Getting Ready For Mobile Training, Diagnostics and The Open Road

Michael Mobile Technician Clinton, Utah Posted   Latest  
Discussion
Driveability
Electrical
2019 Ford Transit-350 HD 3.2L (V 99V) 6-spd (6R80)

For the last 6 weeks I have been spending my weekends working on my new mobile office. My intention is to have a mobile facility capable of training, diagnostics, key cutting, study, re-working, EEPROM, cloning and every other operation I see. It is a work in progress. Every day I learn the problems associated with the vibrations, jars and swings of the road. Attached are a few pictures of the vehicle. I have had one overnight in the van. It is not a camper but overnight in a rest stop saved me a couple of C notes for a hotel room.

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Off Grid Power Storage

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Cloning ECU Station

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Small Tool Storage

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Shore Power (Plugged In) 

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Overhead Shelves

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Service Information / Research / Office Station

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Key Cutting Station

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I learned quickly that tools jump off the shelves around corners. They can also move from the back to the front rather quickly. Cargo netting has helped with the issue. At least as a stop gap measure until something else is figured out.

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I did not want to get caught without power either AC or DC. So I reluctantly drilled a big hole in the side of the van to connect to shop or home AC power. The Chrome cap above covers a 30A 125V twist connector. There are 4 90AH Lion Power Lithium Iron Batteries that are charged by shore power (AC connection) or the vehicle alternator. There is also a portable generator in case of need.

I did all the woodwork. It looks OK and has a warmer feel than steel shelving. A cabinet maker could pick it apart pretty easy. I still have to add more shelves and storage as I still have crap (tools) without a home.

I put in a vinyl floor. I designed the side desks to have enough floor space to throw out a bedroll. This came in handy a few weeks ago on the way home from Montana. I was able to sleep on the floor without a problem.

There are some things still on the wish list. Rooftop air conditioning, Doors for the cabinets (So I can get rid of cargo nets), A dedicated alternator for batteries and better lighting.

My dream is to travel the country helping with diagnostic and programming needs. On my recent trip to Montana, I cold called several shops and got enough work to pay for my fuel and first night hotel. I don't have the guts to just drive around and cold call every day. I believe there is a need in many markets for a service like this. The question is how we can make it profitable for all parties. If I charge a customer $1K plus to make a overnight run, who is going to pay the bill? Is the end user (car owner) going to be willing to shell out the money for such a service? If it saves them the cost of a 300 mile tow, is it worth it? Would a shop owner shell out $2K plus for a couple of days EEPROM / Cloning Training for their top techs?

I would like some feedback on where I may be successful with this dream. How would you market this? Do you have thoughts on where this can go?

-Mike

+13
Keith Diagnostician
Collinsville, Oklahoma
Keith Default
 

Michael, I am almost done with my NV build. Pictures to follow as well. BTW, I do like how "homie" yours is... On the question at hand, I find it hard to decide who pays, as well as the worth of cold calling. In this industry we deal with many that can talk to talk.... but can not diag the diagnose-able.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
   

Hi Keith, My goal was to have the inside comfortable for me and impressive to those I need to impress. For years I have had a messy rig. Not so bad on cleaning day but awful after a few days. Still struggling but I am doing better. I figured if I had wood it would have a warmer feel to it. Cold calling is an interesting thing. I suppose my efforts were not 100% true cold calling on the trip. I…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Mike: You may be trying to avoid this but a real headache rack just might save your life. It's not just you and the "swings of the road". Sometimes, you have 'help'. I may live in BFE but don't really work here. I'll give you a thought but I don't know if it will pan out for you. Rather than luck of the draw, how about a contracted service on a schedule. In effect, you become a wagon…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Guido, The idea of a route is interesting. It would be expensive to establish. It could work if shops and their customers were willing to wait for diagnostics and programming. I discussed working with some body shops. Stacking up work and calling when enough was there to justify a 5 to 10 hour one way trip. They were all for it. They wanted me to invest in ADAS. I am not quite there yet…

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Shani Technician
Toronto, Ontario
Shani Default
 

Really like the set up so far, thanks for sharing! Unfortunately I do not have a lot of feedback as my experience with mobile is minimal. I've been toying with the idea of venturing that route and this really gets the gears turning, thank you.

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