Tuesday, June 26, 2012

AFG Meeting with John Conomos

Check out the article by Doc Iain Corness in Pattaya Mail about last weeks AFG Meeting with Mr John Conomos, Australian Automotive Envoy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Become an Auto Mechanic With Grace

How to Become an Auto Mechanic With GraceLearning how to become an auto mechanic is an exciting time. But the smart student will keep their long-term goals in mind to guide their choices.

1. Find a healthy way to relax.

Becoming a mechanic is to assume a physically demanding job. Graduates of auto mechanic college are subject to certain aches and pains, notably carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back pain. To protect themselves from these kinds of repetitive stress injuries, students must learn to relax as they learn how to become an auto mechanic. This may involve taking regular breaks to stretch one's legs and roll one's shoulders while in the garage at school. Or it may mean taking advantage of college activities, like swimming or yoga classes.

2. Look for a niche

Use your time in auto mechanic college to soak up as much information as you possibly can about your chosen industry. The more you know about becoming a mechanic, the easier it will be for you to find your way.

Ask yourself, are you becoming a mechanic so that you can:

- become a mechanic for the new breed of electric vehicles?

- overhaul classic cars?

- inspect vehicles for emissions?

- repair heavy machinery on work sites?

Other questions that you may want to contemplate while still in auto mechanic college:

- Are you becoming a mechanic so that you can one day go into business for yourself? If so, what steps are you taking to make this dream come true, e.g., taking business courses on the side as you attend auto mechanic college.

- Are you willing to relocate temporarily or permanently to secure additional training - in the form of an apprenticeship on a racetrack or a course from a manufacturer - or employment?

- Do you have a sense of what your salary goals are? How long will it take you to pay off any student debts? (Your auto mechanic college may have an employment counseling service that can help you answer these kinds of questions.)

3. Forge lasting relationships with your fellow students.

Enrolling in auto mechanic college is a way for you to immerse yourself in your chosen profession. Your fellow students will be your future colleagues, and it is in the best interest of all to foster good relations. Taking the time to build a strong professional network with other students learning how to become an auto mechanic can buffer you in the future, when it comes time to find a new job or seek new employees or service providers.

4. Treat your professors with respect

Is there a professor at your auto mechanic college whose class you particularly enjoyed? Find a way to thank them. Invite them out after class, or simply drop them a line, explaining how much they helped you on your journey to becoming a mechanic. The more you treat your professors with respect, the more willing they will be to help you when it comes time to write recommendations letters for you as you seek employment. And, who knows, one day when you are running a garage, race track or work site repair shop, they may send their best graduates our way.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Marine Alternator Troubleshooting

Marine Alternator TroubleshootingIf you're having problems with your marine alternator, or any high performance alternators, there are some general tests you can do to determine what your problem is. Marine alternators are like any other; they charge the battery and ensure a proper flow of electricity to all parts of your boat. Therefore they can be tested the same as most any other alternator.

The most important thing to remember is to start all testing at the battery. Boats can be stored for months without charging the battery, and all batteries self discharge during storage. This self discharge is even higher when moisture is present. To make the smart aleck comment, I hear there is water around boats. When a battery becomes completely discharged sulfation occurs. This is a chemical reaction that occurs when batteries are stored for a long time and remain in a state of discharge for a long time. They are hard, bulky, crystal-like substances that form on the lead plates in the battery, causing them to become clogged and useless.

In order to test the battery you will have to apply a load that is 50% of its cold cranking amp rating for 15 seconds and maintain a terminal voltage of 9.6 volts. The C.C.A. rating for a battery used to crank a V8 inboard is 650 amps. To test this battery you would need to apply a 325 amp load for 15 seconds. Be sure you are using a tester that is capable of applying this load, at least a 300 amp load will be needed for most V8 gas or diesel inboards. Smaller engines such as outboards and 4 cylinder gas engines can likely be tested with a handheld 100 amp load tester. You can buy these at most any automotive store as they are typically used on most cars.

The first consideration when testing the charging system is to check the belts for proper tension and wear. If they are loose or glazed replace them, too often an alternator has been replaced when all that was needed was a new belt. If they are fine then connect the voltmeter leads to the battery post and not the cable ends. Crank over the engine and increase the RPM to a fast idle while observing the voltage reading. The correct one is usually between 13.8 and 14.2 volts. Gel cell batteries can be lower at 13.5 to 13.8 volts. If you are reading below 13.5 volts you should connect the positive voltmeter lead to the output post and the negative to the ground post of your alternator. Crank over the engine again and increase the engine RPM to a fast idle. If you see that the voltage is within the desired range for your battery then resistance in the charging circuit is the problem. The cause of this can be due to the boat manufacturer running many charge circuits through plug-in connection. They work fine when new, but corrosion can cause severe voltage drops. This can be a common issue with a marine alternator, especially when in-line amp meters are being used.