Does It Need A New Transmission
Or A New Fan?
Recently a customer contacted us regarding a loud noise while driving their
1989 Dodge Caravan above 25 MPH.
We had the customer come by so we could drive the
car with them to help locate the noise. Sure enough, when driving above
25 MPH, the car exhibited a very loud rumble-whirring sound that was almost
unbearable. The customer had sought us out as a second opinion because
he had taken the car to another automotive facility and they recommended
replacing the transmission because of known problems with certain Chrysler
overdrive transmissions. We are well versed in Chrysler transmissions but
had never heard this exact noise before.
The faster we drove the louder the noise became.
We took the car onto the highway. At highway speeds the noise was unbelievable.
Let's just say earplugs would have been helpful. We drove to 65 MPH, placed
the car in neutral, and turned off the engine. Hmm, the noise was still
present. This ruled out the engine. With the engine off the transmission
is also off, but technically, many internal transmission parts are still
turning because the wheels are moving. Although we still did not know the
cause, we were convinced that the noise was not transmission related. We
recommended that the customer leave the car so we could investigate further.
We checked for Chrysler service bulletins, but there
were none for that symptom. The more we heard the noise the more we felt
it was wind or air-movement related. We checked the roof racks integrity
and hold down bolts, as we had seen many noisy roof racks in the past.
A visual inspection of the engine compartment did not reveal anything out
of the ordinary. Still scratching our head, we had an idea. We have
a large fan that we place in the shop on hot days for summer cooling. We
decided to place the fan directly in front of the car so as to simulate
the normal passage of air that occurs at highway speeds. As we turned the
fan on high, we noticed the noise coming from the front of the car near
the grille. Upon opening the hood to investigate further, we found that
one of the vehicles two electric radiator fans were making noise. Even
though the car's radiator fan was not turned on, the fan blade normally
rotates with air movement while driving at moderate speeds. On this car,
the fan blade was broken off its motor shaft. Therefore, as it started
to rotate from the wind while driving, it was so loose that it would touch
the fan mounting shroud while spinning, thus causing the loud noise. Changing
the cooling fan blade and motor resolved the problem. The customer was
glad that they had sought us out for a second opinion.
Just another example of how strange and difficult
automotive diagnostics can be.
Rev. Manuel Chavier Honored.
to our customer. Rev Manuel Chavier! Rev. Chavier, founder and pastor of
the International Church of the Nazarene was recently honored at a golden
anniversary dinner at Whites of Westport for 50 years of service to the
Church. Over 300 friends, church members and politicians attended the event.
With less than $40,000 cash, he planned building a $500,000 church. Within
a year and a half the project was completed. Over five decades ago Rev.
Chavier started a congregation that numbered only 23 members. His congregation
has now grown to more than 600.
Often Rev. Chavier is in our waiting room while
his car is being serviced. "He is a kind and compassionate person, always
smiling and willing to converse, no matter how busy his schedule."
said Sam Giammalvo.
Congratulations again to Rev. Chavier. Keep up the
So Much For Old Mechanical Steering
Just when we thought: "What else could they possibly modernize on automobiles..."
TRW Automotive (an automotive steering and suspension supplier to car manufactures)
has announced the release of a new design electrically assisted steering
rack. The system uses one-horsepower brushless motors driven by microprocessors
and application specific integrated circuits (ASICs). The software in the
computer that commands the steering rack was written by the same TRW employees
who write programs for NASA's Space Shuttle Program. With traditional power
steering systems, if the car stalled out, the power steering assistance
was lost since the engine is no longer turning the belt that runs the power
steering pump. With this new electrical steering system, if the car's engine
should stall out, the driver can still steer safely to the side of the
road as the power steering will continue to operate. What will they think
Notice Any New Faces Lately?
You may have noticed some new faces at our dealership in the
past several months. Due to the increasing amount of work in our service
and reconditioning departments we are proud to announce two new staff (or
as we like to call) "family" members:
Cholette, pictured here, fulfills many duties including, facility
maintenance, transportation of customers and their vehicles, transportation
of parts needed during the day by the service department, etc. Paul is
recently retired from a 35-year position with Commonwealth Gas. He has
served ten years in the National Guard and is a member of the Ponan Judo
Club. Paul has been married for over 36 years and lives in Dartmouth with
his wife Barbara Ann. Paul's position at our dealership puts him in direct
contact with customers every day. Often customers will comment on his pleasant
nature and positive attitude. In addition, when customers tell us how clean
the shop is, we direct them to compliment Paul.
Benevides, pictured here, is an automotive reconditioner in our reconditioning
department. Sid comes to us from a local automotive service facility where
he was working as an automotive repair technician. Sid has not only reconditioned
cars in the past but recently completely restored a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro
Z28 to like new condition. Sid lives in Fairhaven and is also the brother
of our service technician; Nelson Benevides.
Just Purchased Your Car And
Not Sure You Want To Get The Wynns Extended Warranty?
this job which would have been covered by our Wynns Warranty had the customer
purchased it. Pictured above is the vehicle with the dashboard removed.
Air conditioning evaporators have never been easy to replace because of
their location behind the dash, but newer cars like this Volvo 850, require
that both air bags, the steering column and entire dash board be removed
in order to gain access. One job like this and the Wynns Warranty
has more than paid for itself.
At Giammalvo's we listen to our customers input. In the past, some customers
have commented on the length of time that they are placed on hold on the
telephone. In an effort to correct that weakness we have taken a corrective
measure. You may have noticed two-way radios attached to the belts of many
of our employees recently. It's part of a new communication system we have
installed at the dealership. The system is similar to law enforcement communication
in that it uses a special "repeater" to boost the signal out off a 500-foot
commercial antenna. The radios allow us to communicate faster to one another
whether we are in the building or out on a test drive. The radios will
help reduce the time you may spend on hold when you call. Often the person
you are calling may not be inside the building. This often resulted in
having someone physically go look for that person while you waited and
waited on hold. With the new radios we can contact that person immediately
and advise them of your call.
The Mysterious Oil...
Recently we performed a routine oil change service on a customer's Honda
Accord. About a month or so later the owner came by to report an unusual
occurrence. The owner stated that recently while having the car fueled
up at a full service station, the station attendant checked the vehicle's
oil level and advised her that the vehicle was one quart low on oil. The
attendant stated that if she wanted he would add the oil necessary to bring
the dipstick to the full mark. She declined and immediately drove the vehicle
to us. We checked the oil dip stick with the customer and found it to be
at the full mark. The customer asked us: "why would the attendant say the
car was low on oil, if it wasn't low on oil?" Hmm... we wondered. Was the
vehicle parked on level ground? The customer believed it was. Was the attendant
competent enough to read the level on the dipstick? Some vehicles oil dip
sticks can be difficult to read, this problem can be even worse if the
oil was recently changed and is still fairly clean. However, this particular
vehicles' dip stick is very easy to read. Or, we wondered, was the attendant
trying to sell a quart of oil? Well, we still haven't been able to figure
out what happened, so remember, keep an eye on that oil level.
Did You Know?
Did you know that we also service cars that we did not originally sell?
Because we service so many of the cars that we sell, some people presume
that if you did not purchase your car here you cannot have it serviced
here. This could not be further from the truth. We would gladly service
any car regardless where it was purchased.
(Reprinted by popular demand from Giammalvo
Quarterly Fall 1995).
Quite often we find that customers are not aware of parts commission
policies at some new car dealership service departments and franchise auto
In simple terms, when you come into some of these places to
have your car serviced, the technician who is assigned the job gets a commission
in the form of a percentage for each part sold. For example, if a technician
noticed that a vehicle needed shocks he will tell the service manager to
advise the customer. If the customer decides to go ahead with the repair,
the technician would get anywhere from three to five percent of the total
parts dollar amount.
Although this may sound like a great incentive plan to the technician,
we do not agree that this policy is in the customers best interest.
If a customer came into that shop and the brakes were worn,
but not worn out, would the technician be motivated to tell the customer
they need brakes because of the possibility of a parts commission? How
can a technician be a fair arbitrator of a part if he stands to make a
profit on the sale?
Fortunately we see through the problems of the parts commission
system. We do not offer an incentive program on parts commission now and
we have no desire of changing that policy in the future.
So, if your out of town and find yourself in need of auto service,
better ask the service manager if they offer a parts commission to employees.
If they hesitate at all, you'll already know the answer.
Inspection Program Update.
As you may recall, in the Spring 1996 Issue of GQ we did a cover story
about the upcoming New Enhanced Massachusetts Inspection Program. This
was a new inspection program more stringent for clean air standards than
the current automotive inspection program that we have. At the time of
that printing, Governor Weld had called off the program. As of this writing
there has been rumblings in the state house that the state is very close
to signing an agreement with a contractor who will provide new equipment
to be purchased by inspection stations, like ours, for the new program.
Many repair facilities question this new contract in that it requires the
inspection stations to purchase very expensive equipment without allowing
enough of an increase in the sticker fee portion to repay the investment.
Watch for upcoming information in GQ on this hot issue and the new criteria
your vehicle will have to pass in order to receive an inspection sticker.
We were saddened to learn of the loss of the following customers:
Walter J. Espinola, was a lifelong New Bedford resident and
communicant of St. John the Baptist Church, and a member of the church's
Holy Name Society. He and his wife were members of the St. John's Couples
Club for 29 years. Mr. Espinola was an Army veteran of World War II, having
fought in the Rhineland and
Central Europe in the European African Middle Eastern Theater as an
expert gunner with the 605th Company, Tank Destroyer Battalion. He was
head custodian at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High
School for 34 years until retiring in 1987.
Anthony Fraga, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and lived in the Greater
New Bedford area for the past 25 years.
He was employed by Titleist Golf Ball Division for
25 years in the research and development section as a tester until his
retirement. Mr. Fraga served in the Army National Guard for 16 years. He
graduated from Ft. Hamilton High School in Brooklyn and he also studied
engineering. He developed patents on baseboard heating parts and elements.