Author Topic: A reason to DIY auto-work?  (Read 4772 times)

BlueMR2

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A reason to DIY auto-work?
« on: September 09, 2015, 03:58:47 PM »
Not a question, just tossing up an anecdote from today...

So, if my car sits for a week or 2 the clutch pedal will drop limply on the floor when I go to drive it.  I have to pry it up and pump it, then I'm good.  Also saw a drop of hydraulic fluid around the shaft inside the footwell.  Replacing the clutch master cylinder is only about a 2 hour job, but bleeding it has always been impossible at home (previously I've done the swap and then had it towed to a shop for the pressure bleed).  Yeah, this is a recurring issue, this car eats a master cylinder every 20,000 miles or so.  Given the likelihood of damage while towing (they've bent my intercooler piping in the past, resulting in several hours of labor plus a new IC), I opted to pay a shop the labor upfront and avoid the tow.

So, I get the car back and I inspect the work.  The same clutch master cylinder is in there as when I left it, however it was cleaned up and adjusted.  They replaced the *brake* master cylinder and did a crappy job bleeding the brakes...  Honestly, the clutch feels perfect, so maybe it was leaking due to an adjustment issue, but there was nothing wrong with the brakes before (they're definitely not as good now).  Waiting to see what happens with this, but if the clutch ends up on the floor again soon, I'm swapping that master cylinder myself and *buying* a pressure bleed machine...  :-)

Syonyk

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2015, 11:20:48 PM »
I generally don't trust shops to work on my vehicles.  I know that I do the proper things.  And if it doesn't work, I know who to blame.

I've had shops do the following on my vehicles, in the last... oh, 8-10 years?
- Front wheel bearings, they were *really* bad, it was the middle of winter, around 0F outside.
- Clutch & flywheel replacement in a Subaru.  They were cooked by the previous owner.
- Timing belt & water pump service on a Subaru.  I was just being lazy with a nice job, and felt like paying someone to do it. :/
- Oxygen sensor on a Subaru.  I had the replacement, just could not get the old unit out and was going on a road trip soon.
- Rear brake line on my truck.  It burst and was leaking badly at the rear axle.  It's... very long.  They had to use two sections to replace it.  I hate brake fluid.
- Rear differential on my truck.  It was whining, and the pinion bearing was leaking.  The difference between a differential properly done and a differential poorly done is about 10k miles vs 200k miles.  And I got a limited slip upgrade in the process. :)

I do almost all my own work.

WranglerBowman

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2015, 11:23:13 AM »
I don't understand how people can afford to take their vehicles to shops whenever they need any maintenence/work completed on their vehicles, but I guess that's also why the average person always has a car payment, less maintenance cost.

I got really tired of being pulled around and jobs being half assed whenever I would take my vehicle anywhere so I started doing everything myself and have even taken on some bigger jobs, engine head rebuild.  One thing I've learned is the only person who will care the most about your stuff is you.  That could be said about everything, I don't think anyone cares about anything any more except themselves.  The average mechanic is just there to collect a paycheck and really doesn't care about what they're doing and surely not about someone else's vehicle.

Syonyk

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2015, 12:49:39 PM »
I don't understand how people can afford to take their vehicles to shops whenever they need any maintenence/work completed on their vehicles, but I guess that's also why the average person always has a car payment, less maintenance cost.

Credit cards! :D  Of course you can afford it!  Your car working is Very, Very Important - I mean, without it, how will you get to your job/the store/the park/etc?

I've gotten very much shouted down on other forums for daring to suggest that if you don't have money, you should learn to fix your own car, because this is a very valuable use of your time.  It's... not a popular opinion.  And apparently "car guys" are fewer and further between than I'd generally realized, since I knew a ton of them in college (when I was fixing my own vehicles). 

Quote
I got really tired of being pulled around and jobs being half assed whenever I would take my vehicle anywhere so I started doing everything myself and have even taken on some bigger jobs, engine head rebuild.  One thing I've learned is the only person who will care the most about your stuff is you.  That could be said about everything, I don't think anyone cares about anything any more except themselves.  The average mechanic is just there to collect a paycheck and really doesn't care about what they're doing and surely not about someone else's vehicle.

Yup.  Same for motorcycle maintenance.  I do almost all of my own, because I know it'll get done right.

ketchup

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2015, 12:56:29 PM »
My clutch adjustment nut was stuck (rust) and I needed to loosen it.  No luck yanking on it myself with pliers, etc.  Frustrated, I took it to a shop near where I work and asked if they could do that.  They TIGHTENED it for me. -_-

Kroaler

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2015, 03:08:14 PM »
This is irrelevant but Ive been on the fence about buying a bleeder tool. The one I want is at harbor freight for like 29$ but Im sure it will come on sale for 20$ one day (everything at harbor freight goes on sale sporadically lol).    Anyway I imagine that same tool can be used for clutches too but not sure, Never changed a clutch. Love my torque converters too much, I got a lazy leg lol.   

Greg

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2015, 03:24:38 PM »
The quality of the parts might be what to look at next.  From my experience with Italian cars, I know that there's huge differences between factory parts and aftermarket (same goes for almost all cars really). 

paddedhat

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2015, 07:20:26 PM »
The quality of the parts might be what to look at next.  From my experience with Italian cars, I know that there's huge differences between factory parts and aftermarket (same goes for almost all cars really).

This is now a pretty serious issue. I have buddy who is a great all around mechanic. His shop has learned the hard way that there is way too much time lost screwing around with garbage aftermarket parts in many cases. If a complete rebuilt front axle assembly for a common front wheel drive car is $50-75, and it Chinese shit, it doesn't matter if the supplier will gladly give you a new one when the first (and occasionally second) on fails. You loose a ton of time swapping out junk aftermarket parts. It gotten to the point with some specific cars that he will gladly do a radiator, or axle replacement, IF you want to spend the money for OEM parts. If that's "more than you wanted to spend" take it to somebody else.

RWD

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2015, 10:58:50 AM »
I had a shop that damaged my heater core piping when they replaced my starter. Fixing it required removing the dash and took me over a month tackling it a little at a time.

JLee

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2015, 11:22:36 AM »
This is irrelevant but Ive been on the fence about buying a bleeder tool. The one I want is at harbor freight for like 29$ but Im sure it will come on sale for 20$ one day (everything at harbor freight goes on sale sporadically lol).    Anyway I imagine that same tool can be used for clutches too but not sure, Never changed a clutch. Love my torque converters too much, I got a lazy leg lol.

Honestly, just buy one the next time you need it (use a 20% off coupon, or order a decent one from Amazon). They save SO MUCH time when bleeding brakes (especially when flushing/replacing fluid) they're worth every penny.

Greg

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2015, 11:44:46 AM »
Vacuum bleeder tools are ok, but a pressure bleeder tool works better, pushing fluid from the reservoir.  Motive is one brand you can get.  They're designed to have fluid in the tool's pressure tank and push the fluid via air pressure into the through the reservoir, but I use mine just to slightly pressurize the system.  This way, I just open the bleeder at the caliper and let the fluid run out until it's clean.

One thing I'll not recommend is using the brake pedal to pump fluid through.  The reason is that the greater pedal travel that usually happens when you pedal-bleed the system can push the master cylinder piston into normally unused areas of the m/c bore, where corrosion waits to ruin the piston seal(s).  This can cause premature wear or failure.  I've had this happen.

Anyway taking it in for one repair and having do another, without notification or permission would prompt me to find a new shop, if I didn't do my own car work.

JLee

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2015, 01:56:08 PM »
Vacuum bleeder tools are ok, but a pressure bleeder tool works better, pushing fluid from the reservoir.  Motive is one brand you can get.  They're designed to have fluid in the tool's pressure tank and push the fluid via air pressure into the through the reservoir, but I use mine just to slightly pressurize the system.  This way, I just open the bleeder at the caliper and let the fluid run out until it's clean.

One thing I'll not recommend is using the brake pedal to pump fluid through.  The reason is that the greater pedal travel that usually happens when you pedal-bleed the system can push the master cylinder piston into normally unused areas of the m/c bore, where corrosion waits to ruin the piston seal(s).  This can cause premature wear or failure.  I've had this happen.

Anyway taking it in for one repair and having do another, without notification or permission would prompt me to find a new shop, if I didn't do my own car work.

I've also heard of people just using an air compressor hose and (gently) pressurizing the master cylinder with that. I'm often solo though, so I can't try that way (without buying a pressure bleeder).

Greg

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2015, 02:22:20 PM »
I've also heard of people just using an air compressor hose and (gently) pressurizing the master cylinder with that. I'm often solo though, so I can't try that way (without buying a pressure bleeder).

You can do this by installing a schrader valve (tire valve stem) into a spare reservoir cap.  The difficulty with this method is that the brake fluid reservoir is small, and so the air pressure is used up quickly.  The larger volume of the tank that comes with a pressure bleeder tool means the pressure lasts longer.  The main thing is to never pump up the pressure too high, 5-10 psi is all you need.  More than that and you can cause leaks or worse on the intake side of the m/c.

GingerGirl

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2015, 11:46:45 AM »
I had a gear shift interlock break on my car, and I watched YouTube videos and learned how to replace it myself. Ordered an aluminum replacement so it shouldn't happen again, took the gear box apart, and did the replacement.

The only issue I had when I did it was that I accidentally broke a small plastic piece where the gear shift cable attaches, so I did take it to a shop to have that piece repaired since I needed the car and didn't have time to wait for a part to be ordered and shipped.

It's really quite fun to learn how to do things yourself, and there isn't much that's more satisfying than knowing you were able to do it.

BlueMR2

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2015, 02:15:59 PM »
It's really quite fun to learn how to do things yourself, and there isn't much that's more satisfying than knowing you were able to do it.

Yeah, I'm kind of enjoying my other broken car at the moment, as odd as that sounds.  :-)  Needed rear brake pads (down to the 1 mm limit).  Mic'd the rotors and they're still above 50%.  Next to no grooving too, so we'll do a pad only change.  Went hunting for brake pads.  Dealer only had semi-metallics, local shop only has organics, the vendor I normally buy Carbon Kevlar from has a bunch of customer complaints against them right now for defects.  Finally found a place that has ceramics for my car.  Got those special ordered in and did the install.

Got to learn about Toyota's odd (as in really obnoxious) pivot/guide pin and screw-in piston setup in this car.  Very annoying to work with after doing other brands with (much easier) guide/lock pins and push-in pistons.  Unfortunately found one of the guide pins to be fused to the sleeve.  Ordered a new hardware kit and guide pin kit.  Includes everything *except* the sleeve...  Sigh.  Found a secondary guide pin kit, that's now on order, hope that contains the sleeve...  If not, I may be off to a shop, with the good one from the other side, to have one machined.

It does get a little annoying though when everything you have is at least slightly broken.  :-)  That car above is drivable, but I don't want to drive it any more than I have to as the brake pads will wear diagonally with the stuck guide pin.  My other car has a failing clutch master cylinder (as mentioned elsewhere) that needs to be pumped up if it sits for too long and will not get better...  The wife's car is sporadically tossing out check engine lights for some emissions code that they can't duplicate at the shop (but they did offer to replace a whole subsystem for $800 which *might* solve the problem).  My motorcycle front forks are leaking small amounts (after just rebuilding them 200 miles ago).  All perfectly "usable" at the moment, but still, it's annoying that they're not exactly right either...

BlueMR2

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2015, 05:35:49 PM »
This is turning into the "just don't own cars" thread.  :-)  Next hardware kit came in, still no sleeve, just some bolts that I have no idea where they go...  Found a different store that's ordering in a "guide pin bushing kit".  Sounds right, length listed is right, but picture looks more like the pivot pin bushing.  I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Oh, and on the drive to work in my other car, one of the rear calipers on that one locked up.  Sigh.  Limped it home.  Looks like I'm commuting via motorcycle tomorrow as I'm fresh out of running cars!  :-O

furrychickens

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2015, 07:20:13 PM »
This is turning into the "just don't own cars" thread.  :-)  Next hardware kit came in, still no sleeve, just some bolts that I have no idea where they go...  Found a different store that's ordering in a "guide pin bushing kit".  Sounds right, length listed is right, but picture looks more like the pivot pin bushing.  I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Oh, and on the drive to work in my other car, one of the rear calipers on that one locked up.  Sigh.  Limped it home.  Looks like I'm commuting via motorcycle tomorrow as I'm fresh out of running cars!  :-O

Ouch. Good luck!

My limitation right now is owning one car, which my DW needs for her commute. (I've tried getting her to try biking and she did try her commute - once.) Depending on the issue, a shop can get it fixed and ready to go MUCH faster than I can, particularly with 3 kids underfoot. So except for simple maintenance and straightforward repairs I know I can complete in a few hours at most, I don't so as much work as I did when we still had two cars.

When we had two cars I replaced an entire engine (previous engine had Chernobyled when the sprockets of the timing belt shattered on an interference engine) with a JDM import bought off of eBay. That was a fun couple weeks of wrenching in every speck of spare time I had.

Making Cookies

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2015, 05:30:53 PM »
The quality of the parts might be what to look at next.  From my experience with Italian cars, I know that there's huge differences between factory parts and aftermarket (same goes for almost all cars really).

This is now a pretty serious issue. I have buddy who is a great all around mechanic. His shop has learned the hard way that there is way too much time lost screwing around with garbage aftermarket parts in many cases. If a complete rebuilt front axle assembly for a common front wheel drive car is $50-75, and it Chinese shit, it doesn't matter if the supplier will gladly give you a new one when the first (and occasionally second) on fails. You loose a ton of time swapping out junk aftermarket parts. It gotten to the point with some specific cars that he will gladly do a radiator, or axle replacement, IF you want to spend the money for OEM parts. If that's "more than you wanted to spend" take it to somebody else.

THIS! Once worked for Advance Auto (side gig while we saved for our first house) selling auto parts and we had a huge number of people coming back annually for replacement "lifetime warranty" parts.

If the OEM version lasted 100K miles then I expect the aftermarket replacement to last more than a year.

Been down that same path myself.

Making Cookies

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Re: A reason to DIY auto-work?
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2015, 05:46:43 PM »
This is turning into the "just don't own cars" thread.  :-)  Next hardware kit came in, still no sleeve, just some bolts that I have no idea where they go...  Found a different store that's ordering in a "guide pin bushing kit".  Sounds right, length listed is right, but picture looks more like the pivot pin bushing.  I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Oh, and on the drive to work in my other car, one of the rear calipers on that one locked up.  Sigh.  Limped it home.  Looks like I'm commuting via motorcycle tomorrow as I'm fresh out of running cars!  :-O

Same situation. Three potential daily drivers. One running today. Nothing catastrophic - just need a little time and weather at the same time. The one car needed an a/c compressor clutch. Aftermarket company missed a manufacturing tolerance.