From digest.v6.n372 Sat Mar 15 14:52:09 1997
From: Don Eilenberger <deilenberger_at_monmouth.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 1997 11:53:43 -0500
Subject: RE: Mechanics vs DIY..
Samir rightly ends his message with:
>Ah, hell with it. I'm off to rebuild a brake caliper.
I think part of the discussion misses one point - some of us LIKE
to tinker on things mechanical.. I do! (Hello! I'm Don, and I like to
tinker on my BMW cars and motorcycles!). I suspect Samir is the same.
There are some jobs I just won't tackle, 'cause I've been-der-done-dat
and don't wanna do it again, or I know I don't have the tools for it
(exhaust - a thankless job that gets rust in your eyes, nose, mouth,
and blood on your knuckles, suspension - which requires tools I don't
have and don't intend to buy since I'd only use'em once...).
Other jobs I enjoy - debugging problems - my background is experimental
physics originally - then computers (currently - after physics died in
the US). As such - problems are fun to figure out - and rewarding when
solved. I enjoy a puzzle. Trying to understand what the engineer had
in mind originally is fun. Improving on it is also fun. It's my nature.
SO - what do *I* do? - Well, it depends. On BOHICA, I bought an extended
BMW warranty when I bought the car - it was very worthwhile - for a
cost of about $600 of my $$$ - the warranty covered about $4500 of
repairs and replacements. I determined the tranny was going south -
they replaced it. Did a fine job even if it did take a few days. I
determined the driveshaft had a bad universal - they replaced it..
took three tries for the dealer to get the right one, but they did
and it worked fine. I found the leak in the radiator - they replaced
it. I got to do my diagnostics - they got to make some $$$ and we
were all happy. Things they couldn't fix were things like the crappy
idle - 'they all do that' was the reply.. I diagnosed it, and diagnosed
it - and finally cured it with help from a CCA tech-tips fellow.. since
the cure was non-standard valve settings and plug gaps - I suspect the
dealer would have never found it - and was correct in saying 'they
all do that..'
When the warranty ran out - I became more proactive with Bohica..
I troubleshot and fixed lotsa little electrical gremlins, big
electrical gremlins (like the Motronic going south) that would have
cost a minor fortune at the dealer (a dealer is NOT gonna call around
to find a used Motronic for $300 - you're gonna get socked for
$800 for a 'rebuilt' one)..
Things I didn't want to do - like front end suspension stuff, exhaust,
I diagnosed and then went to a friends garage where 'we' did them
(he grunted, I watched) - it was more cost effective this way than
the dealer (exhaust was stock but cheaper than a dealer price,
suspension - his labor rates are lower than the dealer)..
The new E34 I also bought with an extended warranty (a really GOOD
one this time - $0 deductable) - and I've used it. A leak in the
auto-tranny ended up having the tranny removed and all gaskets
replaced with an 'upgraded' kit.. it isn't a job I'd even attempt
if it wasn't under warranty.
So where does this lead us? I agree with Brett that in lots of
cases - the dealer is better equipped and more cost effective for
lots of repairs - for the average BMW owner. This also is really
very dependant on the dealer and the skill of the mechanics working
there. Some of us on the list are not average - we are died in the
wool enthusiasts, born again DIY'ers - and we ENJOY it.
We also have the best resource I know of to fall back on -
THIS LIST. Any question I've ever asked here has been answered -
mostly with very good answers, in many cases allowing me to
pinpoint the cause of a problem 'cause someone else has BTDT..
I don't think there is a single answer to the debate - it depends
on YOU, your warranty situation and your individual talents. Hopefully
all list members WILL realize what a great gift this list is and use
it in the manner Richard Welty intended it.
Spring Lk Hts, NJ, USA
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