What are some car-repair jobs you always wished you could do but have never done?

What are some car-repair jobs you always wished you could do but have never
done?
Mine are, in this order of "I wish I could do it" order
1. painting
2. alignment
3. replace/rebuild engine
4. clutch replacement
5. tire mounting and balancing
6. timing belt
7. head gasket and vcg
I've done electrical, brakes, shocks, cooling systems, alternators,
ujoints, pitman/idler arms & tie-rod ends and ball joints, tuneups,
emissions hoses and sensors, exhaust, electrical components, fuel pumps,
and fluids, but not the six things above.
What are some car-repair jobs you always wished you could do but have never
done?
Reply to
RS Wood
Painting is something I have done and wish I never had... The best paint guy I ever knew was someone you had to catch in the zone between sober but shaky and falling down drunk. The runner up was a complete stoner.
Reply to
rbowman
On Sat, 4 Nov 2017 02:42:59 +0000 (UTC), RS Wood wrote:
Done just about all of it. My painting left a bit to be desired, and I don't really like rust repair bodywork. I've installed AC, installed oversized brakes, totally rebuilt a few cars - engine, suspension, electrics - the works. I've done some automatic trans work - but never a FULL rebuild.
What I'd really LIKE to do is build a complete car from scratch - but after taking 16 years on the plane, and it's not done yet - at 65 that likely won't happen
Reply to
clare
RS Wood wrote on 11/3/2017 10:42 PM:
None, I've done a bunch of work on cars in my day, but I'm fed up with it now. I wish I could find someone who has half a brain who would do a decent job fixing my truck. It's old and has issues, but the repair people I seem to find these days fix one thing and break something else.
Reply to
rickman
My guess is that most people here have done these things - except painting, alignment, and tire mounting. These things are impractical to do at home. Rebuilding an engine ain't too practical either. I've done it but I cheated . It was a Mazda rotary engine which can be easily done on a workbench. Som e people will try painting at home but they tend to be just bonkers.
Reply to
dsi1
My observation with repair people is that it's hard to find one who cares to do what he was trained to do.
Recently a bolt was missing from a repair job and when I came back to ask why, the guy told me it didn't do anything.
I reflected that the car still works fine without the bolt, but there is no way they put that bolt there in the first place if it didn't do anything.
He didn't believe me.
Reply to
RS Wood
You may be the only lucky one here!
Nobody expects a home job to be as good as the pros, but it still would be nice to do.
I was thinking manual. An automatic might be too much for a home job due to the potential equipment requirement. For a manual, all you need is a good jack, some tools for tight places, clutch alignment tool, snapring pliers, and everything else you probably already have.
I'm older than you, so I know what you mean that it probably will never happen. We lost our chance.
I too would love to have built my "own" car, which, by that, I mean I would have taken my very first car or maybe one of the cars from the 60s, or 70s, or maybe as late as the 80s, and then rebuilt it "my way", whatever that would mean, such that it would be unique.
My advice to a kid in his twenties or thirties would be to save the car he likes best, probably it's a simple one, manual, inline six perhaps, and then just learn it, work it, and repair it, and make it what you want it to be.
Reply to
RS Wood
The closest I came to for the engine was an Infiniti Q45 I had where my wife holed the oil pan somehow (she said it wasn't her fault).
To replace the oil pan, I had to buy an engine "holder" where I unbolted the engine mounts and jacked it up from underneath and then hung it on a hook over this crossbar which bolted into the shock bolts.
But I've never replaced an engine mostly because I never drove an engine into the ground that needed to be replaced. I envy people who have done it because it must feel great to put a new engine in yourself.
I haven't had a manual for so long that I think I lost my chance to do the clutch and pressure plate. The one chance I had in the 80s, I blew it by paying someone else to do it. That was my mistake because that turned out to be my last chance in life to learn how to do it and experience it.
I know what you mean. All mine have been chains, where some have plastic chain guides or tensioners which need replacing - but I've never needed to replace a belt - but belts are pretty common on cars nowadays, aren't they?
I may get my chance yet on at least the valve cover gasket as mine has a few spots of oil on the edges. :)
As in piston ring? If so, I think that qualifies as a "engine", at least to me, since you have to open her up pretty deep to get to the pistons.
Replacing the transmission would also be something I wish I had done, along the lines of putting in a clutch, which is I think essentially the same thing since the transmission has to come out anyway. In fact, unless it's a swap (like yours was), I would think replacing the transmission one to one would be easier than replacing just the clutch, and pressure plate.
I may have lost my chance on most of the things above though, just like I can't hike in the Grand Canyon anymore (due to being old).
Reply to
RS Wood
Long ago, in the 80's, at Sears, I bought the compressor, the sprayer, and the sandblaster, and the welder (but I bought gas welding equipment which turned out to be a mistake because the skill set needed is great compared to arc welding on thin metal with wires below them).
Not wishing to merely fill with bondo, I cut out the rust, and welded steel plates (melting the harness bundle below the rocker panels by mistake but repairing that easily enough).
I was still working on it, when it was totalled after I lent it to a friend, so the only thing I have left is the memory and the tools.
What I learned from all that was never lend your car to a friend, and in the end, I never learned how to paint it because I never needed to paint a car ever again.
Ever since then, I farmed out my painting, but I wish I had finished that one job.
Reply to
RS Wood
I'm thinking that can be misconstrued just like the alignment can be misconstrued.
What I really think about home jobs is that you _care_ more than the guy doing your work for you for pay.
He has more experience and better equipment. You care more about the results where your equipment just has to be good enough.
Recently I brought a car back to the shop because a bolt was missing where the guy insisted the bolt didn't do anything. That's what I mean about caring about the job.
When they mount my tires, they don't align the dots to get the least amount of weight. They say it doesn't matter. Maybe they're right. I don't know, but it doesn't seem like the right way to do the job to me.
When they do the clutch, they put in whatever they put in but I doubt it's Redline.
That's what I mean more so than they don't know more than we do.
They know. But they might not care as much as we do about the results.
Reply to
RS Wood
On Sat, 4 Nov 2017 13:00:16 +0000 (UTC), RS Wood wrote:
Done that many times.

My '63 Valiant (170 slant six, push-button automatic) had lowered suspension so it cornered like it was on rails, and put 206HP to the rear wheels. 60 in 1st, 90 in second, and bury the needle in drive.
The 69 Dart wasn't quite as radical but would do 104 all day long (225 slant six)
the 1953 Coronet Sierra (241 Red Ram Hemi Overdrive) was a complete rebuild, as was the custom 1957 (Dodge) Fargo Express. Wish I still had those 2. The Coronet was one of my paint jobs. "'69 Chevelle and 72 VW Beetle were 2 others. Both turned out nice except for one "sag" on each. The Coronet had no sags, but not much shine either.
Reply to
clare
On Sat, 4 Nov 2017 13:23:54 +0000 (UTC), RS Wood wrote:
A GOOD tech cares as much as you do - mabee more - because a poor job reflects badly on him and can cost him BIG TIME if he gets a bed reputation.
I cared more about most of my customers' vehicles than they did for the 25+ years I was actively in the trade.
And "redline" isn't necessarily the best or any better for your application/ use than what they put in.
Or they might. You just need the right shop, and the right technician.
Reply to
clare
I've done or assisted in most of those and a bunch of others except #6. These days I buy new cars and don't even do oil changes.
If you really want to tackle #3, it is easy enough to do. Buy a new Corvette and for an extra $5000 you can go to the plant and assemble your own engine. Of course, they have a pro with you.
Reply to
Ed Pawlowski
Serpentine belts are common, as are interference engines. I replaced the belt on my Geo when it got up around 100,000 miles. I didn't know the maintenance history on the car and assumed it had never been replaced. iirc, the belt was around $40 and the job took a couple of hours. The biggest problem was the limited space.
Reply to
rbowman
I've been going to get a gas setup with the portable tanks. I used to be okay but it's been a long time. Gas is more versatile and works anywhere you can drag the tanks but the inexpensive point and shoot wire machines do make life easy over stick welding.
Reply to
rbowman
I don't know if the new paints and HVLP guns are any better but the guys shooting lacquer had half a buzz on to start with. The shooting isn't bad but the prep, prep, and more prep followed by sand, sand, and more sand and then buff and buff gets to me. I can only massage the same car so many times before I'm utterly bored.
Reply to
rbowman
RS Wood wrote on 11/4/2017 9:00 AM:
I guess that's why he is repairing cars instead of designing them. He should be introduced to the bean counters in Detroit. They'll explain why that bolt is there because if the designers couldn't explain it to the bean counters, it wouldn't be there.
Reply to
rickman
RS Wood wrote on 11/4/2017 9:00 AM:
Same here. Any car of mine that needed an engine wasn't worth putting an engine in. Older cars were not made to last and that was true for every part of that car. Even things like seats and headliners were shot by the time the engine was shot. My current truck has 240,000 miles on it and the engine is one of a number of parts that shows nearly no sign of going anytime soon. The parts that have been repaired often were not repaired right so some have needed repairing more than once, but otherwise the truck is very sound.
Reply to
rickman
Evidently you never owned a Buick or Olds with the 3.8 engine from the early 80's. I know of many being rebuilt/replaced. I had the engine replaced on my '83 Cutlass and drove it until the next one died. The car had 130,00+ miles. Not sure how many as the odometer stopped working. I was determined to drive it until it does. Left work one day, started the car, drove 3 feet and it died. Took the company pickup home and stopped at a car dealer on the way and bought another car.
Reply to
Ed Pawlowski

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