General Question (Learning Car Repair)


Old 07-23-07, 09:54 AM
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General Question (Learning Car Repair)

I'd really like to learn how to repair my cars on my own but dont know where to start. Short of learning as I go, or getting a PT job at a shop, are there any good books I can read to learn exactly how a car engine works? Im really good at picking things up this way and was hoping I could read first on the general mechanics of the car engine (already did it on a small scale with my lawn tractor). Most books I see out there are for special problems. I'd like to start with the general mechanics if possible?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 07-23-07, 10:09 AM
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Check out the Chiltons auto manuals at your library, large auto parts chain, or bookstore. See if they meet your needs.
Old 07-23-07, 10:21 AM
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You can google search almost anything and get a pretty good description on how it works.

You will get most of your knowledge doing hands on work.
Old 07-23-07, 04:12 PM
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For starters, do you know how the "internal combustion engine" works? Either for the type that uses push rods or what is more common today called the overhead cam engine? Another change from the older internal combustion engine is that cars today are fuel injected with electric fuel pumps in the gas tank as opposed to the old classics that had carburetors on them with mechanical fuel pumps mounted into the side of the engine block. Another change from the classics is that instead of points under the distributor that sends sparks going to the plugs, the cars today all have electronic ignition. Cars of yesteryear also had timing CHAINS and most today have timing BELTS that are more externally mounted often under some plastic cover. Cars of yesteryear also were rear wheel driven and the engine sat facing front to back with a transmission behind the engine and a driveshaft turned the rear wheels. And they used radiator fans driven off the engine from a pully and belt, and today they have electric fans that just come on when needed, instead. Most cars today whether the 4 cylinder or the V-6 have engines mostly mounted sideways with a transaxle (which is a combo transmision-axle system that drives the front wheels, and the rear ones just tag along for the ride. Then on top of the basic engine of yesteryear, we now have all these emmission control devices and sending units that are tied in with the onboard computer and regulate proper fuel mixture and engine timing to name a couple things. And because of this newer complexity, the engines have engine lights that can come on when things go wrong and then you have to find out what the code number of what went wrong, means. Once you know about the basics there, then you can more easily follow what they are talking about in Haynes and Chiltons manuals. These manuals are really meant for one to replace parts or for entire engine (or other parts)re-building and do not really "walk you thru" the learning process of how an engine works, and that is why I asked my question. If you do not have the ability to have x-ray vision of a car engine, cooling system, oiling, brakes, bearings, etc. without even looking at them, as some of us here who post have, then I recommend you go to your library and check out books that are under the heading "internal combustion engines".
Old 07-26-07, 11:04 AM
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Goldstar, HotinOKc - thanks, but thats what I've been doing so far. and its been good.

Ecman51 - this is what I was hoping for! I do NOT know how those engines work. And I really do want a basic understanding of things - figured there HAD to be a book(s) on the topic to get me started.

Ok, so I just searched my local library and found, along with a the Chilton books,

The internal combustion engine
Olney, Ross Robert

Looks a little dated but should give me the idea?

Also a few on "Small Gas Engines" but Im thinking thats more for like a lawnmower?
Old 07-26-07, 03:36 PM
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There's about 6 months worth of reading on this webpage:

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