Tech Tips December 2012


December Index Tech Tips National News Biz Tips


ALLDATA Launches Product Updates Requested by Customers

ALLDATA LLC announced the release of upgrades to its ALLDATA Repair and ALLDATA Collision products in response to customer feedback. The new generation ALLDATA Repair S3000 and ALLDATA Collision S3500 adds additional customer messaging; expanded and simplified search capabilities; improved filtering by information type; and an improved saved article feature. ALLDATA’s legacy repair products also have received updates.

A new “library request” button brings up a simplified form for requesting additional or needed mechanical and collision repair data. The feature aids customers who need help finding procedures for newly-released models, pre-1982 vehicles or other obscure data. ALLDATA Research Library staff responds with needed answers.


I-CAR Helps OEMs Build Stronger Collision Repair Network Programs

I-CAR held a press conference at the SEMA Show, concentrating on its relationship with an increasing number of vehicle manufacturers. Nissan/Infiniti, Chrysler, and Honda were recognized for recently introducing collision repair network programs that require the industry-recognized I-CAR Gold Class Professionals designation, while 15 vehicle manufacturers include the I-CAR Welding Qualification Series or limited other I-CAR training as a requirement for their network programs.

I-CAR CEO & President, John Van Alstyne, stated, “The I-CAR Professional Development Program (PDP) has become the industry standard for knowledge. The PDP was designed to provide the technicians responsible for various and critical phases of the collision repair process the education and knowledge required to perform complete and safe repairs. Additionally, the industry has also discovered the PDP helps businesses improve performance and reduce risk,” he continued, “According to a recent I-CAR study on repair facility Key Performance Indicators (KPI), there is clear linkage between I-CAR training and KPI improvement in areas such as cycle time, touch time, rework, CSI, and even revenue.”

James Roach, Senior Vice President, Parts and Service Division of American Honda, joined Van Alstyne and discussed Gold Class as an element of the recently launched Honda ProFirst program. Roach stated, “Honda has a firm commitment to quality, and customer satisfaction is always top of mind. I-CAR’s PDP and the Gold Class recognition program are the industry standards for knowledge, helping form the foundation for business and technician success through training that provides repairers with knowledge and skills needed to achieve complete repairs and safe repairs.”


I-CAR Launches New Interactive Aluminum-Intensive Vehicle Repair Training

I-CAR announced the availability of its new, highly interactive live training course, Aluminum-Intensive Vehicle Repairs (ALI01).

This I-CAR course offers discussion, education, and decision-making exercises designed to equip collision repair professionals with the knowledge needed to repair aluminum-intensive vehicles. Throughout the course, students make repair procedure decisions on a simulated aluminum-intensive vehicle, exposing them to some of the considerations that they may be faced with on a regular day in their own collision repair facilities.

During the course, students will learn about the distinctive characteristics of aluminum and requirements for proper electrode wire and rivet-type and length selection. Additionally, anchoring and straightening considerations, removal and installation procedures, and attachment methods for different vehicles are identified.

ALI01 fulfills I-CAR ProLevel training requirements in the I-CAR Professional Development Program (PDP) for the Aluminum Structural Technician role and New Technology training requirements for the Steel Structural Technician role. In October, Aluminum Structural Technicians and shop owners following the PDP were contacted about ALI01 with information on how the new three credit hour course would be streamlined, meaning technicians will take three fewer courses and nine less credit hours in ProLevel 1. ALI01 is replacing content in four courses currently offered in the Aluminum Structural Technician role: SPA01, SPA02, PRA01, and SSA01.

These courses will remain available to the Aluminum Structural Technician through July 15, 2013, though I-CAR recommends taking the new ALI01 course whenever possible because it provides the most beneficial learning experience. Class registration is open and available on the I-CAR website,


Research Team Unveils Magnesium Front-End Body Structure

Dutch inventor Daan Roosegaarde and road construction company Heijmans, will team up to complete an experimental road next year that glows in the dark using a concept designed to reduce accidents caused by dark or inclement weather conditions.

The United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC (USAMP) has successfully built a new magnesium-intensive vehicle front-end body structure. The milestone experiment, a part of the group’s Magnesium Front-End Research and Development (MFERD) Project, was carried out to establish the practicality of building such a structure in order to build lighter, yet equally safe, production cars.

Phase I of the project indicated it is possible to achieve a 45 percent final net weight reduction in a magnesium-intensive front-end unibody structure and a 24 percent weight savings in a body-on-frame architecture through increased use of magnesium, when compared to baseline designs using conventional materials.
In addition to the reduction in weight, the part count was reduced by 59 percent through the integration of die casting and addition of aluminum extrusions, while meeting all specifications for vehicle stiffness and fatigue and with a crashworthiness equivalent of the baseline models based on simulations.

Two front-end architectures were selected by the project team; a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) unibody represented by the Cadillac CTS passenger car and a body-on-frame (BOF) represented by the Ford F-150 pickup truck. The OEMs provided the baseline steel data, vehicle design and performance targets for the USAMP team for hypothetical design and technical cost modeling of the magnesium front-end structures.

As part of Phase II of MFERD, the USAMP project team then designed, fabricated parts, assembled, surface finished and completed testing of more than 200 demonstration structures, representing major components in the unibody front end. Half of these magnesium structures were built using friction stir linear welding (FSLW) and the remaining structures were built utilizing a laser-assisted, self-piercing rivet (LSPR) process.

The first phase of the project ran from 2007 to 2009 and developed key enabling technologies in magnesium extrusion, sheet, high-integrity body casting, joining and assembly. During this phase, a significant knowledge base was also established in magnesium corrosion protection, crashworthiness, fatigue and durability, and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

USAMP is a team within the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), a cooperative research effort formed by GM, Ford and Chrysler.


Study Shows High-Strength Steel Most Cost-Effective for Lightweighting

The Steel Market Development Institute is touting a new government study that shows advanced high-strength steel is the most affordable material for the reduction of mass in automobiles.

A new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report entitled Mass Reduction for Light-Duty Vehicles for Model Years 2017-2025 prepared by EDAG, Inc., George Washington University and Electricore, Inc. examined mid-size body, chassis and interior vehicle systems and determined that basic lightweighting costs $0.46 per pound of weight saved ($1.02 per kilogram) using advanced high-strength steels (AHSS), compared to $1.55 per pound ($3.41 per kilogram) using aluminum.

“Cost models have traditionally associated a significant cost penalty with alternative materials and this NHTSA report confirms this while demonstrating advanced high-strength steels provide significant mass reduction at the lowest possible cost,” Lawrence W. Kavanagh, president, Steel Market Development Institute, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said. “This is significant, as automakers have the challenging task of developing affordable vehicles that meet new and tightening regulations.”

In addition to its cost advantage, steel’s crash performance was also confirmed in this report. George Washington University verified the excellent crash performance of the lightweight vehicle design in simulated New Car Assessment Program, Frontal, Lateral Moving Deformable Barrier, and Lateral Pole tests, along with the International Institute for Highway Safety’s Roof, and Frontal Offset tests.