This weekend saw me, for the first time in months, blowing the dust and stink off myself and doing some mechanical work for a change-now, mind you, none of this was on my own projects, but productive nonetheless. First my best bud George needed a little help with his BMW 525i, Schultzie. Named for the John Banner Character in "Hogan's Heroes", He was a Craigslist find, with a rebuilt top end and just over 100k at time of purchase-essentially a new car under the hood. However, some enterprising rogue had, early in Schultzie's life, installed a security system-badly. This chop-job had left a hard to find short in the right side low-beam headlight. WIth state inspection looming, we set to work soldering the damaged wire back together and sealing it up with heat-shrink tubing.
Next up was my friend Karen's 2005 Jeep Liberty. Rolling into town to visit her mom, she had lost the spring load in her serpentine belt tensioner pulley. I was charged with locating the part, supplying the tools, and doing the repair. While it was a little harder than we thought (somewhere in '05 the minds at Jeep chose to change the tensioner unit to a larger pulley, making our belt suddenly too small at 5:30pm on a Sunday-it would require replacing new pulley with old on the new assembly), but we managed to finish before dinnertime today. Kudos to the guys at National Auto in Stroudsburg for being able to furnish an ordered part on a Sunday, after ordering it Saturday night around 7pm!! I will always call them first as a result of this little bit of miracle-working on their part.
I always make a point to do good work for friends-it pays for itself in the long run. When someone trusts you with their car work, they will generally trust you with anything. It also makes for a nice barter skill-I normally don't keep score that way, but everyone always seems to remember my helping out with a repair when it's time to buy a round at the pub.
Everything I have learned about cars has been through doing and asking questions. I am not what I would call "self taught"-I generally research everything I do first, and ask around to see how difficult a job is. While I am certainly not a mechanic, I am no slouch either. as I gain tools and knowledge, I work towards that end, however.