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

On 11/04/2017 06:00 AM, RS Wood wrote:

Sounds like the Ford dealership jerk who replaced the starter on the 69 LTD. One loose bolt, one dropped on top of the starter and one completely missing. He was partially right, it ran for a couple of years afterward.
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Cheers, Bev
I'd rather trust the guys in the lab coats who aren't demanding
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The Real Bev wrote:

I can't count the number of times I've seen someone use a screwdriver as a prybar on, say, plastic twist-off hubcaps, or who used a pair of pliers instead of a socket, or who used an adjustable wrench instead of a socket.
The only time I use a screwdriver, is as a screwdriver. The only time I use pliers on hex nuts is when simply holding down one end. The only time I use an adjustable wrench is ... well ... almost never.
(I can't imagine what an adjustable wrench does that the properly sized wrench doesn't do, unless you're climbing a lighthouse tower or something where you just can't come down to get the right tool for the bolt.)
Now vise grips. They're useful. But for different reasons.
But the point is that many mechanics use the fastest method. Not the right method.
Hence, that's why I think we always do a better job at home.
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On 11/04/2017 02:19 PM, RS Wood wrote:

I needed 2 feet of extensions to tighten the bolts. I suppose that sort of explains why the jerk did such a crappy job.

Whenever we see something with a rounded nut or bolt we think "Patrick was here." Pat is one of my son's friends who NEVER had the right tool.
--
Cheers, Bev
"If you like to stand on your head and spit pickles in the snow, on the
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The Real Bev wrote:

I think they should make adjustable wrenches illegal. I can't for the life of me figure out a use for them.
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On 11/5/2017 12:48 AM, RS Wood wrote:

You take an adjustible with you when you don't know what size you will need. If you get lucky, 50% of the time it will work but 50% of the time you go back for a box or open end.
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On 6/11/2017 3:15 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Especially useful where you are working on one of those bastard bits of machinery where you have a mixture of metric and SAE bolts and nuts.
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Xeno

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On 11/05/2017 03:31 PM, Xeno wrote:

Are metrinch wrenches still available? Did anyone ever buy them?
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Cheers, Bev
Buckle Up. It makes it harder for the aliens
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The Real Bev wrote:

They are still out there and new versions seem to pop up now and then. They can be handy in the rust belt if you're out on the road.
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Steve W.

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wrote:

You mean Knucklbuster boltheadrounders??
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On 6/11/2017 10:53 AM, The Real Bev wrote:

They are but I never bought any. I prefer proper ones.
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Xeno

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On 5/11/2017 8:19 AM, RS Wood wrote:

You haven't worked on earthmoving machinery, that much is clear.

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Xeno

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Xeno wrote:

I am assuming we're talking only street vehicles here.
On street engines, an adjustable wrench often won't fit, and just as often will damage the bolt.
Do you disagree?
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On 6/11/2017 5:13 PM, RS Wood wrote:

Up to a point, I agree with you. Where I disagree is that most people use them incorrectly (backwards) or size them inappropriately. They are no different to an open end spanner when used correctly and, need it be said, they are of a decent quality. When working on earthmoving equipment, the most common adjustables I used were 15". 18" and 24". You have no idea how many different spanners those three adjustables replaced. In field work you need to cart *all your tools* with you. You always look to minimise that load.
--

Xeno

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Xeno wrote:

I should have made it clear that I was just kidding about making them illegal.
I fully understand the *need* for the adustable wrenches, and I have a Craftsman 3-piece set myself, which I almost never use.
I've probably used one about twenty times in forty years.
My beef is when people use them on "my stuff" when they have a perfectly good socket wrench in the truck just 100 feet away.
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I don't have any crescent wrenches, and would never buy one. I used them as kid on my bicycles. The last time I used one was when I was working for a plumber 35 years ago, and that's what he used for valve compression fittings. I couldn't fault him for that, but if I carried my own tools on that job I would have brought some open end wrenches with me.
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Vic Smith wrote:

Yup. The ones I see using them are the fix-it guys that come to the house, less and less lately, as I do more and more since I have all the time in the world now.
I taught my kids and grandkids to use the right tool for the right job.
For example, a screwdriver is for screws. Nothing else. A pair of pliers is for things that you don't have wrenches for.
And I can't think of any good reason most of the time for an adjustable wrench, although it's valid if you're hanging upside down out of a hotair balloon where the correct socket or open-end or box wrench is down on the ground next to the parts truck.
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wrote:

The only one I haven't done is tires just because I do not have the machine. It is too easy to just pay the guy for the few times you need it done. Usually tires are mounted when you buy them anyway. Alignment can be done "old school" but again, it is easier to pay the guy if you are at the tire store. I did do it once after replacing idler arms and ball joints using the stick method. I ended up replacing the tires and getting a professional alignment after I was sure my ball joint job was OK but the guy said I had it pretty close. I did a pretty good job painting the roof of a van with rattle cans and I painted my boat with a gun.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I don't know anyone who does their own tires but when I watch the guys, I wish I had that equipment, especially the air equipment, to just remove it and put it back and spin it in between.
They look pretty bored when they do it, so I think it can't be all that hard to do if I had that power equipment to do it.

When I replaced the pitman arm and idler arm and tie rod ends and ball joints, I remember purchasing a set of pickle forks which I still have. Maybe I can use them for BBQ?
I also bought a grease gun at the time, which came in handy over the years, but I haven't seen a zerk fitting in decades. Have you?
I aligned the toe by turning the tierod ends, measuring with a stick with two sticks sticking up and with nails lined up on a tire centerline chalk, so I too "got close".
I took it in for alignment and they said the toe was spot on but changed as they messed with the other things that I couldn't do at home.
I think with digital tools in the shop, alignment MEASURING should be a piece of cake. I think the problem is supporting the vehicle on its weight so that you can change things without having to drive the vehicle.
Also, I think the biggest problem with alignment (as opposed to those other jobs) is MENTAL. You have to translate inches to degrees and vice versa and you have to find the centerline and you have to THINK more for alignment than for any of the other jobs.

Spray cans for a roof? Interesting. If it works, it works! (that's my motto when my wife asks me "Is that the way it's _supposed_ to be done?".
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RS Wood wrote:

I just realized that this sentence above that MEASURING alignment should be easier now than ever before might be misconstrued.
Everyone thinks you need a nuclear bomb to do alignment, but sometimes a single grenade is good enough for two guys in a foxhole.
What I would do, were I ever to tackle alignment, would be to buy the digital measuring tools for camber and caster, and I would get the toe plates so the wheels could still turn on the vehicle's weight.
That way I could measure caster, camber, and toe.
I do realize there are many more items to measure, such as kingpin angle and steering axis inclination and front-to-rear alignment and the straightness of the tracking and more than I can remember from my 1960's high school auto mechanic shop elective.
But if you own the car, you already know all those things are ok if you haven't had a major accident and even if you didn't know it, you can do one alignment at the shop which will prove it.
The good thing about alignment is that digital measuring tools are cheap nowadays (a couple hundred bucks) and accurate enough for the tolerances specified by the manufacturer. Another good thing about alignment nowadays is that most cars only allow a small subset to be changed without bolting in camber plates and other widgets.
So it's pretty much not even caster, camber, and toe nowadays for most cars, although you still need to measure all three (or maybe two, and calculate the third).
I think the biggest problem with alignment isn't that you need a couple hundred dollars of tools (realizing that a shop's TV-camera alignment tool and toe-plates is nuclear overkill for what we need at home).
I am pretty sure my biggest hurdle is that alignment takes KNOWLEDGE where you have to convert degrees and inches using trig and measure a lot of things to an imaginary centerpoint and to each other.
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wrote:

A couple sheets of tin with grease between works in a pinch for slip plates - and for camber a simple square and calculator works just fine. Toe in with a few sticks and a tape measure - or a simple laser level (bubble level with a laser built into the one end - used to "extend" the wheel angle instead of using sticks) works pretty good. Calculating caster is a bit more difficult without the proper tools, but a mathematical genius (that's not me) could figure it out with the same square, ruler, and calculator.

The laser level will do the tracking just fine, and a digital protactor or electronic level would make things easier.

The most important thing - from having done alignments professionally, using sophisticated equipment, is MNOWING what the effects of different adjustments are - just because a car is "within spec" doesn't mean it will go straight down the road and won't wear tires. Tayloring the caster and camber leads is part science, and part witchcraft.
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