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Thread: The hardest vehicle to work on...

  1. #1
    Boolit Master




    Idaho45guy's Avatar
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    The hardest vehicle to work on...

    Back in the `80's, when life in the automotive world was sunshine and roses, I bought a 1969 Ford Ranchero GT with a 390 CI V8 that needed a tune-up. Paid $500 to the original owner.

    After replacing the points in about ten minutes, and the air filter in five minutes, I embarked on changing the spark plugs. I soon discovered that the driver's side rear plug required, according to my Chilton's Manual, that the motor mount be removed, and a jack deployed under the motor, in order to raise the motor about 2 inches. This would then allow access to the #8 plug due to clearance issues with the brake booster and steering column.

    Back in the `80's, I thought this to be ridiculous.

    Which it was. But in today's increasingly insane world of nonsensical reasoning and engineering, I continue to come across situations and engineering that defies all reason and sanity.

    Today, I decided to check the air filter of my 2007 Chevy HHR.

    Now, this vehicle was purchased new by my father and was promoted as a "retro" vehicle that evoked the styling of a `40's Chevy delivery sedan. Opening the hood reveals a very simplistic and spartan engine bay with a 2.0 liter 4cyl "Ecotec" engine that puts out more horsepower than any 6 or 8 cyl motor in the `40's.

    However, checking the air filter proved beyond my capability as a seasoned engine re-builder, shade-tree mechanic, and person with above-average mechanical aptitude and abilities.

    After studying the engine bay for a few minutes and poking around, I could not figure out how to access the air filter.

    Let that sink in for a few minutes...

    a 52 year old man, with decades of mechanical experience, years of building hot rods, and a love of mechanical engineering, could not figure out how to change the air filter on a 2007 GM vehicle...

    I finally had to relent to searching YouTube on how to do it.

    After watching the video, I do not feel bad one bit regarding my intelligence or mechanical aptitude.

    The GM engineers who designed the air intake system should be ashamed.

    No. They should be fired. Then brought into the public square in shackles and flogged and spat upon by the public for their absolute idiocy and failure in engineering.

    What used to be a wingnut and 5 seconds was turned into two hand tools and three different processes in order to check a freaking air filter.

    This is a perfect example of how America is failing and devolving into a 3rd world country right before our eyes.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  2. #2
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    The first time on anything new is always the hardest! Cars now seem built to force you to take it to the dealer for everything, I am starting to wonder when we'll see open source car designs, complete with 3d print files

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I am hearing that just about anything done on a Ford diesel p/u will require the removal of the cab and front fenders and hood.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    not anything, but it does make working on it a lot easier. most use their lift to raise the body as one piece and then have good access. my 78 chevy you can just crawl in the engine compartment.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  5. #5
    Boolit Master starnbar's Avatar
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    Ha my 69 dodge rt the only easy way I ever found to get #8 plug I drilled a hole in the inner fender well had a plastic plug for the hole made life a lot easier.

  6. #6
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    My 2013 Dodge/Cummins has a filter for the exhaust control system located in the crankcase, it's supposed to be changed every 70,000 miles to the tune of $1500.00 to drop the pan and change it. 112,000 and it's still running ok on the original filter.
    Antique Reloading Tool Collector, Historian and Writer
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    sunbeam tiger with the v8 motor had to drop the motor to reach the rear plugs.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    The Chevy Monza had rear plug access issues.
    “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    No problems getting to anything on my 95 Chevy Silverado 2500.
    There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide. Ayn Rand

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I still do whatever is needed on my 70+ year old Farmalls. The 2012 Silverado goes to the dealer for routine maintenance.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Change a headlight bulb on a Toyota Primus. You need to basically remove the front end. Takes hours and going to the dealership you are looking at $400+. Just to change a headlight bulb.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebb View Post
    I am hearing that just about anything done on a Ford diesel p/u will require the removal of the cab and front fenders and hood.
    Yep, Mine ''gas model 5.0'' swallowed a valve on #4 cyl. Under warranty at the time, Cab off and in the air for a new block and head assy.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pressman View Post
    My 2013 Dodge/Cummins has a filter for the exhaust control system located in the crankcase, it's supposed to be changed every 70,000 miles to the tune of $1500.00 to drop the pan and change it. 112,000 and it's still running ok on the original filter.
    Thanks! I'll stick with my 04.5 Cummins/Dodge. I looked at all the Diesels when I bought it. You couldn't see the actual engine in ford or chevy, the dodge you could see past the engine to the ground. The power steering pump requires a crow's foot wrench but that is as bad as it's been so far.

    My 08 Forester is easier to work on than the 06 or 97 Subarus I had. You can see the ground all the way around the engine. I did have trouble with the cabin air filter housing. I think it was designed to frustrate an Owner into taking the car to the Dealer.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    69 cougar with 390 eng spark plugs, ladas any year rear wheel bearings, f150 ford 96 forward anything eng related pretyy much require cab lift, tigoun volkswagon starter, ford edge plugs and alternator, 02 sensors on acadia the engineers all sit around on a remote island, drinking fruity little drinks and laugh about the stuff they did on prodution vehicles I'm convinced after 38 years in the trade.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy memtb's Avatar
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    I had a ‘68 Torino GT Hardtop.....with the 390 GT engine. Yes the plugs where a “ party” to access! Pulling the starter was also fun. Removing one of the started bolts required enough extensions “stacked” together so you could insert the extensions from outside the front bumper, along the block to access the bolt! Once you figured out that about 2 1/2 to 3 feet of extensions and the route needed......a piece of cake!

    Then there was replacing the spark plugs on a ‘64 Plymouth Valiant. The spark plugs were deep in the head ( sort of a hemi-head” design) with near zero clearance between the head and the top of the shock tower!

    But, those were only access issues. My most recent adventure requires buying virtually non-existent parts.......an older vehicle that was never imported to the US. A 1988, Suzuki Jimny (very similar to a Samurai) Turbo. Wait for it.....a Turbo-Charged,543 CC , 3 cylinder, engine and factory AC! memtb
    You should not use a rifle that will kill an animal when everything goes right; you should use one that will do the job when everything goes wrong." -Bob Hagel

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I feel modern German cars are engineered to be vengeance for the outcome of the world wars...

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy memtb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starnbar View Post
    Ha my 69 dodge rt the only easy way I ever found to get #8 plug I drilled a hole in the inner fender well had a plastic plug for the hole made life a lot easier.
    I’ve only heard this, but never verified.....the first year models Corvettes with V-8’s had same issue and cure! memtb
    You should not use a rifle that will kill an animal when everything goes right; you should use one that will do the job when everything goes wrong." -Bob Hagel

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    This guy got it exactly right.
    https://www.tsln.com/opinion/baxter-...y-kinda-truck/
    Hope you enjoy,
    Dennis

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    contender1's Avatar
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    Boy, do I feel your pain & frustration.

    And I have for about 35 years or so.

    It started when an old girlfriend had to have her Nissan Pulsar clutch replaced. Had to pull the engine to do that. PIA.
    Then a later issue with a Chevy S10 Blazer, doing a transmission fluid & filter service. Had to disassemble the exhaust manifold & move the exhaust system just for a 1/2" clearance to drop the transmission pan.

    Like you, I'm quite capable as a mechanic & not lost in working on stuff.

    But Due to the things I've seen being built, and HOW the engineers do stuff,, about 35 years ago, I developed a saying. (And I got chastised by another forum for posting this.)

    "One of these days, I'll be in a social situation, and I'll ask somebody; "So, what do you do for a living?" and they reply; "I'm an automotive engineer". When the silly SOB wakes up in the hospital, I'll be right there,, to show him what happened,, AGAIN!"

    Well, I've shared that sentiment for these last 35 years of working on vehicles. But about 3 years ago,, I was in Las Vegas, for the SHOT Show. One evening, sitting at a Blackjack table, we were all enjoying ourselves. There was a younger guy, (27-28) who looked to be a man's man. About 6'1"-6'2" & lean muscle. (I'm was 60 at the time.) He was sitting just past a lady at our table.
    As we were all playing, we were also socializing. Someone asked him where he was from, and he replied; "New York." A few hands later, I asked him, "So what do you do for a living?" To which, he replied, "I work for General Motors, as an engineer."

    My first thoughts in my head were; "Wrong town, too many cameras, & not enough bail money!"

    A hand or so later, I asked him what he drove, & it was a Silverado. I then asked him if he did his own maintenance. He replied he did oil changes. I allowed; "No, real maintenance." He said; "We have a shop for that."

    So, I couldn't stop myself, and gave him my decades old saying.

    Then I proceeded to say that he really needed to quit listening to the bean counters & design things to where NORMAL maintenance could be easily performed. (Since I really didn't want to go to jail for knocking the hell out of him for the crap they design.)

    He played a few more hands of BJ & left.

    It proved to me that God has a serious sense of humor. He had heard my thoughts long enough to where he allowed my my social setting,,,, but in such a place to prevent me from actually doing what I dearly wanted to do. All my years of frustration of trying to do simple jobs on vehicles, that engineers prevented or made darn near impossible.
    EXCEPT,,, that they WANT us to take our vehicles to the dealerships, pay outrageous fees for service, and often fail to even do it correctly themselves too!

    Yep, I feel your pain & frustration,, all too well!

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Try changing the water pump on V6 (crosswise) buick - no room for wrench. 56 ford, plug is under the air box for heater. Olds J2, lift motor to get to plugs. Change clutch on SIL's (GM Isuzu sport) jap car with integral bell housing and 3 piece drive shaft. Change oil filter on Quad 4. List goes on. If you ever get to go through an assembly line, you will understand. Auto's are designed to be assembled cheap, not worked on.
    I actually did change out a broken exhaust manifold on daughter's 4 cyd. Tempo, from underneath without pulling anything & just jack stand for clearance! Try that! And I said a few bad words.
    Last edited by popper; 05-20-2021 at 07:48 PM.
    Whatever!

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