Back to work...

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Jeff B, Sep 19, 2021.

  1. Jeff B

    Jeff B In Maximum Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

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    A question for the the collective. After being out of work (Covid) for a long while it seems I have stumbled into some work that appeals to me. Going back to being a service mechanic for cars (new and old) and light trucks. The days and hours are going to be a mixed bag as I am going to be doing a few days a week at different shops for different owners. Short term projects, unfinished work, substitute mechanic for sick day or vacation fill ins. I must have my own tools/gear which has been safely collected over the years in my garage. In the past if I need tools to go, I would toss something in a bag and go. If I am moving around, I pretty much have to pack up and move at the end of the day. To start with, I was thinking of loading up 2 tool boxes (light enough to carry) and a folding cart to make up my go kit but I am looking for ideas to improve capacity and shrink foot print. It has been many years since I have worked this kind of job, so lots to learn and re-acquaint myself with.
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  2. Hillbilly

    Hillbilly In Maximum Overdrive

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    Serious ? I would hunt a reliable one ton Ford with a service bed on it. Phone company trucks usually have nicely lockable bins of various sizes perfect for roving mechanics. My tree service buddies all have 4X4 F-350's set up to be fully self sufficient portable shops. Along with tools of every description, they added air compressors, generators, welders, hydraulic hoists, etc. One bin for metric, another for USS standard, another for specialty tools, yet another for commonly needed replacement parts. Just a thought.
     
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  3. Jeff B

    Jeff B In Maximum Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

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    HB. I like the idea of a dedicated rig if this works out, but after a year and half of not working, that will have to wait if this takes off. Would be very cool if it gets to that level. I will be working (at first) with the clients parts or inventory and need to learn what is in demand as it seems the days of FL-1's and 10w-40 are in decline.
     
  4. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    My buddy Joe (Landyacht) and I scored a plumbing comany '93 F250 2WD service truck, and it's worked quite well as a mobile repair truck. Scored it and a companion Fleetside '95 F250 for $2500 June of last year. You can even get 1/2 ton or smaller service trucks, but it requires a dedicated search for one that's not overpriced simply because it's a work truck.
     
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  5. Dyno

    Dyno In Fourth Gear

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    It's a tuff way to go ,however it is do-able. Many years ago I would sub myself out to a couple shops mostly eng swaps but some other stuff thrown in. Did this with a small toolbox "lug-able" and a few tools to big for that style box. A collapsible cart could have helped. A truck like what the guys are saying is great if you want all your tools with you, but it will be in parking lot and your inside working. Recommend get creative with how you "wield "the tools you won't always have the "right" tool but you will probably have one to get it done with. Any tool can be the right tool. LOL
    See if owners can let you know what type of stuff on books for you. Not always possible but worth a try.
    Jus my .002. Good Luck!
     
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  6. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Maximum Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    And don't forget youtube can be your friend with some of this newer crap :rolleyes::oops::eek:
     
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  7. Jeff B

    Jeff B In Maximum Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

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    Thanks for all of the input so far. For the short term, I think I am going to move towards the tool boxes and cart.
    I can not afford to buy or insure another vehicle for now and if I need to tow or haul the Ranchero can earn its keep. I have had 2 days so far at a new place and I like it. I will be on and off there and have given my number to 3 other shops if they need some help. If I can keep these shops in rotation during the week it will make things much better. In those 2 days I have seen the following...
    There are a lot of cheap choices for parts. (not impressed)
    The parts houses are having shortages on parts.
    The parts houses are not sending the right parts the first (or second) time.
    The parts houses don't check their returns very well and I get old parts or junk.
    Not trying to pick on the parts guys, but it causes down time that gets expensive real fast, and ties up a rack that is needed to get other work done. I have to imagine there is no way for a small shop to keep much of a range of parts in stock. Coolant, some oil, some filters and some daily supplies are probably about it.
    Seems I will need metric wrenches and sockets as my main daily tool range as well as the good ol' Imperial inch stuff. I like what Dyno said about being able to work around a problem and I have been doing that for a long time working with what is around, made or modified.
    One of the techs today was very generous with his gear without me having to ask (and I would not have) and was interested in what I was doing as he wanted to learn as well. Seems to best way to remove a radiator from a 2014 Nissan Altima is thru the tailpipe. This ended up being about a half day thing, with having to remove the front bumper skin and bunch of other structure and bits to slide the rad out of its hole. And the Altima has 2 thermostats to change as well. It is almost all back together and will finish it in the AM now that the correct lower rad hose finally showed up. In contrast, I had a E150 van to work on Saturday, another radiator, and had it out in less than a half hour and got stuck waiting for parts (2 times) before that could be finished.
    Lots of learning and remembering and the YouTubes is very helpful for tips and hints and I appreciate you guys chiming in with input.
     
  8. Kiwirancher

    Kiwirancher In Third Gear

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    I hear what you are saying re parts supply . I ordered a full set of shocks , front bottom suspension arms and pivot pins for my 66 from Summit in June. The rear shocks had to be back ordered and everything was finally sent early August. Still on it’s way to an export facility according to tracking info. Have contacted Summit to see if they can hurry things along , 4 days and no response yet. Then it has to get to NZ !
    Ordered top and bottom spring isolators from Macs at the same time and they arrived in just over a week .
    Denis.
     
  9. Dyno

    Dyno In Fourth Gear

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    Parts have been a growing issue for lot's of places lately. Seems to only be getting worse. They have a '06 Ford in shop needs a cable to work and the part has been on national back order for 6 months and no idea when it will be in supply.
    Changed a headlight on a 08 escalade for a friends. friend . Looked at you tube couldn't believe what they said you had to go thru , so I looked at it as a flat rate job and had it done in about 3 beers. Then enjoyed some good Vietnamese food and more beer.
    Lots of stuff has changed over years having a good tech around that will point it out for you is a good thing, loan you a couple tools awesome.
     
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  10. Jeff B

    Jeff B In Maximum Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

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    Another day in the "classroom". I am re-learning what to look for from the standpoint of a shop. I am getting support from the owner and the other techs and making a contribution to a busy day. I am really enjoying this. Funny how I now Google stuff instead of referring to the rack of books that used to be in the shop. One of the techs is taking an on-line course for his smog license. The on-line learning is a result of Covid rather than sitting in a classroom. That's something else I can think about adding to my list.
     
  11. Hillbilly

    Hillbilly In Maximum Overdrive

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    Amazing how much info is available on the net if you learn how to word your questions. Took me a few months to literally back engineer all the "What If's ?" on a 6.0 diesel in my truck when it decided to only run at wide open throttle. Had to dig deep to find that the computer saw a stuck open egr valve as a request for full throttle fuel but the info was out there published by a hillbilly country mechanic who had figured it out on his own. This info was nowhere to be found in any Ford manual. Without the online info I would have been stuck with a horrendous repair bill when the fix was simply cleaning the carbon out of the egr valve with no need for expensive new parts. Thank you Lord for the internet.
     
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  12. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Yeah, I used to be a slave to those books, but figuring out the things that the engineers would never have run into in testing ("real-world testing," my dying foot) comes from talking to old-hats that have seen it, YouTubers that have seen it, or you've witnessed it yourself. Now, I just use any books/computer material for background info, and charge off under Google, or my own thin experience. This is why forums are also so important to enthusiasts.
     
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  13. Jeff B

    Jeff B In Maximum Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

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    The University of YouTube has been a great help to be sure, but some of the Toobers don't get things quite right either. On that Altima that I did, one Toober actually pulled the condenser off the car, opening up the system and after looking at things for a bit, I found that was not needed. Just had to pull the bumper section off and that made just (barely) enough room to slide the rad out. There is a lot of good info out there, just need to be able to find it.
     
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  14. plumcolr

    plumcolr In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Changed the starter in a mini. Book says drop exhaust pipe/cat and several other things. Some tubers said the same, but one guy - remove heat shield bend it, slip it between steering, body, engine. Unbolt starter and do same. replace, get heat shield back in and unbend. Worked!
    I'll do dam near anything including crawl over broken glass to not remove exhaust components I'm not gonna replace. Heat shield is just 22ga stainless.
     
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  15. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Kind of the same thing on Ford Focuses, they want you to remove the intake to get it out and back. I unbolt it, then stick a huge pry bar in the front by the power steering pump, and lever it forward. Barely gets the units out and in, but saves A LOT of time.
     
  16. Jeff B

    Jeff B In Maximum Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

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    Makes you wonder if the auto engineers are in their cubicles taking bets to see what the mechanics will do with their next "creation".
     
  17. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Yeah, taking bets with (or orders from) the bean counters...
     
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  18. Saff54

    Saff54 In Maximum Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    Great to hear your back out and about Jeff,good luck, sounds like your enjoying this new phase of your life
     
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  19. Jeff B

    Jeff B In Maximum Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

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    Well how is this for full left turn? I kept all my job alerts on and a 2 sentence ad popped up for "General mechanic" with welding skills close to home. What the heck, I will give it a go. Dashed off an email and the owner called me back pretty quick. We talked and set up an interview the next morning. I was totally surprised to find out this company builds parade floats. The strange thing is that I (many moons ago) used to volunteer with the group of people that built the float for the city I grew up in. I bent steel and welded. Worked on the frame, this float at the time had a Corvair engine and trans mounted sideways for power. I rode inside and provided "animation" a couple of times and my last active year I drove the Rose Parade. Never been able to put float construction on a resume before.
    So I met with the owner and his foreman and I start tomorrow. No idea what to expect but the shop is large and busy. Might be fun.
     
  20. beerbelly

    beerbelly In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Great story, and good luck. Apparently it's your calling :p
     
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