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Old 07-09-2008, 09:29 PM   #31
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C'mon there's less parts in rear drums than in the model kits you give 8yos for xmas. Just find a good pic of everything. Not really a first time wrenching project I guess, but if you've changed a few other things yourself, you'll cope if you keep a clear head and don't get flustered.
Drum brakes on my crx were very easy once i figured them out. First one took an hour, second one took less than 10 minutes.

Your mechanic has a boat payment coming up.

If your radiator is cracked coolant must be leaking from it right? i know i could smell coolant for about a week before mine started spewing it and then i replaced it...was pretty easy, original radiator lasted 260,000miles.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:40 PM   #32
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And you guys never have screwed up working on your own vehicles or getting someone to do it cheap? All the people I have had help from either didn't know what they were talking about or did something wrong including myself. It's been nothing but a head ache, misinformation and improper car mechanic work. And yet I keep hearing all these DIY success stories of saving hundreds of dollars. It took my friend and I 2 weekends to do the failed brake job (about 15 hours) which had to be done by a mechanic in the end of the day anyway. What's so infuriating about all this is they told me it would end up costing me more trying to do it myself and they were right. One good thing that did come of it is we fixed the E-brake without having to replace it--the cables were seized and we were able to free them up. That's partly why it took so long. Except I broke my e-brake again 6 months later when I pulled to hard up on it. If I had someone I could trust to help me do the job I would--but I don't think I will venture this project on my own.


I think we have all probably had screw ups when working on our cars, but that is part of the learning process. I wasn't telling you to do your own work it's just that I thought it was something that someone even with minimal experience could do. The main thing is taking your time to watch what you are doing, that is usually when you run into problems when you try to get into too big of a hurry or take short cuts. Yes, I had a screw up a few years ago changing spark plugs one of them was seized in the aluminum, but it had to come out. I got it out but took the threads out of the spark plug hole. I went to an auto parts store and bought a tap to re-tap the hole and it was too large to fit down into the pocket where the plugs went. I was really pissed off, but then I got to thinking a spark plug ripped the threads out of the hole why can't I take the other old ones and put as much pressure on it as I possibly can and try using that as my tap. I would run it in a little piece then back it out clean the threads on it put it back in run it a little further and continued to do this until I had the threads re-cut. Probably 8-10 years later and no further problems with it. I guess the biggest thing I learned from that experience was use lots of anti seize from now on. This would have happened even with the best mechanic in the world changing the plugs and they would have told me I needed a new head and charged me hundreds of dollars to fix it instead of trying what I did in 15-30 minutes. If I were in your neighborhood I would gladly come give you hand. I used to be scared to death to try something that I had never done afraid of what I would screw up, now I get my service manual out study it for a while get the general idea what has to be done and then take it to the garage with me for reference in case I need it. I would check to make sure the cooling fan is working. I had one go out once and it caused my car to overheat a couple times when I would have to set and idle for long periods of time. I would at least get estimates from a couple more reputable mechanics before letting this one do the work. Good luck.
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:25 AM   #33
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I am hurting this morning from a mistake I made 20 years ago, that damn near cost me my life.

Compared to that one the rest are minuscule.

Mistakes are the price of admission into the world of experience.

Henry Ford went bankrupt 3 times in 10 years. Ten years later he was worth 25 million dollars, a lot of money about the time of WW1.

Should I gloat about the 1000's of brake jobs I have done?

Would it help me make a point?

The important thing is you figure out exactly what is wrong so you can sit down and make a rational decision about what to do and if it's worth the cost.

There is no other factor that is relevant.

regards
gary
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:10 AM   #34
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it seems your new mechanic does not have the ability to perform a block test. if you have a relationship w/ a reputable garage you might go have this simple test done.

the test takes only a few minutes and again, if you know the mechanic, he/she might only charge a minimal fee. even charging a half hour labor could be worth it to find out if your gasket is blown or not.
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:25 AM   #35
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personally i think a maintenance and repair manual is worth looking for, especially if the car is haveing some issues already. a good one will tell you how to diagnose certain problems, and it will tell you exactly wich bolts need undoing and in what order.

it's really helpfull to understand how things work together in your car, even if you have a general understanding of what's going on.

it can be very helpfull to know if a certain task is withing your capabilities and if you have to right tools to preform them; but even if you have someone else do it (who's chargeing you) it's nice to know how long it'll take them.
and if you're going to give it a shot haveing a manual can take away the uncertainty wich would otherwise lead to mistakes etc...
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:04 AM   #36
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All you need for a block test is a compressed air source that you can use to shoot air into the radiator overflow hose fitting (remove the overflow tube).

A gun type air blowing nozzle works best. Give it a brief squirt of air up into the overflow fitting (rad cap on) until that the top rad hose feels pressurized and wait to see if it deflates again. Don't overdo this shot of air or you will blow your rad hoses or even your radiator.
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:48 PM   #37
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All you need for a block test is a compressed air source that you can use to shoot air into the radiator overflow hose fitting (remove the overflow tube).

A gun type air blowing nozzle works best. Give it a brief squirt of air up into the overflow fitting (rad cap on) until that the top rad hose feels pressurized and wait to see if it deflates again. Don't overdo this shot of air or you will blow your rad hoses or even your radiator.
Hence why I've decided to go ahead and offer up my left nut instead of trying to do these sorts of things on my own. Hopefully the gasket is still in good shape and I won't have to lose an arm and a leg as well. Thanks guys for all the help. If it turns out I do need a new gasket, I might just roll up my sleeves after all as my coffers only run so deep.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:52 PM   #38
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If it were my Honda I'd change the thermostat and the radiator. Honestly sounds like a bad thermostat, and that would cause most of your symptoms.

The thermostat is 2 or 3 bolts and a gasket. If it's like the CRX (Civics are Civics at heart), there's a rubber gasket inside - very easy. Radiator is pretty easy too.

Find a DIFFERENT mechanic. This guy sees you coming. Bet you can get it done for half of that $505, parts & labor included.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:06 PM   #39
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$250 premium to have the job done right, to avoid all the stress and head ache of worrying about whether I'm going to wreck my car trying to fix it--and all the time required--is really no biggy. Or were you saying bring it to another mechanic and have them do it for $250. Well, the car is now at the mechanic and I can't drive it anymore now that the rad is cracked (at least I don't want to) so he's got my you know what right where he wants them (in a vice grip). Nah, I think he is an honest mechanic that charges $100/hr labor because he is an experienced mechanic. But, yeah, my last mechanic was very fair about price, but he was so difficult to talk to and deal with I couldn't bring myself to go back to him. The other mechanic I could have gone to also isn't interested in engaging in dialogue about problems with my car, but is also fair priced--but he is so busy all the time I want someone I can talk to. This new mechanic wanted me to explain to him in detail about the problems. My brother recommended the mechanic: said he was fair and honest, so that's what I got for the time being. But maybe he did see me coming so to speak. He told me when I came to his shop that he is brutally honest but expensive. He was also the only mechanic and person to offer an explanation why my o2 sensor is throwing a CEL (bad heat sensor) only when it's cold and why my car rolls backward when it's in gear on a hill (bad compression). Sooo.... here's hoping $$$ premium is going to mean peace of mind and long last automobile down the road.

Oh, by the way, I got the mechanic to tell me the cost of the radiator. I was right on the money. $175.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:53 PM   #40
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For a moment I am going to tell you exactly the same thing I would tell you if you were my customer.

Your car has overheated several times, and has been run with no coolant in the system.

How long it was run without coolant is critical to any diagnosis. Without coolant your engines life is measured in minutes. EOC may actually have saved you.

We do not know the extent of the damage at this point. The cooling system has to be functional in order to verify that you can keep coolant in the system. If the head gasket is blown it will not be possible to keep coolant in the system. It could be even worse than that, with the possibility of a cracked head or block.

In many cases bad head gaskets can pass air pressure testing, and only create a problem when the engine is hot, and things expand. If there is coolant in the oil you are in trouble. If combustion gasses are escaping past the bad gasket you are faced with a difficult choice.

You can attempt to replace the gasket, only to find out that there is a cracked head or block, and more money is spent and your problem is not solved.

Brutally honest appraisal of the situation probably is not what you want to hear, but the other option is carrying you down a pathway of expensive repairs with the possibility of having to replace the engine to solve the problems.

Even if the head gasket is OK and the block or head is not cracked, overheating can cause the engine to burn a lot more oil.

I know this thread may make me seem like an Ahole, that is not my objective. What needs to be done to solve your problem is not certain at this point. i hope its the easy fix without complications.

Aluminum engines absorb heat about 4 times as fast as cast iron. If you get it fixed by replacing the radiator and thermostat, you should make sure you keep a daily routine of making sure you are not loosing any coolant. Never take the radiator cap off when the engine is hot, and make sure you use 50-50 antifreeze mixture, because it allows your engine to run as high as 256 degrees without damage (Mercedes quote for their alloy block V8 engines) with 10 PSI caps (if memory serves me correctly).

I really wish you luck and hope you get it fixed without serious consequences.

My brother had his 455 Olds jet boat engine rebuilt and it had a cracked block which was not discovered, and he dumped $2500 into the thing and the oil became mud in 2 minutes.

regards
gary
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