diagnosis

By Steve Schaeber

The engine cooling system is one of the first and most basic of automotive systems that are taught in tech school, and rightly so. It’s also one of the most frequently serviced systems in any vehicle. An often overlooked cause of overheating issues could begin with faulty engine driven thermostatic cooling fan clutches. Here’s a great way to help diagnose these problems.

We all know the normal ways to test these devices. Making sure the engine is turned off (and can’t be started), grab hold of one of the fan blades, and try turning it by hand. You should feel resistance, but the fan should turn in both directions without freewheeling, and definitely should not be locked up. Next, check for wobble and end play by trying to move the fan blades towards and away from the engine. There should be no movement in this direction. Excessive wobble, freewheel or lock up indicates a likely faulty clutch in need of replacement.

Here’s another test you could try, but you’re going to have to get yourself a handheld non-contact tachometer. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and with enough practice and testing of many vehicles, can quickly let you know if there’s an issue with the fan you’ve encountered.

Place a piece of reflective tape onto the end of one of the fan blades (See below).

DSC_2387 (Figure 1)

Make sure you clean the blade first so the reflective tape will stick and not fly off. Next, start the vehicle, and get ready to measure. Hold your tachometer in such a position that you can get it to shine down onto that reflective tape. Then, you’ll see the fan blade’s rotational speed displayed on the tool in RPMs (See below).

DSC_0354 (Figure 2)

Through my own testing, I’ve found that a properly operating fan should spin somewhere around 1100 rpm when idling at normal operating temperature. However, I’ve also found a defective fan clutch that would spin at around 550 rpm.  That’s a pretty big difference from normal, but not unexpected on a 15-year-old vehicle. By the way, I did feel some wobble in the fan clutch shaft, but the rotational resistance really did feel fine. In fact, had I not measured the rotational speed and compared it to a known good, I would not have condemned this clutch as a contributor to the overheating.

Just how fast is a mechanical fan supposed to spin? Ever try looking up the specifications for this? It’s not a commonly published spec, but I have heard of this being mentioned once or twice before. If you know of one, please let me know. I’d love to check it out (and mention it here in Cooling Corner). Otherwise, what I’ve found works best is practice. Using this technique on several different vehicles gives me a “database” of my own that I can reference. Now sure, I’m not going to find the same readings on every one, most likely because of the differences in fan and pulley diameters, belt length, number of pulleys and base engine rpm speed differences amongst different vehicles. But generally speaking, you can figure out an average for your own purposes.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit for more information.

You can E-mail us at . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Mobile A/C The Next Generation, February 11-13, 2016 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

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Are you using the right tool for your A/C job?


The annual MACS trade show, held in Orlando this year, may appear to have been just rows and rows of product displays. But a stroll-and-stop approach at manufacturers’ exhibits proved it to be just as much a technical training event as the classes in the remainder of the three-day program.

And we’re talking about a lot more than finding new sources of repair parts, although for many shops that is a worthwhile reason to walk the aisles. But probably the most valuable things you can find are the specialty items that improve the results you’ll get when you’re working on a car, whether it’s an improved repair part, an aftermarket fix for a common problem, new equipment that you didn’t know you needed – and how to use it — now. So for those of you who couldn’t attend, or who didn’t get to spend enough time at every display, here are some of the things that ACTION™ thought were worth some extra consideration. Download the May 2015 issue of ACtion Magazine to read the whole article.

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Why should I become a MACS member?

Here’s why!


One thousand mobile air conditioning industry technicians, shop owners, product manufacturers and distributors made “connections that matter” in Orlando in early February during the annual MACS Training Event and Trade Show.

The “connections” theme is essential for business today – connections to stay abreast of changing industry products, supply lines and technology; connections with peers to exchange information and ideas; and connections with customers. The event encompassed three high- energy days of training, product displays and networking through social events.

Engineers and service specialists from Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Toyota discussed current activity and future plans for vehicle heating and cooling technology by these industry-leading manufacturers. Ward Atkinson, MACS technical advisor, offered other insight in his annual State of the Industry address. The central message: changes in components and system operating strategy may require different diagnostic approaches by technicians.

Many of these developments in component design and operation were addressed in detail by no less than two dozen of the industry’s top diagnosticians and trainers. The menu of technical training choices included a wide variety of topic options like the Top Auto HVAC Problems, J2534 Programming, Diagnosing Vehicle Networks, Externally Controlled Compressors and many more.

The heavy-duty truck and off-road A/C equipment program was expanded to two full days during the 2015 conference, allowing time to cover a wide variety of topics, and still provide time for in-depth focus on an HD truck line and motor home under-dash units.

The importance of a quality online presence and participation in social media were also stressed during the conference with sessions by Danny Sanchez of Autoshop Solutions Inc. With Master Your Future, Master the Internet, Branding Brings in the Bucks, and Clicks, Cars, Cash, Sanchez communicated the critical importance of this communication technology to the success and growth of any business today.

The message that even more future tech is coming was delivered by Atul Kishore, vice president of AAA’s Connected Car, who leads the Association’s strategy to deliver next-generation connected car services. Within a decade, AAA expects the majority of cars on the road will be able to identify problems before breakdowns occur, reduce crashes and help drivers save time and money. The new technology will clearly impact the vehicle service industry.

Last, but certainly not least, the annual MACS event provided ample time for all-important human connections. Lunches, other social events and coffee breaks in the hallways between programs were opportunities to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Plan now to join MACS in Orlando, February 11 – 13, 2016, and keep your finger on the pulse of this ever-changing industry.

Click here to become a MACS member today!



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