Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: DIY vs calling a professional

  1. #1

    Default DIY vs calling a professional

    Sometimes we just like to get our hands dirty, to say we've done something ourselves. Other times, we don't want to pay what are rip-off rates for a professional. Other times, it's just worth it to let a pro take over.

    Had a couple things come up. One is my car is throwing a "check engine" light and code. It reads underboost, part of the turbo. Research online, it's one of two things: either the diverter valve or the wastegate. If it's the wastegate, it'll be really noisy. It isn't. Diverter valves on this are notorious for getting sticky after time.

    OK, order the new part, it's three allen bolts to take off the old and replace it with the new. First two are a pain, last one just isn't moving at all. Finally too frustrated, take it to the mechanic. Bolt is stripped, they're not sure how to get it out, suggest a guy who specializes in cars like mine down the street. He's booked for two weeks solid, but suggests putting the radiator in "service position". Never heard of that...

    Come home, find it requires removing front bumper and removing a dozen bolts or so. The radiator and front end now shift forward four inches and I can get at this bolt that was impossible before, put an extractor in it, and get it out. What has been hours of trying to get this bolt that was stripped to move was out in less than half an hour! All because of helpful advice from a pro. The car is now fixed (bolt replaced w/ a new one), and runs great. That pro will get my business next time I need something done.

    Different problem, this one on the heater for the pool and spa. Won't run, gives an error code. Dig a little online, one of three things: a fuse, a temperature switch, or the main controller (controller is unlikely). No time to deal with this one when it happens, tell the wife to call repairman. First one called: we'll give your name and number to owner and get back to you. A week later, try again. Oh, we'll get back to you. A week later, no call back. Call a second guy.

    Second guy supposed to be out Wed, and no shows. Yesterday he shows up, saying they were too busy to get to us and tries to diagnose the heater. "Some sort of ignition issue," he says, "we'll e-mail you with a quote for parts and labor" (diagnosis call was free, thankfully). Doesn't mesh with what I've read in the manufacturer's troubleshooting guide.

    So I go out today with a voltmeter and follow the troubleshooting guide. It's the temperature switch. Touch a bar in center of it, it resets, and the heater is working again. No parts needed, nothing strange, it works fine now I reset that switch (it's supposed to reset like that). Well, there's two professionals who won't get my business. One for not even returning our inquiry about service, the second for showing up a day late and mis-diagnosing the problem.

    Who else has things they've done themselves or stories about people who have been professional or not?

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogRTO View Post
    Who else has things they've done themselves or stories about people who have been professional or not?
    well, i do pretty much everything for myself, with the effect that i also end up doing for others.
    totally for myself, though:
    Attachment 23794
    aye, my coffee maker popped it's clogs! the end of the world!
    well, it was first thing in the morning-ish. and i then had to set about it without a jug of coffee in my belly. anyways, a 99p fix.

    been doing a bit of work on ATVs, lately, cash-in-hand (not surprising considering the dealer charges!!), but my head tends to be a fuggy from a lack of sleep and the number of variants of ATVs boggles the mind when trying to get specs and circuit diagrams for specific models.
    got a nice sliced finger of one and it took ages to stop bleeding; i should've had stitches, really, but the day and the time of day, and the fact that hospital closures mean you don't know which hospital to go to, meant that i just taped it up (yeah, nobody had plasters big enough. bloody typical!). and it bled enough that i reckoned that all the shit would've been flushed out, but i think there's a bit of dirt working its way through the scar edge.

    and i bought a new phone, recently, and the supplied charger came damaged,
    Attachment 23795
    misaligned circuit board during assembly caused an over-tightening of the casing's screw.
    they sent me a new one, but i'm going to fix this [gluing, staple-stitching and DIY rubber].
    i've been using my own stitching methods for years, not realizing until lately that the pros do it, too. in fact, the place from where i sourced our washing machine bearings is a specialist in it (i got the German bearings, btw, not the Chinese ); i'd wondered why they had that name.

    aside from the ever-growing miniturization , i'm only usually restricted in what i can do by tooling and law, and both these come together in the case of our heating boiler. so, i had two weeks over xmas without heating and hot water. okay, i got by, as you do, and it prompted me to buy a couple of new heaters which is good as the old ones are really old, only work on the first heat setting and were scavenged from skips. and with the boiler having conked out several times within a year-ish, i opted for the maker's own servicemen rather than the local call-outers, for the repairs. mum has an insurance thing which includes servicing, but it turns out that the local idiots hadn't been servicing the boiler properly, resulting in the breakdowns.
    and i'd fitted a new electric fire just before this (you'll see it when i blog), so that got a good workout, too. and in the first week of being without heating, we had gales and rain, making it too cold and noisy to sleep upstairs in bed, so i had a kip on the couch. i'm not sure if was a torn bit of rib-gristle or pneumonia, but i suffered for nearly three months after. i hate that couch.
    i'm tempted to make my own.

    [edit] oh, i forgot to mention that my car's power-steering went on the blink toward the end of last year, with a planned biggish trip to the airport to come. sussing things out on the net wasn't very heartening with a recon unit being over two hundred quid. i found places that'd do a recon for 75, but when i tried to find recon kits to do it myself, there was no luck.
    not really wanting to, because the pump is heavy and access limited, i bit the bullet to to set about removing and dismantling the unit (because i had to measure up for spares, anyway). luckily, jobs like this is where being childsized comes in handy, with my little hands
    'tis often the cry, "ade's got little hands, he can do it", and evermore so with things becoming smaller and more compact.

    anyways, the issue with the pump was simply that it's odd carbon-brush spring arrangement was clogged with dust; a clean with parafin, a rinse with brake-cleaner and all's well. although, the end-cap is now held on with zip-ties.
    Last edited by ade; 11-Apr-2015 at 02:25.

  3. #3


    I tend to prefer fixing things myself, not for cost, but because dealing with service guys tends to be a huge pain in the ass. Most things are less effort and more knowing what needs to be done, and with the internet, it's getting easier and easier to find that out.

    There are a handful of things though where it's worth it to me to pay someone else to do it however. Roofing is a good example. One could probably replace their own roof, it's not a difficult concept, but it's hard, messy, back breaking work. And some stuff requires enough specialty tools or specific experience that it's worth it to hire someone unless you're really keen on doing it yourself for the sake of it.

  4. #4


    I used to do all my own work on my cars because I couldn't afford to have them repaired. My wife and I bought our first house and it was next door to her parents. Oddly enough, they had told us it was for sale and affordable for us. Anyway, I had the starter go in my 340 Duster, so I was trying to get it out, which seemed impossible. I got the two bolts out, but it wouldn't fit up through the tie rods and connecting rods. My father-in-law said, "Turn the steering wheel" which seemed idiotic, but I did it. When I did, I heard the started hit the driveway. Little did I know, turning the front wheels to the right moved the rods which opened up a space big enough to get the starter through.

    It is amazing what the pros know, even my dad-in-law. Now, I take my cars in to get repaired because they're impossible to work on, and because I'm getting too old to lay on my back on my driveway. I also make more money than I did back then. I still do house repairs, etc.

  5. #5


    I just rebuilt the front end on my well used car, few hundred bucks in parts would have been over a thousand to put on. All it really cost me was $80 to have it professionally aligned in a couple hours. Some ignition gremlins popped up and ended up being a bad section of wiring harness and coil last year, plus some PCV system tubing I bought was $300 in labor. That time wasn't the greatest deal but I had my car back in a day.

    Generally speaking neither my family or I have the cash to spare for professional services unless it's things like a water heater, HVAC, cutting down trees, or things that need to be inspected. Time is also a deciding factor. I usually need time to remember/build the skill set to tackle something.

    But I do my own rigging on things up to a couple thousand pounds, have a home machine shop, five different welders to choose from depending on my mood, framing and trim isn't a problem and neither is mounting the odd window or door. I've pulled and rebuilt an engine, laid tongue and groove and vinyl flooring, paint, even picked up a 24 foot sail boat to custom fit a trailer to it and acted as diesel mechanic for the same customer 100 miles from home. So at some point DIY doesn't apply to me depending on the job. Paint and plumbing I hate though, especially in kitchen cabinets or behind dishwashers.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogRTO View Post

    Who else has things they've done themselves or stories about people who have been professional or not?
    I can't even think where to start...

    I've been fixing things since I was 13 at least... I guess part of it was the culture, growing up in rural areas... and usually with somewhat meager finances...

    "Use it up, wear it out... make it do, or do without"

    Must have been round 1984, when I repaired a new then, Tandy computer... probably took around an hour with a loupe going over the traces on the main-board...found a hairline crack in a foil-trace and soldered it up...

    Wish I could source some German, or at least American bearings to replace the shot Chinese ones in a mower-deck that has less than 50-hours on it... turns out, if I split the spot-welded or riveted halves of the idlers, and pull apart the spindles (reassemble with rivets or threaded fasteners)... I'd need just under a dozen identical sealed bearings, at around $5- each ... makes about a $50 dollar bill for what winds up being around $260 for the same end result... the shop would likely add another $150- boosting it to around $410... which seems like a deal to the average uninitiated who see the entire deck replacement runs just south of a $1,000.00...

    I refurbished a vehicle starter motor for around $10 dollars and put it in for a friend... then figured out that another vehicle's no-start condition, after she had thrown a few hundred dollars of parts at it... someone else she knew did the previous work and it just got worse... she would've asked me first, but I've been quite physically down... when I did go to investigate the first time... the battery was dead-flat (so I got no 'key time'), I towed her home... started to fix a Swedish sewing machine... got too tired, came back a few days later and got that running...

    I fix stuff... I help people... that's what I do... it does really piss me off to be getting so gimpish these days... I hurt myself just doing (what should be) normal stuff...well, normal for me... I've got a serious case of dragging-ass today...

    Historically, I fix all kinds of things... I have a certain intuition... I don't always get it right the first time, sometimes not even the second time...

    All things complex... are made of several simple things... break it down...

    If it uses fuel... make sure there's fuel, and air, and a source of ignition...

    Otherwise make sure it's plugged in...

    Failing that, then we go to the extended diagnostics procedures... but always -always, check the obvious stuff first! Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see...

    Besides diagnosing what the original problem was... a failing ignition switch... a no-spark condition persisted... I pulled some baffles and peered in with my light... could it be this f**king easy!? The brand new coil-pack, was not plugged in... Plugged it in, applied the shunt to the removed starter relay... and she runs! New ignition switch components are ordered...

    A number of years ago, I had thought of doing a service advocacy consultation business... where I would either diagnose and repair, or refer the customers to the technicians and shops that were providing fair service and good quality...

    Anyway... good for you, figuring out the issue on your pool heater!

    Many happy repairs!

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by ZombifiedKitty View Post
    .... five different welders to choose from depending on my mood,
    i've only got three , two MIG and a mini stick. one MIG was free and had a big reel of wire, but it needs degreasing, as i found out the other week when i used it for the first time.
    i'd like a decent TIG, but i'm put off by the cost [versus amount of use].

  8. #8


    I do my own home electrical and plumbing (not gas) work , on my car i will do most things even computer work but i get garage to do wheel tracking and Headlight alignment ,gardening do my self with help of family
    But i would get removals firm to move house as i can't hire large enough truck here in uk with out operators licence

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by parcelboy2 View Post
    But i would get removals firm to move house as i can't hire large enough truck here in uk with out operators licence
    don't you have 'grandad rights' on the 7.5 tonners?

    just double-checked: you'd be exempt from tacho and that silly new thing they have [if you've got grandad rights on your licence]

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by ade View Post
    don't you have 'grandad rights' on the 7.5 tonners?
    I have a cat C Class 2
    But you can't hire them privately , and if you had to do multiple trips the fuel would out weigh the cost of removals firm

Similar Threads

  1. I think I need a professional
    By KryanAshford in forum Mature Topics
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10-Apr-2015, 20:33
  2. Being a professional and AB/DLism
    By TARDISchaser in forum Adult Babies & Littles
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 12-Nov-2013, 05:11
  3. Professional in diapers
    By dlninja in forum Diaper Talk
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 01-Jun-2013, 12:12
  4. Professional mummy's and our urges!
    By Lilsteve in forum Mature Topics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 15-Jul-2012, 01:37
  5. Gays in professional sports.
    By MyLastWords in forum Mature Topics
    Replies: 51
    Last Post: 14-Jun-2010, 22:21

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • - the Adult Baby / Diaper Lover / Incontinence Support Community. is designed to be viewed in Firefox, with a resolution of at least 1280 x 1024.