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Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

I am a (blank) Mechanic

Poll ended at Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:46 pm

O Rivers - I can't even pump my own gas (with apologies to NJ residents)
1
1%
1 River or Beginner - I can perform monthly checks of dipstick, coolant level, PS level
1
1%
2 Rivers - Basic - I can do an oil change, Change a tire, wiper blade, fuse, relay, lights
5
6%
3 Rivers - Mechanic I can do a full brake job, driveshaft, PCV, fuel pump
45
57%
4 Rivers - Advanced - Top end of motor, bottom end of motor, drivetrain - can often find better ways to do things than 'the book'
25
32%
5 Rivers - Expert - You know who you are. The few, the proud - mike, jimmy....and less than 10 others..and not me.
2
3%
 
Total votes: 79

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E Showell
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Year and Model: V70R '06 AWD Auto
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E Showell

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by E Showell » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:51 pm

Yeah -- I'm kind of a 3.5 myself.


'98 V70 NA FWD 5 spd, silver sand metallic (sold)
'99 V70 NA FWD Auto, dark blue (actively for sale)
'99 S70 NA FWD Auto, black (sold and resurrected -- Don't cry for me Argentina . . . )
'07 S80 3.2 FWD Auto, Barents Blue Metallic
'06 V70 R AWD Auto, Sonic Blue Metallic
'04 XC70 Ruby Red Metallic

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erikv11
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erikv11

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by erikv11 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:00 pm

abscate wrote:
tryingbe wrote:I've know a lot, and there are a lot more I don't know.

So, abstention for me.
Here's one of the 5s.... :D
Agreed

I rated myself a 3/4, would have selected 4-. Confident working with the top end but never been into the bottom and don't expect to be going there.


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Nevada1906
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Nevada1906

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by Nevada1906 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:18 am

My 95 850 Turbo was my first European car. I've owned it since 2010 and after all the work I've done on it, I can honestly say that those great, fearsome dragons of the automotive repair world - German luxury cars, the most-complex and least-reliable vehicles on the planet - don't frighten me.


"...and yet another evening out ends with the words, 'you guys gotta leave, NOW!'"

combatkarl
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combatkarl

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by combatkarl » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:09 pm

I'm a 3 & 1/5th.
A 3 for the Volvo, but a 4 with my dirt bike which has dual overhead cams with shim and buckets for valve clearances. So, the 850 motor would be like 5 dirt bike engines? :wink:



angelglo
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angelglo

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by angelglo » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:09 am

I gave myself a 5. Ive done just everything to a car but mostly on chevys, specifically 1st generation Camaros. the only think I don't do is body work and paint. I just recently replaced bank one cylinder head replacement for my 2007 gl450 benz because it was burning oil due to wife not telling me it was low on oil. I did a leak down and found that one of the cylinders were leaking from bank 1. well, after getting it back together and it running fine, I find that one of the valve guides/seals from bank 2 was also bad. I pulled the motor and replaced it with a good used motor. it took a day and a half with was a lot quicker that doing the cylinder on bank 1. SO, since the motor still ran bad after I replaced bank 1 cylinder head and went and changed the motor instead, I guess I should have given myself a 4. If I did this to a customer at an auto shop, he would have been pissed.



jblackburn
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jblackburn

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by jblackburn » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:05 am

I'd give myself a 3. I'm simply too lazy/easily frustrated to do 4, but probably could if I wanted.

If my DD were to blow up, I'd dump it and go buy another.

Someday I hope to have the time and $ to own a snazzy classic car, and it is my hope to go into those projects then.


'98 S70 T5
2016 Chevy Cruze Premier


A learning experience is one of those things that says, "You know that thing you just did? Don't do that."

mercuic: Long live the tractor motor!

PeteB
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PeteB

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by PeteB » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:26 pm

I've actually done level 4 but only a few times on motors and only once for
transmissions and rear ends. Did it on old classic cars without computers.
Did a head gasket on an old 1958 Alfa Romeo, failed on a Friday, ran out
for the parts that day, and had it running by Saturday evening. Also did the
head on an Alfa 2600 and took it to a top machine shop for valve work. Have
swapped engines a few times. Have done clutches many times on an old
Camaro where they would only last 20K miles, and Alfa clutches while I had
the engines out.
Tore down an Alfa 5 speed to change the 2nd gear synchro.
Changed the differential gears in an old 1967 Firebird for a better ratio.
Rejetted the dual Weber DCOEs on the Alfas to their light racing spec and
swapped better cams in.
I've only started doing suspension work in the last 10 years or so, besides shocks
in the old days.
When I went to buy the transmission parts and differential gear shims they both
told me you needed a specialist to do that kind of work.



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MrAl
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MrAl

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by MrAl » Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:18 am

Hi,

I wasnt sure what to vote because my desire to perform maintenance has changed over the years.

When i was somewhere around 20 i did a complete motor rebuild of a 389 Pontiac which included HAND grinding of the valve seats. I took my heads to the high power jet water car wash to clean the grease and grime off of the heads. I should have taken them to get them rebuilt, but i didnt have much cash to spend on a machine shop and there were two heads.
But that job of course included taking the motor out of the car, and the tranny was unbolted but left where it was with some sort of stand. I also had to use a hand winch strapped to a beam in the ceiling of the garage to raise the motor, and to get the motor into the basement where i could work on it better i had to use a child's little red wagon to wheel it to the door of the basement. I dont remember how i got it actually down the stairs but lucky there were only two steps. That engine was a little thing i like to call, HEAVY :-)
From there is was disassembly and i had no digital camera back then as there weren't any yet, so i had to remember everything that came off, where it would go back on. These days i take many pics of something before, during, and after disassembly so i know how it goes back together.
Long story short, i did not do the valves good enough because it was very difficult with the hand tool which was just a stick with a suction cup on the end. The suction cup held onto the face of the valve while the two hands would turn it back and forth many times. Grinding compound on the valve seat made the valve rim and seat fit tighter with enough turns. That was a job in itself though.
After everything was back together the engine had to be hauled back to the garage, then everything bolted back up. Somehow i did it, mostly by myself.
So back then i would have to 'rate' myself at a 4.

But today things have changed as i have aged quite a bit since then. The last 'real' job i did was on my Hyundai when i had to change one of the front drive shafts. That was several years ago and i could not get one of the bolts back in because of the way the mechanism hung so i had to call the garage to come out and put that bolt back in. He took the whole car to the garage and finished the job.
Several years before that when i did the other side i had no trouble getting it back in.

So today i am lucky if i can do anything. The biggest job i did was about a year ago when i replaced the SAS air pump. I was lucky that was fairly easy to do.
The radiator job though just looked too complicated because i didnt know certain things that would have really been a pain to have to learn while doing it as there is no way to get to the parts store when the car is down.
I really hate getting under a car too these days. I see things fail too often so i dont trust jacks and ramps and stuff like that. All it takes is one mistake by overlooking something and it a serious problem. Yeah we take precautions, but we also trust ourselves that we took the right precautions and that they will always peter out exactly as we think they will. But life is not that predictable. Most of the time maybe so, but not all of the time. I remember reading about garage hydraulic lifts that failed and completely crushed the mechanic. I think they upgraded them since then though with more safety mechanisms. But before that they didnt think it could ever happen.

So maybe i am at a level '1' now, unfortunately :-)


I’ve been driving a Volvo long before anyone ever paid me to drive one.
1998 v70 on the road since April 2nd, 2015

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abscate
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abscate

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by abscate » Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:01 pm

Ive evolved to the point where I no longer work on cars outside when its below 0C. Thats a good part of JAN FEB MAR in my climate.

This year, we had no snow, warm temps and I did more jobs in JAN FEB MAR than the rest of the year!

I do have two great independents within walking distance of my house that i can drop the car and walk home -how cool is that?

I do spend more than I used to on cars in the name of prevention, though - when I get into brakes if I see rust/wear grunge I am more apt to do pads/rotors/calipers even so that I don't look at it again for 4 years. Extra cost in parts easily saves the labor even at minimum wage.

I like to think Im a 4 but I haven't been in a bottom end of an engine recently, except my Beetle oil pump. Not counting my 36 HP 1954 VW air cooled rebuild either.... :-)


Empty Nester
A Captain in a Sea of Estrogen
1999-V70-T5M56 2005-V70-M56 1999-S70 VW T4 BMW
Link to Maintenance record thread
Link To Volvo Glossary

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MrAl
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MrAl

Re: Rate your skills - the official MVS poll

Post by MrAl » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:32 am

Hi there Steve,

I think you rate higher in knowledge about these cars though even if you dont do all the work yourself anymore, which makes me think there should be two rating numbers one for knowledge and one for doing the work itself. For example i find that i cant do a lot of the work because i dont have a hydraulic lift and i had found that in the past too. Without an actual lift it seems much harder to do work under the car, so i dont do it anymore.
Also, since cars have gotten so much more complex then in the distant past i think knowledge plays a big part in what we might attempt to actually do. For example, when i had the radiator problem i might have attempted it had i known more about the connectors and stuff like that. Too many unknowns for me.
Years ago they used to have garages for rent by the hour. Dont remember how much it was now though as that was back in the 1970's. You get a whole garage complete with hydraulic lift, but you did have to bring your own tools. That was located in Plainfield NJ a place you probably know.
If i was able to do the radiator repair it would have probably cost me about 150 dollars USD but that's of course if i did not run into any problems. Instead it cost me 600 dollars.


I’ve been driving a Volvo long before anyone ever paid me to drive one.
1998 v70 on the road since April 2nd, 2015

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