Why do I enjoy watching engine rebuild videos?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by TheGoodTexan, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I am not a mechanic. I can do general maintenance... oil changes, replacing bolt-on parts (like a thermostat), but after that I pretty much leave it to the professionals.

    I only understand about 25% of what these guys are doing, but watching a good mechanic work... with all of the right tools and such... is just fascinating to me. Even in a case where its just a run-of-the-mill motor with nothing really special done to it. I just like watching those guys explain not only the "how" but also the "why".

     
  2. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    When I first moved to Bakersfield I worked as a mechanic in an Oliver/New Holland dealership. One of my duties was complete rebuilds of air cooled Wisconsin VG4D, and V461D engines. This entailed a complete tear down, valve job, boring the cylinders, turning the crank (if needed or possible) or replacing it. We had an indoor test stand for running the engines in. I also did diesel engine repair on White Oliver tractors, and New Holland combines. The New Holland combines had British designed and manufactured engines, they were the most difficult to work on because the specs changed from engine to engine. You had to really be careful. The Brits never threw anything away. It was common to find an engine with undersized main bearings from the factory. They were all the same engines, but you really had to be careful in sizing the main, and rod bearings.

    A few years later, I was working for a John Deere dealer as a field service guy. One day when it was well over a hundred degrees I was working on a tractor down in the field. When I finished the job, I went back to town, unloaded my tools into my own truck, said I'm done, and I never worked as a mechanic again. I don't know to this day what happened, but I knew there was a whole world out there waiting for me, and I needed to get started on finding what I really wanted to do. That was my first step in a great life!
     
  3. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    @TheGoodTexan I knew we were a lot alike...

    I also am a shade tree mechanic, but normally don't get into the main engine components. However two years ago my daughter's Dodge (4.7 V8) truck started making a horrible noise. She was broke and did not need the truck a lot so I told her I would look into fixing it. I got it home and it sounded like the engine had skipped time. I did some internet reading and found that the timing chains on that model like to stretch after much use (the truck belonged to a landscaper and pulled a trailer for its first 100K) and since it had around 180K on the clock I figured that was the culprit.
    I started tearing the motor front down, it took me a few days but I finally got the to the timing belt and sure enough the belt was saggy and the plastic timing chain runners were pretty much toast. They were broken to the point that I was finding pieces of them at the bottom of the block where the oil drained into the pan under the crank.

    So I ordered a new set of chains and all the bits and pieces and spent another couple of days putting it all back together. We go to fire it up and it sounds like it is still missing. It is a little more quiet on the front end but the engine still has a bad sound. So I take the cover off of the timing chain and start the engine without the cover on. Other than having oil fly everywhere the chains look to be working just fine. It was when I moved to the side of the engine to avoid the blowing oil that I noticed the sound was much louder on the passenger side.

    We shut the engine down, and I decided to check something that I should have checked in the first place, compression.

    Yep, the rear cylinder has locked up and the sound I was hearing was the piston rod banging around in the cylinder sleeve.

    $2K later a total rebuild was done and the truck runs like new.

    That taught me a couple of things.

    1) always do a run through first of checking that compression to make sure the cylinders are good.
    2) an engine out of the vehicle is so much easier to work on.
    3) always figure about 20% more time for a task than what you estimated.

    I am book marking these guys, I would love to see them tear into an old Hemi motor and I want to see how that slant 6 tested against an older stock model.
     
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  4. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

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    You could to it. It's all just nuts, and bolts. The same concept that holds the thermostat housing on, holds the intake manifold in place(the part shown at the start of the above video. You just need to understand the science behind all the different systems that make up the whole. When I studied automotive technology in high school I was book smart. I understood each and every system from a technological stand point, but had no "hands-on" experience. Other guys in my class were better mechs than I was, because they worked on their own cars. Over time, as I began to actually do the work, the rest began to make sense. After wrenching for nearly 45 years now, I can dismantle an entire semi-truck, spread the parts out, mix them up, then put it all back together. Having all the right tools is also a big advantage. I can not see in the top section of my upper tool box without standing on a stool.

    I am very tired of wrenching. I spend a lot of my time at my current employer as a breakdown coordinator. I help truck drivers who are out on the road get their rigs fixed. I work in the shop sometimes, but I am not required to do any big jobs any more. Between my bad heart, and my trashed knees it's too physical of a job for me. My hands are a mass of scar tissues from decades of cuts, burns, and bruises. I am surprised I can even play the guitar still, but it is getting harder.
     
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  5. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    As regards the original question, my theory on watching a mechanic master his work is in a similar thing to adults who get relaxation from colouring-in books. So much chaos and unknown in the world, then you get to see a closed system on a bench with a few tools, and that little world all set right

    My profession is mostly unknowable chaos, so I think watching a bit of clockwork is relaxing. Maybe if I worked on clocks all day I would like to watch unknowable chaos
     
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  6. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Its in the next episode. The "original" engine in that car (actually a very old replacement) dyno-ed at 71Hp. The rebuilt replacement engine did 132Hp and 170F/P torque.

    They also replaced the transmission, brakes, suspension, wheels, and exhaust... plus other new engine components.
     
  7. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Yeah... it relaxes me to watch a trained professional have fun doing a quality job on something I consider more complicated than I'm trained/educated to do. Any time someone can make something which I know is difficult, appear to be easy, I know that they've spent years learning and practicing their skill.
     
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  8. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I didn't know that about you!

    My wife has a cousin who was a big engine mechanic... worked on cranes and other large industrial engines. He got tired of doing it after 25 years and just walked away one day. He said he was finished turning wrenches. He took about 10 years off... doing other things for pleasure and income... then got offered a job servicing locomotives. He said it was his dream job, getting to drive trains around a huge yard and servicing them... he said it was like being five years old. So he's doing that now. Says it pays really good.
     
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  9. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I can see how working on locomotives would be pretty cool. They are actually big electric cars since the diesel engines provide the power through generators for the huge electric motors that motivate them. I left out a little bit in my tale of working on equipment. For almost five years before my last job as a mechanic I had worked as an outside salesman for one local company, and one national company. After having the freedom of working with people instead of machines, I could never quite adjust to just working on stuff again. I had one more shot at a tractor dealership that I had almost forgotten, and I don't see how I could do that. I went to work, not as a mechanic, but as a shop supervisor for an outfit, and did that for three and half years. I never really liked any of it though. When I slid into the seat of a diesel truck, I had found a home, at least for longer than anything else I had done.

    My last job was the most interesting, because I met and did business with over four hundred people in the course of my employment as an outside sales, and consultant for a hydraulic supplies firm. Funny thing though, when I think about what defines me as a person, I always see myself driving a big rig. Hauling heavy equipment was a thrill I'll never experience again.
     
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  10. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I wish I were this guy again:

    upload_2019-8-14_9-2-19.png
     
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  11. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    Black paw syndrome. That's my engine beef. For some reason airplane work turns your thumbs and index fingers into callous covered human crescent wrenches. Then every time you handle something nasty they look like this for days. 15657988908602487895203788172513.jpg
     
  12. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    WOW, that is a 85% improvement, which I am sure the torque is up at least that much as well!
     
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  13. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I grew up around working on stuff... cars, equipment, small engines... my dad pretty much said, 'you can mess with any of it, but clean up and don't cry about problems, work them out. I have gotten over any fear of modern engines and I am eternally grateful for the guys who take the time to show us how to do stuff... I have worked on everything from 7.3 diesels to honda's and redone small engines and chainsaws... it is just a lot of steps and attention to detail... as I get older, I have gotten better and better about not taking shortcuts and not having left over parts!
    1
    this is a fun thread! GT, I think you need a project vehicle! for me, I am kind of eyeballin' a suzuki samarai I found in the woods that has TRACKS! if i can get it for the right price... well... I'll be busy on that...
     
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  14. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Wow
     
  15. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    You know I had this for a long time, but I sold it almost a year ago... to a 21 year old "kid"... for waaaaay too cheap.

    I had plans for years to rebuild a Honda VTEC 2.3L and add a turbo.. for approximately 300HP, and swap it into that car that weighed just over 2,000 pounds.

    But I didn't know how to do it. I planned to learn as I went along. There is a whole community out there that does that for this exact car... and they're very helpful. But I was never able to carve out the time to do it. So I sold it. Still satisfying to see it around time from time to time.

    IMG_0160.jpg IMG_0142.jpg
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I love the inner workings of engines, and can certainly get into watching teardown and rebuild on video.
    Recently clicked on an NHRA drag racing episode and it showed the crew doing a teardown rebuild between runs, so in maybe an hour for a nitro hemi.
    That was pretty cool, more interesting to me than the drag racing part.
    I'm looking for an older dirt bike cheap, particularly one of the water cooled DOHC four valve 400/ 450 motocrossers that end up pretty cheap when they are worn out. Fixing it up would be as much fun as riding it, particularly since riding would break some of my old worn out parts.

    But watching the rebuild of a slant six and liking it?

    I'd say you gotta problem!
     
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  17. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I remember! I had a friend at my old work who ran the testing lab... he was BRILLIANT but thought he couldn't do car repair... he loved old supras and had bought two that needed a bunch of love... they were just kind of under car covers and I convinced him to go for it... he joined a club and a couple of forums... and, well, he sold one after he got it going, it paid for half of the stuff he did to the other one which he drives all the time... it is like guitar building or whatever... just a bunch of tiny processes... carving the time is the thing... it has to be a passion and you have to want to be in the garage or shop... my wife says I'm not happy unless I'm 'achieving' and she knows when I finish something I'm super elated for a couple of weeks and then back to it...
     
  18. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I think my next project vehicle will be an S10 variant (Blazer?), built up as a street rod. There is tons of support for the S10 of course, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for them. Even the ugly ones.

    I’m probably a couple of years away from starting such a project, as we may move to the other side of town in the next year or two.
     
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  19. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Holic

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    Rebuilding an engine is a great part of building a car. It's amazing how all the parts fit together! When you do it yourself you get to pick the mods and parts you want:)
    Then comes the excitement of firing it for the first time:twisted:
     
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  20. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Afflicted

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    I used to do a lot of the basic stuff on my '68 Mustang but that's when I could open a hood and not want to run. I love watching all the Motor Trend channels on TV in spite of my ignorance of the entire subject.
     
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