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Topic # 151038 11-Aug-2014 21:39
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Just wondering - as there are quite a few threads about automotive matters, but not many relating to DIY.  Top of the mind for me, as yesterday I changed timing belt etc on her indoor's chariot, today I did oil/filters etc on my old 4wd, rotated tyres, gave it a once-over, then got the buffing machine out and gave it a cut and polish - looks like new (not really - it's 26 years old).  
I saved myself a few hundred $ (Cam belt, water pump, idler and tensioner, cam/crank seals gaskets incl timing cover cost NZ$160 delivered on Ebay - 10 litres of oil and the two filters for the 4wd cost about $85 at Supercheap).
Downside is that some of this wasn't a lot of fun, my hands are cracked, ingrained black stuff, and a few fresh wounds.  It'll heal / clean up.
I haven't paid a "mechanic's bill" since about 1990.  Worst automotive mechanical disaster since then was when her indoor's cooked the engine on her (relatively new but out of warranty) car about 8 years ago.  Not her fault - sometime stuff just happens.  I bought an engine from  a wrecker for $300 & gst, and bunged it in over the weekend.  Despite some skepticism, by lunchtime Sunday, it fired up, and is still going strong 120,000km later, my son now drives it daily.
None of our cars are particularly "fashionable".  I'm sure that some acquaintances of ours think that because I do this, then we're as poor as church mice.  But I don't do it for that reason.  I love/hate DIY.  It's in my blood.

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  Reply # 1106753 11-Aug-2014 21:43
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Yup, I'm in!

to be fair, I USED to do this stuff cos I had no money to do otherwise (Uni) but now... why pay when you can do it yourself (and Google's improved the ease IMMENSELY :D

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  Reply # 1106812 12-Aug-2014 00:18
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Same here. Have done a few engine swaps. Most unusual being the 3.3L engine out of a Subaru SVX into a legacy. And the auto box for a 6 speed manual at the same time. Have also swapped out the carby 4AF engine in my 89 corolla with a 4AGE. Also did all of the EFI wiring myself on both swaps and have helped a few friends as well with EFI wiring on their swaps.

Although the corolla almost always fails it's WOF on a few things, it always works out cheaper to just fix it instead of buying a newer car. As no deprecation on such an old car, It doesn't get driven much due to having a work van - Therefore wouldn't be enough savings in better fuel economy from a newer car. Until very recently the work van was a mitsi L300 therefore it's crash safety rating was worse than the corolla. So was no point in buying a safe car for myself when most driving was done in an unsafe company provided van.

Since Im now self employed, And have bought a safe van. It is easier to justify upgrading my private car. But company not making enough money yet to buy a new car. So will probably keep the corolla for another year or so. Until rust kills it.

[edited to add]

Also very few new cars interest me. As I would like something year 2000 or newer, With a reasonably powerful engine, And must have a manual gearbox. As I don't like the way automatic cars drive and every single automatic car I have owned has had gearbox problems. And before you ask I don't mind driving manual cars in rush hour traffic. There is little available that meets my criteria that either doesn't cost big $$$. Or is in the 4 cylinder turbo category.

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  Reply # 1106825 12-Aug-2014 06:54
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I gave up car diy beyond an oil change when you had to have specialist tools just to change spark plugs. When I was at university, way back last century, economics forced me to do most maintenance, including replacing a broken crankshaft and valve grinds etc. I even re-upholstered the interior of one vehicle (no fluffy dice).
So now I'm limited to wiper blades, light bulbs, filters, etc. Modern cars are just too complicated, with no space in the engine bay to do anything.

Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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  Reply # 1106912 12-Aug-2014 10:36
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Another one who DIY's whenever possible.
I'm into motorsport and that's a really quick way to chew through funds if you pay people to do all the work on the car.
So I do as much as I possibly can myself.  And apply the same to the daily driver car(s).
Have done various part swapping including several engines and gearboxes and a full drive train at least twice.
Some were like for like.  Corolla 4AFE daily motor failed wof for smoking, so replaced with lower mileage 4AFE from wrecker.  Under $500 for the whole job.
WRX motor pulled out due to run bearing (surprise surprise), rebuilt mostly by a mechanic mate with me trying not to break anything then reinstalled.
Some "upgrades".
Transplanted a Legacy motor and gearbox into a Leone.

I also try to do most of the wear and tear fixes also.  CV boots, rack ends, bush replacements etc.  Only thing I won't bother attempting is rebuilding a gearbox.  Probably could do it with time and youtube but it's just quicker and easier to let the experts do that job.  The removal and refit alone takes 6-8 hours solo in a Subaru.

Slowly building up the set of specialist tools needed over and above the normal tools.

So yep, looks like I'm in good company around here in the (covered in) blood, sweat and oil category.  :-)

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  Reply # 1107006 12-Aug-2014 12:22
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I do most of my own mechanical work. I am into 4wding so often breaking and damaging things. As per previous poster the internet makes it sooo much easier now a days to find out how to do things.

I have done gearbox rebuilds, motor replacements, repowers, diff rebuilds, CV replacements, cambelts, water pumps, radiators and most other things. Helps when you have multiple cars and can do things when you need to.

I recently bought a 2003 5 series BMW and have got the factory software and cable so that I can check codes, clear them, reset modules and make minor programming changes. Combines IT with mechanics :-)


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  Reply # 1107014 12-Aug-2014 12:35
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I like this thread already,

I have done engine swaps, clutches, timing belts, brakes, diffs. I most work on my my cars a mixture of new and old and 4wds as well as have helped mates with theres.

Spent 12 months helping a mate install a Toyota 2JZ into a 85 Hilux.

Like Mattman I also like 4wding.

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  Reply # 1108935 15-Aug-2014 11:59
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I always DIY where ever possible.

Also, every time I've finished the DIY, I always tell myself that I'll never bleedin well DIY it again, stupid bloody car designers and putting stupid bloody bolts in stupid bloody places, and rust, and rounded heads, and snapped bolts, and where did that bit go, and I'm sure I had one of those damn tools somewhere around here, and scraped knuckles, with oil and petrol in the wounds, and "what's that funny noise, oh god what did I forget"....

Unfortunately I seem to have a poor memory for these experiences the next time something needs doing.  Or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.

James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...

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  Reply # 1109826 17-Aug-2014 10:45
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I really enjoy DIY and have fixed most issues on my cars over the years. Think it is a cheapness and DIY ability instilled in me by my Dad. It is fun too though. Work something through and fix it, its a good feeling. 

Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

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  Reply # 1109854 17-Aug-2014 11:37
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I use a mechanic because the time it'd take me would be high and I wouldn't really enjoy it. I did repaint a wing mirror I scratched pretty badly the other day though, super easy with a color matched paint can and lots of clear plastic to protect the car.

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  Reply # 1109894 17-Aug-2014 12:29
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I used to do it in my youth, my father was an Automotive Engineer he taught us and supervised work on brakes and other safety vital things, but as cars got more complex to the point now where there is not much a DIY person can do I stopped. Also we now only keep cars for the duration of their
new Car warranty so no point trying   and stuffing up the car.

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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.


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  Reply # 1109951 17-Aug-2014 14:50
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Went to replace accidentally broken digitiser on daughter's cheap smartphone last night.  Lost clip for the ribbon cable.  Had to buy new LCD to get new clip.  Because of this error it would have been cheaper to send it in for repair.  Annoying, but it won't stop me trying again next time...  I'll just be a bit more careful.

"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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  Reply # 1110016 17-Aug-2014 18:27
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Yep, I do DIY, anything from changing wheel hubs, shocks, disc pads, spark plugs, oil and oil filter etc to fixing mobile phones, laptops, stereos and so on.  Even made the odd TV aerial or two.

Sony Xperia X running Sailfish
Jolla C
Nokia N1
Dell Inspiron 14z i5

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  Reply # 1111699 19-Aug-2014 23:38
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Last thing I did was brake hoses.  I was in a hurry and things didn't go right (wrong parts twice).  I didn't like doing it under pressure (ha ha) and brake fluid is nasty stuff.

Oil change no problem, I do them every 5000km on my van.

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  Reply # 1111913 20-Aug-2014 11:41
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Swapped out the suspension on the daily driver over the weekend.
Seems likely that the shocks were the original ones with something over 350,000km on them.
This is judging from the way the inner shafts sank slowly but determinedly into the outers when released.  Not supposed to do that.  :-p
Car handles a whole heap better now.

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