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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Our tame fighter pilot gets shot at, disassembles a Lexus, and ruins a hub

At the risk of stating the obvious, it took me a bit to get used to being shot at. I wouldn't call the first couple times it happened significant emotional events, but they were nontrivial life moments.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/our-tame-fighter-pilot-gets-shot-at-disassembles-a-lexus-and-r...
17 REPLIES 17
CitationMan
Gearhead

Josh, any similarities between talking to your aircraft mechanic and car mechanic?

"It makes this funny noise when I do this"

"Oh, that's normal, they all do that"

Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

That's a great question and could make for an interesting article. Short answer: I'm vested in both cases to get a good diagnosis. That's true for my car as I don't want to pay the mechanic to throw parts at a problem or spend hours troubleshooting. With airplanes, having the pilot spend a few minutes describing the problem in detail and/or working through some things with a specialist once back on the ground can save maintainers hours of troubleshooting time and I'm always happy to help those guys and gals out.
Truthworldwide
Detailer

F4Us and A6Ms and F-15EXs and a Phantom for good measure. Oh my.

I knew that had to be an LX470 when I saw the lede image. Are you on IH8MUD? Probably the greatest resource I've seen for LC/LXs, I have an LX570 myself and the response time on that forum reminds me of the "good 'ol days" of forum activity.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

IH8MUD is the best! I was on that prior to buying the LX, making sure I knew what to look for.

As to the aircraft, I have to keep folks guessing as to what I've flown and currently fly...
Truthworldwide
Detailer

Since the F-4 and F4U were multi-service birds (and I doubt you serve with the JASDF), and you're a "tame fighter pilot" vs strike guys, the only solid clue is the Eagle II - guessing T-38 to Charlie to EX (unless that tiny F-15 image is of mudhens?)

IH8MUD is one of the best forums I've been on for a specific make/model. They're extremely active over there and have answers vs suppositions.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

I like your investigative mindset, but you're presuming I include pictures of things I've flown and not just Getty images that Hagerty can license...

I suspect I won't be able to tell what I've flown until I'm out of the service in a few years. Until then, keep guessing!
audiocage
Advanced Driver

Over the years, I went through a series of stages where acquiring the right specialty tool would (theoretically) enable me to tackle a wider variety of repairs. “Now I have X; now I can do Y” Often, that was true, but there was one repeated exception to this pattern: “Now I have (air tools/MIG welder/torch/etc.) so now I can do exhaust work. Nope. Dismal failure every single time. The final straw came when I attempted to replace the dual system on my ’85 Chevy Crew-Cab pickup. I started at 6 AM. When my wife returned home at 7 PM, I was cut, burned, and covered in rust flakes; my shirt was ripped, and I could barely stand up. The truck had a broken rear shock absorber, and no exhaust beyond the manifolds. I told her that if I ever mused about doing my own exhaust work again, she should just shoot me. Sometimes, the best approach is to be happily helpless and just pay the man.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

I so relate to your post. The first picture in the story that has my Odyssey in it with all the tools illustrates the battle I had removing the sway bar links. I used a torch, grinder, pry bar, hammer drill, PB Blaster, vice grips, and any other tool I could throw at it. It was a couple hour battle, while all the YouTube videos showed it coming right off. SMH.
bradfa
Advanced Driver

The key is having 'extra' cars and a motivation to learn and do it yourself. I'd love to read more detailed versions of the stories you mentioned here! With pictures!
The internet needs more blog posts about fixing things from people who aren't experts and are willing to show the failures and mistakes they make. Watching a YouTube of a skilled mechanic do something teaches me how things should work, but reading/watching a DIYer (with good editing!) fail 7 times doing something that should have been simple shows me all the things which might go wrong and probably has good brainstorm ideas on how to recover. That's way more valuable!
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Glad you enjoyed it and I always appreciate article ideas!
Spuds
Advanced Driver

Jeepster-timing chain...lots of room,get to put on cool upgraded parts on the cheap,FUN.

Lexus V8-accessory belt pulley...righty loosey,lefty tighty (how about that??)....SNAP! Remove pulley bracket means disassemble front of motor.6 weeks later its running again.Not fun.

I'll let the mechs do that Lexus timing belt,that starter,Im literally too old to do that stuff anymore.

Shout out to ClubLexus walking me thru that extended pulley repair! Greatest most awesome folks on the net! Shout out to Grampa getting that Jeepster in your hands!

Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Yeah, I'm not feeling the Lexus timing belt even with all the online support. Too much risk relative to the $$ savings of doing it myself.
Flashman
Technician

Man, you're a polymath.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Considering I had to look up the definition, that probably isn't true (certainly the genius implication). The part about knowing lots about many different thing might be, though I'd be hesitant to say I know a 'lot' about lots of things.
TG
Technician

I started working on cars by being a broke teenager with a derelict car out back delivered to its resting spot by step-dad. In this scenario, there was no risk of failure, since failure just meant I kept riding the bus. Much of the work I did on that car amounted to undoing the damage I did working on the car. Learning to work on cars is probably a lot like skateboarding or perhaps flying fighter jets in that you generally get good by surviving a few disasters
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

I had a friend who once said to me "When we were in school, I didn't know you knew how to work on cars", my reply: I didn't, not until I got one and realized that I needed to learn some things in order not to a. not get ripped off, and b. manage the money that I didn't have for repairs! My Dad's sage advice: "having the right tool for the job is invaluable, even if you only use it once!" Self taught on the driveway, I've changed engines, R&R'd transmissions (back in the young, strong & dumb days using a floor jack, chest and arms, LOL!). Alternators, water pumps, belts, shocks, no problem; I even ventured into doing some bodywork, and painted my car with good results! Even then, although I did brakes once, I preferred to leave brakes and exhaust work to Midas! I still change my oil and rotate tires, but as I become more and more "seasoned" I don't plan on doing any of the heavier lifting anymore!! Having the desire to learn is the first step, NO ONE was born knowing how to do anything, EVERYONE started from zero!! 🙂
OldBird
Intermediate Driver

This resonates... Been working on cars since I was 16. Definitely wouldn't say I have mad fabbing skills or any such, but at 53, I am pretty confident about judging what I can reasonably tackle with my resources. I will sometimes be asked "how do you know how to do that?" or "how do you have the nerve to tackle (x project)?" In terms of knowledge, it comes down to prior experience + internet forums, YouTube, and manuals. In terms of nerves, my rule of thumb is that a key part of my project planning thought process is to ask myself "What's the worst thing that can go wrong with this project? How will I deal with it? Am I okay with the downside risk?"

I am a firm believer by now that I could / can do most any automotive or home project I REALLY put my mind to. But lest you think I'm just full of myself, I will freely admit that there are plenty of such projects where it just isn't practical to invest the time / energy / funds to get the knowledge to tackle and get an end result I'd be proud of. And I'm always interested to read about what others tackle - more often than not I'm in awe of what a determined non-professional person with a reasonable shop can accomplish.