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Old 11-08-2008, 11:09 PM
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Mechanics - tell us what it's like working on new cars

I think it's commonly accepted that working on anything built in the last 15 or so years is getting awfully tight. Space is limited under the hood, how many cars nowadays can you open the hood and see the ground underneath?

Share some horror stories about how involved it is to do some of these "routine sounding" tasks.

I've heard a story or two about having to drop the steering rack on a Jag to get the alternator out, making it a four hour job on the hoist - there's got to be some stories like that on some of the every day models.

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Old 11-08-2008, 11:20 PM
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I am not a mechanic but a bodyman. Without a doubt I won't even think about it for a second, working on late model cars is MUCH easier than cars years ago. I am talking MUCH. MUCH easier hands down!

Parts fit more precise, welds are done by robots and are perfectly placed and easy to drill out, parts are lighter. They are designed to be assembled faster thus, working on them is easier too.

But on the mechanics angle, how about this one. We just did a 2007 Infiniti G35. The car had a pretty good hit up front that cut some wires in the forward wire harness. This shorting of a wire blew some fuse that then required that the entire car be "recoded". We are talking something like 50 codes came up when scanned. It took the dealer 8 hours of labor to the tune of about 170 an hour to fix it! The dealer didn't even have all the info to do it and had to get it from the factory.

This was one of those keyless jobs, oh yeah, give me a friggin 65 Rambler with a set of points PLEASE!

Brian
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:40 AM
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ya i kinda feel the same way on some stuff its a joke. on the new bugs if you wanna change out fog lights you have to take the bumper and fenders off its a joke anymore, if it looks good on paper they will build it. had to change a steering rack on a new caliber that was hit in the wheel the other day and you have to hold the motor up and pull the motor mount before you can even get to the bolt for the rack. then pull the cradle down so you can get it out of there. i think i got like 3-4 hours for it. not a money maker.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:12 AM
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I work at a ford dealer so I work on new cars all day long. Its not that bad. Yes, my nova is easier to work on but once you get used to how the engineers want to mess with the tech you figure out what needs to be removed. The only car I dont like working on is replacing the motor or turbo on a 6.4 diesel. You have to pull the body off of the cab to get to it. There are 6-8 body bolts that are about 8" long that have to be removed by hand. You cant use are tools because there is so much loctite on the threads that it will just spin the nut in the cage. Well, the nuts spin in the cage anyway so you have to find where it is and have someone hold it with a wrench whill your under the car.
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:00 AM
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What in the Fing hell is with the domestic manufacturers and locktite and jamb nuts? WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING???

My God, I can take apart a Toyota 4x4 with ten zillion miles on it covered with mud and the bolts snap loose and spin out with your bare hand.
Try to take a friggin bumper off the back of a brand new Chevy pickup and EVERY damn bolt is a hassle, all of them with jamb nuts!

I don't know about you, but I don't see the bumpers falling off of Toyotas all over the street! They want to save some money, how about loosing the friggin locktite and jamb nuts!

Brian

Brian
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1969NovaSS
I work at a ford dealer so I work on new cars all day long. Its not that bad. Yes, my nova is easier to work on but once you get used to how the engineers want to mess with the tech you figure out what needs to be removed. The only car I dont like working on is replacing the motor or turbo on a 6.4 diesel. You have to pull the body off of the cab to get to it. There are 6-8 body bolts that are about 8" long that have to be removed by hand. You cant use are tools because there is so much loctite on the threads that it will just spin the nut in the cage. Well, the nuts spin in the cage anyway so you have to find where it is and have someone hold it with a wrench whill your under the car.

I think Ford must have a large percentage of ownership in Loc Tite. I had to change the rotors on the front of my '06 F350. Every caliper bracket bolt (the metric equivalent of 5/8"NF !!) was end to end blue Loc Tite....and of course you can't get an air wrench (at least not the impact tools I have) any where near them. My long breaker bar with ratchet extension and I spent the best part of 4 hours doing this job. The fact that I don't have a lift doesn't help either. There is NO Loc Tite on the bolts now.

Then there are the COP spark plugs - and it's a V10 - which the last 2/side are somewhere under the firewall. Luckily it's the later 3 valve version that, so far, doesn't have the plug blow out problem that the earlier engines have. The rest of the truck is fairly easy to work on - or at least from what I've had to work on since I bought it.

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Old 11-09-2008, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
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Try to take a friggin bumper off the back of a brand new Chevy pickup and EVERY damn bolt is a hassle, all of them with jamb nuts!

Brian

speaking of chevy bumpers did a rear bumper on a chev the other day and they have like 15 different parts you have to put together and the chrome is riveted on and they are a pain to ajust.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:21 PM
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i had to do a power steering pump on a dodge stratus let's just say that stuff like that is one of the reasons i left auto mechanics. now it's just a hobby and a way to make some money on the side
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:05 PM
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Not enough room for me to complain about how new cars are put together.

But if the engineers who designed them had to work on them they wouldn't put them together like that
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:09 PM
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I won't work on newer stuff anymore. Life is too short


The one that broke the camel's back? a 96 Grand-am w/DOHC Quad 4 that needed a water pump. You need to pull the exh manifold, but the studs were rusted solid and I did not dare to use a torch where you can't even see WTH you are heating.

Then you need to pull the timing cover...but there is no room to do so without jacking the motor around.

So I finally get the freaking pump off from WAY behind the ex manifold like a chinese puzzle...twisting, rotating, etc..

Then try to get the new one to fit back thru that maze..

The LAST bolt I put back on was up by the FRONT bumper !!! The dam water pump is on the firewall backside of the motor! so why am I way up front???

The owner later tried to give me the car for free a year later....I said "no thanks".

I learned new swear words on that job.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:29 PM
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the alternator on a Chevy Lumina with the dual cam 3.4 is always fun to do, the alternator goes on from the bottom.

the spark plugs on the newer ford V-8 tritons. the way the plugs are designed, its not too uncommon for the lower part of the spark plugs to seize in the head. when that happens you can easily twist the bottom part off in the head. they make a tool to remove the broken part, but im not sure how well it actually works. in the worst case, the heads have to come off. thats pretty bad when all you wanted to do to start with was just a simple plug change. instead of spending a couple of hundred dollars, you can be looking at a few thousand dollars for that tuneup.

its been a good number of years back so i forget which car it was, but there was an import chevy. if you needed to replace the timing belt, the first thing the book said was to see the water pump article. you go there and see the words "remove engine and place on stand", with a big pry bar you can work your way around pulling the motor.
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Old 11-09-2008, 03:44 PM
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basic stuff is easy to me... I could do brakes on a '65 Rambler ( I sold mine last week tho ) or a 2002 Concorde and it makes no diffrence to me.. but for a new car, anything more than that and new cars are a hassle.. if an old car isn't running right, you can get out the vac gauge, timing light and carb cleaner and get it running better... but if you have a new car that isn't running right, you have to have a $3,000 scanner and know how to use it, or take it to a shop and pay $80-100 per hr for a scan, and the tech may find something wrong.

My brother and I did a alternator on his '01 Kia Sephia.. to do the job right, the motor mount and entire bracket would have needed to be removed, it was in the way as the alt is in a small 'pocket' of sorts... I removed the pully and gained enough clearence to get it out. and removed the pully on the new 1 to put it in.. only problem was tightining the pully back up.. but I got it when the belt went on, as it added enough resistance

I just got a '92 Ranger that with the sensors that were out of range replaced, still floods on restart if it was stalled... I snagged a OTC Monitor 2000 scanner off ebay, and got a Pathfinder II kit ( 1993 domestic update ), all for less than $50 to scan it and try and find out what is wrong.. but this scanner is ancient and won't do OBDII.. so I'm kinda lucky to have an older new vehicle ( I consider anything post '90 new myself )......
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Old 11-09-2008, 03:47 PM
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I own an 08 grand prix GXP with the FWD 5.3 LS4 and that engine is extremely snug in the car. looks like a major job just to replace the serpentine belt. I feel for the new technicians who have to work on this stuff. after you do the same job a few times you figure out the shortcuts or easy ways to do it but i bet it still sucks.
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
What in the Fing hell is with the domestic manufacturers and locktite and jamb nuts? WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING???

My God, I can take apart a Toyota 4x4 with ten zillion miles on it covered with mud and the bolts snap loose and spin out with your bare hand.
Try to take a friggin bumper off the back of a brand new Chevy pickup and EVERY damn bolt is a hassle, all of them with jamb nuts!

I don't know about you, but I don't see the bumpers falling off of Toyotas all over the street! They want to save some money, how about loosing the friggin locktite and jamb nuts!

Brian

Brian



You live in CA. Have you ever seen a 10 yr old toyota pick up in NY? Usually they dont have any more bumpers or quarter panels sometimes the bed is just plywood. Those Chevy trucks do have some crappy bumpers though
they seem to rot easily when they arent kept clean inside.
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by anthonyc1
You live in CA. Have you ever seen a 10 yr old toyota pick up in NY? Usually they dont have any more bumpers or quarter panels sometimes the bed is just plywood. Those Chevy trucks do have some crappy bumpers though
they seem to rot easily when they arent kept clean inside.
Funny, I was going to say the same thing! I see Toyota trucks with rotted bumpers, beds and wheel arches every day (I'm also in salted-road-happy NY). And Dodge Ram rear bumpers rot out quickly too.
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