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  • Silly mechanic...

    Today I was feeling lazy. The '63 needed new points installed (the pivot had so much give that they hardly touched), and after the last episode of tinkering with them for what felt like hours (though I think my perception was heavily influenced by the 105 degree weather) I decided that the cost for an hour of labor to have a mechanic mess with that plus set the idle and timing was worth my time, so I took it to the local mom-and-pop mechanic shop. It's been around about 70 years, and they claim to be old car experts.

    When I came to pick up the car later, the mechanic told me that he got the points, idle, and timing taken care of, but said that the carburetor was going out. I mentioned that I planned to get a rebuild kit and tackle it over the winter, but he almost cut me off to tell me that it was shot beyond repair. Apparently, he said, the carburetor was so worn out that you practically need to keep giving it gas or it wants to die when the engine is cold.

    So I asked him if he knew that you had to depress the gas pedal all the way to the floor once before starting the car, to set the automatic choke for a cold start. He looked at me, paused, and then said "hmm" before moving on to give me the total for the work.

    The moral of the story is that even the mom and pop repair shop that's been around for 70 years doesn't know everything. I'll say one thing to their credit though: They actually refereced my shop manual to do the work. Now, if they had only read my owners manual.
    '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

    "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

  • #2
    Too many mechanics these days have become parts changers and not rebuilders. There is very rarely any circumstance where a carb needs to be replaced over a rebuild, it's just easier for them and takes away any responsibility if it isn't right. When I started out in dealerships we rebuilt everything and now the young kids starting out are lost if they have to do anything other then take a part out of a box and put it exactly where the old one is. Fixing or maintaining cars is a lost art in my opinion.

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    • #3
      To: JimC,---------Last time I handed My Stude over to a 'Brand X' mechanic was to look for a subtle A/C leak with His test equipment.......and the whole time He had the
      car, it felt like a family member was in surgery, and I'm pacing around the waiting room!

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      • #4
        A while back, my neighbor's '60s El Camino wouldn't start and he contacted several local auto shops to find someone who could work on it. The basic response was, nobody knew how to fix a car that didn't have a place to hook up a computer. I installed a new set of points & condenser, set the dwell and it's been running fine for three years now.

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        • #5
          My first car I used to take to a couple "local" guys to even just get the oil changed because they would let me sit in the garage with them while they did it. I hated leaving her alone to be fondled by strangers. Also, then, drove her into the ground, and I must be getting old since I tried to find out what was wrong with her by taking her to a mechanics, and they told me I had to find one in the area with a computer. I had never heard of something like that... 10 years ago. Now I am engaged to a man who does refrigeration for trucks as his job, and mechanic work on the side... he does know how to diagnose/rebuild/think.

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          • #6
            Most "mechanics" are just parts changers these days. Really sad actually, but it has become a disposable world. No OBD/USB port, no repair. If there is not a "trouble code" there must not be any trouble, right?

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