and Alice Moore have done just that by developing a business model based on their ability to provide powertrain control module (PCM) reprogramming, module initialization, and diagnostic services in a marketing area that otherwise lacks that capability.
"When we opened Big Wrench, we envisioned using a mobile service that catered to loggers and others with small fleets of heavy-duty vehicles," Albin Moore
But their new business didn't produce the expected profit because the Moores said they didn't understand how to make money fixing broken vehicles.
After attending some industry-sponsored management classes, the Moores' management philosophy took a turn for the better when they purchased a PC-based management system that was programmed to pay for itself by adding one dollar to each customer repair invoice.
"What a concept," Moore
"I'd never before thought of the idea that we could make the customer pay for necessary equipment and fixtures."
For the Moores, the concept was an epiphany that would lead them to acquire an increasingly sophisticated array of diagnostic equipment chosen to capitalize on a service vacuum created by the sheer remoteness of their shop's location.
The couple said they now service repair shops out to Wenatchee, about 20 miles away.
"In 1992, the only test equipment I had was a Snap-on cylinder-balance testing tool and a Fluke 88 digital volt-Ohm meter," Moore
said, adding that he
relied on those tools until he
first digital oscilloscope and aftermarket scan tool in 1998.
By 2000, Moore
could see the need for on-board computer reprogramming and module initialization required by the new-era OBD II vehicles coming into his
responded to the new OBD II technology by purchasing a General Motors Tech II and, later, a Ford New Generation Star (NGS) scan tool.
Both OEM tools provided a full factory capability that introduced Moore
to the world of body control electronics and module initialization, he
now has OEM capability on Ford
, General Motors
, late model Jaguar and Rover, Saab, Suzuki, and Toyota
at the OE level, and will update his
diagnostic capability as his
On the heavy-duty side, Moore
can also diagnose Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit, Navistar, Allison transmission, Bendix brake, and Wabco brake on-board electronics.
To better serve a collision repair client, Moore
is also gearing up for European diagnostics, but is looking at less expensive aftermarket tools that will perform the most critical functions in collision diagnostics.
Of course, this begs the question of how Moore
can achieve return on investment (ROI) while maintaining such a broad range of diagnostic capabilities.
"Based on the volume of work passing through my shop, the ROI simply isn't there," he
"Instead of trying to train to such a high level of expertise, it makes more sense for fleets and auto repair shops to sublet that level of work to a mobile diagnostics expert," Moore
To further enhance the diagnostic and management dialogue, Albin
and Alice Moore invite a small group of trainers, shop owners, and technicians to attend their annual Fourth of July campout.
Albin Moore, co-owner of Big Wrench Mobile Diagnostics, uses a blend of OE and aftermarket equipment such as the Snap-on Vantage Pro, Pico Scope, and Chrysler DRB III scan tool displayed in this photo to diagnose difficult electronic problems.
and Alice Moore, co-owners of Big Wrench Mobile Diagnostics
, are known throughout the Western states as industry activists who avidly support advanced technical and management training.