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Unread 05-18-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
texasdave
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DIY vs Professional

When should I tackle a project or take it to a pro? I know for example that certain members of the forum could rebuild a jeep with a swiss army knife, however being mortal I am uncomfortable tackling certain tasks. For example if I want a windshield installed I go pro simply because if they break the glass its on them. Engine work like prepping the block head work, boring etc I always go pro. I am unsure about axles and differentials as I haven't done much other than routine maintenance. Your thougths?

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Unread 05-18-2009, 11:28 AM   #2
JeepnBlake
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Are you going to put in gears and lockers? or are you just changing fluid in them?
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Unread 05-18-2009, 11:30 AM   #3
cjkcj7
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If it's something that will cost big $$$ if you mess it up - always go pro. That's my $.02.

First Team!!!
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Unread 05-18-2009, 11:57 AM   #4
iagmc
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I would agree with cjkcj7, Big projects that you are not comfortable with should be left with the "pros." If you get in over your head they will charge more if you bring in your project in boxes. At least that is how it is done in the middle west. Do what you can when and just keep in mind if it is out of your comfort zone you are just stimulating the economy! I try to do every thing my self, but I still know when to say when. My wife doesn't always think so, but when I finish she does.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 12:03 PM   #5
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In my experience, taking vehicles to a mechanic can sometimes be even more costly of a mistake than messing it up yourself; there are things about Jeeps that require a different skillset of knowledge than cars. That, and as the CJ ages, mechanics on the whole seem to be losing the practice of carb and vacuum tuning necessary for our rigs. For example, I had a breakdown a couple years ago and walked down the street to the closest garage I could find. Asked to borrow a timing light. Shop didn't even own one. Owner said he hadn't worked on a vac advance vehicle in years, when the last timing light broke, never had a need to replace it.

Part of Jeep ownership, and CJ ownership in particular, is going to be about expanding your comfort zones and doing stuff you never thought you could do before, whether it be wheeling or wrenching. My $.02, buy yourself a good used garage refrigerator. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it needs to stay ice cold. I got mine on craigslist for $75. Stock it full of a variety of beers. Get involved in a local Jeep club. Make buddies and have a wrenching party occasionally to make sure beer in said refrigerator doesn't become skunky.

Machine work, sand blasting, and welding anything suspension/steering-related are the only things I will farm out.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 12:09 PM   #6
x550x
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawkclint View Post
Part of Jeep ownership, and CJ ownership in particular, is going to be about expanding your comfort zones and doing stuff you never thought you could do before, whether it be wheeling or wrenching. My $.02, buy yourself a good used garage refrigerator. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it needs to stay ice cold. I got mine on craigslist for $75. Stock it full of a variety of beers. Get involved in a local Jeep club. Make buddies and have a wrenching party occasionally to make sure beer in said refrigerator doesn't become skunky.
Well said.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 12:10 PM   #7
foggybottombob
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As I learn more, I go to a pro less and less. I go to a pro for these reasons:
1) I don't know how to do it
2) I need it done now and I have too much other stuff to do
3) The job is tedious and I don't want to do it

Other than those, I figure it out myself because I am always out of money.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 12:26 PM   #8
lgreve
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawkclint View Post
In my experience, taking vehicles to a mechanic can sometimes be even more costly of a mistake than messing it up yourself; there are things about Jeeps that require a different skillset of knowledge than cars. That, and as the CJ ages, mechanics on the whole seem to be losing the practice of carb and vacuum tuning necessary for our rigs. For example, I had a breakdown a couple years ago and walked down the street to the closest garage I could find. Asked to borrow a timing light. Shop didn't even own one. Owner said he hadn't worked on a vac advance vehicle in years, when the last timing light broke, never had a need to replace it.

Part of Jeep ownership, and CJ ownership in particular, is going to be about expanding your comfort zones and doing stuff you never thought you could do before, whether it be wheeling or wrenching. My $.02, buy yourself a good used garage refrigerator. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it needs to stay ice cold. I got mine on craigslist for $75. Stock it full of a variety of beers. Get involved in a local Jeep club. Make buddies and have a wrenching party occasionally to make sure beer in said refrigerator doesn't become skunky.

Machine work, sand blasting, and welding anything suspension/steering-related are the only things I will farm out.
I completely agree the best teachers are the ones that work on their own vehicles and they can teach you the little things that make a job easy or hard. you can make a lot of friends by having some beer in your fridge and also taking some over to another guy's house when you go to help him.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 01:29 PM   #9
Crazyray2929
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We were well known at the junkyards and they would give us parts for free or next to nothing...Of course a couple of pizza's and 12 pak every now and then goes along way...we would practice on these parts and 95% of the time we got it right...We used our manuals,and word of mouth...I didn't have a computer in the mid 80's...My buddy had a huge garage and was full of spare rebuilt parts that we fixed and we would swap the out for broken parts and some $$$...yeah we just kinda jumped in there and hung on..It was a blast...so get your hands dirty,you might like it !!!
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Unread 05-18-2009, 01:52 PM   #10
Lifesgoodhere
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i thought I could do the wiring harness, till I had an electrical fire....taking it to a local place having them do it. They said I could help and they wouldn't charge anything.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 02:09 PM   #11
blutowski
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i work in a garage full of mechanics. you'd be amazed at some of the crap they pull. id rather do it myself, and know whats going on in my rig........ besides, you have to find an older mechanic. most of the kids come outa trade schools. and have no idea where to start if they cant plug into a scanner.......... plus im always broke. that'll make ya learn how to do stuff yourself in a hurry!
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Unread 05-18-2009, 07:00 PM   #12
1980tallcj7
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My attitude goes something like this:

these pros that do this for a living have far less brains than I do, so why shouldn't I do it if I have the time. ....besides I don't think their work is worth 80-90 bucks an hour
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Unread 05-18-2009, 07:28 PM   #13
JeepHammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgreve View Post
I completely agree
the best teachers are the ones that work on their own vehicles and they can teach you the little things that make a job easy or hard.
That depends ENTIRELY on the caliber of your "TEACHER"!

"...you can make a lot of friends by having some beer in your fridge and also taking some over to another guy's house when you go to help him.[/QUOTE]

Find someone that actually KNOWS what they are doing,
and follow them around doing the 'Dirty Work' for them and you will make 'Friends' with someone that CAN do you some good.

The questions is WILL it do you any good?

Some guys won't reciprocate the work,
(shame on them! )

Personally, I have a bad back, so having a 'Tool Monkey' to dive under something when a wrench is dropped,
or to wrestle a transmission or differential around while I'm trying to clean/rebuild it is a great thing to have...
And that 'Tool Monkey' will learn how to do what ever it is I'm working on,
PLUS,
He'll have access to me and my SPECIALTY TOOLS when he's ready to do his projects.
Nothing like having the proper dial indicators, pinion depth tools, ect. when you go to do differentials,

Or to have the correct spring compressors, snap ring pliers, measuring tools, ect. when you go to a transmission!
-----------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1980tallcj7 View Post
My attitude goes something like this:

these pros that do this for a living have far less brains than I do, so why shouldn't I do it if I have the time. ....besides I don't think their work is worth 80-90 bucks an hour
Speak for yourself, and do it out of the back side of your neck like you just did...

I'm one of those "Pros" with "Far Less Brains than you", and I'm sure you would do well to hold my lunch in most things...
When I start seeing your patents, seeing your companies show up then I'll consider having you into the shop to sweep the floors....

When you acquire $200K or $300K of specialty tools for doing the jobs quickly and correctly,
Then, and ONLY THEN, can you even hope to keep up with the 'STUPID PROS' that do this every day!
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Unread 05-18-2009, 10:43 PM   #14
redhawk4
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My experience is that some times using a pro can be great especially if it's something that requires special tools, specialist knowledge or if it's a heavy tedious job I can't be bothered with.

The biggest problem is who are the pro's?, often you quickly find that you know far more than the alleged professional. There are some great places as well, where they amaze me how quickly they can do a quality job, but they are definitely in the minority. "If you want a job doing properly do it yourself" seems to often apply. On my own vehicles I very rarely have other people work on them, I just don't trust someone to do a satisfactory repair. This is based on the bad experience we've had with our used truck dealership and "professional mechanics". It's amazing how many of my business partner's vehicles, I've ended up having to fix after he's paid professionals a fortune to fix. They throw parts at the job with out proper diagnosis and so the trucks come back with the same issues or with a lot of unecessary parts used on some simple issue. I'm convinced a lot of these places get away with murder because the average customer knows nothing and they can BS their way out of anything and make the customer pay through the nose for their incompetence until they finally get it right.

Make sure you know a "professional's" reputation before you dive in or you can certainly live to regret it and end up with a perfectly good vehicle ruined.
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Unread 05-19-2009, 06:06 AM   #15
CJ7VFR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepHammer View Post
That depends ENTIRELY on the caliber of your "TEACHER"!
Find someone that actually KNOWS what they are doing,
and follow them around doing the 'Dirty Work' for them and you will make 'Friends' with someone that CAN do you some good.

...so having a 'Tool Monkey' to dive under something when a wrench is dropped,
or to wrestle a transmission or differential around while I'm trying to clean/rebuild it is a great thing to have...
And that 'Tool Monkey' will learn how to do what ever it is I'm working on,
PLUS,
He'll have access to me and my SPECIALTY TOOLS when he's ready to do his projects.

I agree with this 100 percent.

When I first got my Jeep 17 years ago, the only things I knew about working
on cars was how to change the oil, spark plugs, basic stuff like that. I had
always bought new cars, so other than those things, I never really needed to
know how to do bigger jobs.

But owning an old Jeep is a different story.

I like to learn how to do things myself, and I am very lucky to have a friend that
is an automechanic who also seems to have been born with a great mechanical
sense of how things work. We have been friends for over 30 years.

Whenever I have needed to replace or fix something, I would ask him about it,
and he would tell me it would be an easy fix. Yeah, for him maybe, because
he had done that job a million times, but for me, who has never done it, it was
kind of intimidating.

But, I would ask for his help and guidance, and I would be the one on the ground,
under the Jeep turning the wrenches, while he was telling me what to do. This way
I was learning how to do it, and he was staying clean and laughing at me when
my face would be covered in grime!!

And if there was ever a time that he knew something would require his special
touch, he would tell me, and jump right in to make sure it was done correctly.

I guess I would call him a mentor in this respect. I feel that I have learned more
from "doing" things myself with his help, than I would have ever learned on my own just
blindly going about the job.

Its like having a service manual that talks, and tells you what to do, and how to
do it, step by step, so I can learn by doing instead of just watching.

Jim
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