Offering stand alone services?

Joined
Dec 19, 2013
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7,019
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
Specifically Module Programming.....

Most of the time it's a good, quick, clean revenue stream, But there are time's it really tests my patience.

Vehicle....2008 Saturn Astra, 1.8L Ecotec/Aisin 4 speed auto with 42,xxx miles
Complaint....ECM was replaced for a no crank condition, ECM needs programming.

Got the call late yesterday afternoon (Saturday) from the owner of a small car lot I've never dealt with before, But has good references from other car lot owners I do business with. Said he would really like the car for sale first thing Monday mourning.

Turns out this is a weird Opel Import which I'm not really setup to deal with, The initial programming via GM SPS & J-2534 went fine....But setting up the module was a nightmare.

My hand held Tech 2 doesn't cover the Astra & I don't have a subscription to Tech2Win (PC based Tech 2 Software) because my 2013 updated hand held has worked every GM legacy vehicle I've ran across in the past.

My Autel Elite also didn't cover the Saturn Astra, Luckily I Googled the issue & inputting it as a Opel Astra worked for setting up Vehicle Options & reprogramming the Key Fob.

GM has a TSB about setting up the vehicle options on 2008 & 2009 Astra's, To bad it was incorrect, It stated to set the Oil Level Switch to "Not Present"....This vehicle has a Oil Level Switch! It was setting a P0610-Vehicle Options Incorrect DTC until I finally got the combination correct. Alldata doesn't have this DTC listed for a 2008, 2009 Astra does have it listed but made no mention of changing the options via a scan tool, But had you check powers & ground....Then replace & program the ECM.
If I had access to the original ECM.....I could've recorded the vehicle options, It was supposedly thrown away???

Test drove the vehicle, Reset the Oil Life, No dash lights, Everything seemed fine. Stopped to get some Coffee at the local QT, Went to start the vehicle....No Crank, Check Engine Light blinking rapidly, Relays under the hood clicking rapidly.
Called the Wife to bring my truck, Had her pull me back to the shop.

If you guessed bad/corrupted Ground....You'd be correct, The ECM has to be Case Grounded which would be very unusual on a Domestic GM product! The ECM ground termination point is under the Battery & this vehicle has had a leaky battery at one time or another. Removing the ground nut broke the stud as it was corroded half way through. Good news is the cable wasn't corroded inside & was able to crimp & seal a new eyelet on & move it to an adjacent ground stud.

All this over a bad ground.
 

GON

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There is a great book called "The E-myth Revisited" by Michael Gerber. Originally published in the 1970s, it is still on the shelves at Barnes and Nobles today. $26.99 for a paper back. No book in the business section of a Barnes and Noble is on the shelf a year after it is published, unless it is real good and sells well. This book, published in the 1970s, and in paperback, must sell well, especially at $26.99. One can buy this book used on Ebay for a few dollars.

The book is about processes (not procedures). Having everything super simple, and following a process. In the case of the Saturn, the process would be a price chart based on what may need to be done. And also provide disclaimers, full disclosure to the used car dealer prior to accepting the job. Nothing worse than quoting a job on a unknown vehicles to find all the work required not part of a standard program job.

What this book really does, it teach/ train on how you can take a vacation and still have your business run. Yes, have your apprentice run the business while you are on vacation. A super good read. It is also available in audio if no time to read. The book is super good for a small business.
 

AZjeff

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in Az where the Deer and Antelope play
Do you bill for the reprogramming and fixed ground and and tell the customer you think the ground was the problem or just let him drive away happy that the car is fixed?

Neat car, I thought about hunting one up a few years ago until I learned how few were imported.


2008-Saturn-Astra-FrontSide_SNASTFF081_505x375.jpg
 

4WD

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Joined
Sep 21, 2010
Messages
20,172
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Texas via IAH
Specifically Module Programming.....

Most of the time it's a good, quick, clean revenue stream, But there are time's it really tests my patience.

Vehicle....2008 Saturn Astra, 1.8L Ecotec/Aisin 4 speed auto with 42,xxx miles
Complaint....ECM was replaced for a no crank condition, ECM needs programming.

Got the call late yesterday afternoon (Saturday) from the owner of a small car lot I've never dealt with before, But has good references from other car lot owners I do business with. Said he would really like the car for sale first thing Monday mourning.

Turns out this is a weird Opel Import which I'm not really setup to deal with, The initial programming via GM SPS & J-2534 went fine....But setting up the module was a nightmare.

My hand held Tech 2 doesn't cover the Astra & I don't have a subscription to Tech2Win (PC based Tech 2 Software) because my 2013 updated hand held has worked every GM legacy vehicle I've ran across in the past.

My Autel Elite also didn't cover the Saturn Astra, Luckily I Googled the issue & inputting it as a Opel Astra worked for setting up Vehicle Options & reprogramming the Key Fob.

GM has a TSB about setting up the vehicle options on 2008 & 2009 Astra's, To bad it was incorrect, It stated to set the Oil Level Switch to "Not Present"....This vehicle has a Oil Level Switch! It was setting a P0610-Vehicle Options Incorrect DTC until I finally got the combination correct. Alldata doesn't have this DTC listed for a 2008, 2009 Astra does have it listed but made no mention of changing the options via a scan tool, But had you check powers & ground....Then replace & program the ECM.
If I had access to the original ECM.....I could've recorded the vehicle options, It was supposedly thrown away???

Test drove the vehicle, Reset the Oil Life, No dash lights, Everything seemed fine. Stopped to get some Coffee at the local QT, Went to start the vehicle....No Crank, Check Engine Light blinking rapidly, Relays under the hood clicking rapidly.
Called the Wife to bring my truck, Had her pull me back to the shop.

If you guessed bad/corrupted Ground....You'd be correct, The ECM has to be Case Grounded which would be very unusual on a Domestic GM product! The ECM ground termination point is under the Battery & this vehicle has had a leaky battery at one time or another. Removing the ground nut broke the stud as it was corroded half way through. Good news is the cable wasn't corroded inside & was able to crimp & seal a new eyelet on & move it to an adjacent ground stud.

All this over a bad ground.
We chased several ghosts in the attic on our Chevy Cruze - only to find it was the ground.
Being you have one - clean that once in a while since loss of power steering can impact safety.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
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7,978
Location
Ohio
Do you bill for the reprogramming and fixed ground
The "complaint" the customer gave him was that the ECM needed programmed. He did that successfully so he absolutely should charge for that. I'd guess the ground connection repair was a "freebie". No way he should open himself up to 2nd guessing. As you said, the car is fixed and the customer should drive away happy.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
17,171
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
Implying that was the only thing that needed to be fixed.
You would be amazed how many times we see the parts cannon shot at a car only to find bad grounds or a frayed wire. And this isn't exclusive to outside people, plenty of times we get a tech following a TSB or the tech hotline and then find something stupid.
 

JTK

Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
14,769
Location
Buffalo, NY
I'm still not sure if you were asking if you should offer this type of service as a stand alone, but for what you guys pay per year for all the required subscriptions services, you pretty much have to dontcha?

People always want to go into with "It needs this part" or "needs programming", where the guys that are worth their weight in gold like yourself actually know how to prove and actually fix the problem.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
Messages
679
Location
Pennsylvania
I do a fair bit of programming for other shops since I own factory tooling for many car lines (even have an Astra card for my Tech 2, collects dust with the Isuzu card and Suzuki card). When I get called in for programming I program. End of story and bill is due and payable when I finish. If that doesnt fix the issue the shop is more than welcome to pay me to diag the issue for an additional fee. See lots of bad grounds and wiring harness issues.
 

clinebarger

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I'm still not sure if you were asking if you should offer this type of service as a stand alone, but for what you guys pay per year for all the required subscriptions services, you pretty much have to dontcha?

People always want to go into with "It needs this part" or "needs programming", where the guys that are worth their weight in gold like yourself actually know how to prove and actually fix the problem.

I was just venting I guess, But I have thought about only doing programming if I diagnose the vehicle. This was on a Sunday...On a vehicle I'm not familiar with...And it broke down on me because it was misdiagnosed.

Far as subscriptions, GM SPS/TDS Programming licenses can be bought for 1 vehicle at a time for $40, This allows unlimited programming of any module on that vehicle for 2 years.
Ford is $50 for 2 days using FJDS, & $150 for 2 days using IDS.

GM & Ford makes up 80% of the vehicles I work on, Working on getting set up for Chrysler.
 

clinebarger

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I do a fair bit of programming for other shops since I own factory tooling for many car lines (even have an Astra card for my Tech 2, collects dust with the Isuzu card and Suzuki card). When I get called in for programming I program. End of story and bill is due and payable when I finish. If that doesnt fix the issue the shop is more than welcome to pay me to diag the issue for an additional fee. See lots of bad grounds and wiring harness issues.

I'm gonna start implementing a similar policy, But....You know how it is, You want the vehicle to leave your shop fixed.

The dealer had the car diagnosed & ECM installed at the "grease pit" across the street from him, Dealers like to use that place they're dirt cheap....They'll swap engines for $300 & a RWD Trans for $150!!

A few of my regular Dealer accounts use them as well for Engine & Trans swaps.....Then have me fix whatever they screw up, They're not as bad at it as you would think.
They do have one reoccurring mess up though....On 3V 5.4L Ford trucks/SUV's, They never clip the Trans/O2 Harness back onto the right cylinder head, The harness will lay down on the exhaust manifold & short out a O2 heater power circuit.
 
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clinebarger

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The "complaint" the customer gave him was that the ECM needed programmed. He did that successfully so he absolutely should charge for that. I'd guess the ground connection repair was a "freebie". No way he should open himself up to 2nd guessing. As you said, the car is fixed and the customer should drive away happy.

I did fix the ground for free, But I did tell him it was misdiagnosed & he needs to bring his electrical issues to me!
 

clinebarger

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What happens if you brick the module through no fault of your own. Who pays for a new one?

I haven't bricked any modules using OE programming software, While I have bricked a few GM ECM/PCM's with HP-Tuners doing weird Segment Swaps or trying to force a change by writing the entire module.
HP-Tuners does warn you if the action can Brick the module or not.

The number one rule when Flashing/Programming a Module.....Keep the battery voltage above 12vdc! Before I got a dedicated Power Supply....I had a little cart with 3 group 78 1000ca batteries wired in parallel with 1/0 jumpers & leads.
 
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I haven't bricked any modules using OE programming software,
Took a new BCM I bought elsewhere to a Chevy dealer to program into the car. Next day they call me saying the module locked up while trying to program it. $200 down the drain and and they wouldn't give me a break on the cost of a new one. Luckily the 2nd one took.
 
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