" . . . if you have to furnish all your own tools, why not work for yourself?"

Not all of us have great business sense

Not all of us even want to run our own shop

I, for, one wouldn’t be good managing my own shop


I learned years ago that I don’t have good business sense. I had an assistantship when I was in graduate school and my duties were to help other doctoral students design their studies and get them started on their data analysis. One requirement was that these doctoral students were to have taken a statistics course before I was to work with them. I was a little lax in enforcing this rule. I shared an office with a woman who had less coursework in statistics than I had. My advisor came in one morning and told me that this woman was in charge and I would only see the doctoral students that she screened. This was great. She managed my work load which gave me time to do the statistical work I enjoyed. When my schedule was filled, she either scheduled the students for a later date or sent them elsewhere.
If I were a skilled mechanic, I would want someone else to do the business end.


“Not all of us have great business sense”
@db4690-- on the subject of business sense, we buy sweet corn at a farm out in the country. For the last three years, two brothers who are now junior high age, run the business. They plant the corn, cultivate the corn, pick the corn and sell the corn. The one boy explained to my wife yesterday that from their earnings, 90% has to go into their college fund and they have 10% for personal spending. I think good business sense is developed in children from the time they are old enough to understand money.
I’ve seen too many really good mechanics open their own shop and then not make it because they don’t have good business sense. These mechanics love their work and enjoy diagnosing problems. However, they don’t realize that there time is valuable. I used to have to do as many repairs as I could myself because money was tight. I now have a great independent shop. They are good about calling me after diagnosing a problem and letting me know the cost. They can also do the job in at probably 1/3 the time it would take me to do the job, even if I had the correct tools. This was driven home to me last night. We needed a new charcoal grill and I bought one on sale at WalMart. It was in its carton and not assembled. I thought it would be easy–the directions said that average assembly time was 45 minutes. The instructions were non-verbal–all in pictures. Well, it took me 3 hours to put it all together. I wish I had paid the extra money for an assembled version–I missed a movie on television that I wanted to see.



I feel for you

I recently installed a tow hitch on my mom’s car
The instructions said an experienced guy could install it in 30 minutes
I’m a pro . . .
The instructions were not only vague, but incorrect
The template for drilling the holes was actually wrong. I triple checked, just to be sure
I contacted the manufacturer, and the they admitted to their fault
They sent me a pdf file, so that I could print out another template
That new template also was NOT to scale
I finally demanded that they send a physical template to my house, which they did
Once I had the correct template, it went off "without a hitch"
30 minutes my ass . . .

As far as those guys you mentioned, what I’ve noticed is that they often “give away” their work. They give free advice, don’t charge enough for diagnosis, don’t charge enough when they run into rusted/broken bolts, don’t charge for pulling fault codes, etc. It all adds up . . .


@db4690-- the worst part was trying to explain to Mrs. Triedaq why it took me 3 hours when the instructions said that the job should take 45 minutes. I can understand the frustration of mechanics when the flat rate manual gives a time for a job and then they run into problems.


I am an experienced line tech who just had this exact vehicle with same complaint. I pressure tested the system found bypass elbows and water pump leaking. No other visable leaks. Performed repair. Pressure tested system again. Held pressure at 15 psi shipped it. Month later vehicle is back same complaint. Pressure tested system found timing cover seeping. Damn they were given a good discount on labor. Not because i misdiagnosed the problem just didnt go far enough trying to not scare them away with a 550$ repair but in the long run they paid about the same only because they were understanding and we gave a discount where some shops would stick it to em. Just my experience! Thanks for letting me share and adding me to the group. First time listner first time caller!


Not sure who you are calling because the show has been nothing but reruns for several years . Very few stations are even carrying the reruns.


I wasn’t going to say anything when I saw it was 6 years old, but without reading everything, how does a timing cover seep coolant? I’ve had a cover replaced and have removed a cover to replace the chain, but there is no coolant behind the timing cover. Not disputing if the cover was warped or something but just can’t seem understand the loss of coolant from the cover on a 3800? Yes and $550 to replace a cover would be certainly appropriate.


Replaced those elbows last year on my Buick with the 3800. If they’re not leaking now, they will at some point.

Not sure about the timing cover. My 98 Dodge Ram (5.9 liter) seeped coolant at the timing chain cover. Water jacket passed through the timing cover. Had someone else fix that for around $600. Unsure if the same is true for the ol 3800.


The coolant passes from the water pump to the block through ports in the timing chain cover. I have seen timing chain cover gaskets split and slip out from behind the timing chain cover, I don’t understand why it is hard to believe that the OP had a leaking timing chain cover.


OK, just asking.


Let’s also not forget that some water pumps are driven by the timing chain nowadays . . .


The small block Ford timing covers were prone to the aluminum being eaten away over time and leaking coolant externally or into the oil pan.

It’s enough of a problem that a local salvage yard stocks replacement new covers.