Around the 4WAAM offices, we are very fortunate. We have a wealth of experience, plenty of tools and industry partners to lean on when things go wrong.
The average home hobbyist doesn’t have that same support network. Many clubs do a good job of helping members do many installs and repairs but even the largest groups lack the diagnostic tools of a dedicated professional.
Give me an example!
OK, I will. We recently installed the Crown Automotive big brake kit onto our AEV equipped Recon. We ran into a couple of issues that you simply cannot do in your home shop without having spent thousands of dollars on computer test equipment.
The issue that came up started when we were trying to bleed the system after replacing the master cylinder. The Jeep JK has an ABS pump that runs it’s own diagnostic cycle to purge the pump of air after you bleed the system manually. There are techniques to do this but if it goes wrong you need the right tools to get it right. In this case, a MAC tools scanner that has the ability to run several different diagnostic processes not readily available without a tool like this.
Taking your vehicle to the repair shop after you have partially modified it costs significantly more than if you take it there, to begin with. Time costs money and troubleshooting an issue when you have to start from the beginning costs the most. Not too mention getting a vehicle towed to the shop, possibly having to buy more parts, and the delays this can cause if parts aren’t readily available.
I have witnessed a simple repair snowball into several thousand dollars because someone attempted the repair only to break another part. The original repair would have been inexpensive, but the broken part took weeks to source, required far more tear down to replace, and was a huge pain in the butt for the repair shop and the owner.
I am not advocating for people not to do their own work. I am trying to show that there are risks involved and often they cost more than if you went to a shop for the work.
The other piece of this is understanding why shops charge for their time. Those tools, electronic diagnostic tools, and space all cost money to operate. When we the customer bring in a half-finished job that now requires more than the normal time to repair someone has to pay for it. That someone is us.
My advice is to do the jobs you know you can handle and if it requires more time or specialty tools look to your local shop for their expertise. Paying them helps the community and creates a thriving community.
Pictures for this article were taken at www.witsendfabrication.com