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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I was just wondering how many of us on TC have reservations about sending our cars to the shop to have work done. Seems that I always think about someone abusing or misusing it, when and if it goes out. Guess that's why I always try to do the work myself first. Of course we aren't all capable of doing it all but if it's something within our realm, most of us do try to do it. Maybe it's just a trust issue I have with people , but I know how I was as a kid too. Somehow I just don't feel good about doing it. As I get older too, I know I have my limitations as well. You always wonder if the the guy running the shop is actually doing the work on your baby too.
 

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An alternate plan could include finding someone on this site that is near to you and does excellent mechanical work on the side. A lot of the folks here are very good mechanics.
 

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I have never sent any of mine out for anything to be done since I am perfectly capable of doing anything myself Having said that, I've seen first hand friends of mine take their car somewhere to have something done only to have it come back worse than it was then calling me to come fix it. I guess that's why I have unlimited side work right now. Best thing you can do is do some homework and even talk to some guys on here that might be somewhat local to you and find out what's what. Not saying all shops are bad, but you need to find someone that either likes working on these cars, owns them, or someone that specializes in them. When I get someone else car in for anything, I always treat it like it was my own. If I find something else wrong, always call and go over what I found before proceeding.
 

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I haven't taken a car to a shop since I was 17. Bad experience then, didn't repair the car and it still cost me my hard earned money. I'm about to turn 67 and I'm sure I'll continue along the same path. I actually work in service at a new car dealership. I feel for the customers that come in and have to have even the simplest of things repaired.

I'm the same way about my home. Rarely need someone to come repair anything there. I guess the Lord blessed me being able to work with my hands and the skill of reasoning to work things out.

Its not for reasons you might think. Its not that I don't trust anyone with my cars, I just would like repairs to be made as correctly as possible. My experience at work is its more about the money than getting the job correct. And that's not every tech's outlook but you can tell which ones do the best work simply by the customer returns. The good techs rarely have a recheck on their work. The rest always have Monday morning rechecks. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. A big waste of time having to do a job twice. Do it right the first time and be done with it.

Richard
 

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A good friend of mine owns an auto repair business. He almost always has classic cars in the shop. Right now there are two, 1972 Monte Carlo and a 1933 Plymouth street rod. He has my car in storage waiting for my new engine. I hope to pick the engine up this week so he can get the car back together. He is the only person that I trust to work on my car.
James
 

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Refuse to take this car to any shop. If it was a body shop well it "wouldnt run"

After I got it painted it went next door for some electrical.

Very clear that I did NOT want the car started as it was all new and not cheap
Well the guy had his buddies over that eve too many beers and decided to put the dist in and got it fired up. Tried to come off like he did me a favor, and no charge!
Dipstick lashed them (solids) ALL wrong was lean as hell....Was so p'd off couldnt see straight. Oh and started it up just to move it in....then out. great for a new motor

Worked in a few when I was younger holy cow. Every car got beat on, all of them.
If you know the guy real well, or older guys in the shop may be Ok.

Even my DD truck which is old, stock caught a "me Kanik" beating the pee out of it going down the st. Warned them the tranny was weak when I dropped it off
Not a good scene for him.
 

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I won't send mine out for anything. Nobody has touched my Malibu except for engine machine work only, since I've had the car. I did my own body work, paint job, built my 2004R trans, did my own upholstery, vinyl top installation, susp and brake rebuild, AC system rebuild and charging. Even did the front end alignment. The only person locally I trust with it is me. I'm retired which helps though with the time aspect.
 

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Yes I have reservations having to take any car I own in. However there are some tasks I can't do i.e. Wheel Alignment / Tire Mounting / Balancing / Exhaust (I do not have the equipment), Government mandated inspections etc.

For the tire work I just take in the tires and rims to the tire shop. Alignment I have no choice, I have found a good shop, no issues so far (abusing my vehicle / scratching it etc.). I have wanted to get an alignment on my Chevelle for about two years now and even though the shop is good, this is my #1 reason (shop fear) it hasn't been done.

I am not sure what I would do if I ever needed body work done on any car I own. That is something I do not have the talent or equipment for (sanding / paint etc.). I also go in for windshields (Chevelle is original thankfully so no concerns about that yet but my daily drivers get pounded up here) and, again, I have a great shop for that.

Everything else gets done at home. My only advice I can provide in this post is to have a relationship with the shop and / or good references from other car guys. I am always asking for feedback when someone goes to a shop or "has a guy" do work for them in case I need something done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have wanted to get an alignment on my Chevelle for about two years now and even though the shop is good, this is my #1 reason (shop fear) it hasn't been done.

I'm in the same boat with you on this, But so far the alignment seems pretty right on.
 

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Same here with alignments - always a crap shoot having a shop do them. I'm getting ready to buy all the items to do them myself - can't find a good shop around here that will get it right other than slapping "factory" settings on it and grumbling when I ask for "custom" settings. And they all seem to charge $89.99 or so a pop insisting I need the full 4 wheel alignment which costs more.

So, I figure it's time for me to start doing my own. :thumbsup:
 

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Same here with alignments - always a crap shoot having a shop do them. I'm getting ready to buy all the items to do them myself - can't find a good shop around here that will get it right other than slapping "factory" settings on it and grumbling when I ask for "custom" settings. And they all seem to charge $89.99 or so a pop insisting I need the full 4 wheel alignment which costs more.

So, I figure it's time for me to start doing my own. :thumbsup:
These cars don't need expensive equipment to do a decent alignment IMO. If you have a good 24" level and a couple 30" or more straightedges you're in business. Set the toe in at 1/8" to 1/4" with the straightedges and a tape measure, set the camber with the levels to get 0 degrees (wheels perfectly plumb), and the caster (spindle tilt) to get as much positive as you can. That means the top of the spindle will lean back. This will require more shims in the rear upper A arm bolt than the front bolt. It's hard to get much more than a couple degrees of positive caster on a Chevelle and without equipment there's no way to measure it. I just get as miuch positive as I can without affecting camber. I've done it this way for years on two Chevelles with no abnormal tire wear or handling issues.
 

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Heh... I didn't say I was going to buy expensive equipment - just the stuff to do it. Like some string, a couple poles, a good tape measure or two, some simple leveling equipment and straight edges, etc. :)

These cars don't need expensive equipment to do a decent alignment IMO. If you have a good 24" level and a couple 30" or more straightedges you're in business. Set the toe in at 1/8" to 1/4" with the straightedges and a tape measure, set the camber with the levels to get 0 degrees (wheels perfectly plumb), and the caster (spindle tilt) to get as much positive as you can. That means the top of the spindle will lean back. This will require more shims in the rear upper A arm bolt than the front bolt. It's hard to get much more than a couple degrees of positive caster on a Chevelle and without equipment there's no way to measure it. I just get as miuch positive as I can without affecting camber. I've done it this way for years on two Chevelles with no abnormal tire wear or handling issues.
 

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The only shop I have ever trusted is owned by a friend of mine. Family business since the 60's. Only 3 bays and you have to book at least a week ahead but there is a reason for it. Good rep and MANY repeat customers. His dad and uncles started it and is now run by his son. All real car guys. Their motto is "Don't rip people off and they will return" or my favourite "You can shear a sheep many times but can only kill it once". Words to live by.
 

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Every thong on mine is done at home, except machine work & front end alignment.
Family trucksters that's different. :smile2:
 

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I'll drop components at shops for work if I can't do rebuild or buy new. Only time car goes in, is for alignment (been 14 years since last alignment). If I get in a bind fixing a problem, I'll call friends or ask here at TC. Turning wrenches is the easy part. I may have to try painting my own car too as I don't want to deal with body shops.
 

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Just watch 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'. That will remind you why you don't want to take a classic car to someone to have it worked on.
 

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I haven't taken a car to a shop since I was 17. Bad experience then, didn't repair the car and it still cost me my hard earned money... I actually work in service at a new car dealership. I feel for the customers that come in and have to have even the simplest of things repaired.

I'm the same way about my home. Rarely need someone to come repair anything there. I guess the Lord blessed me being able to work with my hands and the skill of reasoning to work things out.
I am the same way, about the only thing I take my Chevelle to a shop for is an alignment... I have considered getting a Fast Trak setup, but haven't as of yet... And with the Chevelles, to me, repairing/rebuilding is part of the hobby for me... Why farm something out that I am perfectly capable of doing myself? Yeah, I have yet to get to the stage of having something repaired for me because it saves my time...

I have only met a few mechanics I really trust to do a fair and honest job, and unfortunately, none of them are in this geographical area...

One of my last issues was with the service advisor (routine maintenance) telling me that the technician removed the cabin filter, and it needs replacing... $65+... I checked, and the filter only costs $24 AT THE SAME DEALER (parts counter)... I changed it myself (first time), and only took me 3 minutes total... So IF the technician already removed the filter to check, and the "cost" should be less than the $24 retail, HOW in hell was the charge $65??? The Service Advisor couldn't (or wouldn't) answer...


As for my Daily Drivers, I often have the oil changed, due to lack of free time, and I'd rather spend what little "car" time I have working on the Chevelles...
 
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