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Speedy Gonzales!

Does anybody have any stories of performing repairs in record time, or done something so many times you can do it in your sleep in half book time? I have some examples I will post.

2 examples-1: swapping the starter on my '72 Duster in the parts store parking lot, about 15 minutes (very simple on the slant 6), and 2: swapping out sychros on my '65 Mustang in the driveway (ramps and special holders for tilting the engine down made it work) took about an hour. Don’t ask why I needed to swap them frequently!

I had two different cars come into the shop one day, a Grand Am and an Impala, both 3.4, both needing lower intake gaskets, plus the Grand Am needed a passenger side rearview mirror. I had both done by the end of the day, working in between other jobs. Book time on those lower intake gaskets is 5.7 hours, but after you’ve done a couple dozen, they go pretty easy.

My personal favorite: Myself and two coworkers were getting ready to close shop for the day when an S10 crept into the parking lot in a cloud of smoke, engine screaming. We quoted him for the clutch job, he approved the work and left. We decided to get a start on it before we left for the day, so one person climbed inside the truck to remove the shifter, one person took care of the slave cylinder and bellhousing bolts, and I removed the driveshaft and disconnected sensors/switches. We had the transmission on the floor and the flywheel off the motor in 20 minutes!

I also once had a starter fail on my '88 Chevy Silverado at a gas station far from home. For some reason, I had a starter in the toolbox that fit, so I pushed the truck into a parking space and got to work. It took about 10-15 minutes, and I got done before anybody came out to complain about what I was doing.

I also once pulled both cylinder heads off of a GM 3.1 V6 in a matter of less than two hours.

I used to install a lot of BMW Factory trailer hitches,paid 5.0 I had them down to 2.0. E-36 ball joints paid 1.5 per side took 20 min. I could put a GM Code alarm in a full size Pixkup in 50min paid 2.5.

Don’t know what book time was but everybody at our shop ran like Bill Clinton from a morals & ethics convention (I’M JOKING, really I am kidding) when a VW type II /Beetle came in. They all claimed a muffler could not be done in less than 3 hours. I had it down to 45 minutes.

Did a Chevette muffler, extension pipe and tailpipe in 7 minutes.

70’s GM front discs and rear drums brakes, turning surfaces, etc, I normally could do 2 to my co-workers 1.

I installed new brake pads on the front of a VW Rabbit while the shop was mounting snow tires on my rims. On the way home from work, wearing a suit! I did take off the tie.

1995 Ford Contour, 2.5L, manual transmission, needs clutch.

Repair procedure: Lower craddle from under vehicle with engine/transmission and seperate.

Faster procedure: Cut section of craddle out below transmission, and weld section back in after clutch service.


I used to do '96-up Caravan brakes front and rear in about 40 minutes, all friction material with rear drums, especially before they redesigned the front brakes (back when the calipers were held on with two little 10mm bolts and no anchor). Rear disc could knock the total job down to 25 minutes. Cavaliers were the same way.

I could slice off the exhaust system, cat back, on a Civic or Accord and bolt on the new parts in 5-10 minutes easily. I used to do at least half a dozen of those a week. It would blow the customers’ minds how fast it was done!

I was notorious at the shop and around town for running full custom bent duals on full size pickups with chrome megaphone tips and either a generic Flowmaster imitation muffler or Y-pipe (no muffler) in 1-2 hours for $250. If it was a mid-to-late '90s Chevy with a 350 or 454 factory dual-inlet muffler, and the customer wanted straight pipes, I could do it in about 45 minutes. Many customers were amazed at the quality of my custom work because I was not only fast, but a perfectionist. Oh, how I miss bending pipe!!!

I have heard of people doing something similar to radiator core supports on Astro Vans to remove engines,never saw it.

They’re always shaving down the record for removing and reinstalling the engine in a VW Beetle. I think it’s presently at one minute and 4 seconds:

Changing VW Rabbit breaker points in the dark with no instruments or feeler gauge while on the side of the interstate (And going up-hill…) in minutes. Timing and gap was close enough to get me home…
This car ate points like Rosie O. eats twinkies…

I used to think I was pretty good at pulling the engine out of my '71 VW Bus, but I couldn’t get it out in less than two minutes. It took me about a half hour, but I didn’t have any help.