Fixit Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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Sclass
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Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

You know Ego there seems to be an ecosystem around gig drivers. Preying is the right word. It reminds me of the homeless ecosystem in DTLA.

I read a line on a Reddit feed saying that the catalyst theft had less to do with the price of palladium and rhodium than it did with the business of stealing and replacing stolen catalysts. There is apparently an underground market for Prius catalytic converters that has little to do with precious metals. It’s all about replacing stolen cats from cars that had their cat stolen. It feeds on itself till it dies and the crooks move on to a different make. Maybe true…? It would make some sense since the scrap value of the metal is worth significantly less than a replacement catalytic converter.

The uber drivers (getting OT) remind me of a book I read about Rickshaw pullers in the 1920s. Apparently they were destitute men selling their bodies like prostitutes. Half starving they run themselves to death over a short career on the streets of Shanghai over a short career when they’re strong enough to run fast yet not old and injured. Most of them rent their rickshaw from a smart puller who invested his money in a fleet of rental rickshaws. There is an narrow window to make money. If the puller gets into gambling or opium they’re basically killed off in a few years.

The app driver economy isn’t that bad but I must say it doesn’t look like a smart way to make money. Oddly my friend, a founder of Uber, said it was dumb to be a driver. I told him a young relative of mine became a driver several years ago and he responded, “Oh f..k no, seriously Sclass why?” I found it disturbing the top brass felt that way about the drivers. I expected him to say “oh that’s great Sclass how is it working for him?”

white belt
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by white belt »

Sclass wrote:
Sat Jul 03, 2021 10:18 pm
@white belt - possibly a bad connection. see if you can download a wiring diagram with the color codes of the wires. the horn is probably just a switch as is the cruise buttons. so the way I take it these work is the horn switch should close and put 12V to a horn control line which probably goes to a relay that activates the horn. You can poke through the insulation of the wires you want to check with sewing pins and check the voltage between the pin and the chassis of the car (ground = 0V). suspect wires should light off when you hit the button. trace it all the way back to the relay and then to the horn. I bet it's a plug though. that's why you're missing multiple circuits at the same time.
After further research, I do believe it is the case that there is a bad plug on the new clock spring I bought. The cruise control and ground for the steering wheel connect to one plug, while the other plug connects to the airbag. The horn and cruise control worked fine with the previous clock spring, which is why I believe the issue isn’t the wires to them. Additionally, a bad plug would explain why my airbag warning light issue was resolved by the new clock spring (the wires running to the airbag are on another plug connecter that is evidently working correctly).

I think I’m going to buy another eBay clock spring for $25-50 from a different vendor. I’ve watched multiple videos of installs of $25 clock springs that work perfectly, so I think I may have just gotten a dud.

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Sclass
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Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

Can the plug be fixed? Sometimes the little spring leaves inside need to be bent back into place. Or if it is corroded it may need a spritz with contact cleaner like Deoxit.

white belt
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by white belt »

@Sclass

I figured it out. User error. I ended up taking off everything to install the same clockspring again because I wanted to verify I hadn’t skipped a step. When I was reinstalling the same clockspring I noticed I had to push really hard to get the connectors to click (these were the connectors located under the plastic shell at the bottom of the clockspring). I believe the first time I did the install, one of the connectors wasn’t all the way pushed in which is why I wasn’t getting power to the horn and cruise control. That probably should’ve been the first troubleshooting step but I’ll chalk that one up as a lesson learned.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

Excellent!

Part of this process is saving some money. Another part is self education. Gaining autonomy.

You guys would laugh if you saw how many times I do things two or three times to get it right. The neat thing is the next time I do the same job it is done quickly and efficiently. I believe there is some kind of a compounding effect in there. Like experience increases the rate at which you gain experience. Or knowledge increases the rate of gaining knowledge. Not so much as just linearly digesting tomes of existing material, but more acquiring information, filtering for useful knowledge and then applying while getting hit in the face with reality.

Read a Chiltons manual. Read some Internet info. Dive in with your tools. Ruin something on your car. Undo the deed. Continue on to fix the original problem.

This applies to all kinds of things besides Fixit. Be brave.

davtheram12
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: Fixit Log

Post by davtheram12 »

My DW and I visited my in-laws this past weekend to find that their Vizio e420-a0 tv stopped working. They claimed it wouldn't turn on and showed no signs of life. I attempted to turn it on with the remote and utilizing the buttons on the tv to no avail. I swapped the power cord, with another working cord, and still nothing. Told them I would get back to it after I did a little more research to narrow down the problem. Within 24 hours they bought a new one and set the non-working tv aside :lol:

After a little more research I found that it was likely an issue with the power board. Without my multimeter I knew I was stuck since I couldn't test for proper voltages. I decided to open it up to see if there was anything visually wrong with the components. Using a screw driver and grocery store rewards card (to pry open and release the plastic tabs) I opened up the back casing and found nothing :| Wires werent frayed, there were no burned out components and everything seemed to be plugged in properly. So I decided to give the electrical components a good clean with isopropyl alcohol, unplug and plug everything I could and boom it fired back up. Not sure what I did but the tv now works! The in-laws are $500 poorer with their new purchase but at least I managed to fix a tv that was destined for the landfill :D

Married2aSwabian
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Married2aSwabian »

I will be taking on an ambitious (for me) auto repair project next weekend in the interest of saving $$. The struts and sway bar links on our 2007 Honda CRV need to be replaced. The car has almost 200,000 miles on it. After calling shop we usually use and them quoting $2000 (all around) for Monroe struts, I decided to tackle it myself. KYB strut / spring assemblies are on the way, as are additional tools needed. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos for tips. Has anyone here done similar repair before?

ducknald_don
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Location: Oxford, UK

Re: Fixit Log

Post by ducknald_don »

I've done them on a FIAT and a Ford in the past. It was relatively straight forward. Just don't get under the car if you only have a trolley jack to hold it up.

Chris
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Chris »

Married2aSwabian wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 6:26 am
Has anyone here done similar repair before?
I once tried -- and failed -- on my car. Just 5 bolts.... seemed simple enough! But the lower strut bolts would not come out. Sort of understandable, as they hadn't moved in 15 years. Tried penetrating spray and a sledge hammer. Wouldn't budge. The internet told me the next thing to try was a blowtorch, and that's when I admitted defeat, buttoned it up, and let the mechanic do it.

This is not to dissuade you. But if I have a tip to offer, it's to have a plan to get the vehicle driveable again.

davtheram12
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by davtheram12 »

@Married2aSwabian Has anyone here done similar repair before?

I have on plenty of times. If you live in a rust and salt free environment it shouldn't be too difficult. Just make sure the car is properly supported before you start disassembly anything. Jack, jack stands and an extra spare tire underneath the pinch welds of the car. If the bolts are giving you some trouble (which they might if the components have never been removed) some type of penetrating oil (or wd-40) will help. A larger rachet set will help too as it will help generate a little more torque.

When bolting things back up be sure to bolt things back up a little at a time. Avoid tightening any single bolt completely until you've added all of the bolts back to their original location. Tighten each one a little at a time until they are all tightened back to spec.

Lastly sometimes you'll have to swap out old pieces, from the old part, onto the new part. Compare the new parts to the old parts and swap things accordingly before final installation. This could be sensors, brackets or rubber prices.

Good luck and have fun!

Married2aSwabian
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Married2aSwabian »

Thanks davtheram12, Chris, ducknald_don. Yeah, I’ve got Jack stands, floor Jack, torque wrench and full set of deep sockets and 1/2” drive ratchet, so that should help. Since we live in MI, the bolts are a bit rusty. I’ll use plenty of penetrant and also have an impact wrench. I’ll start replacement next Sat, so will have whole weekend to do it. We can get by on one car for a few days, since I’m working from home. We also have a neighbor who has been a mechanic for many years - in his early 80s now! If I get stuck, it may be a good opportunity to get to know him better! :)

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

You've got some good advice already. I'll add more random thoughts:
- take pics of everything before you take it apart
- as far as I know cars with struts require an alignment after replacing the struts, maybe yours is an exception though. DIY alignment is possible but doesn't seem to be something many people do, maybe because there's little confirmation that it is done right
- take your time, walk away and think before doing anything extreme
- wear safety glasses, even a tiny bit of rust in the eye sucks
- if any other suspension parts are needed now is a good time. Don't want to have to pay for another alignment if you need to replace a arms or something soon (happened to me).

Married2aSwabian
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Married2aSwabian »

Thanks, Gilberto. Yes, I’ll do one side at a time and can use the other side as reference if needed. Will definitely take pics of everything as I go.

“take your time, walk away and think before doing anything extreme”
Good advice for sure. I also had a friend suggest to use a better rust penetrant than PB Blaster. He suggested Gibbs, but after looking on Amazon, I decided to order (a very expensive can of) Kroil. It’s supposed to be the best. I have to admit, when I read in one review,”my minister said I need to clean up my language and Kroil can help prevent swearing like a pirate… “ or something to that effect, it made me smile. For sure, that is the most likely cause of problems. We’ll see how it goes. I hope it works out, since the budget for this month is kind of busted now after buying struts and tools.

Thanks for the advice.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

Whoops.... I intended to put this in the restoration log.

Moved it here
viewtopic.php?p=246235#p246235

Married2aSwabian
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Married2aSwabian »

Well, two new KYB struts and sway bar links are installed on DW’s Honda CRV. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but worthwhile and rewarding to learn some new auto repair skills and save $$ in the process. All the rust penetrant in the world could not help loosen two of the seized up sway bar links (200,000 miles in the Midwest will do that I guess), so had to get the angle grinder out and cut them off. A few discouraging words were uttered, but I tried to stick to Gilberto’s advice and take five when needed.
Anyway, car has a better ride and no more clunking noise when going over bumps. Have to get alignment done soon. :)

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Thats great! Good for you! I'm glad you were able to finish the job.

I'm dealing with Midwestern rust too. It sucks.

davtheram12
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by davtheram12 »

@Married2aSwabian
Great! I'm glad it worked out even with the snags you had to manage. Add that to your list of skills. That's always a great feeling :)

Married2aSwabian
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Married2aSwabian »

Thanks Gilbert and Davtheram12 - pretty sure without YouTube and encouragement here I wouldn’t have attempted this one.

As i mentioned before, shop we usually use quoted astronomical $2000 for all four struts (assuming they included alignment, too). They told me $575 was for labor. Pricing I found for Monroe struts was around $400 or less, so over 200% markup on parts!? Hard to believe.
Even if they would have marked up KYBs at 100%, I saved around $550 + $300 (labor) = $850. Even with my slow progress, I took about 10 hours to do this (not including trips to Harbor Freight and Home Depot and getting shop set up), still made $85 / hr!

Hey, that’s better than my day job!

It is a good feeling to learn a new valuable skill. Told DW, now I’m going around looking for other things that need fixing on cars!

davtheram12
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by davtheram12 »

Married2aSwabian wrote:
Tue Aug 03, 2021 6:39 am
It is a good feeling to learn a new valuable skill. Told DW, now I’m going around looking for other things that need fixing on cars!
So it begins :lol: It's hard not to resist that temptation but word of advice, don't get discouraged when things break (e.g. broken bolts, stripped threads, rounded bolt heads, broken tools, failed replacement parts, etc.). As long you continue to have fun and give yourself time to learn a new rhythm, you'll continue to find success. Again, great work!

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

That is excellent. I like the sense of liberty that the new skills provide.

Now get that thing aligned.

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