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  • Muffler & Pipe Advice: Raising Cain
    Raising Cain. Are you surprised that Muffler and Pipe columnist Ed Hanson might have a customer or technician behaving in a rowdy or disruptive way? Ed’s offer to act as a mentor gives him a few surprises.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice
    I want to share with my friends how I defined SUCCESS in my muffler shop.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice: That Gut Feeling
    Every shop has their list of horror stories. I have a couple myself, but one in particular is branded in my mind.
  • Muffler and Pipe Advice - Coming to your town soon!
    Here we go again! I received a call just today, regarding the old California Vehicle Code 27150. This law is a regulation written to control noise pollution. The current standard is a maximum of 95db.
  • Be More, Do More, and Give More
    I was asked by many of my friends, “What are you going to do with yourself if you retire?” This question was presented to me years before my retirement. I never really thought I would retire from a trade that I loved, but I still started to prepare, just in case.
  • Deciding to Do Exhaust ‘Tu-be or not Tu-be’ – pun intended
    At the ripe old age of 8, I remember, after my first day on the job at my father’s muffler shop I told him that I had “half a mind” to become a muffler installer like him. In the past it was believed that anyone could do muffler work. “You could train a monkey to do that job!” Those words came from the “elite” mechanics, who had glorious certifications, sewn on their sleeves.
  • A Dollar Here & a Dollar There – Brings in Big Bucks
    Editor’s note: Ed Hanson, who has been bending exhaust tubing since the early days of the Huth Bender, has a habit of making a great first impression when he meets a new customer. The story he tells goes back several decades, but I was at his shop visiting a few years back when he used the same technique on a potentially new customer. It’s been paying off for years and I highly recommend that you try it, and of course, add your own personal touch to it.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice - Never Give Up!
    I heard a saying long ago that, “if you want something that you have never had, then you have to do things that you have never done before.” This is so true in life, let alone business, but wedged in between those two lines is a never-give-up attitude.
  • Sound & Performance Go Hand in Hand
    Some motorists add performance-exhaust systems to their vehicles for extra horsepower and torque, while others just appreciate that aggressive tone that goes with it – and of course, some like it for both reasons. There’s the revving of the engine at the stop light and the burst of power that goes with taking off with their right foot to the floor.
  • Outsourcing - One man’s headache, another man’s joy
    We are all looking for ways to build our business. One sure way, I found, is to approach fleet managers and other non-competitive shops.
    All technicians have their most hated jobs and usually on a particular type vehicle. So, that is where you can become the “aspirin” for their headache jobs, but first you have to find out what that problem job is.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice: Like a Glove!
    It was in the late ’90s that I had the experience of installing a set of Corvette headers manufactured by B&B (Billy Boat) Fabrication. I was doing work for a local Chevrolet dealership. It was the kind of dealership that was thinking outside the box. This dealership would customize your Corvette prior to you picking it up. One of the things they would do is have us install B&B headers.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice - Mission Impossible: Pancake Problems
    Some years ago, California had some emissions rules that did not make much sense. I am not talking about emissions systems, such as catalytic converters, but it applies to the catalytic converters and rules that were set up.
  • Where is the Passion?
    Just recently, I received an email from one of my old friends and co-workers, now living in New Mexico. Stu Ehrich and I go a long ways back to when I first got out of the service and planted myself in San Diego. I have lots of respect for this man and he brought to my attention that there seems to be a loss of passion in our industry! I thought long and hard as to why and came up with several reasons.
  • Universal Cats Aren’t Universal Anymore
    It was a typical Monday morning in August. The temperature was kissing 90° and the humidity wasn’t far behind.
    Then she pulled in. She was expensive looking with all the bells and whistles that made you want to look twice at her – and she was still in her prime. It was a 2009 Acura MDX, and the dame behind the wheel was NOT happy. She was barely out of the car when she eyed me with disgust. “The light’s on again,” she said.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice - Just a ‘Muffler Guy’
    So, I am sitting in a management program with Bob Spitz as our instructor. My wife Marilyn and I are the only automotive exhaust shop owners who have attended his training class, so Bob, with his sense of humor, referred to me as the “muffler guy.”
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice: Building a quarter-wave tuner
    First off: What is a quarter-wave tuner?  All of us in the exhaust industry have either experienced that harmful drone in the cabin of our vehicle, or the cabin of our customer’s vehicle, especially if the vehicle has an aftermarket exhaust system. A quarter-wave tuner, or as some call it a quarter-wave resonator, is a device that helps eliminate that nasty interior sound that we call a drone.
  • Drivers, Start your Engines!
    Many of us are waiting for next month’s Undercar Digest to see all the hard toil that techs have put into their project vehicles for the “Magic Machines” section. Most of these vehicles are in pristine shape and only venture outside the garage on warm, sunny days.
  • Say ‘NO’ to Crack!
    Crystal lite, fine; Diet Coke, that’s OK as well; but crack, absolutely not. How many times have we heard the saying “No to crack.”
    Of course, I am not giving a lecture, but talking about those darn cracks near our catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. Getting those trouble codes directing you to a lean condition, may be a little misleading in some cases.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice: Backpressure or Heat
    My computer spell check tells me that backpressure should be spelled as two words – back pressure. But my editor tells me that my spell check is wrong and to keep at as I always have. Regardless of how you spell it, “backpressure” is necessary in an exhaust system.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice: Universal Catalyst vs. Direct-Fit
    “To build or not to build, that is the question.” Here in California, we have stricter emission laws (as if no one knows!). The California Air Resource Board (CARB) has really simplified its website to help our shops find California-approved aftermarket devices, like headers, intake systems, carburetors and catalytic converters. As an exhaust-only shop, we are concerned with upholding the laws relating to our business, so using a California-approved catalyst is high up on our list.
Undercar Digest serves automotive-repair facilities involved in undercar services that include brake, exhaust and chassis diagnostics and repairs. It also covers a variety of other repairs including drivability. In addition to shops, our readers include manufacturers, warehouse distributors and parts stores that serve them.

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