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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-09-2007, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Computer and electrical diagonostic tools and skills...

The majority of side "jobs" i've been offered and problems i've been encountered have been electrical, computer, and driveability related. Right now all I have to "test" things is a cheap multimeter and something to press down a schrader scrader valve to see if a motor has fuel. I also have a "basic" understanding of electrical/ computer systems but I still have tons to learn.

I would like to become much "better" at figuring out these problems, there's a good chance i'll be teaching the "future technicans of America" and I'ld like to give them a good foundation. Are there any must reads about electrical and computer diagonois? What's a good resource to figure out sensor outputs and wiring diagrams?

On this island i'm living on right now alot of cars sit for a couple years and then people want them running again. Lots of dead bateries, mouse chewed wires, bad gas, and "dead" parts from sitting.

I know I need a lot more tools to help figure out these problems. I figure I need a good battery charger, battery/starter/charing system tester, fuel pressure tester, good multimeter, spark tester, and a scanner. What should I look for in each of these tools/ what should I buy. I don't have a problem spending $$ because they will all pay for themselves and be very useful in the future.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-09-2007, 11:10 PM
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Dual batteries under your hood and some large gauge jumpers with really good clamps.
110 volt AC current won't make 1,000 cold cranking amps, but two batteries and heavy cables will.
(no matter what the front of the charger says...)

A self limiting trickle charger is the best battery charger I've found.
Schumacher makes a 10amp/2amp small portable that works great.
I used them in my Battery/Starter/Alternator business. We had a monster, but when you take the case apart, it's just the little charger in disguise. Around $50 or a little under last time I priced them.

No such thing as a 'No Load' battery charger...
I know they have them advertised, but the only way to test for shorted plates, cracked or broken bridges, ect. is a real load test.
Doesn't need to be an expensive one...

Something you may want to consider 'Stocking', battery 'maintainer' chargers.
You mount them under the hood so all the guy has to do is plug the thing in when he takes off...
Good money in batteries and battery products... Lot's of markup.

The only way to learn wiring diagrams and schematics is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE...
If you can wire a relay and understand a common DC circuit, you will figure the stuff out pretty fast, but having the wiring diagram is a must when you are first learning...
You will drive your self nuts trying to figure out what goes where, and more importantly, WHY... By yourself.
I think Radio Shack still sells basic circuit diagram books that explain everything.
Start with the easy and move up to pretty difficult quickly in some of them...
Good explanations as I remember.

Car computer Code Readers are about $250 for a reasonable one, and everything from about '96 on had OBD II (On Board Diagnostics, Ver. II) so you won't need to buy a new data base for every make/model.
90% of what you are going to run into is lack of maintenance anyway...
Guys that won't change an O2 sensor or Idle air control motor after 100K miles...
Mice LOVE the synthetic rubber they make vacuum connectors out of!
I wish I could find a place to buy those boots only for the small plastic vacuum lines!

A reasonable quality multi meter is pretty much a requirement...
Once you learn to use it (some really sneaky things you can do with one) you will be able to track down most electrical problems.

I have a tendency to load test wires that I believe are suspect...
The multi meter, with no current, may show a connection, but when load tested they are lacking.
You can load test with anything from a few resistors wired together to a battery tester.

Start looking for the connector tools, the little tools that take factory connectors apart and put them back together, and get an assortment of replacement connectors...
Also look for the usual, good crimping and stripping tools, dielectric grease, connector cleaner, ect...
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2007, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Junk Yard Genius View Post
I wish I could find a place to buy those boots only for the small plastic vacuum lines!
Advance Auto Parts carries the rubber boots. Usually in a rack back by the PCV valves and breather filters. I picked up a few packages just to have some on hand. About $1.50 to $2.00 a pack.


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