Introducing from the glove box an automotive podcast with Mike and Tony Tatich the father-son team and owners of TMT Automotive in Northern Indiana. Today's topics are extinct carburettes owning a shop and axles and diffs. Well hello everybody it's Mike and Tony Tatich from the glove box. Independent automotive shop owners in Northern Indiana. We come to you with this podcast and just discuss a few different subjects each week and we're coming to you again with that. So Tony how you doing today? Doing pretty good. That's it? Oh wow, short and sweet. We were gonna throw out a subject of car brands that aren't around anymore.
Some of the some of the different ones and I was looking down a list and you know we know quite a few of these and stuff I mean most recently I mean things like Mercury and Pontiac and Oldsmobile and all those car lines kind of went to the side and stuff but you know there's some other those were great brands.
Yeah they were they were kind of I think a lot of manufacturers figured out they had like General Motors they had so many different car brands that were very similar that they you know they killed off a few of those you know Pontiac included it now you know Pontiac made some really cool high-ride cars and stuff but when you start having so many they're very similar and then as modern vehicles have transitioned out of cars to SUVs and trucks you know things things needed to change with that so yeah
AMC Tony don't do you know anything about the American Motor Company which is what AMC stands for?
It's in my generation when you say AMC we think of a movie theater. Well that wasn't what it originally was so yeah it was what was the best AMC car do you remember any of those names? Pacer.
That wasn't the best one but they did make a lot of hot rods AMX, Javelin. Okay I forgot yeah Javelin yeah Javelin is the only one I know besides the Pacer.
Yeah AMX was there like 69 they made really really fast cars and stuff. I know they tried to ruin Harley Davidson. That's not the same company. That's not the same company either? No that's AMF. That's AMF. That was the what was it? Pool Table Company I think.
You're showing your age and I'm showing my age. Yeah no it's not not the same company so but they built a lot of smaller cars or one of the first companies that came out there 1954 to 1988 but they built small cars when they closed when I was born.
Here we go but yeah they they they actually lasted till 1988 which is really surprising. The one thing I remember about them they had really flat front fenders on the car and they would rush through the top because water would just puddle there and they'd just rush right through so they were kind of a mess so. Saab was a 1945 to 2012. What a piece of crap. All of them every single one of them.
Sorry Aaron Stokes one of our mentors. Make sure he doesn't hear that. What a piece of crap. Yeah he stopped he started out with the Saab shop in
Nashville Tennessee but yeah Swedish-born Saab was was GM took him over in 2000 and by 2012 closed him up so. And later on in life they got worse and worse too so plastic breaking on them left and right interior pieces and just not a not a very pleasant car. Yep very good Pontiac 1926 to 2010 favorite
Pontiac? My favorite Pontiac? Yeah. WS6 Firebird. WS6 Firebird.
Okay we just saw a pretty cool one a couple weeks ago when we were going through where we're going through Bulling Green Kentucky. Yeah Arts Corvette Museum. Shout out to Arts Corvette Museum if you ever go to the Corvette Museum in Bulling Green stop by and see Art he's got a lot of cool cars in here.
There was a GTO judge in it. There was a GTO judge. Pretty cool and several other things but yeah yeah Trans Am Firebird was definitely their yeah you know their make most favorite Trans Am I think we talked about in an earlier episode was one of my movies Burt Reynolds. They had one of those in there too.
What's that? One of those Burt Reynolds Trans Am's.
Yeah they did yeah yeah so you know that was the old Smoky and Abandoned movies and stuff used a lot of that so it was amazing a lot of TV shows were sponsored by car manufacturers and stuff so you always saw that and you see even see that now even know what's what's the one that we watch based in Montana with Yellowstone.
Yellowstone yeah. Sponsored by Dodge.
Pretty much Dodge you see trucks all over through there so those are quite interesting. Anybody remember the Checker Cab Company which was all those big yellow cabs? The only reason I know anything about this company is Mike has a fascination with what no no Checker Cab someday. Those are those are pretty cool those things had huge back seats. Most of the body panels I think the fenders and the doors are off like 55 Chevy stuff so they had a lot of that
Tri-5 Chevy stuff was shared with that yeah but it was all extended out if I remember correctly so the car was a lot longer than normal Tri-5 Chevy.
Yes yeah it was what's a Tri-5 Chevy? 55 to 57.
Oh there you go everybody you learn Tri-5 okay new little old guys don't call it that so. Three years of those Chevy's. But that company made all the taxi cabs the really big cabs and stuff and in the country so if you got in a taxi cab in New York City or saw any of the old even the old TV show taxi was all all around all around that type of car. The Tucker was a car was only made two years they wrote there was a movie called Tucker.
I got nothing on that.
Yeah it was a Tucker torpedo and stuff but it was a guy that tried to he had a little finance issues and kind of took him down and stuff so hey it'd be an Indiana boys Auburn, Duesenberg and Cord were made 1900 and 1937 over in Auburn Indiana which we'll talk up a little bit about Auburn a little later in the show too.
So it's amazing how many of those car companies though that there was and how many car companies there was through the 20s and 30s and 40s and in everything really up until what the Second World War seemed to take out a decent amount of car companies.
Yeah they described those companies as America's Rolls Royces they were the prestigious car. They also won the Indy 500 multiple times.
Yeah a little spin on that. What else we have the Packard American luxury Lincoln and Cadillac owe their prestige to its passing.
This car was was inspired by Enzo Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari is the Ferrari dude yeah broke some land speed records with that Packard after World War II.
Even during World War II that the company switched which a lot of companies did during that they made P-51 Mustang airplanes out of that plant so had a lot of good things.
Along those same lines you had Hudson. Yeah Hudson's in that group too and stuff so that was all part of that that was at 1909 and 1954.
It was the 11th largest manufacturer in a saturated market and you know you know their largest funding for the Hudson was the Hudson department store which was like a Macy's and all those types of things so. For those of you youngsters out there the Hudson Hornet in cars was actually a Hudson.
Yeah it broke a thousand mile record averaging 88.9 miles an hour over a thousand miles and stuff so the last one that we're gonna talk about is our local favorite since we're in in northern Indiana is a Studebaker.
You gotta throw one more local favorite out there the Hummer. Oh well yeah the Hummer yeah the Hummer was made in South Penn also from American AM General which is was kind of tied to American motors AMC in the old days too so there's some loose ties won't get too deep of that but the Studebaker, excuse me 1852 until 1967 originally produced of farm wagons and military vehicles the Studebaker became known as a definitive early American automobile.
They had their quirky and some limit pushing things that they did with their cars and stuff but they designed a lot of cool features. I think power steering or power brakes was first with them and several other innovations and stuff.
Last Studebaker rolled off the assembly line in 1966. If you come to South Bend Indiana there's a beautiful museum with that and many others it's all dedicated to that. Yeah and it's very very very nicely done. Allows you to go through the museum at your own pace and everything and very informative and ton of cars in a small area and stuff and very kid-friendly too.
So yeah the one article I read on that said the best Studebaker best ride of theirs was 1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner. That was supposed to be their top-notch. That's from you know this this article and stuff but any last thoughts on extinct cars? Thank God Suzuki's dead. Yeah the only thing they built well was a motorcycle. Yeah that's true.
Very true that's that was one of them that popped up there we didn't get into that we didn't get into the Kaiser we didn't get into DeSoto we didn't get into the Gio you drove a Gio for a little while.
Yeah three-cylinder Gio Metro and if you saw me you'd wonder how the hell I got in that car. That is very true so. We didn't get into DeLorean either. No couldn't get in DeLorean very we did not talk about DeLorean that was another one but we might have to table this subject and bring it back. We may have to bring this we may have to have part two of distinct and extinct automobiles.
Hi my question for Mike and Tony is just about your whole industry and how being an auto shop owner has changed over the years so what's that been like? Thanks guys.
What’s Changed for 38 Years in the Auto Repair Business?
Got a caller asking our business has been around about 38 years and asked what's changed over that so I've been in it 38 years Tony how long? 14. All right we always have this thing I always say six or eight years. 14 is an adult. Okay yeah and he wants to go back when he was five years old and you know give all the times when dad had him over at the shop picking up trash and stuff like that but but think about how in the time that we've been shop owners how that business has changed so.
So I'll give you an example. When we first went in the business tires were made in two different ways they were made in radial tires which is commonly what we use now they were made in what they call bias ply so a radial tire basically has a steel woven couple sections in it you know underneath the tread and they had two different choices of that. They also still made 13 and 14 inch tires.
Yes they did. 13 14 and 15 inch for the standards and really 15 inch was a real standard and the sizes started changing and stuff so you know not like today's you know we go up to you know 24 26 30 inch you know 20s and 22s are pretty standard on a lot of SUVs and trucks now so that's changed drastically with that.
Hey we went through from that beginning of that we went through from carburetors and really non computerized vehicles to to fuel injected and computerized and computer controlled and all those different things and that was that was always a weird time as you've gone through there because they were very very rough around the edges let's say a lot of the early computerized vehicles and the way they kind of computerized things and controlled things and stuff so. Good old prom modules.
Yeah it was a little chip inside the computer that if you had to change something going on you change this little chip inside it basically which is you know now went by the wayside too so you know I mean again cars change cars really at that point in time didn't have check engine lights so probably all of you have seen your check engine light on your dash at one time or another I mean they didn't really have that because which we what we'll talk briefly about that we hate the word check engine light because it's such a catch-all. So stupid.
Yeah it doesn't so here's a here's a quick thing on check engine light you think it's really gonna help you and give you a lot of guidance they were trying to make a uniform between car companies but the check engine light will not come on if you're out of oil will not come on if you're out of coolant and your cars overheating it's really about the computer control side of the car. But it'll come on for your gas cap.
Yeah if your gas cap's loose it'll come on for that it'll come on if your transmission is going out which doesn't make any sense either so as automotive shop owners we don't overly like that because it's such a catch-all and literally in a modern car your check engine light could come on for thousands of different reasons of problems so you go into your local shop and you get something fixed they replace some parts turn off the check engine light and lo and behold a week or two later comes back on.
Well that's because there's so many different things all tied to it we would probably like to see that you know split out a little bit more and stuff but we're not we're not in the manufacturing business we're in the repair on the on the backside but you know a lot of those things have just changed drastically I mean what about the equipment?
No the equipment's hugely different I mean you know we used to do engine overhauls in in the shops and we used to do what they call valve jobs and all these types of things we did a lot of you know we repaired a lot of things now we remove and replace so you know you get a bad master cylinder on your car or brake caliper well you know we used to rebuild those now you just take them off and you know put another put another part on they've gotten a lot more efficient on the way they make those and it's really counterproductive to go through the repair side of it than just swapping those out and stuff.
But yeah, I mean massive things. I mean now you know there's cars that if you don't have an electronic scanner you can't even change brakes on cars on several models Volkswagen comes to mind with that so well in the evolution now you talked about the evolution of carburetion and computerization now we're going through the evolution of a hybrid car to an electric car and I am going to presume we're going to be running on some type of different alternative fuel at some point in time.
With other cars too and there's there's a whole type of huge evolution of change that's embarking on us on on our transportation industry at this point in time that's through my years of ownership and I can only imagine that when I'm sitting here 38 years of ownership the amount of change that will have happened.
With the introduction of electronics and cars through that process too yeah and those are big differences. I remember when I went in into the shop business some old-timer said you can't stay in this business, and I was 22 years old they said you can't stay in this business because they're gonna put computers in cars.
And it's like, well I'm young enough that I guess I'm gonna have to figure that out, but it cleared the way, or a lot of guys retired at that point in time when they made a change.
Same things happen and now with hybrid cars and electric cars and stuff like that in our shops. We've serviced hybrid cars and electric cars, you know, pretty much since the beginning of them, but a lot of shops don't do that. So make sure that you if you have those type of cars pick a service center that does have that type of skill set, and we do.
I think Tony one of the things that we do that it's that's a hundred percent must is continuing education.
Tony could tell you a little bit about that, but everybody on our team is constantly in continuing education. I mean, we go, you know, we drive some long distances and or flight distances to go to some great training, but tell us a little bit about some of the continuing education things that that were involved in in our shops.
I mean we require 40 hours of continuing education every single year for every single employee and it's part of their part of their job you know that can detail anything from from somebody in service advising and in learning about customer service and how they can they can translate a technical problem to layman's terms for for you know most of us to be able to understand that way that can go all the way to a technician learning more about electric vehicles we have one technician that's going to electric vehicle class next week and stuff so it's it's something that that we've had to stay up on heavily.
I mean the, you know, just in tires and in everything one thing that you never dealt with in the 80s and 90s and early 2000s you what was the TPMS sensor then yeah we didn't know what you didn't have one now so you went to the gas station when you pumped your gas you checked your oil and you checked your tire pressure.
Now people don't do that. There's a light on the dash that tells you about it so you know we've had to go through massive studying of tire pressure monitoring systems, we've had to go through studying of alignment, studying of different fluids, studying of how this manufacturer does one thing and this manufacturer does that same exact thing totally different.
Truly that sometimes does make the aftermarket automotive repair business even more difficult than being in a dealership because the dealership services one make one model you know one brand specific vehicle versus we're servicing all makes and all models so we really have to stay up on our education even more so than a lot of other places may have to.
Now that's a good point.
I think it's a continuing education as, and honestly, you know, the number of dealerships has shrunk immensely in the country. Independent shops are on the same same course and stuff. The great thing in your part of the country when you find a good independent shop that services all makes and all models you can have, you can be driving a GMC or a Ford truck and you know your life partner can be driving a you know BMW or you know whatever else. So most of the shops like that were affiliated with nationwide service all makes all models, and that's really important so you don't have to jump around as a consumer to, you know, go here for oil changes and there for tires and this for that and back to the dealer for that you've got one shop that can handle all.
That and that's what we do with our models, and that's what a lot of our friends in the industry do and their shops across the nation. But massive changes, like anything in life, you got to continue to make those pivots those adjustments to continue to stay up with that type of work and that's what we do at our family service centers.
Auburn Gear Sponsorship
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Hey that's pretty cool for us, our first sponsor!
So Auburn Gear is a is a company that's been around a long time makes an amazing product for all the things that like Tony shared with you from the you know hauling and drag racing and performance to Jeeps to all those different things and stuff. But what is a gear? What is a Auburn Gear or differential?
So you know those are what takes that power from the engine and puts it to the wheels that's what transitions that engine power through the transmission to the to the you know to the to the wheels and stuff.
Auburn Gear builds, you can take out the original one in your car and install their product, they make a great great fit product we use them in our service centers and it's a good product.
But we're gonna talk a little bit about differentials and axles and all those types of things.
So, and again, thank you Auburn Gear for joining us on this on this adventure, we appreciate them very much.
So differentials and axles let's talk about it Tony man where do you want to start you know I start with conventional stuff you want to go to CV axles. What do you want to do?
Well let's let's talk about conventional, which were older vehicles or trucks and Jeeps and those type of stuff. So tell us a little bit about what what those are on, you know, Jeeps and pick up trucks and four-wheel drives and all those things.
Number One Cause of Differential Failure
Well I'm gonna go to where the number one failure of most differentials is, and it's by not changing your fluid. So most people don't realize that your differential fluid and most vehicles needs to be changed every 50,000 miles and the leading cause of failure in a differential is water intrusion, and that can happen from either you submerging your differential and there's breather tubes in them that are supposed to be above the water grade to allow the differential to breathe it then will suck in water, or it can just be from your differential sitting in your vehicle sitting and drawing that moisture.
Here in Indiana where we're at, we're gonna have a hundred degree temperature swing summer to winter and that causes different moisture levels in the air. If you don't change that fluid that will cause water to get in there.
Those gears and everything are so fine and so close together and have such tight tolerances that any type of water or lack of lubrication from the differential fluid will cause that metal to chafe and then those little medical metal particles will then cause the differential to lock up or start to make noise most of the time when you have a differential failure it is because it has the lead indicator of noise you're driving down the road and it sounds like you're going over a rumble strip constantly in that sometimes can actually be from your differential.
Yeah, those are good points and stuff. So changing that fluid regularly everybody knows pretty much their oil change intervals. A lot of people don't know of this six seven eight nine ten different other fluids in a car.
What Differentials Do
But a differential basically takes that power from the engine that goes through the transmission first and puts power to the wheel so if you take off really fast from you know in a front-wheel-drive or real rear-wheel drive and squeal the tires that's that's caused by the differential.
So this power has to come back through the center of the car. In most cases if we're talking about trucks and jeeps and stuff like that, then it has to do a turn. I'm forgetting my angles now. 90 degree turn right to take the power down the middle and go out to the left rear wheel and the right rear wheel.
So differentials also allow you to have what we call positive traction so does one rear tire spin when you take off or do two and most people want a four-wheel drive that has both rear tires that can spin or puts power to the to the to the ground and stuff so those are a lot of things the front-wheel-drive version that has issues so front-wheel-drive cars have what Tony?
What's CV stand for?
Constant velocity. Constant velocity because…So constant power, so think of your wrist that's really what a CV axle is, it allows you to put power to it, but it allows it to turn left right up and down. I'm doing this with my hand because I'm one of those guys you can't see that on the broadcast but that's really what it is.
So it's essentially a CV axle is a fancy driveshaft, but it's a group of bearings and stuff that allows you to put power to the front wheels but what are the front wheels have to do on a car also they have to be able to turn gotta be able to turn so you can steer so constant velocity we need to still put power to those but we have to allow the car to turn a like we're talking about Auburn gear a rear differential those you know there's some vehicles they have a little bit of turn but most cases those don't turn at all there's their solid rear axles where the constant velocity joint had to come in when we did front-wheel-drive cars in the transverse mounted engine and transmission and all that means instead of the engine in under the hood in the transmission in the middle of the car front-wheel-drive cars have the engine and transmission really directly in between both front tires and then to be able to supply this power to the to the tire to the front tires for a front wheel drive.
Or a lot of all-wheel drive vehicles use that version also to go back to our beginning subject in this episode OZMobile I think engineered some of that and everything with the front-wheel-drive side of things in the 60s and 70s along with Cadillac yeah we think of front-wheel-drive cars with front you know that power the front wheels you know maybe be in a you know 1980 Chevrolet came out with a Citation and a Chevy Cavalier and you know everybody else had OZMobile Tornado yeah OZMobile Tornado the first front-wheel-drive car I think it knows it was like 1965, 64, 66 somewhere in there but they had a front-wheel-drive car and they were really way ahead of their time with that type of setup even that old GMC motorhome that it's in a movie start or struck the movie stripes from the old old days and–
You're really dating yourself.
Well hey I'm an old dude that's what we do, but if you watch the movie stripes with Bill Murray when he was a really young dude and they were going off the base that big GMC green motorhome thing those had a front-wheel-drive setup in them with OZMobile power in them too. Xo anyhow that's a little off the subject that's kind of what happens with especially me but all your cars have some type of differential some type of axle some way to take the power from the engine and get it to the tires get it to the wheels a CV axle what do you service on a CV
Servicing CV Axles
Well a lot of times you end up replacing CV axles nowadays, talking about the evolution of a shop owner, you used to take the CV axle out and replace the boot on the CV axle because the boot will tear which is just a rubber piece that basically protects the the gears and everything where the movement happens in the CV axle like Mike was talking about your wrist you imagine a boot being around your wrist a big rubber neoprene boot.
So you used to take CV axles out and replace the boot nowadays it's become so labor-intensive to do that that it's actually more cost-effective just to replace the entire CV axle is there fluid that needs changed in those there's grease in them that when does it need change does not need changed but when the grease does escape that's where you can get clicking noises and everything else from a CV axle what do you think a CV axle and a front-wheel-drive car what do you think its average longevity is as far as mileage?
I think that's all dependent upon your climate honestly because it's a rubberized item so you know rubber can dry out if you go out West pretty heavily versus here we have a lot greater chance of it getting hit by ice or hit by a squirrel or you know road debris or whatever that way so I think it depends on your climate I would say on average probably 120,000 miles maybe 150,000 miles at most so yeah the car that the car that does a lot of straight driving with very little turning you're out on the interstate those will last longer but when you turn and start and stop and turn a lot of corners that wears on them a little bit more so they don't need to be service they don't have fluid in them that needs change periodically like a differential but they do wear out they have grease they have movement they don't last forever.
I mean early days Tony those things would last 20 30 40 thousand miles and you have problems or you would tear the boots so they've engineered those a lot better where we don't have near the failure well and keep in mind too in a front-wheel-drive car.
Yeah there's not fluid in your CV axles, but that's why transmission fluid becomes so important to be able to flush because that differential component is built in through the transmission and the transmission is actually what's lubricating the differential part as I do air quotes that you can't see you know so transmission fluid has to lubricate the front axle assembly basically through the transmission yeah that's those are all good points.
About Auburn Gear
So you know in this episode we're talking about differentials talking about axles and all the different ways that power gets to the wheels and again our new sponsored Auburn Gear we appreciate them being along with us for the ride and please don't forget to go check out them out. Visit auburngeardiffs.com for all the different things they have.
They have great products for a lot of different vehicles and shops like ours are happy to provide them and install them as well so that's a little bit From the Glovebox on axles and differentials.
Hey, this is a father and son team Mike and Tony Tatich. Just want to thank you for hanging out with us again today so you got anything to wrap up Tony it's a shut in the glovebox time so we'll see you next time on the next episode take care everybody make sure you're here for our next one.
Have a question for Mike and Tony? Call it in at 888-201-0858.
This podcast is brought to you by TMT Automotive and Momentum Drives Marketing.