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Old 09-29-2010, 10:33 AM   #21
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It will be interesting to see the old parts.
Al, living in the Pacific NW, rust could be an issue. Another issue might be that, if you need shocks it might be cost effective to do the struts at the same time.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:47 AM   #22
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Easy solution,

Every time I go for an oil change the shop tries to sell me some service with around a $500 estimate. So I take it to a different place each time. If the a problem is brought up more than once I give it strong consideration. Until that happens I treat it with extreme skepticism

With how complicated cars have become, I trust strongly that the chance of them coming up with the same lies are pretty low

So far the only major item on a 2005 Ford Focus I bought in 07 has been new tires this summer
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:47 AM   #23
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I just buy new cars when the tires need replacing. I never kept one long enough to replace the shocks.
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:03 PM   #24
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I just buy new cars when the tires need replacing. I never kept one long enough to replace the shocks.
That's one way to keep those mechanics in line !

I remember reading about some Texas oil millionaires from the 1950's that used to buy a new Cadillac whenever they ran out of gas.
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:05 PM   #25
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I always thought it was when the ashtray was full....
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:14 PM   #26
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It will be interesting to see the old parts.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Auto Repair Manuals from Haynes

Get one of these manuals for your truck. I use it for mine. It helped me with changing, spark plugs, wires, distributor cap/rotor, timing belt.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:27 PM   #27
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Today the mechanic told me that the shocks and struts are rusted (and "look crappy") on our 1999 Toyota Tacoma (140K miles), and it would be $700 to replace them.
If they (shocks/struts) have never been replaced before, then it's time.

Are they all shocks? If so, the price is high.

If all are struts (which I doubt on a truck) then it's quite reasonable.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:29 PM   #28
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I just buy new cars when the tires need replacing. I never kept one long enough to replace the shocks.
That's the most UN-economical way to stay away from mechanics.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:06 PM   #29
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From my Internets research, the shocks are cheap and easy to replace (rear), the struts (which are combined shocks, springs, etc.) are difficult.

I considered doing the shocks, but figured that if it was that cheap and easy, I wouldn't save that much money. I recently saved about $85 flushing the coolant in the echo, but it was only marginally worth it ($34 for coolant versus $110 for the shop to do it), since there was the danger I'd screw something up.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:12 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
From my Internets research, the shocks are cheap and easy to replace (rear), the struts (which are combined shocks, springs, etc.) are difficult.

I considered doing the shocks, but figured that if it was that cheap and easy, I wouldn't save that much money.
Good decision. And yeah, the rear shocks may be easy to replace if the bolts aren't heavily rusted. Since that's not likely the case, wanna bet you'd bust some knuckles and say a lot of ugly words getting the old ones off?
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:51 PM   #31
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From my Internets research, the shocks are cheap and easy to replace (rear), the struts (which are combined shocks, springs, etc.) are difficult.

I considered doing the shocks, but figured that if it was that cheap and easy, I wouldn't save that much money. I recently saved about $85 flushing the coolant in the echo, but it was only marginally worth it ($34 for coolant versus $110 for the shop to do it), since there was the danger I'd screw something up.
Everything is relative Al. At one time I would not even think about changing shocks, let alone the struts. But I got brave and gave the struts a try. The first one was horrible (a lot of not so nice words and a few bruises), the second one was easier, the third and fourth were simple going through the motion.

What kind of coolant do you use? $34

Forgot to add: You may have to do a realignment after changing the front struts.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:16 PM   #32
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Actually, I am not that bad. I need new shocks now, but the job is huge. 10+ hours for the rear alone. On my car, you need to take the entire rear seat and rear shelf out. May do it myself, but maybe next year. Just dropped $700 on a set of tires.

If you decide to do the work Al, get a few quotes. After 100K I would be willing to bet they need to be replaced. Sometimes Sears has a special, buy 2 and get 2 free, with installation not too expensive.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:30 PM   #33
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I need new shocks now, but the job is huge. 10+ hours for the rear alone. On my car, you need to take the entire rear seat and rear shelf out.
Just curious, what year/make/model is it?
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:16 PM   #34
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That's one way to keep those mechanics in line !

I remember reading about some Texas oil millionaires from the 1950's that used to buy a new Cadillac whenever they ran out of gas.

That has to be a tall tale.... heck, driving around in Texas that could be a single day...
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:18 PM   #35
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I just buy new cars when the tires need replacing. I never kept one long enough to replace the shocks.

WOW.... I have done it when I replace tires twice max so far... For a sports car that can be at 90K...
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:35 PM   #36
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That's one way to keep those mechanics in line !

I remember reading about some Texas oil millionaires from the 1950's that used to buy a new Cadillac whenever they ran out of gas.
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud

That has to be a tall tale.... heck, driving around in Texas that could be a single day...
I do remember reading about that. The 1950's was about some people in Texas getting very very rich in a short time and taking the stage from the east-coast old-money. That was the nadir of Texas folklore.

But after searching I can't find a decent link to those stories.

Nonetheless, using the BimmerBill method of avoiding mechanics, I thought he could up-it a notch.... Texas Style
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:51 PM   #37
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I fired them in part because they recommended I replaced a cracked manifold, and when I saw the old part, it just looked scratched.
Heck, T-Al, if they were really dishonest they would have been sure to show you a cracked manifold. One way or the other...

It's tough to judge, I'll try that Car Talk site. I kinda 'trust' the shop I've been using, they don't seem to push unneeded stuff. When one estimate seemed really high, I did a search and yep - bunch of odd stuff made it expensive and very difficult for a DIY'er.

One other source for Illinois and maybe some other states - the Illinois EPA publishes records for shops that submit cars for emission repairs (after you fail the test). They have quantity for the quarter, and a % PASS after the repair. Of course, that might push the shop to do more then the necessary repairs just to assure a PASS. My guy had me come in a day after after driving a bit, and they re-ran the diagnostic before he'd give me the paperwork, but that's OK - his shop is closer than the testing station.

-ERD50
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Buyer Beware
Old 09-29-2010, 05:52 PM   #38
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Buyer Beware

This whole thread just reminds me once again that "knowledge is power" here. If you really don't know about cars or investments or whatever, you are likely to pay too much and pay for things that give you little value back.

The car as well as the "financial advisor" rip-off scheme is oft-practiced and ever present. Buyer Beware.
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:40 PM   #39
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I know zip about cars. I usually spend a lot of time deciding on who will repair my cars as I am at their mercy. He knows it and I know it.

I always search out a small family run operation and get to know the wife and kids too. It's hard for them to screw a family friend. It's his job to also make me smarter with each visit to the shop. ( I always learn something about how a car works)

I liken this to folks who put their full faith in a financial advisor to not screw them. Being a DYI investment guy for many years I can easily see the comparison.

Get new shocks/struts. They are "crappy", an auto mechanic term I have heard before.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:45 AM   #40
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Take your car to you local Edward Jones rep. She knows what's best for you.
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