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Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get?


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nobodycar
Novice

Apr 15, 2012, 11:39 AM

Post #1 of 12 (1605 views)
Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

I want to do some hands on learning and not just theory so I was wondering if anyone had recommendations?

I want to:

take it apart slowly, learn how things work, replace some small things, put it back together.. see if it still works.


I should probably get an old car with lots of available parts.


Someone suggested a geo metro. What do you guys suggest?


What tools will I need and is it realistic to do this or do I need to pay a mechanic to let me use his shop?

(In california you usually need to get a car smogged before you sell it or register it.. should I just get the car as nonop? Is that pretty standard or will I get into all kinds of issues with that?)


Would going for a truck be better ? I assume I need something with a simple engine and no fancy electrical systems.


Thanks :)

I plan to take classes but work makes it hard to do the hands on classes. Plus there is something beautiful about doing work on something you own.


(This post was edited by nobodycar on Apr 15, 2012, 11:44 AM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 15, 2012, 11:42 AM

Post #2 of 12 (1600 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

Choose a Domestic or Asian vehicle, probably something made in the '90s and then purchase a service manual for that specific vehicle.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



nobodycar
Novice

Apr 15, 2012, 11:46 AM

Post #3 of 12 (1596 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

Interesting. Lots of posts I found on not so great forums seem to point to 60-70's cars for the simplicity of their engines?

I was thinking of spending $500-$1k on a car (that hopefully runs even if it doesn't run great).


(This post was edited by nobodycar on Apr 15, 2012, 11:47 AM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 15, 2012, 11:52 AM

Post #4 of 12 (1585 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

There isn't much benefit to learn about a vehicle using systems that has been obsolete for 30 years. Learning how to diagnose a carbureted car will not help you a bit with the technology that you have to deal with today. Even something built in the 90's will only give you the basic, early stages of technology. Everything you work on today will have fuel injection. Eventually, you will have to work on the very high tech stuff that is being made today.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



nobodycar
Novice

Apr 15, 2012, 11:57 AM

Post #5 of 12 (1576 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

I should have clarified :)

I don't plan to do this as my main profession.. I already have a great career but I believe in doing things you have always wanted to do, this is one of them.

I am interested in classic cars 67, 69 ford.. but those can be quite expensive.. cancer rust, hard to find parts, etc.. so I wanted to start with something cheap.

I am also interested in the body work and restoring paint, but with time.

Question I forgot:
Automatic or Manual?


(This post was edited by nobodycar on Apr 15, 2012, 12:01 PM)


Hammer Time
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Apr 15, 2012, 11:58 AM

Post #6 of 12 (1574 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

Just to point out what i mean. There are a ton of people that were highly skilled mechanics in the 60s and for one reason or another, drifted away from it. Those people are totally lost now and can't do a thing on their own cars.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



nobodycar
Novice

Apr 15, 2012, 12:00 PM

Post #7 of 12 (1569 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In


In Reply To
Just to point out what i mean. There are a ton of people that were highly skilled mechanics in the 60s and for one reason or another, drifted away from it. Those people are totally lost now and can't do a thing on their own cars.


I understand completely.. I think right now I'm interested in older cars anyway, but I do think it would be magical to put a new engine in an old classic car.. I know some people are turned off by that. I see your point and maybe a 90's car is a better choice, I will have to reconsider.

This is why I came here, to learn and seek advice.


Is it more economical to do the 90's car? If my goal is to really restore old classic cars should I go this route too? I mean I like classic cars, but I also like muscle cars with awesome engines.


(This post was edited by nobodycar on Apr 15, 2012, 12:04 PM)


Hammer Time
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Apr 15, 2012, 12:04 PM

Post #8 of 12 (1562 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

Unless you are staying with the 60's type engine, you will need to understand fuel injection and computer controls. If you just want to understand 60s vehicles, that will still take considerable time to learn since you're trying to learn an entire trade and you'll still only be working on your Classic car.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



nobodycar
Novice

Apr 17, 2012, 2:00 PM

Post #9 of 12 (1487 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

My dream is to have a 1967-69 Ford Mustang but not sure if I can add a more modern engine.


Discretesignals
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Apr 17, 2012, 2:08 PM

Post #10 of 12 (1482 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

I think that you should start with something small to get an idea what is going on in an internal combustion engine. Start with a lawn mower engine.





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re-tired
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Apr 17, 2012, 7:23 PM

Post #11 of 12 (1473 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

A lawn mower eng was my thought also DS. My first shop class in jr high began with a 1.5 hp briggs. You learned the basics -----the princples of a 4 cycle eng,the relationship of crank ,piston and valves. Carburation and induction and A/F ratio. Best of all,,,,putting a box of miss. parts together and having it start. All of this will make any future problem no matter how complicated seem to make sense when you apply the basics..............


LIFE'S SHORT GO FISH


nickwarner
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Apr 17, 2012, 7:39 PM

Post #12 of 12 (1471 views)
Re: Buying a car to learn about engines. What to get? Sign In

For what you'd spend on a crap car to tinker with you could pay for a night class at a community college. I'd take the latter route. DS and RT are both on track with the small engines. I like the old cars too, only because years of knowledge and a toolset expensive enough to buy a restored musclecar makes it feasible to tackle such a project. My bread and butter is semitrucks and the day to day breakdowns of those. Make sure you are getting the big picture prior to diving into a project. Its easy to know just enough to make yourself expensive and do more harm than good. We are here for advice if you need backup. I think on this site's regulars it must total up to at least 100 years of experience.






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