For you DIY'ers, how did you learn? - Page 2
Username or Email Address
Do you already have an account?
Forgot your password?
  • Log in or Sign up

    Welcome to VWvortex - The Volkswagen Enthusiast Website.
    You're currently browsing VWvortex site as a guest. Please sign up or sign in and take part in the conversation. VWvortex has over 750,000+ registered users discussing a wide variety of Volkswagen related topics. Take a minute to sign up to enjoy all the features of VWvortex.
    The Car Lounge
    Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
    Results 26 to 50 of 80
    1. #26
      Member andyA6's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 10th, 2000
      Location
      Utah
      Posts
      1,881
      YouTube, specific forums, try and fail or succeed, ask people questions who know, watch mechanics in shops, read, try to understand functions......... And be determined
      Keep right except to pass!

    2. #27
      Member jai5's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 30th, 2006
      Location
      Kitchener, ON
      Posts
      2,823
      Quote Originally Posted by ByronLLN View Post
      By doing it wrong and breaking ****.
      Yup. When DIY guides say it will take 2 hours tops, it would take me 6 hours. Took me a while to get used to working with tools (and having the right tools!).
      Past: 94 Jetta, 89 Accord (beater), 97 Jetta GT, 91 Mazda 626 (beater), 02 Audi A4, 07 Civic (commuter), 06 BMW 330i, 12 GTI

    3. #28
      Member gsprobe02's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 19th, 2016
      Location
      Charlotte / Columbia
      Posts
      183
      Quote Originally Posted by jai5 View Post
      Yup. When DIY guides say it will take 2 hours tops, it would take me 6 hours. Took me a while to get used to working with tools (and having the right tools!).
      Me too man. Don't feel alone.

    4. #29
      Yes. Like the time I changed a shift boot on my Golf R. NEVER AGAIN.
      Let them eat cake...

    5. #30
      Some of it has to be passion and willingness to learn. I did a bit when I was younger, oil change, spark plugs, small things on my old prelude. Everything else I had a shop do. I went through a bit of a crisis I guess around 3 years ago. I needed a hobby. I needed something to occupy my free time. I didn't have a lot of money, time, or knowledge, I just know I needed something.

      So I got my 1st E30. Learned by doing. bought tools as I needed them. On that 87, I replaced-

      Subframe
      Steering Rack
      Motor Mounts
      Steering Knuckle
      Ignition switch
      Key tumblr
      Control Arms
      Control Arm Bushings.

      Obviously with the help of forums and YT.

      The day I rolled that P.O.S out of the garage and started it up for the 1st time was amazing.

      And then I drove it for the 1st time. With a broken rod banging around. Down the driveway then back into the garage. Just to say I drove it.



      Bought a parts car, took that apart, original car turned into a 2nd parts car, took that apart.. Now I've got E30 #3 and besides a trans rebuild, I feel I can nearly everything that comes my way.

    6. #31
      Member barry2952's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 13th, 2007
      Location
      Farmington Hills, MI
      Posts
      17,112
      Two basic concepts to learning about working on cars. There is no such thing as leftover parts, and most cars are designed so that anyone can work on them. Typically, parts only go together one way. While modern assembly line workers are infinitely better trained than they were in the early days of the automobile the engineering side has kept the "only fits one way" doctrine.

      The key to successful mechanical work is the camera. Why guess when there's no cost to digital photos.

      I knew very little at age 15 when my parents went away on a 2-week cruise. This was 1967 and there wasn't the communications we have today so my parents had no idea I had commandeered their 2-car garage and brought home the early Corvair beater that I wanted to transform into a dune buggy. I somehow convinced my grandmother that I had my parent's blessing so she pretty-much stood back and watched. Neighborhood kids showed up for support and brought me the tools that I needed to cut off the top, remove the doors and shorten the car by 3-feet. I left the floor pan long enough to bolt the two halves together and used angle iron to close the top of the now tiny door opening. I shortened the brake and fuel lines by simply looping them. I did the same to the wiring harness and control cables.

      About 10 days in I took it for it's first ride, knowing what was bolted should have been welded. I drove it on the back roads to a friend's family service station where I was told I could use their lift to weld the underside. This was back in the day when wire-feed welders were uncommon so I knew I had to stick weld it. My welding looked like pigeon droppings at that stage in my life, but I wanted some degree of safety. I arrived to find the lift occupied by a car that needed to be finished that night so I parked the Corvair behind the station and walked the mile home.

      I rode my Schwinn Continental back to the station only to find the car gone. My friend'd grandfather ran the night shift. He thought someone had dumped the car behind the station, hooked it to his wrecker and drove it to a scrap yard in Detroit where they checked it out, found few usable parts and cubed it right on the spot. They handed me the receipt and the cash they got for it and apologized. I was crushed, myself. I went home, cleaned out the garage and put everything back to normal before my folks got home. Grandma ratted me out, but there was little punishment as my parents were astounded that I was able to pull it off.

      Looking back on it the grandfather was likely the age I am now, so I'm sure he's passed, but I owe him a lot of credit for saving my life as what I know now was nothing compared to what I thought I knew then.

      Guess which one is me.


    7. #32
      Quote Originally Posted by Bozzimus View Post
      ... The info and aftermarket available with the 'net is exponentially higher than it was pre-internet. I mean it's awesome. If you weren't wrenching in the early 90's you have no basis for comparison, but I can tell you how sweet it is today vs. back then.
      QFT.

    8. #33
      Member KGilman's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 3rd, 2004
      Location
      Foothill Ranch
      Posts
      2,579
      This isn't rocket science. You'll need the right tools and a whole lot of practice. It's just like learning anything else, read about it, try to understand it, and then set aside the time to do it. Things go wrong, you fix those things in the process.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    9. #34
      Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 17th, 2007
      Location
      Bend, OR
      Posts
      30,144
      Chilton's manual plus trial and error.
      Lots of VW stuff|Rare Scirocco parts!
      The family: '55 Ford 351C, '70 TR6 262Olds, '80 Rabbit AAZ, '84 C30 350, '88 Scirocco 9A, '97 Hardbody KA24E, '01 TJ 150AMC.
      Quote Originally Posted by Crimping Is Easy View Post
      You're always better off with a Citroën.™

    10. #35
      Member Roketdriver's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 23rd, 2009
      Location
      Northside
      Posts
      5,338
      Quote Originally Posted by ByronLLN View Post
      By doing it wrong and breaking ****.
      I did a lot of idiot stuff when dismantling my first Jetta

      I was trying to find the picture of the driveshaft that I cut in half, but I don't think I ever documented that. Here's a picture of how I thought coolant drained.



      8 years later - I can do my own suspension and brakes, and have successfully re-timed and put a new top on my Miata. And I know how to find the drain plug on a radiator.
      Last edited by Roketdriver; 04-05-2017 at 11:08 PM.
      GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND.
      Creep my new instagram - Chrispluscars

    11. #36
      Member
      Join Date
      Mar 25th, 2009
      Location
      NOVA
      Posts
      3,844
      not that I do anything serious, but I learned because things were too expensive to fix and i found DIY online.

      wheel hubs making noise and you want $800 to replace just one? Guess what im learning next weekend.

      Water pump broke and itll cost $1300 to replace? oh heres a DIY.

      I need new discs and pads and you want $1500 for both on a VW? GTFO, I can do it for $400.

      im just waiting till I blow an engine and end up like that guy that bought a front clip of a subaru from japan

      my non mechanically inclined friends are so impressed with what I do, but little do they know... im too poor to have someone else fix stuff

    12. #37
      Member pawa_k2001's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 3rd, 2003
      Location
      WNC
      Posts
      4,480
      Grew up to poor to have someone work on my car, learned how to do it myself. Learned and still learning from my own errors.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    13. #38
      Member Stevo12's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 27th, 2015
      Location
      Hartford, CT
      Posts
      1,274
      Never really worked on cars as a kid - my folks were not mechanically-inclined and always had cars either dealer- or indy-serviced.

      I was always 'into' cars though, so I joined my school's FSAE team freshman year and got comfortable wrenching fairly quickly - even took apart my first motor that year when someone blew it up (wrong ECU map for the cams that were installed).

      After going through a few cars with that team and shortly before I graduated, I got into motorcycles. The first bike was for a class project - to get the school's engine dyno back up and running. I bought an '83 Suzuki for $200, originally intending to be reimbursed from the class. I ended up holding onto that bike and got the engine back when the dyno was all set up. We had chopped the exhaust apart to make it fit the vent system, so after finals were over for the semester, I locked myself in the workshop overnight, welded the exhaust back together, installed the motor and wiring and bam, my first bike. Rode it around for a couple months, fixed the other things that needed to be fixed using the factory service manual, and went riding. Sold it for $700, upgraded to a GPz550 bought for $650...rinse and repeat. I sold that bike for $1400 down in Austin, TX to buy a motor and trans for my '80 GMC squarebody.

      And about that truck: at the time I was working for a fellow car nut: 1200 sq. ft shop on his property, and stable that consisted of supercharged Mustang, 383ci '70 C10, a TT 300ZX, and a couple other cool projects. I constantly bounced project ideas off him, and his response was always 'What are you waiting on?' So when the LS-swapped Chevy came to mind, I had to build one. So, I bought the '80 C15 Sierra old-man special w/ a carb'd 305, and I purchased a 2000 Silverado 5.3L/4L60E combo from a junkyard and set about swapping it pretty much all by myself. The end result was 'eh' but it was a cool truck nonetheless and looking back, it was a pretty ambitious first project.

      For me, DIY has always been about affording to do what hairbrained ideas I get in my head. Through DIY I've always managed to make good financially-speaking - except for that first project, the LS truck - I did lose my shirt on that. tThe major projects that have followed were much better, either breaking even or making some money - an E28 part-out, a 5-speed swap on another E28, the $5k WRX, my Mk2 VR6 project (still on-going; have all the parts and I'm only $2k into it at this point) and my salvage-title M3 - those have all involved taking cars that were bought cheaply with potential, and through the not-so-magic of DIY and being able to stay out of the rabbit hole of trying to fix every single malady, have netted me some cool rides, some of which I've been able to pass on.

      That last one, the M3, is my current daily, which sprung a head gasket leak shortly after I bought it. Normally a head gasket job would be well over a grand (some estimates approached $2k) but I was able to repair it with a $170 head gasket kit and $530 of machine work. There were other repairs - some were needed, some not - that I decided to do while I was in there, but for less than $5k all-in, I have my first real performance car whose balance of performance and driveability is not easily matched in the sub-$5k category.

    14. #39
      I was thinking about this a couple months ago.

      When I was a kid my parents and brother had old cars, and my first car was an 82 Rabbit. So something always needed a repair or maintenance.

      Now my wife and I have new cars that at most need oil changes here and there. So I thought how the hell are my kids going to learn anything automotive wise.

      So I bought the perfect [to me] project car.

      1983 944 with a salvage title.

      When I bought the car it had just had the timing belt and water pump done, calipers rebuilt with steel braided lines and some other odds and ends.

      But being a 30 year old car there will always be something that could use attention and I work in a Porsche shop so tools/parts aren't an issue.

      Before I bought it the car was being turned into a race car so some interior is missing, the body is a hair rough, and needs some maintenance. Basically my kids can learn a bit about every aspect of automotive work, and because its salvage I don't care that they climb all in it, on it, around it etc.

      I got the car for 1500 including tax, title and reg. I pay 15 bucks a month for insurance. Have driven it to work every day since the day I got it and have spent most weekends in the garage with my boys. Whats better then that?

      My advice to anyone would be pretty simple..Don't be afraid to break something...just know that you will. We all do. Be safe, wear goggles etc. when needed and dive in. With all the information the internet has to offer you will always find someone who has been through what you have been through and can help you fix your problem.

    15. #40
      Member Surf Green's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 16th, 1999
      Location
      Silver Spring, GerryMarylandering
      Posts
      13,020
      My father worked on our cars growing up, and taught us the basics. Oil changes, flat tires, tune ups.
      Before the interweb, you went to the Autoparts store and bought a Chilton or Haynes manual for your car, which would get you into trouble as often as they got you out of trouble.

      Over the years, I've gotten further and further into it as I've gotten more comfortable taking things apart.
      That experience, and the lifelong collection of more and better tools, has gotten me better at taking things apart without breaking as much.


      Take it apart until you find the broken part.
      Replace the broken part.
      Put it all back together.
      Last edited by Surf Green; 04-06-2017 at 06:53 AM.
      I keep up with traffic with only 90 hp. What's your superpower?
      2002 Golf Wagon TDI - 2007 Fuji Heavy Industries WRB WRX Wagon - YouTube Track Videos - flickr
      Past: 1996 Surf Green GTI VR6 - 1985 Golf 1.8L - No Trim Level Edition

    16. #41
      Member XClayX's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 30th, 2005
      Location
      Minnesota
      Posts
      4,946
      I figured it out shortly after I bought my first car. Little money in the bank, brakes are shot. Quotes to get it fixed were basically all I had. Decided to buy a 75 dollar socket set from the Homedepot, walked in to Autozone asked for parts to replace brakes on a Buick. It took several days if I remember right, finally got it all bolted back together good as new.

      I wonder if I would be in the same place as I am today if I had money to pay someone to fix it. I've moved on along way from brakes. Timing belts, gaskets, CV joins, starters, alternators, belts, suspension rebuilds. Trial/error... YouTube helps too.

      I've saved alot of money fixing issue myself. I'm probably on 20ish brake jobs alone for my vehicles/family.

      Worst mistake I ever made working on a vehicle was using an emergency jack (widow maker) to change a tire/brakes... something like that. Needless to say it fell off the jack and I crumpled the bottom rocker panel. After that I went out and brought a 3-ton jack.

    17. #42
      I'm really not adding anything new to this thread..

      But growing up with a blue collar father, you fix everything yourself. My dad was an enthusiast anyway, I spent a lot of nights in the garage with him. Outside of what I picked up from him (which we still work together on projects all the time) I've learned a tremendous amount from forums and youtube. Also don't discount friends and family friends, I've started shadowing a retired machinist that's been friends with my dad for years. If you show a genuine interest it seems to open up a lot of doors, I usually do a lot of my own research before I ever reach out to anyone as I don't want to waste someone's time.

    18. #43
      Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 17th, 1999
      Location
      Vermont, USA
      Posts
      27,306
      Quote Originally Posted by O'doyle View Post
      By doing. Just start with small projects and work your way up.

      X...
      Quote Originally Posted by ByronLLN View Post
      By doing it wrong and breaking ****.
      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      Chilton's manual plus trial and error.
      All of that /\/\/\ plus google searches and youtube video instructions.

    19. #44
      Member Stevo12's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 27th, 2015
      Location
      Hartford, CT
      Posts
      1,274
      Quote Originally Posted by Surf Green View Post
      Over the years, I've gotten further and further into it as I've gotten more comfortable taking things apart.
      That experience, and the lifelong collection of more and better tools, has gotten me better at taking things apart without breaking as much.
      This is so true. The first couple years, I felt like I was always running out to Sears, or Harbor Freight, or needing to order tools online. It’s been a while since I didn’t have the right tools to do the job, and the only tools I’ve bought are to replace ones that I’ve broken or modified.

      I’ve also learned the lesson about documenting and double/triple checking everything. The best example I can think of is the comparison between removing the engine from my WRX last year to replacing the head gasket on my M3 this year. After buttoning everything back up on the WRX, I fought some running issues that stemmed from swapping two vacuum lines - being a MAP car, it idled and drove fine, but was sucking evaporative fumes so it either ran lean at idle, or flooded after being fueled or sitting in the sun. With the M3, I made sure to document/label every single thing that came off of that car, and as a result, it fired right up the first time I tried starting it, and it hasn’t leaked anything in 2,000 miles, despite replacing every cooling hose, and every top-end gasket known to man.

      /selfpromotion


      Quote Originally Posted by XClayX View Post
      I figured it out shortly after I bought my first car. Little money in the bank, brakes are shot. Quotes to get it fixed were basically all I had. Decided to buy a 75 dollar socket set from the Homedepot, walked in to Autozone asked for parts to replace brakes on a Buick. It took several days if I remember right, finally got it all bolted back together good as new.

      I wonder if I would be in the same place as I am today if I had money to pay someone to fix it. I've moved on along way from brakes. Timing belts, gaskets, CV joins, starters, alternators, belts, suspension rebuilds. Trial/error... YouTube helps too.

      I've saved alot of money fixing issue myself. I'm probably on 20ish brake jobs alone for my vehicles/family.

      Worst mistake I ever made working on a vehicle was using an emergency jack (widow maker) to change a tire/brakes... something like that. Needless to say it fell off the jack and I crumpled the bottom rocker panel. After that I went out and brought a 3-ton jack.
      That reminds me of when I bought my $1,000 XJ Cherokee. I took it to a buddy's shop to use his air hammer to bust out the broken wheel studs and install new ones. In taking off the front brakes, we found that the front inner pads had all but disintegrated, spurring a 7:30pm run to the auto parts store. I remember being hesitant since I’d never done brakes on a street car before, and then feeling like “wow, I didn’t realize it’d be this easy or straightforward.” Each successively-harder job has been like that, except the degree of “that was easy” has lessened each time. But still, the feeling of “OK, I can do this” has allowed me to take on those harder jobs as time has moved on.

      I can also justify the newer car purchases that both my wife and I have taken in the past few years, since I can take care of the maintenance and repairs myself. I prefer newer since there are less “that’ll do” types of repairs that I’ll have to un-do down the road. Taking apart our 80,000-mile Mazda3 to do a valve cover and transmission service a couple weeks ago was a breeze because it had never been f*cked with, and I know it was taken apart and put back together properly. The same will be said for pretty much any repair needed down the road.

    20. #45
      Member ryan mills's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 3rd, 2002
      Location
      Mechanicsville, VA
      Posts
      3,248
      Quote Originally Posted by Perceptive Bunny View Post
      Trial and error.. buy an old VW OP
      That's where I started. Started with an old beetle and no money. got it to work, and slowly learned what I was doing.

    21. #46
      Member mellbergVWfan's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 31st, 2008
      Location
      Bay Area, CA
      Posts
      10,113
      Quote Originally Posted by Pennywise View Post
      Yep. And liberal use of the search button. I'm not a wrench by any stretch of the imagination.
      Hey remember that time we did your brakes?

      Good times.
      Demokratikally Elekted Director of Espionage and Identity Theft and Minister of post-progressive-technical-melodic-avant-garde-metal for the Independent People's Republik of Offtopikstan
      My 16v Swap thread
      Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkEnergist View Post
      Oh mellberg is cool, but his car certainly isn't helping that happen.

    22. #47
      Senior Member
      Join Date
      Sep 11th, 2000
      Location
      MA
      Posts
      26,843
      Reader's Digest Complete Car Care Manual. 1981. I recommend picking up a copy or something equivalent.

      https://www.amazon.com/Readers-Diges.../dp/0895770881

    23. #48
      Trial and error for sure, but it helps to have friends who know a few things to show you around. This is especially true the first time you do mission-critical things like work on your brakes.

    24. #49
      Member DrivingPassion's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 15th, 2009
      Location
      French Canadian Country
      Posts
      184
      I said to myself, Its just bolts and nuts, I can to do this.

      You just need the right tools. And, the most important thing is, never get discourage. The parts you've been wasting so much time and effort trying to take apart will eventually fall apart, they always (almost) do.
      " If your not breaking parts, your just not trying hard enough to win!"

      Colin McRae, R.I.P

    25. #50
      Moderator Krazee's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 25th, 2003
      Location
      En Why Sea
      Posts
      18,540
      Blog Entries
      12
      I was just talking about this with my mom....

      I joined Vortex in 2001, about 6mo after buying my first Corrado. My first round of modifications and maintenance trips were done by a shop that evidently didn't know older VWs.
      Shortly thereafter, I met one person off of Vortex, and he introduced me to the man who would ultimately become my Corrado mechanic for about 6yrs and a good friend. I had the opportunity to learn by watching and picking and choosing the tasks I felt comfortable with.

      Over the years I progressed to following DIYs from Vortex, and then DIYs on other sites for other cars, and even watching DIYs on YouTube.
      I followed a very comprehensive DIY from NASIOC to do the timing belt on my 2002 WRX.
      I followed comprehensive DIYs for suspension and brakes when I overhauled that stuff on my Corrado.
      I'll be doing the same over the next month as I overhaul the front end on the Corrado again.
      Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment and usbesequent euphoria when it all goes back together correctly, and you are neither short parts or have excess.

      Currently I am fortunate to be friends with one of the best Corrado-specific mechanics in the tri-state area, and potentially in the country. While I have paid him to do alot of stuff, as often as I can, I watch what he's doing, and try to learn from his work, so that should the same part break in the future, I can fix it myself. By biggest issue is time - my garage is 2hrs away from me, and at best I can only make it there on weekends, and even then, not every weekend.

      One of these days, I'll take a week off from work to crank through a multitude of small projects.

      I believe anyone can wrench on cars. I apply a similar logic to cooking: If you can read and add, you can cook.
      All that wrenching requires is a basic understanding of how things go together and how they interact.
      That being said, there are some people who SHOULD NEVER work on cars, and any older car is only as reliable as the person who does the work.
      Project Corrado RS: Keep Up

    Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast