On Monday evening 20th November 2006,
members of the Chrysler Restorer's Club, Vic. Inc. were invited to visit the
Mechanic's Training Annex at the Daimler Chrysler Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd
plant at Mulgrave to gain a brief overview of the technology that modern day
servicemen have to understand to effectively maintain the latest road vehicles
in perfect working order.
The training centre is equipped with computer
controlled audiovisual training aids and cutaway models of many of the
automotive systems that form part of a modern motor vehicle to show how the
internal components function. Oil and fuel pumps (diesel and petrol), turbo and
supercharger systems and ignition components were amongst these demo models for
us to study. Simple transparent plastic models showing drum and disc braking
systems, different types of brake master cylinders and planetary gearing were
also on the bench for us to fiddle with.
On the floor were examples of the latest Chrysler
products including a 300C 3 litre diesel sedan, a 2 litre Dodge Caliber SXT
that has front wheel drive through a continuously variable transaxle and a PT
Cruiser Cabrio convertible.
A five cylinder Mercedes diesel motor was mounted on a
stand for training purposes as was a DOHC V12 skeleton engine showing the pistons
fixed to the crankshaft and the valve assembly with variable timing on the
During the course of the evening a video of the
Chrysler Corporation’s development from the early days when Walter Percy
started at General Motors through his time at Willys Overland and Maxwell to
his first Chrysler in 1924 and then on through Airflow series to the post WWII
A most intriguing display in the training annex was
that of a large computer controlled automotive electrical system diagnostic
panel showing on a video monitor how the digital CAN Bus circuit pulse stream
alters as different electrical systems are switched on or off.
I estimate that there were about 40 members in
attendance, our biggest Garage Crawl so far, and upon admission to the Annex we
were each given a ticket in a draw for a lucky door prize. Tony Vilella won a
Hemi Parking Sign, Mark Fenton won a Dodge Cap, Chris Munro won a Hemi Parking
Sign and Paul Brown won a set of Cuff Links.
Following the session in the training room we all
retired to the modern dining area to have discussions over a cuppa and some
refreshments including strawberries and ice-cream that I suspect may have been
supplied by Andrew Fraser, our President
May I take this opportunity on behalf of all in
attendance to thank Bruce Barton and Daimler Chrysler Australia for
allowing us to visit their establishment and get some understanding of how the
modern motor mechanic is trained and to the see the bewildering facilities that
are needed to maintain a modern motor vehicle.
How will future backyard mechanics be able to decoke
or tune a motor, fiddle with the wiring loom or tweak the braking systems?