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Toby Chess

Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, training specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers. He can be reached at

Sunday, 02 March 2008 11:46

Hey Toby 3: Radiators, Hybrid Oil

Written by Toby Chess

Hey Toby—About 9 months ago, we put in an A/M radiator into an ‘06 Honda Accord with 22,000 miles that sustained front end damage due to an accident. We have a DRP for an insurance company and the price for the part was dictated by the carrier with a large radiator company that they had contracted with. The radiator failed and the customer took her car to an authorized Honda dealer because she was still under factory warranty. My customer was contacted by the dealer and was told that engine blew the head gasket, but she was going to be responsible for the repairs due to the fact that the radiator was not an OEM radiator. She called me immediately and I told her that we would be responsible for the repairs. I contacted the radiator company and they stated that they would replace the radiator and the labor for its installation. I then called the insurance company supervisor and he stated that we needed to call the radiator company, but I explained that they would only cover the cost of radiator replacement and the insurance company recommended the radiator company. His reply was that I was free to purchase the radiator from anyone. I ask him if he would have paid for the difference in price and he said no. I am out $2,300. Do I have any recourse?

        —Mike from Bakersfield

Mike—You are sh#& out of luck my friend. You made a business decision and now to have to live with it, but there is something brewing here in California. If you read last month’s Autobody News (February, 2008—can be searched at the front page article deals with a bill by State Senator Carole Migden and supported by the CRA ( The states in a nutshell that an insurer would be penalized if they require a repairer to install an aftermarket part on a vehicle under a factory warranty (the bill wants to protect both the consumer and repairers in situations where the use of an aftermarket part might void the factory warranty). You need to contact the Senator or the CRA that you support such legislation. The more that you get involved, the better the chances of passing this legislation will be.

Hey Toby—Your recommendation on the spray booth hose made a big difference. My painter has been able to control the amount of orange peel a lot better. Got any other tips? Love your articles. Keep it up.         —Frank in North Hollywood

Frank—Thanks for the kind words. At my age, its getting harder by the year, but thanks to that little pill, it is much easier. Now Frank, I have a riddle for you. What is the difference between a hold up and a stick up? Answer at the end of the article. Here are a couple of ideas for getting a dirt free finish. One of the biggest sources of dirt in the paint comes from the vehicle’s wheel well. I see on a daily basis, dirty and I mean dirty, vehicles being loaded into a spray booth for refinishing. Think of this. Cars are driven on dirty streets and roads, they have an accident and then they’re repaired (more dirt is generated). During the refinish process, the dirt that has accumulated in the wheel wells (front and rear) is loosen up by air pressure generated from the spray gun and this crap lands back on the fresh paint and now we have to spend time removing it (not getting reimbursed for it also). Here are a couple of ideas. You can power wash the wheel wells along with the under carriage of the vehicle before it come into the shop and also when the body works has been completed. If that doesn’t work, get some liquid masker and spray the wheel wells and underside with the material prior to the vehicle entering the spray booth. The liquid masker will seal off everything and all you have to do is to use a pressure washer on the underside during the detailing process. Here is something that is really unique. Carpeting the floor of your spray booth.

    Tom Williamson, the owner of Marina Autobody, got the idea from his 20 group. Another shop owner in group carpeted his spray booth and the results were a cleaner paint repair job. Tom tried the idea and his painter also experienced a much cleaner paint repair. The carpet fibers keep the dust and dirt suspended in the carpet (the carpet is vacuumed out once a week). The painter likes it because he found a nice place to curl up and take a nap right after lunch. His only complaint is that Tom did not put down a padding under the carpet (it is a little hard). I have one observation. Tom get yourself another interior designer. Gray carpet—how bland. I would have used a carpet with Zebra stripes or Leopard spots and really spiced things up. Shag rug might be a bit too much fiber though.

Hey Toby—I heard that the oil the A/C system for a Toyota Hybrid is different than the oil in a non hybrid. It that true?         —Wade from Riverside.

Wade—The answer to your question is yes. Take a look at the A/C Compressor from a Toyota Hybrid Camry.

The first thing you should notice is that big orange wire. That is the high voltage cable (over 350 volts) that run the compressor. Since there is not belts to run the compressor on a hybrid vehicle, the manufacturers had to design a compressor that would run on electricity which you see in the picture. Toyota uses a non-conductive oil in the A/C system (ND 11—it costs over $90 for 4oz bottle). Other A/C oils will break down from the high voltage. You should check what the other manufacturers are recommending for A/C oil in hybrids.

Hey Toby—What do the letters HAZ mean?

        —Bill from Tucson, AZ

Bill—The letters stand for heat affect zone. When you are welding, the surrounding metal heats up and this area is known as the heat affect zone. With more and more vehicle manufacturers using greater quantities of high strength steels, ultra high strength steels and advanced steels, we as repairs need to be concerned about the HAZ. Why you ask? Well, the heat from the welding process and subsequent re-cooling causes a change in the area surrounding the weld. The extent and magnitude of property change depends primarily the type of metal that is being welded. The strength of Advanced Steel with Boron goes from over 700 MPas to less than 200 MPas in the welding zone. Hope this explanation helps.

—Oh, the difference between a hold up and a stick up is “old age”.

Questions for Hey Toby! can be sent to or directly to Toby at

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