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How to learn more...

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by commiebob, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. Mar 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM
    #1
    commiebob

    commiebob [OP] New Member

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    I've recently taken an interest in trying to do more maintenance on my truck myself. I feel, however, that my overall automotive knowledge is lacking, and I'm not super comfortable performing some of these maintenance tasks myself. I was wondering if anyone could offer some insight on the best way to learn/get more comfortable (I have been reading threads here and I have the Haynes Service manual). I currently change the oil myself, and thanks to TW I was able to fix the overhead temperature/compass display that died on me.

    Apologies if this is the wrong sub-forum to ask.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mar 24, 2011 at 12:57 PM
    #2
    memario1214

    memario1214 Vivid Illumination Vendor

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    MT recently relocated to Willmar, MN
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    How to learn quicker...? Be engaged in the discussion. If there is a thread opening talking about something, fill the voids by asking questions. Many of us are pretty knowledgeable on these topics and are more than happy to help.
     
  3. Mar 24, 2011 at 12:59 PM
    #3
    98tacoma27

    98tacoma27 :POOPCORN: Thor

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    Well said Colton.

    I would add that you look over this and get more familiar with the truck and it's different systems. It will aid in the discussions also.

    http://www.ncttora.com/fsm/05+/index.html
     
  4. Mar 24, 2011 at 1:15 PM
    #4
    CaptainFun

    CaptainFun That Guy

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    1) Read the manual

    2) Buy and read a general automotive help book. Literally the "... For Dummies" series. I own a copy and it's a great basic reference tool.

    3) Re-read the manual. Now you will understand the manual much better, especially WHY the factory recommends different things.

    4) Pick up a vehicle specific maintenance book/guide. They are usually available at your local parts shop. It can be dry reading so read a section then go put to the truck and "quiz" yourself about what you learned. Try and locate "part x" and recall how it works and why.

    I'm only midway though number 4 but it has helped me a lot.

    Good luck and ask questions!
     
  5. Mar 24, 2011 at 1:25 PM
    #5
    scottri

    scottri Well-Known Member

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    Buy some tools and jump in. To me it's the only way to learn. Learn by doing.
     
  6. Mar 24, 2011 at 2:20 PM
    #6
    commiebob

    commiebob [OP] New Member

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    I really like this suggestion, especially number 4, the idea of quizzing myself on the parts of the maintenance manual sounds like a very good idea.

    I agree that this is a very good way to learn, but I have no other car to get around in if I screw something up bad enough, and I need my truck to get to work everyday. This is probably the main reason I am apprehensive about just jumping in a ripping stuff apart.

    memario - I will definitely read more and ask questions on the forums here.

    98tacoma - Thanks for the link to the full service manual! Really cool!
     
  7. Mar 24, 2011 at 4:58 PM
    #7
    blackbox

    blackbox Well-Known Member

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    You need the vehicle specific manuals, facory ones if possible. You need all the general automotive knowledge you can get, i.e., suspensions, engines, cooling, brakes, etc. etc. Then when you have that knowledge you also need the wrench-on-bolt experience, all of it you can get. There is absolutely no substitute for actual experience, taking things apart, putting them together, what to do when they don't come apart like they should, what to do when stuff breaks, what tools you need, etc. etc. Your enthusiasm is a great start, just realize that being a competent auto mechanic is a lifelong learning process. That being said, go ahead and jump in. I would recommend auto repair classes at a local community college, or similar, will help you get up to speed a lot faster. Hope that is not discouraging, I mean to be encouraging.

    Maybe that's too much info. For basic maintenance you probably don't need that much, but my feeling is that if you aren't going to learn all you can, so you can do it right, leave it to professionals, assuming you can find one that charges honestly, knows their stuff, and cares about doing a good job.
     
  8. Mar 25, 2011 at 8:05 AM
    #8
    commiebob

    commiebob [OP] New Member

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    Thank you for the suggestions. It seems hands on experience will be the hardest to get. I was considering looking into a community college class. Is it common for CCs to offer hands on automotive classes without having to enroll in a full certification program? Something to look into more I guess.
     
  9. Mar 25, 2011 at 5:54 PM
    #9
    blackbox

    blackbox Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the hands on is the hard part. Inquire in your area, here there is a good local career center that offers classes in all kinds of blue collar stuff, I took a welding class there one time, no certification program or anything was needed, they also have automotive classes. I got my "hands on" by just doing it, my dad showed me some basics but most of it I got by just doing it, quite a few years now, and I always learned the most when things did not go right, or something broke. Like, in a manual it may say "Remove such and such piece" but it doesn't mention the welded nut that will not turn no matter how much you lean on it, and you can't see that it is welded because it is barely accessible. Just one small example. If you have an interest, go for it. It could even turn into an income generating thing, good mechanics are hard to find and in much demand.
     
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