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View Full Version : Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Are cars worth the hassle?


vikingshadow
04-27-2007, 07:13 PM
You know, sometimes all the modern conveniences we have, all the wonderful gadgetry and technology we have at our fingertips, everything to make our lives run smoothly and efficiently just getw angry at us and turns into a cash-sucking, anger-inducing, hair-losing hassles!

Hard day at work after what I would call a pretty decent week, considering. 5:00 hits, I'm ready to leave - papers all graded, lessons planned, etc. Wife and daughter are heading out to scout camp this weekend, so supper is already cooked and waiting, I'm planning on hitting the treamill, yadda yadda ya...

So, I get in the car, turn the key aaaannnnnddddd -------------- nothing. CRAP! I figure that since the car's been turning over pretty slowly the last couple of weeks, it's a dead battery, right? Call wife, she comes to my rescue with her car and the jumper cables. Leave em on awhile, turn the key aaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnndddddddddd ------------------ nothing. Crank up the wife's car, give it some gas aaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnndddddd ------------ nothing.

So, I'm thinking, 5:20 on a Friday, car in the school parking lot, no one's going to be available to come give me a tow, car's gonna sit in the parking lot all weekend - no way, Jose'! So, we jet over to Auto Zone, and they say, "Nope, we don't have any way to come check your vehicle out. Can you bring the battery in?"

So, go home, get tools, go BACK to the school, take the battery out of the car (with no handle on the dang thing, of course!) and carry it to Auto Zone. Stick it on the battery thingamajobber and they say the battery looks pretty good, although the water's low. Fill it up, charge it (took nearly 40 minutes) and head back to the parking lot with the battery. Look at the watch, it's 5:50.

Now, wife and daughter needed to be at the Scout Camp at 6:00, so I'm in a hurry. As I lift the battery out of the back of her car (no handle, remember?) it slips out of my hand and lands on her rear light assembly and cracks it! CRAP! Now I have to buy a new taillight assembly.

Ok, reinstall battery, make sure everything is good and snug turn the key aaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnndddddddd nothing. DOUBLE CRAP! The Auto Zone guy that came with me says, "Your battery must be fried."

I said, "But it took the charge, right?"

He says, "Well, yeah, but sometimes they just aren't any good after so long." My battery is a little over 5 years - it's a 7 year battery, so I can see his point, but not really. However, it's now 6:40, and I'm more than a bit pissed.

So, take the old battery BACK out, go BACK to Auto Zone and buy a new battery. 60.00. Ask about tail light assembly, but they can't even get one, so that means I have to go through the dealer. TRIPLE CRAP!!!

We leave, I tell wife that I don't think this is going to do the trick, because it just doesn't feel right - way too easy for symptoms. Get BACK to the school, take the new battery out (by the handle - so much easier!) and install it, snug everything up, turn the key aaaaaaaannnnnnnndddddddd ------- nothing. QUADRUPLE CRAP!

Well, I've had enough. I figure it's a standard, we'll push the damn thing and pop the clutch. Sure enough, it starts! Great. At least I can get it home and parked, but I decide to go by Auto Zone again to see if they can hook it up to their diagnostic machine. For some reason, they just don't want to hook it up. I explain that we popped the clutch, and they immediately said, "Oh, that sounds like the starter!"

Well, I already dropped $60.00 on the battery, so I ask how much the starter is, knowing full well that I'm not a mechanic and that even if I bought the silly thing, I wouldn't know the first thing about installing it. Sure, they have it in stock and it's $108.00 plus 35.00 Core fee, SOMETHING AFTER QUADRUPLE CRAP! And I still didn't know if it was the starter!

Now, mechanics around here charge upwards of 60.00 an hour, minimum two hours billed. That's IF they can diagnose the problem and get to it rather easily, and if they can get your car in under two weeks. So, I figure - I'm not a mechanic, but I've heard the starter is relatively easy to install, IF you know where it's at. So, que phone call to Dad. Dad is a good mechanic - he refuses to take his vehicles into the shop so, yeah.

Dad says, "That sounds like the starter all right. Do you have a book for your car?" Uh, oh. Here it comes!

"Um, no. I never needed one before!" Begin 20 minute talk on why I should already have one, with a sprinkling of "You spend 30.00 to get your oil changed?" and "You really should learn to be a mechanic to help you out in these situations." Not angry, just the typical father/son talk - never mind him being 71 and me being 41!

Ok, so - scratch relaxing, quiet weekend enjoying my somewhat empty house and insert NEW mission:

1. Mow the grass in my front yard and MAYBE spray it again (dang weeds just won't die!)

2. Mow the jungle in my back yard - judging from the looks of it, this may take most of the day tomorrow!

3. Call O'Reilleys and Junkie Jims to see if I can get a better price on a starter.

4. WALK to O'Reilleys and buy a book for my car so I can determine where and how to remove the starter from my car and reinstall another one.

5. Get my car running again so I can run it up on ramps so I can crawl underneath it to work on the it.

6. Hopefully get out of this weekend spending less than 300.00 on my car.

Ok, to be fair, it's a really great car! The car is a 91 Ford Explorer (may be 92 - I can't remember) with 168,000+ miles on it. I bought it used about 8-9 years ago, and in those 10 years I've had to fix only a handful of problems. New muffler, new battery, new window motor (now the other three are out, but I'll be danged if I spend 300.00 per window again!) new brakes and new tires. Not too bad for the age of the vehicle and the number of years I've had it, if you ask me!

******************************************

tl;dr: I got bit by a vampire, now I move only at night, preying on the necks of nubile young women. Read the damn thing, already!

durrell
04-27-2007, 07:26 PM
Well I hate to say it..but your dad is right about learning auto mechanics. I work on my truck every chance I get, I feel like learning how to work on cars is as important to men as learning to cook is to women. If I hadn't fixed the stuff on my truck by myself, I'd have spent an additional 500-750 bucks on labor..

Changing the starter really shouldn't be that hard..if you want to try and undertake it yourself.

http://www.howtodothings.com/automotive/a3189-how-to-replace-a-starter.html

Don't want to make your day any crappier by telling you that you should know something when you're 41 and I'm 18..I'm just saying..this is an example of why I want to know how to fix my vehicle should the need arise..:p

Good luck..

shunut
04-27-2007, 07:29 PM
Most of the starters are fairly easy to get to and aren't that hard to change out. I changed one on my dad's van, no book, no idea how to do it and it was pretty easy. Shouldn't be a problem for a smart guy like you. I'm sure disassembling and assembling a marker is much harder.

vikingshadow
04-27-2007, 07:41 PM
Don't want to make your day any crappier by telling you that you should know something when you're 41 and I'm 18..I'm just saying..this is an example of why I want to know how to fix my vehicle should the need arise..:p

Good luck..

Not making my day any crappier - in fact, I'm sure I know how to do quite a bit more than your standard youngster due to my being 41 and they being 18 ;) - if you're considering age as the main ingredient here. However, cars just weren't ever my thing.

However, I MAY have exagerated a bit on not knowing anything about cars - my dad definitely made sure of that. Plus my first car was a POS - I was always working on that beast, and I had it for over 10 years! So, I actually do know quite a bit about cars, just never had to mess with a starter before. Plus, being as my car has been a pretty decent one with no problems to speak of, I just haven't had to work on it.

Most of the starters are fairly easy to get to and aren't that hard to change out. I changed one on my dad's van, no book, no idea how to do it and it was pretty easy. Shouldn't be a problem for a smart guy like you. I'm sure disassembling and assembling a marker is much harder.

Kind of what I figured also. I mean, I think the hardest part is just going to be locating it and getting to it, in case it's back up in the back somewhere.

DRAGON
04-27-2007, 07:58 PM
So I take it you don't have AAA eh Vik? Just keep repeating to yourself......"It's just another day in paradise" - ;)

durrell
04-27-2007, 08:07 PM
Not making my day any crappier - in fact, I'm sure I know how to do quite a bit more than your standard youngster due to my being 41 and they being 18 ;) - if you're considering age as the main ingredient here. However, cars just weren't ever my thing.

However, I MAY have exagerated a bit on not knowing anything about cars - my dad definitely made sure of that. Plus my first car was a POS - I was always working on that beast, and I had it for over 10 years! So, I actually do know quite a bit about cars, just never had to mess with a starter before. Plus, being as my car has been a pretty decent one with no problems to speak of, I just haven't had to work on it.


I thought I had heard you mention working on a car before or something. I'm sure you can do it. If you really need help go to the Autozone and buy one of those Chilton's manuals that shows step by step fixes for just about anything..with pictures.

And I'm sure you know more than me, I can't match the experience you've gained over the years..I'm just saying I want to learn early so I don't have to later, haha. I take whatever lessons in mechanics my dad will give me..and try to learn by doing myself. :)

Glad you didn't interpret that as calling you dumb or anything, cause that's not what I meant at all. <3 :D

DyNasty9
04-27-2007, 08:07 PM
FORD Found on road dead

:D :p thats what my dad says. sorry vike

Jegger24
04-27-2007, 08:15 PM
FORD First On Race Day Not to get off topic...gotta defend it! :D

durrell
04-27-2007, 08:21 PM
FORD First On Race Day Not to get off topic...gotta defend it! :D

Truth!

Cheap, Hardly Efficient, Virtually Runs On Luck Every Time

Dang Overhauls Do Get Expensive

Nenkitsune
04-27-2007, 08:58 PM
i know how you feel. 2 engines in my bug blew because they leaked oil way too much, after that i bought my 1990 boncoII, and i'm teh second owner. it's a great truck, i had to replace the calipers and pads, the tires, the ac blower, and a couple little things, but then the transmission disintegrated (it's an auto bleh) it has 46k on the engine (rebuilt after 135k) so that puts the tranny at just under 200k. my dad's blazer's tranny went out at 180k (also an auto) now i have to drop over a grand to rebuild it. i bought the truck for 500, so not bad. the truck is in very good shape and was never crashed

shunut
04-27-2007, 09:11 PM
Truth!

Cheap, Hardly Efficient, Virtually Runs On Luck Every Time

Dang Overhauls Do Get Expensive


Honda and Toyota owns all of them.

durrell
04-27-2007, 09:12 PM
Honda, Toyota, and Nissan owns all of them.

Fixed. :p

vikingshadow
04-28-2007, 03:09 AM
OPEC and a ten speed owns all of them.

Fixed. :p

Fixed again!

Nah, I didn't think you were calling me stupid. I snickered a bit when I read it and said, "Yup! I should know more about cars!" But, what I found when I started to make a bit more money as I got older, and had a lot less time, it was much EASIER just to haul it out to the mechanic and let them worry about it. However, lately it's just become too expensive and with everything else being expensive these days, I figure it's time to get back into the swing of it.

As far as the age thing, I still learn things from my 11 year old 5th graders every week. Shoot, I bet even HDH and the rest of you yahoos could teach me quite a bit about computers, and I've been using and working on them since before most of you were born (started writing programs in BASIC and COBAL WAY back in 1986, and started repairing them around 1992!) And don't even get me started on video game systems. I'm like a caveman to those!

<3 back atcha, in a non-sexual way, of course! :D

HelpDeskHustler
04-28-2007, 06:29 AM
wait... what happened with the vampire?

DFSniper
04-28-2007, 07:26 AM
he died...


as D said, go to Autozone or Pep Boys and buy the manual. its a complete teardown and rebuild of your car.

the worst car problems ive had so far (got my permit 3.5 years ago and havent been able to drive for 3 yrs...) was when i literally "dropped" the new engine into my dad's '78 Blazer with him underneath (hey, i was 12 and didnt know how to work a pneumatic crane!!!!!) and we had to drive 17 km on the autobahn in our bmw with an almost-dead alternator...

HelpDeskHustler
04-28-2007, 08:44 AM
As far as the age thing, I still learn things from my 11 year old 5th graders every week. Shoot, I bet even HDH and the rest of you yahoos could teach me quite a bit about computers, and I've been using and working on them since before most of you were born (started writing programs in BASIC and COBAL WAY back in 1986, and started repairing them around 1992!) And don't even get me started on video game systems. I'm like a caveman to those!

our school pwns our IT department. They block over 20 proxies a day. They're really lucky we like going there, otherwise they'd have to hire like 20 more people just to keep control over the network.

on the subject of cars... i have no clue. mine drives. thats all that matters, when i have my own car I'll start caring, but if i care about this 10 year old nissian that my brother will almost definitely total (he's horrible at navigation, has no common sense, and has horrible reaction skills) when he drives... i don't know what I'd do.

vwjimmy
04-28-2007, 10:06 AM
Vike,
If I was you, and I knew a guy who owned and operated a auto repair facility, and has been an ASE Master Technician for 28 years......
I probably would PM him.....

durrell
04-28-2007, 10:08 AM
Vike,
If I was you, and I knew a guy who owned and operated a auto repair facility, and has been an ASE Master Technician for 28 years......
I probably would PM him.....

/thread :p

HelpDeskHustler
04-28-2007, 12:15 PM
Vike,
If I was you, and I knew a guy who owned and operated a auto repair facility, and has been an ASE Master Technician for 28 years......
I probably would PM him.....
assuming he knows someone like that :dodgy:

STRIKEFIRST
04-28-2007, 12:39 PM
Honda and Toyota owns all of them.

F'ed Over Reworked Dodge

Seriously I've seen Toyota truck engines eat head gaskets...Just gimme back my old chevy 350. :(

UKwithPride
04-28-2007, 01:13 PM
F'ed Over Reworked Dodge

Seriously I've seen Toyota truck engines eat head gaskets...Just gimme back my old chevy 350. :(
Lol no lie man! The truck I drove was an 89 chevy 1500 with a 350 v8 and it's running on 227,XXX miles, and it still runs PERFECT. My dad gave it to me, but I decided I wanted something better on gas, so I bought an 01 civic, now little bro gets the truck.

So anyone who says chevys are poo, well poo on you!

vikingshadow
04-28-2007, 02:11 PM
Welp, I finished the car this morning - only took a couple of hours. Wouldn't have been that long, but I kept having to drive back and forth. I went to OReillys this morning and bought a book, and the guy says, "It sounds like the fender mounted solenoid went bad."

I said, "Fender mounted solenoid? What, they don't have one on the starter?"

He says, "Yes, there's one on the starter, but a lot of the times, it's the fender mounted solenoid that goes bad. Only 10 bucks and you could save 100.00!"

So, in the meantime, my car is running, and running out of gas of course! So I say, "Why not? I mean, it wouldn't hurt to have a new one anyways." Turns out that I got the 18.00 Lifetime guarantee one...So I get home and install it, turn the key aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddd - yup! No dice.

So, I start the car by popping the clutch again, head to ORiellys and buying the 108.00 starter with 45.00 core fee (yup - 10.00 bucks more than yesterday!) for a grand total of 167.00.

It takes awhile to remove the starter because someone didn't use the recommended 15-17 pounds torque they were supposed to, plus it's a bear working on an engine that's hot! But I got it out, and for some GOOD news, the starter cable is an extremely LONG cable so it's easy to disconnect, then reconnect the new one. Once I got the old one out, my neighbor ran me to Auto Zone (further away but he wanted to show me his new GPS. He's Venezuelan and it's hard to communicate, but he's a great guy, and the GPS was so cool, I want one when I can save up some more money again!) and we had them check the starter. Failed three times, so it was definitely the starter!

So, I put the new one on, and the whole ordeal from start to finish took about 2 and a half hours. Would have cost me an additional 150.00 bucks for a mechanic to fix (minimum for labor) plus parts markup. Plus, I'm just that much smarter now because I learned a LOT about batteries, solenoids and starters this weekend.

Oh, then I mowed the jungle I call my yard which from start to finished took about 2 hours, then went grocery shopping and took my oldest daughter out to eat....not a bad day, if I say so myself. Only way it could have been better is if I could afford to paintball today!

tl:dr -Well, as it turns out I'm a full fledged vampire viking now and I had to work in the dark this morning. I think I'm going to go suck some necks this evening - female, of course!

TheRedBarron
04-28-2007, 02:27 PM
Proud of ya vike, now do you want to come mow my lawn, and rake the field?

MVS1
04-28-2007, 02:40 PM
Sorry Brother, feel your pain. If I was still in OK I would have came and did it for ya for free, I know you Edumacated types aren't real mechanical ;). Glad to hear your mobile again, still want to get that Ghia??? if so you might want to get more Chilton manuals now :D:D:D.

vikingshadow
04-28-2007, 03:01 PM
Thanks Barron. Oh, and no. I'm laying Scott's Turf Max + Weed and Feed and crabgrass killer tomorrow, and not touching it again for two weeks! My min pin likes to hide in the grass and jump out at birds and such. Scared the poo out of my wife the other day!

MVS1 - yeah, I don't like to do mechanical work unless I can get to the parts easily. I'd much rather work on computers or electrical things around the house. Weird, huh?

Funny, I was talking to someone about the Ghia today. I'd still like to get a convertible one to work on and tool around town in....the dream has definitely calmed down though! Some day, but I'm saving my money for a GPS and a laptop now (just have to decide which ones!)

MVS1
04-28-2007, 03:06 PM
Get the laptop...in OK its too easy to find your direction to need GPS, if the wind is blowing in your face your pointing south towards TX :D.

marvin-martian
04-28-2007, 03:21 PM
this reminds me of the problems i had with my truck a little while back. it turned out that the bearings for the pulley connected to the AC unit froze up. my dad thinks that the AC unit overheated, and burned out, in turn freezing the bearings. we ended up being able just to replace the pulley, saving 75 dollars. but now i dont have air conditioning. replacing a serpentine belt is a huge pain in the ass.

durrell
04-28-2007, 08:44 PM
I feel your pain..today I wanted to modify my fog lights to work with my parking lights instead of just my headlights. So I tapped into the parking light wire and all was well. But my truck has a feature that turns the fog lights off when my high beams are on. Well I went to test the lights, parking light + fog mod = success. High beams + fogs = success..so that means..yes, the low beams + fogs now do not work. So supposedly I have to modify some stupid relay to work with it..and I have no idea how..oh well, I guess the only way to learn is to do..:D

HXSILVA
05-07-2007, 04:49 PM
Hey Vike, It's funny because I would have told you the starter solenoid, (I have worked at CARQUEST Auto Parts for 7+ years) that usually is the culprit on late 80's early 90's Fords. Another thing the diagnostic machine at the Zone is just a code reader unless you have a trouble code it is useless. Also, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on what the person behind the code reader tells you. I have had many customers come in looking for a part that is on the plus side of one hundred dollars, only to find out it was a dry-rot vacuum line. If the part the customer wants to purchase costs more than 50 dollars I generally send them to a shop to verify the problem, surprisingly I haven't had anyone come back and say they, (the shop) charged them 50 bucks to tell them what Autozone told them for free.

Oh yeah, are cars worth the hassle? What are the options a horse or a bike?
No thank you.

timmyshoota
05-09-2007, 04:22 PM
F'ed Over Reworked Dodge

Seriously I've seen Toyota truck engines eat head gaskets...Just gimme back my old chevy 350. :(

I work in a Toyota service dept. and I can't recall a truck coming in anytime recently for a head gasket. 90% of the cars that come into service are there for recalls, mostly minor too. I do believe that the newer trucks did have a major suspension related recall in the past few years. I believe it was the ball joints, but other than that, not so much. Hell, Toyota even put out a recall on the Highlanders to fix an issue with the floor mats. The snaps holding them in place were aparently breaking, so they recalled them, even though its such a minor thing.

Chris Cole
05-11-2007, 07:35 AM
Last time I did a starter, it was a long drawn out process. Depending on where the engineer with entirely too much time on his hands decided to cram it, it can be difficult. Now alternators, I can swap those out in my sleep.

Good luck vike. Shoot me a PM, I need a sub for an upcoming tourney.

vikingshadow
05-11-2007, 10:00 AM
Yeah, alternators are cake!

Thanks! Oh, and PM shot atcha!