Jump to content


Gonzo

Publisher
  • Content count

    1,894
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    97

Gonzo last won the day on August 4

Gonzo had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

487 Excellent

About Gonzo

  • Rank
    Expert Member
  • Birthday 01/10/1959

Business Information

  • Business Address
    9911 e. 5th st., Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74146
  • Automotive Franchise
    Other
  • Website
  • Banner Program
    Other
  • Certifications
    ASE CMAT
    USMC
    TEA (Tulsa Executive Association) Past president and chairman of the board
    FATHER, HUSBAND,

Recent Profile Visitors

19,641 profile views
  1. Good one, now that's one I've never run across... or is that a bad pun? LOL Actually, I was avoiding rodents, deer, and other mammal or marsupials in this story. I'm saving that for a later story. This was strictly on the bug infestation side of the nastiness. I forgot about the lice... or how many times after being in one of those bug infested cars all you wanted to do was shower. LOL
  2. Bugs In The Rugs Ants, moths, bees, flies, wasps, spiders, scorpions, roaches, yellow jackets, fireflies, centipedes, silver fish, lady bugs, katydids, mosquitos, termites, fleas, mites, and fly larvae (maggots). No, that’s not a list of insects on the back of a can of insecticide. That’s just about every type of creepy, crawly nasty little bug I have encountered in a car at one time or another. It’s enough to make your skin crawl. Sometimes it’s not so much what you run into, but where. For instance, I was working on a little foreign car, checking out a faulty turn signal. I diagnosed a bad lead on the front turn signal socket, and had already pulled the lens off and supplied a ground to the bulb, so I knew what I needed to do. Just sling under the car and reattach the ground lead that was hanging there. The car was low to the ground, but I managed to wedge myself under there just enough to make the repair. As I managed to turn my head to see the turn signal housing, there… just a ¼” from my nose was a large nest of red wasps. They were all darting around working on their nest totally oblivious to me. I didn’t stick around long enough to introduce myself. Something I’ve learned after being at this for a few years: If you get one of those carpet cleaning trucks in the shop for repair, make sure you have plenty of roach spray handy. It’s not uncommon to pop the lid off of the fuse box to find hundreds of those nasty little critters trying to find a new hiding place. I’ve even seen a few behind the lens of the instrument cluster just minding their own business as they walked over the gauge needles. They tend to eat wires, leave their acidic droppings on circuit boards, and their dead relatives laying in the vents. Nothings worse than getting “bug sprayed”… with bugs when you turn on the blower motor. Now when you’re trying to find an odor, or some reeking smell that has literally chased the owners out of their car, don’t be surprised if you’ll eventually find a dead mouse or some other strange varmint carcass in the duct work, trunk, or under the carpet. The worst is when the flies have found it and started laying eggs on it. For the investigative type mechanic, the fly larvae is a good way to determine how long whatever it was has been decomposing in the customer’s car. You see, a fly can lay more than 100 eggs on a warm moist body and in 8 to 24 hours the larvae will begin to hatch. Those wormy, wriggly, crawly little ugly, nasty things stick around for about 5 days and then start to pupate into an adult fly. A capital “G” for gross. Knowing all of that will allow you to inform your customer when their little friend became post mortem in their cabin filter or wherever it was you found it, although at this point they’re too grossed out to really care about your CSI skills! Spiders can bring out the heebeegeebees in the biggest, baddest mechanic on the planet. I once worked with a guy who was completely petrified of spiders. We were tearing down an old car that was in for restoration when he removed the door panel and a large tarantula came crawling out from the bottom corner of this old rusted door. Honestly, I’ve never seen or heard such a big fella scream like a little girl. He not only came up with his own high pitched language that only he could understand, but managed to dart across the shop and up onto the top of his tool box so fast he didn’t have time to let go of the door panel. He stayed up there perched on his tool box talking some sort of gibberish only he could understand, as he was kicking tools out of the open drawers. The tarantula had to go, or he wasn’t coming down. I got elected to shoo the little critter out the door. We literally had to pry the door panel out of his hands and coax him down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. His tool box needed a bit of straightening after all was said and done. Ants for the most part are pretty harmless. I’ve never ran across fire ants in a car, but I can only imagine what that would have been like. The ones I’ve run across are just the busy little ant type doing busy little ant things. Sometimes the hardest part is finding where they’re coming from. Half the time you’ll see these little guys marching along one after another in single file heading to another part of the car. If it’s a car that’s been sitting in one spot for a long time chances are they’ve built an elaborate home somewhere in the car and it’s your job to find out where. Good luck with that. Sometimes you wonder how some of these insects find their way into a car in the first place. Like pulling a spare tire out of an old car and find a scorpion staring at you. Or mud dauber wasp nests all over the engine compartment. They sure do find some of the oddest places to build their little nests. One time I’ve even found them on the carburetor choke plate on a car that was only sitting for a few days. The owner tried to start it, but had no luck with it. He then had it dragged into the shop to have the no start problem checked out. After a bit of carburetor spray to dissolve the mud it started right up. The owner being the kind of a jokester he was, now had a new story to tell about his old car. He started his little tale with, “Guess wasp up with my car?” Whether it is a family of arachnids or any other family of insects invading your car, somewhere some mechanic has probably already experienced it. As they say, “There are more bugs in the world than there are people.” So there’s a good chance you’ll run across a bug in a rug or one in the trunk of that very car you’re working on. Just work on some fast reflexes, a few nerves of steel, and it wouldn’t hurt to keep a can of bug spray handy either.
  3. Bugs In The Rugs Ants, moths, bees, flies, wasps, spiders, scorpions, roaches, yellow jackets, fireflies, centipedes, silver fish, lady bugs, katydids, mosquitos, termites, fleas, mites, and fly larvae (maggots). No, that’s not a list of insects on the back of a can of insecticide. That’s just about every type of creepy, crawly nasty little bug I have encountered in a car at one time or another. It’s enough to make your skin crawl. Sometimes it’s not so much what you run into, but where. For instance, I was working on a little foreign car, checking out a faulty turn signal. I diagnosed a bad lead on the front turn signal socket, and had already pulled the lens off and supplied a ground to the bulb, so I knew what I needed to do. Just sling under the car and reattach the ground lead that was hanging there. The car was low to the ground, but I managed to wedge myself under there just enough to make the repair. As I managed to turn my head to see the turn signal housing, there… just a ¼” from my nose was a large nest of red wasps. They were all darting around working on their nest totally oblivious to me. I didn’t stick around long enough to introduce myself. Something I’ve learned after being at this for a few years: If you get one of those carpet cleaning trucks in the shop for repair, make sure you have plenty of roach spray handy. It’s not uncommon to pop the lid off of the fuse box to find hundreds of those nasty little critters trying to find a new hiding place. I’ve even seen a few behind the lens of the instrument cluster just minding their own business as they walked over the gauge needles. They tend to eat wires, leave their acidic droppings on circuit boards, and their dead relatives laying in the vents. Nothings worse than getting “bug sprayed”… with bugs when you turn on the blower motor. Now when you’re trying to find an odor, or some reeking smell that has literally chased the owners out of their car, don’t be surprised if you’ll eventually find a dead mouse or some other strange varmint carcass in the duct work, trunk, or under the carpet. The worst is when the flies have found it and started laying eggs on it. For the investigative type mechanic, the fly larvae is a good way to determine how long whatever it was has been decomposing in the customer’s car. You see, a fly can lay more than 100 eggs on a warm moist body and in 8 to 24 hours the larvae will begin to hatch. Those wormy, wriggly, crawly little ugly, nasty things stick around for about 5 days and then start to pupate into an adult fly. A capital “G” for gross. Knowing all of that will allow you to inform your customer when their little friend became post mortem in their cabin filter or wherever it was you found it, although at this point they’re too grossed out to really care about your CSI skills! Spiders can bring out the heebeegeebees in the biggest, baddest mechanic on the planet. I once worked with a guy who was completely petrified of spiders. We were tearing down an old car that was in for restoration when he removed the door panel and a large tarantula came crawling out from the bottom corner of this old rusted door. Honestly, I’ve never seen or heard such a big fella scream like a little girl. He not only came up with his own high pitched language that only he could understand, but managed to dart across the shop and up onto the top of his tool box so fast he didn’t have time to let go of the door panel. He stayed up there perched on his tool box talking some sort of gibberish only he could understand, as he was kicking tools out of the open drawers. The tarantula had to go, or he wasn’t coming down. I got elected to shoo the little critter out the door. We literally had to pry the door panel out of his hands and coax him down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. His tool box needed a bit of straightening after all was said and done. Ants for the most part are pretty harmless. I’ve never ran across fire ants in a car, but I can only imagine what that would have been like. The ones I’ve run across are just the busy little ant type doing busy little ant things. Sometimes the hardest part is finding where they’re coming from. Half the time you’ll see these little guys marching along one after another in single file heading to another part of the car. If it’s a car that’s been sitting in one spot for a long time chances are they’ve built an elaborate home somewhere in the car and it’s your job to find out where. Good luck with that. Sometimes you wonder how some of these insects find their way into a car in the first place. Like pulling a spare tire out of an old car and find a scorpion staring at you. Or mud dauber wasp nests all over the engine compartment. They sure do find some of the oddest places to build their little nests. One time I’ve even found them on the carburetor choke plate on a car that was only sitting for a few days. The owner tried to start it, but had no luck with it. He then had it dragged into the shop to have the no start problem checked out. After a bit of carburetor spray to dissolve the mud it started right up. The owner being the kind of a jokester he was, now had a new story to tell about his old car. He started his little tale with, “Guess wasp up with my car?” Whether it is a family of arachnids or any other family of insects invading your car, somewhere some mechanic has probably already experienced it. As they say, “There are more bugs in the world than there are people.” So there’s a good chance you’ll run across a bug in a rug or one in the trunk of that very car you’re working on. Just work on some fast reflexes, a few nerves of steel, and it wouldn’t hurt to keep a can of bug spray handy either. View full article
  4. Well, might as well make it official.  I'm selling the shop and or parting it out.  Most likely parting it out.  After much thought has been put into it I've decided to go the route of writer/teacher for my next leg of automotive.  After 33 years of running a shop I guess you could say... I've seen it done it and own lots of T shirts. 

    Equipment wise I've got most everything up for sale.  Including a few specialty tools that aren't even around anymore.  Such as a gauge tester for anything from 95 on back... Very handy.  I'll try to put together a list... but if there is something you'd like to know if I have one... send me a message.  I'll get back to you. 

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Gonzo

      Gonzo

      Yep, a bit hard to swallow.  Haven't find a buyer, either it's been priced wrong, or there isn't a buyer for this type of shop.  But, I agree, for me... closing the shop is the best action to take.  If I was ten years younger I'd be back at it and under the hood.  But, not now.  Slowing down, is just one part of getting older.  The other is, I really enjoy the teaching as well as the writing.   

    3. skm

      skm

      as one door closes another one opens.. I know it must of been a hard decision, well maybe lol.. but looks like you have many more doors opened in front of you. I look forward to reading and hearing your new adventures. Don't worry I am sure you will catch a rant from me every once in awhile keeping you in touch with the craziness you smartly decided to leave behind.

      Good luck bud! 

    4. Jeff

      Jeff

      Good luck Gonzo...maybe ya could team up with Sum Guy and supervise his mobile services! LOL. Be well friend.

       

  5. Hello for Indianapolis In

    Got a notice that says, "You're not allowed" Ok... so... I can't participate? LOL
  6. The Rules of Physics There’s something to be said about having rules. There are some rules we follow because they’re laws, and rules we all follow out of respect, because it’s the polite thing to do. While other rules are just common sense. However, as they say, “Rules are made to be broken”. That may apply to most rules, but the rules of physics are not something that can be tampered with, although some people think they can. Here’s my list of customer antics that definitely require a refresher course in basic physics. Rotational differences in an arc A customer asks for an oil change and a tire rotation. After the tire rotation the customer is out in the parking lot examining their car. He motions for the mechanic to come out and look at the car. For some reason he is livid about the valve stems and white lettering on his tires. Apparently the letter or the valve stems aren’t in perfect sync as they were when he arrived. Obviously, the mechanic is at fault and needs to correct it. Somebody contact my physics teacher. Gravity and the defrost duct In the haste to get ready for a special dinner party a diamond ring was laid on top of the dash. In a flash the diamond ring slid down into the defrost duct and was gone, completely out of sight. The next day the mechanic was told to gently tip the car over and shake the diamond ring out. Yep, just lift the car up, toss it upside down, and that little ring will just fall out, and since gravity is your friend the ring should just fall out. I’m just wondering whose holding the car upside down… the mechanic? Coolant can be hot, and don’t let the pressure get to you Even with a temperature gauge showing the actual water temp. It’s virtually impossible to get through to some people that you shouldn’t take the radiator cap off a hot engine. Even in this modern era with plenty of warning labels clearly visible, somebody is going to twist the cap off and get a face full of hot coolant. Of course, it’s even harder for some people to understand the physic behind how pressure and the coolant mix affects the boiling point of water, or the fact that the radiator is under pressure for quite some time after you shut the car off. Oh, and by the way, water boils at 212° and most car coolant systems run at a much higher temperature than that. All brake pads are the same Have you ever wondered how much time the engineers and scientists spend on developing brake pad materials? Did you ever stop and think that some of their attempts weren’t the best, but still had some merit? There’s a lot of physic involved. I’m sure there were a few awesome ideas that still failed to be considered as the top notch part. So, where do those ideas go? Especially the pads that don’t last as long, or squeal, or chatter, or just plain aren’t that great. They usually end up as the discount store’s cheaper line of brake pads. You know the ones, the ones that have poor heat coefficient, or a glue that breaks down and causes the pad to slide off the backing. Somebody had to wholesale them, somebody had to market them and somebody had to price them to sell. Never fear, Mr. Discount is here! He’ll buy them up and sell them to the DIY’r market and tell them how wonderful they are. Not to worry, it’s pretty clear no one in the store knows how to read those DOT edge codes anyway. They’ll find somebody else to blame for their early brake pad failure, it’s surely has nothing to do with their decision to buy the cheapest part. Increasing mileage by decreasing fuel Has there ever been a time that the first thing people wanted to know about their new car wasn’t the gas mileage? When I was a kid, and muscle cars could be purchased right from the showroom there was still that sticker on the window with the miles per gallon clearly visible. I’m not sure if gas mileage was the big concern, but every crackpot inventor since the beginning of the internal combustion engine thinks they’ve come up with the holy grail of mileage-increasing-fuel-saving device that is going to turn even the biggest gas guzzling muscle car into the next fuel economy giant. From adding magnets to the fuel lines, to some sort of wind turbulence device stuffed into the cold air inlet. The physics dictates the impossibilities that at some point the return on the energy consumed surpasses the rate of energy produced, but on we go with the next grandiose idea to save fuel by some superific idea maker who got it approved by 9 out of 10 experts. You know the ones, “those experts” ya know. The same experts you hear about on all those TV commercials. I’ve often wondered who the 10th expert was and why in the world didn’t they just say 9 out of 9 experts and skip the 10th guy all together. Too presumptuous I suppose. Have ya ever noticed these mileage ideas only show when the price per gallon goes up? I guess were all too busy driving around and can’t think up any new fuel saving ideas when the price is low, or we were listening to that 10th expert, and momentarily forgot about the other 9. For every reaction . . . One of the laws of physics states that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Now it’s not likely if we all stood on a chair and jumped off at the same time that we could disrupt the earth’s rotation or knock it out of alignment with the other planets, but ya know, somebody has probably thought about doing it…. besides myself. Car crash studies have known about this action reaction thing for a long time, and have found a way to lessen the sudden impact by dissipating the force with crumple zones strategically placed in the body panels and components. This also means that in the event of a minor collision you may actually have damage in other areas of the car that were not directly involved with the actual collision. However, there’s a limit to this “inclusion to my collision”. Hardly a day goes by that somebody at some body shop will try to slide an extra dent or two from an unreported accident in with their latest fender bender. Some are very subtle, while others are noticeably and blatantly trying to take advantage of the situation. Anything to get somebody else to pay for their lack of watching out for the neighbor’s mailbox which was sticking out from the curb, or the telephone pole that jumped out and creased the side of the car after a late night at the bar. There’s one for the automatous car theory. If you’ve had too many, who’s the designated driver now? And, whose reaction and actions dictate who’s allowed behind the wheel… if there is one? We’ve only scratched the surface of what physics can tell us about our cars. It never fails to amaze me how some people make it from one day to the next without a basic understanding of the world around them. They just seem lost in their own little made up world in which gravity doesn’t work, or where two objects can occupy the exact same spot on planet earth. Am I surprised? No, not hardly. Some people will believe anything. It all comes down to physics and your interpretation of the rules, and as we all know, the rules of physics doesn’t apply to some people out there. Just hope they’re not stopping by the shop anytime soon. I need a break from the last one who wanted 13” tires on 15” rims.
  7. The Rules of Physics There’s something to be said about having rules. There are some rules we follow because they’re laws, and rules we all follow out of respect, because it’s the polite thing to do. While other rules are just common sense. However, as they say, “Rules are made to be broken”. That may apply to most rules, but the rules of physics are not something that can be tampered with, although some people think they can. Here’s my list of customer antics that definitely require a refresher course in basic physics. Rotational differences in an arc A customer asks for an oil change and a tire rotation. After the tire rotation the customer is out in the parking lot examining their car. He motions for the mechanic to come out and look at the car. For some reason he is livid about the valve stems and white lettering on his tires. Apparently the letter or the valve stems aren’t in perfect sync as they were when he arrived. Obviously, the mechanic is at fault and needs to correct it. Somebody contact my physics teacher. Gravity and the defrost duct In the haste to get ready for a special dinner party a diamond ring was laid on top of the dash. In a flash the diamond ring slid down into the defrost duct and was gone, completely out of sight. The next day the mechanic was told to gently tip the car over and shake the diamond ring out. Yep, just lift the car up, toss it upside down, and that little ring will just fall out, and since gravity is your friend the ring should just fall out. I’m just wondering whose holding the car upside down… the mechanic? Coolant can be hot, and don’t let the pressure get to you Even with a temperature gauge showing the actual water temp. It’s virtually impossible to get through to some people that you shouldn’t take the radiator cap off a hot engine. Even in this modern era with plenty of warning labels clearly visible, somebody is going to twist the cap off and get a face full of hot coolant. Of course, it’s even harder for some people to understand the physic behind how pressure and the coolant mix affects the boiling point of water, or the fact that the radiator is under pressure for quite some time after you shut the car off. Oh, and by the way, water boils at 212° and most car coolant systems run at a much higher temperature than that. All brake pads are the same Have you ever wondered how much time the engineers and scientists spend on developing brake pad materials? Did you ever stop and think that some of their attempts weren’t the best, but still had some merit? There’s a lot of physic involved. I’m sure there were a few awesome ideas that still failed to be considered as the top notch part. So, where do those ideas go? Especially the pads that don’t last as long, or squeal, or chatter, or just plain aren’t that great. They usually end up as the discount store’s cheaper line of brake pads. You know the ones, the ones that have poor heat coefficient, or a glue that breaks down and causes the pad to slide off the backing. Somebody had to wholesale them, somebody had to market them and somebody had to price them to sell. Never fear, Mr. Discount is here! He’ll buy them up and sell them to the DIY’r market and tell them how wonderful they are. Not to worry, it’s pretty clear no one in the store knows how to read those DOT edge codes anyway. They’ll find somebody else to blame for their early brake pad failure, it’s surely has nothing to do with their decision to buy the cheapest part. Increasing mileage by decreasing fuel Has there ever been a time that the first thing people wanted to know about their new car wasn’t the gas mileage? When I was a kid, and muscle cars could be purchased right from the showroom there was still that sticker on the window with the miles per gallon clearly visible. I’m not sure if gas mileage was the big concern, but every crackpot inventor since the beginning of the internal combustion engine thinks they’ve come up with the holy grail of mileage-increasing-fuel-saving device that is going to turn even the biggest gas guzzling muscle car into the next fuel economy giant. From adding magnets to the fuel lines, to some sort of wind turbulence device stuffed into the cold air inlet. The physics dictates the impossibilities that at some point the return on the energy consumed surpasses the rate of energy produced, but on we go with the next grandiose idea to save fuel by some superific idea maker who got it approved by 9 out of 10 experts. You know the ones, “those experts” ya know. The same experts you hear about on all those TV commercials. I’ve often wondered who the 10th expert was and why in the world didn’t they just say 9 out of 9 experts and skip the 10th guy all together. Too presumptuous I suppose. Have ya ever noticed these mileage ideas only show when the price per gallon goes up? I guess were all too busy driving around and can’t think up any new fuel saving ideas when the price is low, or we were listening to that 10th expert, and momentarily forgot about the other 9. For every reaction . . . One of the laws of physics states that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Now it’s not likely if we all stood on a chair and jumped off at the same time that we could disrupt the earth’s rotation or knock it out of alignment with the other planets, but ya know, somebody has probably thought about doing it…. besides myself. Car crash studies have known about this action reaction thing for a long time, and have found a way to lessen the sudden impact by dissipating the force with crumple zones strategically placed in the body panels and components. This also means that in the event of a minor collision you may actually have damage in other areas of the car that were not directly involved with the actual collision. However, there’s a limit to this “inclusion to my collision”. Hardly a day goes by that somebody at some body shop will try to slide an extra dent or two from an unreported accident in with their latest fender bender. Some are very subtle, while others are noticeably and blatantly trying to take advantage of the situation. Anything to get somebody else to pay for their lack of watching out for the neighbor’s mailbox which was sticking out from the curb, or the telephone pole that jumped out and creased the side of the car after a late night at the bar. There’s one for the automatous car theory. If you’ve had too many, who’s the designated driver now? And, whose reaction and actions dictate who’s allowed behind the wheel… if there is one? We’ve only scratched the surface of what physics can tell us about our cars. It never fails to amaze me how some people make it from one day to the next without a basic understanding of the world around them. They just seem lost in their own little made up world in which gravity doesn’t work, or where two objects can occupy the exact same spot on planet earth. Am I surprised? No, not hardly. Some people will believe anything. It all comes down to physics and your interpretation of the rules, and as we all know, the rules of physics doesn’t apply to some people out there. Just hope they’re not stopping by the shop anytime soon. I need a break from the last one who wanted 13” tires on 15” rims. View full article
  8. Mechanic for Life A lot of us mechanics may not have started out with the ambitions of being one. It’s just how things worked out. You might have started out with a college education or military background, and it turned out to be something that didn’t suit you at all. Others might have grown up in the business and were handling wrenches long before they were out of diapers. Still others started by fixing their own car, because they couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it, and found it was something that suited them more than an office cubicle. Whatever the method that got you into the business, you’re probably hooked. Most likely, just like me, you’re a mechanic for life now. I’ve been turning wrenches for as long as I can remember. Maybe not always for a paycheck, but no matter what I was doing there always seemed to be a wrench close by. Eventually, all that tinkering led to a chance to be a mechanic at a real shop. Actual diagnostics took a lot longer to learn, but it’s fair to say most all of us started off doing minor repairs or on the lube rack. Back when I started, my diagnostic skills and tools weren’t all that special. Usually nothing more more than a rubber hose held up to my ear to listen for knocks or taps, or whatever pieces of equipment the repair shop had on hand. It took time to learn how to diagnose a problem correctly, but even then, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of those mechanical marvels that travel up and down the highway. Tools and techniques have changed over the years, and every mechanic has had to change with each new technical innovation. These days, the new technology seems to change even faster than a person can imagine. It used to be the hand tools that changed as rapidly as the new models were introduced, now it’s the laptop requirements and the software that are constantly changing more than the hand tools. I’m seeing components such as the power steering pump, water pump and even the air conditioning compressors slowly being replaced by electronics. I’ve got a lifetime of tools and techniques I’ve learned to take care of all those fluids, belts, and hoses, as well as how to replace all those components. But, being a mechanic for life you have to expect changes like that. I’ve got drawers full of specialty sockets for timing gears, distributors and that odd looking soup bowl for removing those Northstar water pumps. Now, they’re just another one of those tools that will end up in a lower corner of the tool box along with an ever increasing pile of outdated scanners that are gathering dust. For me, I’m still amazed at how many tools and techniques for repairing cars I’ve used for so many years are now just a lifetime of memories. The computers and data lines have taken over the automotive world, and the state-of-the-art electronics can be overwhelming to anyone unfamiliar with the modern car. Making a lifelong career as a mechanic means you’ll experience a lot of these changes in your tools, as well as the cars. It is a new and different automotive world than ever before, but even with all these changes, and the years that I’ve been at this, I’m still amazed and in awe of the mechanical wonders we drive down the road. It’s that fascination of searching for a problem, the latest technology, and the mechanical nature of the modern automobile that gets to a person whose life revolves around maintaining them. With all these changes it takes years to get familiar with the systems and to actually get good at this job. You’ll make a few mistakes, a few discoveries, but all in all, you’ll learn from them both. This learning process goes along with my favorite saying, “Experience comes from yesterday’s mistakes. Knowledge comes from not making the same mistake tomorrow.” That says it all. Then, you might branch out of the service bay into other forms of mechanic work. Maybe as a service writer, working in the parts department, maybe owning and running your own shop, or perhaps as an instructor bringing up the next generation of mechanics. Deep down we’re all still a mechanic just in a different way. No matter what direction your future holds, you’re still a mechanic for life, and that’s just the way we like it.
  9. Mechanic for Life A lot of us mechanics may not have started out with the ambitions of being one. It’s just how things worked out. You might have started out with a college education or military background, and it turned out to be something that didn’t suit you at all. Others might have grown up in the business and were handling wrenches long before they were out of diapers. Still others started by fixing their own car, because they couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it, and found it was something that suited them more than an office cubicle. Whatever the method that got you into the business, you’re probably hooked. Most likely, just like me, you’re a mechanic for life now. I’ve been turning wrenches for as long as I can remember. Maybe not always for a paycheck, but no matter what I was doing there always seemed to be a wrench close by. Eventually, all that tinkering led to a chance to be a mechanic at a real shop. Actual diagnostics took a lot longer to learn, but it’s fair to say most all of us started off doing minor repairs or on the lube rack. Back when I started, my diagnostic skills and tools weren’t all that special. Usually nothing more more than a rubber hose held up to my ear to listen for knocks or taps, or whatever pieces of equipment the repair shop had on hand. It took time to learn how to diagnose a problem correctly, but even then, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of those mechanical marvels that travel up and down the highway. Tools and techniques have changed over the years, and every mechanic has had to change with each new technical innovation. These days, the new technology seems to change even faster than a person can imagine. It used to be the hand tools that changed as rapidly as the new models were introduced, now it’s the laptop requirements and the software that are constantly changing more than the hand tools. I’m seeing components such as the power steering pump, water pump and even the air conditioning compressors slowly being replaced by electronics. I’ve got a lifetime of tools and techniques I’ve learned to take care of all those fluids, belts, and hoses, as well as how to replace all those components. But, being a mechanic for life you have to expect changes like that. I’ve got drawers full of specialty sockets for timing gears, distributors and that odd looking soup bowl for removing those Northstar water pumps. Now, they’re just another one of those tools that will end up in a lower corner of the tool box along with an ever increasing pile of outdated scanners that are gathering dust. For me, I’m still amazed at how many tools and techniques for repairing cars I’ve used for so many years are now just a lifetime of memories. The computers and data lines have taken over the automotive world, and the state-of-the-art electronics can be overwhelming to anyone unfamiliar with the modern car. Making a lifelong career as a mechanic means you’ll experience a lot of these changes in your tools, as well as the cars. It is a new and different automotive world than ever before, but even with all these changes, and the years that I’ve been at this, I’m still amazed and in awe of the mechanical wonders we drive down the road. It’s that fascination of searching for a problem, the latest technology, and the mechanical nature of the modern automobile that gets to a person whose life revolves around maintaining them. With all these changes it takes years to get familiar with the systems and to actually get good at this job. You’ll make a few mistakes, a few discoveries, but all in all, you’ll learn from them both. This learning process goes along with my favorite saying, “Experience comes from yesterday’s mistakes. Knowledge comes from not making the same mistake tomorrow.” That says it all. Then, you might branch out of the service bay into other forms of mechanic work. Maybe as a service writer, working in the parts department, maybe owning and running your own shop, or perhaps as an instructor bringing up the next generation of mechanics. Deep down we’re all still a mechanic just in a different way. No matter what direction your future holds, you’re still a mechanic for life, and that’s just the way we like it. View full article
  10. Week 7 from busy shop owner/mechanic/writer to an open heart surgery survivor.  

    Just started rehab.  Oh what fun that is.  Picture this, I'm in a room with a bunch of 90 year old guys with pace makers and wearing a bib with your first name on it which holds your heart monitor while barely pedaling their exercise machines and googly eyeing the pretty nurses.  Yea, those heart monitors are recording their real heart rates.  LOL.  Me, I'm trying to get my strength back so I'm concentrating on keeping the rpms up and let the nurses watch the screen and tell me when I'm over doing it based on the heart monitoring I'm also wearing. (Yea, mine says Gonzo on it) 

    I've got one more day of teaching, which I've got to admit I think I'm really cut out to be a teacher.  Did a quiz on naming A/C components (which is part of the class schedule) along with several A/C gauges mocked up that they have to give the most likely diag. on what the gauges show. (Hi and Lo gauge readings) Then. they have to draw a complete A/C system using a fixed orfice tube and all the components, and direction of flow, showing the liquid and gas.  

        Out of 15 students. 12 got a 100. two with 75, and one kid got a 60 (he has only showed up three or four times. and the ones that got the 75 come in late everyday)  I think that's a pretty good return on a teachers effort if ya asked me. 

    Anyway, I can't go back to the shop until the middle of Sept. according to the doctors. So. I've turned in anything that I have to pay a monthly or weekly fee, such as uniforms, and any other rental type stuff including any cleaning services etc...   no sense in paying for something I'm not using. 

    Come mid Sept.  I've got to decide... go back to work, run the shop, maybe hire in, maybe not.  Or do I sell out, sell off. and retire.  Assuming my other side line work, manual writing, webinars, column, and sub. teaching is a better way to finish out the last of my working years.  Heck, I might even be able to travel a bit and visit all you guys that read all the crappy stuff I write. LOL  The real sad part is its most likely that I probably won't make a whole lot on the sale of the shop or equipment due to the economy, but I've got some really great equipment that has been well cared for considering only one person has operated and cared for most of it. (namely me)

    Any thoughts and words of wisdom or suggestions would be encouraging.  It's a tough decision to make after 33 years in business.   

     But, it's truly something to even be here... when you considered I actually died on two different occasions as they tried to fix my heart problem ... I've got a lot to be thankful for. 

     

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. skm

      skm

      Follow your heart! I know yours is still on the mend but once it gets stronger you will make the right choice.. Remember all good things must come to an end, but with every end there is a beginning . Take your time decide what is most important in life and go from there. Sometimes we need to stop and smell the roses or at least slow enough to get a whiff as we pass by !

    3. Gonzo

      Gonzo

      Financially this is a mess, but fortunately I'm managing.  It's looking more like a sell off than a sale.  I'm almost certain that I won't be going back to the shop to work. For many reasons, but here's a perfect example of things I can't control coming through the front door of the shop until they've presented themselves.  But by then... the blood pressure has gone up.  My wife was down at the shop taking care of some paper work when a rather rude guy walked in the lobby even with the closed sign up and a note about my condition.  He tells her, "I've been here five different times already and the door has been locked where is he? I need my electric seat worked on!"  My wife explained to him the situation but that didn't seem to phase him.  "So when is he going to be back?"  She told him that I was more than likely not going to be back but maybe in a consulting aspect sometime in Sept.  That wasn't good enough for him.  He wanted something NOW.  She finally had to ask him to get out. He storms out the door ticked off and muttering something about the BBB. 

      It's those kind of "daily" arseholes I seem to run across, that are really making the decision for me.  People and their attitudes like this guy, are one of the many reasons your blood pressure can climb.  I don't need it, don't want it, and don't want to deal with it.  Time to cool down, slow down, and relax away from all the stress.  Doctor said, "Lower your stress."  I think I'll take his advise. 

       

    4. skm

      skm

      I hear ya ! People even my wife doesn't understand the stress these kind of people put on you, and then the worst ones are the waiters.. I can't stand them , I get out of my car with my hands full off stuff (lunch etc) and they are approaching me asking me stuff or just saying " I wanted to let you know I am here" well no shit sherlock I can see you ! I usually walk right by them without saying a word.. but when they are there it always makes the job harder since you have them breathing down your neck, some things like taking door panels off and stuff like that at times is a little rough and makes a lot of noise like things are breaking. I don't need that with the owner over my back, then you feel rushed or pressured even though they tell you no rush .. yea no rush then why the hell are you still waiting here. no rush means you can drop it off and pick it up when I am done. It is a lot more stressful than people think that is for sure.

       

  11. HOME Hoarders Watching television these days you’ll find a lot of so called reality shows on the air waves. I sat thru one of these hoarding shows, and quite frankly I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve seen this same thing in cars, trucks, and vans. Junk, trash, and just about anything you could think of piled up inside the car and/or in the bed of the truck. The one thing that seems to be common with every one of them is the mess. It’s not so much the piles of crap that they keep in their vehicles, but how they keep their stuff. It’s always a disorganized mess with no rhyme or reason of organization. I can’t work like that myself. Now, I’m not all that neat with my tool box. But it’s at least it’s an organized chaos. Sockets and extensions of the same ratchet size in one area, cutting tools in another, screw drivers and pliers all have their own place. I actually use several tool boxes to store my 30+ years of variety of tools. Even with the tool boxes, I still have to have other tools that come in their own protective plastic molded boxes on shelves neatly labeled as to what is in each box, in order to retrieve them when needed. Older, out of date tools seem to always end up in lower and lower drawers. I can’t even tell you where my dwell meters are these days… haven’t seen them in years. Now I see the same trend in old scanners. The pile is getting larger and larger. I still have an old MatCo 4000E and a few other ones on one of the lower shelves. I don’t think I’ve turned them on in years, but all the cards and cords are there. It’s almost funny, (in a weird way) that each time you update a scanner, the new scanner generally will do all the older systems. So instead of pulling out your old scanner I’ll reach for the new one every time. So what happens to that old scanner? It will end up with that old dwell meter somewhere out of sight and forgotten. These days I find myself “hoarding” some of these new tools, and wait for a chance to use some of them. Now, I’ve got a collection of so called “new” tools that I haven’t found much use for yet. Special headlamp assembly removal tools, belt tools, shocks wrenches, front end disassembly tools, suspension tools, and so much more. Most of which I may only see use for only once in a great while. For example, I’ve done several of the water pumps on the “North Star” engines, and with the right tool it’s an easy job. I wouldn’t even begin to think of doing it without it. The tool wasn’t cheap, but I’m sure at some point in time it too will end up in the bottom of the box. I don’t think of myself as a tool hoarder, or a collector… I just want the right tool for the right job. As a tech the expense of these tools can be costly, keeping them clean and well kept helps me maintain them for a long time. Without the right tool, the job isn’t as easy as it could be. So anytime I can get the correct tool I will. Then there are those homemade tools that I have a tougher time sending to the deep dark pockets of the lower drawers. At the time I needed that certain cut down tool or a socket I ground an edge off of… they made sense. Looking in the drawer at some of these old handmade marvels I have to wonder… why I did do “that” to this tool? Obviously, I’ve forgotten what it was for… so it now becomes the next tool that will get “re-made” into the next handmade tool. These tools I’ll “hoard” for a long time, just can’t part with them so easily. I’ve also seen guys who have huge boxes of tools that have every single socket and screw driver so perfectly placed in their tool boxes that they resemble museum pieces. I’ve even seen a guy who had a huge, and I mean huge, selection of hammers… of various sizes and lengths. All these hammers were lined up on overhead racks equally spaced apart, and put into a pattern from small to large, and by handle length. A thing of beauty to a tool guy like myself. Not that practical in my point of view though. I mean, really, how many hammers do ya need? A hoarder? No not really. I think it actually falls under the category of collector. Collectors take pride in what they have, and are proud to display them in an orderly fashion. One thing that goes along with those hoarders’ cars and trucks is the stench… OMG… always, always, always it smells like something died in there. I’ll bet doctors could tell some horror stories dealing with people and their hygiene, and I’m sure I’m not the only tech who has dealt with the smelly car from hell. Nasty, is the only way to say it… putrid, awful, and disgusting. YUK! Well, then again, it’s work… not pleasant work, but it is work. I think the worst one that I can remember getting into was a Chevy van with a heater core leak. The van was stacked level with the windows front to back with the most horrendous conglomeration of junk I’ve ever had to deal with. There was only enough room for the driver and barely any room to move the gear shift lever. Totally disgusting, and even more to the point that smell, that awful unforgettable smell! Papers, fast food bags, clothes, shoes, and anything else you can think of. I always try to put things back in order that I take things out of a glove box or trunk, but, there was no way to “re-stack” everything back in on this “hoarder-mobile”… it was an intertwined hap-hazard pile of putrid junk. All I could do was grab handfuls of this stuff and throw it on the shop floor. In fact, I gave the lady the estimate based on book time… then I crossed out the book time, and told her that the book time doesn’t apply due to the conditions I’m working in. She still said go for it… so I did. With an aspirator, plastic gloves and a long sleeve jacket that I planned to throw out as soon as I was done. I “dove” right into my work on this reeking pile of refuse, and finished it as quickly as I could. You know, I really should have done this job outside, because the stench lingered in the shop for weeks. These people have a serious mental problem, but most of them don’t see it as a problem. I’m no doctor, so I probably shouldn’t make diagnostic claims on things I know nothing about, I’m just a mechanic. I’ll try to deal with junk and the smell, get the job done, and move on to the next one. (Hopefully a more pleasant one). When you finish with one of these jobs, don’t forget to wipe your tools down before you neatly place them back into your tool box. Messy tools and a messy shop aren’t very presentable, but for some customers it’s not a concern of theirs how their vehicle looks or smells, they just want the car fixed. Even though I’ll fix the car, the smell and the sight of these trash cans on 4 wheels sure does get to me. Yuk! View full article
  12. HOME Hoarders Watching television these days you’ll find a lot of so called reality shows on the air waves. I sat thru one of these hoarding shows, and quite frankly I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve seen this same thing in cars, trucks, and vans. Junk, trash, and just about anything you could think of piled up inside the car and/or in the bed of the truck. The one thing that seems to be common with every one of them is the mess. It’s not so much the piles of crap that they keep in their vehicles, but how they keep their stuff. It’s always a disorganized mess with no rhyme or reason of organization. I can’t work like that myself. Now, I’m not all that neat with my tool box. But it’s at least it’s an organized chaos. Sockets and extensions of the same ratchet size in one area, cutting tools in another, screw drivers and pliers all have their own place. I actually use several tool boxes to store my 30+ years of variety of tools. Even with the tool boxes, I still have to have other tools that come in their own protective plastic molded boxes on shelves neatly labeled as to what is in each box, in order to retrieve them when needed. Older, out of date tools seem to always end up in lower and lower drawers. I can’t even tell you where my dwell meters are these days… haven’t seen them in years. Now I see the same trend in old scanners. The pile is getting larger and larger. I still have an old MatCo 4000E and a few other ones on one of the lower shelves. I don’t think I’ve turned them on in years, but all the cards and cords are there. It’s almost funny, (in a weird way) that each time you update a scanner, the new scanner generally will do all the older systems. So instead of pulling out your old scanner I’ll reach for the new one every time. So what happens to that old scanner? It will end up with that old dwell meter somewhere out of sight and forgotten. These days I find myself “hoarding” some of these new tools, and wait for a chance to use some of them. Now, I’ve got a collection of so called “new” tools that I haven’t found much use for yet. Special headlamp assembly removal tools, belt tools, shocks wrenches, front end disassembly tools, suspension tools, and so much more. Most of which I may only see use for only once in a great while. For example, I’ve done several of the water pumps on the “North Star” engines, and with the right tool it’s an easy job. I wouldn’t even begin to think of doing it without it. The tool wasn’t cheap, but I’m sure at some point in time it too will end up in the bottom of the box. I don’t think of myself as a tool hoarder, or a collector… I just want the right tool for the right job. As a tech the expense of these tools can be costly, keeping them clean and well kept helps me maintain them for a long time. Without the right tool, the job isn’t as easy as it could be. So anytime I can get the correct tool I will. Then there are those homemade tools that I have a tougher time sending to the deep dark pockets of the lower drawers. At the time I needed that certain cut down tool or a socket I ground an edge off of… they made sense. Looking in the drawer at some of these old handmade marvels I have to wonder… why I did do “that” to this tool? Obviously, I’ve forgotten what it was for… so it now becomes the next tool that will get “re-made” into the next handmade tool. These tools I’ll “hoard” for a long time, just can’t part with them so easily. I’ve also seen guys who have huge boxes of tools that have every single socket and screw driver so perfectly placed in their tool boxes that they resemble museum pieces. I’ve even seen a guy who had a huge, and I mean huge, selection of hammers… of various sizes and lengths. All these hammers were lined up on overhead racks equally spaced apart, and put into a pattern from small to large, and by handle length. A thing of beauty to a tool guy like myself. Not that practical in my point of view though. I mean, really, how many hammers do ya need? A hoarder? No not really. I think it actually falls under the category of collector. Collectors take pride in what they have, and are proud to display them in an orderly fashion. One thing that goes along with those hoarders’ cars and trucks is the stench… OMG… always, always, always it smells like something died in there. I’ll bet doctors could tell some horror stories dealing with people and their hygiene, and I’m sure I’m not the only tech who has dealt with the smelly car from hell. Nasty, is the only way to say it… putrid, awful, and disgusting. YUK! Well, then again, it’s work… not pleasant work, but it is work. I think the worst one that I can remember getting into was a Chevy van with a heater core leak. The van was stacked level with the windows front to back with the most horrendous conglomeration of junk I’ve ever had to deal with. There was only enough room for the driver and barely any room to move the gear shift lever. Totally disgusting, and even more to the point that smell, that awful unforgettable smell! Papers, fast food bags, clothes, shoes, and anything else you can think of. I always try to put things back in order that I take things out of a glove box or trunk, but, there was no way to “re-stack” everything back in on this “hoarder-mobile”… it was an intertwined hap-hazard pile of putrid junk. All I could do was grab handfuls of this stuff and throw it on the shop floor. In fact, I gave the lady the estimate based on book time… then I crossed out the book time, and told her that the book time doesn’t apply due to the conditions I’m working in. She still said go for it… so I did. With an aspirator, plastic gloves and a long sleeve jacket that I planned to throw out as soon as I was done. I “dove” right into my work on this reeking pile of refuse, and finished it as quickly as I could. You know, I really should have done this job outside, because the stench lingered in the shop for weeks. These people have a serious mental problem, but most of them don’t see it as a problem. I’m no doctor, so I probably shouldn’t make diagnostic claims on things I know nothing about, I’m just a mechanic. I’ll try to deal with junk and the smell, get the job done, and move on to the next one. (Hopefully a more pleasant one). When you finish with one of these jobs, don’t forget to wipe your tools down before you neatly place them back into your tool box. Messy tools and a messy shop aren’t very presentable, but for some customers it’s not a concern of theirs how their vehicle looks or smells, they just want the car fixed. Even though I’ll fix the car, the smell and the sight of these trash cans on 4 wheels sure does get to me. Yuk!
  13. As I told a student in my class the other day, "Experience comes from yesterdays mistakes. Knowledge is not making the same mistake tomorrow." I appreciate every day anymore . . . .and I'm not done making mistakes yet.
  14. After the month I've had... I'm definitely an antique.


×