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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    "How did they re-balance that shaft after they did that?"

    I sorta thought their repair was pretty much right-on. I don't see why the shaft would have to be rebalanced. One would assume they pressed the yoke in true on each side, and surely yoke manufacturing molds would result in a piece that is pretty uniform? Out of the box balance of the yoke would be one their criteria in a finished product given its intended purpose in life.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I sorta thought their repair was pretty much right-on. I don't see why the shaft would have to be rebalanced.

    And that's the trap. You go along for years doing it one way, and then the assembly changes and the way it used to be done isn't proper any more.

    For the prices that a reman shaft can be gotten, it isn't worth the risk or liability to do that in house. The following site has very good reasons to explain the details that they go into when performing a remanufacture of the driveshaft.

    http://driveshaftspecialist.com/Import%20html/BMW.html?gclid=CJCft4X0uLUCFYVQOgo- dgjAANA

    If someone really cannot afford to, or justify repairing a car like a BMW correctly, then they should have bought the Suzuki or Kia instead.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    This is my take on things:

    People are EXTREMELY lazy! An educated customer is not going to fall for muffler bearings, or blinker fluid, and will quickly spot a crooked mechanic. However, someone who does not want to invest the time to actually understand how a 150 year old piece of technology works, will be taken advantage of.

    I am not an automotive mechanic, far from it, but learned the general concepts of automotive mechanics, because I have been taken advantage of. It does not take a PhD level of understanding, however, it is most often the PhD types who are completely clueless.

    If they were able to get their highly sophisticated research degrees, they should have the drive and hunger for knowledge to understand the simplest of the machines: cars. They don't neccessarily need to buy the tools and get dirty if they don't want to, but if they exhibit a smallest insight into the workings of a car, a mechanic, even a crooked one, will not be giving them a line of BS.

    But, they are most often, are too lazy to learn something new, and would rather watch American Idol or other mindless TV than just learn something new.
  • We were planning to balance it by sending it up to Equipoise, but after making one adjustment (a 90 degree rotation) and assuring proper lubrication of the splines, we ended up with such a slight low rpm vibration from 0 to 10 mph as to be virtually undetectable. In fact, within a week or so I had completely forgotten about it.

    All I'm saying is this--tell me if you can argue against it:

    Ultimately, a mechanic's resume exists on the end of his wrench---one can talk the big talk, one can present the spiffy shop, but in my book the award goes to the man who successfully repairs the problem, and who fixes the car that STAYS fixed.

    If he can accomplish that, I don't care what he looks like
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Ingenuity drives advance. I would not go so far as to denounce anyone for such creativity,

    I recall what occurred a number of years back when a guy promoted cutting a hole through the body of a Camaro in order to replace a fuel pump instead of dropping the rear axle part way, removing the fuel tank and fixing the car correctly. Professional technicians had no problem telling him that his ingenuity was not only improperly applied but he had now placed the owner and occupants of the car at an unneccesary risk. In no shortage of words, we let him know that his aproach wasn't creative, it was destructive and he should have been ashamed for butchering that customers car.

    We have had to deal with the problem that we have no standards as to what is a proper repair and what is a hack job. Trying to do those u-joints, without all of the correct equipment and experience is not an approved repair and it should not have been done. Without the correct equipment to ensure that the joint was set at the yoke's centerline, and then properly re-staked the driveshaft would be very unlikely to run on it's true centerline, and that would put undue stresses on the rear differential and the transmission output shaft. Fools rush in where wise men know not to tread.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    they should have the drive and hunger for knowledge to understand the simplest of the machines: cars

    If that's what you think, then you don't know, what you don't know. They used to be reasonably easy to work on, but even that didn't make them simple decades ago. The robotics onboard today make them very complex machines.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    edited February 2013
    Well, you're preaching to the choir here. I am king of improvisation in these parts. And that is not to say I repair with bail wire, duct tape and a hammer. With some of my repairs, while they rarely can look as original as the original, they sometimes do work better. When I wire something, I solder and silicone, then tape the joints if they are in a corrosion prone area. That's better than OEM right there..
    I can give you another example too...I had to repair my Lobo wood hauler years ago. It's a 4WD articulating mining machine, load/man hauler. Needed a new master cylinder. The original long long LONG gone. The small reservoir was cast into the top of it. Anyway, I went to the local wreckers, picked up an old Datsun master cylinder that looked to be in quite good, non corroded condition. In order for it to fit I had to reposition everything. And in doing that I had to create a support pc that literally held the pushrod true to the master cylinder. The old cast one had a bushing that it slid thru and was recessed quite a ways into the MC. Poor design really as the swing angle to the brake pedal put a lot of sideways influence on the rod. Probably what took it out too. With my new design (I used an L bracket drilled and bolted it into the proper place). Then used an old pc of hyfax (sp?) old snowmobile suspension slider material. (I'm a recycler before the term was used common-place). I cut off a pc sized just right, driilled it true to the pushrod dia, drilled and recessed bolt heads into the face so nothing could grab your pant tails and Bob's your Uncle, created a new sleeve/bushing and it too was actually better than the new original design. Brakes never before felt so good, fluidly smooth or powerful.

    I think there is some Mc Gyver in us all to a certain extent, but some have more refined parameters of it than others. My Aunt, rest her Soul, and who never married, used to try to fix everything with scotch tape, a hammer and flathead screw driver. So even women's take on things fixable is a lot different in most cases than a man's.

    I think your BMW deal though is quite common on U joint re and re's...the chance of being outta phase. Ya got a 50/50 if you aren't careful and since Murphy is always looking over your shoulder..well..them's your chances..
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,369
    I've replaced quite a few u joints and I've never had a driveshaft rebalanced nor did I ever have a vibration afterwards.

    There are a lot of shortcuts that can be successfully taken that work just fine. It's the fear of a comeback that stops some shops from taking slight risks.

    I know guys like your BMW Brothers and they usually turn out great work.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,282
    I'm not saying that a hack job isn't a hack job. I'm simply recommending that one let the results speak for themselves.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    So I checked out that site. Seems like good folk. Capable.
    But I'll never understand when a business invests so much to start up a business like that and yet not have someone literate proofread the site before giving it the go-ahead.

    Numerous places they had "or" when they meant "our". And used "to", when they meant "too". Now of course some customers won't care and others still won't realize, but I would think a business would want to portray their business in the most professional light possible. And remember, especially that particular business because they cater to BMW owners..many of whom are perhaps more educated in areas of literacy compared to the average sideways baseball cap wearing Caprice owner..

    Of course, in the end it's all about the job and the product, is is really good? Of course that matters more than grammar, but like I say, if you want to intro/ increase your business, the MOST affordable and easy way to enhance it is simply hire a proofreader before millions of potentially critical eyes make fun of you and judge your work/product by their site.
  • No!----cutting a hole in a car to replace a fuel pump is not ingenuity, it's butchery.

    We're talking about two different things here.

    I even saw, with my own eyes, a Mercedes Gullwing with the tubular frame cut and re-welded to facilitate a repair----YIKES! :surprise:

    I understand why a shop wouldn't want to improvise but what did I have to lose, or what did the shop have to lose, in this case?

    BMW wants me to throw away (!!) a perfectly good, two-piece, beautifully made driveshaft because a u-joint is bad, and sock me for a new one.

    The BMW Brothers had failed, what have I lost? The driveshaft merely goes to the same junk pile it was directed to by BMW.

    And what have I gained if it succeeded? About $600 in my pocket.

    There's a difference between clever and reckless.

    Another situation----re-threading the crank pulley shaft on a 2001 Porsche (came loose, mangled the threads). What was the alternative---yep, removing the engine and splitting the case open.

    Well the re-threading worked, and it's been fine for well over a year. Would a POrsche dealer do it? No way. Was it easy to do with the engine in place? No, it was difficult and it took skill and patience.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,369
    I've seen Heli-Coils save the day and a TON of money.

    Would a dealer fix something that way? Highly doubtful.

    Same applies to JB Weld.

    A " Mickey Moused" repair? In the eyes of some to be sure!
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,458
    But I'll never understand when a business invests so much to start up a business like that and yet not have someone literate proofread the site before giving it the go-ahead.

    Amen to that.

    "You never get a second chance to make a first impression"

    The services/products appear professionally made and high quality.

    The poor grammar steals so much from that impression, at least, in my eyes...
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Dealerships aren't in business to save the consumer money. Why clean a mass airflow sensor for $50 when you can put in a brand new one for $450?

    Independents are.such more trustworthy imo, and will look for alternatives to repairs. Managers in dealerships are under so much pressure to meet sales and profit goals, that money comes first and consumers second.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    So I checked out that site. Seems like good folk. Capable.
    But I'll never understand when a business invests so much to start up a business like that and yet not have someone literate proofread the site before giving it the go-ahead.


    So instead of just criticizing here, send them a note and find out who does their site. They may do it themselves, and they may be paying for someone offshore. It's kinda funny how someone's typing skills become the basis of a question mark for them when the real debate was what constitutes a viable repair or not.

    Numerous places they had "or" when they meant "our". And used "to", when they meant "too

    Yea spell check can't find those. Heck you should see some of the stuff that spell check on this site permits.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I've seen Heli-Coils save the day and a TON of money.

    Would a dealer fix something that way? Highly doubtful


    Perfectly legitimate repairs. Cadillac Northstars get Time-serts, not heli-coils to repair the threads for the head bolts and for the crank bolts. Ford has time sert repairs for the 5.4l 3 valves that spit spark plugs out. Toyota uses Time-serts for head bolts.

    I've seen people try to repair the caliper bolt threads in a steering knuckle on a Tempo or Taurus with heli coils. That's not a sound repair. The same goes for a Subaru timing belt idler pulley. The heli-coil can't tolerate the side pressure and they fail. Load it in a straight line and its fine.

    Same applies to JB Weld.

    A " Mickey Moused" repair? In the eyes of some to be sure


    I had a customer who had an old Volvo that he wanted to get running. So we got it down here . I drained the bad fuel, and took care of a wiring issue that caused it to lose the crank sensor signal and got it running. I had it just outside the door to allow it to run for a while so that I could confirm cooling fan operation, and to try and make sure that when I drove it I would be more likely to not have to walk back.

    It was a matter of luck in the timing of the sudden failure of the radiator. I had leaned over to see if the fan was running and it was. I stood up, turned toward the drivers door and the JB weld repair that the customer had done to the radiator failed blowing hot coolant and steam out violently. I would have gotten it right in the face, and likely everywhere from my waist up. We are talking second/third degree burns for 30% of your body. We are also talking about what could have happened to my eyes.

    I had not noticed the repair of the radiator tank. That event could have left us in financial ruin.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Dealerships aren't in business to save the consumer money. Why clean a mass airflow sensor for $50 when you can put in a brand new one for $450?

    Maybe because cleaning them does NOT restore them to full operation?
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    edited February 2013
    Define full operation.

    99 percent and $400 in my pocket is good enough for most people.

    One of those things that should be offered and explained to a customer, clean or replace. Maybe it last 5 months, maybe cleaning last 5 years or longer. Definitely worth the risk.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    edited February 2013
    "So instead of just criticizing here, send them a note and find out who does their site. They may do it themselves, and they may be paying for someone offshore. It's kinda funny how someone's typing skills become the basis of a question mark for them when the real debate was what constitutes a viable repair or not. "

    I have gone there and done that in the past, and believe me...you know the old saying, 'no good deed goes unpunished"...well it sure is true. MOST can't handle the truth. It takes a real man to say sorry, and or say, "gee, thanks a LOT for pointing that out, appreciate it man".

    As for the kinda funny remark...I really did elaborate twice saying that to some it shouldn't matter but to others it will. It is all about perception. Just like, busis, backed up what I said, it would turn him off. It may not be fair. If you like, I will check your site doc, as long as you don't get bent outta shape if I find something? And that said, I know I make mistakes too, but I am always in learning and appreciating mode. I just sorta type like I'm having a live chat with someone. Not sure if it comes across that way or not..

    English is probably not their native language, and in which case, all the more reason for them to ask someone, like the bright kid neighbour down the street, or maybe the GF of one of the guys in the shop...someone whose native tongue is English) in high school who specializes in English or literatures and they could spot a lot stuff..pay with pizza..

    Personally I would NOT hold it against a good mechanic if his site was full of grammar and spelling mistakes, but it does say something about him as a business man, like it or not..it's just the way it is. He could be a real smart guy, but if a person sees that, then they think he could be smarter still.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,369
    edited February 2013
    "neighbour"??

    People who live in glass houses.....
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