Discussion Forum - Northstar Chevelle Club

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: 5 Rules for helping wrench on a friend’s project car


2K+ Club

Status: Offline
Posts: 4764
Date:
5 Rules for helping wrench on a friend’s project car
Permalink  
 


Long read, but saw this on Hagerty.com and it touches on some of the unwritten rules of 'helping' others work on their projects.  I'm not sure where I fall in the spectrum other than I tend to like working in small groups of 2 or 3 people...but good things to keep in mind.

What works for you?

LINK TO ARTICLE

Ring, Ring. 

“Hey Friend #1. How’s it going?”

“Honestly Friend #2, not great. Remember that wheel bearing I started replacing yesterday? Well, I’m stuck. Can you give me a hand?”

I’ve taken that phone call. You’ve probably taken that phone call. We’ve all made that phone call. It feels like a reward to receive that call sometimes.

Helping others with their automotive projects is a rite of passage for lots of enthusiasts. It means you have transitioned—even if only temporarily—from student to teacher. Even if it is only due to your possession of special tools or space rather than knowledge, it’s still a little nod of respect to another person to acknowledge when someone else is more prepared for the task at hand than you are. The old saying that “Every smooth-running project is one broken bolt or dropped piece from being a three-day ordeal” is a long-running bit of humor for those of us with grease under our nails, and for good reason. Helping someone through that ordeal is awesome, but whether you’ve never done it before or have done it a thousand times, here are five things to think about before you start turning wrenches on a friend’s car.

Light touch

Your friend called you to help install a new distributor, and while under the hood you notice the valve cover gaskets are pretty leaky, so you go ahead and pull the valve covers off to reseal them while you have the engine apart. Bad idea. Don’t do what they don’t ask you to do. They likely have a plan for the car, no matter how informal, and you might put things out of order by diving into something they were OK with letting be for awhile.

Work as if you are them

Your tolerance for misfit might be lower than theirs. Or maybe you don’t care about your paint, but they very much care about it and use a fender cover religiously. Whatever little things like that you can do to treat their car the same as they would is the key to keeping a friend. Sometimes that might mean leaving things a little scruffier than you typically do if you are the perfectionist. Remember, it’s not your project. Heck, it’s not your car. 

Keep an eye on the clock

It’s easy to get carried away when you have a helping hand, and suddenly it’s midnight and the missus is ****ed. Consider it your job to keep things focused and on track even though you are the help. Have a brief conversation before you arrive or when you get there to level set what the evening is going to entail. That might include some hanging out mixed in with work, but make sure that’s mutually enjoyed. No one wants to have to kick a friend out to keep others in the house happy.

Don’t be a distraction, help

Maybe your buddy is pretty skilled and really only needs a careful eye to check work along the way. Don’t try to have deep conversations or walk off to tinker with something else in the garage. If you are there to help, help. No one likes someone showing up in the garage and slowing their progress to a crawl when the plan was to knock out a project. It’s no different than your barber. Sometimes the conversation breaks when they need to focus, and you just let it happen because you know the results can depend on it.

If they ask for tools, they get you along with them

Loaning out tools is like gambling, and you are not the house. Sometimes you get your stuff back. Sometimes it’s gone forever. Worst case it’s returned in a condition that the borrower didn’t realize is unacceptable. That’s why I’ve implemented a rule that if you need some specialty tool I own for your project, then me and my experience with that tool come with it. When I leave, so does the tool. It ensures my stuff doesn’t disappear or get damaged, plus I know you’re using it correctly. Overkill? Maybe. I hate being the guy who says no though, and this allows me to say yes more.

 

 

 



__________________

Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

1972 Malibu Convertible 2nd time around 

1999 SS Camaro LS1-6 speed

Forum influenced terms: 'Link Paste', 'Stanitized', & 'Revolving garage door...' 

 



Founding Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 2607
Date:
Permalink  
 

I may be guilty of violating #4 on an occasion or two... beer and stories get in the way of actual work more often than not. dunno



__________________

Derek Kiefer - Mantorville, MN

69 Malibu Pro-Touring stroker LS1-383/T56 - 69 SS396-325/3spd project



2K+ Club

Status: Offline
Posts: 2726
Date:
Permalink  
 

#5... Unless I know for sure the borrower is "competent", I agree... you get the tool and me.

If I know the person's skill level is up to it, I've always had a rule about tool lending/borrowing - I expect it back in the same or better condition than received.
This basically means clean, no pieces/adapters missing, not broken, and promptly.



__________________

 

John D. - St. Louis Park, MN.

1965 El Camino - LT-1, 4L60e, 4wh discs, SC&C susp.
2013 F-150 Platinum - Twin Turbo 3.5

2018 Factory Five MkIV Roadster build thread



2K+ Club

Status: Offline
Posts: 4764
Date:
Permalink  
 

Derek69SS wrote:

I may be guilty of violating #4 on an occasion or two... beer and stories get in the way of actual work more often than not. dunno


 I think most car folks have that challenge,  myself included. Especially if you are at their place and they have cool stuff to look at!



__________________

Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

1972 Malibu Convertible 2nd time around 

1999 SS Camaro LS1-6 speed

Forum influenced terms: 'Link Paste', 'Stanitized', & 'Revolving garage door...' 

 



Active Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 120
Date:
Permalink  
 

I’m really happy that I had Chris S. help me with the radio install. I’d still be without decent music without his help. Hopefully I can get the axle seals done on Saturday so I can go for a drive on Sunday. I’m slightly afraid of what I’ll find once I get the axle shafts out. It’s like opening Pandora’s box. A $60 in parts and an afternoon job may turn into a $1500 rebuild.

__________________

In today’s digital world, don’t be afraid to embrace some analog.  My father tells me I was born 30 years late.

 1968 Malibu

Gavin H. Otsego

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Chatbox
Please log in to join the chat!