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Do you do all your own wrenching or do you farm it all out? Or little of both?

  • Do all your wrenching ?

    Votes: 19 37.3%
  • Farm it out?

    Votes: 2 3.9%
  • I do what I can and farm out the rest?

    Votes: 27 52.9%
  • I buy cars that I don't have to touch ?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I buy basket cases to restore for fun or to resell ?

    Votes: 5 9.8%
  • I sit on my couch wishing the car fairies would come finish my darn project !

    Votes: 3 5.9%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is one of those questions I have asked myself when I walk through a car show or a cruise night. I have been working on cars since I was 9, well 7 if you count the day I got a hold of one of my dad's screwdrivers and started taking the interior a part of a 59' Impala my dad had in the driveway ! So I had never taken any of my projects to have someone else work on them, I was lucky to have my dad or bother to help when I got in over my head ! I laid in bed one morning trying to figure out how many engines I have changed in my life, I stopped at over 2 dozen ! The same with body work ( worked in a body shop for a very short time after high school) I have always done all my own, with mixed results ! Ok so moving to present day and at 61 and dealing with health issue's like many us as we get older, now what? My Elky needs to have it's drivetrain updated, that means engine, tranny and rear end, it's also need body work finished, interior updated ! The obvious elephant in the room is always money ! I'm guessing if most of us had the resources we would just buy one already restored or just pay to have work done? But honestly working on my Elky or any project has always been an enjoyment, tons of satisfaction and of course pride when you turn some piece of crap into something ! I'm sure there will be a ton of different responses to the poll because we are all at different stages in our lives. When I see Gene Winfield at 93 start working on his projects that is just amazing! About 10 years age when I was still out in the field inspecting, I pulled up to inspect a new metal carport, an "older guy" ( properly the age I'm now) was waiting for me and he had a cool 63' Falcon for sale. Of course I asked how much and he started to tell me his story, he had the car since high school, now he had some heart and vain issue's in his neck and he could no longer work on it. I said "well he could still drive it" and he said "if I can't work on it what is the point", what is the point? Thank you to everyone who has responded to the polls and all the great feedback from them !
 

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Built, not bought.
 

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1965 El Camino
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I LOVE IT, keep these polls coming.
I do a lot of my work and have my neighbor who is more experienced than I do some or we work together. So far I haven't had to send it to a commercial shop.
I hung out at the local garage in the late sixties life took over and I seldom touched a wrench. That began to change ten years ago.
 

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I do both. I didn't have any mechanical experience, I wasn't very good at it and didn't have anyone show me how. I tried farming it out but problems came back instead of it being right. I was around a herd of dairy cows for 50 years. When we lost the farm, I was moving forward and I wanted to try restoration. My son had bought the 78 Elk at a farm sale and put the engine and transmission in it from the 73 his grandad gave him. I helped him put a new flex plate in the 78. He decided it wouldn't pass emissions in Portland. He had an accident and sprung the hood and passenger fender. It had a dent down the passenger side through the door and rear quarter panel to the wheel well. I gave him some money so I could try my attempt to make it better, At this point I knew how to change oil and could make minor repairs. A friend gave me a 79 Malibu. I took the hood, passenger front fender, and the front clip, which I put on the 78. The replacement front fender had a small dent in it. My son told me of changes I needed to make to the engine and the 78 Elk to accommodate the Comp Magnum cam that was in the engine. I did what he told me to do and did it without telling me how to do it. I bought a rear quarter panel and had a shop install it for me. After we got it home a few days later, I noticed a couple of small dents in the quarter. I figured his mistake was supposed to happen so I had to learn how to fix it. This has happened on the painting of it,the transmission installation, and the rear gear replacement. I have figured this was supposed to happen so I could learn how to fix it. The people here have helped me with this learning process. Thank you to all for your help.
 

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I had to let somebody else rebuild my transmission but I've done all of the other mechanical and electrical work. Body work and paint also went to somebody else.

Rick
 

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1978 Elcamino base 305
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91 Posts
Do it ALL myself.
25 Years as a Cummins Diesel Tech
8 Years as a Service manager Freightliner & Firetruck Shop
15 Years Education Supervisor Lincoln Tech Diesel & Welding Programs.
Grand Kids " If Pop Pop can't fix it you don't need it."
Do it all, Engine, Trans, Rear, Suspension, Brakes, Body & Paint, Electrics etc...
 

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I always try to do it all myself. But...I'm smart enough to know that there are people far better than I am at some things. I do all I can....but if I know somebody that has far more experience, I call in a little help. The LS conversion required some extra knowledge....called in some help....but I learned a lot and could pretty much do it myself next time. Besides, having only a smallish 2 car garage limits some things so I call on buddies for a little shop space time quite often.....and always pay (one way or another) for that time. I want to make sure I will be invited back!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I do both. I didn't have any mechanical experience, I wasn't very good at it and didn't have anyone show me how. I tried farming it out but problems came back instead of it being right. I was around a herd of dairy cows for 50 years. When we lost the farm, I was moving forward and I wanted to try restoration. My son had bought the 78 Elk at a farm sale and put the engine and transmission in it from the 73 his grandad gave him. I helped him put a new flex plate in the 78. He decided it wouldn't pass emissions in Portland. He had an accident and sprung the hood and passenger fender. It had a dent down the passenger side through the door and rear quarter panel to the wheel well. I gave him some money so I could try my attempt to make it better, At this point I knew how to change oil and could make minor repairs. A friend gave me a 79 Malibu. I took the hood, passenger front fender, and the front clip, which I put on the 78. The replacement front fender had a small dent in it. My son told me of changes I needed to make to the engine and the 78 Elk to accommodate the Comp Magnum cam that was in the engine. I did what he told me to do and did it without telling me how to do it. I bought a rear quarter panel and had a shop install it for me. After we got it home a few days later, I noticed a couple of small dents in the quarter. I figured his mistake was supposed to happen so I had to learn how to fix it. This has happened on the painting of it,the transmission installation, and the rear gear replacement. I have figured this was supposed to happen so I could learn how to fix it. The people here have helped me with this learning process. Thank you to all for your help.
Great story ! Such a cool way to get involved with the hobby, I thing must people who start wrenching later in life are stocked on oh well they can do ! Not saying everyone has mechanical but then again I can do brain surgery either ! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I always try to do it all myself. But...I'm smart enough to know that there are people far better than I am at some things. I do all I can....but if I know somebody that has far more experience, I call in a little help. The LS conversion required some extra knowledge....called in some help....but I learned a lot and could pretty much do it myself next time. Besides, having only a smallish 2 car garage limits some things so I call on buddies for a little shop space time quite often.....and always pay (one way or another) for that time. I want to make sure I will be invited back!
Yes the buddy think is always helpful, I was the buddy friend in my younger years ! Both my boys can turn wrenches but one moved away and the other has a pretty demanding job and the both have there own lives. Never found any buddies to help me in the 30 years I have lived here, SOOOOOOO !
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Do it ALL myself.
25 Years as a Cummins Diesel Tech
8 Years as a Service manager Freightliner & Firetruck Shop
15 Years Education Supervisor Lincoln Tech Diesel & Welding Programs.
Grand Kids " If Pop Pop can't fix it you don't need it."
Do it all, Engine, Trans, Rear, Suspension, Brakes, Body & Paint, Electrics etc...
You are a rare breed these days my friend, my dad was that way, trained as a mechanic as a private in the the Army during WW2 and then used the GI bill to go to GM tech school when he got out. Worked at the City of White Plains NY as a Mechanic, then with Gatto Chevrolet in Yonkers, NY and Curry Chevrolet in Katonah, NY. He retired from REA express as a diesel mechanic after they went out of business in 1975. He was running is own Antique business after he retired and I had a manual tranny with chipped gear, he said you pull it out and I will fix it. So he was in his 60s at this time and I put on a desk in his shop and a bunch of parts and an hour later it was ready to go back in ! Miss you dad !
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I had to let somebody else rebuild my transmission but I've done all of the other mechanical and electrical work. Body work and paint also went to somebody else.

Rick
Yeah I would say that would be most of us who do this as a hobby. I have done a cam and timing chain back in my youth but mostly install new or rebuilt parts. My dad was great at tearing things down and rebuilding them, guess I missed that gene !
 

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When I go to car shows and talk to owners I always pay more attention to the cars that were owner built. I never let anyone work on my hot rod, just don't trust anyone else to do it correctly. To many mechanics are trying to break flat rate time to make more money and that means shortcuts. Any time I take my DD in for for a repair I don't have time for it usually comes back only partially fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So back in the late 80s when fully restored cars where just starting to be a thing I went to a car show and there was a beautifully restored 70' Chevelle 454 SS/4sp car. There were a ton of people around it and one was looking through a 6 in book with pictures and documents and receipts for the restoration. As they turned the pages the owner would go through the story, former drag car, missing # matching engine but they knew were it was, Muncie in the truck, hole cut in cowl hood for a tunnel ram. We all listened as he went through the picture of the resto. When I made my way up to look at the book I asked the owner "was this his first resto and does he do it professionally because it was so well done"? He said " I have only owned it for a week, the book came with the car ! I never asked that question again ! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When I go to car shows and talk to owners I always pay more attention to the cars that were owner built. I never let anyone work on my hot rod, just don't trust anyone else to do it correctly. To many mechanics are trying to break flat rate time to make more money and that means shortcuts. Any time I take my DD in for for a repair I don't have time for it usually comes back only partially fixed.
Yes the same with my wife's car, every time we take it in ( I refuse to work on it) it comes back half fixed ! Very frustrating and expensive !
 

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With hand tools and a shop manual I’ll try almost anything mechanical except an automatic transmission. There’s crazy magic voodoo inside them.
Patrick
 

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I don't have any problem pulling things apart, it's the troubleshooting due to the lack of knowledge.

them: "Shoot, anyone can see the wear on them piston rings!"
me: "uhhh, no. I have no point of reference, they just look dirty to me"
them: "are you blind? that's at least 10 thousandths wear right there!"
 

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It seems I have to do most myself when I can and sometimes even when I can't I have to try and figure it out because I can't seem to find anyone who you can trust to do the work correct. They don't mind charging a nice price for doing quality work but then when you find out the hard way like I have in the past it just sucks knowing that is the kind of work you are paying for. My last one is posted on my Facebook page (facebook.com/eddie.grimes.56/) and is pinned at the top so no searching for it if anyone wants to take a look at what I am referring to it is all very well documented with pictures, receipts, dates, and facts from manufactures etc and to this day he still denies it was done wrong. Thinking about going to small claims court but as of yet I have not. I did go through the BBB and the Attorney General which was both just a waste of time and paper as neither did absolutely nothing at all to help. This is pertaining to a 81 F100 I own. So yea if at all possible I do it all myself and even some things I am not sure about I try to read up on and do that also. Exhaust shops in particular are a no go for me anymore. Considering purchasing my own tire machine and balancer but as of yet I have not. Anyway if you have found someone good and can trust them hope you have better luck than I have had in the past with recommended shops.
 
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