DIY'er modifications to make car repair easier?

I got to wondering how many other people do this? For example, replacing the water pump on my truck is a pain b/c you have to remove the fan blade, and the fan shroud is very much in the way, what w/the limited space between the blade and the radiator. Can’t remove the shroud w/out first removing the blade, a catch-22. That makes it a knuckle buster for sure. I decided after replacing the pump a couple of times that the only reason the shroud can’t be removed first is b/c it is a one-piece unit. So I cut in into two pieces, figured out a way to hold the two pieces together when installed, now the fan removal part of the pump job is easy peasy. Takes a good 30 minutes of knuckle busting misery out of the job. Anybody else out there in the diy’er world do this sort of thing?

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Murphy’s law being what it is, I can almost guarantee you will never need another need another water pump.:grinning:


lol… actually since I’ve owned the truck for nearly 50 years I’ve used that feature several times already.

I’m kind of a stickler for keeping things factory. Even if what they did from the factory doesn’t seem to make the most sense. It may be some kind of ocd compulsion for me, I don’t know. I tell myself “hey, it’s a 14 year old vehicle, not a collector car.” But, nooo, I have to put it back “like it came”. So, I can’t really think of any diy mods I’ve done to facilitate a repair. Darn OCD.


Count me in the OCD camp. I will make sure everything is back to factory condition. I worry, think there was a reason for it being the way it is.
I am not the only one driving my cars and want to be sure they are safe. Also, I sometimes sell my cars and don’t want the buyer feel they got a hack job of a car.
Sometimes it doesn’t make much sense, but I sleep better this way.


I can’t think of much but with my Riv, I just didn’t totally stuff the computer back in place so I could swap it on the road easily if I had to. Only needed to once though. I’ve heard of some folks cutting an access hole for the fuel pump so the tank doesn’t have to be removed, but most of the time I just made sure I used anti-seize, etc. to make it easier to get stuff apart again.

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The old Fairlane, Torino, Mustang, Grenada body sometimes had holes drilled in the spring tower for removing / installing spark plugs.

I think anyone who ever worked on an oversized engine stuffed into an undersized car can feel you pain but my wife would frown on turning her car into a T-Bucket :grinning::laughing:

i looked at a 1yr old car on showroom floor. noticed the engine cover was gone. salesman did not notice it. than he said it is now easier to work on motor. ha ha.

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On the 1971 Ford Maverick I once owned, there were some “permanently lubricated” parts in the front suspension that would start squeaking. Rather than replace the parts, I had holes cut into the inner fender liner and zirks installed. I could then use my grease gun and lubricate the suspension parts.

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That trick was pretty common on Fords of that era. They’d come into the gas station I worked at for a lube, the front control arms squeaked like crazy.

Hardly a mod, but it makes maintenance easier: under the hood near the radiator I write the size of wrench to remove the oil drain plug, and the amount of oil that makes a fill with a new filter. The paint under there does not have the clear coat, so it’s easy to write in pencil and have it last a long time.

I also write the torque for the lug nuts, since I switch wheels/tires every fall and spring.


I used to buy rusty old beaters for under $250 just to get me to work and back, You don’t want to spend a lot of money to repair a car like that so I resorted to some unconventional repairs/ Stretched blown out bicycle inner tube for a clutch return spring, a/c condenser for a transmission cooler, outdoor faucet bib for a heater control valve, 2X4 to hold up a rear window. nail hole in oil filler cap to stop the blowby from blowing the dipstick right out of its tube. No one ever drove these cars but me and the next stop was the junkyard.

Even on better cars, I don’t always put things back exactly the way they were, for example when I do a brake job on a car with screws that hold the rotor on, I never put them back in, I believe they are only there for the assembly process. The metal is so soft that you generally can’t remove them with an impact driver and have to drill them out. I used to discard the speed clips that were in the brake drums.

If I had owned a Ford Taurus that needed the heater core replaced I would have removed the metal arm under the dash that was used by the robot arm that installed the dash on the assembly line rather than remove the whole dash to remove the heater core. I actually think that one is a better repair because removing the dash can often lead to squeaks,buzzing, or other noises from the dash as well as stripped screws.

With older GM cars I used to remove the little sinthered bronze filter where the fuel line went into the carb and put an inline filter in.

When I was driving long doubles on the NY Thruway I talked our mechanic to buy only the fuel filter that came with a drain valve on the bottom. I think the brand was Wix. When you are pulling to tandem trailer fully loaded, you need a lot of fuel flow and the Thruway garages don’t stock filters for Macks. It only took a minute to drain the water out of that filter without tools. I would have been paid for a breakdown but that was pay I was not wanting to need.

I have replaced drain plugs with drain valves on my motorcycle and my car (oil pan and manual transmission). They make changing the oil a lot easier.

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The only thing that comes to mind is anti-seize on almost everything threaded that you have to look at more than once.

On my first car ('65 Mustang) my dad attached two U bolts to the cross braces in the engine compartment. I’d attach two turnbuckles to help lower the engine/transmission to make it easier to replace the clutch, throwout bearing, or synchros in the 4-speed. Even though it only had a 170-6, I was pretty rough on it…:grin:

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I extend that idea to EVERYTHING!

For example: I lube the bottom of light bulbs with dielectric grease so they are easier to remove. This works especially well for outside lights.

I also print labels for light switches that I don’t use very often. That way, when I see a light that is burned out, I know which switch to turn off when changing the bulb.

And my car has labels on the driver’s door frame, which has the torque needed to tighten the wheels, the odo reading for the next oil change, the amount of oil, and the size of the wrench.

And in the case of the garden tractor, a label for the battery size.

In other words, every time I have to look something up, I create a label so I don’t have to look it up again.


I vaguely recall unbolting and lifting the fan shroud out of mounting slots in the radiator bracket and pushing it back to gain easier access to unbolt the fan/clutch then lifting the fan/clutch and shroud out together on several cars, Fords I believe.

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Not lug nuts or studs, I hope . . .

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That’s why I wrote “almost everything”.