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Doing your own spanner work


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I do like to spanner or that is what I tell my self! I do have the benefit of a a garage and a pit but I also have a couple of projects which are hogging my attention. Also from bitter experience I totally agree with the summer MOT thing and try and have at least one useable car whilst working on another if at all possible!

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6 hours ago, cort1977 said:

I would hate to be a mechanic, every twat thinks they are an expert because they read something on google that might match their vague symptoms of a 'funny noise'. 

Admittedly, I am often that twat but hopefully by saying 'I think it might be this but please investigate' I am not too irritating.  Like many here I do what's possible for me and farm out hard jobs.  I think I'm quite well served locally, there's a couple of places that are reasonable and one shite-friendly place that has become my default.

 

I get a bit of this. Tomorrow I'm diagnosing this 206 which didn't sound or feel wrong last time I looked. I just said 'drive it till it gets worse' which it now has so hopefully I'll be able to find out what's going on.

Screenshot_20220131-193310.png

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39 minutes ago, sierraman said:

Supposedly reduces costs - no tensioner and reduces the resistance so less energy required.

For goodness sake, how much energy is saved by the belt not running around a tensioner, 0.005 BHP?

Sounds like a cost saving measure to me and makes maintenance harder for no good reason

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1 minute ago, bunglebus said:

For goodness sake, how much energy is saved by the belt not running around a tensioner, 0.005 BHP?

Sounds like a cost saving measure to me and makes maintenance harder for no good reason

Like the manufacturer cares! Every penny counts. £5 not spent on a tensioner is a big win for Ford on 500,000 engines. 

Even 0.5% fuel economy/CO2 gain is worth getting to make your product more competitive, it all adds up and that's where start/stop, freewheel alternator, thinner oils, cylinder bore treatment etc etc come from. Don't forget the weight benefit too. 

They will probably try and spec it to last outside the 3 years/60,000 first owner period if possible so the maintenance hit happens to second owner. 

Dealers will probably get some kind of magic tool to make the job easier. 

Having said all that I've not seen a stretch belt and I'm not looking forward to seeing one. 

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I suppose I do most of the jobs on our cars and sometimes family members as well. If I've got a car still under the makers warranty, I'll have it serviced at the dealers, though I'll do pads and discs myself even then. Did a couple of timing belts last year, one on a Meriva and the other on the Renault 25.If I can do the work in a planned way to my own time frame, I find it quite satisfying. Treated myself to a Dewalt impact wrench last year which makes light work of most fastenings. Also a Halfords Advanced 3 ton trolley jack which is a lovely thing, but a bit too heavy and bulky for my liking. Should have known really, when it took two  lads to carry out to the car for me! 

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20 minutes ago, grogee said:

Like the manufacturer cares! Every penny counts. £5 not spent on a tensioner is a big win for Ford on 500,000 engines. 

Even 0.5% fuel economy/CO2 gain is worth getting to make your product more competitive, it all adds up and that's where start/stop, freewheel alternator, thinner oils, cylinder bore treatment etc etc come from. Don't forget the weight benefit too. 

They will probably try and spec it to last outside the 3 years/60,000 first owner period if possible so the maintenance hit happens to second owner. 

Dealers will probably get some kind of magic tool to make the job easier. 

Having said all that I've not seen a stretch belt and I'm not looking forward to seeing one. 

Mk2 Focus have them except I think on the 1.8/2.0, 1.6 and 1.4 definitely have one. They last 100k plus anyway. 

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I always used to do everything on my own cars but I'm starting to pick my battles these days.

For a major job with lots of rolling around under the car I would farm it out if possible. For something fairly straightforward I would still do it myself.

On the bikes I do absolutely everything but that is more recreational - I don't actually need them to be in service at any particular time so I can dip in and out when I want to.

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Stretch belts are ok depending on how they're used. Mine has a stretch belt but only for the air conditioning compressor - the main aux belt (that does power steering, alternator, water pump) runs on a tensioner and an idler. Timing is by chain.

 

Due to the simplicity of the air con stretch belt it was easy to change, and not the end of the world if ignored until snapped. You do have to remove it to change the main aux belt though. I cut the old one off and quite easily got a new one on with a screwdriver

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I still really enjoy spannering but I’ve made changes to the way I do things over the last couple of years to keep it enjoyable. I’m 40 this year but it’s harder than it used to be and I’ve done myself no favours in the past.

1. Health and Safety. I’ve hurt myself too many times now so I’ve invested in prescription safety glasses, kneeling mats, battery powered impact and ordinary wrenches, noise cancelling ear phones, mechanix gloves. If I feel fatigue or it’s causing pain, i’ll now invest in tooling or PPE to help.

2. The daily driver. I’ve paired this back to the basic necessities of motoring. Nothing fancier or bigger than I really need to go about my daily business. This means it’s simple and cheap to do everything myself whilst keeping a reliable driver. I’ve got a petrol Panda with a roof rack and towbar with small trailer for these duties. You can have a fun car for fun stuff.

3. Reduce the stress. Don’t over commit yourself (time, skills or money) or feel pushed into getting jobs finished so you can get to work tomorrow or rush something because you have to pick the kids up etc. Having a straightforward reliable daily driver really helps me with this.

4. Plan ahead for maintenance, also critically some time to go over the whole car and do checks for leaks, wear, corrosion etc as an additional task to planned servicing.

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I seem to have dug myself a hole where spannering takes up a fairly large chunk of my free time. However, it's not all bad.  It's mainly shite when you're needing to get a job finished urgently so that you can get to work on Monday, and that is when every single bolt is guaranteed to shear and an unobtainable part will crumble in your hands.  Mostly, those days are behind me purely due to having backup transport, and as long as one of the fleet is reliable then the others can take as long as they take. I'm money poor but time rich, so it kind of fits.

Saying that, there's a couple of jobs that I'll always fling at a garage because it makes more sense. Bushes and wheel bearings and anything that needs a strong press tends to see parts dropped at their door, which they'll do in their downtime and only charge me pocket money.  

Here's some of my random thoughts about it.

- Money. Doing my own work means that between us we can own, fuel, insure, tax, maintain and MOT a whole fleet of 6 cars for less than it would cost for a single PCP car, or less than half it would cost ONE of us to commute using public transport. Insane, but true.

- Mental health.  I really struggle with my own head, but having a good focus and something to look forward to achieving helps me sort things out. I am sure that if I didn't have something like welding the 240 to focus on, I'd be a statistic by now.

- Learning things. I always like to know how stuff works and I genuinely enjoy poking around inside an engine or other mechanical devices. When you can put it back together and it works better than it did, it's an immeasurable feeling. In that sense, its a hobby rather than a chore needing done. When it becomes a chore, it can get itself to Falkirk.

- Independence. Using a sweeping generalisation, garages are utter cunts. I only have one or two garages I'd trust, and even then, I'm not sure they'd pay as much care and attention as I would doing it myself.  The rest of the garages I've tried can get in the sea, they can't even get simple things like wheel alignment or changing oil correct and they charge a fortune for it.

- It keeps me fit. Lockdown utterly destroyed my physical fitness, but lifting wheels, jacking cars, putting exhausts on, contorting into daft shapes, undoing stuck bolts - it all helps a bit.

- Knowing it's safe / done right / done at all.  I've had wheels come loose because a garage failed to torque them up before. I've had broken keys, damaged cars, sills bent by jacks, or welding jobs that lasted a month before rotting through.  Knowing you're sitting in a safe car where you've checked and re-checked everything is a really nice feeling.

- It opens up a world of being able to own stuff that otherwise is beyond reach.  I'm poor. I can't afford a decent example of many of the cars I would like, but being able to fix one up means I can buy one for a three figure sum and add the value myself.

- We neither have nor want a family or illustrious careers, so we don't have the restraints of needing sensible means of transport or struggling to find time. If we were, I doubt either of us would have the desire to fanny around with old chod, but then in that alternate reality we'd probably both have the money to fling at a PCP and forget about it.

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I spend the bulk of my free time spannering things that interest me.  Daily transport does not interest me and I resent every second that I spend repairing runabouts. However, I still do it because;

1. Tight fistedness.

2. Arrogance.

3. A desire to learn stuff.

4. Tight fistedness.

5. The ability to sort something out now. Even if something fails on Friday night you can often have it sorted by Saturday morning.

6. A desire to reduce the amount of money I spend maintaining transport.

7. It usually lets you run older and cheaper car (YCRTA I'm a scrote).

8. What else am I going to do? Watch telly? 

9. If in doubt, refer to point 1. 

 

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1 minute ago, JimH said:

8. What else am I going to do? Watch telly? 

I almost included exactly this. I've got no patience for a lot of other things now. I used to read books or play computer games, both of which now bore me to tears and in the end I don't feel are that productive.  I'm happy to go away in the van for a few nights, go fishing, go hill walking or just go a drive. But you can't do those things all the time, and on a 'normal' weekend I'm happy just pottering away on a car knowing I'm adding value to it, or learning something.

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On 1/31/2022 at 12:42 PM, vaughant said:

 

I am also an engineer and I love doing my own work but these days I'm finding that I can actually do a few hours o/t to easily cover the cost of repairs. 

 

100% this. 

I get my fill fixing the Ranger at the bottom of some godforsaken green lane in the dark, so if there's a job i really don't fancy on the daily, then i farm it out and go do a days overtime.  that said, the cambelt kit for the jag has been in the boot for a few weeks now.... lol

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5 hours ago, Ian_Fearn said:

4. Plan ahead for maintenance, also critically some time to go over the whole car and do checks for leaks, wear, corrosion etc as an additional task to planned servicing.

That is servicing, or so I was taught. Maybe not the 'treat corrosion' bit but I learned the following were service items:

Oil door locks and hinges

Check exhaust and mountings

Check belt(s) that you can see

Check exhaust and mountings

Check coolant and fuel lines for leaks

Check lights and wipers

Tyre condition and pressures

Check all fluid levels

In the course of checking all these you very often find something that needs doing. May not have to be done right away, but we'd say to customer: 'rear pads a bit thin' or 'do you want us to sort out that broken mirror soon', that sort of thing. 

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