All markets historically rise and fall on the basis of demand cycles. The government has interfered with natural cycles continuously and created the situation that we now face. President Clinton revived the Carter years’ “Community Investment Plan,” which was supposed to make home ownership easier for the average citizen. This created a housing boom and a vastly overpriced and overbuilt real-estate market coupled with a complete regulatory failure of the mortgage industry and created the mess we now have to deal with. How hard was it to figure out that if you gave mortgages to people who could not pay their current rent, they eventually would default on their obligations?
The motor vehicle is a combination of many separate components and operating systems that are mechanical, hydraulic, electronic, and air or vacuum operated. Successful diagnosis and repair can be accomplished only by viewing the problem with a systemic approach and careful consideration of the entire group of components that can influence or be the cause of the complaint.
One of the simplest and most-profitable repairs a shop can perform is to the differential or third member. Yet many shops do not understand the fine points of this work and turn it away.
There are many causes for comebacks in the units our industry rebuilds. Some problems result from human error, other factors outside the unit can affect proper performance, or the new parts that were installed can create issues.
Up to Standards With the continuing decline of vehicles available with manual transmissions from the manufacturers, we must be aware of more “niche markets” for our businesses. The typical vehicle counts with stick transmissions have declined steadily, with both GM and Ford no longer offering full-size pickups with manual transmissions. The sports or performance cars
The most critical part of any repair work is locating the cause of the problem that causes the customer complaint. Be careful in this day of extreme economic pressure not to be too quick to remove a unit, especially a transfer case, before being positive that it is the source of the problem. We all need more work, and it is much too easy to remove the transfer case from the vehicle without inspecting all the other components that could be the source of the problem, such as driveshafts, yokes, differentials and driver bad habits.
The most-abused components in a vehicle are the clutch and the manual transmission, as these components are completely at the mercy of the driver. Most of this discussion will be tilted to performance vehicles, because they make up the vast majority of domestic cars that are still available with “stick transmissions.” The same parameters of this discussion also apply to foreign cars and, of course, the few pickup trucks and SUVs that are still optioned with a manual transmission.
The Jeep brand is one of the iconic names in automotive history. Created as a personnel carrier for the military during World War II, the brand has been owned by several manufacturers over the years and is now part of Chrysler Corp. The use of the original military vehicles by millions of American service members during and after the war created a market for the brand that is still very strong today.
Pricing your work incorrectly is one of the most-common strategic errors. Does your labor rate reflect your cost of doing business with a percentage of profit for the amount of billable hours, or is it a number that is comparable to or cheaper than your local competition? Do you know what the fiscal burden is for each employee? Do you know what it costs to turn the key in the door every day, so that your pricing reflects the absorption of those costs plus a correct profit percentage? These are all vital data without which you have no way to price your work correctly.
The old saying “The only thing that is constant is change” has never been more true than in today’s automotive manufacturing. We have seen the bankruptcy of Chrysler and General Motors, which 20 years ago was unthinkable. China has arrived as a manufacturing giant for all types of products and, with a billion plus people with rising income levels, is poised to become the largest new-car market on the globe. India and Brazil have leaped ahead economically and will become players in this market.
Historical evolution of this series of transfer cases starts with the 2000 models. Dodge Durango and Dakota for 2000 had available the 231HD, 241LD and 242, depending on the vehicle’s specific engine and transmission. In 2001, these vehicles were equipped with a 233 or 244. These are electrically shifted units, with the 233 being an electronic 231 and the 244 being an electronic 242.
The lifeblood of any machinery with moving parts is the lubricant. Without the proper lube, serious failure occurs quickly, yet few technicians have taken the time to really understand such an important commodity. Just as parts have proliferated dramatically with so many transmission and transfer-case designs in the market, the different specified lubricants are now almost too numerous to stock.