The American Council of Frame and Alignment Specialists (ACOFAS) recently held an alignment technician training clinic for shop owners and technicians at Lafayette Spring Company in Lafayette, La.
As with all ACOFAS clinics, the August clinic featured one day of classroom instruction and one day of hands-on experience training. The initial classroom instruction was presented by James Roark (Akron Wheel & Frame) and Gordon Botts (Botts Welding & Truck Service) and the afternoon instruction was provided by Chris Schutt, Bee-Line’s alignment and frame instructor. Additionally, the second day’s hands-on training was conducted by Chris Schutt.
ACOFAS says the class began with proper interviewing techniques a repair shop should employ when questioning the driver and/or the owner of the vehicle as to what they believe may be the vehicle’s problem. More often than not, their views are not always accurate or fully inclusive frequently leading to either incorrect/incomplete repairs suggested by the driver/owner, or at the very least, invoice disputes. ACOFAS says issues such as who holds legal title to the vehicle, or otherwise has the proper authority to authorize the repair, were also addressed. A round table discussion followed during which numerous examples and experiences by the various shops were discussed, the organization says.
The second portion of the classroom instruction addressed proper pre-alignment inspection. ACOFAS says his included checking tire wear, proper tire inflation, wheels, king-pins (allowable tolerances), tie-rod ends, drag link, springs and spring bushings, condition of the frame rails, loose fasteners in frame cross-members, and the condition of drive axle suspension.
Finally, ACOFAS says the hands-on session demonstrated all aspects of an alignment inspection including where to commence the actual alignment. Chris Schutt expertly demonstrated how to check the frame rails and cross-members, and what to look for on the drive axle suspension. With updated procedures and techniques, he demonstrated how to simultaneously correct the steer axle for both camber and caster, saving effort and time. The association adds the final phase was setting the two and verifying that all the readouts on the computer are accurate. All attendees were afforded the opportunity to try their hand at the new procedures.
ACOFAS thanks the shop hosts of this event, Mark Andrus and Brian LaLonde, who put an incredible amount of time into preparing their shop, finding the best Cajun food around and reminding the attendees of all of the great hospitality that the South is known for. Their efforts, and the incredible expertise of Chris Schutt, made this alignment training clinic a huge success, the association says.