Want smartest electronic technicians?

Automobiles are now becoming attractive to us "electronic types" with all the computers, networks, and sensors they now have. But there are some
serious problems which would keep the best electronic technicians from ever working in the automotive repair field...
First, it seems to me the automotive repair industry is in bad need of automotive technicians who can troubleshoot complex electronic problems...
Each dealer or regional area should have a skilled electronic technician available to troubleshoot problems the other technicians can't fix.
This person should be paid by the hour and have free reign to take as long as is necessary to find the problem. (Called in for those tough electrical problems.)
This person should only be required to work on electrical, electronic, and computer problems. Mechanical repairs and things like changing the oil are "boring" to these people. Ask them to do these things and they will go elsewhere.
Then there is a BIG problem with little or no documentation on the specifications for parts. The automotive business just gives a part description and part number. Little or no other information. Electronic technicians are used to extremely detailed specification information for each part.
Like this for a relay... http://www.rapidonline.com/netalogue/specs/60-0100e.pdf
Auto parts version... http://bbb-carb.com/std/oem-gm/relays.htm
Or for a microcontroller (tons of documentation)... http://micromegacorp.com
The automotive version (not much)... http://www.aa1car.com/library/pcm.htm
So that is a BIG turn-off to highly skilled technicians. They want to understand how things work. If something is acting weird in a circuit or there is a strange intermittent problem, they want to read about the components involved and see it there is a certain "mode" or situation which could cause the problem. Or place a system into a certain "mode" for testing.
And if electronic circuit boards have different revision levels, they want to be able to research this and see what the different revisions are for. What problems these revisions solve. Same with software revisions. What problem did that newer software release fix?
Skilled technicians are accustomed to access to all this information!
But it seems that the automotive industry thinks the techs don't need to know this stuff, so it is not provided.
And I'm talking about some simple stuff. Like a "coolant temperature sensor" for an engine computer. What resistance should that sensor be at different temperatures? That basic information is not provided in some factory service manuals I have seen. Or very difficult to find. It may be in the "dumbed down" troubleshooting instructions if you spend 15 minutes looking.
Better would be a specifications book. Look up the part number, then it gives you the specification of the part. Or a web site with this information. Look up that part number, then you can quickly see it is so many ohms at certain temperatures.
Then advanced electronic testing tools should be provided. Intermittent electrical problems can be caught with a multiple input data recorder. Connect these to various points on a circuit, then send the car back out to the customer. When the problem happens again, bring it back in and look at the data. See where the problem is coming from.
I'm reading a lot on the internet where vehicles are taken to a dealer with an electronic problem... again and again and again. They can't find the problem! The customer is ticked! NOTHING is done...
The techs seem to be paid by the problem (not hour) and it is to their advantage to get it out the door.
In the rest of the electronic world, they "escalate" these problems.
1st repair visit - regular technician. 2nd repair visit - regular technician again. 3rd repair visit, goes to top repair technician at dealer. 4th repair visit, regional expert called in. 5th visit, expert from the factory called in.
(And as the problem is escalated, more advanced testing equipment and access to technical documentation is of course available to the people in these positions.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Another Bill wrote:

I hear you. 3 or 4 years ago I acquired a $5k-$6k car for $1000 because a used car lot in town that knew I liked that particular model of car (I had bought one almost identical from them 4 years earlier) approached me with an offer to take it off their hands. They had spent over $3000 at the local dealer (with all their special diagnostic tools) on diagnostic and unsuccessful replacing of various computers on the car with no change in the problem.
I didn't need another car at the time, but I felt I needed to take the risk.
With only 4 hours of my time with nothing more than troubleshooting skills, the FSM, and a handheld multimeter, I narrowed it down to a bad tranny computer. Got one from a junk yard for $35 - car has been working flawlessly ever since. So for $1035 I had a $5k+ car.
--
Bill Putney
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't even let dealerships do factory recall work unless it looks really important. Every time someone I know gets work done at a dealership they have more problems afterwards, sometimes I've seen connectors mysteriously disconnected or wires cut.
--
They can have my command prompt when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.