Without OEM Information, You're Flying Blind - BodyShop Business

Without OEM Information, You’re Flying Blind

Mike is a great guy who runs a collision repair facility in Joliet, Ill. We’ve always had a good relationship, and he never holds back when we talk. Good or bad, you’ll get exactly what you asked for – complete honesty.

Mike had only been using OEM repair information for a couple of weeks, so I called him looking for some feedback. I was not expecting to hear what he told me. I specifically asked him how he was doing using OEM repair information in his shop’s workflow. Mike told me that in the short time he had been using factory information, it had already saved his shop from having a serious delivery issue. And Mike has always taken pride in delivering vehicles to his customers on time.

Avoiding Disaster
Describing what happened, Mike said, “We had a Jeep Liberty in here. It had an OCS (occupant classification system) module and an ORC (occupant restraint controller) module. Luckily, we checked before we installed the new modules because, according to the OEM, you must install them one at a time. Install the occupant classification module (OCM) first and allow it to receive calibration data from the ORC. Then, install the ORC module and allow it to calibrate with the OCS. If you install both new modules at the same time, you have a serious problem – it sets an irreversible fault. How would we have known that? It would have been impossible to know that! Without OEM information, you’re flying blind.”

Fortunately, Mike’s technician looked up the procedures ahead of time, and it’s a good thing he did. He saved the shop a lot of hurt.

Basically, the OEM procedure says that the OCS components of the passenger side front seat cushion (including the cushion frame, springs, pad, seat weight bladder and pressure sensor, seat cushion foam and the OCM) are a factory calibrated and assembled unit. Once the OCS is installed and the electrical connections are made, it uploads calibration settings from the OCM and stores them in the memory of the airbag control module, also called the ORC. Any time one of the OCM components is removed or replaced for any reason, the OCM must be re-calibrated.

Simple, right? Not really! Here is one of the warnings included in the OCS/OCM installation procedure:

CAUTION: On vehicles equipped with the Occupant Classification System (OCS), never replace both the Airbag Control Module (ACM) (also known as the Occupant Restraint Controller/ORC) and the Occupant Classification Module (OCM) at the same time. If both require replacement, replace the OCM first. Then, perform the supplemental restraint verification test including an Ignition-On time of at least one minute before replacing the ACM. Both the ACM and the OCM store OCS calibration data, which they transfer to one another during the first minute of Ignition-On time after one of them is replaced. If both modules are replaced at the same time, an irreversible fault will be set in both modules. If the data transfer is not allowed sufficient time to complete between modules (at least one minute of Ignition-On), an irreversible fault will be set in the module requiring the data.

Do No Harm

Part of the physicians’ Hippocratic Oath says that they must do no harm. I think that goes for collision shops, too. When a customer brings in their vehicle, they expect the shop to know how to correctly repair it. They don’t expect the shop to damage it further. It happens, but it’s kind of bad for business, don’t you think?

Mike summed up the value of OEM collision repair information when he said, “When you can show the insurance company and the vehicle owner that the car was repaired to factory standards, everyone wins!”

This repair/service information is excerpted from information published by the vehicle manufacturer and is intended for the purpose of promoting OEM collision repair information to trained, professional technicians with the knowledge, tools and equipment to do the job properly and safely. Before attempting any repairs described, refer to the complete article in ALLDATA Collision S3500. It is recommended that these procedures not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers.”

Karl Kirschenman, ALLDATA collision product manager, holds a bachelor of science degree in communication. He has more than 10 years of experience in the collision industry.

© 2013 ALLDATA LLC. All rights reserved. All technical information, images and specifications are from ALLDATA Collision S3500. ALLDATA and ALLDATA Collision are registered trademarks of ALLDATA LLC. Jeep and Liberty are registered trademarks of Chrysler Group LLC. All other marks are the property of their respective holders.

You May Also Like

Auto Glass: An Industry Shattered

The business model of mobile auto glass replacement has given way to brick-and-mortar locations to accommodate windshield calibrations on vehicles equipped with ADAS.

The auto glass industry, like all segments of the automotive industry, has changed over the past few years due to advancements in electronics technology in vehicles, particularly advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). With the proliferation of these systems in vehicles today, auto glass has had to rework the business model it has followed for many years. Calibrations and requirements for the space they’re performed in, such as level surface, lighting, etc., have drastically changed how the entire automotive repair industry operates. Mobile auto glass replacement, where customers could get a windshield replaced at their home or place of work, was the norm for so many years. Now, however, it has given way to brick-and-mortar locations to accommodate the static calibration process for windshield replacement on vehicles equipped with ADAS.  

Navigating the Intricate Landscape of Coatings and ADAS

With refinish and ADAS, the theme time and time again comes back to: check the OEM repair recommendations.

Maximize Your Scan Tool

Are you maximizing your scan tools to their full potential? Don’t let them be just an expensive code reader.

Networking: Is It a Car or Computer?

Understanding vehicle electronics will be a necessity for all shops in order to not only repair the vehicle but justify the costs.

Topology and Your Scan Tool

Topology influences how you access modules with your scan tool.

Other Posts

The Digital Transformation of Collision Repair

The strategic integration of digital tools and technologies in body shops is becoming the new refinish industry benchmark.

Multimeter Accuracy: How Important Is It?

Multimeter accuracy is critical for EV diagnostics.

ADAS Calibration: Accuracy is Critical

For an ADAS system to operate to its full potential, it must be calibrated with the greatest accuracy possible.

Chassis Alignment: A Challenging Diagnostic Process

The source of the complaint can be the angles, electronics or tires.

An auto technician performing a wheel alignment.