After completing all four sessions and this fifth session, you should be well armed with plenty of lockout savvy. You will have the knowledge to avoid the many pitfalls of the lockout business and those nasty problems your tools can get you into… Having to learn any business the hard way is expensive and time consuming.
Tooling and Manual Work Together
The system manual will guide you on each vehicle you come up against. There are but only fourteen tools as of year 2007 required to open the history of vehicles. Having to learn, carry, purchase, and teach new employees a fourtten tool system is of great advantage to you over the 50 piece tool kits requiring 3 to 5 manuals, none of which will fit in their carry cases. Primarily, the multiple manual systems are for show and profit, as most pages per volume are repeat pages from like vehicles that all open the same way.
I keep this system simple and compact due to the volume of vehicles you are asked to open on any given day. And that volume grows by some 50 all new models each year. Even when the manual hits a listing of over 2500 models, they all will still be contained within the same formatted single manual. There is nothing like one index needed to identify the exact model you are about to work on and it is a whole lot cheaper. For example, one competitor charges $65 for their most current manual covering the past 3 years of vehicles, and $45+ for the other 3 past editions needed, totaling a whopping $200. What they do is sell the initial kit with lots of tools knowing you will have to order the other three manuals later which are needed to support the 30-50 tools.
At some future date we may have to add a few tools to the system, but only when absolutely necessary. These are the primary reasons and the foundation blocks of which the Z-Tool System has been built. Less is best and keep it simple describe the motto here at Slide Lock Tools.
The full kit works wonders and works every day for ten’s of thousands of users, and it will work for you as well for many years after your one time purchase.
The #1 advice we preach over and over is to simply look up the vehicle each and every time. There are second and third opening choices listed with many models. The first listed recommendation may not be the easiest to execute at first, but it is listed first for a number of reasons. It may be the safest of all choices, or because the first choice method is recommended for so many other models that repeated use of the method in itself makes the method easiest. Many models can be opened many different ways, but take that door panel off and you may discover the apparent risks between one method and another. This is a damage free business and no one can argue ease of openings over safety first.
Let’s enjoy the praise and appreciation out there in the field that makes this work a special pleasure to provide. For us, when called we hate to drop what we’re doing, but on the drive back we very much enjoy the praise, thank you’s and appreciation given for basically relieving their hour of trauma. Researching for a better opening method in front of the customer is also a bad idea, as they see you wandering in the door cavity and changing to alternate tools which demonstrates no focused plan of attack which will imply incompetence. Even when the car is opened through persistence, you can’t confirm how close to trouble you were without removing the door panel. Those who work without a manual learn what went wrong from the itemized repair invoice the customer later submits to you. I say all this because the field research is right there in the manual which you already paid for in full. These proven instructions have been used, perfected and executed thousands or even ten’s of thousands of times, depending which edition the method was first introduced.
Trust me when I say the technical assistance line available to you seldom rings because of the accuracy supplied in the manual. At times I will have to change the wording of a method due to 4 or 5 calls on some new model. The reword of an instruction is printed in the following edition available each February. Now with the Web Site we can post any mid-year changes as needed. If you purchased a new manual, simply click on the MID-YEAR UPDATE button at the home page to get the info. Print it or hand write the changes in your manual. If creating a printed supplement, staple it to the notes page at rear of the manual and hand write next to the indexed vehicle involved “see supplement”. Simple hand written changes work well unless it is a lengthy change or an all new model addition. Again, there are few revisions, but when you come up against that job on a cold rainy night, you’ll wish you checked the web site from time to time.
If you are forced to go it on your own, it most often is because your manual is out of date. There is a free technical service phone line available to you which is listed throughout your manual. It is rarely called except by those who have the out of date manuals. We do not mind attempting to give the information over the phone if we can. The problem is, many of these models require detail that must be visualized by seeing the line art step-by-step methods. For those of you with cell phones, you can call for the help direct from the job site. If you have SprintPCS digital, or any digital phone, your costs are minimal. Our local cell towers pick up Knoxville, TN (E.S.T.) which allow all nationally known cell towers to reach us. The help most often needed though is that information covered in the first few seminars of #1 and #2. If you only have a cell phone of the old analog system which will cause a long distance charge, go ahead and make the call as it is well worth it to get the job completed and paid.
The answers you are not finding may be due to an out of date book or you simply looked up the wrong generation vehicle.
Hierarchy Ranking of the Nine Tools
When we research an all new generation vehicle there is a hierarchy system used to decide the assignment of tools.
Before we cover each of the nine tools in great detail, the following is the hierarchy of which the nine tools are assigned . What this means to you is each tool has its strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, if I were to be missing a tool out of the kit, it would be the Porsche Tool. This tool is assigned to the Porsche 928’s and a few older BMW’s. Although it is assigned to only a few cars, it’s the only way I know to get the 928 open. The sports car happens to have a history of inadvertently locking itself when the door is slammed harder than normal. Therefore, the kit could use a Porsche Tool, but I’m sure the odds would be in my favor that if I were to lose it, I wouldn’t get a call on this vehicle while I waited for the new replacement to arrive.
The hierarchy list is as follows:
- Z-Tool® (65%)
- AutoBuster III Tool w/ extra long 9.5” reach
- Inverted Z-Tool®
- Frameless Window Tool
- Japanese Tool
- Mercedes Strip /
- Wing Window Tool
- Serpent Tool
- Vertical Z
Each of the tools rankings are based on the percentage of volume each tool is assigned of the 1000 plus models.
The first six tools are very versatile.
Note: The AutoBuster III Tool is listed as #2 of most needed tools but would be last on the list of safety record. Its #2 simply because it often is the only method available to open the car its listed to open. Be careful with its use and read the precautions carefully when we get to the AutoBuster III dos and don’ts.
When researching, we first look to open an all new model with the #1 work horse of the 14 tools in the kit, known as the famous Z-Tool. This important tool is assigned to 65% of all models ever built or sold in North America. When Z-Tool was first invented in early 1986, the tool proved to open all models it came up against as far back as the 1950’s. It took two years of researching to prove its abilities on some 600 models before introducing the first Edition Z-Tool Manual in 1987 which was exclusively written for the Z-Tool. It opened every single one of those 600 models with the use of its 112 page manual showing the way. And it was marketed just that way “Open all Models Using Only One Tool and One Manual”. The manual continues to be compact and it still fits in one hand. I believe this compact system will never need a second volume to lug around.
The one tool does it all concept gained early success with a high volume of repeat sales which is a primary bench mark for changing an industry to a new way of thinking. Developing the small end and large end concept combined with depth guides, etc., into one tool ended up putting the historical end to the reining Slim Jim® era that lasted well over 20 years.
For those of you who remember our company’s early days back in 1983, we introduced our first product trademarked as the Slide Lock Tool , which was made of spring steel and a pull wire. The pull wire was needed due to the lack of strength the spring steel required to move the horizontal linkages to their opened positions. Slide Lock Tool and the Slim Jim were sold together so that the new to the auto industries horizontal lock system could be opened by the Slide Lock Tool, where the traditional vertical system would continue to be opened with the Slim Jim, at least until the original Slide Lock Tool was improved. The improvements became known as the now famous Z-Tool® which though patented has continued to be the most copied tool in the industry.
As this is a chapter about the good, bad and ugly side of the lockout tooling, We feel it is important for you to also learn about the rise and fall of these once powerful brother and sister tools Slim Jim and Slide Lock Tool. Both are still sold today but no longer through this company, Slide Lock Tool Co.,Inc. Why not, we are often asked? The answer is simple. Because there is a difference in producing a product for reasons of profit only and producing a product the lockout technician truly needs in the fields. The order line is asked every day if we still sell these two tools. Again, if we don’t sell it, you don’t need it, unless you like to own everything that comes down the pike.
Slim Jim Tool and Slide Lock Tool couldn’t keep pace with the auto manufactures high security designs.
The Slide Lock Tool didn’t have the small mini hook for grip, the depth guides, a short end for compact cars, long end for standard width door panels or the strength with out the pull wire to move the lock system.
Others still sell a design which looks similar to the Z-Tool (which is patented), but is only an old Slide Lock Tool design using a larger gauge spring steel. Spring steel comes off the shelf and is not the best steel to make lockout tools with. It loses its tensile strength quickly, no matter how large the wire gauge being used. The technical term is “losing spring back memory” each time it is flexed. All aftermarket companies continue to use it today. Many years ago this company hired a metallurgist to developed a stainless rod which is thinner and stronger at the shaft. Nine of the fourteen tools in the kit are made from this same stainless steel rod. It holds that strength for years to come, no matter how many vehicles are opened with it. Without that all important tensile strength built into the shaft, many tools could not move the target mechanisms to their unlocked positions. That’s the name of the game, thin with high tensile strength for optimal performance.
Today, auto manufactures almost exclusively install higher security hard pawl key cylinders which was covered at basic session #1. Another factor in Slim Jim’s demise is the plastic linkage clips commonly installed which the tool easily knocks off or cracks or completely breaks, causing the linkage to fall free.
Flat Bar Slim Jim tools should never be allowed in your employees tool box, but at $10.00 each, you will often have a difficult time keeping your company free of this accident waiting to happen.
Remember, you will mentor someone who needs to learn quickly as you had, only there will be more cars to deal with when it is their turn. Keep it simple with as few tools as possible today and there will be less tools to learn down the road. This company is based on just that foresight.
Tooling Do’s and Don’ts
- A trapped tool situation occurs because you committed the AutoBuster III Tool to the auto’s interior side and it then could not reach the manual lock button or power switch. If you have trapped your tool and cannot remove due to interior weatherstripping interference, there is a way to escape. Our new slim wedge sheild can prevent trapping in most cases, you merely have to use the 2 wedges to create the gap and then add in the new sheild creating an easy workspace in which to remove your autobuster. Another rescue method is to use your Japanese Tool to also come up other side of window which will create a new gap at the interior side weatherstripping. This will allow you to feed the working tip of AutoBuster back down into door’s cavity thus escaping. This does not work on all models.
- Window breakage predominantly occurs due to an unauthorized model being opened which contains tight windows in combination with hot or very cold weather conditions.
- The second primary cause of broken windows is attempting to untangle the tool while wrapped around linkages. To prevent this from happening, always insert AutoBuster forward of manual lock button location unless otherwise instructed. This rule of thumb applies to both front and rear doors. Remember, linkages start at both the manual lock button and inside door handle locations which travel to the the lock latch at the door jamb wall. Simply insert the AutoBuster Tool forward of the inside door opening handle and avoid the obstructions within the door cavity.
- Often it helps to remove outside weatherstripping if it is causing you trouble. We’ve never seen one that could not be removed. we have come across those that have a lead like core that distorts in shape causing great difficulty when its time to replace. Use your thin Flex-a-wedge to aid in the removal of the weatherstripping and lift it out a little at a time.
- Never attempt to open any model with after-market window tinting. The tool will damage the tinting most every time as it comes up the other side of window. There are now clear tints you are unable to detect. It is highly recommended to obtain a written hold harmless release every time you are forced to use any under-the-window tool, such as the AutoBuster Tool before proceeding.
- Always estimate width of door panel and depth of target location before starting. Review the tool’s shape and mouth size to insure it will reach target without contacting inside panel skin. Adjust shape as needed before starting. Remove tool if discovered the first estimation was incorrect. Always pay careful attention to the working tip just as it clears the interior weatherstripping. Slow down and do not allow the tip of tool to mar the door panel.
- Overcoming tight windows: When called for, always use lubrication as windows are now very tight on many models. Always remove the wedges before lifting tool up through the inside weatherstrip. This will relax the pressure the window exerts on the inside weatherstrip.
There is a lot to be aware of when using the AutoBuster III Tool. You must master the ins and outs of this tool to be in this business. It is a powerful tool that can work for you or against you, as you see from the endless warnings.
B. Always enter tool down into the door cavity with the tip pointing to the front of vehicle.
C. Some people sharpen the tip which does offer a little extra help when lifting a few Honda vertical buttons. The draw back is the sharpened tip will cause tearing of inside weatherstrips of all those other cars the tool opens. You are best to order a second Japanese Tool for use with a sharpened tip. We will not sharpen it for you before shipping.
Warning: Air wedges are intended only for vehicles having a heavy frame around the window. The device was fully inflated on all models when researched and assigned.
You have been supplied one air wedge with your kit and works well when using the thin plastic Flex-A-Wedge to help establish insertion. As it requires 50% insertion before inflating, a second Air Wedge may be of greater help to start an initial gap. A second Air Wedge also works well as a protective shield.
Frameless Window Tool:
- Always open the vehicle door were the tool was entered. Always use the tubing sleeve to protect the paint at the entry area.
- Always thread the working end fully into the coupler so the thread is not exposed. If the thread is exposed the tool shaft will break at that threading. This is the only coupler design on the market which protects the threads which means it is the only tool on the market that will not break at the thread or anywhere else.
- The Frameless Window Tool is 48 inches long. If it were made longer, you would have to own very long arms to hold onto the handle to manipulate the tool and at the same time see the target through the window. Due to customer request we have added a 5′ extension for those with longer arms or special preference for a slightly longer reach.
Inside Door Handle Tip (A Frameless Extension)
All Purpose Tip (A Frameless Extension)
Where the string ties to the Lexan is the primary end most often used. The banded end is for those vehicles that have had the factory mushroom headed vertical button replaced with a higher security after market straight pin type bought at auto supply stores. Don’t make the mistake of using the banned end to lift the vertical button as the other end works far better on mushroom type vertical buttons. When forced to use the banned end, do not get lubricant on the band as the lubricant will cause the band to slip off the straight pin when attempting to lift it to it’s unlocked position.
Wing Window Tool:
We recommend only opening models via the vent window when assigned. The reason is damage control, as weatherstrips tend to became brittle as the years pass. Why break up the customers weatherstrip when there are safer methods assigned? Follow your manual, there is always a reason you my not be aware of.
When at the step in the instructions were you are to depress the latch pin and rotate the latch to it’s opened position, press in on the glass to relieve pressure off the latch. Doing so will allow the latch to rotate much easier.
You must use the tool at the drivers side of vehicle. Often, many miss this fact as we are so used to always opening vehicles from the passenger side.This tool is seldom assigned, but a must tool if you expect to open a Porsche 928. It is the only way we know to get it open. This vehicle has a reputation of inadvertently locking it self when the door is slammed. Don’t leave home without the tool, as you’ll be the only one who got it open after a line of many who attempted and failed.
The all time primary cause of window breakage is the use of fat window wedges. Ever since we changed from fat wedges to the red, thin style flex-a-wedges your kit now comes with, we no longer hear complaints of broken windows. When we do hear of the problem, the caller always, and we mean always, had a fat wedge involved. For those of you who insist on using the fat wedges, I’ll remind you that our many years of daily contact with what’s happening in the field says your risk of a broken window greatly increases with the big wedges. Even if the wedge widens larger than 1/4 inch at its maximum thickness, 1/4 inch seems like a small gap, but lets keep in mind that glass does not like to bend, and the average window is some $170 installed.
Further conditions involving broken windows are a sunny day or a heater running which warms the interior side of the glass. Throw in a breeze which cools the outside of the window and you have a combination that causes an unstable glass. Add a fat wedge-and bingo, you’re wondering what happened. Discuss the situation with your customer and have an authorization/hold harmless release form signed when ever you feel there is a potential risk that is beyond your control.
Your kit comes with an empty bottle with a label attached explaining how to mix up your own solution. With the volume of tight windows produced today, the manual will instruct you to use the lubricant more often than needed in the past. Why buy a new bottle when it is easily mixed on your own.
Thank you for joining our free online seminars, as it has been our pleasure making the information available to your company. We learn something new most every day involving this vast industry and hope to provide additional class material in the future.
The Slide Lock Tools team