Bringing Training to the Industry’s Technicians (Part 2)


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - In Part 2 of Bringing Training to the Industry’s Technicians (Read Part 1 HERE), NATDA spoke with Connected Correctly’s Chris Long. A partner of B&W Trailer Hitches, Long will teach two courses at the 2020 NATDA Trailer Show. A morning session will cover the mechanical aspects of hitch installation, consultation and sales while an afternoon session will teach attendees how to troubleshoot common electrical issues that arise during the installation process.

What exactly will be covered in the two classes you’re instructing?

CHRIS LONG (CONNECTED CORRECTLY): Not only will we cover the mechanical aspects of towing in the morning class, but we’re going to spend time talking about different hitch classes, over-the-axle towing, weight distribution systems, towing law variance from state to state, and even quoting proper product selection to customers to fit their needs. We’ll also literally dive into the nuts and bolts of how to put trailer hitches on. It’ll be very basic, so someone who is in the shop already probably won’t get much from the mechanical side. However, they’ll get a lot from the towing equipment selection, laws, classification and basic hitch philosophy. It’s still great for that office person or sales person as well, because this course could sharpen their skills on quoting and give them a better understanding of job estimation.

The afternoon session is where we’re going to spend time on electrical items such as troubleshooting. It’ll be more advanced than the morning session, but simple enough that a basic technician can step right into it. The plan, for both sessions, is to have physical trailers and props to provide technicians with a physical unit to test.

How will the hands-on portions of the class work?

LONG: For the afternoon class, I’ve got a few props. I’ve rigged a wagon so that it’s like a trailer. It’s got two main lights, clearance lights and I’ve even put on electric brake magnets. I can go into those areas and create faults. I can just flip a switch to create a problem and the technicians will have to troubleshoot, and find out what it is, using the equipment on hand. I’ve got a similar prop set-up for the morning class.

You mentioned the electrical class will be a little more advanced. Who would be a good fit for that class?

LONG: We’re going to cover two-wire and three-wire systems, pulse width modulation (PWM), protecting a vehicle’s computer systems, getting the right wiring harness, wiring codes, color codes, advanced information on selecting the right towing equipment - anything that throws people into a tailspin of confusion. It’s going to be a lot more technical when referring to which products to select. It’s aimed at technicians who have just started in this line of work, apprentices or anyone who’s learning on the job, but it’s also good for seasoned installers just to sharpen their understanding of deeper installation philosophy.

With everything going on with the current pandemic, do you think these classes can help dealerships who may be hiring around this time?

LONG: These two courses should be gold for them. If you have zero experience in this business, you will come out of this course with the confidence to start working on people’s vehicles.


Basic Towing Systems Specialist sponsored by B&W Trailer Hitches

The “Basic Towing Systems Specialist” training courses are opportunities for technicians and service advisors to gain a basic level of knowledge and aptitude in various mechanical and electrical aspects of the trailer hitch and towing industry.

  • Basic Towing Systems Specialist (Mechanical)
  • The morning session will cover the mechanical aspects of towing installation, focusing on:
  • Vehicle tow capacity advising
  • Trailer hitch type and classification
  • Over-the-axle towing equipment overview
  • Weight distribution hitch types and mechanics
  • Ball mounts, hitch balls, pintle hooks, multiple adapters and towing equipment accessories
  • Specialty hardware types and proper usage
  • Installation best practices and techniques

Basic Towing Systems Specialist (Electrical)

The afternoon session will cover the electrical aspects of towing installation, focusing on:
12-volt vehicle electrical systems (2-wire, 3-wire, and pulse width modulation) for trailer functions

  • Wiring plug types, functions, features and wiring codes
  • Electric brake controller types and applications
  • Wiring installation best practices and techniques
  • Troubleshooting common electrical problems on vehicle/trailer combinations
  • Professional orientation guidelines for educating the final user on proper operation of their towing equipment

REGISTER TO ATTEND

Both classes will include “hands-on” training, allowing participants to demonstrate their competency in the subjects covered, followed by a written examination to earn a certificate of completion. Students who complete and pass both classes will be grandfathered into a basic level of certification provided by B&W Trailer Hitches later in the year. Neither course is considered a prerequisite for the other.

Are you or your technician interested in attending this year’s technical training? Reserve your seat today by calling 727-360-0304 or email Andria Gibbon, CEM at andria@natda.org.


Source: May/June 2020 Issue of NATDA Magazine