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Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/26/21 10:22 a.m.

So I think I’ve got to the point where I’m going to give up on major wrenching.  It’s at the point where I’ve got so so much to do I don’t have time, or in some cases the experience / knowledge / will even to carry on.  This is going to sound like poor pity me and my first world problems.  It’s true, I have no reason to complain, I’m lucky I’m in the situation I’m in.  But I hate to admit defeat.

Our life this summer has been nuts.  We own two rentals; one we’re prepping to sell to re-invest in another property up North.  We’ve been on vacation, out of state to see family, for work and to pick up a new puppy.  In the thirteen weeks since the start of May we’ve been to Chicago three times, up North three times, to Pennsylvania one and a week and a half trip out to Colorado and Utah on vacation.  The four remaining weekends have seen a couple of family events and working flat out on the rental to sell.  We’re working evenings and weekends and I can barely keep up with cutting my own yard.  I’ve also got a significant promotion at work and I’m doing two jobs until I can get a backfill for my old job. 

I’ve just run out of time, energy, and interest in wrenching.  The current list of jobs, both trivial and non-trivial are:

  • Fix trans on Boxster – see this thread for Boxster story.  I’ll post more later, but things are getting worse.
  • Fix airbag light on Boxster
  • Fix top on the Boxster – some missing parts on hinge, but also a fitment issue.
  • Change wife’s MINI brakes and brake sensors
  • Find slow leak in booster / vacuum circuit on daughters 07 S60 Volvo.  Once the car has sat overnight you need 30 seconds to build up vacuum again so you have brake assist
  • Fix rear wheel speed sensor that occasionally cuts out ABS/traction control on S60 car
  • Replace rear shocks on S60 car at some point (have them, not shot, but I did the fronts about 5K miles ago)
  • Replace timing belt on S60 (110K miles)
  • Fix Volvo C30 HVAC – No idea on this one.
  • Fix C30 wheel bearing – PIA because it took me four attempts to find a shop that could press the old bearing out on the other side after I got the knuckle off.

OK, self pity over and back to regularly scheduled day dreaming about my next car(s), but I’ll talk about that on it’s own thread later.

I'll probably take the Boxster to Steve's European in Waterford for those who know the Detroit Metro area, but looking for options for the Volvo's, probably one of the various European or Swedish shops around, but I'd like recomendations.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/26/21 10:26 a.m.

I admittedly hate wrenching. I didn't used to even though I never really liked it all that much, but now due to difficulties on my body and all the nerve damage, I really do. I only continue to do it to create things that a shop may question, why? And to prove that I can. The sense of accomplishment isn't always worth it, but generally after 2-3 days the physical pain subsides. I just wish that each vehicle didn't have a whiteboard full of "to do" 

trucke SuperDork
7/26/21 10:28 a.m.

Yup!  Life gets nuts.  I can relate.  We paid a contractor to remodel our basement recently.  After 20 years I made little progress. When I got the bill I about choked.  Then I started looking at all the in-process photos and realized that I don't have enough life span left to do all this.  So I gladly wrote the check!

I'm sticking to just basic wrenching.  Switching autocross wheels and tires, oil changes, and maybe just a wee bit more.    

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/21 10:32 a.m.

It's all about motivation. Sometimes you have to wrench because it's the only way to have a certain vehicle. Sometimes you do it because it's less expensive. Sometimes you do it because it's fun. If you don't have that motivation, then there's nothing wrong with having someone else do the work for you. Maybe it's more fun to have a functioning vehicle than a project.

I'll pull an engine and transmission to add heatshielding to the transmission tunnel in a V8 Miata, but until recently I took the diesel truck to the dealer for oil changes.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/26/21 10:43 a.m.

Thanks for the kind words.

YEah, there was a time I loved it.  Back in college I cut two HIllman Imps in half to build one good shell.  Awesome, loved it.  Now, it's time to admit that I no longer get a buzz out of it and move on.  Honestly I get more satisfaction out of working on houses these days, possibly because problems seem to stay fixed on houses!

Time to flex the credit card and man up.



frenchyd UltimaDork
7/26/21 10:45 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

My issue is age.  Things that used to get done in 20 minutes or so often take me all day.   I spent last weekend doing what should have taken me an hour. Well part of that was stumbling past my 73 birthday.   

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/26/21 10:54 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Hat's off to you, I admire you for keeping at it.

hunter47 Reader
7/26/21 11:02 a.m.

I admittedly hate wrenching. 

I'll do things in my driveway that are easy - Oil changes, brake jobs, wheel swaps. 

Anything beyond that I'll take to a "qualified specialist". I just don't have the time nor the patience.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/26/21 11:02 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

And knowing that that's the case it often takes a week or more to be willing to start on it...

Advan046 UltraDork
7/26/21 11:08 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

Good for you that you have made the decision to transition. So to keep with your home working forward look, you finished the utilities flagging and ceremonial breaking of ground. Now it is time to properly break ground on your new lifestyle.

Sell all but the one-two-three "special" cars that you always want to have. Start leasing cars so you can almost forget about anything to be repaired out of warranty. This is a more expensive way to have cars, but I think the payments also purchase less stress and freedom to do other things that you have stated is your new passion. Then the Boxter or Mini can be the only things you keep spending time and money on in the GRMsphere.

I always was against leasing until just three years ago when I realized I no longer had time to do anything on my fun car. Fixing two commuter vehicles plus my fun car wasn't working. Plus, I was doing lots of other fun stuff. So happy violin music. So I decided that I will lease anything going forward that I don't have a passion to work on. 

I say all above because it sounds like you have the money to make this move and your passions are elsewhere.

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/26/21 11:08 a.m.

While I still do my own oil changes and brake work (because they are both pretty easy to do and I trust my abilities for those jobs), I've really backed off of the other jobs anymore.  I guess its the byproduct of hitting a certain age where I know it is going to hurt more than I want to endure, although I do still cherry pick.  Starter went out on the '06 Civic a while back ... one look underneath that car made it an easy choice to send it to the local shop for that work, while I chose to do the same job on the '14 Accord recently because access was just really easy.  I guess it is nice to still have choices.

ultraclyde GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/26/21 11:10 a.m.

I enjoy a lot of things as hobbies. Biking, cars and wrenching, boats, music, photography..... Everything has a season. 

I've realized I have to make choices and prioritize how I spend my time, and my main drive for how I spend my hobby/free time is to enjoy it. Rebuilding the ZJ I had really drove it home for me.  I spent every free weekend working on it when what I really wanted out of the vehicle was to enjoy using it. I wanted to explore the back roads and tow my boat with a vehicle I enjoyed, not spend all weekend hiding in my garage cursing at an old vehicle.  I realized that wrenching on cars is something I enjoy when I'm able to do improvements to something that already runs well. Doing repairs and maintenance isn't enjoyable, it's necessary. I want to do it as quickly as I can and go back to enjoying the vehicle. If I have the resources, I will pay to have some of those tasks done if I can have it done to my standards. 

Ever wonder why, in pro racing, there are drivers AND there are mechanics? 

I enjoy working on stuff, tinkering, doing projects, but I've learned to make time for them in a way I enjoy. Or try to.  Having cars that just work so I can tinker on the boat, or a bike, etc,  makes me happier right now. And that's ok. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/21 11:11 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

"Work / Life balance" also applies to working on cars. Farming out some jobs because you've got other ways to spend that time doesn't make you less GRM.

PMRacing GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/26/21 11:13 a.m.

Arbor Motion in Ann Arbor used to be Swedish Engineering specializing in...well, swedish stuff. Might be a good place for the Volvo. 

pointofdeparture UltimaDork
7/26/21 11:21 a.m.

Friends who hear me complain about working on cars always ask/say some variation of "but I thought you loved working on cars!"

The reality is that I love *driving* interesting cars that typically cost a lot of money to pay someone else to fix, and the working on cars all the time is very much a byproduct of that.

There are definitely fun jobs sometimes, regular maintenance is middle of the road, infuriating failures of odd components and troubleshooting weird issues is not a great time at all.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/26/21 11:30 a.m.

I reject your list and substitute my own:

  • Replace fuel selector switch on the ATV so I can sell it
  • Replace the cam-gear in the boat throttle shifter
  • Fix fuel starvation issue on the boat
  • Arrange for new windshield in the FiST because rock
  • Fix transmission noise in FiST
  • Fix slow window in teh minivan
  • Fix not one, but two washing machines from rental properties
  • Try one more thing to fix oil leak in the Jeep
  • Fix basement flooding issues by installing culvert and drain line
  • Fix ceiling above upstairs shower

And it goes on and on, but I know the "I am sick of fixing stuff" feeling.


Streetwiseguy MegaDork
7/26/21 11:37 a.m.

As we age, I think we understand more just how much is involved in doing something correctly.  Cash, time, sore knuckles...

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/26/21 11:52 a.m.

Man oh man can I relate! Part of it is age, of course. At 51, I'm not so capable and flexible as I was at 31 when I was doing engine swaps and extensive chassis work. But I don't have Adrian's excuse of being too busy, we don't travel nearly as much as they do, and we don't have rental properties.

My biggest problem is biting off more than I can chew. Part of the reason I'm able to play the car-swapping game is that I almost always break even or make a little on my "toys". At least, I used to. When I was buying good, used cars like my E36 and my GTO, I was able to drive them for a couple of years, do some deferred maintenance, shine them up, and sell them at a modest profit. That all started going downhill with the eternal E30 project and continued with the 944. The Boxster was supposed to be a return to the previous model, not a project. Then my IMS swap turned into a trans swap. I should have just taken it to a shop, written one painful check, and I'd have been driving it all summer. But, no. That would eat into my "profit margin" too much.

The Expedition is going to need shocks within the next year or so. I know I can do it. But I am absolutely dreading it. Still haven't decided what to do.

Tom1200 SuperDork
7/26/21 11:55 a.m.

I also came to this conclusion about 2 years ago; I now earn enough money that I can just pay someone to do stuff I don't want to do.

I'd rather sit on my but and watch old movies then do certain jobs.

Like many of us here I only work/worked on cars because it made the hobby feasible. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/26/21 12:07 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

You're successful.  At some point, that success means you need to pull in some help.  It is often those jobs that are easiest for offload to others so you can stay "on-task" with what makes the success.  

Keith summed it all up nicely.  

I will add that I don't cut my own grass.  It is one of life's little luxuries for me.  Generally, I hate yard work and combined suffer from some strong spring allergies.  The home I grew up in and my first house were typical, small city lots.  I cut my own and generally hated it and was not timely at it (long grass often.)  My second home was a condo with lawn service.  That meant that for 8 years I didn't cut grass!! 

When we moved to this house, on 1/2 acre (but only about 50% of that with grass) they had a service cutting it.  I had the service continue.  Now, 10 years later, I have never been the one to cut the grass.  There is a "keeping up with the Jones" element too.  Since I back up to a country club, it would be in "bad form" to let the grass go as long as I know I am capable of letting it go.  The dude comes once a week...and I don't have to think about it.  

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/26/21 12:22 p.m.

For me, it's been a lack of elbow room. After years of being spoiled for room in my ex's garage, I've found it very hard to get motivated to work on my cars in my cramped garage.  Developing a plan to correct this has also been difficult due to how daunting the tasks will be.

z31maniac MegaDork
7/26/21 1:28 p.m.

For me I hate doing maintenance work. Building an S52 swapped E30 in a gravel driveway, then building the Miata track rat and pulling multiple engines. I'm over it as well. 

I take the car to the specialty Euro shop for oil changes.

New York Nick
New York Nick GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/26/21 1:38 p.m.

Yep I hear this post loud and clear. Common text with my close friend: "What are you doing?" Me "Working on broke E36 M3."

I feel like sometimes the work overwhelms the fun parts. I am in the process of culling the project heard so I can enjoy the ones I really want to. I think I am going to cull my daily driver for that reason too. Just regularly fixing minor things instead of enjoying the drive and spending time with the important things and PEOPLE. 


RX Reven'
RX Reven' UltraDork
7/26/21 1:58 p.m.

Labor rates for pretty much everything have gone crazy so I let an assembly line / robots take care of as much car maintenance as possible.

Buy a brand new (no history to worry about), highly reliable (in my case a Mazda CX-3), and not too expensive (because I'm thrifty) car and you get zero time tires / brakes...zero time oil / coolant...zero time battery...zero time (well, you get the point).

Assuming 12 years @ 16K miles per year (192K miles total) gets my depreciation down to ~$150 month / 12 cents per mile with a reasonable shot at having no major repair costs. 

ojannen Reader
7/26/21 2:00 p.m.

Florida makes it worse for me.  Car work means sweating in a 110 degree garage for a few hours on a Saturday.  Since having a kid, I have limited my garage time to:

  1. Repairs that I want to do.  Fun engine swap, yes.  Swapping the driveshaft again (yay BMW), no.
  2. Repairs that I want to share with the kid.  An oil change has just enough complexity and excitement for his current age.
  3. Hiding my embarrassing welding skills from other people.
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