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Folks Of Interest Crap sack mechanics , does anyone know why they do the work they do?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by VANDENPLAS, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. I was lucky when I entered the workforce. I ended up working at a dealership that the owner had been a mechanic in a Chrysler dealership in the 40s and 50s. In those days, he said, no one would help anyone. Everyone was on their own and it was kind of a toxic environment to work in, as in all knowledge was treated like a trade secret and if you were having trouble with something, or trying to learn, good. You would likely be long enough that maybe the next job would be doled out to the older more experienced guy that wouldn't help or offer advice. Anyway, the dealership I worked at was set up in such a way that helping others was encouraged, and for the most part, if the shop produced we all did well and the environment was friendly. When I opened my own shop I operated it in a similar fashion.

    That sort of environment breeds better work ethics, productivity and workmanship.
     
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  2. While I agree that 70% is too low, it’s not always the top academic student that I would say is the best mechanic, some people are book smart and have no hand skills and others have great hand skills and have trouble putting it on paper.


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  3. 59Tele
    Joined: Feb 5, 2016
    Posts: 72

    59Tele

    You hear about the plant in the math teachers office? Grew square roots.....
    What you address with the "curious mind" is what I would call "all knowledge is transferrable". You're correct that a stored piece of info might emerge at a later date, provided that it was filed in a place that would be the first place you'd look. That's fine. So why do I spend a third of my day searching for my 1)tape measure 2) pencil 3)utility knife? God forbid there's a flight of stairs involved.
    Let me tell you a story that happened about 45 years ago. Little back story first- I played music professionally for most of my life, no great shakes but I did 5 semesters at a good community college and sought out the hardest teachers in math and science and literature for no apparent reason: wasn't after any degrees or any of that shit that normal people strive for, just wanted to be the dumbest guy in the room for a while and see what happens. Playing guitar in Boston on the weekends made this affordable, paid my tuition and rent working 3 nights a week. Later on the guitar bought me a house in Maine, lots of 20-hour days what with the construction job day gig. I was young. Now I'm not.
    Anyhow, back around 1974 I was hanging out at my friend's music store in a very wealthy suburb north of Boston, and this, what's the word, uh, HILLBILLY comes in and says" Boy, lookit all them shiny geetars. You think I might play one of them?" My friend Jeff is a very accommodating person but he said "No, I don't think so". Well, this guy somehow got one of them shiny geetars in his hands and holy fuckoly could this guy play. I mean like Doc Watson kind of player only better. Come to find out, he was doing post-graduate work at MIT in nuclear physics. Yeah. MIT. Nuclear physics. I learned a very valuable lesson that day to never EVER judge a person on any criteria. Brilliance can just as easily come from the hills of Kentucky as the portal of Harvard. I've had a handful of life-changing lessons and that was definitely one of them.
    Kudos to the original poster- this has sorta morphed into the philosophical side of the site. While I love the shiny paint and finished projects, I L O V E the process that gets you there and the thoughts and experience and shared opinions. This might be just one small corner remaining where civility and respect and a common purpose rule the day. Yes, it's about cars but it's really about people. Am I missing something here?
     
  4. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 13,215

    tb33anda3rd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    everybody is great at something, everybody is really bad at something. some people just don't don't which is which.
     
  5. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 315

    sevenhills1952

    I had a good friend here who was an inventor, he unfortunately passed away a few years ago so I'm telling this from my memory as I remember the story he told me years ago. He went to Silicon valley in the 70s when computers were in their infancy and toured Microsoft (I'm pretty sure it was). After the grand tour he passed a room within the plant. "What's in there?" he asked. Long story short they allowed him inside where there was a guy from WV, long beard, bluegrass music playing on an old radio, he had a small kitchen, a bed, and his pet hound. He was busy programming, at the time my friend was told a top programmer.
    They had a meeting about some problem, this hillbilly in back of room raised his hand, he had solution written on scratch paper. One PhD guy said it was impossible, the hillbilly proved himself, the PhD guy got mad and left!
    As you say, never judge book by cover. There are lots of ways to do things, and some different creative things are amazing!

    Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk... Gary from Virginia
     
  6. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 506

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    :D
     
  7. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 2,183

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Sometimes - rarely - you get both. Saw this in the .mil, where the emphasis is always on getting shit done. If you've been to school, great. If it takes a hick farmer to get it done, that's OK too. Maintenance test pilots, instructors and the like mostly. Theory and aptitude. Some, not all, of the original moonwalker NASA astronauts were pulled from those fields. The initial plan was to grab guys from wherever till Eisenhower wisely made them focus on military test pilots with lots of hours.
     
  8. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 786

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    Moselli, I think your right. When I started my apprenticeship the first shop that hired my was a hack shop, we started drinking at noon, rebuilt slave and master cylinders sold them as new dealer parts, pulled tranny’s flipped burnt clutches over and sanded Steele’s to break the glaze and all sorts of other hackery, I stayed for 1 year just so I could put “ one year experiance on my resume.

    The next shop was great! The two guys I worked with had patience and knowledge taught me everything they knew, helped me succeed, allowed me to fail when they thought it would help me learn and over all learned a ton with them. Did my apprentice ship with them and when my buddy working at jag told me about the job offer my boss told me to jump on it as “ your done here, I’ve taught you all I can keep going and get better” so I did .

    I’ve seen it many times at the dealerships I worked at where a kid was an oil change and tire jockey for 5 years. Had “ book smarts “ so they passed there schooling and are now licencened mechanics who can barely fix a sandwich never mind a car. But now they are older, and working flat rate so time is money and the butchery starts, or fear of doing a job etc.
    Worked with many guys at Mazda and Toyota who would flat out refuse any engine or tranny job, spend days trying to diagnose something then walk away and say I’m done give it to someone else and have no shame on that , nor would they want to learn what’s the issue.

    I worked with a tranny rebuilder at a Chrysler dealer and me and him were talking and he flat out told me he would never train another guy again, as he was lead tranny guy at another dealer getting paid really good money, trained an apprentice and as soon as the apprentice was good they fired him and kept the apprentice at 1/2 his hourly rate.
    A big issue I see is owners just looking at the bottom line and don’t care about quality

    Crown forklift dealer up here is having big issues with techs as they have restructured and lost a lot of seasoned guys and now do “ hiring dumps”

    Hire 50 techs at one time have a big training session and hopefully end up with 5-6 decent guys
    Picked up parts one day and a manager there asks me “ you know what a grease gun is?”
    Yup
    “ your hired”

    Seems to be the thing now quantity over quality.
     
    williebill likes this.
  9. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,031

    wicarnut
    Member

    I will agree that it's a 2 way street on honesty, integrity, courtesy, It was an eye opener for me dealing with customers (corporations) I did very little work for individuals, I learned very quickly to document every change, additional work, etc. I was amazed at the lack of honesty with people involved, ( words mean nothing if not documented) quickly learned to pick and choose my customer base to avoid these problems. I asked more than one engineer/purchasing agent if he gets a kickback from the money he was trying to screw me out of, a meeting with upper management over this type of problem always got me my money, sometimes, somebody got fired and always end of that customer. Luckily, I hooked up with some good honest corporations/customers that were my base for many years and I survived 36 years.( Tool & Die/Pattern Shop) IMO in any business with longevity meets the criteria of skill, honesty, integrity with courtesy involved. Back to your business, dealing with the public is a tough bumpy road to ride, in all enterprises the good/bad comes with the deal, preserved my sanity and integrity by not letting anyone drag me down to their level, I have tried very hard to live my entire life this way and it seems to follow as all of my children seem to be on same path, something I am very proud of.
     
  10. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 2,183

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Well good story but let's not get carried away here. /jk
     
  11. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,408

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

     
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  12. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,408

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Company I worked for bought three new forklifts and got 2 years of service and warranty included. After the two years were up, we had to service them and found out they had never been greased. The paint was still on the fittings and the rear axle pivots were squeaking and the king pins were binding.
     
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  13. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 786

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    Engine man
    Those are called “ drive by pm’s”

    There’s a tech at the local crown dealer that’s cost roughly 100 g’s in damage as he was the servicing tech at a big warehouse the last 3 years

    Never did a pm some trucks are 3 years old never had an oil change or grease

    Just off lease and they are all junk
    Came to my place for an interview
    “ on paper” looks good interviewed well

    Some of the guys I work with called friends of there’s at Ryder and got the low down

    Just what I’m talking about “ crap sack mechanics”

    If you don’t have the knowledge , but the abilities almost anyone can be trained

    But if your a lazy hack, that’s all you will ever be and eventually your found out for what you are.
     
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  14. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 2,183

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    In the .mil maintenance guys called that Pencil Whipping i.e. "Smith must not have done anything, he was only out there a half hour so you know he just pencil whipped that shit."

    Big problem today in society generally, nobody has any fear of getting their ass kicked, or going to prison, or any consequences really, and everything is falling apart. Dealing with them is like talking to Pod People, they've been literally programmed to be absolutely useless.
     
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  15. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,408

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Too many people don't take pride in their work. Bosses like the guy that can do 12 PMs in a day and saves the company money by not actually doing them. We had a scissor lift that didn't pass inspection. They called in a company that inspected it and passed it. The machine was locked out so he never operated it.
     
  16. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 9,255

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I don't understand the last part of your comment.....please explain....thanks

    Ray
     
  17. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,865

    62rebel
    Member

    Locked out means it was physically disabled from running or being operated. And only a few people have the keys to remove lockout tags once they're installed, at least that's how it's supposed to work. We have to put gladhand locks on our "unsafe for movement" trailer chassis here to keep drivers from using them even with bad lights, bald tires, no brakes, etc...
     
  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 14,725

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    A lot of this is due to basic economics.

    Virtually ever able-bodied mechanic I know, who knows his or her stuff, inside and out, is able to, and has, found much better paying work doing something else.

    Show me one in San Francisco, and I can probably put a 1 in front of their current wage, if they really are that good.
     
  19. I'd be happy with just a zero
    :p:D

    On the end
     
  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 14,725

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    Which end?
     
  21. Some people are proud of their ignorance.

    Just look around....
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  22. I got out of fixing cars for a living in 1980, partly due to injuries from a car accident, partly because the trade sucked. Very few shop owners were interested in doing things right. I started in machine shops in 1981, was back working full time in 1983. I never looked back and made a ton more that I would have made fixing cars.
     
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  23. yeah, that would be the opposite of the front
     
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  24. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,304

    Jimbo17
    Member

    Some guy's who call themselves mechanics are really con men!

    A few years ago I knew a guy who was down on his luck and he told me that he had worked for many different car dealerships over the years which should have made me ask the question of why!!!!

    This guy did not charge very much for his work and in some cases I used to pay him more because I knew he needed money which should have been another tip off for why he always had no money even thought the day before I paid him in cash for a job he had done for me.

    He was a dam good little mechanic but he also had a different side to him as a con man.

    After changing a few timing belts, oil pumps and water pumps I noticed there was some oil under one of the cars on the floor.

    When I checked all of the bolts on the oil pan and the front cover for the timing belt I noticed many of the bolts where loose and not tight. Keep in mind he finished the job the day before!

    At that point I realized each time in the past that I had pointed this out to him that there was oil under a car he would say Jim I will recheck all the bolts and each time he did it I would thank him and give a few bucks for rechecking everything and that's when I realized he was conning me!

    Sad part is the guy was not a bad mechanic just not an honest one!!!

    Jimbo
     
  25. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 786

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    I stopped working on cars in 09
    Found after the economy to a shit the industry went to hell
    I was making six figures at one point and in 06 working at jag things started slowing down, big time customers were buying out there leases instead of re-leasing. The owner and gm of the dealer told us “ something bad” is happening as “these people “ ( Bay Street , Wall Street type business men) always know first.
    And yes it happened and those 15 plus hour days were gone and never came back.


    But I also blame the industry itself to many shops down play the knowledge and tooling required to be a competent shop/ mechanic. What I mean is the free diagnostic, free ac check up, $39.99 alignment $19.99 oil changes , pad slap cheap brake jobs. Think about it a good scanner is upwards of 10 g’s an ac machine is minimum 4 g’s and an alignment machine with a hoist is around 50 or more !!

    The industry cut its own throat by giving stuff away for free.

    Doing Forklift’s and Heavy equipment, although heavier and dirtier the money is great and dealing with customer is much more easy “ just fucking fix it” is a phrase I hear a lot now

    Where in automotive it was $400 for brakes??? Na, I’ll shop around!
     
  26. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,304

    Jimbo17
    Member

    While we are talking about crappy mechanics it's not just mechanics but also transmission shops that I find not be very honest!!!
    Let me explain my son had a 2006 car with an automatic transmission that was not shifting right and down shifting and he took it to a transmission shop which told me it need a complete rebuild for about $3,000 dollars.

    After taking it to another transmission shop he received the same bad news.

    I usually do not work on transmissions but my son tells that he saw this video on U-Tube on how to fix the problem and all you needed was an $85.00 dollar kit which included a few new solenods along with the instructions for how to install everything.

    I told him I did not think it would work but if he wanted to purchase the kit I would help install everything.

    To my surprise it worked perfectly and when we started the car and took it for a ride it swifted just like it did when the car was brand new.

    I started thinking about all the those cars lined up outside the transmission shop waiting to get their transmissinons rebuilt and wondering how many of the them could be fixed after purchasing an $85.00 kit.

    I asked a guy at a car show who owns a transmission shop if he had ever heard of fixing transmissions this way and he looked at me and said yes and it does work.
    He then said Jim I have never told anyone their car needed a $3,000 rebuild if I thought it could be fixed for a lot less but he also told me I know many transmissions shop that do this exact same thing everyday of the week and make a lot of money doing it.

    Before you shell out thousands to rebuilt your next transmission do a little homework first and you just might save yourself a bundle of money!

    Jimbo
     
  27. That gets people in the door. Then the shop makes up a sense of urgency on BS work and quotes the customer huge prices. Some of the greedy people who want free stuff bite on it.

    My buddy had about the same philosophy on women. That was if he walked into a bar and asked 100 women " want to fuck" ,,, and not one syllable more ,,, that he might get slapped 99 times. I've watched it happen and never saw him go past 20 and in less than 15 mins he was outside with some bimbo. He had no standards at all.

    Sadly he fell asleep at wheel of a VW van and rear ended a parked semi.
     
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  28. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 2,183

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    I have thought about that many times, because it is not particularly unusual for a simple relatively inexpensive fault to also mimic a major defect or expensive repair. Readers Digest many years ago had an interesting "undercover" auto repair scam expose. They simply loosened a plug wire off a plug so as to cause uneven idle and took the car in to numerous shops for diagnostics and repair. The results were amazing. Everything from re-install wire - "No Charge"; to "You need a new engine." Hm.

    This kind of thing was another indirect reason Detroit lost so much market share in the 1970s and 1980s. Everyone was tired of repair shops taking them to the cleaners. The small imports just didn't need servicing and repair in the first place as such, so not as much opportunity at least to get gouged by crooked shops. A win-win.

    Someone who is not mechanically inclined or savvy is really at the mercy of the firm and the temptation is there.
     
  29. I got shopped when I was doing alignments. The customer with the car happened to be one of my old instructors where I got my AAS. I thought it was HIS car, but it was a bait car. I found a couple of bad things with the front end, tie rod end and an idler arm IIRC. He said he would fix it and would come back for the alignment. Months later there was an article in the local paper, an expose of front end shop scams. We were one of the 2 shops that gave him an honest evaluation of what the car really needed.
     
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  30. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 786

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    Worked at a Toyota dealership where at first it bugged me but it made complete sense .

    They got burned once with a tech calling brakes when they did not need replacing

    So every brake job got measured ( pads,rotors,shoes,drums
    Tires got measured etc
    And either the service manager or shop foreman would come over and take a quick look at all work being “up sold”
    Just to have 4 eyes on it and confirm if tranny fluid is burnt or brakes needing done etc.

    So if the customer wanted a second shops opinion
    we pretty much guaranteed that another shop could not call us crooks

    They could say we were expensive but not dishonest

    I liked that aspect of it as it kept everyone honest
     
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