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How did you start working on your trucks?

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Old 05-07-2013, 10:46 AM   #1
DirtyDTaco [OP] DirtyDTaco is offline
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How did you start working on your trucks?

So TW, in the months of lurking and scouring this site, I have seen many of you perform pretty involved (quite an understatement) projects and modifications to your trucks that most people would have taken to a mechanic to do or simply not even have tried at all. Obviously, you don't just go out and do an SAS with zero mechanical experience at all. So, my question to y'all is this: How did you get your mechanical experience and know-how? Also how would you recommend a teenager such as myself gaining such experience? I want to be able to work on and repair my own vehicle.. I don't like being dependent on other people's time or skills and I don't like trusting other people to do things on my truck because I didn't see them do it and don't know if it was done right. I'd rather do it myself and have it done right. That being said, without experience, I just don't trust myself to do it right. So where do I start? Thanks for your time and answers.
Matthew
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:49 AM   #2
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All my learning came by just doing it and trial and error. Use this site and those like it to make sure you have a good understanding of the project you're planning to do before starting. If you have questions ask them first and there are plently of us here that will help you with just about whatever we know if you ask... No way to learn then to try I figure.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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For me,it's the " I can do this " moto...sure I screwed up sometime,but it's the learning process...oh yeah..TW is helpful too....
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:54 AM   #4
Wheels With Moose.
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All of my mechanical experience came from owning Jeeps... I was always too cheap to bring them to a mechanic, and they were easy to work on. However, they were always so old and rusted, even the simplest repair often turned into a huge hassle (broken bolts, corroded nutserts, brittle plastic, ect).
Working on the Tacoma is a walk in the park compared to those piles.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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GEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shedGEARAHOLIC is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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get a wrench and turn it
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
RAT Products
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Start small. A lot of research beforehand. Do things that you can reverse if it doesn't work. Once you are confident, get out your torch and welder and you could build your own truck.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:12 AM   #7
It burns when I pee....
ABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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My first car at age 17. I figured it was better to fix simple stuff myself when possible since I couldn't afford to pay a mechanic all the time. I learned a little from my father..and a lot from the Chilton's books. The Internet wasn't around then so that's what you had to do.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:09 PM   #8
DirtyDTaco [OP] DirtyDTaco is offline
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Thanks guys. Depending on my shoulder, I might see if I can get a job with a mechanic down the road for the summer. Win win situation as far as I'm concerned. $$$ for mods and I would get my feet wet as far as working on my truck is concerned.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:24 PM   #9
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I used to do the basic maintenance years back but never had the right tools. Lots of things I did took waaay longer than they should back then. All I could afford was a Chilton's so I said screw it after I sold my old Mazda. I told myself I was done wasting my time on cars until I got the Tacoma and decided to install the lighted 4x4 switch. There was so much good info on this site that I got some tools and taught myself a little about wiring and soldering. Now it's like some kind of obsession to get the right tools, research and fix things myself. I've installed suspension, brake and electrical. I'm just getting ready to do some bodywork and repaint. I'm glad to say that the truck has inspired me to learn a brand new set of skills.

Since I started fixing thing myself, I'm 100% convinced I can put in a better effort than the dealership without cutting corners. If you plan to learn the skills but don't need it for a career in the industry, then like people have said, this forum, Harbor Freight and a big driveway are your friends. I sure wish I had the internet when I used to bang away at stuck bolts with a crescent wrench.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
braaap
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beater first vehicle and a dad that doesn't suck.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:01 PM   #11
Go home if you don't like guns liquor and whores.
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check out a lot of the car related pages on how stuff works, give you a basic understanding of what everything is and how it all works, even if it's not model specific, basics basics basics then slowly you can build on that by researching more and more on top of hands on stuff

take a shop class, seriously, if you're in high school, TAKE A SHOP CLASS
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:12 AM   #12
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Helping my Dad and others that knew more than I did.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:32 AM   #13
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I used to drive a Jeep, need I say more? I was a broke high school kid and couldn't pay a mechanic so yeah lol.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:33 AM   #14
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But the Tacoma, haven't ever really worked on it before except routine maint and I hope to stay that way. It's a luxury to just be able to get in and drive something whenever you want and not have to work on it all weekend just so you can get to and from school and work during the week!
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:24 AM   #15
DirtyDTaco [OP] DirtyDTaco is offline
Talk slow, shoot fast.
DirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shedDirtyDTaco is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxamillion2345 View Post
take a shop class, seriously, if you're in high school, TAKE A SHOP CLASS
Haha I wish. Our whole school (Pre-K through 12th) has like 200 kids. We don't have electives. I would kill for a shop class though
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:33 AM   #16
Red
Large is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shedLarge is one of the sharper tools in the shed
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Wheeled until it broke, learned how to fix it because warranty wouldn't.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:37 AM   #17
OldPhart
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been wrenching on cars/trucks since I was 16 (that would be 50 years of wrenching, yeah, I know I am as old as dirt), 1st car was a 55 chevy belair 2 door hardtop...ah, the days of REAL CRUISING....

I wrench out of necessity (usually lack of funds) as I can not, nor would I let a service shop touch my vehicles unless absolutely necessary....
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:09 AM   #18
It burns when I pee....
ABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDTaco View Post
Haha I wish. Our whole school (Pre-K through 12th) has like 200 kids. We don't have electives. I would kill for a shop class though
Try looking at your local vo-tech. Sometimes they or a similar place will have night courses. I did one a while ago with a friend of mine.

That said you have an edge now with the 'Net. I just had a book that couldn't really converse with me or provide video on a subject. Now I can just bring my laptop into the driveway and put it on the seat..start a video and watch while I work..
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:42 AM   #19
DerpWerx Fab
SingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shedSingleCabGuy is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDTaco View Post
Haha I wish. Our whole school (Pre-K through 12th) has like 200 kids. We don't have electives. I would kill for a shop class though
I feel your pain! Lol. My highschool didnt offer shop class either.

Way i learned most of what i know =

Speed channel saturday and sunday mornings(Gearz, Two Guys Garage, MuscleCar, etx)

Books

Take a job just sweeping and cleaning up at a shop and talk to/watch the mechanics whenever you can

And get a project car that you can work on during the weekends so you can take your time and learn how to fix and diagnose issues yourself.
It sucks using your DD as a learning tool cause you always have to have it up and running again by Monday for school.

Also, get friends who are into working on cars too. Its always fun to work on friends cars and you can learn from eachother.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:46 AM   #20
Geezer
azreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shedazreb is one of the sharper tools in the shed
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I started out working on my car--couldn't afford to hire the work done. Got out of college, bought a new car and discovered the dealership's work was questionable, so I decided to continue doing it myself. The real learning came when I drove a couple of Scouts. They always needed something done. I would say you have handicapped yourself--you have a Toyota. To really learn how to work on a vehicle, you should have a Jeep, Dodge, Scout, Ford or something similar, IMO.
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