Continuing training is key to success


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Changes in automotive technology invariably impact the service industry, and technicians who don’t keep up are finding fewer jobs they can do correctly and profitably. The impact is not “overnight.” But when the car is in your shop, you can’t just keep “farming it out” to another shop or the car dealer. Although hybrids and electric vehicles are the most obvious signs of technology change, with total sales through this year approaching five million, the range of what’s new is all encompassing.

For cooling system/HVAC specialists, the impact is in line with the overall rate of change. A new refrigerant with new service requirements is at the midpoint of a complete industry changeover. Under the hood you’ll see a new A/C part — the internal heat exchanger. The compressor itself is likely to be under full electronic control, even if it’s a belt-driven type on a gasoline engine. The electric water pump, once an on-off assist device for heater circuits and turbo cooling, is becoming the infinitely-variable replacement for the belt-driven pump on an increasing number of what once were conventional gasoline engines. In addition, electronic controls and diagnostics are being integrated ever more deeply into these systems. Just “fixing what’s wrong” — even if he can get to that stage with a mechanical repair — is no longer enough to let a technician close the hood and total the job ticket. Turning off warning lights, reflashing modules and initializing actuators may be necessary.

So, how can this challenge be met? “Continuing education and training is the only way,” notes MACS President Elvis Hoffpauir, “but that prompts more questions. What kind of training would be most beneficial? How much training is required? Technicians possess different skill sets and have achieved varying levels of competency, so this is a case when ‘one size doesn’t fit all.’”

To help today’s technicians keep pace, MACS is offering more than 12 hours of high-level training for the A/C specialist. Following are details of the training available, with comments by the trainers assembled for the 2018 annual MACS Training Event.

Thursday, Feb. 15 – Passenger car/light truck

Total climate control technologies – Firewall back analysis and evaluation

Trainer Peter Orlando of Carquest Technical Institute explains: “The complaint is clear and verified for inadequate A/C operation. The cooling and air conditioning systems are satisfactory and pass their performance tests. What do we do next? What tools do we choose? This seminar will focus on what quick tests can be run from the driver’s seat to gain diagnostic direction using firewall back analysis methods.”

Service tips and pattern failures

Trainer Peter McArdle of Four Seasons suggests: “Stop pulling your hair and get straight to the repair! In this class we help eliminate diagnostic difficulties by condensing countless hours of our experts’ diagnostic efforts into simple, easy-to-follow air conditioning diagnostic tips and techniques. Spend 90 minutes with us at MACS 2018 and save 90 hours of wasted diagnostic time and frustration later!”

Thriving with 21st century diagnostics

Trainer Dave Hobbs asks: “Is your shop keeping up with the evolving technologies surrounding diagnostics? From PC-based scan tools to remote diagnostics services, this course will help both shop managers and technicians do just that. Thriving with 21st Century Diagnostics will approach the latest tools and techniques from both the technical and business side of diagnostics for today and tomorrow.”

Top 7 tips to increase your car count and advertising ROI

Trainers Christian Klein of RPM Auto Marketing and Andy Fiffick of Rad Air Complete Car Care & Tire Centers observe that: “Industry trends show car counts are down across the country. How can your shop buck the trend and get more cars in your bays? Prospective customers are researching your business online before they ever pick up the phone or schedule an appointment. If you want to outperform your shop’s local competitors, you must grow where your market is. We’ll share proven strategies for getting more customers to your shops, turning current customers into brand ambassadors, and using review feedback to improve customer service.”

Climate control sensor and actuator diagnostics

Trainer Bob Pattengale of Robert Bosch explains that: “Individuals attending this seminar will walk away with excellent tips on how to approach difficult diagnostic issues. Even the most basic climate control systems require a technician to sort through a variety of vehicle systems; refrigerant related components, air flow sensors and actuators as well networked modules. We are going to teach technicians how to sort through the maze of possibilities using a solid diagnostic process.”

Vehicle electrification high voltage electrical circuits and the A/C system

Trainer Mark Quarto of Quarto Technical Services explains: “This session tells the story, using significant technical detail and application, of how the A/C system can easily effect the operation of the high voltage system in any vehicle with electrification. When this session was offered in the past, technicians were able to use the technical information combined with a case study style approach, to immediately apply the session contents in their repair businesses.”

Thursday, Feb. 15 – HD/off-road vehicles

R-1234yf versus R-134a in HD HVAC systems

Trainer Robert Brocx of Red Dot says that “Red Dot has been using it’s calorimeter and vehicle environmental chamber to measure the impact on current HD R-134a  systems when the refrigerant is replaced with R-1234yf. A summary of the results will be presented for systems that include both CCOT and TXV control.”

Caterpillar update/Refrigerants for off-highway equipment

Trainer Dan Spurgeon of Caterpillar explains: “In the design of the off-highway air conditioning system, OEM’s certainly learn and borrow from the automotive market. However, there are differences between automotive and off-highway systems that are driven by such things as a harsher operating environment, systems that are larger in internal volume and physical size, unique customer requirements and much lower vehicle production volumes, among others. I plan to discuss some of these in my presentation covering the selection of an alternative refrigerant for mobile off-highway equipment.”

Why training? A profit-driven shop

Fred Johnson of Dyson International asks: “Have you ever heard a shop owner say, ‘I paid for the training of technicians in every shop in this area. We train them and they quit and go to our competitors. Very frustrating.’ The owners expressing this frustration have some of the most successful and profitable businesses I work with. One key reason for their success: their well-trained technicians that are taught to focus on shop efficiency to maximize profit. As a shop owner or manager, what’s required to retain these talented, well-trained technicians is profit. Deciding on the amount and type training for each technician takes a lot of effort. But if done well, adds more to the bottom line.”

A/C compressor oils and their effect on elastomers

Trainer Aaron Clark of Eaton notes: “There are significant differences in A/C and refrigerant oil chemistry. Oil selection can have varying results on elastomer material selection and a big influence on system design and replacement. Learn why.”

System oil balance and why more is not always better

Trainer Dick Ennis of T/CCI Manufacturing relates: “As the industry has transitioned to lighter, more efficient heat exchangers and significantly lower refrigerant charge volume systems, the emphasis for proper oil adjustment in service has not been fully conveyed to the service industry. My presentation regarding oil balance is designed to alert those responsible for vehicle servicing to some of the pitfalls and problems that occur when oil adjustment is a secondary consideration as opposed to maintaining an optimum oil to refrigerant ratio.”

AGCO equipment HVAC service and repair

Trainer Sherwood Wheeler of AGCO explains: “The HVAC system designs have changed with the recent introduction of new models. The a/c service technician working on AGCO brands like Massey Ferguson®, Challenger® and Fendt®, will find this a worthwhile and informative session that they will not want to miss”

Introduction to HD coolant system failure – Become system smart

Trainer Robert Bassett of Gates Corporation warns that: “Technology is changing fast! Past practices may be creating failures for the heavy duty coolant system before it even leaves the bay. Preventive maintenance is key when servicing this system. Understanding coolant condition is paramount when facilitating a coolant system repair. Under certain conditions, anything less sets the system up for failure before the vehicle leaves the shop! During this session, we will explore root-cause failures along with the effects they have on the HD coolant system.”

CNH new wheel loader system and service update

Trainer Leo Chernyavsky notes: “The direct drop-in linear power module (LPM) part number was released to service obsoleted LPM. This drop-in LPM simplifies service by replacing complex service parts LPM kit described in our 2015 MACS training presentation material.”

 Thursday, Feb. 15 – Keynote Luncheon

John Gardiner, host of Tech Garage and Motorhead Garage on Velocity Channel MAVTV and Chipola College Automotive Technology instructor says: Up and coming automotive technicians need skills passed down to them. More importantly they need to see professionalism and integrity in those they look up to. Be a hero! The automotive technical workforce is being built by us, today.”

Friday, Feb. 16 – General Session – Industry Update

The annual Industry Update, with MACS Technical Advisor Ward Atkinson and other industry experts, will focus on current and future challenges facing the mobile air conditioning service industry.

Ward Atkinson observes: “Just when we all thought the industry was becoming stable, there is a need to consult the ‘crystal ball’ about our future. A/C refrigerant questions may still be around for a while and concerns about passenger cabin air quality is now a worldwide subject. We plan to provide the latest updates.”

Chenise Farquharson of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and coordinator of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program “will update attendees on the Agency’s current SNAP regulations and activities impacting the mobile air conditioning industry.”

Mark Quarto of Quarto Technical Services “will update attendees with core information on newly released VE product A/C systems and how these are driving the need for a new category of education and training for technicians that diagnose and service high voltage electric A/C systems.”

Saturday, Feb. 17   – Passenger car/light truck

HVAC control system operation and diagnostics

Trainer Jerry Mungle of ACDelco explains: “This is an interactive course that will provide insight into the operation and diagnosis of the HVAC control system. Too many times diagnosis of an A/C complaint is blamed on the refrigeration system when the real culprit can be the complex controls we have on today’s vehicles.”

Defeating electrical gremlins – Testing techniques that will bring them into the light

Trainer Peter Meier notes: “Troubleshooting electrical concerns has always been one of the greatest challenges most technicians face, and I find that 90% of the time the fault lies in their foundational understanding of electrical system function. This class will help attendees shore up that foundation, and give them something to build on going forward.”

2018 FCA R-1234yf update (and the new Pacifica Hybrid)

Trainer Al McAvoy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will: “Offer a glimpse into the new 2018 Dodge Demon and some of the additional features we are using in regards to R-1234yf and the Supercharger Intercooler system, along with the Hybrid Pacifica Battery Pack Chiller. FCA has been the industry leader in the launch and development of the new R-1234yf A/C systems. For 2018, virtually all of their vehicle lineup sold through Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealers in the US, Canada and Europe are equipped with R-1234yf refrigerant. 

Future trends in thermal management systems and their integration into the overall vehicle system

Trainer Pete Bradley of Behr Hella points out that: With the drive towards the use of energy efficient vehicles, hybrids and E vehicles, the change in the control and therefore the complexity of thermal management within these vehicles presents a challenge to vehicle technicians when they go wrong! As with all change, preparing yourself is paramount to dealing with what is new and different, thus, this training does not seek to frighten but to inform.”

Mobile A/C best practices

Trainer Tim Iezzi explains: “Best practices is what you need to know to service an air conditioner correctly. We cover the basics of system operation, recovery, recycling, charging and repair. It is a great course for the beginner to lay a good foundation of knowledge on air conditioning and a good refresher course for the experienced tech.”

A/C scanning diagnostics

Trainer John Anello of Auto Tech on Wheels notes: “I will present a class to discuss the electrical operation of A/C systems prior to OBD2 and the many components involved and compare this to a case study on A/C operation on OBD2 cars of today, demonstrating how advanced present day automobiles really are. There is a need to retool your technical arsenal and I will discuss the evolution of scan tools, and bring you up to speed on where they are today and where they are headed for tomorrow, as we face cyber security needs in motor vehicles going forward. I will also discuss the procedures involved in programming, configuring and calibrating the systems on board that control A/C operations.”

 Saturday, Feb. 17 – HD/off-road vehicles

HD Recommended Service Procedure update

Trainer Robert Brocx of Red Dot explains: “The SAE HFTC6 committee is currently working on J3126 – Air Conditioning Service Procedures for Heavy Duty and Off-Highway Work Machines Using R-134a refrigerant. I will provide an outline of the document and an update on any progress to date.”

A/C system hose inspection, service and replacement

Trainer Gene Dianetti of Parker Hannifin Corporation explains: “Servicing an A/C system hose routing can be a great opportunity to improve system performance. Have you seen an odd mixture of hose types and fittings cobbled together when servicing a system? There are many types of hose and crimping solutions out there and it is important to choose the right type of hose, fitting and crimp tooling. My presentation will discuss these issues and detail how to make improvements to system performance and repair the system with quality components.”

Introduction to the next generation Freightliner Cascadia HVAC system

Trainer Larry Turay points out: “As we know, technology continues to change at an increasing rate. This is true in the heavy-duty world, as well. The Freightliner Cascadia platform has been around since 2007, with major updates in 2014 and again in 2016. This model is now introduced as the 2018 New Generation Cascadia. It is a completely renewed design, including lots of changes with the data lines and many new features to make this a truly 21st Century design. This program will cover the component changes, diagnostic strategies and new service procedures necessary to work on the new design. We will also cover common problems on the current generation Cascadia and M2 Business class unit. In addition, the new DD5 and DD8 engine found on the 2017 M2 will be discussed.”

Saturday, Feb. 17 – Roundtable Discussions with Luncheon

Here’s a great opportunity to exchange technical tips and business ideas (or gripes, complaints, tall tales, etc.) with your fellow shop owners, managers and technicians. Grab your lunch, pick a table and topic, and let yourself go with the flow.

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About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues. www.macsw.org
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