Episode 101

Chad Austin: Get Your A/C and Diag Mojo Going! [E101]

Matt Fanslow is with Chad Austin, the owner of Austin Automotive in Canon City, Colorado. They discuss Chad's background as a mechanic and the challenges and successes of running a shop. They also discuss the importance of having the right tools for the job, the challenges of working on electronic modules, and the benefits of using digital tools in automotive repair. They touch on air conditioning systems, diagnostic techniques, and the future of AC system repairs in electric vehicles. Overall, they provide valuable insights into the automotive repair industry.

Show Notes

  • The challenges of scheduling (00:01:02) Discussion on the difficulties of aligning schedules and the busy nature of the summer season.
  • Running a brick and mortar shop (00:01:17) Clarification that the shop is not a mobile business and primarily operates from a physical location.
  • Booking out appointments (00:03:07) The shop's schedule is booked out for several weeks, including oil changes, due to high demand and the shop's reputation for handling difficult cases.
  • The challenges of engine replacements (00:08:22) Discussion about the time-consuming nature of engine replacements and the impact on technician availability.
  • The challenges of running a shop in Colorado (00:15:43) Discussion about the unique circumstances of running a shop in Colorado, including the frequency of snowstorms and the impact on different businesses.
  • The frustrations of dealing with multiple passwords for different manufacturers (00:18:25) Discussion about the difficulties of managing passwords for various manufacturers and the desire for a global password or authenticator app.
  • Challenges of Mobile Work (00:23:07) Discussion on the difficulties of being a mobile technician and the importance of having the necessary tools.
  • Doing Repairs at the Shop (00:23:22) Exploration of the benefits of performing repairs at the shop, including having access to all tools and space.
  • Anticipating Increased Demand for EEPROM Services (00:27:40) Conversation about the potential rise in demand for EEPROM services and the challenges and opportunities it presents for technicians.
  • The challenges of using third-party software for vehicle modules (00:29:50) Discussion about the need for legislation or government intervention to allow legitimate use of used modules without relying on third-party software.
  • The complexity of GM engineering software (00:30:36) Conversation about the complicated nature of GM engineering software and its ability to change VIN numbers and reset bricked modules.
  • The need for legitimate access to software and credentials (00:32:31) Agreement on the importance of obtaining legitimate access to software and credentials to fix cars and reduce electronic waste.
  • The challenges of flashing modules (00:37:47) Discussion on the difficulties of flashing modules in vehicles and the workaround methods used.
  • Renting out tooling to other shops (00:39:56) The practice of loaning or renting out specialized tools to other shops and the benefits it brings.
  • The variety of scan tools in the shop (00:43:21) The different types and brands of scan tools used in the shop, including Snap-on and Launch devices, and the need for multiple tools for different functions.
  • The challenges of using factory scan tools (00:44:51) Discussion about the limitations and benefits of using factory scan tools for Subaru diagnostics.
  • The value of joining an air conditioning group (00:49:55) Conversation about the creation and growth of an automotive air conditioning group on Facebook, and the benefits of learning from experienced members.
  • The benefits of digital manifold gauge (00:53:02) The advantages of using a digital manifold gauge for leak testing and tracking pressure loss.
  • The escalating cost of acquiring equipment (00:53:49) The increasing expenses associated with purchasing additional tools and equipment for automotive services.
  • The challenge of availability and urgency in tool acquisition (00:54:24) The delay in receiving a specific tool due to high demand and the willingness to pay more for immediate access to tools.
  • Moisture Indicators and Evacuation Time (01:01:04) Discussion on using micron gauges to detect moisture in the system and the need for longer evacuation times in humid environments.
  • Leaking Front Seal and Commercial Systems (01:02:05) Exploration of how a leaking front seal can affect the vacuuming process and the differences between commercial and residential systems in terms of sealing.
  • Vacuum Pump CFM and System Size (01:04:00) Comparison of different vacuum pump CFM ratings and how it relates to the size of the system being serviced.
  • Flushing out a condenser (01:08:03) Discussion on the misconception of being able to flush out a condenser and the challenges of doing so.
  • Using a recirculating flush machine (01:09:31) Explanation of a flush machine that circulates flush solvent and filters out contaminants, making the cleaning process more efficient.
  • Replacing components and flushing the system (01:12:00) Experience with a failed compressor and the decision to replace multiple components and use a flush machine to ensure system cleanliness.
  • The challenges of AC system repairs in electric vehicles (01:15:58) Discussion on the potential difficulties and costs associated with repairing AC systems in electric vehicles.
  • The use of CO2 as a refrigerant in electric vehicles (01:17:10) Exploration of the use of CO2 as a refrigerant in electric vehicles and the challenges it presents.
  • The need for specialized equipment for CO2 refrigerant recovery (01:18:24) Conversation about the lack of recovery units for CO2 refrigerant in the automotive industry and the need for specialized equipment to handle it.
  • Testing current directly (01:22:20) Discussion on the benefits of testing current directly in electrical repair and diagnostics, and the realization that this method has been used for decades.
  • Challenges in diagnosing AC issues (01:23:38) The difficulties in diagnosing AC issues due to the lack of information from manufacturers and the need for specialized equipment.
  • Environmental factors in AC diagnostics (01:25:23) The impact of environmental factors, such as air density and humidity, on AC diagnostics and the need to establish known good values specific to different regions and vehicles.

Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Autotech napaautotech.com

Email Matt: mattfanslowpodcast@gmail.com

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Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com/

About the Podcast

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Diagnosing the Aftermarket A to Z

About your host

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Matt Fanslow

Matt Fanslow is the diagnostic tech/shop manager at Riverside Automotive in Red Wing, MN. His primary responsibilities are to diagnose driveability and electrical/electronic issues, and perform most all programming, coding, initializing, adoptions, etc. Basically, if it needs to be figured out or has wires, it goes to Matt.

He’s been a tech since 1996. Matt is also a subject matter expert for ASE and has instructed at Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo. Matt has participated on 18 ASE technical committees for the ASE Practice Test, A6, A7, A8, and L1 tests. He’s also done case studies for Standard Motor Products. Fanslow’s goal is to do everything in his power to improve the overall level of professionalism within the automotive and light truck repair trade and also raise the level of its public image.