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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Knowing when to back away from a repair

I'm going to introduce today's topic-knowing when to back away from a repair-by telling four short stories. The first is the time I didn't back away. I bought my first BMW 2002 shortly after my then-girlfriend and now-wife and I moved to Austin 40 years ago. Its transmission was whiny.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/the-hack-mechanic/knowing-when-to-back-away-from-a-repair/
17 REPLIES 17
gpsuya
Advanced Driver

Re: "doing something and coming away from it muttering, “Well, I’d never do that again"
Exact definition when we say we're "Experienced". Great article!
DUB6
Specialist

   I usually only remember that I once said, "Well, I'll never do that again" when I'm about 48% into doing it again...

hyperv6
Racer

When doing repairs a man [or Woman] has to know his limits.
Be it skill and or money.

Lack of skill will leave you stranded and broke. Or if the repair is more than the worth of the part or the car it will leave you broke and stranded.
DUB6
Specialist

I happen to think that one of the fundamental differences between a man and a woman is that she is born knowing her limitations, and he generally only glimpses that knowledge just prior to death!  🙄

Swamibob
Technician

Great quote from Dirty Harry: "Man's Got to know his limitations..." 🙂
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

I've learned that having the right tool for the job will save one a LOT of grief, even if you only have to use it once. Also, the part that you *thought* could be removed without damaging an adjoining fragile component will INVARIABLY lead to an "OOPS!" requiring an additional repair!! 🙂
DUB6
Specialist

Man, truer words have seldom been spoken.  I only wish I would remember them the next time I'm faced with one of those issues.  But no, I'll probably just grab a wood chisel and pipe wrench and proceed with the carb-linkage adjustment...

relton
Advanced Driver

I backed away from a problem with my Lincoln Mark VIII. In fact, I backed away from the entire car.

It developed an exhaust leak, between the right manifold and the head. It was a small leak, but I could hear it outside the car, and I knew it was only going to get worse. I could actually feel the leak by putting my hands (carefully) near the manifold. I could feel the nuts holding the manifold on, and they were practically round, and nothing more than rust covered blobs. I just knew that if I could actually turn the nuts, the steel studs would snap off in the aluminum head. That would require removing the head and drilling out the studs. On a Mark VIII, you can't get the head off without removing the engine. Removing the engine meant it had to come out the bottom of he car, which meant removing the entire exhaust system, partially disassembling the rear suspension to get the drive shaft out, partially disassembling the front suspension, and, finally, having to get some kind of lift and support tools. I knew I wasn't up to this job.

I knew that if I kept this car, the noise would get loud enough so I could hear it inside the car. The whole point of having an expensive luxury car is the pleasure of driving it. So, I sold the car. The next owner could worry about the noise.
thehackmechanic
Advanced Driver

There is also no shame in selling a car if it doesn't bring you joy.
SAG
Technician

The 'Rick & Morty'
ref. was good
Snailish
Instructor

This wisdom was imparted to me as:

"No matter how far down the wrong road you have gone, turn around"

---
GM did the cardboard gloveboxes into the early 70s (trucks at least). Helps the mice as they can shred it to make their nest.
Swamibob
Technician

Excellent story Rob!

Once, many years ago I was 'gifted' a mopar. After a short period of time, I kept hearing a voice, deep inside my head saying; "no!" A few years later; there I was looking at a '72 duster with a slant six that wasn't really running, but wasn't really rusty. I bought it, got it running and considered keeping it, and again there was a voice inside my head saying; "No." About two years later; here came a '69 Chrysler 300 with a 440 and 727 automatic, but the engine had caught on fire, the transmission leaked and the rear end had a hole in it. Then I heard the voice in my head yell: "HELL NO!" 🙂
Later I'll tell you about the time I had to 'assume the position' under the dash of a Mustang... 🙂
Jimmyo
Intermediate Driver

I'm old enough to have learned when to stop muscling a bolt before I snap it off. Spending the cash on the right tool is worth every penny. That removing all the parts that are in the way actually can save you time. That time spend doing research on how it's done, is time well spent. I'm sure I've learned a few other things, but who can remember?
Goggles_Pisano
Pit Crew

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. Every bolt that you thought you could just tighten one more turn to snug it up before that inevitable snap would fall into that category.
tanglefoot
Intermediate Driver

Rob: having had a MG Midget, Fiat 124, two 2002's and a few Volvos I can relate to the head in the footwell-feet over the seats posture. This is know in my car/yoga world as the Warrior 10 position. If you have not started yoga you should it really makes a difference. Don't tackle a simple cabin air filter replacement in a 2016 Volvo XC70 unless you have the Warrior 10 mastered!
DUB6
Specialist

My wife has accused me of napping while down there.  It's more like passing out due to the blood rush.  But this is like riding First Class on an airliner compared to being under-dash on a 1970 Fiat 850 (of course I much younger and limber-er [?] in those days)!

 

Z-z-z-z-z-z-z...Z-z-z-z-z-z-z...

gster
Intermediate Driver

Several yeras ago I Installed some under dash speakers in my 1965 Corvair.
I succeeded in drilling into the gas tank...
Another job well done!