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Technical WORST MECHANIC EVER............

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ekimneirbo, Sep 29, 2021.

  1. gregsmy
    Joined: Feb 11, 2011
    Posts: 107

    from Florida

    While at a Ford dealership in the 80's they hired a mechanic by the name of Zach. Big tall guy and he had this huge Snapon roller cabinet with the hutch in the middle. Heck you had to be that tall just to get to see in some of the drawers. Had his own coffee maker and snack box as well. We thought this dude was the "$hit". I think he lasted 3 months. Almost every job he worked on came back, hence we coined the term "zach back" for all the jobs that had to be redone.
  2. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,091

    from Oregon

    Not sure if he was the worst, but I think he certainly wasn't far from it! My parents had a big late 60's Buick back in the 70's, and while on vacation the engine began to overheat. My brother in law owned a gas station-garage not far from where they were, so they took the car to him to diagnose and fix it.
    He removed the radiator and sent it out to be checked, and it came back as nothing wrong. So he pulled the heads on the 425 and put new head gaskets on it. Started it up, and it overheated again. So off to the local wrecking yard where he found a 455 Buick engine, and dropped it in dad's car. Started it up, and it overheated again!
    Finally my dad gave up, and limped it home about 150 miles, making numerous stops to let it cool down until he got to my house. We let it cool down, and a few hours later I had him start it up, and it sounded great, but when I went to the tailpipe to listen it was extremely quiet! I put my hand over the tailpipe and told him to rev it up, but very little exhaust pressure came out.
    We shut it off, and after jacking it up, I cut the exhaust in front of the muffler, as I figured the muffler was plugged. But when we restarted it the exhaust was still very quiet! I began to cut the inlet pipe a foot at a time until I saw a huge blister inside the pipe that had nearly closed off the exhaust! I cut out almost 3ft. of pipe before I had completely removed the blister on the double wall exhaust pipe!
    Welded in a new length of inlet pipe, and the car ran perfect again! I called my brother in law and asked if he'd ever considered going to the tailpipe and simply listening to the exhaust before spending all the time and money on dad's car. Of course he hadn't and was embarrassed to hear a plugged exhaust was all that caused the overheating. He closed his doors later that year, and lost the shop. I never wondered why.
  3. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,230

    from Ioway

    Who do you think actually invented all that test equipment, procedures, and wrote the training manuals and curricula for Vo-Tec schools? All those grizzled gray beards who tested shit the old fashioned way, that's who. They also learned how to avoid rolling the Sun machine out and hooking it up, because they could sniff out problems almost telepathically.

    The step by step, process of elimination, "divide by half" logical troubleshooting method, they are interesting to read the old books just from the sheer genius of some of those guys. Today? Just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo bullshit. "DO NOT INGEST CONTENTS OF BATTERY"

    A scope can pinpoint quickly some of the basic stuff that the old hands might find by way of long experience just as fast, but they can also diagnose more wacky stuff right away that is harder to troubleshoot without test equipment, a lot of problems only show up when hot or other specific conditions. Even back in the day, "New" parts didn't necessarily mean "good" parts.

    I had a shop guy tell me the Sun machines were strictly for show, to impress the customers. Wonder how impressed his customers were back in the day without one? I dunno.
    MBog, Cymro, X-cpe and 6 others like this.
  4. '51 Norm
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 752

    '51 Norm
    from colorado

    My son calls that vodoo mechanics.
    samurai mike, MBog and Truck64 like this.
  5. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,963

    from Napa

    Careful they don't put a root on his ass lol
    Joined: Aug 1, 2009
    Posts: 690

    from 94577


    For a nylon coated cam sprocket, that isn't too bad for wear. ~40K miles on that chain at most.
    Worn is when the nylon is gone, cam sprocket teeth are worn down to razor sharp peaks, none of the links line up on the chain, arch is out of the toothed links, and the crank sprocket looks like a well worn chew toy.

    But being that the end links are actual full plates and not inverted teeth links, that may just be a replacement timing set. Which would make that engine probably in the 150K mileage range.

    Nothing like sliding your forearm into the deep murky abyss of a gunky oil pan, praying you find all the cam sprocket nylon teeth bits, so you don't have to pull the oil pan and clean out the oil sump pickup with your favorite pick.
    The Magic Ratchet and Boneyard51 like this.
  7. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,357


    I have to agree with that! Back in the seventies, I had a 534 Ford Firetruck engine that I was having a running problem. Out of frustration I replaced all ignition parts with new SMP parts! Very good parts, back then. Still wasn’t running just right. So I scheduled to take it to the Ford Shop as they had a Sun scope. The Sun operator hooked it up, ran the test, pointed to the screen and told me, I needed new wires, and my cap was bad, and I needed new points, and my coil was weak! ………
    I paid him and went back to my shop, and figured it out myself! I was really disappointed in that outing!

  8. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,357


    Mad Mike, you just reminded me of an event that happen to me many years ago. My personal car had a V-6 with timing gears. Well they broke and I took the front cover off and the fiber cam gear was broken in pieces and some of those pieces were in the pan! No way I could get my hand/arm in there. My five year old son was at the shop “ helping” me. I looked over at his little arm…. I picked him up put him in front of the engine and he was able to clean that pan! His head swelled to twice it size …..that he could do something his Dad couldn’t! Great memory! Thanks Mike!

    Joined: Aug 1, 2009
    Posts: 690

    from 94577

    I mean, isn't that why we have kids, so they can grab the tool dropped down by the engine mount.
    VANDENPLAS, raven, Chavezk21 and 6 others like this.
  10. cshades
    Joined: Sep 2, 2011
    Posts: 520

    from wi

    i worked in a gm dealership back in the 80's i was in my early 20's. they hired a new guy in his 40's that had an impressive resume, it was too bad he really didnt know anything but he was fun to watch. one day they gave him a mid 70's monte carlo with a 350 to fix and oil leak on. he decided the leak was coming from the seal between the pan and the timing cover, he got the ok to replace the seal and he did. He starts it up after the repair and it is still leaking. He takes it apart and puts it together 3 times and it still leaks. I was asked to look at it when he had it apart for the 4th time. i walked over to his stall and looked at the timing cover on the bench. I showed him the groove in the cover from the worn out timing chain and asked if he happened to see this spot and he said that he didnt think that small wear spot should leak. if you held it up you could see light through it. He did a bunch of stupid things like that, then hurt his back and was out for a few months on work comp. He came back and screwed up a few more things and they decided to let him go. So he comes into the shop the next morning to get his tool box, he is driving the car that he bought from the dealership but had not made any payments to them on. the dealers owners son told him he could use the car to take his box home and the wash rack guy would go with him to bring the car back. the guy and the wash guy take off and the wash guy comes back walking, he pulled over about 5 blocks away from the dealership and told the wash guy to get out. He then sued the dealership for disability because of his back. he did collect for a while and they never did get the car back.
    ekimneirbo and Boneyard51 like this.
  11. 1ton
    Joined: Dec 3, 2010
    Posts: 589


    When I bought my 1967 C30, 292 straight six, it had remnants of an exhaust on it. Before taking it to the local muffler shop for a new exhaust system I removed the old nuts on the manifold studs and ran some used brass nuts on it. They spun on there by hand and with a little snug to hold the pipe to the manifold, I drove down to the shop. Few hours go by and I returned to get my truck. There on the floor is my intake/exhaust manifold and I could clearly see that they torched off the studs. They said that they were rusted solid.
    Now I told the little SOB that lying to me is akin to a kick in the nuts. I almost lost it. The shop owner came out as I was about give that little shit a rectal exam with his Crescent wrench.
    I calmed down and called a buddy with a wrecker and had the truck towed out of there and to my house. I put it back together and ordered a system from LMC, and twenty years later she still runs quiet.
  12. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,195


    Not one, but...........................

    In 1966, I had a 1963 Corvette 327/340. Engine developed a miss. Took it to the local Chevrolet dealer. Diagnosis was needing a carburetor rebuild. Mechanic rebuilt the carb. Still had miss. Second Chevrolet dealer; same song, second verse!....................................SIXTH Chevrolet dealer; same song, sixth verse, BUT stripped the threads in the aluminum intake!

    Totally fed up at this point. Had the intake repaired. Took the car to a friend who was a drag racer. He listened to the engine. Said nothing wrong with the carb, you have a dead cylinder, probably a rocker off a pushrod. Removed valve cover. Two rockers had worn grooves in studs, and rockers were off, cylinder not firing. Pulled the studs and replaced; end of problem.

    And now you know why that, with 2 majors, 3 minors, a BS, and an MA; I chose to get in the carburetor business. If SIX Chevrolet dealerships could do no better, there had to be a market in carburetors!

  13. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,903

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    Back in the later 70's I was managing a restaurant, two of my employees decided to tune up a Datsun 210. Now the owner was a college bound with no automotive background, but the other was a trade school auto mechanics major.
    They tuned it up, then it would not start. I drove over to see what was going on. Took one look at it, checked for spark, told them where are your old parts? swapped the old condenser back in, started right up. Back to basics boys.
    Truckdoctor Andy and Boneyard51 like this.
  14. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,752


    I was a mechanic for many years and saw a lot of things, and did some myself.

    After that, I worked as a technical editor for one of the big aftermarket automotive repair manual companies that was focused on professional customers (NOT DIY stuff). The one that got top award for me was the shop employee (again, pro use and support only) who called in to our content support to complain that our manual did not explain or show an illustration of the location of the driveshaft on a RWD Dodge pickup.
    The Magic Ratchet, clem, MBog and 8 others like this.
  15. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,543


    Back in the 90’s a buddy of mine’s roommate had a Honda that overheated. He took it to “5 star” shop.
    They replaced the radiator. He picked up and it over heated.
    Went back and they did the head gasket. Over heated. He had to be into it for 2k by now.
    Took it back again, they fixed it for free and “gave” him a new Tstat on the house.
    Seems the guy was happy because he got a free Tstat.
  16. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 806


    When I was in the Air Force years ago, we borrowed a forklift that had just been serviced at the motor pool. It kept sputtering and stalling, so I finally took a look at it while our stupidvisor (a name he definitely earned and deserved for numerous reasons) complained that I would be written up for vehicle abuse because I wasn't authorized to work on it. Popped the distributor cap off and found a fresh set of points that never had the gap set. Borrowed a matchbook and a screwdriver to set the gap, and it ran perfect, much to the chagrin of our stupidvisor!
    MBog, ekimneirbo, Boneyard51 and 3 others like this.
  17. siouxindian
    Joined: Nov 29, 2012
    Posts: 27


    o we all on this list at 1 time or another . for something.
  18. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,230

    from Ioway

    An oscilloscope is one of those tools that is probably only as good as the operator behind it. They were pretty spendy, too. I am sure they also had a sales routine where they could "show" the customer why they needed to buy new parts.

    Auto repair is one of those fields where it is possible to really take someone to the cleaners if they are so inclined. Most people don't have a technical or mechanic background. Word gets around about both honest shops and ...less honest shops.

    When I was stationed in Hawaii we used to bring this clerk gal out on the flightline once in a while, a little whisper waif of a thing with really skinny arms to install certain flight control components in the tailboom, can't remember what it was exactly, but she could get in there to do this, and saved more major disassembly and general pain in the ass.. The manual didn't say "Find someone with really skinny arms to do this and save your weekend".

    I read once during WW 2.0 the big aircraft plants employed midgets aka "little people" to work in the tail booms and confined spaces.
  19. NoelC
    Joined: Mar 21, 2018
    Posts: 30


    check timing chain stretch on sbc - Google Search

    I learned something similar reading Hot Rod Magazine, or maybe it was how to rebuild your SBC? If memory serves that engine timing set had a solid 6 degrees of movement. Hot Rod said over 3 degrees was the indication limit of wear to a worn and stretched timing set.
    I was just dumb founded that a shop wouldn't have with a visual to indicated condition said, we don't want this one, send another. Or maybe if they did a compression check, pulled a valve cover checking push rod lift, heck as I mentioned, check for chain slop. Then say send another. They didn't... but they did install a worn out engine? Isn't that just dumb.

    But now I'm reminded of another time I got screwed trusting the so called pro's.

    Took a rolling Corvette chassis in to be straightened, key word rolling. Turns out it rolled by tow bar from Beaumont to Edmonton, 40 miles or so, I stretched the frame and it rolled from my place in Edmonton Frame and Suspension Ltd, maybe 10 miles.

    One or two days becoming a week only to get the call that the estimate doubled and the car didn't roll and would need towing. I wasn't impressed.

    Oh yea, Les Landry was pretty good at calling it a "mechanical failure", and that "these things happen", but it wasn't.

    Seems they managed to push a section to hard and caused a buckle which they then charged me to repair but in doing so arced the axle shafts welding in a poorly done patch repair which I also ended up redoing.

    Once again, if you can't afford to sue their asses your forced to suck it up and spread the word. I did at the time and I am spreading the word of my experience.

    Anyways, disassemble wasn't easy as it was arced up pretty solid but it eventually broke free, cleaned up and went back together.
    IMG_0826.JPG IMG_0836.JPG IMG_0883.JPG
  20. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 872

    from Sweden

    Absolutely. A good oscilloscope can show you exactly what is happening, even details happening in less than microseconds if that's the time frame you want to look at, but it's up to the person looking at it to analyze why it's happening. If you don't know what makes the spark only last for, say, 0.5 millisecond instead of more normal 1-2 you're still up the creek without a paddle, at best you can tell that something is going on, and at worst you may not notice the abnormal time at all because you're not used to paying attention to it.

    The general advice I've seen about learning to scope diagnosis is to use the scope on everything you get the chance to, that'll teach you what's normal. When you eventually come across a problem that'll look different and should stick out like a sore thumb if you have been paying attention. At that point it won't tell you what the problem is, but you have identified something out of the ordinary, and some further analysis of that general circuit, whatever it is, has a good chance of leading you to the actual problem. If you get one odd ignition reading from one cylinder on a four cylinder engine, swap plug/wire (or coil on a modern COP engine) with another cylinder and see if it moved, and so on. The next time you see the same abnormality on the scope you have a better idea where to go to.
  21. Lone Star Mopar
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 3,177

    Lone Star Mopar

    Heard you guys were looking for me. What can I do ya for ?
  22. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 446


    I don’t ever really screwing up anything when I worked for Buick. But I sure did get mired down fixing other peoples screwups. I had 3 seperate bad incidents in particular. Could have killed those three guys. I also got to work on cars from other dealerships that our D.S.M. Brought in to be fixed correctly.
  23. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,411



    When we were pre-teenagers with the knowledge gained by reading Hot Rod Magazine, we were gaining car knowledge. We were too young to take classes in mechanics, but we read a lot of magazines and hung out at our local Mobil Gas Station that had a great guy as the lead mechanic. He tuned the neighborhood cars, rebuilt plenty of old daily drivers and did work on several early hot rods and a pure custom Ford F100 pickup truck.

    He was one of those guys that we were all drawn to, as he was friendly and wanted to show us mechanical stuff or in the custom truck, gave us a tour. Every day we walked home from school or during the vacations, we would stop to see what his next project was going to be in that garage set up.

    The Mobil Gas Station was tiny in the pump and office section. But the back garage area had plenty of work space and several stalls. Our dad got his local gas there. Our friend who eventually built the fast 34 Ford 5 window, lived down the street, on the same block, with access down an alley right to the mechanic’s workplace.

    This was the "watch and see" type of learning. Some days, we would be asked to do little things, like move a jack, bring a block to stop the rear tires, and to give him specific tools. Our family knew the owner and he was also friendly about allowing us to watch the mechanic do his thing. I am sure this is where we got our inclination to start doing mechanical work.

    At first, we were “the worst mechanics ever.” Our dad got us some basic tools and my brother and I went around taking things apart and putting them back together. Our lawnmower got hit several times during our go kart days. Since we were the lawn guys, the mower was important. When we told our mom that the motor was not working, our dad bought another new one for us to mow the large front and rear yards.

    But the good thing was, it was a mechanical object for more experimentation.

    upload_2021-10-19_4-7-10.png 1957
    As my brother’s friends came over with their cars, they also worked on the 51 Oldsmobile sedan. It was little things, at first, then sometimes it led to bigger things, like a different carburetor set up and installing a cam. Small things grew into larger things and more experience came along with the work. Mistakes were made, but we all learned what to do and not do on our motor builds and parts.

    By the time I was a teenager, we started our first ground up build of a future hot rod. The mechanical work was good and my brother, now had a lot of experience learning the right way to do things. His conversations with the top local speed shops also gave him a library full of respected knowledge. Joe Mailliard and Joe Reath were the first to offer us valuable information and specifics to our builds.

    But, for our first build, my brother wanted to start with a built up long block SBC motor he saw in another local small speed shop. So, we started with a 283 SBC. We also bought the specific parts necessary to complete the SBC long block to running condition.

    The key thing was knowledge in the procedures, a skillfull set of hands, a lot of reading manuals and remembering the information gained from the “talks” with our older, more experienced mentors. Throw in Jack Ewing from Mickey Thompson’s Shop and we had a barrel full of great information from well known hot rod/drag race guys, including the Speed Engineering guys.

    Since we were not in a hurry, that was the key. No set timeline or due date on anything we did. Sure, we wanted to be finished, now, but taking time to do it right was the key. We were successful with all of the trials and knowledge gained from the top speed shops near our Westside of Long Beach house. The shop crews and workers were also a bargain, in that they too, had tons of experience and knowledge. So, we were well trained. Then the auto shops came into play in high school.

    But, we did start out as the “worst mechanics,” ever. YRMV
    charleyw, MBog, ekimneirbo and 2 others like this.
  24. rlsteel
    Joined: Apr 10, 2005
    Posts: 459


    I always say my first car (55 chevy) gave me a million-dollar education.
    VANDENPLAS, ekimneirbo and Boneyard51 like this.
  25. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,963

    from Napa

    I started being in my gramps' home shop at age 5, where they worked on the tractors n trucks, away from the IH dealership. Got pretty good at fetching tools, and the grease gun was pretty easy. Gramps had a fleet of ag lime spreaders- they look and function like the sand spreaders on the highway, except they would spread over 100 ft wide. 4 of them were 10 wheelers, and the rear differential was easy to check, but getting to the front one was a beyotch without a way to get the whole thing up in the air. My uncle got the idea to stick me on a creaper with a breaker bar for the plug, grab my ankles and shove me through the little space between the wheels and center section, easy-peasy!
    MBog, ekimneirbo and Boneyard51 like this.
  26. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 1,101

    from Michigan

    I only had one bad experience with a mechanic ever, and it wasn't my mechanic. I was buying a car from my neighbor when I was in college. He said "the oil pan gasket leaks, I'll have it replaced before you get the car...". I said don't worry about it, I can fix that myself, but he insisted. So the local dealer makes said repair, and I get the car. A week later it blows up. Pull the oil pan off, and the mechanic had left a red shop rag in the oil pan when he put it back on. Got all chopped up and the small pieces clogged everything up, bang goes the motor. I sued them and the judge said obviously they indeed were at fault, but I didn't own the car at the time, so I'd have to sue my neighbor, he'd have to sue the dealer, etc.

    I swallowed hard and thanked the judge, and went home and got my wrenches out and threw a short block in it. I'd still like to throttle that judge though...

    I made a homemade bumper sticker that said the name of the dealer and "SUCKS" and put it on the car. They called me a few times asking what it would take to remove the sticker, lol. I told um no chance. It stayed until they went belly up a few years later.
  27. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,053

    from Minnesota

    There is a reason I never post pics or share stories of my mechanical adventures.
  28. nosford
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 592


    Jnaki, I too started out learning at the small corner gas station from an old time mechanic pair of brothers. They did everything from rebuilding starters and generators (I used an armature growler at the age of 14) to valve jobs in a two bay Texaco station. There is no where for a 14 year old kid to go and get this experience now until they are at least 18 and even then if a kid tried to walk in to observe somewhere they would be tossed out due to insurance regulations. It's no wonder that every single Automotive repair shop is short staffed and begging to hire people.
  29. '51 Norm
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 752

    '51 Norm
    from colorado

    My most memorable experience wasn't a mechanic per se. It was the guy changing tires at the local Sam's Club.
    I brought in my Son's 65 Chrysler for new tires. After awhile the tire guy comes out and tells me that all of the lug nuts on the drivers side are frozen to the point that he can't get them off with his impact wrench.
    I refrained from throttling the ignoramus and informed him that the L on the end of the lug stud stood for left hand thread.
    When he got finished I pointed out that there was a sign in the shop that said the labor was free if it took more than an hour to replace your tires. His response was that it was only 65 minutes which was less than an hour.
    When I went out to the car I discovered that the fender skirts were missing and I had to go back in and rescue them.
    I guess that is what you get when taking in an old car and have it worked on by a less than experienced person.
    And yes, I got to replace all 10 of the left side lug studs that were stretched and stripped.
  30. I used to maintain a fleet for a utility district. Guy brings an OT Blazer in for stumble when first started. Was due for tune up so I gave her all the usual stuff. Ran great but early morning stumble persisted. Didn't have a lot of diagnostic tools so sent it to the local GM dealer. Went to pick it up and service guy says plugs were shot and they did a complete tune up. I asked where the parts they took off were and he says mechanic tossed them. Brought it back next day for same problem and apparently different "mechanic" looked at it and replaced fuel pump. Ran perfectly but was an expensive education as to where not to ever take a vehicle again.

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