Help me with technical knowledge please!

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by zjpj, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    Here's how this thread started in my mind. I was going to ask what the three round objects are on top of this 195 engine. Since I knew this is a very simple question, and was embarassed to ask, my mind began to wander to something I've been meaning to ask for a very long time.

    I am pretty knoweldgeable about the history of the automobile - many marques included, and Ferrari in particular. But my technical knoweldge is next to nil. I barely know what a carburetor does, what drum breaks do, etc. (I know, I know...)

    The thing is, I love these cars. I love them. And I want to own them, and I want to be able to work on them and know how they work. So, my question is: what can I do to acquire this knowledge? What do you suggest for someone who does not want to become a professional mechanic at all, but wants to get the kind of mechanical training that would allow me to know more about my cars? I am free for this summer, and I have considered just taking some sort of auto. mechanics course at a community college... but then part of me doesn't know how useful this would be - would it just be teaching me how to change the oil on a Taurus? I would love to just work for a couple months at a shop that specializes in these types of cars; I feel that just being around them in that way would teach me a lot. And that kind of hands-on experience would be fun too. But, I'm not sure where I could do this or who would take on a temporary quasi-apprentice.

    Anyway, that's the position. Any advice would be appreciated.
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  3. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
    Tauranga, NZ
    Full Name:
    The three round objects are simply air cleaners.

    I do not know if there are courses in your area, but probably a good idea. I would suggest you buy a workshop manual (like a Haynes) for your current road car ... and start doing the basic oil changes/services yourself.

    This will teach you the basics. If you have a mate who has REAL knowledge he will be able to support ... if you are lucky.

    Just make sure you are careful, and do ONE thing at a time, and do NOT loose any parts. If you are doing some work on something that there are more than one of, make sure you disassemble one at a time, so you can use the others to show you how to put back together ... for example, changing brake shoes on a drum breaked car, do one side at a time.

    You might want to get a book that explains in basic terms how a engine and car works ... then study your car and the pieces will start to fall into place.

    Good luck, and as anything, start small and work up.
  4. El Wayne

    El Wayne Global Moderator
    Global Moderator Owner

    Aug 1, 2002
    San Marino, CA
    Full Name:
    L. Wayne Ausbrooks
  5. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    Hey - great link, Wayne, thanks.
  6. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed BANNED

    Apr 28, 2003
    I would agree with this. I would also add that you should buy the very best tools that you can. Back in my day (yeah, I know, even Dinosaurs had not been discovered yet), me and my buds ruined many a part with our lack of knowledge and lack of tools. (Such as pounding a square tip screwdriver into a Phillips slot because, well, that was all we had.) Sure we eventually got whatever fixed because we had no choice. (I remember once doing a brake job during a rainy night in Georgia by the neon light of a truck stop and lightening flashs because (1) we didn't have any money to pay someone to fix it, (2) we didn't have enough money to rent a room at even a flea bag motel, and (3) the locals were mumbling colloquialisms about hippie ***gots and how hippie chicks didn't wear bras.) But having the right tools would have made a world of difference.

    BTW, one other tip for you. If you run into a head that appears to be stuck to an engine block, don't do like a friend of mine once did and take a crow bar to the head. Amazing how easy those blocks will crack if it turns out that you missed one last screw in getting the head off....
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  8. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Jan 20, 2004
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    Internet Poseur
    I think the idea about a general course is really a good idea. You would be surprise at how much you learn on a Taurus will be directly applicable to more exotic cars. The basic systems in all cars are similar (excepting the RX7 and the like).
  9. kevfla

    kevfla Formula 3

    Nov 20, 2003
    Full Name:
    gone 4 good
    Would be to go to your local automobile recycler, a/k/a junkyard and walk around, inspect cars in various states of disassembly. You'll see engines with heads off so you can see what a typical valvetrain looks like, front suspensions and brake assemblies, even variations on engine configurations such as straight 4s, V6s & 8s. Best of won't hurt anything by poking around. Look at the same part but on different manufacturers cars to see different methods on solving a common problem. Take apart a broken lawn mower engine and try to see how parts interact with each other. Take a more-knowledgable friend that can identify parts that look strange. Good luck!

    Orlando, FL
  10. Tspringer

    Tspringer F1 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2002
    I learned how to work on cars the old fashioned way: Fix it or dont drive. All the comments about tools are right on.... having a great tool set is critical.

    My suggestion for how to learn about working on these old cars: Go buy yourself a decent looking, running/driving old British sportscar. Something like an MGB or a TR6 or even an MG midget or Spitfire. ANYONE who can read can fix these cars. If you were to sit down and sketch out the most basic car possible in an effort to explain to a 6 year old how a car works.... your drawing would look like an MGB. Parts are plentiful and cheap and the cars are fun to drive when running right.

    My first car was a TR6. IT broke down. I bought a shop manual, some basic tools and the rest is history.

  11. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
    Tauranga, NZ
    Full Name:
    Ooooh ... up the British!!! :D :D. That is the funniest thing I have ever read!. I do agree with the crude engineering of English cars but I think maybe you would end up with a TR3 or something ... ;)

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