Spannering - what got you started?

Spannering - what got you started?

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underwhelmist

Original Poster:

1,049 posts

94 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
I'm feeling very pleased with myself after sorting out an intermittent engine management light problem on my Alfa, after hooking up my laptop with an ELM327 cable, diagnosing the fault with MultiEcuScan and removing the coils and cleaning up some connections.

This car has provided me with some great opportunities for diagnosing problems and doing some of the bigger service jobs. I've replaced handbrake cables, chased down (several!) electrical faults, and done a full belt and waterpump change. Three times, actually. The first time I topped up the coolant after putting it all back together, which is when I discovered I had pinched the O ring on the water pump. Took it apart again, sorted the leak, put it back together again to find it was running rough and bouncing around at idle - I had got the cam timing slightly out and the balancer shaft timing *way* out. After sorting that out it now runs great, and it's the most satisfying-but-at-the-time frustrating job I've done on a car.

I have a habit of buying old knackered motorbikes too, which I invariably end up having to do chain and sprockets, carb stripdowns, suspension overhauls, and the rest. Current bike needed a new camchain, and I've had the carbs apart more times than I can remember trying to get it to run right. Finally, it runs like a good 'un now.

Not so long ago this would have all been black magic to me but the Alfa, and some bikes that preceded it (FZR750, GT750) have given me a real enthusiasm for working on my own machines, and of course an excuse to buy more tools. What got you started?

Matt Harper

5,940 posts

161 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
A distinct lack of money to pay someone else to do it.

underwhelmist

Original Poster:

1,049 posts

94 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
Matt Harper said:
A distinct lack of money to pay someone else to do it.
Yes, this was also a key motivating factor.

colin_p

2,928 posts

172 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
underwhelmist said:
Matt Harper said:
A distinct lack of money to pay someone else to do it.
Yes, this was also a key motivating factor.
Ditto

PomBstard

4,141 posts

202 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
colin_p said:
underwhelmist said:
Matt Harper said:
A distinct lack of money to pay someone else to do it.
Yes, this was also a key motivating factor.
Ditto
And again.

My dad and my uncle were both handy with spanners, so I'd be helping them with whatever jobs needed doing when I was young. Did all my own servicing and just about everything else for about 15 years - which was considerable with the snotters I had. Would like to do some again but lack of space and time precludes at the mo

waynedear

1,423 posts

127 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
Lack of money, it is amazing how much you can wreck on your own DT125 with a 6 piece factory tool kit.

bristolracer

4,004 posts

109 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
No money being a poor 17 yr old

However servicing a 1973 Vauxhall viva was very easy
Points, condenser and cap change took 20 minutes, oil changes were similar as you could reach the sump plug without jacking the car.

Takes 20 minutes now to get the plastic engine covers off,

generationx

3,309 posts

65 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
Probably from being dragged up in earlier times when "First Cars" were generally aging Fords/Vauxhalls/BL which could be serviced/repaired on the side of the road, then doing a technical/mechanical apprenticeship which taught/encouraged this sort of thing. That also gave me the enthusiasm to seek out further training on a couple of evening courses and, hey presto!, I was happy to tackle just about anything on an "analogue" car when I owned my owned/bought "less than perfect" examples. Similarly with bikes - chains and sprockets, brake lines, caliper rebuilds and so on.

However I'm old, time-poor, and lazy enough now, together with owning new, complex, "non-analogue" cars, that I leave it all to the dealer.

I need to get back in to my Youngtimer.

Krikkit

19,932 posts

141 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
For me it was a combination of not having a great deal of money, and a bad experience with a local garage who bodged a simple service and MOT.

I was already a bit cheesed of with them when I picked it up, only to have an untorqued spark plug blow out the next day on the motorway.

Gary29

3,043 posts

59 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
My dad comes from a farming family, and they never pay anyone to do anything if there is any possibility they can do it themselves. So growing up I would always help my dad fix cars, vans etc, and then it obviously 'clicked' with me and as I got older I could do everything myself.

Saved me a good few quid over the years, at the expense of a few skinned knuckles and ruined oily clothes, a decent trade off I feel.

Edit: And yeah no money was always the driving factor for us/me too laugh

Baldchap

3,455 posts

52 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
My dad was a mechanic and my first car was a shed. I guess it didn't hurt that I worked Saturday morning and holidays in a garage (only as a lackey, but I learned the odd thing). He'd direct me how to do something, but never do a job for me.

Then I moved away as a student but kept the car. I took my little tool kit and what I'd learned and occasionally helped others too.

Then I bought a specialist motor and discovered all the local Indies were terrible and expensive. I had a pit in my garage (by pure luck - there when I moved in) and helped others in the owners club as a bit of a social over a beer. One day someone I'd never met recommended me as the best independent garage in the Midlands. At that point I knew it had gone too far. I'm not a garage, I'm not a mechanic - not by a long stretch. I just know what I know and helped people with the easy, common service and maintenance tasks. So I stopped doing it then.

I still work on the sheds, because I kind of enjoy it. Everything else is under warranty, so I don't bother.

Going to attempt my first ever clutch replacement next month. Fingers crossed...

kambites

60,334 posts

181 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
For me it was just an extension of my interest in cars.

Mr MXT

7,381 posts

243 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
kambites said:
For me it was just an extension of my interest in cars.
Same, it ramped up massively when I got a kit car though. Now I’m confident enough to give most things a go.

mikeiow

2,748 posts

90 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
I can confirm what took me a little away from it was when I changed the oil on my MG Metro many years ago.....drained down fine, then popped the screw back in....but it kept turning.
The thread was stripped eek
Had to get a tow from a neighbour to a local garage....who warned me if they were unable to tap out a hole for a bigger bolt, might be serious money (engine and gearbox linked on those, it appears...).

I made it my goal to earn enough to pay someone else to do the spannering!
Still love a minor bit of tinkering, but my skills are....limited. Still admire those who are able to fix stuff better than me, & jealous of the impressive garages some pals have....well, one in particular, with his cow shed full of kit!!
I’m better at the valet side: safer there 😂

SturdyHSV

7,427 posts

127 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
kambites said:
For me it was just an extension of my interest in cars.
Same here, but it wasn't until I actually got the car I wanted (Monaro) that I got involved, my first Clio was very much just used and abused.

So since owning that car I've gone from being cautious and unsure about replacing the air filter, to this:



I've always wanted to build an engine, so here goes! yikeshehe

I generally work on the (foolhardy) principle that a person put it together, so a person can take it apart again, it's just nuts and bolts after all... Have also found the more tools you acquire over time, the easier jobs become, and crucially, if you find yourself thinking "I could take that off and it'd make access easier, but this way will save some time" it absolutely will not, it will be far quicker to take said bit off than to fiddle fk your way around in the name of 'saving time'.

I'm currently actively ignoring my own advice by not removing the gearbox and then the bellhousing from the engine, and instead just separating the engine from the bellhousing because I don't want to remove the prop / interior trim / gearbox as I've done it before and it's a nuisance and I'd have to refill the gearbox and don't have a transmission jack etc.

I'm definitely going to save some time... getmecoat

thebraketester

10,170 posts

98 months

Tuesday 27th October
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When I realised that a) I enjoyed it and b) it saved me hundreds of pounds a year.

finishing touch

742 posts

127 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
I built my first vehicle. Running gear by Silver Cross, bodywork by Jaffa.

Steering was via a 6 x 3/8" bolt. Thread was a bit rusty so had to borrow a spanner to put the nut on.


Paul G


Pan Pan Pan

6,883 posts

71 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
Matt Harper said:
A distinct lack of money to pay someone else to do it.

This in spades smile

GAjon

3,248 posts

173 months

Tuesday 27th October
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Spinning off the circuit at Bruntinthorpe many years ago, I thought , if I’m going to do this on a regular basis I’d better know what’s underneath me.

Turn7

18,916 posts

181 months

Tuesday 27th October
quotequote all
Matt Harper said:
A distinct lack of money to pay someone else to do it.
Yep, exactly the same here.....