As of tomorrow, (Monday) I'll be a student again. I'll be doing the VEHICLE RESTORATION COURSE at LEEDS CITY COLLEGE. It's kind of a last chance thing - the twins will be off to university next summer, so major poverty looms. Also, from next year, the course becomes a two year one and time would become even more difficult to manage.
So, three days a week for the next 30 weeks and fitting in the business around the course means things are going to become rather chaotic for a while. I'm really looking forward to it, though. None of us are going to retire at 65 anymore and I really can't seem myself hauling washing machines around aged 70, so this represents an opportunity to learn the skills properly and hopefully shape the rest of my life.
Things should carry on here without changing - it doesn't take too much effort day to day to keep the forum running.
I went back to do my Masters and ended up in a class less than half my age but able to drink twice as much as me . It was a definite trade off between relying on experience and learning noticeably more slowly than the youngsters but balanced out in the end. I found it enjoyable and great to get what was left of the brain working again.
Perhaps the UK should follow Singapore which makes it a legal duty for children to support their parents as they get old.
Survived the first week. Monday is Mechanics, Tuesday Bodywork and Monday is Paint. Not a lot actually done so far - registration, Health and Safety and familiarisation has taken up most of the time so far. We get going properly from next week.
Interesting group - there are 11 of us, with one to come. Should be 14, but one was a "no show" and one left after the first day! Quite a mix of people - we have an Aussie, Spaniard, Italian and a Russian from Bradford, people from Lincoln, Cambridge and Derbyshire across an age range of 20 through to 67. Some of them know absolutely nothing at all, some of us are handy and the Aussie lad is already a qualified mechanic.
Looks like it's going to be fun.
Nicholas (No. 1 twin) said yesterday as I was going out the door "Have a good day at school"! I suspect he's been waiting since he was 4 to say that.
Last Edit: Sept 20, 2013 18:53:01 GMT by Penguin45
Are you gong to post pics of you in shorts and school cap Will this course be covering vehicle electronics; I'm sure that's where the real money is to be made. It certainly baffles everyone here and it's the same old story keep replacing components until it works for a while and charge the customer £000s for things they didn't actually require.
I know what you mean. The trouble is now that the OBD2 etc readers can only give an indication of what they observe (if you are lucky) and not necessarily the primary source of the problem. Last visit home I saw a French car that had been to 2 main agents and a local garage because of a starting problem. All the relevant sensors showed the right waveforms and voltages. I did notice a badly corroded earth connection, often the faults are just the old ones but people can get lost and it can be very expensive.
I think the problem may be finding a car electronics course set at the right level and with practical application. Maybe it is only possible to learn about one particular model in sufficient depth and even then the changes from year to year can be mind blowing.
I downloaded the details for my Toyota SUV ECU and attachments recently and it is quite mind blowing. I do at least know what all the wires, sensors and connectors are now, but no idea of the correct waveforms, that will be somewhere else on the WWW maybe.
It's like everything else in the modern world, Indy. As we get older, the ability to get to grips with the technology seems more difficult. As most of you know, I'm a domestic appliance repairer, so I'm a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, electronics engineer, plumber, social worker and probably several other things as well in my working life. There was a huge sea change in my industry about 10 years back, as the electronics took over the control of appliances. A lot of repairers in Leeds actually retired! Most of them were in the 55-65 age group and simply couldn't be bothered to get to grips with the new technology. Us youngsters (Hah!) got on with figuring it out and even formed a very effective forum to pool and share knowledge about error codes, resetting procedures and repairing the computers - something I'm still quite proud of, although I'm not as involved as I used to be. By a quite bizarre series of circumstances, I even finished up as a world authority on the Fisher and Paykel top loaders, which Indy is probably quite familiar with.
The "Error code" syndrome has some quite interesting side effects - people stop thinking. A classic example was a younger repairer who posted on the UKWhitegoods forum that he had an Indesit washer showing "F4"; which is no drain in the time allowed. He didn't know what this meant, so left the job and posted a query. If he'd been thinking, he'd have seen the machine full of water and drained it and seen if there was a blockage, which would have solved the problem. As a consequence, what should have been a 20 minute job and a nice little earner became a two hitter and a money loser.
The kicker, when you get down to it, is that I can see where it's leading and that is nowhere. Major kitchen appliances are going the way of toasters, electric kettles and now even microwave ovens and becoming disposable objects. You can see this in cars - my mate Adrian is of the opinion that MrsP's hateful Matiz is just motorised whitegoods and isn't worth bothering with. If I actually paid to have the little horror repaired, he'd probably be right.......
In some ways, doing this course is an education into a past technology, so something that I should be reasonably familiar with having grown up with much of it, yet I'm realising how little I actually know. Most of what I do know is based on "How do fix this now that it's broken?", rather than a holistic understanding of the motor vehicle.
Fisher and Paykel! we have one of those in our laundry (landlord's, we have a Samsung which is in the garage at the moment). I'd say around 80% of washing machines here in NZ are top loaders, the front loaders seem to get mold on the rubbers (well mainly in Auckland).
Agree fully with the way thinking has changed towards large appliances and cars these days. eg. the cost of TVs is so cheap now, why would one pay $600 to have it fixed if you can get a later model one for $800?
Some is rich, some is poor
That's the way the world is
But I don't believe in lying back
Saying how bad your luck is
We're into week 5 of the course now and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. The mechanics module is dealing with brakes initially. I suppose starting with crucial safety issues makes sense! Bagged a few photos which might be of some interest.
Dual circuit master cylinder.
Clio single pot sliding caliper.
Renault rear cylinder. This one has some relevance - the little pointy piece between the seals is a pressure valve, which is fitted into the larger of the two pistons. Apparently, if you buy a repair kit for this cylinder (as opposed to a seal kit), you get a different piston and no valve. That'll be interesting when you have to stamp on the brakes!
This is a Jowett Javelin rear brake assembly, which we have actually repaired, rather than just stripped for inspection. It is a thing of beauty.
Pistons and seals.
Handbrake mechanism. Neat, very neat.
Back together for the first time in over 30 years, apparently.
Cylinder assembly at the top can float - there are springs under the castellated nuts.
Bodywork. We've made a few test pieces:
All very slightly incorrect in minor ways, but proved marking, cutting, drilling, tapping and other skills. We're onto welding now. Today was supposedly about butt welding. Struggling would be a polite way of putting it......... Now, whilst I'm not a trained welder, I can weld a paper doily, in the rain, in the dark, upside down in a gutter. I got to a point that I decided to do some other stuff - outside corner, inside gussett, lap joint, I even rattled up a box. Still couldn't weld a straight line to do a butt weld. In the end, the tutor gave in and produced an auto darkening helmet instead of the handheld face pan and Behold! I could do this one particular weld. I suspect that the old eyes are to blame.
Paintwork has involved stripping techniques on pre-painted panels (last years students course work...), panel prep, filling and sanding so far. Last week a small group of us were working on a Mini putting some finishing shape back into some of the panels. Tomorrow we might be doing some primering in the spray booth.
I'm enjoying it. Some of this stuff I know, most of what I know is incorrect, so it's fascinating and highly enjoyable.
I'm amazed at just how much you have covered in such a relatively short time. It's very impressive. Maybe one option for you to consider for the future is the restoration of classic cars. From my experience in the UK it is very difficult to find skilled people at reasonable rates. It maybe fine if you have a vehicle worth £30K upwards but there are lots of vehicles that are worth restoring but the costs make it financially prohibitive.
My mate David from the Wolseley Forum sorting out an A panel. Shortly afterwards, we decided it was rubbish, hit with a hammer and started again!
Bolt on front end for the Mini. It's going to be a racing car - 1600cc Honda engine going into it. James the Aussie's on with this - come up with a modification for it which we're doing the week after next, as well as filling a whole load of little holes across the front.
Other A panel went OK.
Side rear panel I've been working on. Done my head in, that has. Anyway, it isn't going to get any flatter or straighter.
Richard on with a huge re-profiling job on the bonnet.
Mike's been trying to sort out this door - that top strip really does not want to co-operate.
Mohammed the Russian and T'other Chris have been trying to sort this out. Big side impact that's been pulled out, but it's all over the place. Loads of filler to try and get some sort of line back into it. Panel should probably have been replaced, really.
In between times, we were playing with paint.... All water-based and HVLP. The exercise was to master flow, distance and pattern.
This is just shot onto some gloss art paper, so runs abound!
It did even out a bit when it dried.
Honest. Actually, Steve the instructor was quite pleased with these, even if we thought that they were rubbish.
Half term next week, so I'll have to go and do a full weeks work for a change, then back to it.
David, there are the germs of some ideas forming between Davis, Ady and myself. Nothing concrete, but we're starting to toss ideas about.