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OT: OMG! Cars are really difficult to work on now

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  • OT: OMG! Cars are really difficult to work on now

    I just spent a total of 16 hours replacing a water pump in my Scion Xb. (The one that looks like a toaster.) I had to:
    -Remove the front bumper and one headlight
    -Remove the tire and wheel well on one side
    -Remove 2 or 3 plastic shields
    -Remove the windshield washer tank
    -Remove the alternator
    After all this I was finally able to reach (just barely) the water pump. Since it sits about 3/8" away from the frame, once I got the bolts out, I had to wedge the engine over about 1/2" with a length of 2x4, and while holding it with my left hand, reach down and try to wiggle the old pump out with my right. This took up the first 10 hours.
    Then I had wedge the engine again to get the new pump in, and put everything back together again.
    I just took it out for a 10 mile drive; no leaks so far....

    I'll never bitch about amazing prices for car repair again. I reckon this would have been about $600 in labor.

  • #2
    I just paid about $500 to have a water pump replaced on my mother in law's 2007 RAV4. Almost all of that was labor. Some parts are easier to get to than others.

    I stopped doing any work on my cars beyond maybe replacing the headlamps or windshield wipers years ago. Just isn't worth the time or trouble. I'd rather be messing around with musical equipment in my spare time.
    ______________

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    • #3
      I've had my Lexus ES-300 (a fancy Toyota Camry) for 12 years and I still haven't found the spark plugs. It's amazing, though, how trouble-free it's been. I haven't even had to replace brake pads, though I've been through 2-1/2 sets of tires and two batteries.
      --
      "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
      Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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      • #4
        Late model Porsche 991 anyone?
        Originally posted by Unconfigured Static HTML Widget...







        Write Something, or Drag and Drop Images Here...

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        • #5
          I gave up on auto maintenance with my 1987 Ford Aerostar, when I found that I couldn't even find all the sparkplugs without a dental mirror, and couldn't pull them all without a universal joint on my wrench, and from an nearly impossible-to-get-to spot. And I have small hands! Screw that. Since then I let the pros do the work, and no looking back

          However, I do still expect to be able to diagnose the easy stuff. I (finally) earned a little respect from my son when he was about 18 and his car died in the middle of nowhere. I picked him up and we went to the shop and picked up a Chilton's for his car and returned, with my small tool kit, which included a VOM of course. I don't remember the details but we quickly isolated it to the electrical system, eliminated the solenoid as a suspect, and (using the Chilton's) managed to find that it was the voltage regulator or something (an electrical part near the alternator). Another quick trip to the auto store to pick up the part, a few minutes to install the new one, and he drove off. That was 15 years ago. Today I'd ask for his help with an auto-related issue. He has a much bigger toolkit and works on his own car.

          He recently had to replace the battery and found (to his disgust) that he had to remove a tire and pull the battery through an opening in the wheel well! (He wants to replace that car with one that's easier to work on. Can't say I blame him. Then again, his cars would last longer if he was easier on them. I cringe the way he starts it, revs it, and takes off like a bat out of hell. That's gotten better as he gets older.)

          I learned to drive a stick on my best friend's Model A. (No, I'm not quite THAT old, it was a vintage car at the time!) He and his father had restored it from what looked like a pile of junk, and when they were done, he was 15 and I was 16 so I got to drive it. When THAT car had problems, you could fix it with bailing wire! (It got great gas mileage too, and that was in the late 70's when gas got expensive really quickly.)

          Ah, the good ol' days. I'd hate to have to drive what we drove back then, though, unless maybe it's an XKE. Not that I ever drove one back then either. And assuming someone else pays for maintenance.
          Last edited by JeffLearman; 11-03-2014, 02:50 PM.
          learjeff.net

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          • #6
            Originally posted by learjeff View Post
            Ah, the good ol' days. I'd hate to have to drive what we drove back then, though, unless maybe it's an XKE. Not that I ever drove one back then either. And assuming someone else pays for maintenance.
            Also, people worked on cars back then more largely because they HAD to. Used to be a big deal to "turn over" the odometer on a car. I just bought a 2007 RAV4 for my mother-in-law with 90,000 miles on it that I fully expect to be a good car for her for years to come. I drove my 1999 Blazer to 250,000 miles and it was still running well when I finally decided to trade it in. Our 2005 Nissan Frontier as 150,000 miles on it and it feels like it's just breaking in. Cars are so much better than they used to be in SO many ways.

            And speaking of cars I won't work on, we just bought a 2012 Prius (17,000 miles) for my wife. Cool little car so far, but I wouldn't know where to even BEGIN to work on that thing!
            Last edited by guido61; 11-04-2014, 09:11 AM.
            ______________

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            • #7
              Originally posted by guido61 View Post
              And speaking of cars I won't work on, we just bought a 2012 Prius (17,000 miles) for my wife. Cool little car so far, but I wouldn't know where to even BEGIN to work on that thing!
              Well, you start with a voltmeter, and if that doesn't lead you to the problem, start looking through the source code.
              --
              "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
              Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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              • #8
                Gonna give it a workout this week and see what's all with that car. The band is playing a gig on Saturday at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, so we're going to make a little mini vacation out of it by staying on the coast for a few days. A trip over the Sierras and then up and down and around the California coast oughta let me know what I think of hybrid cars, for sure!

                ______________

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by guido61 View Post
                  I just paid about $500 to have a water pump replaced on my mother in law's 2007 RAV4. Almost all of that was labor. Some parts are easier to get to than others.

                  I stopped doing any work on my cars beyond maybe replacing the headlamps or windshield wipers years ago. Just isn't worth the time or trouble. I'd rather be messing around with musical equipment in my spare time.
                  I just read a response from The Car Guys to a listener/reader who wondered why it cost just over a grand to replace a head light in an Acura. Turns out that not only do you have to take off the front bumper, there are something like six hundred dollars in parts for the HID (high intensity discharge) headlights. You know, the bluish ones you see on high end cars (not related to Yellow Submarine bluish). It turns out that if they replace the bulb, it might not be the problem, so they also replace something called the ignitor, and a controller, neither of which might be the problem, but all requiring the bumper being removed.

                  Years ago, I agreed to help a friend replace the starter motor on his Toyota Corolla, usually a two or three bolt job. The dealer had quoted him a price that was about ten times the cost of a rebuilt starter. When I started looking for the part under the hood, I realized that Toyota had wrapped the exhaust manifold around the starter motor, and you couldn't get to the starter without taking the exhaust apart, a tough job that can entail broken bolts in the engine block. No wonder the dealer was asking for so much.

                  What a poor design from a maintenance angle, putting an electrical motor in the hottest part of the engine compartment, under a manifold that is often a nightmare to remove.
                  ..................................................
                  Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.

                  ...Pericles

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                  • #10
                    I remember that in the 1970s, there was a Chevrolet Vega that, in the V8 version, required removing the engine mounting bolts and lifting the engine a few inches in order to get to one spark plug. The car was designed with a straight 4 cylinder engine, but they managed to stuff a V8 under the hood for the performance crowd.

                    Back then spark plugs needed replacement every 10-12,000 miles. The V8 model came from the factory with electrodes that were platinum-coated (common today but exotic in those days, costing about $30 a piece) that would last 30-40,000 miles. It wasn't a big deal for original owners because it was comon to replace the car before 30,000 miles, but the next owner often got stuck with a big repair bill.
                    --
                    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                    • #11
                      The early GTO's had a spark plug that could only be accessed by removing part of the front fender.
                      ..................................................
                      Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.

                      ...Pericles

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