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  • R & R Tech: Transmission With a Mind of its Own
    A customer had brought in her 2010 Ford Escape equipped with a 3.0L engine and the 6F35 transaxle. The customers concern with the vehicle was that the transmission slipped intermittently. We started our evaluation with a quick visual inspection of the vehicle and checking fluids, all of which checked out good. Then I scanned the car with the scan tool; all of our locations have Snap-On Zeus workstations and I had two codes: a P0297, “Vehicle Over Speed Condition,” and a P1500, “Vehicle Speed Sensor.” No codes in any other modules. The next step was to go for a test drive and see if I could duplicate the complaint.
  • R&R Tech: Two Unique Situations, Two Happy Customers
    I wanted to share with you a couple of situations that I have run into over the past couple months. The first one is a 2010 Lexus RX350 that came in on the back of a tow truck. This SUV is equipped with a 3.5L V6 and a U660E transaxle. The customer had it towed because the vehicle was in failsafe mode. When I began the evaluation, the first thing I noticed was the strong odor of battery acid when I opened the hood (Figure 1). One look at the battery and I knew this was going to need to be addressed, but at this point I did not know what was causing the failsafe problem. When the scan tool was connected, I discovered that I had no communication with the TCM, but did have communication with all of the other modules.
  • Don’t Assume; Be Systematic with Diagnosis
    Like many of you, this time of year I am usually asked to assemble a variety of items and gifts for my family members. In light of these requests, I have spent a significant amount of time analyzing why we waste so much time assembling, disassembling and re-assembling items out of an unwillingness to simply read the instructions. Often this process results in leftover spare parts and frustration.
  • R&R Tech: The Jeep Patriot with a really bad rolling surge
    Sometimes despite your best efforts you can still manage to shoot yourself in the foot. The following account is a prime example: While this happened on one specific vehicle, it could happen on any number of vehicles where the cause is the same, but could have different end results.
    One of our shop locations had a 2011 Jeep Patriot that came in on the back of a tow truck. The customer stated that it started making noise and then quit moving. This one was an easy checkout; the vehicle didn’t move in any direction, had metallic-looking fluid, a horrendous bearing noise, and had a P0777 (secondary pressure control solenoid stuck on) code stored. Even though this one was pretty much a slam dunk in the way of diagnosis, we still needed to go through our complete evaluation procedure.
  • R & R Tech: CVTs Are Here; You Can Profit from Them
    As CVT transmissions are appearing in our shops with increasing frequency, there still seems to be a degree of hesitance for some shops to take on these jobs. Even if shops do not want to build these units in-house, there are reliable sources for remanufactured units out there that enable them to capture profit on R&R rather than sending a customer down the road to a competitor.
  • R & R Tech: Motorists May Know Something They Don’t Know
    As we see numerous cars come into our shops on a daily basis, we often have a diagnosis already in mind based on the customer’s complaint, the type of vehicle we’re working on, road test experience, and symptoms. That’s the benefit of specialized repair. Sometimes the actual in-depth diagnosis proves us right, and sometimes proves us dead wrong.
  • Debris, Melted Insulation Cause Two Codes to Set
    About two months ago a customer brought in his 2006 Ford E350 Econoline van equipped with a 5.4L engine and a 4R75E transmission for an evaluation. His concern was that the check-engine light was on and the transmission seemed to shift hard at times.
  • Extra Set of Eyes Saves the Day
    In addition to the OEM-spec remanufactured transmissions we build, we also offer a series of heavy-duty transmissions available in three different stages. This article examines the installation of our Road Ripper™ 3000 (stage 3 unit) in a 2005 Dodge 2500 pickup equipped with a 5.9L diesel and a 618/48RE transmission.
  • 'Rebuilt' Salvage Yard Transmission, Hmmm...
    We had a local general repair shop bring us a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L V-6 engine equipped with a ZF 8-speed (845RE) transmission; they had just installed a “rebuilt” transmission that was sourced from a salvage yard. The customer’s stated concern was, “The place that built the transmission just said it needed to be programmed.” Needless to say, we knew that this was going to be an adventure.
  • Verify What the Scan Tool is Telling You
    Every now and then we run across a vehicle that has a concern we have seen many times before and we almost automatically try to diagnose it by memory; it's almost like a reflex we develop over time. Of course as we all know too well, this can lead you down the wrong path if you stray away from complete testing and verification.
  • Blame it on Missing Harness Retaining Clips
    The subject vehicle that was fitted with one of our remanufactured transmissions six months prior showed up at one of our repair locations recently, with the customer concern of an intermittent bumpy 1-2 shift, and a low-power lugging sensation along with a CEL on.
  • Use TSB’s in Your Diagnostic Routine
    When diagnosing today’s complex vehicles, we have a wealth of information at our disposal. How we use that information is crucial in making the correct diagnosis the first time, every time.
  • Expand Your Knowledge Base
    I’ve always loved cars and knew from an early age that I wanted to be a mechanic when I grew up. Well, I haven’t grown up, and I’m not a mechanic; I’m a Professional Automotive Technician. I’ve been fortunate to have been able to see the advancement of automotive technology over many years. The evolution and integration of computer-controlled components and the speed and accuracy that comes with it has and will continue to change the challenges of diagnosing these systems.
  • The Final Repair Was ‘on the Level’
    One of our regular customers brought in their 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD with a 5.7L engine mated to a 545RFE transmission. The owner’s concern was a very bad shake when accelerating while having the 4WD engaged.
  • Verifying Repairs: This is Where We Dropped the Ball
    For this installment of R&R Tech I would like to take some time to discuss how engine performance can affect the transmission operation. We have all heard it before; the engine must be running properly in order for the transmission to function correctly. What does “properly” mean in this scenario? We all use different terms when we tell the customer, “You need to get the engine running properly” or good, correct, better, whatever terms we use; in our minds it all means the same thing. We either see or feel something that is not right with the engine performance and to try to protect our investment (our remanufactured product) by telling the customer that it needs to get repaired in conjunction with the transmission replacement. How far do we need to go with this? Just tell the customer and leave it up to them, or do we require them to have it checked/repaired and return it to us for inspection?
  • Sensor Signal? Nearly none, but unit still worked
    The customer had multiple concerns: 30-40 mph is the top speed, drive modes won’t switch, neutrals out in reverse, stuck in low gear at times, can’t shift manually, only works in drive Stored DTC 2767, Component Y3/6n3 (speed sensor) is faulty.
  • R&R Tech: Diagnosing Electrical Signals
    I’ve always had been fascinated by technology and electronics, and I can remember the first time I used a scope. It was in my high school auto-tech class, and we were being introduced to ignition waveforms using a Sun Engine Analyzer.
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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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