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Old 10-23-2012, 11:22 PM   #1
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diesel or auto mechanic

what could i get a job as with either of these degrees? at the local community college they have these 2 classes for auto and diesel:
Associate in Science Degree: Automotive Technology, and
Associate in Science Degree: Diesel Technology Heavy Duty Equipment Technology
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:34 PM   #2
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Depends on what you want to work on.

Most of your HD diesel techs in CA are going to work on over the road type stuff -- semis. You may get a job working on HD equipment if you really try hard. If you want to leave CA theres plenty of jobs out there for all sorts of things. BNSF and UP are desperate for techs AFAIK. ND is desperate for diesel techs of all sorts.


I like auto but from what I've seen I wouldn't want to work as an auto mechanic and felt the diesel side offers more. More pay, more opportunity. I also had a specific field in mind, within the HD diesel field, when I chose diesel -- mining.

Just my opinion though. As with everything YMMV.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:47 PM   #3
95 taco [OP] 95 taco is online now
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95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Originally Posted by maxamillion2345 View Post
Depends on what you want to work on.

Most of your HD diesel techs in CA are going to work on over the road type stuff -- semis. You may get a job working on HD equipment if you really try hard. If you want to leave CA theres plenty of jobs out there for all sorts of things. BNSF and UP are desperate for techs AFAIK. ND is desperate for diesel techs of all sorts.


I like auto but from what I've seen I wouldn't want to work as an auto mechanic and felt the diesel side offers more. More pay, more opportunity. I also had a specific field in mind, within the HD diesel field, when I chose diesel -- mining.

Just my opinion though. As with everything YMMV.
thanks for the info. i should've mentioned in the OP that i would like to move to AZ when i turn 19 or 20, sooner if the finances allow.Eventually i would like to move to Mississippi.
I didn't even think about working for the railroads as a mechanic.
the only job that i could think of was working for a CAT (or similar) dealer or rental.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:47 PM   #4
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Lots and lots and lots of semis that need mechanics. From what I hear, in different states, from different folks, CAT will pay you will and you'll do well if you're worth a shit but if you're worth a shit they'll work you hard and long. Good opportunities though if you don't mind the hours.

Mining, Oil, Trains, Semis, construction equipment, and uhh I'm sure there is more, all need diesel techs.

Also, lots of autos that need mechanics but seems to me the majority end up at dealers and I wouldn't want to be a dealer tech. However, there are independent and fleet shops out there, as well as government shops.


Cue LandPhil! I'm about done with classes and I've worked in mining but LandPhil I believe works on trucks for a living. He'd know more than me.

AZ has copper mines though and when they're going they're GOING, but copper is cyclical and the mines can and do shut down. Great money and work while it lasts though. Phelps Dodge, Kennecott, BHP Billiton, Freeport McMoran, ASARCO. Can always switch to another mineral though.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:57 PM   #5
95 taco [OP] 95 taco is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxamillion2345 View Post
Lots and lots and lots of semis that need mechanics. From what I hear, in different states, from different folks, CAT will pay you will and you'll do well if you're worth a shit but if you're worth a shit they'll work you hard and long. Good opportunities though if you don't mind the hours.

Mining, Oil, Trains, Semis, construction equipment, and uhh I'm sure there is more, all need diesel techs.

Also, lots of autos that need mechanics but seems to me the majority end up at dealers and I wouldn't want to be a dealer tech. However, there are independent and fleet shops out there, as well as government shops.


Cue LandPhil! I'm about done with classes and I've worked in mining but LandPhil I believe works on trucks for a living. He'd know more than me.
i used to know a couple of mechanics from a CAT rental place in SD, never heard them complain and they were professional, i would love to work with and for guys like that.
i wouldn't want to work for a auto dealer either, but my cousin i VA has a small auto shop that i got to watch him work in and it poked like fun.
My uncle in va has a body shop that i worked in for a week and i wouldn't mind doing it as long as i got to work on engines every so often.

what type of classes are you taking?
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:03 AM   #6
Go home if you don't like guns liquor and whores.
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Currently in advanced diesel engines --building a CAT 3106 engine-- and heavy duty electrical. I'll be done with both in a few weeks and then will go into electronic fuel injection 2 (trouble shooting) and nothing in the morning for the rest of the semester.

Then I have just a couple more classes.
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:07 AM   #7
95 taco [OP] 95 taco is online now
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95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxamillion2345 View Post
Currently in advanced diesel engines --building a CAT 3106 engine-- and heavy duty electrical. I'll be done with both in a few weeks and then will go into electronic fuel injection 2 (trouble shooting) and nothing in the morning for the rest of the semester.

Then I have just a couple more classes.
cool, my grandpa has a 3208 cat in his shrimp boat. it would be fun to learn how then overhaul it for him.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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HD Diesel all the way, my work is always hiring in the LA area
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:20 PM   #9
95 taco [OP] 95 taco is online now
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Originally Posted by TC yota View Post
HD Diesel all the way, my work is always hiring in the LA area
what type of work do you do? if you don't mind me asking.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 95 taco View Post
what type of work do you do? if you don't mind me asking.
Diesel mechanic on semi trucks
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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HD diesel would be decent. It could also get you a spot at a metro transit garage. Those guys are usually union, paid very well and have great benefits. Metro transit guys here pay nothing for their health insurance.

Auto tech is all about production, production, production. You'll need to run your life on 6 minute intervals as you're paid by the tenth of the hour. So every 6 minutes a little bell needs to go off in your head. If you're behind schedule you need to find a way to get yourself back on track. Dealerships typically run a sliding incentive based scale- the higher your billable hours the higher your hourly wage. Aftermarket shops tend to pay you a % of parts and labor instead...at least up here.

Dealers used to start the new guys out on the shit jobs (warranty, water leaks, squeaks, rattles, etc). It's tough to make incentive on that so watch out for that. Find a shop where everyone is full line so you all get a chance. One that is computer dispatched is better yet. Then you don't have to worry about the dispatcher playing favorites.

Dealerships tend to be pretty cut throat. It's a tough environment. You'll need to develop a thick skin or you won't survive.

Aftermarket shops give you the best span of vehicles. You're not always stuck on the same make so you can develop your skills a little better.

Get good at reverse engineering a repair in your head so you can figure out what actually needs to be removed to get to the part you're replacing. That's how you get ahead of book time.

Stay ahead of technology. Take all the ongoing training you can get your hands on. This part is easy at a dealership but harder in aftermarket shops.

20-30 years working on that concrete floor is going to take it's toll on just about every part of your body. Make sure you set yourself up so you're either retired, managing, on the service desk, shop foreman, mentor etc by that time.

I don't have all the answers but I've been in the auto side for 18 years. I've held every job there is in a service department at a dealer and aftermarket shop. PM if you want. Be happy to talk to you and share some the lessons I learned the hardway.

Too bad you're not closer I'd let you come hang at the shop for a week and see what it's like.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:16 PM   #12
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I have worked both auto mechanics, medium truck and heavy equipment. Probably diesel/heavy equipment pays the best, but ALL work is cyclical. If you can do one brand of mechanics, you can do others. Now, I just play with old aircooled BMW motorcycles and even older dodge trucks.

Also, mechanics should be a means and not an end. I ended up getting a graduate degree in industrial engineering and my clothes stay much cleaner...

Howard
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:19 PM   #14
95 taco [OP] 95 taco is online now
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95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TC yota View Post
Diesel mechanic on semi trucks
cool, my uncle drives a rig from Ga to VA.
Quote:
Originally Posted by angrysam View Post
HD diesel would be decent. It could also get you a spot at a metro transit garage. Those guys are usually union, paid very well and have great benefits. Metro transit guys here pay nothing for their health insurance.

Auto tech is all about production, production, production. You'll need to run your life on 6 minute intervals as you're paid by the tenth of the hour. So every 6 minutes a little bell needs to go off in your head. If you're behind schedule you need to find a way to get yourself back on track. Dealerships typically run a sliding incentive based scale- the higher your billable hours the higher your hourly wage. Aftermarket shops tend to pay you a % of parts and labor instead...at least up here.

Dealers used to start the new guys out on the shit jobs (warranty, water leaks, squeaks, rattles, etc). It's tough to make incentive on that so watch out for that. Find a shop where everyone is full line so you all get a chance. One that is computer dispatched is better yet. Then you don't have to worry about the dispatcher playing favorites.

Dealerships tend to be pretty cut throat. It's a tough environment. You'll need to develop a thick skin or you won't survive.

Aftermarket shops give you the best span of vehicles. You're not always stuck on the same make so you can develop your skills a little better.

Get good at reverse engineering a repair in your head so you can figure out what actually needs to be removed to get to the part you're replacing. That's how you get ahead of book time.

Stay ahead of technology. Take all the ongoing training you can get your hands on. This part is easy at a dealership but harder in aftermarket shops.

20-30 years working on that concrete floor is going to take it's toll on just about every part of your body. Make sure you set yourself up so you're either retired, managing, on the service desk, shop foreman, mentor etc by that time.

I don't have all the answers but I've been in the auto side for 18 years. I've held every job there is in a service department at a dealer and aftermarket shop. PM if you want. Be happy to talk to you and share some the lessons I learned the hardway.

Too bad you're not closer I'd let you come hang at the shop for a week and see what it's like.
thanks for the info, if i went into auto then i would definitely try to work for a small shop. If i need advice i'll give you a holler.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:22 PM   #15
95 taco [OP] 95 taco is online now
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95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed95 taco is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hetkind View Post
I have worked both auto mechanics, medium truck and heavy equipment. Probably diesel/heavy equipment pays the best, but ALL work is cyclical. If you can do one brand of mechanics, you can do others. Now, I just play with old aircooled BMW motorcycles and even older dodge trucks.

Also, mechanics should be a means and not an end. I ended up getting a graduate degree in industrial engineering and my clothes stay much cleaner...

Howard
ok, i'm going to see if my uncle needs help in his auto body shop part time and also work part time for his son who has a small mechanics shop.
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Originally Posted by 503TRD View Post
I'm planning on taking a diesel mechanic class in a few years..so I can do even more of the work myself on my semi truck
it's a lot of fun being able to take care of your own vehicles and equipment, not to mention it could save you money.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:22 PM   #16
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Semis and such require big tools and big equipment...1" airguns, 3" sockets, blocks that weigh 1,500lbs. There are many jobs you can do your self if you just had a bigger tranny jack or a wider wheel dolly or even a nice, flat piece of thick concrete.

Think about how much time you can save on say a clutch job with airtools, frame jack and a good, heavy duty tranny jack.

Howard
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hetkind View Post
Semis and such require big tools and big equipment...1" airguns, 3" sockets, blocks that weigh 1,500lbs. There are many jobs you can do your self if you just had a bigger tranny jack or a wider wheel dolly or even a nice, flat piece of thick concrete.

Think about how much time you can save on say a clutch job with airtools, frame jack and a good, heavy duty tranny jack.

Howard

true, I've spent tons of money on buying big enough tools to work on my semi...the huge tools they require aren't cheap
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:02 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by 503TRD View Post
Sure is, got quoted around $1000 to change out my water pump, did it myself on a weekend, only spent a couple hundred and replaced all the hoses too...was a fun job, but a PITA..worth it though!
Just did a water pump on a Detroit yesterday, pain in the ass
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