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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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Deputy Regional Director, Region 13
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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.
IANAL (thank G) but depending on the laws of your state, Small Claims court may be the way to go. many people ignore the summons, plaintiffs usually seem to get a default judgment that can't be appealed, you can then slap a lien on the person or their property to have the judgment filled. if it's not paid, then it usually collects interest at an annual rate set by the state.
 

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Director Region 6 (FL) - 2017 Founders' Award Reci
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While I can do a few small , simple tasks , I usually have to take my rides to a mechanic . Where I live in the Key West , Fl. area , shop choices are somewhat limited . I am envious of those of you that can analyze the problem and make a repair . As a Director and having had a nice garage built , own a nice 87 and a 59 Camino , people assume I am a mechanic . No way Jose ! I jokingly tell people when guys were rebuilding engines , I was rebuilding an old wooded house . When they were tearing into a trans , I was out playing softball and going to tournaments and if they were doing a rear end , I was out sailing and racing sailboats . I have been so fortunate to have made friends with talented members such as 464elky that has done so much work on my 87 that it is a nice , dependable , road worthy ride . I try to ask questions and learn but there is no way that I can ever get close to the talents of others . When I see people like 464elky with a wrench in their hand , it is like seeing a magician with a magic wand :cool:
 
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I was both truly lucky and blesses to have many great mentors in my career. One of my bylines as an educator that I tried to pass on is “Pay Attention toDetail”. Many of the lost arts and talents of repairing virtually everything have sadly gone away. Do what you can and know someone that can do the rest works well.
 

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Parts like steering boxes are farmed out. I could never build the kind of steering box that I buy from Lee Suspensions, there 14:1 800 series 30 pound valve is the most amazing transformation you could do to a 68-72 el Camino...

Front end alignments I do myself.. However, once I replace the suspension to all modern pieces. SPC, Spohn, Lee 14:1 800 Series, Helwig, .9 and .5 Howe ball joints, Bilstine, Energy Suspension bump stops.. I take the car to a local alignment shop with a Hunter Hawk Eye alignment rack. I have him set it for +5 caster both sides. -.25 negative camber both sides, toe in 1/32 to center, each side...
Then I go home and start tuning. I usually add a degree of positive caster at a time, then give the passenger side more Positive caster to stop the drifting to the right..
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
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!"
My dad was that way, he could take something apart and intently see the issue ! As a kid I would watch him had grind valves!
 

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Deputy Regional Director, Region 13
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My dad was that way, he could take something apart and intently see the issue ! As a kid I would watch him had grind valves!
27 yrs ago, a machine shop in San Antonio let me use a corner to rebuild my engine.
step 1,them: "disassemble everything"
me: "everything?"
them: "everything!"
me: "ok"
a day later, he comes back...
them: "why did you knock the con-rod bolts out?!"
me: "you said disassemble everything"
them: "I didn't mean the con-rod bolts!"
me: "THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE SAID SO!!"

could have been a lot worse, relatively speaking, but I was counting every penny back then too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I was both truly lucky and blesses to have many great mentors in my career. One of my bylines as an educator that I tried to pass on is “Pay Attention toDetail”. Many of the lost arts and talents of repairing virtually everything have sadly gone away. Do what you can and know someone that can do the rest works well.
That's so cool ! Yes it is a dying art and some of it is out of our throw-a-way culture. But I must say I have meet a ton of my youngest sons friend in there 30s and many of them are very talented ! He has a friend who makes leather products all by hand and goes to school full time, so lets not right of the future just yet ! My dad was taught very young, losing his father at 10 and growing during the depression that "Necessity is the mother of invention" ! Hot Rodding started from WW2 vets building something from nothing, most of them couldn't afford a car so they built one ! The Rat Rod thing is a little of of control now but it started from people who couldn't afford a 25 or 50 grand hot rod or 5 grand paint job but still wanted to enjoy the hobby !
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
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.
Sorry to here this but this is the thing we fear by farming things out. Trust is a word with many meanings today and to be honest I'm no longer know who to trust ! But like I said in my poll question I will need to trust other people soon to do work I need done! Guess we will see !
 

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Sorry to here this but this is the thing we fear by farming things out. Trust is a word with many meanings today and to be honest I'm no longer know who to trust ! But like I said in my poll question I will need to trust other people soon to do work I need done! Guess we will see !
That's where this community can come in handy. Just ask. Also, going to car shows and events can provide you with a tremendous amount of info about others work. Just realize that you'll only get 2 of the following 3 options when you shop it out...... 1. Cheap - 2. Quality work - 3. Get it done fast ...... I'm all about the last 2 options and am willing to pay well (cash or trade) to keep a good solid relationship with somebody that I value. There are actually a lot of great shops out there.....but they need to pay their bills too. Working on old hot rods is generally not the best paying work.
 
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Wow, looks like everyone here is from the same breed and has the same attitude: Breed: i do the most i can if not all / Attitude : i never trust a shop/ get away and get ur hands off my car/cruck! :LOL: Here is me, i'll try and keep the story short:
Engine: i do all except for probably some block and head work like ,clean block and heads, balance crank/i might install crank bearings but sometimes let the shop do it along with seating the pistons/ micro the head, lap the valves... took these to the machine shop.
Tranny: minimum i've done was change front/rear seals, oil and filter change. I was surprised that i rebuilt the 4L60E for the elky. had help from my nephew(trans. mech). we did the rebuild via a video conference with our phones, took about 4 days, he sent me the parts and went step by step. That was amazing and a learning experience for me.

Chassis: all me from the whole front upper/lower A frame, In/Out tie rods to changing out for the Blazer brakes to rebuilding the rear end with an Auburn posi(yep, shimming the bearings is tricky)....but, took the drive shaft to the machine shop to have it cut and balanced/had the alignment done/ i do some unmount/remount of the tires but have them balanced

Interior: all me... but had the door panels done at an upholstery shop

Exterior( this is the most challenging of everything):i'll do body work(if very minor) and i'll tackle painting.... for the elky, had to rework the body dings cause didnt get them all out after i painted. as far as painting... far from professional but have painted approx. 5 vehicles so far, i either get it pretty darn good or pretty darn fair :D

Having grown up with garage blood in me learning from my dad and brother then thru my own knowledge i've done pretty good, plus having a plasma cutter and welder helps out too.

Basically as we say here in Hawaii (originally from Ark.) but lived here going on 20 yrs. "If can .... Can! If no can ... den no can! (little humor as we call it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Wow, looks like everyone here is from the same breed and has the same attitude: Breed: i do the most i can if not all / Attitude : i never trust a shop/ get away and get ur hands off my car/cruck! :LOL: Here is me, i'll try and keep the story short:
Engine: i do all except for probably some block and head work like ,clean block and heads, balance crank/i might install crank bearings but sometimes let the shop do it along with seating the pistons/ micro the head, lap the valves... took these to the machine shop.
Tranny: minimum i've done was change front/rear seals, oil and filter change. I was surprised that i rebuilt the 4L60E for the elky. had help from my nephew(trans. mech). we did the rebuild via a video conference with our phones, took about 4 days, he sent me the parts and went step by step. That was amazing and a learning experience for me.

Chassis: all me from the whole front upper/lower A frame, In/Out tie rods to changing out for the Blazer brakes to rebuilding the rear end with an Auburn posi(yep, shimming the bearings is tricky)....but, took the drive shaft to the machine shop to have it cut and balanced/had the alignment done/ i do some unmount/remount of the tires but have them balanced

Interior: all me... but had the door panels done at an upholstery shop

Exterior( this is the most challenging of everything):i'll do body work(if very minor) and i'll tackle painting.... for the elky, had to rework the body dings cause didnt get them all out after i painted. as far as painting... far from professional but have painted approx. 5 vehicles so far, i either get it pretty darn good or pretty darn fair :D

Having grown up with garage blood in me learning from my dad and brother then thru my own knowledge i've done pretty good, plus having a plasma cutter and welder helps out too.

Basically as we say here in Hawaii (originally from Ark.) but lived here going on 20 yrs. "If can .... Can! If no can ... den no can! (little humor as we call it)
Yes the polls definitely shows some trends. I'm sure there are great shops out there but we may all agree they are few and far between and expensive ! I would guess a lot of us do our own work do to money but we also enjoyment. My dad was a mechanic all is life till he retired and bought a Antique Shop. He use to tell me if you enjoy something don't do it for a living. It was hard work and back in the day didn't pay great, so I got into construction and left cars as a hobby. Not sure if he was right about that, construction has been an ok living but not sure I can say I ever enjoyed a day of it. After he retired he hardly ever turned a wrench again. So cool is it that you are in Hawaii and glad to see there is a cool car culture. I would think because you are limited in area it may be more like a small town atmosphere even know Honolulu is a big city.
 

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Yes the polls definitely shows some trends. I'm sure there are great shops out there but we may all agree they are few and far between and expensive ! I would guess a lot of us do our own work do to money but we also enjoyment. My dad was a mechanic all is life till he retired and bought a Antique Shop. He use to tell me if you enjoy something don't do it for a living. It was hard work and back in the day didn't pay great, so I got into construction and left cars as a hobby. Not sure if he was right about that, construction has been an ok living but not sure I can say I ever enjoyed a day of it. After he retired he hardly ever turned a wrench again. So cool is it that you are in Hawaii and glad to see there is a cool car culture. I would think because you are limited in area it may be more like a small town atmosphere even know Honolulu is a big city.
There's a lot of thinking goin on there. I've always heard if your doing what you love to do for a living you'll never work a day in your life. I may be wrong but I think your Dad might have been into antiques a bit longer than he will say.

Joe
 

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I've done everything myself on my Caballero, so far. My grandson (now in the Air Force) helped me with the engine hoist. Other than that, it was all me.
I'm no artist, so my truck is in the body shop, right now. I know my automatic transmission needs work. It was probably happy with the stock engine but it ain't happy behind this 350. I know a guy, since I don't do voodoo magic. I know what I don't know.
 

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My finances keep me from buying much or spending much on good mechanics.
I do keep it very clean though.

I didn't know about the restoration fairies. Should I look into them?
 

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I'm 59 and was talking to my high school best friend about the '68 el Camino restoration I am doing. We've both done a handful of restorations over the years.
He asked "how did we learn to work on cars?" It was a funny question. We just always did it . . .
I took a small engine repair class my freshman year in high school, that was the extent of my formal training.
Oh, and of course the "visible V8" model that was mandatory for gear heads in the '70's.
In high school we had various beater hot rods and barely had the money to buy them let alone improve them, but somehow we did.
At one point I had a 1963 Impala SS (really nice - got it for $1500) and he had a 1969 fastback mustang that he got for $300. The mustange was pretty straight but the paint was terrible, all chipped and faded. We decided to paint it, white with black on the hood scoop and side cowls.
We went to the local Napa store (that sold paint and supplies) and spent 2 hours talking to the counter guy.
Bought bondo, primer, acrylic enamel with hardener, masking tape and sandpaper. All told, about $150.
Borrowed a compressor and spray gun and did it in my dads driveway in 2 days. That is how we learned body and paint.
It came out pretty good! After we painted it you could see through the windows the crappy, torn up blue interior. Of course he didn't have the money for upholstery so he bought some window film and blacked out the windows. Problem solved.
**It was in this car that I had my first "but for the grace of God" moment. We decided to find the top end at about midnight on a back country road. At 110 mph the heater core blew and the cabin was filled with steam and we were totally blind. But for the grace of God . . . not the last time.

We learned to work on cars because we were crazy about them and couldn't afford the parts most of the time let alone paying someone to do the work. We just figured it out. And of course we had 20 other friends doing the same thing so there was a collective body of knowledge to draw on, some of it even helpful. And of course, the cars were simple.

Back to the original question of the poll. I do almost everything myself.
For the el Camino I had a legit sheet metal guy replace the quarter panels and floor pan. I might've figured it out, but I really wanted it done and done right.

The motivation around a classic car is different for everyone. For me, the planning, dreaming, and doing the work to take a basket case and turn it into something beautiful is the reward. Don't care how long it takes. The destination is cool but the real joy is the journey.
I learned this with my last frame-off restoration, a 1955 Chevy Belaire. I really thought I wanted to have a '55. It took 5 years to finish and I loved every minute of it. When it was done, it was fun but I ultimately was bored. Went to all the local shows (even got best in show once!) and cruise in's, etc. Pretty soon it was the same people, same cars, blah, blah. I ended up selling the car.

I'm in year 2 of the '68 el Camino resto mod. I have a build thread on this forum tracking the progress. Having a ball!

That is my story. Fun topic to reflect on. Thanks.

Dean
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I'm 59 and was talking to my high school best friend about the '68 el Camino restoration I am doing. We've both done a handful of restorations over the years.
He asked "how did we learn to work on cars?" It was a funny question. We just always did it . . .
I took a small engine repair class my freshman year in high school, that was the extent of my formal training.
Oh, and of course the "visible V8" model that was mandatory for gear heads in the '70's.
In high school we had various beater hot rods and barely had the money to buy them let alone improve them, but somehow we did.
At one point I had a 1963 Impala SS (really nice - got it for $1500) and he had a 1969 fastback mustang that he got for $300. The mustange was pretty straight but the paint was terrible, all chipped and faded. We decided to paint it, white with black on the hood scoop and side cowls.
We went to the local Napa store (that sold paint and supplies) and spent 2 hours talking to the counter guy.
Bought bondo, primer, acrylic enamel with hardener, masking tape and sandpaper. All told, about $150.
Borrowed a compressor and spray gun and did it in my dads driveway in 2 days. That is how we learned body and paint.
It came out pretty good! After we painted it you could see through the windows the crappy, torn up blue interior. Of course he didn't have the money for upholstery so he bought some window film and blacked out the windows. Problem solved.
**It was in this car that I had my first "but for the grace of God" moment. We decided to find the top end at about midnight on a back country road. At 110 mph the heater core blew and the cabin was filled with steam and we were totally blind. But for the grace of God . . . not the last time.

We learned to work on cars because we were crazy about them and couldn't afford the parts most of the time let alone paying someone to do the work. We just figured it out. And of course we had 20 other friends doing the same thing so there was a collective body of knowledge to draw on, some of it even helpful. And of course, the cars were simple.

Back to the original question of the poll. I do almost everything myself.
For the el Camino I had a legit sheet metal guy replace the quarter panels and floor pan. I might've figured it out, but I really wanted it done and done right.

The motivation around a classic car is different for everyone. For me, the planning, dreaming, and doing the work to take a basket case and turn it into something beautiful is the reward. Don't care how long it takes. The destination is cool but the real joy is the journey.
I learned this with my last frame-off restoration, a 1955 Chevy Belaire. I really thought I wanted to have a '55. It took 5 years to finish and I loved every minute of it. When it was done, it was fun but I ultimately was bored. Went to all the local shows (even got best in show once!) and cruise in's, etc. Pretty soon it was the same people, same cars, blah, blah. I ended up selling the car.

I'm in year 2 of the '68 el Camino resto mod. I have a build thread on this forum tracking the progress. Having a ball!

That is my story. Fun topic to reflect on. Thanks.

Dean
Such a cool story ! We are about the same age and I your story sounds a lot like mine. I know the 50s and 60s were very cools times in there own right to be a teenager but 70s were pretty cool too ! I watch Dazed and Confused all the time, it reminds me of the beer bashes and bones fires, I remember coming home at dawn just like Mitch and Mom asking "you just getting home?" , the cars with Wooderson's 70 SS 454 Chevelle with it's bored over 30,11:1 pop-up pistons ! My boys were teenagers in the late 90s and early 2000s and things seem soooooooooo different !
Still hope to paint one before I can't hold a paint gun, did a little painting when I worked at a body shop after high school but I didn't have that touch with the gun !
The intent of my posts and polls was to have a cool place for our stories to be told ! There are a lot of years of life experiences in our members and they may inspire someone to pick up a wrench or a spray gun ! Thanks again for your story !
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
There's a lot of thinking goin on there. I've always heard if your doing what you love to do for a living you'll never work a day in your life. I may be wrong but I think your Dad might have been into antiques a bit longer than he will say.

Joe
Yeah I wish he had started his own business earlier in life! He started to set up our garage in NY and always worked on other peoples cars to make extra money ! But the gypsy in my mom meant sell our house in NY and moving to Florida ! The first year or so he was a little lost but some how he wondered in to a Antique Mall in Bradenton FL and they found there own shop and for last 15 years of his life he was very happy running his own business !
 
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