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Never had any family/friends who knew about cars, but I want to learn!

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posted on May, 25 2015 @ 05:44 PM
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I grew up in a family who couldn't even build IKEA furniture, let alone know anything about anything under the hood of a vehicle. I'm 26 now, and very interested in getting some experience. I want to pick up a cheap, broken down vehicle and fix it up. I feel - for me at least - that would be the best way for me to learn what I need to about the basics of how a vehicle functions, and some skills that will allow me to work on the vehicles I own instead of spending $1000's at the dealership or a garage.

I don't really know where to start, and am starting with a completely blank slate (can't even drive a standard at the moment), but would like some help on where you guys think I should start.

I would love to pick up a busted up 1969 Corvette Stingray, as I have fallen in love with it's gorgeous appearance.



But, on the other hand, I don't know if that would be the best way to start.

Essentially, I want a vehicle that looks great, I can find the parts and tools easily and cheaply, and that is a good, simple starter vehicle to work on. I'm not too worried about power and speed just yet, that stuff I can focus on later. Right now I just want something that doesn't work (or barely works), and I can build it up to a quality day to day driver.

Thanks for your interest!




posted on May, 25 2015 @ 05:47 PM
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originally posted by: Ghost147
I grew up in a family who couldn't even build IKEA furniture, let alone know anything about anything under the hood of a vehicle. I'm 26 now, and very interested in getting some experience. I want to pick up a cheap, broken down vehicle and fix it up. I feel - for me at least - that would be the best way for me to learn what I need to about the basics of how a vehicle functions, and some skills that will allow me to work on the vehicles I own instead of spending $1000's at the dealership or a garage.

I don't really know where to start, and am starting with a completely blank slate (can't even drive a standard at the moment), but would like some help on where you guys think I should start.

I would love to pick up a busted up 1969 Corvette Stingray, as I have fallen in love with it's gorgeous appearance.



But, on the other hand, I don't know if that would be the best way to start.

Essentially, I want a vehicle that looks great, I can find the parts and tools easily and cheaply, and that is a good, simple starter vehicle to work on. I'm not too worried about power and speed just yet, that stuff I can focus on later. Right now I just want something that doesn't work (or barely works), and I can build it up to a quality day to day driver.

Thanks for your interest!

My first was a 54 Ford when I was young.Didnt know a lot about cars when I started but that ol Ford taught me a lot by trial and error.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 05:50 PM
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a reply to: Gothmog

I really like the idea of working on something between the 1930's-50's, but how easy is it to find parts for something that old?



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 05:53 PM
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I have a 92 jetta with the block drivetrain and suspension from a 98 gt. still the 1.8 litre head. get a manual for the model you buy and start wrenching. Most stuff is common sense and if you put it back together the reverse of what you took it apart you should be fine. some stuff requires extensive knowledge and specialized tools, an online mechanics forum would be a good place to learn and ask questions.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 05:57 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

mechanic here.
i wouldnt start with that car but thats just me.

however the only real way to get some experience is to start digging in.

i was always wrenching with my dad for as long as i can remember. when i was a teen i worked as a porter at a small used car lot and worked my way into the shop.
some of the best hands on experience i have had came from working at a junk yard. i did it for a couple years when i was younger.
i got to tear apart cars. it was great experience because i didnt have to worry about putting anything back together. i could break out the torches and cut stuff off/out.
it was very valuable to me as i got to actually see how things worked. engine internals and things like that.

are you mechanically inclined?
do you have a job? looking for a job?

if youre serious about it and need a job or are willing to change jobs start hitting the shops and dealers around where you live. even with no experience they will hire you to do oil changes and tire rotations. breaking tires down as well.
you dont need much in the way of tools to do that and you will be in the shop.
you will pick up a lot from the more experienced mechanics and if you show an willingness to learn and are dependable they will start to put you through classes.

thats how i did it.

wrenched with my dad as a kid.
went to a car lot and started washing cars
worked my way into the shop at the lot doing oil changes
went from there to the junk yard
from there i went to a chain type repair shop in my area. started out doing oil changes and tires. after a few months they sent me to school for alignments.
i stayed at that shop for several years. they sent me to the local community college for their automotive training and i got those certifications. they also paid my registration and test fees for several of my ASE certifications.

while i was doing this i was slowly buying tools.
from that chain shop i went to a new dodge/chrysler/chevy dealer. did that for several years.
they closed to i went to an indy that was owned and operated by a guy i know.
next monday i am starting a new job at the hyundai dealer

thats really all i have. feel free to ask questions if you want and i will do the best i can to answer.

i would not start with the vette though. especially not one that old. not if you dont really have experience. you could be getting into a headache.

why dont you just pick up a decent running(needing minor work) every day type car. a chevy malibu or a ford taurus. anything like that and start wrenching on that.
that way youre not going to be dealing with any 'performance' type parts and you can get everything you will need at autozone. if you mess up, oh well. you have a grand in a taurus.
the point is to get you wrenching



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:00 PM
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originally posted by: Ghost147
a reply to: Gothmog

I really like the idea of working on something between the 1930's-50's, but how easy is it to find parts for something that old?


the parts are available but when youre wrenching on stuff that old you are messing with out dated tech for lack of a better term.
youre going to be working on cars with carbs and front drum brakes. rear drive. no abs.
that type if stuff.
you will learn but you wont...know what i mean?

unless you are working on a personal project you will not run across any of those systems for the most part.

a rear drive car from the 50's with no abs and front drums will not help you work on a car from the 00's with abs and half shafts.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:10 PM
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I would start with a Chiltons Book or download the service manuals online for the car you want. It is a good place to start. It can help teach you the basics. You can also pay a mechanic to give you a list of repairs needed, reference your service manuals and diy.

It really depends on how involved you want to get, your time and cash on hand for tools. There are a lot of specialty tools need to do an engine tear-down, but some you can rent pretty cheaply.

If whatever you buy has a good motor with strong compression and a good transmission, you can focus on the easy bolt-on items like brakes, rotors, suspension parts like ball joints, shocks etc, and get a pretty nice ride.

The basic mechanical part changes are simple and youtube videos galore can help.
Garage space is another thing, you need a spot for a non-moving car to sit.

You could drop in a fresh motor and tranny in that old vette, but the work in that car is going to be mostly cosmetic, imo. Bodywork is highly specialized, especially on fiberglass. That's before the hand-sanded paint job they did. Sweet ride there




posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:10 PM
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Yes, that makes a lot of sense. I'm not trying to be a mechanic or anything, just less "useless"
Perhaps I'll start with a vehicle from the 80's up then, and move back in the decades once my skills begin to develop



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:16 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

if thats your goal i would start with a mid 80's to early 90's mustang. the fox body/notch backs.
they are pretty easy to work on as far as performance cars go. parts are cheap and literally everywhere and there is a ton of info out there.
between the manuals and all the mustang message boards, thats a good place for a novice to start.


either way you decide to go, i would stay away from pre 80's cars. i would stay away from tuners. i would stay away from anything with a turbo or a supercharger. i would stay away from rotary and i would stay away from diesel.

just dive in man.
shot me a message any time you want and i will help you out.

start scoring some tools. you will need them eventually.
hit up sears and start buying some stuff.

grab up one of those stangs and start digging in. even if those are not your bag, theyre good to start with.
they are all over. people still want to buy them up in any state if disrepair.


edit on 25-5-2015 by Mugly because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:20 PM
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If you aren't comfortable messing with cars, you can always start with lawn mowers. I'm definitely not a mechanic, and never really care to be one, but I do fix a lot of my own stuff if I need to. Be it certain things on my truck, or equipment. The best thing to do is watch youtube videos about whatever you plan to fix, then buy a cheap tool set for about 100$ and just do it.

I personally hate working on things because my time could be better utilized elsewhere, but it does come in handy when you need to fix things on the spot, or you just wanna save a few hundred bucks. You have to be a certain type of person to like wrenching on things, and unfortunately its not me lol
edit on 5/25/2015 by eXia7 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:20 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

Here's my suggestion. Get some older easier to work on car that is drivable. Pick up or download the Chilton book for that model. And tinker ,in the US we have u-pull it lots. You can go to the junkyard and pull the parts you need off of old vehicles.

If you can pull a part off an old engine and put it on your engine. You have begun the learning process.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:22 PM
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a reply to: Mugly

That sounds like a very good suggestion.

When did ABS and more modern breaks start making an appearance? I assume the 70's is just before they made their appearance? (I just prefer the older models)

EDIT: Just read your edited post. oh well, 1980's and up it is

edit on 25/5/15 by Ghost147 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:23 PM
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a reply to: Mugly

The easiest vehicle to ever work on is the F150 series Ford truck with the 300 straight six-cylinder.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:24 PM
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originally posted by: eXia7
You have to be a certain type of person to like wrenching on things,


i do agree with that.
im one of those guys that love it.
ive always worked on my cars. i work on my harley.

all i have ever really wanted to do was fix and build stuff.
i have fun with it as a hobby and i have made quite a bit of money doing it.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:28 PM
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a reply to: Greathouse

Yes, I heard Trucks are easy to work on (especially the really old pick ups from the 30's and so on), unfortunately I have absolutely no interest in them at all. I feel if I got one to restore it, I would lose interest too quickly.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:31 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

Trucks are great. There's an old saying a man with the truck is never out of the job.


But they do become a real pain in the ass when someone you know moves.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:31 PM
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originally posted by: Ghost147
a reply to: Mugly

That sounds like a very good suggestion.

When did ABS and more modern breaks start making an appearance? I assume the 70's is just before they made their appearance? (I just prefer the older models)

EDIT: Just read your edited post. oh well, 1980's and up it is


abs has been around since the 30's.
people started to see them in serous production in the 70's and by the mid 80's abs was everywhere.
now it is standard equipment.

i would just hate to see you grab an older car with systems that you wont really see anymore.
you know those old cars with distributor caps and points. needing timing lights to adjust the timing.
thats all outdated.
unless you are looking at a specific car for a personal hobby, you will never work on a car with points. you will never need a timing light. you wont see a distributor cap anymore.

the mustangs i talked about will have those systems but they are still pretty modern.
get a late model fox with fuel injection and coils.

youre gonna get 100 different responses from 100 different people and none of them are wrong.
everyone has to start somewhere.
there is no wrong way.

you will find out pretty quick if you have the aptitude for it or if you even like it.

not everyone is into busting their knuckles up and getting oil and grease under their finger nails.

the first time it is cold outside and you are wailing on a wrench and you slip and bust them knuckles, you will figure out pretty quick if you want to be dealing with that.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:35 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

like anything else, some or pretty easy and some not so much.

i had an 01 f-150 with a v6 that sucked balls.
even something simple like adding tranny fluid was a pain. there was no dipstick.
it was beat up when i got it and didnt have time to r and r the trans so i was adding fluid every so often for the first couple months.
had to pull it on the ramps and pull the access plug out of the side of the trans by the yoke and pump it in.
it was major drag.

every car has something that sucks though.



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:39 PM
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a reply to: Mugly

I don't think the grit and grim of it all will bother me. I work on the oil rigs. It's just a matter of time and money. I'll have to continue to do a lot of research before I really get into anything.

Thanks for your suggestions



posted on May, 25 2015 @ 06:40 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

no problem man.
if youre a roughneck it wont be a thing at all.
i was just bringing up another part of it




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