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Thread: Gearheads wrench it themselves.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Gearheads wrench it themselves.

    As a posted in another thread, I put new brake pads on my car last night. A coworker was shocked that I knew how to do such a thing. For me, this is a very small project. I grew up in a car family and for me, something like this has little to do with saving money, but more to do with knowing my car. I have spun a wrench on every vehicle I have ever owned and have even done some substantial modifications on one ‘project’ that I had for a while. It was a 2 wheel drive S-10 blazer that had 350 cc. (V8 motor for you non gearhead types) Right now I am looking for a 53 or 54 Chevy 2 door for my next project.

    Some guys who call themselves gearheads don’t know the difference between a pipe wrench and a torque wrench. A real gear head not only enjoys his car, but finds pride in working on it himself. This is a good clip that explains gearheads, (although some would say fiberglass body is cheating)



    It is true that there are things that I can’t do, mainly because I don’t have all the tools needed, but mostly, I like to do my own work. There are also things that I will not do… like change my own oil. I don’t want to deal with proper disposal.

    Are you a gearhead? Do you do work on your own car, or source it out to someone else?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    When I was in the Marines we had access to an automotive hobby shop on base with all the tools available to do just about anything. I've long been a fan of Jeeps and off-road driving and when I wanted to put a mildly lifted suspension and large tires on one of my Jeeps I decided to do it myself, along with the oversight of some friends who had done it before and the free professional input of the techs at the hobby shop. I discovered that I was much more skilled at working on some aspects than I ever thought I would be. To date, I've changed suspensions (both leaf spring and coil types), rebuilt carbs, changed steering boxes, changed gearing, properly swapped out bumpers and added heavy duty off road type armor, installed winches...

    A few years ago I decided to do some work on my current Jeep at my house in my garage. I realized it was not nearly as quick or easy now that I no longer have impact wrenches and free access to any automotive tool imaginable. If it takes more than a screwdriver, I now leave the work to the professionals once again.

    Lately though, I've been looking for a 1987-1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and plan on doing any work that it might need done myself. My wife's uncle was president of the Michigan Model T and Model A association for years, has a large garage full of the tools (even his own paint shop), and the free time and has told me he would allow me to keep a vehicle there at his place while we work on it a few weekends a month. The hard part now is just finding an acceptable vehicle to be the base for the project.

    I think that my recent interest in working on customizing watches stems from the fact that I no longer have the space or tools to work on cars at home like I would really like to. Watch parts and tools take up a lot less space!
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    It was a 2 wheel drive S-10 blazer that had 350 cc. (V8 motor for you non gearhead types)
    Not really a gearhead althought I've done some work on both my cars and motorcycles. BTW, 350 cc is a pretty small V8. Might that have been 350 CI?
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    Lately though, I've been looking for a 1987-1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and plan on doing any work that it might need done myself. The hard part now is just finding an acceptable vehicle to be the base for the project.
    Awesome! Eventually I will be looking for a Cherokee Chief for a future off-road project. The Grand Wagoneer and Chief were really good looking jeeps. That said, I will probably end up with a XJ Cherokee or a mid 80's Toyota pickup to take offroading.

    I consider myself a gear head. I've done plenty of work and modifications to my prior cars. Motor components, body work, suspension, brakes, etc. I'm going to start back up on my classic sports car restoration soon. I want to do other minor project cars as well, but time and money are limiting factors. I like making nice cars though.

    That said, I try not do oil changes for the same reason as mski, plus I think it can be a pain in the butt when you do not have a lift. My current car also has free service for the first few years, so I'm not going to touch it. I did the exhaust though, and I'll probably do the suspension myself in a few years from now.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  5. #5
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    Awesome! Eventually I will be looking for a Cherokee Chief for a future off-road project. The Grand Wagoneer and Chief were really good looking jeeps. That said, I will probably end up with a XJ Cherokee or a mid 80's Toyota pickup to take offroading.
    I almost bought an '86 Toyota Land Cruiser a couple of winters ago but the seller decided to flake out at the last minute. It needed a bit of work but would have still been a pretty fun truck, and something you don't see too much of out here (they are much more popular out west). I figure it's probably for the best that I didn't get it though as I would have felt dirty being unfaithful to Jeep or AMC.


    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    That said, I try not do oil changes for the same reason as mski, plus I think it can be a pain in the butt when you do not have a lift.
    I stopped changing my own oil on vehicles a few years back when I kept striping the drain plugs on one of my Jeeps when I was re-installing them. I got tired of the continual pools of oil I was dropping on the driveway. Thankfully, my current Jeep has free oil changes and filters for life and when my wife bought a new car last fall we got her dealer to agree to that for her vehicle as well. I like going into my dealership for my oil changes because it gives me just enough time to walk the few blocks to one of the best ice cream places in the Detroit area.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I stopped changing my own oil on vehicles a few years back when I kept striping the drain plugs on one of my Jeeps when I was re-installing them. I got tired of the continual pools of oil I was dropping on the driveway. Thankfully, my current Jeep has free oil changes and filters for life and when my wife bought a new car last fall we got her dealer to agree to that for her vehicle as well. I like going into my dealership for my oil changes because it gives me just enough time to walk the few blocks to one of the best ice cream places in the Detroit area.
    Good Call!
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I am capable of performing some basic repairs and maintenance to cars, but to be quite honest find doing so aggravating as it always seems to take more time than it should (e.g. some screw is corroded, not enough room to reach some belt or pulley necessitating removal of yet more things, etc.) and something unforeseen inevitably occurs. So these days, if it’s anything more involved than changing an air filter or battery, I’ll pay a mechanic to do it for me, consider it money well spent, and use the time otherwise wasted on that doing something I actually enjoy doing.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I almost bought an '86 Toyota Land Cruiser a couple of winters ago but the seller decided to flake out at the last minute. It needed a bit of work but would have still been a pretty fun truck, and something you don't see too much of out here (they are much more popular out west). I figure it's probably for the best that I didn't get it though as I would have felt dirty being unfaithful to Jeep or AMC.
    The Land Cruiser is too big for me. I was thinking more of the Marty McFly Toyota truck or 4runner. I prefer Jeeps, and helped my dad with his 94 Wrangler, but I also had a pretty nice '00 Tacoma during my final year in college that I bought from my brother. It was a clean truck, had a nice lift and tires, good stereo, and the v6. The only problem was that it was a prerunner (2wd), and after trying to source parts to do a 4x4 conversion, I gave up. I went back into the sport tuner scene, and got my first wrx.

    Keep waiting for the jeep. Do you want the wood trim too?
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I am capable of performing some basic repairs and maintenance to cars, but to be quite honest find doing so aggravating as it always seems to take more time than it should (e.g. some screw is corroded, not enough room to reach some belt or pulley necessitating removal of yet more things, etc.) and something unforeseen inevitably occurs. So these days, if it’s anything more involved than changing an air filter or battery, I’ll pay a mechanic to do it for me, consider it money well spent, and use the time otherwise wasted on that doing something I actually enjoy doing.
    Well said. I used to work in my vehicles in college in the 80's. However, there came a point where vehicles became so complex I couldn't do it anymore. Now, I just let the pros do it if nothing else than out of fear I'll only make it worse.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    Keep waiting for the jeep. Do you want the wood trim too?
    I absolutely want the wood trim. This would be my fourth Waggy and the one I plan to keep for as long as possible (I still kick myself for selling my first, but not for selling the other ones I've owned). The wood trim is what initially drew me to them, and the ultra plush leather seats and smooth ride is what keeps me coming back.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    As a posted in another thread, I put new brake pads on my car last night. A coworker was shocked that I knew how to do such a thing. For me, this is a very small project. I grew up in a car family and for me, something like this has little to do with saving money, but more to do with knowing my car.
    Growing up in Detroit area in the...erm...when I did, it was almost as if you couldn't graduate high school if you couldn't work on your car. Lots of buddies had dads with the garage full of tools and propane heaters for the winter, all that. Does that mean that modern 21st century cars can be worked on? Nope. I built all my bikes from frame - up as well as several others for old GFs, friends, etc. Its therapy.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    My mechanical limits don't go much further than replacing belts and changing pads. A few months ago I surprised myself by locating the source of an exhaust leak and replacing the gasket on the manifold.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    The gas is on the right, the brake is on the left.

    That's about all I know.

    Seriously though, I can change a battery, put some fluids in and replace windshield wipers and air filters. That's it.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    The gas is on the right, the brake is on the left.

    That's about all I know.

    Seriously though, I can change a battery, put some fluids in and replace windshield wipers and air filters. That's it.
    I'm in your camp except that I'm not always able to replace the windshield wipers correctly. They mystify me, to be truthful.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Gearhead...Oops

    As I said in the other thread, I've done some work on my cars and motorcycles. I was also trained in the Army to be a helicopter mechanic, but I don't really consider myself to be a gearhead. Some proof of that would be the following:

    1. I admit it, I owned a full-sized, self-converted van in the 70's. In the process of "customizing" the interior, I put down a plywood floor for the requisite carpet. When I drilled holes to attach it to the metal flooring, I managed to drill right through my gas line. Took me a little while to figure why my engine stopped within a block of my house when I had a full tank of gas.

    2. My first front-wheel drive, transverse engine car was a 1980 Toyota Tercel . The first time I changed the oil, I drained it and then found that my oil level was still high. Turned out that it wasn't the crankcase that I had drained.

    Anyone else have pseudo-gearhead horror stories, aka dumba$$ mistakes, to contribute?

    Moderator note:
    Threads merged.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    When my oldest brother was in high school, he and a "friend who knew something about cars" tried (key word here folks) to restore a '57 Chevy. The end result was a car that never really ran right after that, several parts that were "left over" which remained in the garage for awhile, and a drain on finances for said brother.

    I onced installed a set of gauges and a clock in a car and ended up shorting out the starter. I have changed the oil successfully many, many times.

    Let's just say our family genes are geared for mechanics.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    The gas is on the right, the brake is on the left.

    That's about all I know.

    Seriously though, I can change a battery, put some fluids in and replace windshield wipers and air filters. That's it.
    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    I'm in your camp except that I'm not always able to replace the windshield wipers correctly. They mystify me, to be truthful.
    I have had some vehicles where I can swap out windshield wipers in about 5 minutes and some where it takes hours. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to who has easy ones and who has difficult ones.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I can do all the basic maintenance and a little bit more. I like doing it myself so I know it's done right. Most of my mechanical skill is swapping parts on a '79 CJ 7 I used to have. Springs, alternator, axle, and whatever broke. Not a lot of engine repair skill. Now I have my '01 Mustang Bullitt. I haven't dont any mods to it yet, but I'd love to afford a nice exhaust.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Moderator note:
    Threads merged.
    Hey, if you want to go the other extreme, have at it. YOLO
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Hey, if you want to go the other extreme, have at it. YOLO
    Off-topic:
    You're not seriously suggesting it was me that merged this thread are you?[/disbelief]
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Off-topic:
    You're not seriously suggesting it was me that merged this thread are you?[/disbelief]
    If the foo $hits...
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I pay money to have it done right. I find that my skills in most things cars equate to me being able to get it done... but I probably shouldn't. I still change the air filters, but that is about it. On my wife's car I can't even find the air filters.... Chevy has put so much plastic to keep everything quite it take a day just to find the engine.... pass.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    If the foo $hits...
    Well I wear a size 9 foo (which is a splitting size not a merging one)
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  24. #24
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I am relatively mechanically competent with things that require tools found in your standard toolbox but not much else. I do a lot of home projects, for example, but less so with the cars. Most of the cars I have owned are on the old side, so much of this has been necessity and not desire. My proudest moment was diagnosing and then removing, cleaning, and reinstalling a clogged flame trap on a 1984 Volvo 240 while on a road trip. For the most part I let the experts do it, though I take pains to try and figure out and understand the particulars behind what goes wrong.

    I'm a little more inclined with my bike, but again, some of this stuff takes such specialized tools that it is often cheaper and more time efficient to take it to the local shop (and I have a bike mechanic I really like).

    Overall, with a demanding job, two kids and a marriage to work on, my time is booked.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  25. #25
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Last week one night I left the key in my Jeep turned to the accessory position overnight so of course the battery was drained in the morning. I charged it up and it ran fine for Wednesday but then I haven't driven again until this morning and it did not want to start today (but eventually did). I stopped for coffee on the way to work and it started even worse after that and then I tested it out after arriving at work and it sounds like I will probably need a jump to get home. So I guess I will need a new battery.

    I was searching the sites of a couple automotive stores and man are batteries expensive! I have not bought one in at least a decade and it seems like they are about $40 more than they used to be.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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