Tech Notes

Tech Notes (86)

Hot Rod Flatz Black Paint Job Completes Show Car Project

Recently we officially ended the Hardcore Knight project without ever really addressing the paint job. Since it is the first thing you notice on this car, it bears some attention.

The flat black from Kustom Shop’s Hot Rod Flatz collection was used to finish off this project. What’s great about this collection of paints is that it has that old school rat rod feel, but with a durable paint system. This whole flat paint look came from the days when guys would hot rod their rides, but never got past the primer stage when it came to paint. It may have been due to lack of funds, but more likely, since it was in the early days of hot rodding, speed was king and fancy paint jobs came second to horsepower.

 

 

 

Thursday, 24 January 2013 16:32

I-CAR: Necessary Culture Changes for Blueprinting Process

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To view a pdf file of this article with photos, click HERE.

Blueprinting is a term often heard in the collision repair industry. Blueprinting means different things to different people, but blueprinting really is establishing a standard operating procedure (SOP) that allows for the discovery of all the damages before repairs begin. As part of the blueprinting process, all the parts should be identified right down to the blend panels and the clips that are needed. The correct repair information should be found along with any color matching that needs to be done. Following these steps and others, before repairs begin, will eliminate the problems that arise from finding additional damage during the repair process, which can interrupt and delay the repairs on that vehicle. Worse yet, is when the vehicle is repaired incorrectly because vehicle maker repair procedures were not followed.

One of the biggest challenges to implementing the blueprinting process may be the staff’s perception of what will be involved. To be successful, those perceptions must be changed.

Changing Staff Perceptions
The blueprinting process requires a culture change throughout the repair facility. It also requires input from the entire team, not just management, to be successful. To change the culture, it may take some time for everyone to get onboard with the changes. They may feel that the new system will affect their efficiency and the work they produce. That is one of the reasons to implement small changes at first, so that the people who are resistant to making the changes can see positive results immediately.

It is also important to change the staff’s thought process from being an individual to a team concept (see Figure 1). This is where everyone involved in the repair process is responsible for all the repairs of all the vehicles, not just the person who did a particular task. This does not mean that everyone does the same tasks or needs to work on all the vehicles that come through the repair facility. What this does mean is that the words “that’s not my job” should be eliminated from everyone’s vocabulary. By changing to a team approach, when one person is struggling with something, there is always someone to offer assistance or guidance.

The people involved in the blueprinting process also need to understand that one of the main concepts of blueprinting is rearranging the order of the steps necessary to repair a vehicle.

For example, the “extra work” at the beginning of the repair process may be incorrectly perceived as additional work. However, in reality it is work that was traditionally done throughout the repair. By doing this work in the beginning, all of the repairs can be completed in a complete, efficient, and timely manner. An example of this would be disassembling a blend panel before the vehicle enters the repair technician’s stall, and finding that a door molding is a one-time use molding. By identifying this one-time use molding in the beginning of repairs, it allows the part to be ordered and prevent the vehicle from being delayed due to a missing part.

Some staff members may not be willing to make the necessary changes to the new blueprinting process. In this case, the person in charge may have to make some hard decisions. If this person can be convinced to try the changes, they’ll most likely get onboard with the changes. If the person refuses to change what they’ve always done, the blueprinting process will be difficult, if not impossible to implement. Unfortunately, it may end in the manager and technician deciding to part ways; this is never an easy decision.

A disassembly blueprint estimator is an example of one of the many options for implementing the blueprinting process. With this option, the person that does the disassembly is also the one submitting the completed damage report. Another option is a dedicated technician and estimator working together in a dedicated stall. This system allows for the two people to develop an SOP so that they can be consistent in the blueprinting process.

How blueprinting is implemented will be influenced by the size and configuration of the repair facility (see Figure 2). Whatever system will work in the repair facility is what should be implemented. While all vehicles and collisions are different, the blueprinting process for each repair can remain consistent. It is important that once the process starts, the same blueprinting process must be followed on each vehicle. However, this does not mean that the blueprinting process cannot evolve and change. Once the blueprinting process is in place, there will be steps in the process that may require modification and improvement.

For more information on implementing the blueprinting process, take the I-CAR Live Demo “Blueprinting Process and Damage Discovery (BLU01)” course.

This interactive course defines the blueprinting process and helps improve repair quality while streamlining efficiencies through a standardized approach to collision repair planning. During this course, the instructor uses an actual vehicle to demonstrate technique to help students uncover hidden damage that impacts the repair process. To find a class near you and to register, visit www.i-car.com and use the Live Class Search Feature.

Last modified on Thursday, 24 January 2013 16:37
Thursday, 23 February 2012 17:24

Corrosion Protection to Structural Part Interiors

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There has been a longstanding recommendation to apply epoxy primer, as well as anti-corrosion compound, on the inside of rails and pillars and rocker panels as a last step for structural repairs.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

Going back as far as the July/August 1988 I-CAR Advantage, in the article “Restoring Corrosion Protection,” is the following step for providing corrosion protection to enclosed interior surfaces: “Apply primer. Two-part epoxy recommended. Then apply anti-corrosion compound.” The reason given, is that on areas where the coatings have been entirely removed, this is a two-step process that is replacing the two original coatings, zinc and E-coat.

During research for the recently updated I-CAR course, Corrosion Protection (CPS01), I-CAR asked several product and vehicle makers if this is still the most frequent recommendation. I-CAR was told it is not, due to several reasons. These include possible primer adhesion problems on these surfaces, the lower prevalence of epoxy primer at repair facilities, the increased popularity of self-etching primer, changing primer chemistries, and an increase in the effectiveness of anti-corrosion compound.

E-coat is the best corrosion protection material that will ever be applied to a vehicle surface, and aside of the weld backside, the enclosed interior areas have E-coat.

Last modified on Thursday, 23 February 2012 17:38
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 17:07

Chief University Releases 2012 Training Schedule

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Chief University, the trusted training arm of Chief Automotive Technologies, announces its 2012 schedule of hands-on training courses for collision repair technicians, estimators and appraisers.
The schedule includes many opportunities to take Chief’s newest course on Design Based Repair. This comprehensive class features 16 hours of instruction on the efficient, economical and proper repair of a vehicle to return it to original design specifications. The course concentrates on the use of new materials including high-strength steels, boron, aluminum and carbon fiber in modern vehicle design, as well as the proper use of OEM information and repair procedures to effect thorough, correct and safe repairs to the vehicle and its advanced safety systems.
Other Chief University classes scheduled this year cover computerized measuring, structural analysis and repair, steering and suspension, and collision theory.
Chief University classes are held in training centers throughout the United States and Canada. They combine classroom training with hands-on demonstrations and practice. All courses are led by professional Chief certified instructors, and most are approved for I-CAR points through the I-CAR Industry Training Alliance program. Chief training also has been certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) for compliance with the Continuing Automotive Service Education (CASE) Standards. Most Chief University classes cost $655 and include comprehensive training materials and certificates of completion. Structural Damage Analysis is a three-day course that costs $985.

Class offerings are updated frequently. A partial schedule of available classes is below. For the most up-to-date schedule, course descriptions and to register, visit www.chiefautomotive.com/training/chiefuniversity.asp.

Technician/Estimator/Appraiser

Technician Classes

Estimator/Appraiser Classes

Design Based Repair

Computerized Measuring Training

Structural Damage Analysis

Feb. 21-22

Mather Air Force Base, Rancho Cordova

CA

Feb. 14-15

Pompano Beach

FL

Feb. 21-23

Windsor Locks

CT

Feb. 21-22

Collegeville

PA

Feb. 15-16

Columbia

MD

March 6-9

Madison

WI

Feb. 23-24

Norman

OK

Feb. 21-22

Norman

OK

March 13-15

Mather Air Force Base, Sacramento

CA

March 8-9

Norwalk

CA

March 6-7

Wheeling

IL

March 20-22

Charlottesville

VA

March 13-14

Inkster

MI

March 20-21

Lakewood

CO

April 3-5

Portland

OR

March 22-23

Lakewood

CO

March 27-28

Eustis

FL

April 3-5

Arlington

TX

March 29-30

Calgary

AB

April 3-4

Williamsport

PA

April 10-12

Alpharetta

GA

April 17-18

Madison

WI

April 3-4

Pompano Beach

FL

April 10-12

Orem

UT

June 5-6

Charlottesville

VA

April 25-26

Mather Air Force Base, Rancho Cordova

CA

April 17-19

Collegeville

PA

Aug. 7-8

Alpharetta

GA

May 1-2

Boise

ID

May 1-3

Windsor

CT

Oct. 9-10

Madison

WI

June 5-6

Troy

NY

May 8-10

Wheeling

IL

Nov. 13-14

Orem

UT

June 12-13

Pompano Beach

FL

May 15-17

Lakewood

CO

Dec. 11-12

Richardson

TX

Aug. 28-29

Pompano Beach

FL

June 12-14

Windsor

CT

Sept. 11-12

Charlottesville

VA

July 10-12

Charlottesville

VA

Nov. 6-7

Pompano Beach

FL

July 17-19

Hopkinton

MA

July 24-26

Inkster

MI

Full Frame Analysis & Repair Planning

Oct. 9-11

Windsor

CT

March 8-9

Wheeling

IL

Dec. 18-20

Windsor

CT

March 13-14

Altoona

PA

 

 

 

March 20-21

Collegeville

PA

Advanced Frame Analysis

March 29-30

Eustis

FL

Feb. 28-29

Windsor

CT

April 5-6

Pompano Beach

FL

March 27-28

Collegeville

PA

April 10-11

Verona

PA

May 8-9

Windsor

CT

Aug. 30-31

Pompano Beach

FL

May 15-16

Charlottesville

VA

Sept. 13-14

Charlottesville

VA

June 19-20

Windsor

CT

Nov. 8-9

Pompano Beach

FL

June 26-27

Madison

WI

Dec. 13-14

Richardson

TX

July 24-25

Madison

WI

 

 

 

Aug. 7-8

Orem

UT

Advanced Steering & Suspension

Oct. 2-3

Lakewood

CO

March 1-2

Windsor

CT

Oct. 2-3

Windsor

CT

March 29-30

Collegeville

PA

Oct. 16-17

Collegeville

PA

May 10-11

Windsor

CT

Oct. 16-17

Alpharetta

GA

May 17-18

Charlottesville

VA

Oct. 23-24

Charlottesville

VA

June 21-22

Windsor

CT

Oct. 23-24

Arlington

TX

June 28-29

Madison

WI

Oct. 30-31

Hopkinton

MA

July 26-27

Madison

WI

Nov. 6-7

Wheeling

IL

Aug. 9-10

Sandy

UT

Dec. 4-5

Windsor

CT

Oct. 4-5

Windsor

CT

 

 

Oct. 4-5

Lakewood

CO

Advanced Steering/Suspension Analysis

Oct. 18-19

Alpharetta

GA

Oct. 4-5

Lakewood

CO

Oct. 18-19

Collegeville

PA

Oct. 25-26

Arlington

TX

Oct. 25-26

Arlington

TX

Nov. 8-9

Wheeling

IL

Oct. 25-26

Charlottesville

VA

Nov. 1-2

Hopkinton

MA

Nov. 8-9

Wheeling

IL

Dec. 6-7

Windsor

CT

 

 

Unitized Body Analysis & Planning

Feb. 16-17

Pompano Beach

FL

Additional classes offered by Chief University include Advanced Unibody Repair and Advanced Frame Repair. Classes may be scheduled at a customer location as long as a Chief frame rack and at least 12 students are available. Customized training is also available.

For more information about Chief University training, visit www.chiefautomotive.com or call Customer Service at (800) 445-9262.

About Chief Automotive Technologies

Chief Automotive Technologies, a Vehicle Service Group (VSG) brand, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high-quality collision repair products and services, including frame-pulling equipment, vehicle anchoring systems, computerized measuring systems, and vehicle frame specifications. Chief is also a leading provider of comprehensive training on structural analysis, computerized measuring, collision theory and design based repair. Additionally, Chief is the exclusive supplier of Elektron welders, battery chargers and plasma cutters in North, Central and South America.

VSG comprises eight major collision repair and vehicle lifting brands: Chief Automotive, Rotary Lift®, Forward® Lift, Direct-Lift®, Hanmecson®, Revolution® Lift, Blitz® and nogra®. Based in Madison, Ind., VSG has operations worldwide, including ISO 9001-certified manufacturing facilities on three continents. VSG is part of the Engineered Systems segment of Dover Corporation (NYSE: DOV), a multi-billion dollar, global producer of innovative equipment, specialty systems and value-added services.

 

 

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Beginning with the 2009 model year Ford F-150, the cab body mount bolts are secured with a cage nut. The cage nut is held in position inside a cage nut retainer that is attached to the inside of a floor crossmember.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

The crossmember is attached to the underside of the floor pan, which creates an enclosure for the cage nut. The retainer has two nut retaining tabs, one on each opposing side of the nut that are folded against the nut to hold it in place (see Figure 1).

In some instances, the cage nut may spin when attempting to remove or install a body mount bolt. If the nut spins, it will have to be accessed and secured in order to complete the bolt removal and the installation process.
Accessing the Cage Nut
Accessing the cage nut will require drilling a hole from the top of the floor pan at the cage nut location. Be careful not to drill into the cage nut retainer. Ford service information specifies using a 50 mm (2") hole saw for this procedure (see Video at www.i-car.com).

Accessing the drilling locations on the floor pan will require removing certain parts, and pulling back the carpeting. Depending on the cab style, parts that may require removal include the scuff plate trim panel, console, and seats.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011 22:14

Nitrogen Hot Air Welding: Repairing Plastic Parts

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Hot air welders have been around for a number of years and used mostly in bumper remanufacturing facilities. A hot air welder works by passing compressed air over a heating element and heating the air to around 345ºC (650ºF) to melt the base plastic and filler rod/ribbon together. This type of welder does not use a flat shoe or feeder tube-type tip. A V-groove is cut into the part, the rod is laid into the V-groove, and the two are melted together. Whenever using this type of welder, it is important to have airflow over the element at all times no matter if it is preheating, welding, or cooling.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

A nitrogen hot air welder uses compressed nitrogen gas to eliminate oxygen from the weld area. The nitrogen acts as a shielding gas and allows for a contaminant-free weld with less smoke, which creates a stronger weld (see Figure 1). This type of welder can also switch to compressed air so that when preheating, or cooling down the heating element, it does not waste the nitrogen.

A fusion weld is made when the welding rod and plastic melt and mix together. This type of weld can only be done on thermoplastics. Thermoplastics, such as polypropylene/thermo plastic polyolefin (PP/TPO), which is used to make most bumper covers today, work very well with this type of welder.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 December 2011 00:26
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 17:05

How to Work With Active Grille Shutters on a 2012 Ford Focus

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When making collision repairs to the 2012 Ford Focus, be aware that the vehicle may be equipped with an active grille shutter system (see Figure 1). This motorized system is located in front of the radiator, which places it in a vulnerable position during front-end collisions.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

The active grille shutter system consists of a shutter assembly and an actuator motor. The assembly includes the housing, shutters, retainer, and a wiring harness. Active grille shutters are serviced as an assembly, the shutters are not serviceable individually. The actuator can be serviced individually.

Operation
This controlled vent system is primarily designed to maximize fuel economy by reducing drag on the vehicle. The grille shutters automatically close to block airflow through the cooling system when not needed. Closing the active grille shutters helps to improve aerodynamics at high speeds. The shutters open to reduce underhood temperatures when needed. The grille shutter system is also used to control coolant temperatures, HVAC performance, and exhaust emissions depending on the vehicle speed.

The shutters are linked together, with one of the individual shutters attached to the actuator by the retainer. When the grille shutter actuator moves, it moves the attached shutter, which in turn, causes the other linked shutters to move.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 20:25
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Unless specifically recommended by the vehicle maker, parts with a tensile strength over 600 MPa should only be replaced at factory seams. This is just one of the “best practices” identified at a Repairability Summit hosted by I-CAR earlier this year. Summit attendees consisted of subject matter experts from vehicle makers, tool and equipment makers, collision repair facilities, insurance companies, and the American Iron and Steel Institute.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

The primary intention of the summit was to identify best practices for working with ultra-high-strength steels (UHSS) and the new construction methods found on late model vehicles. In February 2012, I-CAR will premiere its Best Practices for High-Strength Steel Repairs (SPS09) course, highlighting issues covered during the Summit and other best practices.

While vehicle maker recommendations should be followed first and foremost, these best practices can be leveraged where none exist. For example, while there’s a lot more information on steel strengths in the vehicle service information with each new model year, sometimes the information is not there. Summit attendees discussed various tests the technician can perform in the repair facility that help identify if the steel is mild, HSS, or UHSS (see Figure 1).

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I-CAR has been emphasizing the importance of three-dimensional measuring since its founding in 1979, but is it really required to repair a vehicle? After all, three-dimensional measuring systems are considerably more expensive compared to the much more affordable tape measure or tram gauge (see Figure 1).

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

A Real Life Experience
Recently, our friend Sam (not his real name, but his story is), found himself having to get estimates for his collision damaged car. The first collision repair facility was chosen, and the vehicle was brought in for an estimate.

During the estimating process, Sam asked what type of three-dimensional measuring system the facility used. The estimator promptly replied “none.” Interesting. The car didn’t look structurally damaged, I’m sure the estimator was wondering why Sam even cared.

So, it was on to the next repair facility. While talking to the estimator, Sam inquired again, “What type of three-dimensional measuring do you use?”

In a too familiar response, the estimator replied, “We don’t really have one.”

The next stop was the last repair facility scheduled to write an estimate. Sam watches the estimate being written and asks the question, but this time, the answer is different, “We have a computerized measuring system.”

The quest was over. Sam knows who’s going to be repairing his vehicle.

Monday, 25 July 2011 16:44

Thin-Film Technology Comes to Collision Repair

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If you were asked for a short description for anti-corrosion compound, the material that is sprayed onto the backside of panels and inside rails after repairs, it is likely that “thin film” and “fine mist” would not be included in the wording. However, that is exactly the description given to a new type of anti-corrosion compound now available that uses what is collectively called thin-film technology.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

Thin-film technology products are polymer resin-based, anything more descriptive than that is proprietary. They’re a completely aerosol system being distributed by at least two product makers, Bonding Solutions with their Like90 Corrosion Protection System, and Sherwin Williams with their Shield Corrosion Protection System (see Figure 1).

The two systems actually come from the same source that has its origins in the aerospace industry. The same material that’s being recommended for spraying inside rails and panel cavities has been used for years on aluminum welds and sealing joints on aircraft. Besides an anti-corrosion compound, the line also includes a weld-through primer, also polymer resin-based, and a solvent-based cleaner.

Last modified on Monday, 25 July 2011 22:24
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Keystone Automotive Industries and Transwheel Corp., subsidiaries of LKQ Corp., said a recent series of tests confirmed their wheel reconditioning technologies. All of the wheels tested met or exceeded the SAE J2530 and SAE J175 Technical Standards for dynamic radial and dynamic cornering fatigue, and impact testing.

Keystone and Transwheel employ Independent Test Services (ITS) to monitor their wheel reconditioning capabilities. The reconditioned wheels of Keystone and Transwheel are analyzed by ITS under conditions that are more extreme than those specified by SAE International. All three fatigue and impact tests are performed on each wheel, and at double the required rotation levels for the dynamic cornering fatigue test. Frequent testing enables the subsidiaries of LKQ to ensure their production processes meet or exceed the industry's technical standards.

"We stand behind the quality of our wheel reconditioning program," stated Jim Devlin, vice president of manufacturing for LKQ Corp. "We want installers and auto insurers to feel confident that they are using the highest quality wheels to repair their customers' vehicles. Our wheels are reconditioned using production processes validated to meet SAE's demanding testing requirements."

SAE Technical Standards serve as the fundamental and comprehensive set of common design requirements for the wheel manufacturing industry. Independent Test Services (www.wheeltest.com) has been providing testing services to Transwheel since 2000.

Thursday, 29 October 2009 11:10

ChiltonPRO.com Now Features Animations and Videos

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Chilton, part of Cengage Learning and an established leader in reference sources for automotive professionals and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) automotive enthusiasts, today announced that its professional automotive repair information system, ChiltonPRO, now includes videos and animations that demonstrate system operation, repair techniques and safety precautions to improve and simplify vehicle repair and maintenance jobs.

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 06:20
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