On March 23, Mike Anderson of Collision Advice broadcasted live from the headquarters of Fiat Chrysler Automotive for the second webinar, "Using FCA’s Tech Authority," in his 2018 OEM series, “Learn to Research; Research to Learn.”
This second session focused on “Using FCA’s Tech Authority.” Anderson was joined by Erica Schaefer and Dan Black of FCA as well as a live audience of more than 50 attendees. The webinar was created by Collision Advice in collaboration with FCA. Anderson also thanked Cieca for its contributions to the industry.
Explaining why he decided to host these webinars, Anderson said that his annual “Who Pays for What” surveys, conducted in conjunction with the Crash Network, have led him to determine that shops are not researching OEM repair procedures 100 percent of the time, as they should be.
Because of this, Collision Advice will be hosting a webinar with a different OEM each month to raise awareness of the resources each OEM offers to research repair procedures. He will guide attendees on a step-by-step tour of each specific OEM’s website, including log-in, areas of the website and how to improve search results. He will also demonstrate how to research some common procedures needed by collision repairers, explore the differences between an OEM scan tool and aftermarket scan tools and investigate OEM parts information and support tools.
FCA has two different OEM websites. A free website is available at moparrepairconnection.com, available through oemonestop.com. A paid version is also available at www.techauthority.com. On moparrepairconnection.com, repairers have access to position statements, publications, repair manuals and a collision video library, but this website has not been updated recently. Going to Position Statements provides the official FCA U.S. Factory Position Statements regarding sensitive procedures and parts sources, including carbon fiber repair, reconditioned wheel usage, salvage air bags or restraints, scan tool usage and much more.
The second option is Publications, which is where FCA provides the official reference guides for performing proper body repair procedures on U.S. vehicles, including paint condition guides, passive restraints replacement and inspection, plastic repair, sealer and sound deadener, sectioning and weld bonding. This also offers a supplemental restraint system and post deployment inspection and replacement matrix, which details which procedures must be performed, at a minimum, after an accident.
“If you want to get paid by an insurer, the first thing you need to do is prove something is required, and this is a great product for that,” Anderson said.
Looking at the Repair Manuals section, Anderson cautioned, “This is probably the biggest difference you’re going to see between the free website and the paid website. On the free website, while it will give you a vehicle body repair manual, none of the hyperlinks will work; it’s not interactive to other parts of the OEM repair procedures. Quite honestly, while I applaud and appreciate FCA offering this for free, I probably like the paid version better because it’s interactive.”
Anderson next looked at the Collision Video Library, which provides consumer information in regards to aftermarket parts, such as corrosion comparison, dimensional comparison, packaging comparison and Magneti Marelli radiators and A/C condensers. Anderson also shared information about FCA’s Fascia Core Return Program. Information can be found under the Collision tab on the website.
FCA’s free website also offers access to Mopar magazine, which is published quarterly with at least one collision-related article included. Anderson looked at an example about replacing a quarter panel.
The article stated, “The most important consideration is the structural alignment of the unibody. It is critical that alignment be verified with 3D measuring systems. If alignment is off and not corrected, it will be nearly impossible to install the replacement panel correctly.”
Another website that FCA makes available at no cost is http://connectors.dcctools.com/home.htm, where you can enter the year and model to see all the components used on that vehicle. One thing that Anderson found the free website did not specify was that FCA only approves wiring repairs made with their crimp tool, which has a Chrysler part number (MOPAR Part Number 05019912AA).
“If we had not used the paid website, we would not have found this under the parts section, and that’s why we recommend using the paid site,” he said.
Moving on to FCA’s paid website, www.TechAuthority.com, Anderson explained that repairers have a variety of online subscription options, starting at $24.95 per day and $1,800 for a one-year subscription.
Anticipating the question of whether they can charge for researching repair procedures, he said, “As a business owner, you are free to do whatever you want to do; however, I will tell you that according to our ‘Who Pays for What’ surveys, less than 11 percent of shops are actually charging for that and getting paid.”
After logging into TechAuthority.com, you can enter the VIN number or the year, model and engine. Accessing the vehicle of choice gives the user several tabs. TSBs/Recalls provides technical service bulletins for 1992 to present vehicles, while the Service Information Tab provides service information for some 1992 and 1996 to present vehicles, including removal and installation instructions. The website also offers the Wiring tab (some 1992 and all 1996 to present vehicles), Diagnostic tab (some 1995, all 1996 to present vehicles), and the Parts tab (2006 to present vehicles). The Collision Information tab provides body repair information for certain vehicles, and the TechTOOLS link offers vehicle controller reprogramming and reads the data collected from a scan tool.
Talking about the Collision Information tab, “the tab you’ll probably use the most,” Anderson demonstrated how you can select Warning and then Safety Notice to open a PDF that provides important information that repairers need to know, such as the fact that magnesium components cannot be repaired and that FCA has a no-heat recommendation for repairs on body panels and frame components because of the type of materials they use.
Moving on to welding, Anderson noted that many manufacturers have a requirement of no welding within a foot of an electronic module or wiring harness. Under Warnings, he navigated to Restraint Warning to find that FCA recommends disconnecting both cables. Another thing he looked at was the Service after a Supplemental Restraint System Deployment, which noted that any vehicle to be returned to use MUST have the deployed restraints replaced. A list of guidelines must then be followed and a diagnostic scan tool must be used to verify proper Supplemental Restraint System operation following the service or replacement of any SRS component. FCA specifies that the scan tool must have the latest version of the proper diagnostic software.
Here, Anderson noted, “I try to avoid my opinions, and I try to only inject the facts. A lot of people say the OEM positions say that scanning is recommended, but ladies and gentlemen, if we move past the position statement and just look at the OEM procedures, FCA clearly states here that we have to use a diagnostic scan tool, and it’s the only way for us to verify if everything that was in that SRS system is working properly.”
Anderson then talked about polyurethane foam removal, where he read that all NVH foam must be removed from the repair area because the material is flammable, and moving down the page, he showed that a repairer must cut an access hole to remove the foam before welding on the vehicle. Without researching this, you wouldn’t know that you needed to cut the access hole, and you could wind up with a vehicle on fire.
Anderson also looked at non-structural sheet metal repairs to show how only specific adhesives are approved and that cure times and temperatures are also specified. In the Non-Structural Sheet Metal Repair Table, FCA specifies “DO NOT REPAIR” in regards to the Liftgate Inner Panel, and a hyperlink takes users to specific details on this requirement, which explain that magnesium is used in this component.
“I mean this with a lot of love, but a lot of repairers confuse magnesium with aluminum, and the best way to know for sure is to research OEM repair procedures,” Anderson said.
He continued exploring FCA’s website by taking a look at Welding and Weld Bonding.
“People always ask me what I think about used quarter panels,” he said. “My opinion doesn’t mean jack. The only thing that matters is what I can prove to you from an OEM ... FCA says I can’t place a new weld in the original weld location, so I don’t see how it is humanly possible to replace a LKQ quarter panel. That will not comply with FCA’s procedures.”
Anderson continued to explore a variety of information under the Collision Information tab, including sectioning locations and procedures, corrosion protection, specifications, gap and flush dimensions, paint codes, and sealers and sound deadeners.
Moving to the Parts tab, Anderson showed how users can go to vehicle sections and sub-sections to show OEM parts diagrams. One thing that FCA’s website does that other OEM websites do not, and that Anderson finds extremely helpful, is show whether a part supersedes.
Looking at the Wiring tab, Anderson showed how announcements are available under Wiring Application to view a variety of decision trees. One option is to call center support, which provides a toll free number for users to utilize if they are having issues, and the site also provides 3D drawings.
Talking about the Service Bulletins and Recalls tab, Anderson stated that this is also the tab where FCA’s position statements are found. By looking at a specific part, users can see service bulletins, and there is also a Collision Bulletin section that allows collision repair centers to search for Service Bulletins by vehicle section that specifically relate to that vehicle. He pointed out that FCA requires use of its factory scan tool or asTech.
Next, Anderson talked about the Service Information tab, which allows repairers to drill down research by vehicle section. This portion of the website includes technical specifications, tools and repair specifications. Under Special Tools, the site lists the tools needed when working on a specific component with the part number and a link to the Mopar Essential Tools website where they can be purchased. Within the sub component, the website provides information on diagnosis and testing, removal, disassembly, inspection, assembly, installation and more.
Next, Collision Advice’s Tracy Dombrowski shared information about the Search Feature, which is very easy to use. It shows the top 10 more frequently searched terms and utilizes Boolean string search logic, which uses quotation marks, “and,” “or,” and “not” to narrow down results. It’s important to ensure that the vehicle make, year and model are specified for the best results.
Anderson demonstrated how to use the search feature to find some specific features related to collision repair, such as battery disconnect, MIL lights, the pre-scan process (which requires customer authorization), post-scan process steps and body verification tests. He also explored recalibrations of sensors and modules.
“I think the hot topic today is scanning, but I have to tell you, I’m really concerned as an industry because we need to move past the scanning and get into the calibrations,” he said.
Looking at power sliding door learn cycles, Anderson researched how to calibrate the activation zones on sliding doors or lift gates. It’s important to diagnose any DTCs and ensure the system is working correctly. Anderson looked at adaptive cruise control requirements, showing an example of a video that is embedded in the repair procedures---Anderson’s favorite feature of FCA’s website.
Continuing on, Anderson looked at recalibrating power third row seats, sensor and module locations and recalibration requirements. He also explored the WiTECH 2 Scan Tool and asTech that FCA requires. He talked a bit about non-reusable parts. Although FCA does not have a symbol for non-reusable parts, the repair procedures will specify the need to install a NEW part, which indicates the need to replace instead of repair. Additionally, specifications will identify that parts should not be reused for non-reusable parts.
Next, Anderson and FCA’s representatives discussed Hybrid and EV precautions, such as following FCA’s procedures when arming and disarming the high voltage system and keeping the intelligent key away from the vehicle when it’s being serviced.
As the webinar drew to a close, Anderson covered the steps to take when unable to find what is being sought. Use the feedback button on TechAuthority.com; contact your local FCA dealer for help and ask them to submit an inquiry to STAR, the technical support for mechanical repairs; submit a question to “Ask I-CAR”; or go to the Ask for Help option on moparrepairconnection.com.Anderson fielded questions throughout the webinar, but because all of the attendees’ questions could not be answered during the webinar, Collision Advice sent out a document containing responses to all attendees’ questions on April 9.
The next webinar in the series will be held on Monday, April 23 at 2 p.m. EST about Nissan’s website. Anderson’s webinar is available free of charge at https://spaces.hightail.com/space/6KQBL56kuX.