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Old 09-19-09, 06:46 PM   #1
Tom Stormcrowe
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I hate wrenching! (Van Repair Rant)

If you ever plan to have the joys of changing a starter on a Lumina Van, I can tell you it's a real PITA. Last time I did my own wrenching on a vehicle was years ago, on a 1973 Olds Delta 88 Convertible (changed blown head gaskets on the curb, in January in Indiana), and I can tell you, they sure don't give you any room for both hands and tools, anymore. I used to be able to change a starter in about a half hour, and today it took me nearly 4 hours, and I had to pull off parts to even get into the starter.

Flip side, I spent 4 hours doing it, and saved myself a couple hundred bucks labor.
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Old 09-19-09, 06:58 PM   #2
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I'd rather pay the couple hundred bucks....if I did the work, the van would probably explode.
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Old 09-19-09, 07:07 PM   #3
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GM seems to have made there vehicles difficult to work on since 1978.
I tried to tune up a preachers car back then, One spark plug was only accessible by removing the A/C compressor. Yuk.

My daughter had 1981 Chevette which needed a new starter.
Easy job. Nope. Instructions said remove steering column or a/c equipment.
The starter was not visible.

4 hours later with 17 pieces of a/c brackets on the ground I gave up.
Called the dealer. An 8 hour repair for them to do it.
$375 bucks. They did it.
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Old 09-19-09, 07:08 PM   #4
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A Lumina APV? The original or the next gen with the slightly shorter, rounder nose?

First van the wife and I had was one of the originals. Had to change the battery a couple of times. First time, I couldn't even see the damned thing.
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Old 09-19-09, 07:39 PM   #5
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I had to change a hydraulic pump on an ag plane once. Ended up pushing the sheared driveshaft into the case by accident. To get the case off, I had to pull the starter but to pull the starter, I had pull off the alternator. The damn project took a full day. None of the hardware was easy to get to and I had to make some tools to do it.

Yep, wrenching sucks.
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Old 09-19-09, 07:55 PM   #6
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Its stupid I know but even the easiest of jobs that ANYONE should be able to do for themselves now needs a mechanic to do. I blew both headlights on a work car once. Do you think I could get access to change them. No way. I gave up and called a mobile mechanic and I was thinking that this guy would show me up with a little inside knowledge and do the job in 5 mins.

No way. A trained mechanic had to remove the battery and the air filter to gain access and the whole job took him something like 30-45 mins to replace the headlight globes and put the car back together. Talk about ridiculous.

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Old 09-19-09, 08:02 PM   #7
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A Lumina APV? The original or the next gen with the slightly shorter, rounder nose?

First van the wife and I had was one of the originals. Had to change the battery a couple of times. First time, I couldn't even see the damned thing.
a 1994. It's the long nose.....the one you have to take body parts off to change the battery, yeah. I dread when it's tuneup time and I have to change the rear bank of spark plugs. I suspect there's a reason the labor on a tuneup is almost $500.00.
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Old 09-19-09, 08:20 PM   #8
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Minivans and front wheel drive. Two bad tastes that taste worse together.

Not that old-school RWD snub-nose cargo vans were much better, but at least you could get to a lot more of the goddamn engine.
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Old 09-19-09, 08:28 PM   #9
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Minivans and front wheel drive. Two bad tastes that taste worse together.

Not that old-school RWD snub-nose cargo vans were much better, but at least you could get to a lot more of the goddamn engine.
The sole redeeming features to the Lumina Van are that it's got plenty of power, handles great on all weather, is comfortable, and gets 30 MPG on the highway. When they run right, they are fabulous. When they break, though, not so much, and very expensive to repair.
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Old 09-19-09, 08:52 PM   #10
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Anything front wheel drive is going to be difficult. a lot of the front wheel drive gm's have a pair of holes in the upper front engine mounts, you hook something in there like a chain or ratchet strap then take out the bolts and pull forward and the engine will tilt forward enough to get to the rear plugs. Or out the front wheels on stands and crawl under and reach up.
I worked for a small company whose owner had one of them. He put 200k on it and sold it to one of the developers and bought a newer one. The developer had it past 300k when I left that company and it had never been in the shop for unplanned work, just regular planned maintenance.
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Old 09-19-09, 09:26 PM   #11
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Yep...I miss the good ole daze....
You could rebuild a motor in your driveway

Im trying to sort a carb issue on my Suzuki right now.
Anyone who thinks J-Bike technology is superior to HD
can come sort this debacle
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Old 09-20-09, 07:18 AM   #12
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I have been an airline mechanic for over 20 years. I try to avoid working on any vehicle made after 1970 if it is humanly possible. I worked at a Jaguar shop in the mid 80's. If you want to see a manufacturer who hates mechanics, look at an older Jag or Mercedes. I much prefer large aircraft.
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Old 09-20-09, 07:36 AM   #13
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OP - ask kitteh to halp?
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Old 09-20-09, 08:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I had to change a hydraulic pump on an ag plane once.
I had to change the starter on a bi plane once..............'cause his arms were tired.


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Old 09-20-09, 10:08 AM   #15
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Chevy Lumina van??? My god man, buy a new car. And be nice to the new kitty.
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Old 09-21-09, 11:18 AM   #16
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i have spent the last number of years doing my best to keep an '86 Corolla and an '01 Neon alive...The Neon is a ***,I wish it would die and soon.
The 'Yota on the other hand has been a great car,tho its getting VERY worn out.

I HATE Wrenching on either one of these,The 'Yota is a ***** and lets not discuss the Plymouth (And its no wonder Chrysler didn't go outta biz LONG ago!!)

At $75 an hour for labor they can keep their repair shops. I have had my fill of "Techs" saying "That will be $1600,K-Thanks-Bye"

I promise my next ride will be one of these...



So simple that two Hippies with a coupla of milkcrates,a skateboard and some cheap tools from Schwag-Mart and you can have the engine out of the critter in 45 Min!!
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Old 09-21-09, 11:24 AM   #17
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4 hours on a starter? That's pretty terrible.

Figment, I think anyone who has a Neon should sell it to the first idiot that will buy it. They're abnormally hard to work on, and my friends with Neon's have had so much trouble with the damn things that it almost hurts to think about.
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