Author Topic: Working on your car  (Read 12706 times)
CEB1993
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Camdenburns93
Working on your car « on: November 14, 2017, 08:45:45 PM » Author: CEB1993
There are many benefits to DIY projects on your car including saving money and learning important skills about making your car last longer.

In my seven years of owning a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta, I have done the following myself:

Replaced the headlamp fixtures after the original lenses oxidized
Replaced the headlights twice
Replaced multiple bulbs in the taillights
Replaced the turn signal relay (The device that makes the "clicking" sound when the blinkers are on)
Installed a mass airflow sensor
Added power steering fluid
Replaced the rear seatback
Changed a flat tire (After hitting a curb, oops!)
Replaced the air filter

Working on your car is such a rewarding experience.  After hearing from so many others about their car customizations and repairs, I started this thread just for your car work experiences.
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Mercurylamps
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 09:27:05 PM » Author: Mercurylamps
As posted in another thread I replaced halogen driving lights on one of my cars with LED units which are far brighter and superior. I do a fair amount of rural/countryside driving especially on road trips and kangaroos are a severe threat when driving in Australia. They have been known to write off cars and even kill occupants so these lights are a cheap insurance.

Other things I've done in my history:

Replaced O2 sensors.
New brake pads
Replaced stereos
Replace broken dash trim with replacements from scrapyards
Changed a flat tyre
Changed oil
Replaced any blown bulbs
Replaced battery
Fixed an oil leak. (Seems that Nissans are prone to oil leaks unfortunately.)

This list isn't specific to a particular car I've had, just general things over the years.
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RyanF40T12
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 10:26:57 PM » Author: RyanF40T12
You'll be doing a TON more related to the engine and drivetrain before too long.  Jokeswagon/VW/Audi along with it's other euro competitors are well known for terrible reliability and cost of ownership due to repairs.  That being said- I really like many of their vehicles.  They can be very fun to drive! 
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Ash
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 10:30:23 PM » Author: Ash
Repairing melted headlight switch (from bad connection) by adding relays to the circuit instead of having the full load current go through the switch

Repairing electrical window control (with dead electronics) by soldering wires straight to the push button pins and planting relays in place of the smart electronic unit

Repairing trailer electrics

Replacing thermostats, filters, brake pads, stereos, lamps, batteries....

Replacing fluids

Disabling and removing car alarms

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CEB1993
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Camdenburns93
Re: Working on your car « Reply #4 on: November 14, 2017, 10:37:51 PM » Author: CEB1993
I just rolled over 155,000 miles in my Jetta yesterday.  She's getting a little long in the tooth, but is still a lot of fun to drive.  Speaking of engine work, I noticed that I was almost out of oil when I got it changed last week.  The older a car gets, the faster it burns oil.  I could have a small oil leak too.  I'm not going to invest more money into fixing a small oil leak that may or may not exist since I know exactly how to add more oil myself.  I'm going to try to make the Jetta last until next spring, and then look into a 4WD Subaru Outback for my trip to New York and the famous lake effect snow for graduate school.

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CEB1993
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Camdenburns93
Re: Working on your car « Reply #5 on: November 14, 2017, 10:40:50 PM » Author: CEB1993
Repairing melted headlight switch (from bad connection) by adding relays to the circuit instead of having the full load current go through the switch

Repairing electrical window control (with dead electronics) by soldering wires straight to the push button pins and planting relays in place of the smart electronic unit

Repairing trailer electrics

Replacing thermostats, filters, brake pads, stereos, lamps, batteries....

Replacing fluids

Disabling and removing car alarms



I wish I could have replaced a radio fuse myself when it blew after my jumpstarting mishap.  The shop charged me an obscene price for removing the head unit to access the fuse.  They took apart the entire dashboard. 

I could have done it myself for less money with special Volkwagen radio keys that disconnect the radio from the dash.
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Lodge
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #6 on: November 14, 2017, 10:48:32 PM » Author: Lodge
Oh boy where do I start, I've rebuilt engines, I've done an automatic transmission complete tear down and rebuild (never doing that again) Shocks, struts, ball joints, transfer cases, rear ends, CV joints, I had a Puegot 504 that caught on fire in the engine compartment that was like five days straight redoing everything, engine computers, body computers, transmission computers, fuel pumps, every filter you can think of, steel tape wheel alignments, I built my own ALDL reader ( older GM ) I learned how to use and abuse an ODBII reader, body work and paint, basically if its on a car and it can break I've more then likely fixed it at one point or another and now I'm starting to like older cars and want something like an old landrover with a hand crank start like a series II because they are simple and easy to fix without much effort and limited tools needed unlike some of the modern nightmares people have created I really do get tired of sensor faults, some days I just want to drop a resistor in place of the temp sensor to tell the computer it's -10 out so it will shut down all the annoying sensors and the car will run just fine without the check engine light coming on, yes most environmental sensors shut down in the cold which is why lots of people start having issues with there cars in the spring as it warms up..  
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Aveoguy22
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 12:56:53 AM » Author: Aveoguy22
ive had the engine out of both my vehicles for various reasons, rear main seal on the aveo and front + rear on the isuzu.  neither burn oil in any amount really but the aveo was leaking about a quart every 300 miles.  i dont trust euro vehicles, especially german ones.  asian or older american vehicles for me. 

they arent cars but i do all my own engine work on my other stuff like tractors, old Honda ATC's and the antique engines i have. 

i'm a mechanic by trade, so it comes with the job i guess
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CEB1993
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Camdenburns93
Re: Working on your car « Reply #8 on: November 15, 2017, 03:57:16 PM » Author: CEB1993
Volkswagen seems to be the exception to the rule that most European cars have below average reliability.

 I will say that I know others who have had a lot of trouble with BMW.  Both my mom and my brother have had a BMW and they are really problematic cars.  My brother's 3 Series burns oil like crazy, having to add a quart once a month and has developed a slow coolant leak.  The BMW's are not well-made cars either with the leather mis-coloring and the headliner peeling away.  My mom's BMW SUV had a constant rattle from a plastic panel in the cargo space.  Oh yeah, and lots of burnt out light bulbs in both BMW's too. 

Many German cars (my VW included) have a nasty habit of emitting black brake dust.  The metal hubcaps are really hard to keep clean on my car and the BMW's that have been through my family.
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #9 on: November 15, 2017, 06:54:56 PM » Author: Lodge
Volkswagen seems to be the exception to the rule that most European cars have below average reliability.

 I will say that I know others who have had a lot of trouble with BMW.  Both my mom and my brother have had a BMW and they are really problematic cars.  My brother's 3 Series burns oil like crazy, having to add a quart once a month and has developed a slow coolant leak.  The BMW's are not well-made cars either with the leather mis-coloring and the headliner peeling away.  My mom's BMW SUV had a constant rattle from a plastic panel in the cargo space.  Oh yeah, and lots of burnt out light bulbs in both BMW's too. 

Many German cars (my VW included) have a nasty habit of emitting black brake dust.  The metal hubcaps are really hard to keep clean on my car and the BMW's that have been through my family.


Change out your brake pads to ceramic they are much cleaner and last longer with less wear on the other braking components, but they do cost slightly more.. 
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Mercurylamps
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #10 on: November 15, 2017, 07:00:52 PM » Author: Mercurylamps
Yes the cheaper pads are prone to high dust fallout as well as having black dust. Ceramic pads or any pads that give off a light coloured dust helps. My cheap pads require me cleaning my front wheels every two days and I'm highly considering changing them for something superior.
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RyanF40T12
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #11 on: November 15, 2017, 09:51:49 PM » Author: RyanF40T12
Volkswagen seems to be the exception to the rule that most European cars have below average reliability.

No, they are not the exception.  Being near the bottom of the list for vehicle reliability year after year after year since 2001-ish is proof of that.  Even back into the early to mid 90s they and their Audi big brothers were quickly developing the reputations as being money pits and that is when the nickname "Jokeswagon" was given to them.   Hey it's cool that you love your VW, as I've said, many of the models are fun to drive.  Just not fun and cheap to maintain.  BMWs are the same, huge money pits.  Fun as heck to drive, but very crappy reliability. 
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Aveoguy22
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #12 on: November 15, 2017, 11:21:29 PM » Author: Aveoguy22
No, they are not the exception.  Being near the bottom of the list for vehicle reliability year after year after year since 2001-ish is proof of that.  Even back into the early to mid 90s they and their Audi big brothers were quickly developing the reputations as being money pits and that is when the nickname "Jokeswagon" was given to them.   Hey it's cool that you love your VW, as I've said, many of the models are fun to drive.  Just not fun and cheap to maintain.  BMWs are the same, huge money pits.  Fun as heck to drive, but very crappy reliability. 

fully agree there.  see far to many sub-10 year old german vehicles that are having problems 20+ year old vehicles from other parts of the world have, money-pit wise.  the isuzu i have is going on 21 and the only thing that doesnt work on it anymore is the rear washer pump. 
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CEB1993
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Camdenburns93
Re: Working on your car « Reply #13 on: November 16, 2017, 07:10:24 AM » Author: CEB1993
It comes down to how well you maintain your car as to how long it will last.  I'm having more issues with my VW now that it's over 150000 miles. Right now I'm driving with a busted catalytic converter and a constant "check engine" light on. It's burning and leaking oil more quickly than ever and some of the build quality is declining. The door to the glove box rattles and the back driver side door leaks in heavy rain. I think I've gotten my money's worth out of that old Jetta and I'm planning on getting a new Subaru in a few months.

Fun fact: a 1990 Lexus LS with over 200000 miles has fewer reliability problems than a new 2017 Mercedes S Class. Lexus have an awesome reputation of both luxury and low maintenance.
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Aveoguy22
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Re: Working on your car « Reply #14 on: November 16, 2017, 09:13:21 AM » Author: Aveoguy22
It comes down to how well you maintain your car as to how long it will last.  I'm having more issues with my VW now that it's over 150000 miles. Right now I'm driving with a busted catalytic converter and a constant "check engine" light on. It's burning and leaking oil more quickly than ever and some of the build quality is declining. The door to the glove box rattles and the back driver side door leaks in heavy rain. I think I've gotten my money's worth out of that old Jetta and I'm planning on getting a new Subaru in a few months.

Fun fact: a 1990 Lexus LS with over 200000 miles has fewer reliability problems than a new 2017 Mercedes S Class. Lexus have an awesome reputation of both luxury and low maintenance.

i believe it.
i probably got lucky with it considering what most people think of them, but my old 04 aveo (daewoo) has only ever required the periodic timing belt change, and the rear main seal done in the 172k it has on it now.  the 97 isuzu has only needed a timing belt and a thermostat, and a warranty replaced speedometer in the 200k it has currently.  its current odo says 135k but it has the paperwork where the other was replaced at ~ 72,5k.  the interior is surprisingly good considering that before it came to michigan it was first in arizona and then florida.  the paint shows sun damage but the interior plastic isnt all cracked to pieces like you would think it would be.


get that subaru, you wont be disappointed.
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