ELK GROVE, Calif.-Alldata Corp., a publisher of electronic diagnostic and repair information for the automotive industry, has issued its 23rd quarterly data release. If printed as separate manuals for each year, make, model and engine, the information would comprise more than 8 million pages, occupying a shelf four football fields long, Alldata said.
The database, available to technicians on CD-ROM and also on-line via modem, covers most foreign and domestic vehicles back to 1982. It includes technical service bulletins, diagnostic and repair procedures, wiring diagrams, maintenance schedules, trouble code diagnostic charts, labor rates, prices and warranty and recall information.
For a complimentary demo disk, call Alldata at (800) 697-2533.
Mac Tools debuts 'Mac Tech' hot line
WASHINGTON COURTHOUSE, Ohio-Mac Automotive College, the training arm of Mac Tools Inc., has introduced ``Mac Tech,'' an automotive diagnostic hot line.
The company has contracted with St. Paul, Minn.-based Automotive Information Systems, a supplier of technical information, to provide Mac Tools customers access to what it calls the largest source of technical data in North America. That includes 22 factory-trained technicians who specialize in a specific vehicle make, access to more than 4,500 original factory service manuals, CD ROM information, and a database of more than one-half million vehicle fixes.
The service will be sold in blocks of time through a customer's tool distributors in the U.S. and Canada. Mac said there is no start-up fee or minimum monthly charge. After the initial block of time is used, subscribers will be billed on a ``pay-as-you-go'' basis.
For more information, contact a local Mac Tools distributor, or call (800) 622-8665.
Society issues A/C retrofit guidelines
EAST GREENVILLE, Pa.-The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide has released its ``Guidelines for Automotive A/C Retrofit,'' a training program designed to familiarize automotive air conditioning service technicians with the correct procedures and problems associated with retrofitting an R12 A/C system to the refrigerant R134a.
Materials include a 37-page training manual with the complete text of three Society of Automotive Engineers documents, and a 35-minute video.
The program is available for $49.95 in a home study format-with a mail-in quiz available for credentials upon completion.
For details, contact MACS Worldwide, P.O. Box 97, East Greenville, Pa. 18041; (215) 541-4500. Fax: (215) 541-4635.
Midas inks franchise pact in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico-Chicago-based Midas International Corp. signed a franchise agreement May 4 with Luis and Claribel Figueroa to operate a Midas Muffler and Brake Shop in Puerto Rico.
This is the first venture into the exhaust replacement market for the Figueroa family, well-known in San Juan for its Garage Ruben transmission service centers.
``With 2 million registered vehicles in Puerto Rico, this is a good market for Midas services,'' Mr. Figueroa said. ``We hope to open one shop per year and have at least 10 Midas shops here within the next 10 years.''
Richard Pope, Midas' national director of franchise development, said that when the company enters a new market, it seeks ``knowledgeable automotive service operators who have the experience to represent Midas well.''
Midas International, a subsidiary of Whitman Corp., has more than 2,500 Midas shops worldwide, including 1,840 in the U.S. All but about 300 are owned and operated by franchisees.
Ford will produce natural gas vehicles
DEARBORN, Mich.-Continuing its development of alternative fuel vehicles to meet market needs, Ford Motor Co. said it will soon offer vehicles converted to operate on natural gas in selected markets.
The cars and trucks will be produced in cooperation with outside modifiers selected and qualified to convert the vehicles to natural gas. Ford said the vehicles will be warranted and sold through the company's dealer network.
Harvey Klein, manager of Ford's Advanced Vehicle and Safety Planning, said unlike many aftermarket conversions, Ford's vehicles ``will meet demanding guidelines and will be covered by a single warranty....''
Next year, Ford also will introduce a production natural-gas-powered full-size passenger car, expected to be the first such vehicle mass-produced by a U.S. automaker.
A recent study released by Southern California Gas Co. stated that vehicles powered by natural gas come close to meeting zero emission standards claimed for electric vehicles when the ``full fuel-cycle emissions'' associated with recharging the electric vehicles is considered.
Meanwhile, Mazda Motor Corp. recently dispatched a hydrogen-powered station wagon to Nippon Steel's Hirahota Works in western Japan to begin testing the vehicle under real working conditions.
United Brake Parts is celebrating its 60th anniversary as a supplier of hydraulic brake components to NAPA. In the early years, NAPA's only other supplier was Echlin Inc., which acquired United in 1960. Echlin's Brake Parts Inc. division oversees and markets United's components under the NAPA/United name.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. was honored recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its contribution of automotive diagnostic equipment-valued at over $1 million-to 80 vocational schools in more than 30 states.
Rick Dube, immediate past chairman of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), has been named vice chairman of EXCEL 2000, an industry partnership that recommends enhancements to and secures permanent funding for educational programs sponsored by the ASA's Management Institute. Mr. Dube is owner of Rick Dube Auto Service, McAllen, Texas.
Utah-based Profit Pro Inc. said it will give away one copy of Quicken accounting software with each purchase of its ProfitPro Service Management software, which features computerized estimates, repair orders and invoices, electronic parts cataloging and ordering, a labor pricing guide, automatic job estimating, vehicle maintenance histories and customer follow-up, inventory control and daily management reporting.