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What % of shite fixing do you do yourself?


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All of the stuff on the zx I want to do myself, its teaching me mechanics! Do farm tyres out to be fitted though.

 

I try and do all the work on the meriva, farmed the steering rack out to someone else though as he gave me a price £80 more than I could get one from ebay for, and fitted it, got it tracked and replaced a few bushes.

 

Now ive got a cambelt change under my belt I feel a little bit more cocky now, hoping to get much more done during the summer, although have a list of importance (my exhaust is top of that)

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I did 95% of the work on my old cars until the baby came along and between her and a busy job I have no time to just spend working on them.

I recently paid 400 quid at mates rates finally to get the cortina through an mot and I'd already done the welding on it and bought most of the parts . I'd never have got there . I'm lucky if I can get a few hours a week on them now infact I sometimes wonder why I bother then you get the satisfaction of fixing something, making something up it actually driving it and it's worth it again.

 

As for my daily. I bought a service pack with that I've no interest in it at all as long as it delivers me to work .

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I'll do most things apart from exhausts, clutches etc. These sort of jobs are just misery attempted on the driveway. I was going to change the focus manifold and flex recently, however the cat hangers wanted a welding gun waved at them at the same time. Cost me £50 at the garage for the manifold replacement and some welding. I wasn't going to fuck about for hours on the driveway, grinding inches from my face for that.

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I've done a lot of stuff on the 2CV, bar bodywork. I've changed engines and gearboxes, rebuilt it on a new chassis (after someone else sorted the body) and changed track rod ends (with specialist supervision - f*ck it up and you snap the ball off and lose your steering). However, I must concede, that if I do send it to a specialist for a service, it always comes back driving much more sweetly. A good specialist defines the term. 

 

I'll concede that I've not been so ready with the spanners on the XM. I look at some jobs (like timing belt) and just think 'sod that!' I'm feeling much the same way about the clutch, though being quoted for eight hours labour at a specialist isn't exactly feeling like the easy option. So I might just leave it...

 

That said, I have done the service work on that and the Nippa. Cost and greater free time have seen me do much more on my cars than I ever used to. Sometimes it's great fun. Sometimes it isn't.

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Quite a mixed bag then. One thing I do know is that when I have completed a job it gives you a great sense of achievement. Some of it is about confidence I suppose. I have never changed a cambelt and it does fill me with some dread but I will do it one day even if it takes me 10 times longer than the garage would take!

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In the last year both my daily drivers have had welding on my drive and clutches. I've done my first head gasket too but that didn't go so well so it's probably going to someone else to re-do. It will be the first time I've got a mechanic to do anything more than MOT tweaks for years. I still do the odd bit on other people's cars though.

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Very little unfortunately, I used to do more when the old man was about to make sure I didn't fuck anything up, quite good at bodywork and rattle can spraying even did some MIG welding. Most of it goes to my local guy as hes 100% trust worthy and does a top job.

 

I'd imagine it's taking the plunge and getting on with it, I have considered buying a wee simple banger to practice on but funds never seem to be available, I'm more than capable with DIY such as plumbing in central heating, wiring and kitchen/bathroom fitting but just don't seem to be able to get over the FEAR when it comes to tackling car problems/servicing. No local collages run courses in car servicing/mechanics or auto electrics anymore either so it's difficult to get any hands on practice

 

I did change the plugs on the Fat Accord V6, took 3 hours to get all 6 out and I had to have a disc injection in my back less than a month later, this may have put me off even more.

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I used to do a lot more than I do now, but a combination of living in a flat with the car out in the street (no power, water or shelter, and if I forget to bring a tool down from the house it means putting everything in the car and then locking it so I can leave it, which gets very annoying very quickly.), my lack of patience and increasingly rickety back means I rarely do anything more than owner's handbook levels of maintenance.

Depends on the car though, I managed a lot more on the Volvo 240 than I did on a Merc W210, which got fluid level checks, oiled door locks and tyre pressures and that was it.
There's a good wee garage down the road who don't rip me off and I like to support local businesses.

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well, i don't do paint or body work, but otherwise it depends-

 

the mini and metro get quite abit of tinkering as long as it is within my limited abilities. so oil changes, new brakes, timing and the like, i can do that.

 

the rover and the jaguar get passed off onto some one else partly cos i can not be bothered or it is just completely out of my ability range....

 

also we don't have anywhere near enough time to play cars so by farming out the jobs that need doing as and when means that i have more time both at home or to do other fun things when i am at home.

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50%... 

 

Servicing I do myself. 

 

Bulbs, radiator changes, exhaust pipes, interior bits and brake pads have been done before... 

 

Cambelts, clutches, rear drum brakes etc are given to my mechanic. 

 

I do all of the modifications myself, mind... 

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Quite a mixed bag then. One thing I do know is that when I have completed a job it gives you a great sense of achievement. Some of it is about confidence I suppose. I have never changed a cambelt and it does fill me with some dread but I will do it one day even if it takes me 10 times longer than the garage would take!

 

I have changed one, on a Citroen BX. It wasn't very enjoyable, which is perhaps why I got cold feet over the XM. I understand some cars are an awful lot easier. I also tend to farm out anything that involves draining coolant, as I get very paranoid about poisoning the cat/garden. I once killed a load of grass, and Mrs DW wasn't very pleased.

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Know how to do most things in theory, short on practice, currently limited by tools and space. Used to do lots when I was living with my parents and had access to the toyshed and all the kit.

If it needs an engine crane/brace/lift/compressor/welder I'm out currently. Will slowly add to my armoury and attempt more.

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Guest Breadvan72

My policy is to do 100 % of the breaking and 0% of the fixing.  I have no skills, no workshop, not enough patience, and am self employed so am better off working while someone else fixes my heaps.  I wish that I could fix them, but have given up trying after some spectacular bodges.   I can sometimes make a correct diagnosis of what is wrong (this usually involves saying "It's fucked"), but that's about it.

 

PS: I am not wealthy, but....
 

Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light
Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!
It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan. 

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Guest Breadvan72

Very little. I know the theory of stuff but can break anything. Spark plugs would be cross threaded, wheel studs fucked, every bolt snapped, could probably fry an ECU by changing a bulb.

 

You are me.

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Anything ON the engine, l'll tackle. Anything IN the engine - garage. No way would I ever contemplate removing a manifold or rocker cover.

 

Suspension work is for the professionals. So is auto transmission servicing.

 

Brakes? Happy to work on drums, but I'm too much of a coward to tackle disks.

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Now, nothing!

 

Up to a few years ago, everything.

 

I've built kitcars, raced cars and bikes and done all my own spannering, built engines for pro drag bikes, there is NOTHING on a car that I will not do...except for another clutch change on an Alfa 75! Bastard heap that was... Don't mind welding but too often I do 'just enough... On the odd occasion where I get the chance to do it right, I take great pleasure in welding in patches and finishing so that you can not see it was ever done!

 

I love paintwork, not a pro by any means but I do (blowing of own trumpet here) a better job than 99% of bodyshops! I love it from start to finish and have invested thousands in having quality tools (guns, DA's polishers fuck off big compressor etc). I do (did) make fuck ups but don't mind 'cos it means I can do it again! It helped that my wife loved sanding! She would spend hours and hours sanding paint off, smoothing down skims of filler/stopper and then when it was all sprayed, she'd spend even more hours with a bit of 2000 grit sandpaper removing every blemish! We used to do panels each and then check each others work and were hyper critical so we could 'beat the other! :)

 

The final polishing of paintwork was always left to me as she doesn't like using power tools but she was still my eyes and could spot a fault at twenty paces. It was a great system - God I miss her :(

 

When I first broke my back, she used to do all our servicing under my instruction while I sat in my wheelchair and supervised/requested more coffee or another packet of fags! Only one or two things ever defeated her and one of those was the oil filter on her Mitsi as it was tight for space and eff off tight. I of course was no fucking use so we had to wait until the kid next door came home and he butchered it off for her.

 

She even serviced my Merc SL!

 

I even did an article for a bike mag a few years ago on bike maintenance and she did it all while I took the pictures!

 

I would have loved to have an 'English wheel' and made panels but never had the money or space. Loved making things though.

 

Now, every little job has to go to the garage. I can do the usual checks and even blow up tyres (with a pump, my lings aren't that good!) but that's your lot.

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As much as I can. I was a mechanic in the army and one of my instructors early on pointed out that, when your vehicle breaks down, it was assembled by a human and as such, can be disassembled by a human. Sometimes you have to think sideways to see this but it's generally true.

 

Like others, I have built a couple of hot rods from the ground up. Chassis made from 4x2 box section and welded up using Arc. Bodywork welded using Mig (I haven’t ever tried Tig). Filling/sanding isn’t fun but I enjoy the results. Engine swaps by the side of the road or on the drive, clutch changes with the car raised by a mates forklift… Last year I opened up my first autobox that was scary. It still works though, and doesn’t leak anymore, so result.

 

Logistics of the repair are what currently defeat me. I rent my home at the moment, the X is in the garage and the F lives on the street. Getting the cambelt off the F in the street (in order to change a leaking camshaft seal) is doable but probably 6 hours work, with a couple of special tools that I don’t have. Plus I need it for work so the job has to be finished by Sunday evening & in my experience a hard deadline like that just adds unnecessary pressure. So that’s probably going into the MGF specialist who can do the seal in 3 hours max. He’s going to pump up my suspension as well, which has a one hour waiting time at this time of year, so he can change the seal while waiting for the suspension to settle. I couldn’t do the suspension at home.

 

I could do without the expenditure but that’s the reality for me at present.

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I do servicing not including cambelts.   I was happy to do brakes and suspension but having read this thread I'm worried I might be a danger, on the other hand nothing has fallen off.  

 

I tend to shy away from tasks that look awkward, need to replace an exhaust manifold gasket but putting it off due to broken stud fears.

 

As a percentage say 90% but it's only that high as I have been lucky in the last few years and not had any HGF or other disasters.

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Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get someone else to do the work (if you can afford it). I suppose knowing what you can realistically do yourself and what to farm out is probably half the battle in keeping your car on the road. If you've got lots to choose from then there's less pressure. I am trying to keep a spare car on standby. Will see how that goes.

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If it just requires unbolting something that's obviously broken then bolting in a replacement I'll usually have a go, unless it needs a crane or something.  It rarely goes well though.

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I would love to do more but at the moment anything which is going to take more than an hour is a no go as that's about all the time I have free to spend on it on a good day and I need the car every day for work.

 

Barely have time to clean the damn thing and recently resorted to going to a car wash for the first (and last) time ever.

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More than welcome to come down of a Saturday and use the ramp/tools/ tea/ advise as reqd

 

 

Thanks, I do have your details but all the recent repair work I've needed in recent times has been of the type where I couldn't drive the car that distance (such as the 406 rad going)

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I try to do as much as I can. Having an older car seems to make jobs a bit easier. I'm slowly working my way up to bigger jobs like changing the brakes, etc

 

The Haynes manual, Internet forums and YouTube have been an invaluable source for information so far.

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Have never mastered welding except at school on the forge.  Decades ago I was game for engine swaps (Volvo 66), even building a gantry out of fence posts for the job; have rebuilt engines (Reliant sv748cc and 600cc ohv) plus various moped and small motorcycle engines - but by "game for" I really mean "forced by lack of money."  I still do a fair bit of mechanical work e.g. straightforward component replacements such as starter motors, alternators, brake discs etc, and the occasional tailgate but arthritis restricts me to jobs that can be done either standing up or lying down.  Kneeling is almost impossible.  I have also noticed that every nut and bolt now needs a scaffold bar on the spanner/tool before it will undo, so can only assume that I am getting feeble.  Nevertheless, after taking several hours to replace a starter motor (for instance), it gives me great satisfaction that the 30 minute job has been successfully completed and that I can recover from the sprained wrists, bruised forarms and blood loss within a month or two. 

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