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Are Our Days Of Car Diy Numbered?


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I have always loved working on my cars-knowing that I am saving loads of money. But I was lucky enough to be driven in a new Lexus LS the other day and my god it is like the starship enterprise. Looking round the car it looks a daunting task to do anything on it. Not that I would on a new one but consider when its 5-10 years old. Are these new cars just getting too technical? Everything seems to be linked to computers-driving the car for us! It's the same for alot of new cars. Are we all going to have to keep our older models just so we can actually do something with them? Even changing a headlamp bulb in some cars is now a specialist job!

Ant

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I have always loved working on my cars-knowing that I am saving loads of money. But I was lucky enough to be driven in a new Lexus LS the other day and my god it is like the starship enterprise. Looking round the car it looks a daunting task to do anything on it. Not that I would on a new one but consider when its 5-10 years old. Are these new cars just getting too technical? Everything seems to be linked to computers-driving the car for us! It's the same for alot of new cars. Are we all going to have to keep our older models just so we can actually do something with them? Even changing a headlamp bulb in some cars is now a specialist job!

Ant

I think I asked myself the exact same question when I changed my MkI Golf for a car with an ECU :)

I'm sure after some thorough investigation and a proper diagnostic tool there's still a lot you can do yourself.

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Are we all going to have to keep our older models just so we can actually do something with them?

Ant

Well... I used to be a mechanic. Exactly 40 years ago, I completely disassembled my pride & joy - a £70 XK120 - and modified or replaced with different equipment, every single component except the door locks. Since then the only times I have taken a car to a garage was when I had fuel injection problems.

In November 2003, when I was 57, I was lying under my Golf Git fixing the clutch. I was tired, oily, frozen, and had managed to remove the skin from a couple of knuckles. I decided at this point I had had enough, so after buying the LS the following summer, I now drop off my car and fetch it when it is fixed. (Not quite true, I did adjust the headlamps and also replaced a front air dam which I then busted again about two weeks later.)

I may save money if I did stuff myself, but I have never regretted my decision to 'retire' from intense car DIY.

Perhaps one or two fellow members will have made the same decision ?

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I have always loved working on my cars-knowing that I am saving loads of money. But I was lucky enough to be driven in a new Lexus LS the other day and my god it is like the starship enterprise. Looking round the car it looks a daunting task to do anything on it. Not that I would on a new one but consider when its 5-10 years old. Are these new cars just getting too technical? Everything seems to be linked to computers-driving the car for us! It's the same for alot of new cars. Are we all going to have to keep our older models just so we can actually do something with them? Even changing a headlamp bulb in some cars is now a specialist job!

Ant

Absolutely right! Car makers are making all cars so complex requiring £1000 testing equipment

[probably cost a fiver to make in China],and are very reluctant to give any tech. info. to owners.

When my LS 400 is worn out I will be looking for an old classic, going back to 'new set of points, new plugs, oil and filter, job done!!

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Are these new cars just getting too technical?

People have been predicting the death of DIY car repairs for the last 30 years. Any new technology seems to trigger this - engine management computers, fuel injection, ABS brakes, airbags, OBD etc.

In practise, there will always be independent garages servicing cars, and therefore there will always be tools and spare parts available to non-dealers. Also you'll always get amateur enthusiasts (like us) who will work out for themselves how to fix common and not so common faults with their vehicles.

Another thing to remember is that computers have actually made cars a whole lot more reliable than they used to be. It might be expensive to replace a whole ECU, but actually the percentage of cars requiring ECU repair must be microscopic. My Mk 4 LS400 is full of computers but the only common faults I'm aware of with the electronics are the display backlights and the illuminated needles in the dashboard gauges. By "common" I mean that you see the odd post about them here, on a forum populated by enthusiast drivers of this particular model. Again the instance of this fault compared to the actual number of LS400s produced must be tiny.

In short, I don't think you need to worry. Go and buy yourself that nice new LS!

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Well... I used to be a mechanic. Exactly 40 years ago, I completely disassembled my pride & joy - a £70 XK120 - and modified or replaced with different equipment, every single component except the door locks. Since then the only times I have taken a car to a garage was when I had fuel injection problems.

In November 2003, when I was 57, I was lying under my Golf Git fixing the clutch. I was tired, oily, frozen, and had managed to remove the skin from a couple of knuckles. I decided at this point I had had enough, so after buying the LS the following summer, I now drop off my car and fetch it when it is fixed. (Not quite true, I did adjust the headlamps and also replaced a front air dam which I then busted again about two weeks later.)

I may save money if I did stuff myself, but I have never regretted my decision to 'retire' from intense car DIY.

Perhaps one or two fellow members will have made the same decision ?

I'm 56, I have rebuild a mini engine in my youth, and VW beetle engines, I could change a set of points with my eyes closed, but when it now comes to oil and filter changes, brake bleeding, and such, I take a "been there, done that" view, think how much easier the chap in the local garage can do it with his hoist, and tend to let him do it. Recently fitted a 2nd LPG tank in the LS400 though, because I hadn't done that before and it was a novelty. It was also a right bugger, so that's in the "been there done that " category too, now.

Incidentally, the engine seems to change over to LPG a lot smoother now, and pull a little better, I'm wondering if the 6mm feed pipe, now being fed via a (non- return) T piece by 2 tanks is getting a less restricted rate of flow- anyone had the same?

Cheers, Ian

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Its not all about saving money. Although i agree that it does, i do my own maintainance as a way of staying sane. Im not a machanic but all my early cars, 20 something years ago, were a; british b; old and c; generally rubbish. So i learnt how to repair and maintain them. After 10 years of newish and company cars, that need no work, im back with a 16 year old Lexus. What a relief. Not only is it better than all the other cars of the last 10 years but i actually enjoy looking after it. My 2001 Mitsubishi on the other hand is still in the garage after breaking down 14 months ago. The dealer is 60 miles away, and no one else knows how to fix a GDI engine with a hundred ECUs. Those GDI petrol engines might run on half the fuel of a conventional petrol engine but everything is so tightly controlled by sensors and computers.....still, im not beaten yet. So may be fancy techno cars wont beat the DIY machanic after all.

As Citizen Smith used to say "POWER TO THE PEOPLE" apologises to anyone under the age of 40 something.

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I have always done as much of the servicing and repairs that need doing myself, the only time that I don't is if I need specialist tools. In my experiance the complicated electronic systems rarely go wrong anyway and Lexus have the best with Denso. My DIY mechanics started when I had 2 stroke bikes and I soon learnt!

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