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#2349147 - 08/17/11 09:16 AM DIY or sub it out?
hattaresguy Offline


Registered: 06/01/11
Posts: 6429
Loc: CT
How much work do you guys do yourselves? I used to do everything, I literally rebuilt a couple of cars from the ground up, a few years ago pulling a transmission would be a normal Saturdays work. Now I rather have someone else do it and work or go sailing.

I'm busy and quite frankly don't feel like it anymore so I do the easy stuff, Ie anything up top, and sub out everything else I don't feel like doing. I just fixed the AC in my truck a month ago because it was easy, but when I have to take off the rear pumpkin I'll pay someone else to do that, I just hate messing with gear oil.

I need to build myself a detached garage with a lift, than working on cars might be fun again.


Edited by hattaresguy (08/17/11 09:17 AM)

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#2349166 - 08/17/11 09:33 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
GROUCHO MARX Offline


Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 11410
Loc: The Sandhills of NewYorkistan
Only 24 hours in any day.
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#2349169 - 08/17/11 09:37 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 26899
Loc: ME
Only stuff I sub out is computerized stuff where buying the computer costs more than the work, and I expect said computer to depreciate before I need it again. EG bleeding an ABS brake system.

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#2349196 - 08/17/11 10:06 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 29540
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I do what I can, if I have the time. Or if I'm going to save a huge load of money doing it myself. I have had the local Ford dealer do a lot of work for me lately because their pricing was fantastic, and it saved me the time of doing it myself.
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#2349225 - 08/17/11 10:34 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
SLCraig Offline


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 5393
Loc: London, ON, Canada
I will pretty much do anything within my means (having the tools)

Stuff like alignment, exhaust work (torch), fabricating, etc. I can't do.

I will do anything else (trans replacement, clutch job, etc)
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#2349249 - 08/17/11 11:13 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
exranger06 Offline


Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 2946
Loc: Guilford, CT
I do as much as I possibly can myself. I don't have much time these days, but I still try to fix my cars whenever I get a minute. I have multiple vehicles, so I can afford to have one out of commission for a week while I tinker with it a few hours per day. I do it because I like saving money, I like knowing the job is done right, but most of all, it's my hobby and I love every minute of it. I'm constantly trying to get more experience and learn more by doing jobs I've never done before. I research what's involved first, collect all the parts and tools I need, then dive in and do it and enjoy that awesome feeling of satisfaction knowing I fixed it.

Speaking of collecting tools, my tool collection is growing bigger and bigger by the month. I think I have twice as many tools as I did 3 years ago. I don't mind having to buy tools to get a job done, even if they're expensive. The way I see it is, tools are an investment that will actually pay for themselves over time with all the money I save doing it myself. I just spent over $410 on a vacuum pump and AC manifold gauge set so I could fix my car's AC. Sure I could've spent around $150 to have a shop do it, but where's the fun in that? smile2
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2006 Ford Ranger Sport
1992 Honda Accord EX
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#2349285 - 08/17/11 12:00 PM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 9112
Loc: Upstate NY
The basics I DIY. Something internal engine or transmission I'll have a shop do.
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2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#2349356 - 08/17/11 01:19 PM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
Hokiefyd Offline


Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 13081
Loc: North Carolina
For low-risk jobs, I'll DIY. For example, I will have the timing belt on the MDX changed in the spring, but I'll take it somewhere for that. I'm sure I have the ability to do it, but because the stakes are so high if I mess something up, I don't want the risk.
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#2349381 - 08/17/11 01:46 PM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
hypervish Offline


Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 1638
Loc: new jersey
I do everything I can without a lift. Although, I'll soon be getting a lift. After that, I'll be doing it all. No need to pay someone else, I've worked at my uncle's shop before, and I know my way around cars.
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#2349387 - 08/17/11 02:01 PM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
Pop_Rivit Offline


Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 4633
Loc: Midwest
It depends on what it is, how much time I have, and if I feel like doing it myself.

While I have a well stocked shop, lift, tools and in the past have pretty much done everyting, I find that I often have better things to do than play mechanic, especially with newer cars. When I work on them I do so for enjoyment, and for me it's more fun on older vehicles/equipment than it is on newer ones.

I'm at a point in my life where I do only that which I want to do, and can afford to hire out things that I simply don't care to do.

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#2350074 - 08/18/11 08:52 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
rslifkin Offline


Registered: 06/27/10
Posts: 2322
Loc: Stamford, CT / Rochester, NY
As long as I have the time, tools and ability to do it, I will. I did a full top end rebuild on the Jeep engine with heads and cam last weekend. Didn't even drain the A/C system to do it! I've just gotta get the valve adjustment right, and she should be running happily (valves are too tight, no compression).
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1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited with Heads/Cam/Headers/Exhaust/Tune/Shift Kit/Suspension Work (188k miles, bought with 100k)
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#2350103 - 08/18/11 09:32 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
IndyIan Offline


Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 6552
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I'm doing what I can on my cars as it can be fun, and then you get to see what the changes I've made do for the car. New suspension parts seem to be pretty easy to do and its noticable on the course as well. I now have ACR springs all round, an ACR rear sway, much taller progressive bump stops on all corners, some negative camber on all 4 corners, new rear KYB struts. But sometimes there is no time so off it goes to the shop.
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#2353276 - 08/21/11 03:59 PM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
sleddriver Offline


Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 2452
Loc: Central Texas
I've done all of my own the past several years: alternator, oil cooler lines, brakes & caliper rebuild, radiator, ABS module repair, evap emissions leak diagnosed & fixed, front wheel bearing, motor mount, AC recharge, etc. Unless I need a lift or run out of tools.

I do it to save money, I'm a tool user, personal satisfaction, curiosity about things, education. A penny saved is a penny earned: Where else can I save $90/hr?

My indy is a great guy though. I gladly paid him to do the timing belt, tensioners, idlers, water pump, front camshaft seals, etc. all at once. He also did the steering rack when it blew a seal. What a mess that was!

Newer vehicles are such a PITA to work on though. . . . I wonder when they'll come with a hood-lock to keep their owners out?
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1998 Volvo V70 T5 207,408 mi. Original Owner.

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#2354902 - 08/23/11 06:56 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 8562
Loc: Rochester NY
I also do as much as I can. I don't really mess with struts/springs. And the exhaust systems, espesially if it only needs a piece. I'll buy the particular piece that I need online and have the local muffler shop install for their 1hr labor charge. Still much less expensive than having them do the whole job and charging me their full price and using their part#'s. Probably save around $100.

If I need a complete exhaust system, I'll do the job myself, as I can build the whole system on the garage floor, slide it under the vehicle and install the whole system after the previous one has been removed for a comparison. It's laying on the ground and trying to torch out one(1) single piece that causes me frustration. Laying on the garage floor or driveway doesn't bother me, it's the lack of room for some repair that cause me grief, therefore, taking me longer to do the job.

All other repairs I also do myself and I don't like anyone touching my brakes. I couldn't pay someone enough money to do the thorough job that I do when doing brakes. Takes me awhile to do all four wheels but, they're done right and I usually don't have to go back in to redo anything. When my brake jobs are done, they're complete. No noises, squeels, binding, nothing but good quiet braking and great pedal feel and fresh fluid and every part is lubed properly.

Timing belts are another item that I'm willing to pay for but, I'll shop around for the best price, have the tech install all new belts, water pump, oil seals if needed and if they're in the general area of the rear spark plugs on a FWD "V" engine, I'll have them replace all plugs too! This is a one time expence so, I want it done right and only once by someone that I trust from recomendations of others in my circle. Preferably not from "I know a guy"!

I want a reputable shop doing the job should I have issues in the future. Maybe I'll tackle a timing belt job(and all of the other items that go with it) but, I will want some moral(and maybe some physical) support and tools from those in my circle.

These days and what's ahead in the future, if you keep your vehicles long enough til it's into it's teens or older, when doing some serious repairs that should have been simple, you may just have to remove the engine for the repair. If we're not removing the engines now, we will be in the future, I can see it coming! The manufactures are making simple items very difficult to replace these days. I'm finding it very hard to do some simple repairs/replacements on parts. You have to take apart everything to find/see anything, let alone try to get your hands in there.

A lift(which I won't invest in) would be nice as my dad always used a lift at his station. 25 years ago I should have invested into a lift but today, I really want to do less work on vehicles and more traveling smile


Edited by Char Baby (08/23/11 07:05 AM)
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'80 Firebird FORMULA V8/4bbl-NEW
'06 Mazda 3i 2.0L-Pre Owned
'15 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV-CPO
Still looking for a car for my wife(new, used, CPO)

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#2354913 - 08/23/11 07:25 AM Re: DIY or sub it out? [Re: hattaresguy]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 9112
Loc: Upstate NY
I'm going to get a lift and transmission jack sometime in the next 5-7 years. It makes DIY'ing so much easier when one can simply lift up the car without mucking about with a jack, jackstands, and chocks.
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2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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