earliest memory of working on vehicles

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by Pikey, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    Hi,
    What is your earliest memory of working on a truck/car? I will start. I was 5 years old and my dad made me come out and pump the brakes on the 1982 oldsmobile. Man, did my legs get tired. It seemed like i would pump forever and then he would yell, "Hold it", at that point my legs were burning and I would have to hold the pedal down. It seems like between the olds and his 1979 chevy station wagon, I was pumping brakes every weekend. I also remember around that age that he was doing front coil springs and told me "Come and check on me in a few, Just in case the spring pops out and kills me". So, just curious what everyone else remembers about their first time doing auto repair.
  2. bigbasschevy

    bigbasschevy New Member

    i started late working on vehicles late in life compared to most (16). i must say i am most familiar with the audio installation aspect. im still very much a noob when it comes to anything other than that though, but im willing to learn!
  3. Jeremy09LTZCrew

    Jeremy09LTZCrew New Member

    Mine was around 17. We had a 1985 Mustang that we'd had since it was brand new when I was 5. It was handed down to my sister and then shortly after to me. It had a few mechanical issues, so one summer my dad decided the engine needed to be rebuilt. So we worked on that during the summer. Sadly, I didn't do a whole lot with engines since then so I don't know nearly what I wish I did, but I'm trying to learn all I can now. As soon as I get back to my truck I plan to start spending a lot more time with it. Thanks to 08_rado_rocker, I now have the idea of getting an engine from a junkyard and playing with that in my garage. Then maybe one day, if I can get it to where I think it's reliable and I know what I'm doing, I'll do a swap in my truck. Then, if I did screw something up, I still hav ethe original to throw back in.
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

    :glasses: My first rebuild was in 1978/79 it was when i moved out here i was 13years old,, the old guy that ran the place, was an old massy ferguson/ harris tractor dude... big old gruff man ... i was always in trouble with him for leaving tools out and stuff.. it didn't really matter what i did it seemed he was always on me for something i did or didn't do... one day i walked into the old shop. a leantoo shop attached to the barn it had a dirt floor and stunk like an old 1930's Garage..... in the shop was a three wheel corn row massy, with a inline four cylinder engine..... I remember the old guy saying in his gruff voice.. this is your tractor, once your finished it you can't mess with mine...... so he put me to work and i started my first tear down.... he pointed and told me how to go about this and by lunch the motor was ready to remove.... he told me to get the come along hoist hooked up and we would remove it ... so i went to the barn and dragged over the hoist,,, it weighed as much as me or more... he showed me were to hang it in this old shop,, now me being just a kid, and most likely stupid as i could be,, I tried for an hour to get this hoist where i was told....... the old man just watched as i stubbled i am sure he was laughing so hard inside, at my grunts groans and total misguided effort to hang this hoist.... after lunch ( he ate at 1pm every day of his life and lunch was 45min, no more no less). we went back into the shop and he had already made a bench to work on the engine, it was made of 4x4 timbers and fit this motor like a glove... he made it well i was tring to hang the come along.... i went back to my mission of trying to hang the dam thing... when he called me a stupid city kid ,,, and said i can't wait for you anymore,,, he walked over to the tractor,, put one arm under the oil pan and one by the front fan and litterly lifted the motor right out of that tractor and slammed it on the bench...... I was amazed, and scared and i don't think i ever back talked that old man again.....but i did learn most of what I know from him about mechanics,,,, I still own that tractor to this day, although it hasn't been started for 20 years and needs to go to tractor heaven, I keep it around just to remind me of those days when i was a kid.....
  5. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Moderator

    Can't remember when but as a little kid I worked on cars cleaning and changing tires for my pops. I do remember driving down to Fla and having a full tool kit with extra nuts and bolts.That we never needed..

    But back when I was 16 I worked PT at my friends shop called DSL Instalations. If you were from the NY/NNJ area you knew of this place. We did all the radio installs for every store on Rt4 and 17 in the Paramus area, We did repairs to stolen cars and trucks. I learned how to replace locks,windows,T-tops, seats and anything else that would be taken. We also did All of Sony Electronics Mobile Audio. Show cars Exet Cars Displays. We took LoJack from Mass to the rest of the US, We helped build Video Bus. (Video screens in all buses) We did it all.. Most older good installers in this area got their start here..

    I learned to drive stick here When my Boss (best man at my wedding) Told me one day to drive a Porshe to the body shop. Well I said to him I don't know stick... He said You wanna work here?!!! Drive it!!!! So I did.... And thats my start..
  6. donyms

    donyms New Member

    Well, like allot of you I helped my Dad on little things with his cars and trucks when I was very young 8 -15 yo but at the age of 15 I had saved up $500 for my first ride and my Dad picked it out for me. It was a 1954 Chevrolet pick up with the 235? 6 cylinder and 4 speed manual trans. We had to pull it to my Dads shop. "He had a Hydraulic repair shop for 45 years" and I began to tear it apart and basically rebuild it. My Dad helped allot but we rebuilt the engine, transmission, redone the brakes completely including all new lines, master cylinder, shoes, hardware, drums and all. I mean everything. We had the starter rebuilt and I remember we had to work on the foot petal for the starter for awhile but I don't remember what was wrong with it. Then I was able to drive it after about 6 months of working on it steady, by the way it was on blocks all this time. I loved that truck. Then on the weekends I started taking off fenders and body parts one at a time and sandblasting them, undercoating and priming them until I got the body almost perfect, then I sold the truck. That was my start and I have bought, rebuilt and sold many cars and trucks since then and I wouldn't change a thing. :glasses:
  7. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    Not sure about the earliest, but when I was a kid my dad came out and told me and my brother that we needed to help him on a project. Turns out it was to rebuild a 454 in the family Suburban. Not sure that we learned a lot about rebuilding engines, but we did get exposed to the overall process of how it works and what it means to keep tools in order and put away when done with them. Jeeze, I need to get a bigger garage to help teach my kids the same lessons.
  8. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    Steve, that is awesome. I realize now that that is what my Dad was going for, the exposure. I hated doing it then. Now, it seems like I am always working on our vehicles or repairing something for someone else. The worst thing was when I was 16 or so and getting ready to go out, he would call and say,"Before you leave tonight I want you to take the 2 rear tires on the wagon off the rims and put the new (used) tires on. It would take me forever with screwdrivers and pry bars to get those things off. He eventually broke down and bought me a manual bead breaker from JC whittney.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  9. moogvo

    moogvo Moderator

    my dad never was much of a car guy. he claimed that he knew a lot about cars from working on them as a teen. I just didn't see it. My Uncle who lived 600 miles away, on the other hand, owned a farm equipment dealership and service center. I would go to spend the summer in PA with them. the dealership was on the same property as their house, so for me to go to the shop was literally a walk across the driveway.

    At Christmas time and on birthdays, I would look forward to the gift from my Aunt and Uncle. there was ALWAYS something cool inside. Sometimes a tool of some sort, sometimes a book about engines... You never knew what it was going to be, but it was ALWAYS cool.

    Uncle Denny would give me an engine or a lawn mower to take apart when I got there in the summer.

    I guess when I was 9 or so, I went to PA where I found a '64 Mercury Comet coupe parked over to the side. It was a cool shade of green that changed to blue under artificial light. It was dressed out with chrome from stem to stern. I knew it wasn't my uncles car. He didn't own any "cars". I asked about it and my Aunt told me that it was a customer's car. the engine had locked up in the parking lot and he just left it there several months before.

    Denny explained to me that the cylinder head needed to come off and that I might be able to free the engine by using penetrating oil in the cylinders and tapping on the tops of the pistons with a wood block and a hammer.

    I spent all summer messing with that car... I wasn't strong enough to get the head bolts out, so one of the guys in the shop came out and broke them loose for me. Another guy came out to help me take the exhaust manifold off the head off after I had the head bolts backed out. I worked for days upon days on that car. It was the first time I had been turned loose on something REALLY cool and I was having a ball.

    Inevitably, the summer was coming to an end and it was time to head back to NC to begin school. I spent the first several weeks of school daydreaming about the end of the school year so I could go back to that car. It had been an awesome summer for me since I not only got a cool project to work on, but I actually began to understand some of the things I saw in the books they had sent me over the years. It was a great learning experience. the next year, I couldn't wait to get back to that car and "finish" what I had started the last summer. I found the car had been moved to a hill side behind one of the buildings on the property.

    I continued to tinker with that car for a few years, but as time moved along, the weather (and the guys with the forklift) took it's toll on it. They had poked the fork lift through the body panels and flipped it over a couple of times... Once I realized that I would never be able to make that car into something I could drive, I lost interest.

    I started working in the shop on my summer trips. I got my own tool box and started off by assembling the lawn and garden tractors, servicing them and putting them into the showroom. On the weekends, the guys from the shop would all get together and we all went out to the farm and spent the days bailing hay. It was REALLY hard work, but it was satisfying at the same time. I was 13 that summer. My Aunt and Uncle put me on the payroll and at the end of the summer, they gave me a fistfull of cash to take with me.

    When I went back home, I used my money to buy an old car from a guy in the neighborhood. I scored a '64 Chevy Malibu. The transmission was out of it, so we pushed it to my house where I did my first clutch install. I didn't have any tools to speak of at my parents' house. All of my tools were 600 miles away in PA, so I was at the mercy of asking my dad to use his, to which about half of the time, I was told "no."

    So that's it! that's how I started wrenching all of those years ago. I have had a passion for it ever since.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  10. ahmitchell1

    ahmitchell1 New Member

    I guess my earliest memory would be with my pops in his shop. We restored a 67 chevelle. I remember he let me turn the key on the first start up. Looking back that was a lot of trust in a wild little kid to not blow it up
  11. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd New Member

    All I know is that I was young. I would do the oil changes, help work on the land rover and other small projects, pump brake pedals etc. Sad as now alot of teenagers cant change a flat tire, dont know where the dipstick is (not the one behind the wheel:lol:) etc. I work at a private school and joke that I am the schools AAA as I tend to change flats, and jump dead batteries. I try to make the kids I am helping do some of the work too for experience.
  12. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    I know what you mean about teens now not knowing how do do minor things with their cars. I have nephews that call my constantly wanting me to diagnose their car issues over the phone. Their answer is always the same, "Well, I will get the oil changed". They never do any maintenance and when something goes wrong their fix all is to change the oil. (Every 20,000 miles). My wife's parents made her change a tire in the driveway, change oil, and put fuel in the car before she was aloud to drive alone. My poor 3 year old is under my truck everytime I am. He could probably change the oil himself. At this time he can almost identify all the parts while laying under it. Today I taught him how to Solder, a LED went out in his alarm clock so I made him fix it. I am trying my best to make sure that when he is older he knows how to do something to his car.
  13. dipstick

    dipstick New Member

    From my mothers womb . Her belly was big touched the dash board . I went ahead and fixed to loose glove box latch whiles i was there .lol
    Now we gotta have some fun...
  14. KidHauler

    KidHauler New Member

    I don't remember when I started turning wrenches, but I was 2 when I'd sit on my uncle's lap and plow snow. My dad wasn't exactly mechanicaly inclined, so I didn't get it from him. According to him, though, I took everything apart and didn't always put it back together.
    I started with the bikes, then the buddy's go-cart, then whatever I could get my hands on. I have a guy for transmissions, though.

    Reading some of the other posts, I find that I'm with you on passing this on to the little ones. My daughter was still in her carrier when I was putting the Mustang together; now she tries to hide at the mention of brake job! The kids don't even ask about bike problem now, just tell me they're getting the tools.

    There's hope for them, yet...
  15. Sierraowner5.3

    Sierraowner5.3 New Member

    heh, for me it was on my dads tractor. thats my earliest thing. I didnt do to much, other then get in the way and hand over tools occasionally. mostly it was just watching and hanging out with dad.

    same thing tho, he taught me how to do the basics. rotate tires, change the oil, do the basic things. Learn by doing as a guy i used to know said.

    Alex
  16. rileyjr16

    rileyjr16 New Member

    I started working on my dad's 92 Sierra 4.3 when I was around 5 or 6 really if holding the flashlight counts :lol:. By the time I was 10 I was changing the oil in the truck and car by myself. My first real big fix by myself was the water pump on my 97 Cheyenne 4.3 at 17. Thank God my old man taught me to do stuff on my own. When I have kids whether its a girl or boy, I'm gonna teach them early. I will admit I'm still learning but by now, I can change wheel bearings, brakes, water pumps, fan clutches, and other things necessary to make a truck or car go.
  17. xsparky

    xsparky New Member

    I was 13/14 helped my step dad rebuild my 1952 Ford F1 pickup flathead V8. Been working on cars and trucks and motorcycle and Army tanks.
  18. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

    ^^^^^^^
    :glasses:Army tanks YES ..oh Yes..... if i fix one ,,,,can i take it for the test drive.....
  19. murdog94

    murdog94 New Member

    I was 12, and we had to rebuild the brakes system on the 1980 Silverado wood hauler. Never got them done since the brake lines were shot. Still taught me alot just about using tools the right way and how to actually take things apart and put them back together. Oddly i use alot of the things i learned then almost every time i work on a car today.
  20. Brad Preece

    Brad Preece New Member

    My dad painted cars when I was a kid for extra money for us to vacation on and just to have spare money in general.
    I can still remember the smell of filler and helping dad apply it on those old cars.
    ive wrenched as long as I can remember in some way.

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