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Have an IH box truck with an Allison AT545 that pooped itself this week, has barely any main pressure now and lots of glitter in the oil.  Honestly, I've been one to always want to do some auto tranny work.  Could I get a Reman or someone bv else to do it? Yeah, but with reman quality anymore and it seeming that most tranny shops are like fuel injection shops and whack you the same price regardless of what's wrong I'd feel better doing it myself.  

Given these transmissions are really common, theres tons of aftermarket support for them.  Is the stuff decent? 

For sure it's going to get a clutch/seal kit, pump, converter, bushing kit, and hopefully I find no more hamburger in it hard part wise or issues with the valve body.  

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We used aftermarket parts for years on the 350, 400 and 7004R trannys.

If there was an issue, it was us and not the parts.

I would not be afraid to use aftermarket as they are usually far cheaper.

Never been into an Allison but they all work on the same principle.

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'07 ram 48re, didnt go the billet input/output shafts because power sits at 550 Fly W, 415 Rear W, but did the valve body, TC, forward band, band lever, transducer and solenoid, deep pan, changed the clutch body oil seal, added synthetic oil,  everything else was good, 100,000 kms, reason Ive spelled everything out is everything was aftermarket and installed into MY tranny by a great tranny guy. Just my 2 cents.

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I've never used anything but aftermarket in all the tranny's I built.  I buy from WIT transmission parts. I checked my book, they list the AT545 in it, so they should have what you need.  

Have you ever rebuilt and automatic transmission? 

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17 minutes ago, J-Mech said:

I've never used anything but aftermarket in all the tranny's I built.  I buy from WIT transmission parts. I checked my book, they list the AT545 in it, so they should have what you need.  

Have you ever rebuilt and automatic transmission? 

That is a very good query, Ive worked on cars for years and I would never touch an auto trans, ive done some peripheral work but the guts i leave to my regular guy.

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25 minutes ago, J-Mech said:

I've never used anything but aftermarket in all the tranny's I built.  I buy from WIT transmission parts. I checked my book, they list the AT545 in it, so they should have what you need.  

Have you ever rebuilt and automatic transmission? 

Lots of planetary style powershift in off road applications, but never an on highway automatic yet.  Been reading the manual off an on for a few days here and doesnt worry me.  Pretty simple transmission being 4 speed, and no lockup.  Disassembling and cleaning the valve body will be the toughest and part.  

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15 minutes ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

Lots of planetary style powershift in off road applications, but never an on highway automatic yet.  Been reading the manual off an on for a few days here and doesnt worry me.  Pretty simple transmission being 4 speed, and no lockup.  Disassembling and cleaning the valve body will be the toughest and part.  

Auto trans are pretty similar to a powershift.  Disassembling and cleaning the valve body is definitely one of the most time consuming parts, but not tough.  

What manual do you have?  An Allison manual?   

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11 hours ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

Have an IH box truck with an Allison AT545 that pooped itself this week, has barely any main pressure now and lots of glitter in the oil.  Honestly, I've been one to always want to do some auto tranny work.  Could I get a Reman or someone bv else to do it? Yeah, but with reman quality anymore and it seeming that most tranny shops are like fuel injection shops and whack you the same price regardless of what's wrong I'd feel better doing it myself.  

Given these transmissions are really common, theres tons of aftermarket support for them.  Is the stuff decent? 

For sure it's going to get a clutch/seal kit, pump, converter, bushing kit, and hopefully I find no more hamburger in it hard part wise or issues with the valve body.  

That Allison is a pretty old style trans so you will be fine rebuilding it.  Especially if you have some powershift experience. Your quote about aftermarket parts brought back some memories from years ago. My dads buddy actually his old boss and teacher. He had a 4 stall service shop in a very small town sold gas , tires and everything in between. The guy served in world war 2 as a motor pool mechanic. He then took over his dads business. This guy was a automatic transmission expert. When I mean expert he would overhaul at least one a day plus all the oil change tire tuneup work a day would bring. He always had a line of any type of vehicles outside waiting for transmission work.  He would usually overhaul the transmissions at night . He had help in the day removing and installing them. He actually always stocked about a 100 overhaul kits. The familiar ones in orange and white boxes most auto parts stores sold. He had a place in Chicago he bought from. Cost him something around 30 bucks a kit in the 1990s. This guy was a frugal old German. He would buy kits with just the friction plates. Over the years he had saved enough good steel plates he must have had a few thousand of them. We actually helped him build a tumbler cleaner that the basket with steel plates and pebbles tumbled in cleaner fluid to polish them to make them grab better. You don’t find little service places like those anymore, like I said if you had transmission problems on any of the big three companies he had all the aftermarket parts you needed to fix them on hand and you probably had vehicle back in short order.

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At545 a pretty simple, straight forward transmission. Best thing to get your hands on, which I think u read you have, is a book of some sort. Atsg (if I remember correctly?) Makes a good one. They make a book for about every transmission. From what I remember doing them 545 is schools is they don't have to split the cases. You will need some way to compress the large springs on the planetary pistons however.. you can make a simple one from some straight strap and a good piece of plywood and scrap iron. Lots and lots of brake cleaner, good set of feeler gauges for your go, no go clearences and a seal wizard will help. 

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ATSG has about the best manuals there are, but they don't have one for the 500 series Allisons, I looked.  Only Allisons they have books on are the 1000/2000 series used in the pickups/light duty. 

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Also, do not use a magnet to remove the check balls in the valve body if the trans has them. Some are plastic, and some are metal. If they are metal, then the shavings will stick to them after the rebuild and will clog up the passage. Rtv silicone is a no no anywhere on the trans. Too often I've pulled them apart and found the crap clogging up various small passages. Cleanliness is godliness in an auto trans. 

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1 hour ago, dale560 said:

You don’t find little service places like those anymore,

That's because automatic transmissions are a tad more complex than they were back then.  I can pull apart an old 350 turbo and put it back together in short order.  Not much to the old 2 and 3 speeds. 

I'm also betting he wasn't giving a 3yr 100K mile warranty out with them either.  Back then I doubt the ones he was "rebuilding" even had 100K on them when they failed, and hardly anyone drove a vehicle to 100K until the last 25-30 years.  Now it's nothing to buy a car.... a good car.... that has 100K and more on it.  

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11 minutes ago, MinnesotaFarmall said:

You will need some way to compress the large springs on the planetary pistons however.

I'm sure you meant clutch packs.  Planetaries are gear sets.  They don't have pistons. 

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8 hours ago, J-Mech said:

Auto trans are pretty similar to a powershift.  Disassembling and cleaning the valve body is definitely one of the most time consuming parts, but not tough.  

What manual do you have?  An Allison manual?   

Actually found somebody that put up an Allison manual for free in .pdf on the net on a bus site.  Kinda nice it has schematics and theory too.  

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https://www.xcallibertransmission.com/product-category/allison-at-540-542-545-series/

Off hand, the only 'special tools' you might need are a compressor to 'squish' the clutch packs to remove the retaining ring, and a thin blade (feeler gauge) to ensure that you do not pinch a sealing ring on an actuating piston.

All of the clutch packs should be checked with air to make sure that they move, and that there are no leaks, prior to installation.

And if it is too far gone, the above place sells remanufactured transmissions or will by your junk transmission.

I see that the need for a compressor to 'squish' the clutch packs has already been mentioned.

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1 hour ago, Art From Coleman said:

https://www.xcallibertransmission.com/product-category/allison-at-540-542-545-series/

Off hand, the only 'special tools' you might need are a compressor to 'squish' the clutch packs to remove the retaining ring, and a thin blade (feeler gauge) to ensure that you do not pinch a sealing ring on an actuating piston.

All of the clutch packs should be checked with air to make sure that they move, and that there are no leaks, prior to installation.

And if it is too far gone, the above place sells remanufactured transmissions or will by your junk transmission.

I see that the need for a compressor to 'squish' the clutch packs has already been mentioned.

Already have one Art for my other clutch pack experiences.

Actually took it apart this morning and not bad at all, clutches are all pretty much serviceable still, was expecting much worse, getting replaced anyways of course.  

The converter on the other hand was COMPLETELY destroyed.  That's where all the shrapnel was coming from.  Pulled it off the stator and input shaft and it literally fell apart inside.  

That website you showed is where I actually think I'm gonna get my parts from, I like their site setup and seem legit.  May source the converter locally though due to shipping

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16 hours ago, J-Mech said:

That's because automatic transmissions are a tad more complex than they were back then.  I can pull apart an old 350 turbo and put it back together in short order.  Not much to the old 2 and 3 speeds. 

I'm also betting he wasn't giving a 3yr 100K mile warranty out with them either.  Back then I doubt the ones he was "rebuilding" even had 100K on them when they failed, and hardly anyone drove a vehicle to 100K until the last 25-30 years.  Now it's nothing to buy a car.... a good car.... that has 100K and more on it.  

He was the kind of reputable person that didn’t need to offer a warranty. His service and work was all the warranty you needed. If there was a problem it was fixed. He was type of person that took pride in his work.

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1 hour ago, dale560 said:

He was the kind of reputable person that didn’t need to offer a warranty. His service and work was all the warranty you needed. If there was a problem it was fixed. He was type of person that took pride in his work.

Not many like that anymore that stand behind their work......then again on some of this new stuff it's hard to as something else completely out of your control can happen without explanation. 

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1 hour ago, dale560 said:

He was the kind of reputable person that didn’t need to offer a warranty. His service and work was all the warranty you needed. If there was a problem it was fixed. He was type of person that took pride in his work.

I don't doubt that one bit! I did not mean to imply he was "fly by night".  Those guys were almost always genuine and true to their word.  My point to your comment about guys like that being few in the last 25 years or so, is that it became much harder to do those types of rebuilds once people drove more miles, and the transmissions got more complex.  The main failure on the transmissions up into the 80's and even the 90's was that they didn't get serviced often enough, they suffered from contamination (gravel roads and injesting dirt), the fluid  (oil) wasn't as good and here's the big one, we have came a looooong way in the friction material of the clutches.  One other factor was the cars really weren't that old, or had many miles on them.  All he really had to do was put in new gaskets and seals, frictions and clean it out.  He didn't even need many special tools.  If I go into a trans with under 100K now, I may not even have to tear it all the way down to fix it.  But a diesel truck pulling trailers 70mph with 200k+.... that's a different story.  On modern transmissions you have to have a couple grand worth of tools to even consider working on them, and now if you don't offer at least 100K mile/3yr warranty no one wants you to work on their stuff.  People back then trusted that guy, and likely only put 40 or 50k more miles on the vehicle (if that) and bought a new one.  Times, the components, and the tooling are far different now than even 20 years ago, let alone 30 and 40 years.  That's why those types of shops are few.  And honestly, not just any "new" tech is even capable of rebuilding one.  I've met (and employed) good mechanics that couldn't begin to understand an automatic transmission.  They could do engine work all day.... but not powertrain. 

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11 minutes ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

Not many like that anymore that stand behind their work......then again on some of this new stuff it's hard to as something else completely out of your control can happen without explanation. 

Yes there are.  The problem is, no matter what, the general population wants to blame the mechanic shop for literally ANY problem after its been in the shop.  You wouldn't believe the things people will accuse you of, and want money back, or free work.  Or come back 2 years after a repair on something like air conditioning, and expect it to be warranty work.  "People" are truly unbelievable.  It's hard to be an independent owner.  Now, the guy you refuse to warranty his air conditioner recharge from 2 years ago gets on Facebook and runs your name into the ground telling everyone how you ripped him off and don't stand behind your work.  And you lose business because of it.  Literally everything has to be in writing, and you have to play a lot of "defense" instead of focusing on advertising. 

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47 minutes ago, J-Mech said:

I don't doubt that one bit! I did not mean to imply he was "fly by night".  Those guys were almost always genuine and true to their word.  My point to your comment about guys like that being few in the last 25 years or so, is that it became much harder to do those types of rebuilds once people drove more miles, and the transmissions got more complex.  The main failure on the transmissions up into the 80's and even the 90's was that they didn't get serviced often enough, they suffered from contamination (gravel roads and injesting dirt), the fluid  (oil) wasn't as good and here's the big one, we have came a looooong way in the friction material of the clutches.  One other factor was the cars really weren't that old, or had many miles on them.  All he really had to do was put in new gaskets and seals, frictions and clean it out.  He didn't even need many special tools.  If I go into a trans with under 100K now, I may not even have to tear it all the way down to fix it.  But a diesel truck pulling trailers 70mph with 200k+.... that's a different story.  On modern transmissions you have to have a couple grand worth of tools to even consider working on them, and now if you don't offer at least 100K mile/3yr warranty no one wants you to work on their stuff.  People back then trusted that guy, and likely only put 40 or 50k more miles on the vehicle (if that) and bought a new one.  Times, the components, and the tooling are far different now than even 20 years ago, let alone 30 and 40 years.  That's why those types of shops are few.  And honestly, not just any "new" tech is even capable of rebuilding one.  I've met (and employed) good mechanics that couldn't begin to understand an automatic transmission.  They could do engine work all day.... but not powertrain. 

I hear what you say about modern stuff. This guy had anything to fix any kind of trans up until the day he quit in the mid 90s. He had more service tools and specialty stuff for transmissions and parts for them I can ‘t  describe it so you will understand. He actually used to borrow his specialty tools to the smitty transmission center in the big town 45 miles away. If he was alive today he would be fixing Allison and any type Ford or Chrysler. of transmission. He was fixing ford overdrives back when they were new in the 80s.  It was in his blood it was what he did. This shop was in a town of 250 people. Irrigation on potatoes was a big deal the water and sand would wipe out drivetrain. When the 1988 Chevy body style came out he actually used to stock the entire front drive train. Axles , suspension parts brake calipers, wheel bearings not one set of parts he bought in bulk usually a months worth at a time enough for five or so vehicles.  The Chevy dealer in big town used to borrow his parts stock because the pickups were so new they didn’t have them. He used to stock anything you needed for 70s model ihc loadstar as the school there ran them with no extra bus. He stocked complete engines, engine kits and every consumable the bus needed, wheel bearings king pins anything you needed. Then he stocked tires by the ten thousands of dollar inventory. Anything from a front tractor, rear tractor or any type of truck car or pickup tire you needed. But his love was auto transmissions. He had one corner of a 40 x 80 shop setup with his cooker, small press and all the transmission tools you ever needed. He sat in that corner and rebuilt transmissions almost every night of his life. And everyone in a  60 or 70 mile radius had their transmission fixed there. The guy was an expert body man also. He changed the paint color on a 79 el Camino he owned then sold to us. You would never know it didn’t come from factory in Cadillac crimson red. 

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16 hours ago, dale560 said:

I hear what you say about modern stuff. This guy had anything to fix any kind of trans up until the day he quit in the mid 90s. He had more service tools and specialty stuff for transmissions and parts for them I can ‘t  describe it so you will understand. He actually used to borrow his specialty tools to the smitty transmission center in the big town 45 miles away. If he was alive today he would be fixing Allison and any type Ford or Chrysler. of transmission. He was fixing ford overdrives back when they were new in the 80s.  It was in his blood it was what he did. This shop was in a town of 250 people. Irrigation on potatoes was a big deal the water and sand would wipe out drivetrain. When the 1988 Chevy body style came out he actually used to stock the entire front drive train. Axles , suspension parts brake calipers, wheel bearings not one set of parts he bought in bulk usually a months worth at a time enough for five or so vehicles.  The Chevy dealer in big town used to borrow his parts stock because the pickups were so new they didn’t have them. He used to stock anything you needed for 70s model ihc loadstar as the school there ran them with no extra bus. He stocked complete engines, engine kits and every consumable the bus needed, wheel bearings king pins anything you needed. Then he stocked tires by the ten thousands of dollar inventory. Anything from a front tractor, rear tractor or any type of truck car or pickup tire you needed. But his love was auto transmissions. He had one corner of a 40 x 80 shop setup with his cooker, small press and all the transmission tools you ever needed. He sat in that corner and rebuilt transmissions almost every night of his life. And everyone in a  60 or 70 mile radius had their transmission fixed there. The guy was an expert body man also. He changed the paint color on a 79 el Camino he owned then sold to us. You would never know it didn’t come from factory in Cadillac crimson red. 

Not to go off on a tangent, but you brought up a thought I've been wanting to share.  A lot of people in the repair field often lament the poor quality of technicians today.  My thinking of why that is?  Some could be attributed to laziness, but a lot could be blamed on our new "unbolt and bolt on" mentality.  Dont work on stuff, it's too complicated......leave it to someone else.  This fellow you mention @dale560 didnt come out of  his mother being a tranny guru, he cut his teeth, made mistakes, learned from them and got good at it.  I'm sure he has his share of naysayers starting out.  

If I had a dollar for everything I dug into and was told "you shouldnt do that it's too complicated" or "buy a reman" or "you dont have the tools" I would have made a nice amount of money.  

Is stuff complicated and expensive? No doubt but new stuff coming out has always been like that compared to what we were used to.  It may be time to be supportive, teach this stuff and embrace learning it.  

 

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33 minutes ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

Not to go off on a tangent, but you brought up a thought I've been wanting to share.  A lot of people in the repair field often lament the poor quality of technicians today.  My thinking of why that is?  Some could be attributed to laziness, but a lot could be blamed on our new "unbolt and bolt on" mentality.  Dont work on stuff, it's too complicated......leave it to someone else.  This fellow you mention @dale560 didnt come out of  his mother being a tranny guru, he cut his teeth, made mistakes, learned from them and got good at it.  I'm sure he has his share of naysayers starting out.  

If I had a dollar for everything I dug into and was told "you shouldnt do that it's too complicated" or "buy a reman" or "you dont have the tools" I would have made a nice amount of money.  

Is stuff complicated and expensive? No doubt but new stuff coming out has always been like that compared to what we were used to.  It may be time to be supportive, teach this stuff and embrace learning it.  

 

The aftermarket trans parts made me think of him. My dad worked for him for a while but they maintained a lifelong friendship. Whenever we were over there farming or in the area dad would stop by.  He would give us 5 dollars to go up to old red owl grocery store and bring back ice cream bars for whoever was there. Back when you could by individual bars. I guess we were lucky to grow up in a area that people were good natured. You didn’t need to sign a work order or a repair ticket and you weren’t getting ripped off. The grocery store man   was  my god father and most of people were related to dad so every time we stopped it was gossip time.

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2 hours ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

Not to go off on a tangent, but you brought up a thought I've been wanting to share.  A lot of people in the repair field often lament the poor quality of technicians today.  My thinking of why that is?  Some could be attributed to laziness, but a lot could be blamed on our new "unbolt and bolt on" mentality.  Dont work on stuff, it's too complicated......leave it to someone else. 

......................

Is stuff complicated and expensive? No doubt but new stuff coming out has always been like that compared to what we were used to.  It may be time to be supportive, teach this stuff and embrace learning it.  

 

That is a great question, and in my conversations with various people it gets asked a lot.  I do know the answer and try to explain it to people.  But on here, it will be a long read, so get ready... 

The motorized vehicle market has made the same leaps and bounds in the age of computers, and there are a few fundamental differences in society that contributed to the decline of "good" technicians.  

Lets start by looking as any motorized vehicle made from say the 60's into the 80's.  Since this is a tractor site, I'll use tractors, but may throw in a few GM products because it's a big name and I like GM.  Lets use the IH 806.  The 806 came out in 1963.  It had the newest transmission built by IH in it.  It was such a good design that with only minor changes, IH used it all the way through the 30 series 88 tractors which were built until 1985!!!  That is 22 years of the same transmission!!!  That comes out to be 2 generations of mechanics working on the same basic transmission.  Now, quick look at GM.  GM's 350 turbo transmission came out in 1969 and was phased out in 1982 and replaced by the 700R4.  There's 13 years for one trans.  The 700R4 was replaced by the 4L60E which was for all purposes the same transmission. So lets say that family of transmission ran from 1984 until 2013.  That's almost exactly 30 years!!! That is two generations of technicians plus half a generation.  That kind of carry over of design stopped in the 2000's.  If one design lasts even 7 years it is a long time.  Next generation of vehicles changes between 5 and 7 years.  How many years did the auto world run 4 speed transmissions?  About 30 years.  Now they have 9 speed automatic's in the late model GM's.  They went from 4 to 6 and then to 9 all in less than 10 years.  HUGE differences.  

Now lets look at electronics.  Any type of motorized vehicle used zero electronic controls save a basic charging starting and light system.  In the 80's some types of controllers were making their way into the tractors (think 50 series SENTRY module) and also into the automotive world with some basic fuel injection systems and even some computer monitored carburetors.  (Yes I know that fuel injection existed on the Corvette years before, but it wasn't the "norm".)  Go back to the 60's.  Auto's were using 4bbl carbs on V8 motors and did into the 80's.  Again, that is two generations of technicians working on the same stuff.  Then in the late 80's came the switch to fuel injection with all manufacturers using different methods to control those systems all with proprietary computer modules.  By the mid 90's ASE stepped in a required a universal system of data and a single diagnostic port for all makes and models.  So, the companies all switched over, but still had their own different systems, but with a common way to view the data those systems gave.  Late 80's to 1996, less than 10 years they all came together and made a universal way to diagnose and repair.  Continuing, that common port still stands, but in the late 90's and early 2000's it wasn't just the engine that was computer controlled.  The transmission, engine, power seats, power mirrors, HVAC system, Ani-lock brakes and traction control, tire pressure monitor, starting and charging system (on and on) each were controlled via a module.  Some sharing modules such as the engine a trans, and some with their own stand alone such as the SIRUS (airbag system) had to be completely separate.  Now a technician not only had to be able to know and understand how the mechanical devices worked, he also had to have at the very least a basic understanding of how a computer worked.  This all happened over a 10-15 year period.  One and a half generations.  The techs that started just before (say 1985) would have went to school (trade or otherwise trained) and in just a few short years all their training was void.  No more carburetors, and everything electronic.  A tech from that era may have been good at rebuilding even a fuel injected engine, but been terrible at diagnosing the problems with them.  (Example only, not stating that all mechanics were not able to learn as they went.)  By 2010 (next 10 years from prior.) Came the advent of CAN BUS. (A digital system vs the analog systems used prior.)  A central data wiring system that operated on low voltage signals to operate all control inputs.  The turn signal switch for example now only had 4 wires instead of the 9+ it had before. The four wires being CAN power and CAN ground, and two signal (or data transfer) wires CAN high and CAN low.  Each function of that switch sent a specific voltage "code" to a module (over a single wire) and the module interpreted which function the driver was calling for.  Example:  Left turn would send a 1.5V signal while the right turn might send a 1.7V signal (over the same signal wire). The entire car only had a 4 wire harness running the length of it.  The module read the voltage and turned on the appropriate signal.  Cables and linkages on gas pedals and transmission shift selectors were replaced by potentiometers and switches.  That gear shift lever on the floor of your Chrysler hasn't been "real" for almost 20 years.  It only looks like the old one.  It unbolts from the floor and is a module in itself and can only be fixed by replacing it as an assembly.  Again, these changes came over a 10 year period.  But to be able to diagnose and repair ANY of these things you have to also possess a pretty in depth understanding of computers and low voltage electronics.  Something that only recently was heavily taught in tech schools.  The tech schools fell FAR behind by the late 90's and early 2000's and are still struggling to catch up.  Some, like Wyo Tech really tried to get ahead of the curve, but those schools are spread out and focus on specific areas of the trade.  All this is true in the heavy equipment market as well, only they lagged behind by 10 to 15 years.  The heavy equipment has now caught up, but still just slightly behind.  Mostly this is due to mandated requirements.  Also, due to the already long read, I'm not going to go into the emission and engine systems and how they also have drastically changed and adapted over the last 15 years or so, but it was as drastic a change as was the switch from analog to digital.  Technicials from the late 90's until now have had about the roughest time because their training was obsoleted so fast as compared to 50 years ago.  If you had went to work as a tech at IH in 1965 at the age of 20, in 1985 you would have still been working on the same basic tractor at 40.  A tech starting in 2000 would have seen at least 3 major generational changes by the time he hit 2020 and would have needed some really good training to stay relevant.  

Now since this is getting really long, I'll try and keep this next section short, but I want to address the demographic and societal impact of the trade field.  Once the push for a college education came along in the 60's and 70's more and more of the "best and brightest" (and subsequently more wealthy) went on to higher education, going to a learn a trade steadily declined and attracted less and less of the "brightest" of people.  If you went on to learn a trade, it became far more typical that you were either less financially well off, or not the top of your class as far as grades or intellect.  Subsequently, if you weren't suited for college you went to learn a trade, while your higher intellect school mates went off to learn to be engineers.  Eventually, the market got flooded with engineers and good tradesmen were few and far between.  Take my college tech school class.  There were about 25 of us enrolled at the beginning.  I think around 20 graduated.  Out of the original 25 only maybe 5 of us were "higher level" students.  Out of those 5 I think 4 or us are still techs.  Two of us owning our own business or running a business for someone else, one still high in the field working in a GE wind turbine plant keeping their equipment going and one working his way into other areas of work that are less hard on the body, such as parts and shop management.  So out of 20 or so trained, the industry only got 5.  That's only 20%.  If only 20% of people trained enter the field, or only 20% enter the field well trained.... that's not such a great average.  I guarantee that far more than 20% of trained engineers end up being engineers.  Tradesmen got dubbed as the "dumb" ones and no one wanted those jobs.  Plus, lets not forget that it isn't exactly as easy as sitting in a chair at a desk all day as far as wear and tear on the old body.  It's hard work!  Who wants to work hard??? Nobody it seems.  This is why Mike Rowe started his foundation.  To try and appeal to high school students to go into the trades.  We need more of the "best and brightest".  The manufacturing market (computer and engineering fields) are flooded and the trade market is begging for people.  It needs more of the brightest and right now has had to settle almost for bodies, whether they are any good or not.  

All this said, the mechanic trade needs to seriously take a hard look at how they recruit and train techs, maybe even separate out the students more gifted at electronics and those who are good with mechanic devices.  Shops really should employ two groups of techs:  diagnosticians, and repair people.  One guy focuses on finding and identifying the problem, while the guy who is good with the mechanical side does rebuilds and component changes.  Generally speaking the guy who is good with the electronics is also good with the mechanical, but not the other way around.  A guy who can tear down and rebuild an automatic or powershift transmission my not be able to diagnose what is wrong with the vehicle if the problem is electrical, which is the case more than 50% of the time.  There just aren't many techs who are good at both.  

Long post I know.  Probably didn't know it was such a complicated question.  Most don't. 

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