Tractor Mike - Skills lost

Nicksacco

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Hi All,
Mike is another Youtuber that generally has some interesting talks about the industry.
This talk from Jan 13 was interesting and made me wonder about skills, the future of mechanically-inclined folks and the survival of dealers.
We all know that technology has invaded about everything and has changed the way machines are repaired and the requirements to repair them.

I know from reading posts her on OTT that many of you are current or retired professional mechanics (and even old wrench-turners like me) and I'm curious to hear ya'lls thoughts.


 
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mcfarmall

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My thoughts are that people who know how to fix and fabricate are a dying and vanishing breed...myself included. I have much skill and knowledge that could be passed on to someone but there is no one to pass it to.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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100% agree !
most '2thumbers' don't have a clue HOW to use their other digits.
my great local car mechanic cannot get a 'class A' mechanic(he'd like 2 really).He could keep a kid busy doing the basics..oil changes, seasonal tire swaps, etc.
what gets me are the huge number of people thatt'll wait months for a item instaed of rolling up their sleeves, and getting their hands dirty..helluva lot of wasted time and stalled projects.
on the other hand, lady emailed me about a snowblower problem(had 14" dumped here). I explained I can't do it, told her the fix and tools she needed. 2hrs later, several THANK YOUs in my 'inbox'. Seems some appreciate my 'words of wisdom'.
 
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Motion

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I agree with both you and Tractor Mike. If you're on this forum, you have a computer, which between forum members, videos, manuals, etc. contains a wealth of knowledge. Most people have invested heavily on tractors/equipment and most protect that investment with some of shed, barn or shop. I believe that if you purchase tools over time necessary to perform maintenance /repairs as they crop up and continue and to buy specialty tools as required you can do what's necessary and if machine work is required then bring to a machine shop. When you think about it, what's another couple of thousand dollars for tools when you know how you really spent on a tractor (not what you told your wife). It goes without saying, that if funds are available, have a backup tractor, if for some reason the primary is down. As far as dealerships they may be good for parts and consumables but if I want it screwed up, I'm fully capable of doing that myself without all the hassles. When the day comes that I can't maintain or repair my own equipment, then maybe I shouldn't be operating the equipment. Just my .02
 
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Bmyers

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I'm one of those that have minimal mechanical skills, spent years working on people (paramedic), but never developed much of mechanical skill. Grandpa and dad were always around and they could fix anything, so why should a I learn. I was the manual in the labor (lift this, hold that, etc.)

Grandpa has passed and dad is getting up there in years. Thankfully, I have a nephew that loves mechanical things and is very good at it.

With that, dad and the nephew is now trying to educate me and help me become more self-sufficient on the mechanical side. I know it about kills them watching me struggle along, when they could complete the task in minutes verses me trying to figure out which end of the screwdriver to use for a half-hour (ok not that bad).

So, I'm thankful to have those two to guide me and have come to realize the value in having some basic mechanical skills and starting to see the huge gap that others are referring to.
 
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skeets

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It is sad t tell this story and it make me shake my head. One of her grand daughters and hubby were here one holiday, and wound up with a nail in a tire. Now I like the boy, and he is pretty smart,, about somethings, others not so much. Anyway he was lamenting about having to get the car towed to a dealer and the cost of a new tire,, yadayadayada. I said lets go fix it, you cant fix it you are not a TRAINED AUTO TECH, the look on his face was a Kodak moment sheer horror that anyone would try to fix something with out being trained. I asked for the keys to get into the trunk for the jack, the grand daughter said go with pap, so I took the tire off, found the nail, I think it might have been a screw, but I digress. Pulled it out marked the hole and plugged it,, YOU CANT DO THAT says he. I said if it hurts anything I will pay for it. pumped it back up put it back on the car and as far as I know it was still on the car when the lease ran out. KIDS, go figure
 
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TheOldHokie

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It is sad t tell this story and it make me shake my head. One of her grand daughters and hubby were here one holiday, and wound up with a nail in a tire. Now I like the boy, and he is pretty smart,, about somethings, others not so much. Anyway he was lamenting about having to get the car towed to a dealer and the cost of a new tire,, yadayadayada. I said lets go fix it, you cant fix it you are not a TRAINED AUTO TECH, the look on his face was a Kodak moment sheer horror that anyone would try to fix something with out being trained. I asked for the keys to get into the trunk for the jack, the grand daughter said go with pap, so I took the tire off, found the nail, I think it might have been a screw, but I digress. Pulled it out marked the hole and plugged it,, YOU CANT DO THAT says he. I said if it hurts anything I will pay for it. pumped it back up put it back on the car and as far as I know it was still on the car when the lease ran out. KIDS, go figure
My cars don't even have a jack, lug wrench, or a spare tire.

Dan
 
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Yooper

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When I was a semi truck mechanic in the 70’s my electrical diagnostic equipment was a test light. Now I have a bidirectional code reader along with two different Fluke meters plus my trusty test light for my own vehicles. And this doesn’t get me very far. My point is (and Mike touched on this) it is a much different skill set to be a mechanic today. You still have to turn nuts and bolts, but the added electrical knowledge would have chased over half the guys I worked with out of the profession.

I remember saying to myself when I was younger that I wish I could download the knowledge my dad had and carry on from there. But we all have to start from scratch and play catch up
 

GSD-Keegan

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Have a nephew that couldn’t get his gas fireplace to turn on. Service technician arrived at the house and put new batteries in the remote control………
 
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mcfarmall

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I keep hoping for the day when my skills will become valuable enough that someone will pay me hundreds of dollars/hour for them. But alas, I will probably be killed by an angry mob who thinks I am practicing mechanical voodoo. Watch the movie "Idocracy" for some insight.
 
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TheOldHokie

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When I was a semi truck mechanic in the 70’s my electrical diagnostic equipment was a test light. Now I have a bidirectional code reader along with two different Fluke meters plus my trusty test light for my own vehicles. And this doesn’t get me very far. My point is (and Mike touched on this) it is a much different skill set to be a mechanic today. You still have to turn nuts and bolts, but the added electrical knowledge would have chased over half the guys I worked with out of the profession.

I remember saying to myself when I was younger that I wish I could download the knowledge my dad had and carry on from there. But we all have to start from scratch and play catch up
Grandad could throw a two up hitch on the plow horses in his sleep and fix a broken harness with a pocket knife. Those days are gone. We are living in a new and different technology. The idea that an ordinary individual will or should have the skills and equipment needed to repair every day modern devices is simply not realistic. I am a computer professional with 50+ years in the business. I can diagnose an operating or network system failure but cracking the case on a laptop is not in my skill set. When it dies I replace it. If I live another 20 years the car I will he driving will he an electric mystery and my 3000 SF shop full of ICE automotive tools will be obsolete. Times change and people's skill sets change with them.

Dan
 
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D2Cat

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I'm one of those that have minimal mechanical skills, spent years working on people (paramedic), but never developed much of mechanical skill. Grandpa and dad were always around and they could fix anything, so why should a I learn. I was the manual in the labor (lift this, hold that, etc.)

Grandpa has passed and dad is getting up there in years. Thankfully, I have a nephew that loves mechanical things and is very good at it.

With that, dad and the nephew is now trying to educate me and help me become more self-sufficient on the mechanical side. I know it about kills them watching me struggle along, when they could complete the task in minutes verses me trying to figure out which end of the screwdriver to use for a half-hour (ok not that bad).

So, I'm thankful to have those two to guide me and have come to realize the value in having some basic mechanical skills and starting to see the huge gap that others are referring to.
You are light years ahead of some. Most who do not have mechanical skills won't admit it and therefore will never develop any. If someone wants to learn they will learn a lot by observing, then trying, and soon become proficient at the process. You will be blessed by you attitude!
 
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Mossy dell

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As far as dealerships they may be good for parts and consumables but if I want it screwed up, I'm fully capable of doing that myself without all the hassles.
This is where I'm at. I lack true mechanical skills but have been able to do basic maintenance at least on all my four tractors over the years. Not only would that be very expensive at a dealer, but they sometimes don't do it well. Bolts left loose, etc., and they leave it out in the weather.

I've found a Bota owner if I need true mechanical work. He's a young guy I've hired to rototill and backhoe with his BX since I don't have those implements. He charges $75/hr plus an hour travel. We were talking and I was showing him mods I've done—step added, tooth bar, spinner—and he said he liked mechanical work. I think I can hire him to come to my place if there's something I can't do or screw up.
 

Bmyers

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You are light years ahead of some. Most who do not have mechanical skills won't admit it and therefore will never develop any. If someone wants to learn they will learn a lot by observing, then trying, and soon become proficient at the process. You will be blessed by you attitude!
Thank you. My grandfather would be amazed that my wife and remodeled our living room. Yes, we bought tools because we didn't have the right tools for the job. No, we didn't know how to use them proficiently, but by the end of the project, we both had gotten fairly proficient with the various tools. Even our daughter got involved and wired up a switch and changed out an outlet to GFCI.

We weren't fast and took a lot longer than the professionals, but in the end, we are very pleased with what we accomplished, and the wife really likes the new floor.

She was actually so pleased that currently we have most of the kitchen floor ripped out, replacing a few sections of subfloor, working on switching out plugs and switches (I'm still not allowed to paint since I have away of getting paint everywhere except where it belongs). This Spring, we will be redoing the cabinets.

The best part, the whole family is enjoying the projects. Yes we are making mistakes and have to have a friend or two come over and give us a little guidance, but we are slowly increasing our skill set, having fun, and take pride in the end that we did it. We would go broke if we were doing this for a living as slow as we are, but that isn't goal.
 
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DaveFromMi

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My kid worked at a small engine repair shop in Detroit. At the beginning of lawn mowing and snow blowing seasons, the yard would pile up with equipment for repair. A good many had bad gas and some had no gas in the tank. He would typically clean out the carbs, put some clean gas in, replace spark plug, and sharpen the blades. The shop would pay him $40 for every piece of equipment he got running. He made a lot of money there.
 

Nicksacco

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Yep - mmmm hmmm - just as I thought!
Personally I have always worked on engines and such since I was a kid.
I used to repair the family's and extended families cars.
Model aircraft and helicopters and motorcycles and of course my trusty L35 (called Rusty) are what I do today.
I guess based upon ya'lls replies it's either in you or it's not.
I remember when I retired from IT this year, I couldn't wait to get my L35 so I could learn diesel, tractoring and such. Other guys that also retired about the same time actually went back to work since they had no interests! (*grabbing my sides laughing*)
I wish I lived closer than NC to you guys that have been around heavy equipment forever. Now I spend days reading (this forum among others) and watching Youtube and other videos to learn. Sometimes it's hard to discern best practices but the journey is a fun one!
I am getting ready to purchase a TIG welder since forever I've wanted to learn to TIG. Can't wait!
 
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D2Cat

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Many who are mechanically inclined have good problem solving skills. Reason being is very few things are as they are described, or tools need to be modified, or procedures adapted, brackets fabricated. Therefore if you like solving problems mechanical work is an easy step. Once you get the mental picture of the completed project the process is just a series of steps!
 
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85Hokie

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Along with this story, talking about the latest generation of "mechanical lack of young ones"

I am an "ol" shop teacher for those that may not know, been doing it for 35 years at 3 different high schools, (I switched just last year to a "larger more sophisticated" high school this past year, with 2 twice as many students and ZERO hands on classes. My principal lined the path with lots of $$$ and has made my life very nice........... but the problem STILL remains.......... the students!!!

Great kids - but their interests are really hurting my feelings and lately I have been telling them!!! "I don't ask you to write a paper, nor memorize facts of history or do complicated math!" ALL I require is your imagination and determination to design and build a project that is better than your peers!

I teach 2 levels of what is called "Engineer explorations" ---- to me a class where we can talk a little bit about theory and whatnot but......... we touch things and build things to prove that it can be done and why it works in the real world!!!

For example - the ol mouse trap car (many of you have seen it) each student gets the same "kit" - a mousetrap, 4 cds , some dowel rods, nuts, washers, pieces of flat wood, a bottle cap, some small screws, string......etc

the premise is this - "F=M*A" , Levers, and pulleys - I want you the student to build a "car" that will travel further than anyone else using just these pieces........... there are rules, but I added that you must have a 2 stage transmission......... so the physics of the entire thing is friction against the floor, length of pull arm (lever), do I wrap the small axle first or last........... etc.....

I explain all of this simply because of the reactions........ they go at it from the same point of view, ZERO if any imagination nor "design". Some think it is boring....... I say - so you would rather write a paper in English? Now - to bad mouth the entire group is not true, the ones WHO are the most interested are the GIRLS in the class - and they are fun to watch!

The last "project" was to build a small sailboat that will weigh about 30 grams (8" long - 6" wide Styrofoam - dowel rods, sheets of tinfoil etc) and it must carry two heavy "ballast nuts" that each weigh 50 grams each - a fan will provide the wind and I made an 8' long moat that the boats will be floated down. We talked about the ol Columbus ships that had ballast in the depth of the hulls and why it was needed, we talked about hull designs and sail designs too........ That project didn't start well - but many learned quickly why sails are designed in a certain way and why hulls are designed for a reason.

I mention all of this - no they are not turning wrenches, but the way I look at it, I am offering them a way to experiment with ideas and goals and above all else, have a thought, see that it is wrong and move forward to making it better - the same way MOST of us did things in the past 50 years!!!!


Sorry for the long post - but I wanted to add to the young group that are not wrench turners are really missing out on life - and I am trying like hell to interest them in something besides their #@@#$#@%^@#$ CELL PHONES which they cannot live without.

In my other classes I STILL teach drafting on pencil and paper ........ well , for 18 weeks that is ...... then we hit the computer......... and the story goes......
 
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NCL4701

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I sometimes watch this guy on YouTube:

I’m aware he’s a JD Master Tech working mostly on large ag equipment but it still is educational on what it takes to maintain and repair modern equipment. It’s not what it used to be.

I linked that video because he starts by talking a bit about the process to becoming a master tech. Honestly I’ve found some of his other repair videos more interesting. However, this one is a somewhat instructive in that he’s working on a fan; just a “simple” fan. Not much simple about it. It ain’t exactly the fan on the old 9N.
 

B737

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Kubota (any manufacture) can have the best trained mechanics in the world working at every dealership. How much do you want to pay for a tractor?
 
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