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Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

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Registered: ‎06-11-2007

Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

When I first started driving, I learned to look after the motor, by watching and asking questions, and then next time getting on and doing the job... this covered virtually all aspects.. from changing brake parts, to universal joints, steering and suspension components. and decoking / grinding in new valves, replacing water pump, engine crank and shells, and pistons or piston rings.

Must have saved myself a small fortune... how i wish I had that fortune now... !

My trusty Skoda is due for the cambelt change... which, unfortunately, my tame mechanic, who does all my service work now, at home, does not have the special tools required for this model !.. He did my previous Skoda, and I think it cost me about £150 inc parts, .... This time the cambelt kit is just under £100.00.  and I also need to replace the waterpump at the same time ( prudence in doing it before it fails, and have to pay another £200 or so! ! !) .. ...another £50... but the killer is the labour.... £210.00  INC VAT.. however... it`s not all bad... the garage will come and collect, and deliver after the job is done... so I don`t have to walk home.. or get a taxi twice ! ! .

 

18 REPLIES 18
idonno
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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

I feel your pain. I was lucky with my heap. Enquired about a cam belt change only to be told, "yours doesn't have a cam belt". Seems it has a timing chain. Supposedly lasts the life of the engine. Like you, I used to do lots of mechanical things. Motorbike I still play around with but car, let some other have the fun. There isn't much room in the engine bay nowadays anyway and you need means of raising the car if you need to go under.

 

As for decoking / grinding valves, careful you're showing your age Funny People don't do that sort of thing any more. Do they? 

Ever helpful. Grin Sure, I’d love to help you out. Now which way did you come in?
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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

@idonno 

I don't think it's necessary to decoke engines any more due to both the engine design and improvements in fuel and oil.

Fortunately my current and last car had timing chains and I think they start 'rattling' long before they break, indeed you may be lucky and it's just a new tensioner.

Odd looking back years ago...changing the timing belt was not a major task, just line up the dots on the pulleys to the marks on the engine and away you go.

Bit like adjusting the timing using a strobe light, two minute job.

Now with twin camshafts and all the other stuff connected in the engine it would be half a days job just to even get at the timing belt.

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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

Looking at my own car it's clear you have to remove a number of things just to get at the spark plugs when they need changing, it's like cars are now designed to ensure owners do not undertake any sort of maintenance.

Even changing disk pads on some cars with automatic hand brakes is no longer a diy job.

Minivanman
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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

Same here with my past cars and in the days when you could or indeed had to do most things. Just quick checks now although as mentioned here before, my 'once usual garage now under new ownership' wanted £700 smackers to change the cam belt which although not broken perish the thought, 'needed' to be changed at 100,00 miles.

Err, "no thanks I can buy another twelve year old Fiesta for that mate"

Took it down down to an even more local one man garage and he did it for under £100 parts and labour. He not only changed the cam belt but the one for the alternator as well because it was easier to slice off for access and replace rather than fiddle around trying to get that cam belt off apparantly. 

Oh and here is the funny part and absolutely honestly true, that garage is run by a guy called Gary Cooper. I know which one of the two mechanics should have been wearing a cowboy hat, and it wasn't Gary. 

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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

@gleneagles 

 

Looking at my own car it's clear you have to remove a number of things just to get at the spark plugs when they need changing,

 

I haven`t seen a spark plug for over 25 years now  ! ! ! ... They used to be about a pound for four Shocked when I last bought any ! ! !.

 

 

Minivanman
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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

I might still have the old wire brush I used to clean them with.

Those feeler gauges on the other hand... 

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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

I bought a new set of feeler gauges about 3 years ago, but I use them to set the gap on my morse keys .... usually between 0.005 & 0.007inch

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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

You used to have plenty of room to slide under the car. Now you need a lift to get the car up just to get all the various panels and covers off before you can even see what you're looking for.

PowerLee
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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

The auxiliary drive belt failing is what takes out a lot of cam belts with it & it gets wrapped around the lower pulley interfering with the cambelt.

Another thing to watch is some modern engines now have a cambelt that runs in an oil bath, adding stuff like engine flush in to the oil can degrade & breakdown the material the cambelt is made from leading to engine oil pathway blockages inside the engine.

My old car was very simple to work on as the engine was originally designed in the 1980's, soon as the warranty was up I serviced it myself, didn't even need to jack it up to drain the oil.

My current car I wouldn't even know where to start, its far to complex under the bonnet - its still under warranty so ill let the main dealer service it.

Minivanman
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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

Same here when looking under these days, it's all a mystery. Just check those fluids each week and maybe the air filter each year and that's it. Case closed, bonnet closed. 

Oh and those bulbs. Major irritant - having to have the right star shaped bit to take the cover off which means that along with spare bulbs and fuses kept in the car I also have to keep one of those mini screw driver sets. 

Lights   Grandchildren's safety seats   Shopping bags in boot    Err, that's it.

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idonno
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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

@Minivanman  You mentioned the word "bulb". Bain of my life on the current car. I've no argument that they blow I tend to do a lot of miles in the dark but whoever designed the car should be taken out and shot. I can 'just' about get my fingers into the housing to change the near side one - access is just slide the clip over. Refitting the cover can be a bit fiddly sometimes. Off side though is a totally different animal. I have to remove the air filter box complete. I even went online to check simply because I could not believe someone would design a car so.

 

Services though aren't what they used to be. Not long after a service I was going down the motorway when the car started to misfire. It calmed down when i eased up and I started to think coil pack playing up again (I'd had one changed under warranty). Car had done about 60k miles then. Got home and got the socket set out, took the first spark plug out. Got to be kidding. The gap was well over 2.5mm nearer 3mm. Suppose to be 1mm. Bought 4 new ones. Haven't had any problems since. Like I said, services aren't like they used to be. In the good old days, spark plugs were at least checked/adjusted every service. All 4 plugs should have been bin jobs at the last service.

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Minivanman
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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

I hear you on that and anybody who has tried changing the headllight bulbs on a Fiesta will know exactly what I mean. Fiddle and wiggle to get the whole assembly in and out does not even come close, you even have to unscrew and drop the front grill to get at it! 

 

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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !

One major problem with today's modern cars is if you have a intermittent fault and no code shows up when attached to the garages computer......." sorry mate you will have to wait until it stops completely then we can see what the problem is, that will be £ 85 for the diagnostic check even though we found nothing"

Even workshop manuals are not half as good as they were in years gone by.

Having said that like many of you it will be left to the garage to sort out or service the car, in the past I had little option lack of funds forced me to do the servicing but to be honest I enjoyed doing it.

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Re: Do It Yourself Mechanic ? I wish ! ! !


@Minivanman wrote:

I hear you on that and anybody who has tried changing the headllight bulbs on a Fiesta will know exactly what I mean. Fiddle and wiggle to get the whole assembly in and out does not even come close, you even have to unscrew and drop the front grill to get at it! 

 


Had a ford focus for a short time, almost impossible to change the headlight bulb on one side, it was easier to jack the car up, remove the wheel arch lining and change the bulb from that angle, just enough room without removing the wheel.