October 2013 Archives - Transmission Digest
Subaru Lineartronic: Not all CVTs are east/west

The CVT that was developed for Subaru is a major departure from all other transverse-mounted CVTs. This new-design unit, called a Lineartronic, hit the streets in 2010. To say that a Lineartronic is a monster would be an understatement. The unit could probably fit right into a Sherman tank. There is also a difference in design between gas and diesel applications. In addition, to understand the power flow would be akin to “the ankle bone is connected to the shin bone, the shin bone is connected to the …” etc.)

Controlling Parts Costs

“Are you out of your mind, Art? I’m not giving my checkbook to the builder!”

That is what I was told by an old-school owner when I was the general manager of his three transmissions shops back in the day. We were arguing back and forth trying to figure out how to get our parts costs in line, like many of you nowadays. His position was that it was, and always has been, the manager’s responsibility to control our parts costs. My position was that we should change that policy and make the rebuilder responsible for which parts we buy and make the manager responsible for selling the repair for enough to reach our parts-percentage goal. That policy change would make the manager accountable for the sales amount and the builder accountable for the parts amount. The installers worked for the builder, and all R&R parts were approved by the builder. The new policy, in effect, would have employees share accountability as a team in an effort to reach our parts-percentage goal.

Vacuum Testing Ford 5R55W/S

From the TASC Force we reprint a series of in-depth test instructions for checking the serviceability of valve bodies.

Not Getting ‘Skunked’

This week I got one of those in from a customer who was recommended to come here by another shop that had given up on finding the problem. After several attempts and customer drop-offs, the shop couldn’t get the problem to occur. The vehicle was a 2007 Ford F-150 pickup, and the problem was it would occasionally blow the brake-lamp fuse. The circuit seemed simple enough, not like a spider-plant circuit we sometimes run into.

Aftermarket Accessories Can Be a Sobering Experience

Recently a 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche came into one of our shops with the customer concern of the transmission sticking in one gear intermittently, and the Service Engine warning light illuminating. When I went to start our pre-diagnostic evaluation I grabbed the scan tool and went out to the vehicle, only to notice that it had a “Smart Start” ignition interlock device installed (Figure 1).

At this point I decided to hook up the scan tool and check for codes before driving the vehicle, and I pulled codes P0740, P0753, P0758, P0785 and P2761. On the basis of these codes, we advised the customer that he had an electrical issue and we would need some additional diagnostic time. The customer agreed and left the vehicle with us to diagnose.

Belonging – How Important Is It?

When employees feel as if they belong, they tend to give a lot more. They’re part of the cause, not separate from it. They’ll usually work to the limit of their capabilities. When they don’t feel like a member of the tribe they don’t get comfortable enough with their surroundings to be willing to give it their all. Employees who are treated like outsiders quickly get the idea that they won’t be welcome at the company very long so they work with one foot out the door and their bags always half packed.

Self-Examination in the Great Recession

Many factors have reduced the number of vehicles we have to work on, resulting in a two-thirds reduction in the number of dedicated transmission shops nationally. The automakers have created lower leasing costs and longer vehicle warranties, which keep a large number of vehicles from needing our services. Government programs such as “Cash for Clunkers,” which was basically a gift to the automakers, removed about 750,000 vehicles from the market that we deal with. The improvements in manufacturing quality and design have produced vehicles across the spectrum that last longer and require less service.

October 2013 Issue

In This Issue
Dodge Caliber CVT glitch – or a non-transmission issue?
Jatco JF613E FWD 6-speed