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Old 08-17-2012, 02:11 PM
 
14,392 posts, read 11,679,860 times
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I want to teach myself how to fix/repair all sorts of motorized vehicles from sedans, to boats, to jet skis, to diesel, heck even hovercraft if applicable. I want to get to the point where I can actually bootleg a motorized vehicle out of seemingly irrelevant and random parts I find lying around anywhere in MacGuyver-esque style. I would even like to move onto to flying vehicles too. I wish to accomplish this without having to spend money on a school. How shall I go about? What are the first steps, then second to last steps I must take?
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Twin Lakes /Taconic / Salisbury
2,256 posts, read 4,140,780 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
I want to teach myself how to fix/repair all sorts of motorized vehicles from sedans, to boats, to jet skis, to diesel, heck even hovercraft if applicable. I want to get to the point where I can actually bootleg a motorized vehicle out of seemingly irrelevant and random parts I find lying around anywhere in MacGuyver-esque style. I would even like to move onto to flying vehicles too. I wish to accomplish this without having to spend money on a school. How shall I go about? What are the first steps, then second to last steps I must take?
Start by going outside and disassembling your car down to the last nut and bolt and reverse the process to put it back together.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:37 PM
 
11,516 posts, read 50,206,079 times
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While you may be able to acquire some of your basic hand skills and mechanical skills just tinkering around with stuff, you'll not be able to acquire the electronics side of the business without service/diagnostic information. If you don't have an electronics background, then you'll need training ... either on the job provided training for entry level techs by dealerships or shops, or heading to a school.

The old days of cars being primarily mechanical systems based are now long gone ....

Diesel and gas engines are essentially similar machines in the era of electronically controlled and metered fuel delivery systems.

But if you want to get into aviation, that's a whole different game and not something that will be readily accessible by tinkering around even with a big budget to acquire stuff to play around with. Boats and marine systems, too, are a whole different game with their specialized systems compared to anything else.
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
7,975 posts, read 9,783,056 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRPct View Post
Start by going outside and disassembling your car down to the last nut and bolt and reverse the process to put it back together.

That is exactly what my Dad made me do when I was sixteen,
I had ordered a brand new 57 ford convertible, and it was my very first car.
At that point, I knew nothing about the mechanics of a car.
Dad felt I had better learn what makes an engine run,and more importantly, what makes it not run.
He picked up an old 51 Ford to disassemble,and together we tore it down.
When all the parts were scattered all over the garage, he said, now put it back together.
If you have a problem, come get me, but if you do, it better be something important.
It took me about a week before I had that old ford back and running.
The day the new convertible arrived, I felt confident that if something went wrong with it, I could fix it.
That was the greatest education I could have ever received.
Bob.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:43 PM
 
3,184 posts, read 6,754,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRPct View Post
Start by going outside and disassembling your car down to the last nut and bolt and reverse the process to put it back together.
That is funny but it shows wisdom. I worked with a guy who was a long time GM dealer mechanic as was his dad. When he reached the age to want a car his father gave him a "test" His father bought him a car and then took it apart. He then told his son that if he wanted a car all he had to do was put it back together. His son did and learned while doing it that he indeed had his fathers talent and thats how he got into the business. You either have the skill to use your hands and brains at the same time and do it quickly or you dont. good luck
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,253 posts, read 74,308,476 times
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I am certinaly not an expert, but competent in some areas. Here is how I learned:

Helping dad fix family cars.

Got a book and used it to rebuild the engine in my Honda Cvcc during Christmas Break.

Got another book and reassambled my hopped up 1971 or 1973 Camaro as I drove it around breaking it, I then fixed it.

Started doing brake jobs and routine maintenance on friends cars for a little money.

Bought a British car and joined a club. British cars are good for learning because they always need repair. Clubs are good for teaching you.

Worked in a shop for 2 months while between jobs. I did brake jobs for my friend the mechanic and he let me use his shop and provided advice while I rebuilt the engine in my Jensen Healey. HE had me do some toher things as well, some of them were new to me so he kept an eye on me and taught me. That was the trade off for my work(that and I got to drive a lot of his customers exotic cars.)

Swapped out that engine when it blew for a rebuilt engine a friend gave me in my friend's garage.

Somehwere in there I swapped out four Jensen healey transmissions. three were mine and one a friends. Also helped build a racing engine with another friend.

Lately, I just to smaller repairs during decent weather on our 7 cars. Big stuff goes to the shop, so does messy stuff like oil changes and anything needing to be done when it is cold or I am busy.

Lots of fixing of all kinds all the way through. Get a book and you can pretty much do anything a mechanic can do. It just takes you more time.

recently I learned the secret to making car repair a true joy. My son is 16 and has taken an interest in learning to repair cars. I point to things and say "Take that off, take that off take that off and drain that hose. I will be back in an hour"

It is really wonderful way to fix cars, nice bonding too.

He is taking auto tech classes in high school next year, so he will pass my knowlege quickly, especially on newer cars. (What did they do with all the carbeurators anyway?).

Last edited by Coldjensens; 08-17-2012 at 10:16 PM..
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:44 AM
 
11,516 posts, read 50,206,079 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
recently I learned the secret to making car repair a true joy. My son is 16 and has taken an interest in learning to repair cars. I point to things and say "Take that off, take that off take that off and drain that hose. I will be back in an hour"

It is really wonderful way to fix cars, nice bonding too.
LOL.

My boys hated everything about my shop ... the noise, the dirt, the greasy mess, the anti-freeze, the welding equipment, the grinders, cleaning parts, detailing cars, and the physical labor involved. As far as they were and are now concerned, a car is what you put gasoline and the key in and drive it. If it breaks or needs maintenance, it goes to a shop.

They figured out in high school that they could make a lot more money with their other skills and pay somebody to do all the nasty work for them. At their now achieved income levels ... they're right.

More time for other leisure pursuits that they do enjoy, more time for their families, and if a car isn't right, somebody else can work on it for them for a pittance compared to what the boys earn.


I had a similar conversation last year with a couple of lawyers and our aviation hobby. They wouldn't know how to do anything mechanical on the planes they fly, and they'll even pay somebody to check the air pressure in the tires and air them up if need be, or detail their planes. These guys wouldn't even plug in a vacuum cleaner, they pay somebody to keep the airplanes clean for them. But they fly C210's and Mooney 252's and Beech B-36's and C185's and one owned a C500 for awhile. Did I mention that they own multiple aircraft at any one time? Meanwhile, I fly an old high time C182 which I do all the work on (and as required, under the watchful eye of my IA) and that's all I can afford only because I do all the work on it. They fly a lot more hours than I do, too ... because they have the income and leisure time to enjoy it.

Different strokes ....
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Inland Empire, Calif
2,885 posts, read 5,403,640 times
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From reading your post you have very little mechanical experience. Getting from where you are, to where you want to be, will take many years of schooling and hands on experience. You make it sound like anyone can do it with a few weeks of tinkering.
I was a tech for over 40 years, and you never stop learning, and you never stop going to school. The field is changing daily and you have to keep up. Even when you attain proficiency, you must continue going to seminars and trade schools to learn the latest. I continued to take night courses throughout my career. Going from automotive to aircraft is like starting all over again. It's an entirely different field. I went to many classes put on by GM, and just to go to all of those will take years. If you are looking for an easy ride, you picked the wrong field.
You make it sound easy, it isn't. It's a long, hard learning curve and you better really love it and have some mechanical aptitude if you want to be a success.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:52 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
2,715 posts, read 11,151,563 times
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I just changed my first flat tire the other day for the 1st time. I want to change my oil next but am scared. It seams like a difficult job.

I am also interested in this post, because I want to become a Master Mechanic. I am 50 years old and looking to change careers into Auto.

Any advice?
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:12 PM
 
15,868 posts, read 27,903,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
LOL.

My boys hated everything about my shop ... the noise, the dirt, the greasy mess, the anti-freeze, the welding equipment, the grinders, cleaning parts, detailing cars, and the physical labor involved. As far as they were and are now concerned, a car is what you put gasoline and the key in and drive it. If it breaks or needs maintenance, it goes to a shop.

They figured out in high school that they could make a lot more money with their other skills and pay somebody to do all the nasty work for them. At their now achieved income levels ... they're right.

That is part of it. However, most vehicles are a lot more complicated than the ones thirty years ago. You need a lot of tools and a lot more knowledge than in the past.

My concern with doing basic repairs like changing oil is that I don't want to screw anything up as I do not change my oil enough to do it well. Also, I like my mechanic to give the car a thorough look every 5.000 miles or so as he can see problems that I would not recognize.

And all in all, I would only save about $10 changing my own oil.
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