Friday, July 31, 2015

Coffee Brake: What Is Your Carytponite

Judging from the comments, it appears that most of the regulars on DT do some (or most) of their own maintenance.  If you are anything like me, the appeal is a combination of being frugal, enjoying mechanical tasks, and being a control freak (why would you trust someone else with your brakes?).  However, each of us has our own limit on what we will touch under the hood -- what is your car kryptonite?


For me, the end of my DIY repairs starts and ends with vehicular air conditioning systems.  I'll rebuild an engine, replace a clutch in a muddy ditch (although I won't touch another Subaru STi clutch after doing one, heck I'd take a month in a North Korean re-education camp before another STi gearbox R&R), but I won't touch a malfunctioning AC system.  It might be because I lack a proper tool set (find some options here on Amazon, I think the FJC KIT4 AC Starter Kit at $101.96 with free Amazon Prime shipping looks like a great deal).  Maybe someday I'll muster up the courage to tackle a leaky R134 fitting, but today I'll call a guy.

Where do you start outsourcing your automotive repair?

25 comments:

  1. Body work. It is an art. I am not an artist.

    Anything that has to do with the witchcraft that occurs within a carburetor. I was born and raised in a world with Fuel Injection. The Datsun has 2x SU's, and I'm currently piecing together a fuel injection setup to replace it this winter.

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    1. Actually I should amend this to read: "with a 3 month old, every car repair right now is my kryptonite." The S70 needed a timing belt, tensioner and water pump about 3k miles ago. Every time I fire 'er up I wonder if this is going to be "the last ride".

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  2. I'm more or less over my Fear Of Freon.

    Have pump, have manifold, have tech certificate from online testing outfit to legally buy the good stuff if/when necessary, have resurrected a couple dead/dying simple AC systems and recharged after component replacement.

    Some I just don't want to deal with and know of a reasonable specialty shop 5mi away who does good work.

    I don't do engine internals on anything that matters, and I don't do real precision machine work. I'll do a head gasket and maybe a rod bearing if I really, really have to but I've never felt comfortable going too much further into engine internals. Reassembled a VW blat-four and a couple other iron motors over the years that worked, but I just don't trust myself.

    I would have said 'rebuilding automatic transmissions' but that's the current parachute-jump, at least for one particular example of the breed, I just pulled the ripcord and I'm waiting for the chute to open, it's back together and goes back in the car this weekend.

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  3. I have installed new short block from British Leyland in MG midget ,rebuilt engine and installed headers and Mechanical advance distributer on 64/4sp Corvair, swapped transmission on 76 firebird, rebuilt carter themoquad
    on 72 Road Runner ...But I won't do bodywork of any kind.

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  4. Bodywork - I can fill dings and prime. That's as far as I'll go with it. Got a lovely little Harbor Freight spot sandblaster for dealing with rust spots, and I've put 40K miles over the past 2.5 years on a beater I got for free that's a high-school-level bodywork-practice car, lots of surface rust and door-dings and not much more.

    When it's cleaned up I'll have someone who knows what they're doing paint it, 'cause I don't go there.

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  5. Repairing rust and modern (anything after the turn of the millenium) automatic transmissions. Other than that, the only limitations I encounter are situations where seriously specialized tools are required. Well, there's the common free time limitation too.......wives don't appreciate the finer nuances and neccessity of time spent adjusting S54 valves and making Vanos repairs, so you have to squeak them in around "quality time" where you can.

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    1. I guess I'm not the greatest fabrication guy in the world either...part of it is the specialized tools, and part is lack of hands on experience with any type of mentor helping. In other words, if I have a kit, I'll attack an engine swap, but I sure won't be making custom engine mounts myself.

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    2. Yeah, there's the specialty-tools factor. I've just completed reassembly on a Fancy German Slushbox out of a fifteen-year-old Fancy German Car, the kind of FGS that when it fails people donate their FGC to the local humane society rather than face the repair bill.

      It was remarkably straightforward - almost no special tools required (and I made the stuff needed), all but one of the seals and gaskets needed are in a $120 kit, everything else you might have to replace is priced like GM Turbo 350 replacement bits.

      If you go through everything end-to-end you can spend $1000 on the overhaul. If you replace only the broken bits you're in for $200-500. And it comes apart and goes together like a wedding cake.

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    3. Maybe I should add "if you have an E39 540i wagon w/sport pkg/sport seats, in pretty much any color but black, and a broken transmission, donate it to ME and I'll contribute $1000 to the humane society/animal rescue charity of your choice" but then you won't get the tax writeoff...

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    4. On one hand, huge kudos for the repair. On the other, did you ponder doing one of the koala-motorsports-esque 6 speed swaps into said wagon?

      You would have liked my old wagon----2000 528iT with the sport-premium pack, aspen silver, and 5 speed....God, I should have never sold that car. Bought it with 30k miles in 2003.

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    5. I take it the FGC was a BMW? How long did it take you to re and re the whole thing?

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  6. Anyplace electrons regularly travel through metal.

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  7. For me it's oil leaks. Doesn't matter how hard I try, everything leaks oil Even my electric powered midget found a way to leak...diff fluid.

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  8. Electrical stuff. I'm pretty sure it involves witchcraft and sorcery. My Datsun does not have a working drivers side front turn indicator. i'm pretty sure it will remain that way as long as I have a left arm.

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  9. Electrical stuff. I'm pretty sure it involves witchcraft and sorcery. My Datsun does not have a working drivers side front turn indicator. i'm pretty sure it will remain that way as long as I have a left arm.

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  10. Anything involving a hydraulic press...just don't have one yet...I always just buy the whole assembly. Though I did take some parts to the local garage the other day to have some bushings pressed out/replaced. Happy to slide the tech $20 to make it happen.

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  11. Anything involving a hydraulic press...just don't have one yet...I always just buy the whole assembly. Though I did take some parts to the local garage the other day to have some bushings pressed out/replaced. Happy to slide the tech $20 to make it happen.

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  12. Transmissions, most electrical problems, A/C systems, and bodywork. And brakes. I'd rather get $$$ from a faulty brake installation from a shop than get nothing except hospital bills if I did it myself.

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  13. Seems like as I get closer to 50, I really don't want to have anything to do with spring compressors.

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    1. [img]http://www.rottenecards.com/ecardsmeme/Rottenecards_60551461_4htgthkmr5.jpg[/img]

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    2. I concur. And I would add just about anything that can go bang in your face. Airbags, for example. There's nothing quite like playing with explosives to focus the mind.

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  14. Heater cores. Wont touch them on my own cars. I work in a junkyard, and in about a month, im going to be pulling these things non stop. The fact that people even buy them used blows my mind, they are only like 60 bucks new. Pulling a dash out of any non-truck made after the 80s is a pain. You pull out about 20 bolts and the thing is still in there solid as the day it left the factory. I also wont do head gaskets on ohc engines. The chilton guides ALWAYS put me 180° out every single time.

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  15. I'll try almost anything until it goes wrong, which it often does. Oh and I dont like to get dirty!

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