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  • Photo Tech: Brake Parts Lubrication: A ‘Must Do’
    Mention brake-parts lubrication and you will get all sorts of comments, looks, “I-don’t-need-to-do-that” statements and others. The fact is that if you live in a dry climate where there is no road salt or water and you’re not doing anything but driving on clean, flat, even, level roads with no humidity, granted, the brake lubrication issue is not something you would be the least bit concerned about. Unfortunately, that is not the case. More than half of the U.S. is considered a Rust Belt area and this presents a myriad of problems regarding brake lubrication and a lack of adequate performance of brakes.
  • Complete Brake Repair – Get it Right! Don’t cut corners
    Complete brake service is something that literally books of 200-300 pages have been written about and is something that you could study and analyze for months on end. This issue of Photo Tech will address some of the more common issues why they are occurring, why the work is sometimes shortcut and what you can do to provide complete brake service of the quality that is necessary out in the field.
  • Photo Tech: Scoping it Out
    A special thank you to Joe Ragnanese for his part in structuring, writing and taking photos for this month’s Photo Tech.
  • Photo Tech: Diagnostic Tools that Make Life Easier for Techs
    Some if not many shops do not put the diagnostic tool groups of scan tools, five-gas analyzers and scopes into the same thought process as far as tools to help techs diagnose and solve problems.
  • Photo Tech: Custom Control Arms for GM Muscle Cars
    When lowering or altering the suspension on GM vehicles such as the A-body El Camino, the first and second-generation Camaro, F-1 and F-2 GMG-body, some B-bodies and the Tri-five Chevrolet, you can easily run into control-arm-interference or strikeout problems.
  • Photo Tech - Getting the Steering Wheel Straight After Wheel Alignment
    If you have the latest and greatest, most modern alignment equipment out there, your job of getting a straight steering wheel is relatively easy and almost 100% assured unless you fail to follow the operating instructions on the equipment.
  • Wheel Alignment Part 2: Shim Kits & Adjustable Components
    Everyone is familiar with the statement, “Knowledge is power.” This expression been around for as long as anyone can remember, but in the area of wheel alignment, especially where shim kits, adjustable ball joints and replaceable upper control arms are concerned, this is especially true.
  • Tire-Wear Patterns & Steering & Suspension Inspection
    Mention tire-wear patterns and everyone thinks, “Oh boy, big deal.” The fact is that some tire-wear patterns tell stories while others don’t. Many years ago you could read a tire and pretty much tell what was wrong with the vehicle from an alignment-angle standpoint. With the 100% usage of modern radial-ply tires, tire-wear patterns are much more difficult to diagnose visually than they were in the days of bias-ply or older long-arm short-arm suspension systems with early radial tires. Nevertheless, you still can get some indication of what’s happening on the worn-parts area.
  • Photo Tech - Mindful Tips on Meter Usage
    A person could literally write a book on meter usage. In fact, some of the professional training courses have very large three-ring binders full of technical information and procedures that come with the course. This can be a bit overwhelming at times especially to those who don’t use meters as frequently as meters perhaps should be used.
  • Analysis, Diagnosis & Confirmation of Repair Needed
    Sometimes diagnosing a problem on a vehicle is a simple matter of visual inspection, such as when a vehicle comes in on a hook with a wheel hanging because a ball joint has popped apart. In other cases, it’s much more complicated and in the case of some electrical-wiring issues on some vehicles, the problem can never be found. There is, however, some middle ground that will be shown in this issue of Photo Tech.
  • Adjustable Ball Joints
    Technical Editor Ron Henningsen explains how to adjust camber on imports by using adjustable ball joints.
  • Brake Lathe Maintenance a Must
    There are a few basic maintenance functions that should be done weekly or at least monthly on bench brake lathes, but in some shops this chore is neglected completely because the shop would rather replace than machine, even when the rotor is within specs...
  • Are You Charging Enough for Brake Diagnostics You Perform?
    More often than not, it seems that an adequate labor amount as far as tenths of hours or hours is really not charged for brake-system diagnostics and/or brake-system work. There is much more to doing a brake job than slapping on a new rotor and set of pads and putting the wheel back on.
  • More Cars of Cuba
    Once again, I had the opportunity to participate in a tour group to Cuba. This time I stayed strictly in the city of Havana, whereas last year I toured the entire island. Some things are the same as last year and some things are different. Cuba is still full of old cars left over from pre-revolution days, but these cars are not always as they appear on the surface.
  • Alignment – When the OE Adjustments Aren’t Enough
    Alignment used to be simple. Today, it’s still simple, but the knowledge base to keep it simple is extensive. You need to have not only a basic understanding of alignment angles as well as advanced angles, and how the car interacts with the setting of these angles.
  • It’s a Blast! Getting rid of carbon deposits
    I chuckle when I hear some of the radio commercials for different oils and oil additives that supposedly guarantee the motorist of an engine that will run forever and never have any problems. Specifically, they talk about decarbonizing an engine. While this may be true for the oil that gets into the low-friction piston rings, petroleum deposits building up into the intake plenum area by the cylinder-head valve stems is not directly from the oil getting by the piston rings.
  • Photo Tech: Stability Control – It’s changed
    Stability control in vehicles has changed greatly over the years. The sensors that used to be analog are now almost all digital. New types of safety systems have been added and diagnostics have become trickier. In this month’s Photo Tech, many common scan-tool diagnostic techniques are shown. Wheel-speed, YAW, steering-angle, and latitudinal/longitudinal sensors are key in understanding how electronic stability components work together to create a safer drive. The condition of physical suspension parts also play a large role in vehicle handling. If these parts have undesired play in them, it results in many other parts down the line not working properly. When these parts do not work properly, sensors will have unreliable readings.
  • Brake Facts & Friction

    If you know all the brake facts presented in this issue of Photo Tech, congratulations! If not, use them to add to your repertoire of known, accurate brake information and you will indeed be one of the most valuable brake technicians in your shop. Many people feel that anyone can do brake work and everyone’s a brake expert. Well, all of us can learn more. It’s the little things that count. Knowing not only the foundational information, but advanced as well, enables you to work in a much more professional manner.

  • Photo Tech: Inspecting Brakes that Have Never Been Replaced
    Many vehicles driven in Rust-Belt areas have problems with corrosion and degraded brake-system operation caused by that corrosion. When a vehicle with 112,000 miles comes into your shop for a brake inspection and you are told by its owner that the brakes have never been serviced in any way, shape or form, you immediately assume that you will find problems. Now think of Murphy’s Law in reverse.
  • Photo Tech: The Cars of Cuba
    Earlier this year I had the opportunity to travel to Cuba for 10 days. My interest in going was to photograph and learn about the abundance of old cars that are reported to be everywhere in Cuba. Of course, any photojournalist who is a street-rod/muscle-car/classic-car junkie would jump at a chance to see the old cars of Cuba so I immediately sent in my registration.
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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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