MACS is planning our 2021 Training Event with careful consideration to the current pandemic and is including safety and security measures as we move forward to create a valuable training and networking experience.
The early deadline to reserve a trade show booth is coming soon!
A/Ccess to the mobile A/C and engine cooling service and repair information technicians need to make accurate diagnosis and reliable repairs.
A/Ccess to the experts in the field who create repair processes, A/C systems, tools and equipment.
A/Ccess to other mobile A/C professionals from manufacturing, distribution, service and repair and regulatory agencies.
A/Ccess to top shelf mobile A/C training!
Click here for more information! Registration opens and the complete program will be available on November 1, 2020. Call 215-631-7020 x 306.
As the world battles a pandemic, businesses, like yours, are battling to keep customers coming in the doors. Just when it seems that every penny must be spent wisely, it also is a prime time to look outside the industry for marketing ideas that can bring both current and future customers into your shop. Here are a couple that Stacy Tuschl, a local business marketing consultant and owner of two performing arts studios, provided recently during an interview with Social Media Examiner, a social media marketing blog.
Growing organic social media exposure
Tuschl dropped a number of social media tips during her interview, and this is one that works across any industry. Band together with a few other businesses that offer completely different services or products, such as florists, massage therapists, gas stations or dry cleaners, and create a giveaway or contest that each business promotes on its social media platform. The beauty of this type of partnership is that you will be cross-promoting each other’s businesses to a whole new set of audiences, ones who may have never heard of you before.
By limiting participation to only one type of business in the promotion, no one is competing with each other. Each participating business provides a prize or giveaway of predetermined equal value, and they are combined into one – or several – packages. Turn it into a scavenger hunt, or an online puzzle that people have to watch in order to find a daily question for the week. Whatever you and your band of fellow small business owners can come up with should be easy and fun for people to follow. But most of all, make sure it brings people in your door to learn more about your services. (Read More)
There is no doubt that when it starts getting hot outside, your shop gets slammed with customers asking for help with their A/C systems. Same thing happens here at MACS, except we get slammed with A/C tech support calls.
Most calls are really nothing special to talk about. Refrigerant charge amount, oil type and sensor locations are pretty common complaints, particularly for odd ball vehicles and trucks with limited information resources (and technicians unfamiliar with a particular make / model / system). We also get lots of requests for wiring diagrams and pressure gauge troubleshooting help. Plus, there’s many not-well-known TSBs that seem to keep coming up (Ford Escapes come to mind here).
Every once in a while, I get a tech call from one of our local member shops near MACS HQ. When it’s a really tough problem, I like to stop by and check it out for myself and (of course, I wear a mask and practice social distancing, in light of how things are today). (Read More)
Data lines and multiplexing have been with us in the heavy-duty world since 1990. The increased use of ABS, electronic ICUs, and automated transmissions to name a few, led the way that made the use of electronic control necessary for proper operation. Increased government regulations and tighter emission controls have led to updates and ongoing changes. Mainly with the introduction of emission controls; EGR, Aftertreatment, DEF and generic engine DTCs. A quick refresher on what multiplexing and data management is in order.
Multiplexing is the combining of multiple signal outputs and switch or sensor inputs on a common circuit in order to reduce wiring complexity. Other advantages include automatic configuration of the vehicle for driving conditions, improved troubleshooting, customized parameters and configuration. heavy duty applications will use various data lines including J1708/J1587, J1939, and CAN that depend on multiplexing to operate. Beginning with electronic engine controls introduced in 1990, the J1708/J1587 data line was used to communicate with the engine controls. Its purpose was primarily to convey fault codes and instrumentation. J1708 was the hardware standard for wire size, diagnostic connector, bus configuration, and so forth. J1587 was the communication standard, 8 bits per byte, 9.6 kbps, and a standardized language format. It is a bus style datalink using junction blocks. The J1708 datalink is identified by its green and orange twisted pair wiring. It runs at a slow rate of 9.6 bps, which was sufficient for its original purpose; transmit fault codes to a common connector to diagnostic tools. However, it soon became overburdened by its communication load. It was replaced for a short time by the J1922 datalink until the J1939 datalink was developed to support the increased datalink speeds. It continued to be on vehicles until 2016. (Read More)
If you consider yourself a diagnostic detective see if you can solve this cooling system mystery before the end of the article!
Cooling Corner: The mystery of the 2008 Dodge Charger
Customers drive into our shops for maintenance, tires and corrective repairs. But every now-and-then even the most seasoned techs get a surprise. This is one of those times.
While waiting for the car to cool-down, it was time to talk to the customer. The “20-Question” game is always an interesting exchange between the vehicle owner and the tech. Sometimes you get the background, other times just a bunch of “I don’t knows.” This time, the driver was a seasoned vehicle owner. He understood the “why” of the questioning and answered quickly. The take-away from the talk: He thought he saw antifreeze on his garage floor. He said that he topped-off the reservoir with water since he didn’t have any chemistry on-hand. But, he added, just about a cup-full. No more.(Read More)
School is back in session, to some extent anyway, in most parts of the country. Now our thoughts turn to servicing the air conditioning on the buses, which are generally filled with up to 72 students. Full-sized school buses feature a mix of configurations from various manufacturers who try to keep the interior of a school bus comfortable in a wide range of operating conditions. Many rural school boards tend to run older buses, resulting in a number of challenges regarding servicing their systems, not the least of which is cost. These buses were likely originally equipped with the least expensive system available, not necessarily a system that even performed to the required standard. This story features an excursion through a complete refit/upfit for one of the older buses from a school district east of Dallas, Texas.
First, some background on the bus. This International bus came with a locally installed A/C system from a known supplier of school bus A/C systems. The district had purchased a number of these arrangements over the years and didn’t realize they performed poorly until they compared them to newly purchased Thomas bus systems, installed with the OEM supplied MCC air conditioning units. MCC purchased the Carrier line a number of years ago, and the basic design has not changed. They are the selected assembly line installed system for Thomas Bus. So, when the district purchased the Thomas buses, they compared the A/C performance to their existing buses … they found the existing buses were lacking. Although the district had tended to do all their own maintenance over the years to keep the A/C systems operating, they quickly realized this fix was beyond their capabilities. (Read More)
In the previous issue, wiring harness issues were discussed. The subject of harness issues continues with a look at connectors and connections either in the harness or at a control module or component. Often a component or module is replaced without resulting in any change in the condition or elimination of the DTCs. In addition to the wiring harness, the connectors must be inspected carefully and tested. It is recommended that technicians use the listed resources found in the service manuals whenever appropriate to assist them in the diagnostic process. Circuit testing procedures are found in the troubleshooting section of the service information references. It is a good practice to have a procedure to follow when troubleshooting electrical problems to help find the problem as quickly as possible with the least amount of time and disassembly.
A proven diagnostic process is the 7-step diagnostic test. The 7 troubleshooting steps are: • Verify the complaint. • Obtain pertinent information. • Determine potential causes. • Narrow the list of potential causes. • Test to determine the root cause. • Repair the root cause and any progressive damage it caused. • Verify the complaint has been eliminated. ATTENTION! Keep in mind, when applying pertinent information, use both the OEM and VENDOR data. Using the service manual information, determine and investigate the following circuit characteristics. Though the symptoms may vary, basic electrical failures are generally caused by: • Loose connections: open/high resistance in terminals, splices, connectors and grounds. • Improper connector/harness routing: assembly, opens/shorts and high resistance in terminals, splices, connectors and grounds. • Corrosion and wire damage: opens/shorts and high resistance in terminals, splices, connectors and grounds. • Component failure: opens/shorts and high resistance in relays, modules, switches, loads. • Aftermarket (vendor) equipment: installation of non-OEM equipment may affect the normal operation of other electrical systems. (Read more)
If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that without clear-cut policies in place, our world can quickly devolve into a chaotic spin. From extended personnel leave to sanitation and cleanliness, to business interruption policies, owners and managers have had their hands full jumping from one issue to the next. Unfortunately, I’m about to dump one more thing on your desk: your business’s Social Media Policy. Understand that a social media policy is more than a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s a living document designed to outline the expectations and responsibilities of the people posting to your company’s social media accounts, as well as rules of conduct for the public on what is allowed on your business social media pages. This is important for several reasons: ● A business can maintain its brand identity across multiple channels. ● Legal and regulatory issues are handled with awareness and sensitivity. ● Security breaches can be prevented. ● A full-blown PR crisis can be potentially averted. ● In the event of a crisis or breach, staff can react and resolve a matter quickly. ● Employees and ownership are educated about their own social media responsibilities. ● Employees are encouraged to grow and amplify your business’s message. Creating the policy
Like any business document, it’s best to start a Social Media Policy by covering the basics, including:
What are employees’ roles and responsibilities in creating, posting and responding to social media on the company’s accounts?
Who has access to these accounts?
How often do passwords get changed?
How often will social media managers get trained?
What devices can be used to post on the company’s social media? From there, the next important issue to tackle is a code of conduct. Let’s assume your employees are trustworthy from this aspect, but the real concern is preventing your business from becoming the victim of trolling and smear campaigns. A social media page should be a place to share positive and informative content about your organization, and this policy should be communicated to visitors. State on your social media pages that your company reserves the right to delete any posts that contain material that is defamatory, harassing, illegal or off-topic. Provide the customer service contact information in your code of conduct policy, and remind followers that you are available to help and offer personal service offline. Staying within the law Your policy should also outline specific content requirements that will protect the organization from running afoul of the legal system, including: ● Copyright: Not everyone understands that using third-party content without approval is a breach of copyright law. Ensure staff have a clear understanding of what tools are available to them so they aren’t searching for artwork or other content that isn’t licensed. ● Privacy: Do all employees know how to handle customer information? Make sure your people don’t run into trouble without even realizing they’ve stepped over the line. ● Confidentiality: Do employees understand that certain internal information about your organization should not be discussed publicly? Even if staff sign nondisclosure agreements, they should be aware of the consequences of disclosing information on social media that the organization considers private. (Read more)