by Jacques Gordon
If his customer ever questions the labor cost, Chuck Braswell uses pictures like this to explain why some jobs just take a little longer. At Rocky Mount Radiator and A/C, Inc, technician Sammy Barnes had the distinct pleasure of replacing the evaporator in this Mazda RX 8. That job often requires removal of the instrument panel, dash, insulators, and steering unit, but Chuck said removing the rear seats, console and shifter “provided an extra challenge we don’t normally see. Mitchell gives 3 1/2 hours, and I would really like to meet the guy who can R&R this one in 3 1/2 hours!” Chuck thinks the job should pay 8 hours.
Rocky Mount Radiator and A/C, Inc. in Rocky Mount, NC was founded in 1927. They started doing A/C in the late 60’s, have been a MACS member since 1987, and Chuck’s father, the late Charlie Braswell, was a former MACS President, Board Chairman and a MACS Pioneer. The shop has 16 bays (10 inside, 6 outside) and although they are a full-service shop, they also specialize in automotive, truck and heavy-duty cooling systems, radiators, A/C, and heater repairs. Chuck says they install A/C “on anything – dump trucks, fire trucks, industrial, whatever.” They are also a NARSA Certified Heavy Duty radiator shop.
With that background, Chuck says they’ve become the go-to shop for all the “hard” evaporator and heater jobs in their area, so they’re not afraid of this type repair. “Although this one was tough, we have done more difficult jobs, like a Mercedes 300D and a 450SL, a BMW 750il. These make you long for a 2008 Caravan or F150 to come in!”
The factory time for evaporator R&R on this Mazda is 2.6 hours. AllData allows 4.0 hours plus an additional 1.5 for refrigerant recovery/recharge. It’s reasonable to think this job should pay more labor, and both Mitchell and Alldata have systems in place to ‘challenge’ their labor time listings. Still, even with all the time in the world, don’t try this at home: jobs like this one are for experienced professionals only.
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When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 34th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Power Up will take place January 16-18 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.