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  1. #1
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    3,611
    Location
    Grayson County, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota B2710

    Default Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    I have a 2006 Honda Accord. It is my commuter car and has given no trouble in 218,000 miles so far. I noticed the surpentine belt (original) looks cracked and needs replacing. I picked up a Gates replacement at O'Reilly's. Got home and thought I could do this in maybe 30 minutes tops. There is a tensioner that, all I should have to do is put a wrench on it and move it to release tension on the belt. It has a 14mm bolt head to grab ahold of to accomplish this.

    Problem is, there is not enough clearance between this bolt head, and a motor mount to get a ratched/socket on it. The only thing I could get on it was a box end offset wrench, but with that I couldn't get enough travel to loosen the belt. So, I gave up.

    I also had a head light bulb. I have replaced all the headlights at least once and I remembered this one on the driver's side you can't get to without taking the battery off. So I get the battery off and after an hour I almost gave up. I could neither get the cable disconnected from the bulb, nor get the bulb out of the socket. I just about gave up on that, but then gave the bulb a hard enough twist to break it (hard to get any leverage on it though, in a tight spot) and it finally came loose. I was then able to disconnect the cable. Putting it back was easy. But then I couldn't get the battery cable tight on the battery post. I finally figured out that the post is tapered - bigger at the bottom than at the top. Until I pushed the battery clamp all the was down onto the bigger part of the post it just wouldn't tighten down on it.

    Are cars really hard to work on anymore or have I just lost the skills to work on them? In the old days I have pulled engines and transmissions and whatnot, now I have trouble with a headlight.
    Alan L., TX
    South of Bugtussle
    North of Mustang
    On the banks of Buck Creek
    We don't rent pigs.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Ted Summey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    684
    Location
    Germanton, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100F IH McCormick Farmall 140, Massey Ferguson 135

    Default Re: Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    Car repair isn't as intuitive as it once was. Engineers have over engineered things like bulb connections/sockets. Nothing is accessible so you have to remove x before you can get to y.

    I'm with you - it isn't as easy as it once was.

  3. #3
    Elite Member 300UGUY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    3,051
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400, Farmall H

    Default Re: Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    Yup. Especially in smaller cars, it's pretty tough. With all the optional equipment, there isn't much room left under there.

  4. #4
    Elite Member whistlepig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3,906
    Location
    Preble County, Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800 with FEL

    Default Re: Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    They are a lot harder to work on these days. Years ago ease of maintenance was a selling feature on cars and trucks. Now it's off to the dealer for everything. When I go to the dealer he sounds like a tape recorder. "That will cost you $400.00". I just changed spark plugs and wires on my truck. One plug took me over an hour to replace and I lost a pint of blood and a couple of ounces of arm meat replacing it.
    ........Shoot this thang! Have mercy this thang is killin' me. Just shoot up here amongst us. One of us has got to have some relief..............
    jerry clowers-a coon huntin story.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member CliffordK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,202
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Tractor
    Toro D200, Ford 1715, International 884,

    Default Re: Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    Battery posts have always been tapered, at least as long as I can remember. I think it helps get the clamp off. Sometimes if you can wiggle it, you can just pull it off.

    Bulbs and headlights can be a pain, as well as trying to figure out where the access for the bulbs has been hidden. I think the jury is still out on plastic headlights vs the glass sealed beam headlights. The old glass sealed beam ones were always a pain to take out, and one ran the risk of throwing them out of focus, but they don't fog, nor do they need polishing, and amazingly, they are just about as cheap as the little tiny replacement bulbs. Rock chips can be very damaging to them though.

    As far as your fan belt, see if you can push the idler pulley by hand. You may not need to get your wrench on it at all. Then push it down again when installing the new belt.

    I neglected replacing the timing belt on my Ranger after about 15 years, and discovered it was a mistake somewhere in the middle of Kansas. Unfortunately, the timing belt is something that you need to take half the front end of the vehicle out to replace.

    I don't have any ODB-II capable vehicles, but the idea of just plugging it in and getting the diagnostic codes out sounds like a wonderful idea, if only the manufactures would just add a complete shop manual to the onboard computer.

  6. #6
    Gold Member Loadstar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    403
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Tractor
    Ford 640

    Default

    Things are different then they were. I worked at a truck shop off and on when work was slow. First thing that happened when something came in was it was plugged into a scanner. Then issues were addressed, unless it was something obvious like grenaded parts.
    Here is a list of DIY tricks on modern vehicles:

    -Know how to use a meter-
    Being familiar with electronics, how to use a meter, and learning the way modern vehicles work can save some big bucks.

    -don't be scared-
    I started at the truck shop because opening a hood was becoming frightening. When you observe how the pros do it parts are flying off. Don't get me wrong their job is not easy, but part of it is knowing what all needs to move to get the job done. I changed a water pump on my mothers 98 durango. My dad wanted to change it with most everything in place. Instead I tossed and moved a ton of stuff out of the way. (it scared him when he watched) I was in and out in an hour. Would have taken frustrating hours his way.

    -get a manual for the particular vehicle

    -find a vehicle specific forum read and read and read. Make friends get pointers and maybe there are people close that can help with the big projects that you may not have specialty tools for.

    -pay attention to detail-
    Careful not to pinch wires
    Keep cardboard, tape, and a sharpie handy. If you pull bolts they may be different lengths or a little different then others. Mock up their pattern with the cardboard and stick them through. Tape and markers for labels. You will thank yourself for Attention to disassembly when it comes to reassembly

    -proper loctite, sealers, and antiseize appropriate for what your working on.

    -google a problem
    If you have a vehicle problem check google. Chances are it's not isolated to just you. People have a problem and run to the net. I have saved myself lots of time troubleshooting just googling something. My sisters 06 carolla's AC quit working so I observed it. When switched to AC everything was working except the AC clutch was not engaging. I googloed it found a trail of people and a service bulletin for a relay. I took it out and smacked it around a little and it unstuck. A week later she picked one up from Toyota for $60 and swapped it herself saving hundreds.

    Hope some of this helps. I'm sure I have some more I can't think of.

  7. #7
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3,461
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Tractor
    JD cut

    Default Re: Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    Shop manual instructions for replacing the oil filter on a 1985 Nissan: "1) Disconnect the exhaust pipe from the exhaust manifold and move to the side to access oil filter...."

    Greasemonkey modified instructions: 1)Ignore #1 and spill oil on exhaust pipe after unscrewing oil filter and manuvering it out...."

    Note to self, observe location of oil filter and spark-plug access before purchasing any new vehicle.

  8. #8
    Super Star Member
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    Jul 2011
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    14,431
    Location
    Yanceyville, North Carolina
    Tractor
    Kubota L4400

    Default Re: Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    I agree that newer vehicles are more complicated. I, like yourself used to help one of my Uncles work in his garage all the time. I remember when the "Points and Condensor" became a UniSet. This was around 1973. Most vehicles now require a diagnostic check by a Computer in the Shop. I also remember when vehicles had windows that rolled up and down, manually. Let's not forget the Vent Windows.
    The PUPIL who does not surpass his Master, fails his Master.

  9. #9
    Elite Member whistlepig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3,906
    Location
    Preble County, Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800 with FEL

    Default Re: Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    I think the worst that I have ever seen was a Buick my brother used to own. It had a transverse mounted engine and the spark plugs were so close to the firewall that the motor mounts had to be unbolted and the motor jacked up so that the plugs could be changed. There are engineering "Magic Moments". When I helped him change the plugs on this car I experienced one of these.
    ........Shoot this thang! Have mercy this thang is killin' me. Just shoot up here amongst us. One of us has got to have some relief..............
    jerry clowers-a coon huntin story.

  10. #10
    bcp
    bcp is offline
    Elite Member
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    Jul 2009
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    Location
    SW WA
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Cars are really hard to work on anymore

    There are engineering "Magic Moments".
    I think the problem is caused more often by the body stylists than by the engineers.

    Bruce

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