Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Moving to New Location


Friday, June 01, 2007

MICRONs and INCHES: Runout specs are getting tighter

From the June Issue of BRAKE & FRONT END by Thomas Hall, a brake system engineer:
"Measured values should be compared to published service limits but on many vehicles the mounted runout is easily 0.0019-inches(0.05mm or 50 microns) or less. "
"Today, new vehicle are typically built with a thickness variation of less than 0.00078” (20 microns. Thickness variations in excess of 15 microns (0.00059”) can easily generate driver complaints."

When the article came in most of the figures were in microns. 20, 15 or 50 sounds a lot larger than .001. It used to be that .003" was acceptable for a brand spanking new rotor out of the box. Also, .00059 will barely register on my dial indicator. Things are getting a lot tighter

Times are changing. It makes you wonder if the $99.00 brake job or $12 rotor is a possible in the future.

Your comments?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

BABE Rally 2007

The 2007 Big Apple to the Big Easy Rally (BABE) is in the books. The BABE rally is simple, buy a $250 car and drive it from New York to New Orleans. Misfit Toys Racing won 1st place, Queen and Country came in 2nd place, and 2 More Mistfits for 3rd place. The Rickety Van team got Biggest Pile of Crap award.
Last year, I competed in the BABE here is my blog on the event. I wrote an article in BRAKE & FRONT END’s July 2006 issue, here is the story. Automobile Magazine is doing a story on the 2007 rally in their September issue; here is a news item about it. It is nice to scoop the big magazines a year in advance.
I skipped this year's BABE to compete in an even more idiotic event, The 24 Hours of Lemons in Flat Rock, MI. It is another simple event where you race a $500 car around a track for 24 hour while being pelted with lemons, brilliant!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gas Saving Devices

I spotted this reprint of a Popular Science article about gas saving devices from 1968 on Jalopnik. The one gallon of gas container idea used to be a standard tool at dealers and some shops to measure fuel economy.
The author's conclusion:
"Our main conclusion is that changes in the weather made more difference in fuel economy than any of the gadgets. Beyond having negligible effects, some either improved performance at some loss of economy, or vice versa."

The article


Pro-Cut International has unveiled of their new website. The site has been completely reconstructed to feature current products and news, and is designed for ease and speed of navigation. Sections and features include video demos of Pro-Cut lathes; an online shop; downloadable versions of tech manuals and support publications; direct lease application; OEM history section and bulletins; and an ROI worksheet to calculate profitability of a Pro-Cut lathe in a shop setting. In my opinion, this PDF about trouble shooting compensation problems is a must read.
Check out the “about” section to see pictures of the Pro-Cut van in front of various American landmarks, I hope they develop that section some more.

Take Stuff Apart Virtually

Like to take stuff apart? Every really wondered what was happening on the circuit board of a Toyota Prius, Roomba vacuum or cell phone? Then EETime’s Under the Hood digital magazine is for you.
What really caught my eye was the article on the HVECU for the Prius. Good reading.;jsessionid=OWHGOC5XOHRRGQSNDLSCKHA

Thursday, May 24, 2007

RETRO: WWII and Gas Rationing

click to enlarge
This is from our December 1942 issue. With gas prices at an all time high this Memorial Day weekend, the this article makes some good points.


Nice shop Tony, I like the Video.
More shops should do this.

Calibration of Bench-Type Lathes

This tip come to us from Raybestos Brand Brakes BRAKE & SAFETY CENTER in McHenry Ill.
More tips can be found here.
Raybestos Brand Brakes Tech Tip

Bulletin BPI 06-19
Subject: Calibration of Bench-Type Lathes
Vehicle Involved: All
Condition: Calibrating shop bench lathe
1. After refinishing a rotor that is thicker than the specified machine to spec, loosen the arbor nut, hold the inside bell clamp, and rotate the rotor 180 degrees.
2. Retighten the arbor nut, and with the use of a dial indicator, measure the rotor run-out if any.
3. Divide that reading number by two and that will be the run-out that is being machined into every rotor that you cut.
4. If there is any run-out, you will have to machine the inside bell clamp in
place on the lathe, this procedure is for bench lathes only.

Machining the Inside Bell Clamp (Bench –Type Lathe Only)
1. Inspect the arbor shoulder for nicks or burrs they must be removed.
2. An 80 grit stone and penetrating lubricant held in light contact with the
shoulder, with the lathe turning, will polish the shoulder surface.
3. Burrs also must be removed from the inside bell clamp hub surface. Keep
the 80 grit stone flat on the hub surface with light pressure while the arbor
turns under power.
4. With sharp cutting tool bits, machine the bell clamp face. Remove only
enough material to accomplish a 360-degree cut.
5. Before loosening the arbor nut, witness mark the bell clamp hub to the
arbor and align the marks whenever a rotor is cut.
6. If a run-out condition continues to exist, contact the lathe manufacture for

New Champion Spark Plug Website

There’s an exciting new destination on the World Wide Web for techs:, it is a behind-the-scenes virtual reality experience featuring Federal-Mogul Corporation’s legendary Champion® spark plug brand.

Stocks to Watch: MONRO Muffler & Brake

OK, admit it, when you start hearing terms like dividend, fiscal or gross margin, you start to drift off. But, buried in some of these news releases and reports there can be some interesting facts, figures and industry insight.
Take for instance Monro Muffler and Brake. Since they are a public company, they have to be up front with the numbers. In their 2006 annual report, they try to explain profits and losses, while make "forward looking statements" like:

"...customers do purchase more undercar service during the period of March through October than the period of November through February. In the tire stores, the better sales months are typically May through August, and October through December."
"We have entered into various contracts with parts suppliers that require us to buy from them (at market prices) up to 100% of our annual purchases of specific products including brakes, exhaust, oil and ride control products. These agreements expire at various dates through March 2010."

They must be doing something right. This week the stock split.
Even if you are on the lowest rung of the automotive repair business, reading these reports can help you to make the right move in the future.

Investor Page: Monro

TOOL: AC oil injector

This week, has been a good week for the shops. The week before Memorial Day weekend is usually filled with preventive maintenance and getting the AC working after a long winter. It always the seemed that people waited to the last minute to get their car ready for the family trip. Trying to explain to them that either we were booked solid or it would take longer than an hour to perform a years worth of maintenance was futile.
This morning I spotted YELLOW JACKET’s Oil Injector in the page's of last April's TECH SHOP, it is a great tool that can save a lot of time in maintenance and diagnosis.
The tool has a body and cap of rugged aluminum with an O-ring seal. The male fitting is at one end of a short length of hose with Schrader. The ball valve for control is on the other end with a short length of hose. A valve depressor is in the female end. This saves time on many applications: add oil or UV dye to a system; easy connection to manifold hose; push oil with refrigerant or pull in with vacuum. Available in 2 oz. and 4 oz. injectors for R-12 and R-134a.
For more information, visit or call

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dry Cleaner vs. Mechanic


Continental Automotive Systems (ATE) is offering its aftermarket professional technicians the opportunity to earn valuable VISA® gift cards during its “Brake Points” PremiumOne® Brake Promotion, beginning May 1.
To participate, pro technicians must purchase ATE PremiumOne brake rotors and pads between May 1 and August 31, 2007. Each rotor or pad set purchased earns one brake point. Once eight points have been earned, participants are eligible to redeem them for a $25 VISA gift card. There is no limit to the dollar amount of gift cards that can be earned – the more you buy, the more you earn!

For more information about the promotion, or ATE brake products,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


If you apply any friction modifying substance, like oil or anti-seize, to the wheel stud threads, it is going to change the measured torque values. With less friction on the threads, the torque values increase. So, when you tighten a wheel to 85 ft/lbs, it may actually be torqued at 95 ft/lbs (this includes torque wrenches and sticks). The increase in force will mean that the studs will stretch under the increased torque. This stretching can lead to metal fatigue, changes in thread geometry and the possible failure.
This can be a very significant problem, and I apologize for letting it slip. But, in doing some research, I encountered another aspect of anti-seize on wheel studs that can be an even greater problem. If you encounter a vehicle with anti-seize on the wheel studs, be very careful. Take time to explain to the driver why anti-seize is bad and how it can cause problems. Also, advise them that there is a potential for failure during normal service. You should also put it on the repair order.
Is there a right way to use lubricants around the wheel? Yes, but it has to be a high-temperature lubricant used only in a very light coating. First, a high-temperature lubricant can be used where the hub goes through the center of the wheel. Many vehicles use the hub to center the wheel. These “hub-centric” designs can benefit from a very light coating.
On some conical lug nuts, you can put a light coating on the seating surfaces of the cone, while avoiding any contamination with the threads. This coating can prevent corrosion. Thank you Ed, for setting me straight.
But, in a 1994 Ford TSB they did say it was alright to use anti-seize on studs for some F-250 and 350 trucks, these studs and lugs are so stout and strong, a few extra or less pounds of torque are of little consequence.

Here is a great source of fastener related tech info from ARP