Register now to get rid of these ads!

Turning a wrench... A dying skill?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. This has been a sore subject for years. I tried hiring kids out of Denver Adult Day Care years ago....One kid I sent to the back shop to check timing on an old Ford...He was gone for like 45 minutes...Finally comes up to the office and asks where the distributor is? I think the art is still out there, few and far between. Maybe just the cars they choose to build are different....who knows, in my world the old stuff worked didn't it?
  2. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    That's ok, just come back in 30 years when you're evolving into a moaning old fart.
  3. Beau
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,883


    I found it circulating through a bicycle forum. But it holds true for most things.
  4. Indychus
    Joined: Jun 9, 2010
    Posts: 134

    from Irmo, SC

    I remember both my father and grandfather complaining that people couldn't fix their own cars anymore when I was a little kid. That was almost 30 years ago. Now I catch my self thinking the same thing. But it's a crock of shit.

    While pushing my daughter around the neighborhood in her stroller, we walked past a kid who was 13 if he was a day, welding exhaust up under an old packard. A few houses down there was a guy wrenching under the hood of a late model mustang.

    I think it's an elitist point of view. It's easy to say that you fix your own stuff, but no one else does. Take a look around and there are lots of backyard builders and rodders out there. A lack of solid old cars forces them to build newer stuff, and tightening regulations about what you can and can't do in your own garage don't help either.
  5. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,501


    Here's the link for it.
  6. Beau
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,883


  7. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 8,128


    Years ago every gas station had service bays so even when the cars were simple there must have been a bunch of people who could not turn a wrench so it looks like only a certain amount of people have mechanical skills in every era.
  8. carcrazyjohn
    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 4,844

    from trevose pa

    give me the older stuff anyday,I had to buy the wife a van this summer,Bad body control module around 800 bucks and I know the thieves at the dealership would of hit me up for the tranny code,Which the bcm was causing....I;; still try..........
  9. Im a twenty year toyota tech vet.Be careful all us masters and MDTs are finding that knowledge can make you expendable.Keep your options open.
  10. Indeed.

    I got caught up in a thread just the other day with some folks who were expressing their opinions about how more and more parts and accessories for our old rides are coming from [a certain Asian country]. I thought the topic was pretty damned relevant but the HAMB Thought Police came by and shut the thread down anyway.

    For the life of me I can't figure out why this one has been allowed to continue on for as long as it has. :confused:
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  11. Amen to that, Midnightoil
  12. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,269


    Funny topic....
    I'm actually in the middle of an engine swap in a '98 Ford Expedition....owner neglected to check the oil and a rod decided to skip town.....
    For some dumb reason I said I'd swap in another Boy was that stupid. Having an engine tucked UNDER the firewall, requiring the entire top of the engine to come off to get to trans bolts sucks ass.....

    My fingers hurt.......and haven't been soooo dirty in cars leak oil too ya know....haha

    These new cars are getting the best of me..........
  13. tjmercury
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 589


    I'm sure a few of you all have noticed as well, but it amazes me how many cars are now left on the side of the road just because it has a flat tire! I just turned 30, and if I called my Dad to come pick me up because of a flat, he'd kick my butt!
  14. Damn Yankee
    Joined: Aug 6, 2006
    Posts: 28

    Damn Yankee

    Amen to that sir back in 1980 the shop went to a Team system. I'f a tech was good, and could make 60 hours a week,he now had to share his hours with a 30 hour a week tech. I was surprised,after a short time anybody was still alive. the service manager didn't care, he was too busy,doing and selling coke with his service writers. ahh the good times.
  15. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    maybe but quieter, safer(?) and puts out less pollution? are you a hotrodder or a tree hugger?ive got a bunch of ols cars and a few new one(the wifes), want to quess which ones get driven more.
    Joined: May 30, 2007
    Posts: 710


    I just spent 3 days touring a bunch of hands-on educational choices and jobs. Long story short, yes things have changed, however there is hope. There are many technical opportunities out there that have not gone away as expected. There is a huge need in these areas and they pay very well. Some of the areas that may interest us are machining, welding, and of course automotives. Yes, things are more high tech, however, the hands-on stuff has not gone away. These type of careers are now called "middle-skilled" and will grow by 10% of the workforce in the next 10 years. The myth that computers would take over everything is simply that, a myth. The high need in these middle-skilled areas is the result.

    With all that said, wrench-on!!
  17. Rockabilly E
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 38

    Rockabilly E
    from oregon

    Maybe people will be forced to learn.When a dealer wants $2,200 for a flywheel,clutch kit and labor on a 2005.Independents arent much cheaper.I am doing it as a favor but they are still in it for $1,150 in parts.
  18. D-fens
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 369

    from Huntsville

    I worked for VW for 5 years (you gotta start somewhere). Most of the work we did was warranty, because the service writers were wimps and couldn't sell the work, or they'd bend over for the customer and charge it to warranty.

    The dealership had a warranty admin we called The Warranty Witch, and wow did she live up to it. She had a system where if VW said it took six hours to swap out a motor, the tech got paid for six hours. Then she would go back and cook the books to get the dealership paid for all the little side operations (swapping accessories, trans, filling the cooling system, like that). Again, tech gets six hours, but the dealership gets like 40.

    The general manager knew what was up, but she was making big bank for the dealership so everybody including the shop foreman was looking the other way. VW came in and cold busted them with an audit and still nothing happened.

    Subject came up in a meeting that the techs weren't happy with the situation, and the general manager yelled something like "I don't give a shit if the techs are happy, I can get trained monkeys to change oil and rotate tires!!"

    As a result, I will go hungry and / or homeless before I turn wrenches for a dealership again.
  19. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,200


    I still do all of my maintenence,and a good chunk of my mechanical.All the mechanics that work for themselves think they're worth 130.00 per book hour,the dealership is cheaper.Everybody should quit their whining and buy a bus pass...
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  20. 23crate
    Joined: Oct 6, 2010
    Posts: 170

    from nz

    good post ,, reminds me of the olden days when i was a lad... i knew nothing so i read stuff, asked questions of those who knew , hung out and pestered anyone whod put up with me,, even did a tech course at nights and saturday mornings,, end the end i could set timing by ear, even my mechanic freind couldnt do better with his timing light,,,
    nowadays i can still almost hear each cylinder sparking up on a well tuned smallblock at idle ...
    the most im bothered with on a rice rocket is checking the oil and thats only when it starts to rattle...
    takes all the fun out it -- almost

    im sure we can all relate in some way ,,, real cars dont need computers and plastic, jeez what a fire risk ( ooh a blessing in disguise!)
  21. robyyo
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 236

    from Orange CA

    I'm 32, nearly 33, and I've been wrenching on all my vehicles since I was 17, be it my 69 firebird, 53 Chevy, 91 Silverado or my wife's 06 Jeep. I know I'm in the minority when it comes to my peer group but there are still some of us out there. My daughter's 7 months old and you better believe she will know how to wrench on her car when she's an adult.
  22. BAD ROD
    Joined: Dec 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,535


    I totally agree with those that indicate it might be easier to work on new cars. That has been my experience. I work on and modify all year cars. EVERYTHING is easy once you understand it. The computer makes trouble shooting a snap. :)
  23. spragg
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 50


    I think it might depend on where you live. I work at a dealership with 12 techs, only 4 over 30.

    When I started in 2000 lots of old guys told me the job sucked and I should get out while I can. I am glad I never listen, its been great to me and I always encourage the young apprentices to stick with it. You can make a good living turning wrench in this part of the world.

    Lots of us young guys are into old cars, don't worry I wont be the only one at your estate auctions trying to scoop up all the 32s for $1000.
  24. Gasser1961
    Joined: Nov 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,104


    Lots of people are saying the "car hobby" and "hot rodding" are dying out. Last night I went to the Bakersfield Nitro Night. The pits were packed with cars. Not older stuff, late model cars hauling ass. The car hobby is alive and well, just late model stuff. Why run a 80 year old flathead when you can run a LS. The young guys are just into different types of cars.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  25. GirchyGirchy
    Joined: Mar 17, 2011
    Posts: 242

    from Central IN

    So I'm either one or the other? Fail to see how that matters, I was simply pointing out some facts. You can't really dispute any of those. And the original comment was about a DD, and 99.9% of people in the US don't want a hot rod as a DD.

    Hey, if you like pollution, move to China...they have plenty to spare. Without environmental regs we'd be just like them.

    FWIW I wouldn't say I'm either one of those descriptions. I don't own a car I could post on here (hope to someday), but I've loved cars and hot rods from day one and I love seeing what people on here have. As for being a tree hugger, not sure what that means - if you call someone that for enjoying clean air and not wanting garbage everywhere, then that's your call.

    Either way I do wrench on my own stuff.
  26. I spent yesterday ripping into the 98 Accord that I keep around as a spare car.

    I don't find the late model stuff to be intimidating at all....just irritating because you typically have to remove 10 unrelated things to get access to the one thing that needs attention. This is especially true on front wheel drive stuff where they've got a lot of crap stuffed sideways in a tiny engine bay.

    The OT Toyota Tacoma that I just sold of the easiest vehicles to service and repair that I've ever owned.

    Yeah...I used to avoid working on the OT stuff, but my father-in-law will tear into his driveway (because his garage is crammed with junk)....with minimum tools.....and is successful 99% of the time. Once I started hanging out with him and seeing how fearless he was with the late model stuff, I said 'screw it' and started tackling that stuff myself as well.
  27. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    well your FACTS are to be disputed.and as far as 99.9% not wanting to drive a hotrod for a dd. id beg to differ with you.where in the hell did you come up with that # afr as moving to china.we wont have to because they will own us anyway in the not so distant future.and all you gov. regulations are why thing are so damn high now.ever price getting anything chromed lately.hell in some cities you cannot wash your car in your driveway because of waste water runnin down the curb.and you know exactly what i mean by tree hugger. you cannot have your cake and eat it to my i dont want garbage everywhere. thats what dumps are for. and as far as clean air.give up the factories that make the stuff we use and loose more jobs and give up your car becauase they all pollute. we must have some kind of pollution control but at what expence.if you want to talk about pollution laws we can do it by messages, no need to take up the forum here.
  28. Hey, if you like pollution, move to China...theyhaveplenty to spare. Without environmental regs we'd be just like them

    You should know your history.
    At one time, prior to the industrial revolution, the US was as wild and backward as any place Im earth. There was tremendous growth and industry that was unregulated. This has two sides, one there is no restraint on growth, innovation, profitably and further growth. The other side is that labor force was abused, no regulation, and no concern for pollution, spoiled ground water and the lot of bad things.

    The US had its turn at exponential growth, and because of it we were in a super power position and world leader on many fronts. Yes it had its costs and problems. Now the US has fell to just shy of a skreetching halt. It's chinas turn now, they will experience all that we did - and God help us all if they ever decide to stop trading with us.

    Too tight of regulations and the profitably is gone, along with it go the jobs. Manufacturing the goods we use is the basis of the economy. Our basis is gone.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  29. 302aod
    Joined: Dec 19, 2011
    Posts: 275

    from Pelham,Tn.

    I started working at dealerships in 74. Started rebuilding everything, Bet no youngsters know what a growler is. The labor rate was $9.00 when I started, we got 1/2 untill in the early 80s. Most techs are parts replacers now. If the scanner says it's this, then it's not, they don't know how to go any farther. If a vehicle quit on vacation, not having a scanner, all I could do was know if it was fire or fuel. I have a 94F150 with 252k and a 64F100. Borrowed my daughters Fusion to go to a funeral out of state. That v6 would fly.
  30. 302aod
    Joined: Dec 19, 2011
    Posts: 275

    from Pelham,Tn.

    Always thought it just wasn't fair, When doctors are wrong they charge you again and try something else. Weather men are hardly ever right, but they get paid.
    When Mechanics don't fix it the 1st time they have to fix it free. We even tell doctors what the problem is, older cars couldn't tell us what the problem was.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.