Consulab EM-140 helps students master troubleshooting skills
Mark Hickman, a GM ASEP instructor at Dakota County Technical College, likes faults, especially intermittent faults. His program recently unveiled a Consulab EM-140 Chevrolet Cobalt Engine Trainer with HVAC, a portable training device that makes the educational experience smarter, safer and more visible for students and faculty. The EM-140 also adds faults, the prey of troubleshooters. Faults are those often elusive system failures or malfunctions that technicians need to diagnose and correct in the vehicles they repair.
“Our EM-140 replicates a 2010 Chevy Cobalt,” Hickman said, referring to the trainer, which is mounted on a mobile steel stand and built to meet all engine performance and repair tasks for the Cobalt, including issues with HVAC.
What sold Hickman on the EM-140 is how instructors can use the trainer to insert faults, even intermittent faults, exactly in the manner their students will encounter faults on vehicles in a real-world shop. “We’ve never had that simulation ability in the past—and intermittent faults are the most difficult to detect and fix,” Hickman said.
The name of Hickman’s program, GM ASEP, stands for General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program. A joint effort between GM, GM dealers and selected colleges across the United States and Canada, GM ASEP provides training on current GM products exclusively. During the two years typically needed to earn an A.A.S. degree, GM ASEP gives students the opportunity to alternate between attending college classes and labs and working at a sponsoring GM dealership.
Consulab EM-140 Chevrolet Cobalt Trainer PDF Click link or image for general description and features
Hickman noted that the EM-140 not only makes training easier, but also employs OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, components that are prevalent throughout the automotive industry. Adapted for educational purposes to increase visibility and safety, the OEM components on the EM-140 comply with manufacturer rules and specifications related to all codes, colors and electronics.
Immediate student benefits from the Consulab EM-140 Engine Trainer
- Increased speed of learning
- Increased confidence levels
- Greater troubleshooting skills
- Stronger, ongoing motivation via a correlation between training and realities faced daily in industry shops
Ryan BakerRyan Baker, 22, a GM ASEP student working on his A.A.S. degree, likes the simplicity of the EM-140. “Testing all the different connectors is very easy,” said Baker, a native of Millville, Minn., and a 2009 graduate of Lake City High School. “I just solved an intermittent fault on the trainer related to the mass air flow sensor. Took about two hours and it was a great learning experience. The trainer is a very effective way to understand and diagnose engine performance.”
“We share the EM-140 with the college’s Automotive Technician program,” Hickman said. “So far we’ve had rave reviews from students and instructors. The trainer is another tool we can deploy to prepare our students for promising futures in an industry that never stops changing.”
According to ISEEK, Minnesota’s comprehensive career, education and job resource, the median wage is $20.42 an hour for automotive service technicians in the seven-county Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Top earners bring home nearly $30 an hour. The outlook for the state projects a 12.4 percent growth in the number of auto technician jobs between 2010 and 2020. ““As the population grows, so will the number of motor vehicles,” ISEEK reports. “All those new cars and trucks, as well as the old ones, will require maintenance and service. While maintenance can be put off for a short period, car owners are more likely to keep this up even when the economy is poor. This is because most people rely on their cars to get to work so owners need to make sure their cars keep running.
“Most jobs for mechanics are at repair shops and auto dealerships. The number of jobs at these locations will continue to grow. Faster growth may occur at shops that specialize in oil changes, brake repair, and other minor repairs.”