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April 2014
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Atlanta Show Receives An A+ (includes show pictures)  - by The Exchange Staff

The ERA Expo in Atlanta March 21-23 was one of the best attended shows in recent years. In total, 174 rebuilders traveled to the show from 32 different states, four Canadian provinces, Guam and Bermuda. Most rebuilders said that they came for the seminars, with 139 signing up for them. Vendors liked the increase in attendance. The most often heard complaint was that there was not enough free time. The three-day event began on Friday morning with a panel discussion on customer relations, conducted by ERA members Mike Dietrich, Ronnie Charnes and Lynn Gross. Immediately following that presentation, two buses and a small caravan of personal vehicles carried 130 attendees to Boles Parts Supply for a tour of their core-handling facility and rewinding operation (housed in separate buildings.) After the tour, BPS provided a lunch for everyone, including the bus drivers. Owner Jerry Boles personally led the tour, with people from every department scattered among the group to answer questions along the way. The tour was a classic example of true southern hospitality.

The BPS tour was followed closely by two more seminars. Joe Davis shared what he has learned since he retired. He included his experiences in the field of rebuilding, in business and in life. Then Marshal Townsend explained flash-reprogramming of automotive electronics.

The reception that followed outside the exposition hall was a little different from past years. Usually, hot canapés had always been served. This year, the reception featured a Chicago-style pizza buffet and cash bar. “ We would like to thank JIMCO, IMI Performance Products, WAI-Global, Wagner Alternators and Supplies, International Automotive Trading, Arrowhead Electrical, Boles Parts Supply and Letrika USA, for making the reception possible,” explained Wes Grueninger, who managed the show for the ERA. “Without their generous support, we could not have done this.”

The exposition was opened for three hours on Friday evening after the reception, and the show floor was very busy the whole time. Later, Shawn Bray of Romaine Electric, closed out the long day of events with a seminar on pricing rebuilt products for individual markets. Saturday morning started early at 7 a.m. with a seminar on battery technologies by Dan Bell of Whatcom Electric and Apptrak Online. Then, Gene Kaiser and Dave Kaplan of Regitar USA, explained COM-terminal charging systems, how they differ between vehicle manufacturers and how rebuilders can test them. John Kaiser of the Ryder Rebuilding Center, just outside Atlanta, presented a seminar on rebuilding the 39MT starter.

The exposition opened again following the morning seminars and remained open until 4 p.m. with drawings for door prizes and raffles filling the final ...

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Locking Compound Update  - by The Exchange Staff

A few issues back, we published an article on locking compounds, but we omitted one product that can be used to secure bearings in housings that do not have fastened retainers (specifically Delco CS and AD series alternators). It was brought to our attention that Inter- Lock 42, from International Epoxies, can be used to secure bearings. This product is both a medium-strength threadlocker and an adhesive sealant. It is available from Vensel Enterprises.

We tested Inter-Lock 42 using a 6303 bearing and a CS130D DE (drive end) housing. After allowing the recommended cure time of 24 hours, we had to apply over 500 pounds of pressure before the bearing moved. We determined that this product will work, as long as the bearing cavity of the housing is not worn. If the bearing is a loose slip-fit in a worn housing, one of the previously recommended locking compounds would be a better choice. ...

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Lucas M50–M127: Setting pinion clearance  - by Bob Thomas

Pinion clearance is probably one of the least understood calibrations required in rebuilding starters. It is critical to the proper operation of Lucas M50 and M127 starters. These starters in particular, are the most difficult in which to set the precise clearance.

The definition of pinion clearance is: the measurement between the leading edge of the pinion gear and the trailing edge of the stop collar (see Figure 1). In the event that there is no stop collar, it is the measurement between the pinion and the DE (drive end) housing, as in this 41MT Delco starter (see Figure 2). This measurement must be taken with the drive in the engaged position. The safest way to fully engage the drive to check pinion clearance, is to run power through the solenoid’s pull-in coil only, just long enough to take a measurement. To power the pull-in coil, ground the motor terminal and apply power to the switch terminal (see Figure 3).

In the case of these two Lucas starters mentioned earlier, the pinion clearance is .015” to .025”. That window is only 1/100th of an inch from one end to the other, or about the thickness of a standard business card. Both the M50 and M127 starters use a non-concentric shift lever pin (see Figures 4 and 5) with threads on one end. This pin screws into the DE housing. Rotating the pin with a screwdriver moves the pivot point of the shift lever to adjust drive travel on the armature shaft. Half-a-turn, 180 degrees of rotation, is all that it takes to move the pinion about ¼ of an inch, making it extremely difficult to get it within the 1/100th of an inch window which is “just right”. A jam nut (see Figure 6) holds the pin in place after the proper adjustment has been achieved.

When assembling one of these starters, turn the shift-lever screw all of the way in until it bottoms out, but do not tighten it. Do the same with the jam nut. You will back the screw out during the adjustment process and then will tighten the jam nut, once you have completed the adjustment.

A wire gauge (see Figure 7) can be used to measure pinion clearance. But in this case, we use a feeler gauge (see Figure 8), because we believe it is easier ...

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Paris Rhone A13M14: Rewinding simple stators  - by Bob Thomas

Not many rebuilders are likely to see a Paris Rhone A13M14 alternator (see Figures 1 and 2), which is used on Allis Chalmers 6040 farm tractors. According to Tractor Data, from 1974 to 1975, only 499 of these tractors, with Perkins engines, were manufactured in France by Renault. Many of these tractors were sold in North America.

This particular alternator is quite different from what you would expect to find, and it is worthy of its own article. However, as the headline suggests, the real topic here is rewinding this stator. Unlike most other alternators, this Paris Rhone unit is two-phase, not three-phrase. If you look at the JIMCO diagram (see Figure 3), you can see that the two stator coils are wound in parallel. One end of each of the two coils is connected to a separate negative diode. The other ends of the two coils are connected together at a single positive isolation diode, which separates the battery from the source of the field current.

The field current is taken from the positive end of the stator coils, before the output current passes through the isolation diode (as shown on the JIMCO diagram). On the tractor, the external B-circuit regulator is excited by the charge-indicator lamp.

When this alternator was brought into my shop, the stator coils were loose and shorted, both internally and to ground. An estimate for rebuilding it was based on having the stator rewound. The owner had found a used alternator online at a tractor salvage yard. The used alternator was inexpensive, but it was sold “as is” with no guarantee that it was good. As it turned out, the stator in the salvage-yard alternator was in the same condition as the customer’s original. So we decided to try to rewind one of the bad stators. The slots in this particular stator are wide, and the poles are similar to what you would see in many small-engine charging systems, making it relatively easy to rewind by hand. ...

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Plain Talk: The status quo won’t get it done!  - by Rob Buksar

I’ve been living in the same geography for a long time. The changes that have occurred continue to make my head spin, even though I’ve watched it all happen.

I grew up in an area that was the dictionary definition of “commercial.” Everything was available from soup to nuts. Most of it was sold, distributed, repaired or maintained by individually owned companies. Some of them were going on their 3rd generation. Now, most of it is gone and has been replaced by giant corporations and their outlets. We pretty much can thank Ronald Reagan’s deregulation for all of the above. You see, those regulations kept the “big” from devouring the “small” and pretty much kept the domestic playing field level.

There are those who think President Reagan should be nominated for sainthood. Then, there are those who have a contrary opinion. You make your own call.

This is no revelation, but the deregulation has turned a once orderly economy into a mass feeding frenzy! Old news, right? Wes’s (The Exchange’s production manager) wife did a cartoon a few issues back, and I got the biggest kick out of it. She displayed a rebuilding shop selling soft-serve ice cream along with their rebuilts. If my memory is still working, I think the cartoon’s byline was, “Whatever works!” ...

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Positive or Negative: Which ground is best?  - by Bob Thomas

A few months ago, the ERA Help Line received a call asking why the once-common positive-ground electrical system had been totally abandoned by the automotive world. The caller, John Prinvale of John’s Automotive Electrical in Quincy, CA, was asking, because a student in his high school auto shop class had asked him. I have to admit that I never gave this much thought before, although I had heard all kinds of rumors. He asked me about posting the question on the ERA Forums online, and I encouraged him to do so.

The question elicited 24 responses in less than a week, with many different theories as to why the system was no longer used. They included positive ground’s effects on corrosion of electrical connections, contact surface erosion, radio tubes, transistors and spark plugs. Over the course of a week, with help from ten of the forum’s question-responders, I believe I have busted some myths, learned some science, and provided Prinvale with enough information to satisfy his inquisitive students. For anyone who may be interested, here is what I learned.

Positive Ground’s Effects On: Corrosion—Galvanic or bimetal corrosion takes place when dis-similar metals are in contact with each other while exposed to an electrolyte. The electrolyte could be moisture mixed with salt or other chemicals. When this happens, the less noble metal erodes much faster. Any current that might flow through a bimetal connection in a circuit in either direction, will not appreciably affect the galvanic corrosion that is already taking place. The direction in which a current flows does not have any effect on metal oxidation either—oxidation happens to metals when they are exposed to oxygen in the air. The presence of moisture accelerates oxidation, but it does not really cause it. The best way to prevent galvanic corrosion and oxidation is to seal out moisture and air using dielectric grease. For corrosion to take place, air or moisture must be present. Therefore, the grounding polarity of a circuit has little ...

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From The President’s Desk: Doing The Impossible  - column by Hank Henke

Writing this column is the hardest thing I have to do each month. For those of you who know me, you may think that I am never at a loss for something to say. One-on-one and face-to-face, or even speaking in front of a group, isn’t as hard for me as writing this column. It seems that I can never think of a topic that might be of interest to our readers and members.

Maybe I should tell you about the customer that didn’t have a clue on how to test ... No, we all have them, and we all have the same stories to tell ... I know ... How about the rebuilder in the next town who always wants to under sell me? No, we all have those stories, too ... I know ... what about the lack of American-made parts? Heard that before? What about our vendors selling to our customers? That is old news as well. With all of those problems facing us, it is no wonder that some believe that our industry is dying. I keep hearing that rebuilders are a dying breed.

Why fix something or re-manufacture something, when you can buy a new one at a lower price? Nobody cares about how well it is made or how long it will last, as long as they get a piece of paper with it that says it has been computer-tested. Americans are really good at throwing away old or outdated things, even when the old technology may have been more durable or performed better than the new product that is replacing it. I live in a small farming town, and it looks like a lot of those old Fords and Chevys are still around and running after 30 years of mud, crud and dirt being caked on. Is anyone going to keep a Prius for 30 years?

I love being able to take something apart, figure out what is wrong with it, fix it, hand it back to my customer and tell him that it should last another 20 years. New stuff just doesn’t seem to last. New products using the latest technology, appear to be built so that they will break or fail faster and faster. (Some conspiracists call this “planned obsolescence”.)

Doesn’t it make sense to fix something rather than just replace it? My grandson Trevor really enjoys making his in-laws look on with shock when he brings a small AC motor back to life with only some oil and an air gun. He repaired a Sawzall® that he rescued from the scrap ...

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Trade Secrets: Time for change  - by Bob Thomas

Although keeping up with new technology is certainly a huge challenge in the rebuilding industry today, there are no longer any “trade secrets” in this business. By trade secrets, I am referring to those techniques and short cuts (many discovered through trial and error) that we all use everyday during the rebuilding process. At one time, competing rebuilding businesses never considered sharing anything they knew with one another, for fear of helping their competition.

When I opened my business in 1980, there were over 30 electrical rebuilding businesses in this northeastern corner of Florida that covers four counties. Several of them had been open since the 1940s, and most of the others were owned and operated by relatives or former employees of one of that original group. Together, they bought nearly four pages of display advertising in the Jacksonville phone book every single year—each trying to out-do the others. In those days, there was fierce price competition between those businesses, and few rebuilders shared their information with any others—even their relatives! I was lucky enough to already know two small shop owners when I opened my business. They both unselfishly helped me when I started out, and as I gained experience, I was able to return their favors. But that was an exception to the norm back then. Perhaps I was just lucky to know those two guys, or maybe we were ahead of our time.

Suppliers like Ace Electric and later WAI, tried to educate their customers and the industry by holding seminars from the 1970s to the 1990s. That was where many of those trade secrets were shared by instructors like Bob Goulding, Joe Davis and Ray McCollum. The Automotive Parts Rebuilders Association conducted weekend electrical clinics several times a year at various locations around the US and Canada. Those events provided many opportunities for rebuilders to share information with each other. There were seminars and panel discussions, where industry veterans like Richard Vensel, Mohammad Samii, Dan Smith, Alan Melton and many others, willingly shared their experience and knowledge with anyone who took the time to show up. Sadly, those events were well-attended only when someone

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