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why is there so many basic mechanic questions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by eugene vik, Dec 7, 2012.

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  1. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,544


    The old sage was Abraham Lincoln. I'd say if you don't want to answer a question you think stupid, move on to another thread. Sure there are lots of not well thought out questions posted, but the poster doesn't mean to annoy you. People are here to learn. And, what seems like a stupid question that the poster might be able to look up-if he had the resources and knew where to look, might not be stupid to them.

    We all have different skill sets. I'm pretty lost trying to deal with carb innards and a sequential (OT) tail light is driving me nuts, but I can take apart and fix your dog's blown out knee. I'd bet if you started on that, even with some texts, you have a couple of dumb questions. So please pardon my ignorance-it's one reason to be on the HAMB.
  2. 53 COE
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 688

    53 COE
    from PNW

    This thread had me look up what an Audle book is..... Although did not teach me that direct.

    Heck I just figured out that OT must mean off topic - kept thinking it was related to members newer cars the way it is often used.

    Bodywork is my thing, and limited at that - can always learn more. When the 472 Cadillac engine in my COE project skipped a tooth or two on the distributor gear this Summer - it took me quite a while to figure it out. The internet finally answered the problem by searching with the right question - and it was the wife doing the searching.

    It was thru a suggestion on a HAMB thread like this that everyone should own a MOTORS manual - that I went to - yes the internet aka eBay - and bought one for the Cadillac just for the engine section. It did help greatly for the timing chain work. And I have had that engine for over 20 years with no manual.

    The thing that gets me on the web is all the false info - and all the people ready to jump down your throat. So if you ask the question in an open forum or thru Google - it isn't always helpful.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  3. Nonstop
    Joined: Jun 18, 2012
    Posts: 176

    from CA

    My 2 cents.....

    I learned a lot of things from my father, who used to race in the 60's. He showed me how to do damn near anything on my cars. He also taught me plumbing, home repair, and anything else. I had a leak on my roof this week. One call to him to ask how to go about fixing it led to him up with me on the roof that afternoon in his Dockers and sweater after he got off work showing me how to do it. My Dad taught me the skills and, just as important, the confidence, to at least attempt to fix these types of things.

    As mentioned, lack of role models plays a part in this, along with schools not offering shop classes, and a lot of other contributing factors. In high school, there were plenty of us that could adjust carbs and set points. We turned to each other for help. Drive past a high school today and count the cars that likely have a carb. The cars are newer than anything I can buy. We had our own collective of knowledge. That has gone to the way side with this younger generation. As for me, no one in school or college for that matter, had a car from the 50's. This is a relatively new territory for me, and I am sure I have or will ask a stupid question. Do not consider myself lazy or uneducated, so if it is dumb, sorry but please deal with it and help me or moe on. If you have the time to post a complaint or bitch about it, you have the time to help.

    Conversely, how many old timers are on the tuner and Honda forums? The knowledge is harder to find on a daily basis.

    Only time I have a problem answering a question I can help with is when the poster has an attitude.
  4. I find it comical when people talk about how they "went to the library" back in the if there's something more noble about the library. It's filled with books that were written by human beings capable of making errors.

    I've used youtube videos countless times to learn how to tear into modern engines and suspensions.

    Just the other day I watched a video on how to swap out a CV Joint in a late model Honda including a super sweet trick for popping loose the lower A-arm. I watched it four or five times, then went out into the driveway and whooped it's ass. It was awesome.

    I'd guess if you "holier than thou" library types had the internet when you were young, youd've used it too.

    I'm 43 and was out of the house and gone by the time the internet became what it is, but I get sick and tired of the holier-than-thou trash I read about how today's kids are somehow lesser creatures than those of the past. I personally know many of them....teach them stuff in my garage and mentor them in things like Boy Scouts and the Civil Air Patrol.

    I suggest you stop whining about things and go find some youngsters to teach some things to....with a teacher's heart.
  5. Bingo, the new generation is so protected of themselves by the new way of teaching and government it's ridiculous. They are afraid of actually doing something on their own and failing, that's not politically correct "failure". They want their hand held through the whole process so if it doesn't work the first time they can blame someone else.
    I see this on a daily basis, my stepson carries a 99.67 average in his senior year of high school with advanced college courses thrown in. He can't mow the lawn because it's mathematically incorrect to go around a tree that's not perfectly round while laying out the perfectly graphed course. It's the tree's fault for not being round ! It's the high-way dept. fault for not painting a line to follow while learning to drive.
    Yes I know it all to well..........
  6. To the OP .... "aint no thang" <wink>
  7. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 13,150

    from KCMO

    Euugene ya Awnry old fart ;)

    I skimmed most of this thread and figured I'd put my 2 cents in.

    In short to go along with what others have already said with no shop classes and what we are working with now is supper antiquated where it was brand new in your day.

    1: the books you used to find so easy to learn from no longer exist with out a huge hunt, I don't know the last time you visited a library or book store but they don't even make encyclopedia's any more. Most people don't even know what they are.

    2: because of this most people have to find things via the web. Now I don't know how often you google old car questions but every time I do the HAMB is the first 50 results. So searching online IS searching the HAMB.

    3: in your day you could go to the junk yard and find a slew of the part your looking for or buy them off the shelf. Today people search for YEARS for a set of correct carburated because they havn't been made in 65 years and any re pops are garbage. So when after 5 years you get your eight 97 carbs and the last thing you want to do if fuck them up. So you look at the instructions for the rebuild kits and to be honest it's pretty vauge.

    So not wanting to dick up there now rare parts they look for advice from someone who's done it a million times and can give you real world advice. Where do you find some grumpy old man to tell you how to do it right? Where it won't take 4 months to get a reply? The HAMB!

    I think your complaint is honestly just you not seeing things in context. This stuff isn't every where anymore, and the people that know the good info are dying every day. How many of your hot rod buddy's still live down the street? Exactly.

    So if you want to see period correct old style hot rods and customs live on your going to have to indulge some 'stupid' questions. The best example I can think of is Scooter who's building that Hemi Briggs/Murray whatever modified.

    That guy didn't know shit about hemi's other then they were cool. He asked 9 bazillion questions from super eye rolling simple to very specific. Now he has build an amazing hotrod AND has gone a step further and put all that hemi info into tech article right here on the Hamb. So now when people do a search all that info shows up! That info will now. E funneled down for generations because it is written down and now the next person CAN just read it instead of asking tons of "stupid questions"

    Things are not like they used to be, and that's just how it is.

    ~ I intended no personal offense towards the original posted, I respect you as some one that actually was there, a vet, and as a person in general. But it doesn't mean you can't be a grumpy old man at the same time ;)
  8. carmuts
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 874


    I think some of this has to do with the economy. The Yuppies that used to be able to send their projects to Hot Rod shops are feeling the pinch also. Since few of them have any pratical shop experience they rely on those of us that do have it and are learning some things that others take as a daily part of life. I got away from cars in general for about 12 years as I was working 7 days a week, many of them 12 hr days. I had to use my mechanical skills on the machines at work almost constantly, but without use I have forgotten some of my fabrication fundementals and my electrical knowledge is rusty also. Now being unemployed I have the time to refresh some of this, but lack the funds for general supplies. Hoping for a new job soon that is not so intensive as far as hours at work, but still pays the bills so I can support my hobbie with things I sell on e-bay and such. Rod
  9. We've been over all this before but in my opinion, here are some of the challenges facing younger folks:

    1) Younger generations didn't grow up in a car focused culture so didn't have as much exposure to it

    2) They grew up in a time where things moved quickly and "immediate gratification" was the norm so they often have very little patience for taking the time to really learn something that may not be familiar to them.

    3) They grew up in a time where the educational focus was more about how you "feel" and less about critical thinking and rational problem solving.

    4) They didn't grow up in a "do it yourself, or do without" culture like we did.

    5) One of the challenges facing them may be too much information. With so many opinions and mis-information it's hard to know what is right and what isn't. That's why this forum is so awesome. The informed and the uninformed can all hash it out right here. I often come away with something I didn't know before, even though I've been doing this stuff for decades.

    6) As far as some people failing to seek out preliminary info before asking questions. It could be they are lazy but it could also be the fact that you don't know what you don't know and you have to start somewhere.

    That being said, I'm just happy that new people have enough of an interest in old cars to seek out info and are willing to I'm willing to help. Ask away!!
  10. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,197


    36-3Window pretty well nailed it in post 35.

    No shop classes in school these days due to the school administrators from the national level on down thinking that they are unnecessary as "everyone" needs a four year degree to succeed in life and then flip burgers due to the degree not being worth anything in the real world.

    In the 50's and 60's many school districts had great auto shop programs because for many guys it meant you could get a good job right out of high school after two or three years in shop class. Many of us older guys still have furniture in our homes or our parents homes that we made in wood shop, some have leather pieces that they made in leather crafts others have things that they made in the welding or metal shop in high school 40 or 50 years ago and almost all of us who had those classes years ago have most of the basic skills we learned in those classes that the school administrators now deem obsolete.
    Do the schools now even have home Economics classes that teach cooking and sewing and what not or have the "politically correctness " people got rid of those as being sexist or obsolete in the same wave that the "it's beneath your dignity to get your hands dirty earning a living" brigade has gotten rid of shop classes that teach real usable skills.
    My son does a ton of welding in the job he has and he is damned good at it but he leaned by having his buddy who had been through welding class in school and then in job corps teach him to weld using my welder out in the garage after they got done with work for the day. A lot of guy on here are learning basic mechanics the same way buy asking questions and having us older and more experienced guys answer the questions.

    One has to remember that we are a group with a wide and diverse background too. While there are those of us who make or made our living at working on cars or welding or fabricating in one form or another there are far more who never worked on a car and quite often never dreamed of working on a car until they one day bought their "hobby" car and all the sudden found themselves having to work on it or pay to have it worked on. They often have their own skills that are way beyond the reach of those who have the mechanical skills or knowledge. I can write detailed instructions on most steps of automotive repair on most pre 1980 vehicles but I damned sure can't write code to create my own computer program.

    Yes a lot of new to the hobby guys ask the same simple questions time and time again as the latest batch of new guys shows up. Some of us take the time to answer those questions time and time again and some of us see it as a chance to come up with a smart assed response intended to get a jab in at the newest fng. Reminds me a bit of when I was just incountry in Viet Nam in December 1968 and this kid kept up the you FNG this and you FNG that until I found out that he had only been in the unit four days longer than I had and he was taking out what had been thrown at him on me.

    For the guys and gals who are new to working on or building hot rods or customs.
    Take the time to do a bit of homework on your own. Instead of just looking at the pictures in that stack of rod magazines you have, go back and read each and every tech article even if the subject isn't on your priority list. Rebuilding a small block Chevy may not be on your "cool traditional things" list but a well written article that shows the steps for that carries on knowledge that can be used on almost any engine that you run into. They are all internal combustion engines and if they run on gas that doesn't have oil mixed in with it they run on four cycles= intake, compression, power and exhaust in that order. All have bearings of some sort, all have crankshafts, connecting rods, pistons, cam shafts, valve train pieces and valves. The construction might be different but the principle and basics are the same.

    Buy an older auto mechanics text book to study the basics out of. For our cars you want a pre 1980 book that covers carburetors and point type ignition and the theory behind each.

    Buy the factory shop manual for the model of car or truck you are working on even if most things are being changed in the process.
    Then buy the factory shop manual for the vehicle that the engine you have came out of. The older factory shop manuals were written at a very basic reading level and the writers didn't assume that the person reading it had a lot of knowledge about what they were putting in the book. The old blue Motor manuals are also real good but the Haynes and Chilton books on specific cars and trucks assume that the reader has more skill and knowledge than a lot of people actually have. Reading one of them can be like your 85 year old grandmother trying to decode your text message. The message is there but too much is left out assuming that you understand what they mean.
  11. Heo2
    Joined: Aug 9, 2011
    Posts: 661


    Well i dont know better way to learn and
    remember than making expensive or painful mistakes:D
  12. Foot Feed
    Joined: Mar 7, 2011
    Posts: 31

    Foot Feed
    from AK

    Yep, EVERYTHING you need to know is in a book. :rolleyes:


    The old timers that know what they are doing didn't get that information from a book.

    Nor are they going to write a book.

    They got it because it passed on to them.

    And some of them realize the only way that information is going to continue to survive the times, is IF they pass it along.

    As for the youth, look at today's cars. Wires and sensors and bullshit everywhere. Gives me a damn headache to pop a hood on a new car with all the crap going on under there. No wonder the kids have doubts on their abilities.

  13. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,726

    Tech Editor

    If it means that the HAMB works as a learning tool, I think its great.

    Helping somebody get started with some advise in the early stages of the learning curve could even be more important than the information a seasoned Hot Rodder is looking for.

    I hope we can do both...
  14. Thought the same idea....
  15. bobscogin
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,761


    This is 2012 calling. Come and join us!

  16. Hahaha. That's pretty funny. I live in both worlds. I love my old flathead but make my living on today's technology. And yes today's teenagers drive me nuts. But we have to take the dumb questions right along with the grumpy rants :)

    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
  17. 53 COE
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 688

    53 COE
    from PNW

    Exactly - And when you teach - you learn. Recently helped a young man get his 1970 VW Westy running - he is a friend of one of my three Sons. Turned out to be a bent fuel pump push rod - they have two lengths thru the years and often the wrong is installed and bends. Found the answer on the web myself - and we together fixed it with me handing him the wrenches.

    That same young man and his fiance' will be over tonight, he's going to help me get the hood back on my COE. Then sit down for dinner with the wife and I, and have a board game night. Young people that play board games too - they say their folks won't play board games. Go figure.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  18. buckaroo2869
    Joined: Dec 4, 2012
    Posts: 18

    from illinois

    I used to have a real nice extensive library. But inbetween moves and exes, im down to bare bones in reading material and they aint cheap to replace sometimes. Thats my so called flimsy ass excuse! Plus it gives me a chance to get on here instead of doin boring ass chores round the house lol!
  19. SteadyT
    Joined: Sep 11, 2007
    Posts: 482


    *Ding! Ding! Ding!*
  20. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,454

    from Michigan

    So everybody here, including the OP, learned everything they know by reading books on their own...without anyone else's help. Amazing.

    Concerning this terrible newbie issue...I've got an easy solution for you. Just don't answer any questions that you feel are beneath you.
  21. Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 480

    Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    from Outside

    The internet is the new replacement for books. If you think about it, people read a lot more these days than they did back in the book-only days. Just a fact.
  22. I'm not so sure about that,I was ask to go to books-a-jillion to pick up a book for a gift,,I stood in line for almost an hour,,I'll bet there must have been 200 people in that store.

    They wouldn't still be cranking out books if no one were reading them. HRP
  23. acmechris
    Joined: Sep 18, 2006
    Posts: 98


    The dumbest qustion I asked was the one I didn't.
  24. I dont think anybody was saying that somehow the library was "nobler". Maybe you are making that assumption. If that is anyones idea then they are misguided themselves. If the internet was available when I was a kid, damn straight I'd have use it. The point that was being made is you needed to invest a little more of yourself in the process by hauling your ass down there because that's all we had. You still have to read and watch stuff on here and invest time obviously. Youtube is an amazing resource not just for watching stupid featured video and trash pop culture.

    I'm with you on the fact that I hate hearing " oh kids today blah blah blah" I know lots of "kids" today that work and go to school and get good grades and do their chores, then will go to college and university. They are "engaged" in their lives and are investing in themselves. They have good parents that care.

    The ones that people yammer on about are the ones that are visible being "stupid" the good one are the ones they never see or hear about because they are busy moving their lives forward in a positive manner. Ironic really.
    Some are doing amazing things and really they should be when you look at the amazing things available nowadays.

    I applaud you in your mentoring :cool: I'm definitely a "teach a man to fish" type. I'm lucky that my father instilled a desire to do and learn in me and it is important for others to instill that in the young.:)
  25. gasolinescream
    Joined: Sep 7, 2010
    Posts: 614


    I think that when i see posts for fitting glass initially. I think FFS how hard can it be. Then i remember that i'm a Master Autoglazier with over 20 years experience and all the tools. So as basic as it may be, i help some out on posts as i know about this stuff and it feels good to contribute something to the HAMB.
    However i can't take an engine apart as i don't know what i'm doing and have no tools. So i'll ask someone and hopefully get a reply that will help me fix my own stuff and save some money. Basic question or not, they have to be asked as i'm not an all multi talented and qualified Auto Mechanic with a barn full of tools.

    Very inspiring and supportive attitude to those less fortunate or able .

    Best Regards

    The Less Fortunate

    Happy Christmas:rolleyes:
  26. Ranunculous
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,465


    A public library is a collection of places to source information,education,edification and entertainment.It's not the end-all,be-all;but where else do you find the resource you're desiring with the people who know how to present it to you?
    Best customer service there is too,bar none. It's free too...
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 359


    I think this thread is the biggest surprise to me of any that I have ever read on the HAMB. I hesitated at first to even open it thinking that it would be an open free for all to bash those that dared to ask a question that another member felt they should have known already or as some have pointed out, felt like they could have found the answer themselves through the different forms of available research. What I found were some pretty darn good well thought out reply's. Some points were made that I had really not given much thought to before. Our youth of today are different than when we were young and growing up but then the whole darn world has / is changing very rapidly so they have to change as well. Is all this change for the good? Not all of the changes are good in my opinion but some is just the way it is going to be no matter how hard we rail against the changes. Bottom line is this. If the biggest problem we encounter in our lives today is a less than well thought out question from a person we don't know and have never met, be very grateful, you don't have a problem #1 in the whole world.
  28. If some folks are finding people who ask dumb questions is getting up their nose, then maybe they should go out the back, grab a hanky, and have a good blow.
    ...heheh, your nose, dudes :)
  29. Sinister Sleds
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 44

    Sinister Sleds
    from Gloucester

    There are as many resons as posters.

    Some are looking for the easy answer
    Some to learn.
    Some are stumped.
    Some have a different skill set.

    When it boils down who cares. If you don't like the question or can't be bothered to answer then don't. Really no big deal either way.

    I was amazed the other day when one of the younger kids at the shop could not figure out how to start a 66' Mustang. Smart kid, but he had no idea that there was a choke. Now, this is a kid who drifts cars, changes and modifies turbos along with all the associated changes to an injected fuel system, modifies his suspension and other things assocated with racing. He had no idea that all you had to do was pull that knob and the car will start he never delt with a carb. Different experiences.
  30. Mooseman
    Joined: Apr 4, 2007
    Posts: 309


    This stuff goes both ways, some people get "Experiance ego" they get a few years under their belt get alot of experiance then anyone who knows less then them is not worth their time.

    I have been lucky to find nice people willing to teach, but I have seen the other side aswell where if you don't know everything the experianced guy does then you are an idiot and not worth their time.

    Everyone new nothing their first time. Personally I have no time for ego's.
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