Monthly Archives: April 2022

DIYing*** – A Cautionary Tale In Car Repair

(in the introductory voice of Rod Serling)*

This all happened probably 20 years ago, but when I detailed my tribulations to a now-defunct Mercedes-Benz internet list, I achieved my Internet 15 minutes of fame. I was known far and wide as “that guy”. I have, for much of my adult life, derived some pleasure and satisfaction in fixing things on my own cars – starting with my 1967 Camaro back in the late 60s.

But lately, with my accrued years, I am seeing the wisdom in letting a pro, with the proper training, tools, and a lift, just do the job.

This attitude started, I think, when I changed the motor mounts of my 1996 Mercedes SL500. The car was on jack stands, I am on my back for a week cursing all the junk I had to get out of the way, just to replace a simple motor mount secured by 2 small bolts on the bottom, and one bolt on the top. And of course, with it all apart, you aren’t going to throw the parts in a box, tow the car with your tail between your legs and plead with a shop to fix your mess! You are committed to finish it one way or another!


I was saving close to $1000 in labor costs! These days I think I’d be glad to let someone with the proper tools do it.

Today’s cautionary tale involves another set of motor mounts on another car. It was a 1986 Mercedes 300E. There was no “junk to get out of the way”, being a simple inline 6 cylinder engine, just a stubborn bolt that would not move.

For starters.

By the way, the reason these had to be changed is that Mercedes has fluid-filled mounts, to cushion the vibration of the engine and over time and miles, that fluid will dissipate. When you notice a vibration at idle, that is usually a good sign that they need replacing. I can’t speak for the rest of the automotive world, but I believe most of these mounts are solid – rubber?

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PDR – Paintless Dent Removal

I thought I’d give the Net a couple of tips I have used for years on some cosmetic repair of your cars. One is an economical (and better!) means of removing small dings and dents, and the other is to repair cracks and repainting your color-coded bumpers. That too is far more cost-effective than letting the traditional body shop do the work.

I had heard of PDR from my nephew John, who decided to learn the trade some years ago. Before I got to learn more about the industry, I thought as a trade it would be pretty much a dead-end as far as the ability to make some decent money.

And that assumption was wrong.

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Ted Lasso

I am still getting used to this new means of watching television – streaming. I joined Netflix a good 5 years ago…and felt that it had such a reservoir of good programming, I thought I would never leave it.

But competition with new streaming venues have affected them. When Disney, who owns the Marvel franchise, started their own channel, Netflix lost a number of great series, such as Daredevil, The Punisher, Jessica Jones….

Anyway, last month I left them and apparently I wasn’t alone. Over 200,000 have left them recently, and a few days ago, their stock prices was down 36% in one day.

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The Finns are an interesting people. Lex had an interesting and funny post about his visit to Finland, and having “Good Lex” having to battle “Bad Lex”, and prevailing, but nevertheless having to do some ‘splaining to The Hobbit back in Sandy Eggo.

I had a Finnish business partner for 20 years.

Estel wasn’t even a Finnish name, but her parents named her that in gratitude to a Mr. Estel from Missouri who, immediately after the war, sent her family provisions during a time of devastation and deprivation.

She emigrated to California with her brother in the late 60s, first settling in Redondo Beach. She must have become a Californian, because when she would come into our office before the heater kicked in, she would complain of the cold, it being all of 60 degrees or so.

I used to kid her about that.

Because it gets cold in Finland.

Real cold.

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Lady Be Good

Lady Be Good, as discovered 16 years later, in 1959

She was named after a popular song that had been written by George Gershwin. It had been turned into a movie.

She was a nearly new B-24D, just flown from the States to serve in the 376th Bomb Group at Soluch Airfield, Libya where the Group was tasked with bombing Italian ports feeding Hitler’s war machine.

Her crew of 9 were typical of men during that time, all in their 20s, some leaving young wives and fiancées. They had never been on a combat mission previously.

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