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Well, before you guys all go asking me what my car is, what I want to do, and what I want to buy, I will tell you this. I am a kid who loves classics. I want a 65 Lesabre Custom Convertible more than anything in the world. One problem: I know little to nothing about cars. So, I have a crappy car that I plan to learn on. This car is a 2000 Saturn L series. I also spray painted it black and put a yellow batman symbol on the front. It was white. The curves required tape, and the "chrome" is untouched. Yep, I have dedication. Yep, I am stupid. So, I ask you all this question: what do I do? I plan on doing a lot of engine work over the summer, and I have no tools to do so. I also need to fix its steering (automatic left hand steering as I call it). Any advice? (This car is for learning purposes only, I want to learn to do body work on it as well. Again, thank you all for reading, I hope you guys can help me out.

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You have one advantage us old timers did not have, the internet. You have no idea what a blessing it is. To get on to your question, I suggest you get a repair manual for your car and also read some books on bodywork and general auto mechanics. I don't know if they have classes in high school any more, but you can get books from the public library for nothing.

It is a good idea to practice on your Saturn. I suggest you start by fixing whatever is not working correctly and get it running as nice as you can in stock condition. Do not modify anything. Keep it clean and enjoy driving it around.

When I was in basically the same situation, in 1968, I saved up from my summer job and bought the most complete tool kit Sears Craftsman sold. It cost $208 and it filled a big tool box. Believe me, this was huge money for me in 1968 but I am still using those tools yet. So I guess I got my money's worth.

Luckily, today you can buy good quality tools very reasonable. Start with sets of socket wrenches, open and box end wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, the basic tools. You can add more specialized tools, like brake tools, torque wrench etc as you need them. My rule was if the money I saved by doing the job myself was more than the special tool cost, it was "free". For things like reconditioning cylinder heads, it was better and cheaper to let an auto machine shop do the job.

You can have an enjoyable hobby that doesn't cost much money, in fact it can save you money. Try not to get too ambitious at first and over match yourself. Get the manual for your car and go by that. If you have any questions, ask here, or maybe there is a better forum for Saturn owners. Good luck.

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You can get some pretty cheap Craftsman and even Snap On or MAC tool sets on Craigslist. Of course they are used and some may be fairly old. You can usually get a box full of tools for what you pay for the box new. You may also snag a deal off ebay if you find something nearby that is pickup only because of weight. Very few people usually bid on those because of the pickup only. A local swap sheet or estate sale may yield a great buy as well on tools. Especially since, with the estate sale, the family is usually looking to clean out rather than make a big profit. I bought the majority of my tools that way.

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Find someone in your neighborhood that is working on his car and introduce yourself.

Take an interest in his car and ask if he minds if you watch.

Offer to help him cleaning parts or sweeping the floor.

Talk with his friends. Ask questions and show that you understand the answers.

Time will tell if he would start showing you how to do things.

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You guys have been amazingly helpful and timely, thank you all so much. I am definitely going to look around for tools and a 'mentor' in my neighborhood. I will definitely come here for classics questions first.

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"What Should I do?"

You are doing it, ask questions.

When I was a kid I asked people who knew how to do something (That I wanted to do) and usually they were more than glad to tell me how. Sometimes you must be persistant, but keep asking. Most people who have a skill are proud of it and will share secrets with you if they think you are REALLY interested. Don't expect to be good at it on the first try, but build on your experience and ask again why what you did didn't come out like the pro's. Learn by doing an we'll all be glad to share what we know.

Welcome to the old car community.

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Do not call yourself stupid. When I first started working on old cars I knew NOTHING about cars. But I was extremely interested. Just do it and the knowledge will come. To make a long story short: I have gone from knowing nothing to restoring a frame up National Winner in my home garage myself, including paint and upholstery. It all boils down to one thing. How bad do you want it?

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I am a kid who loves classics. I want a 65 Lesabre Custom Convertible more than anything in the world. One problem: I know little to nothing about cars. Yep, I have dedication. Yep, I am stupid. So, I ask you all this question: what do I do? I plan on doing a lot of engine work over the summer, and I have no tools to do so. I also need to fix its steering (automatic left hand steering as I call it). Any advice? (This car is for learning purposes only, I want to learn to do body work on it as well. Again, thank you all for reading, I hope you guys can help me out.

First off welcome to the insanity....... :cool:

STUPID? Not by a long shot. It was pretty smart of you to ASK for help....... :D ........a stupid person would have just dived into the pool........empty of course....... :eek:

In addition to the great advice given above youtube is a fantastic resource for almost anything about auto repairs.

Three things you have going for you are youth, ambition and not being afraid to ask questions.

Good luck buddy........ :)

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Craftsman tools are good. They are the only thing I am comfortable buying from Sears. Since K-Mart and Sears have made some kind of merger K-Mart also sells Craftsman tools. Watch for half-off sales. Just before Father's Day tools are often on sale. I love your choice of a '65 Buick Convertible. I am one of the few people that continue to admire continental kits. They had their hey-day during the 1950's but as soon as '65 Buicks came out I decided convewrtibles and 2-door hardtops would be naturals for continental kits if they were installed so they leaned forward toward the trunk lid. I still think they would be beautiful. Best of luck to you.

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Well, before you guys all go asking me what my car is, what I want to do, and what I want to buy, I will tell you this. I am a kid who loves classics. I want a 65 Lesabre Custom Convertible more than anything in the world. One problem: I know little to nothing about cars. So, I have a crappy car that I plan to learn on. This car is a 2000 Saturn L series. I also spray painted it black and put a yellow batman symbol on the front. It was white. The curves required tape, and the "chrome" is untouched. Yep, I have dedication. Yep, I am stupid. So, I ask you all this question: what do I do? I plan on doing a lot of engine work over the summer, and I have no tools to do so. I also need to fix its steering (automatic left hand steering as I call it). Any advice? (This car is for learning purposes only, I want to learn to do body work on it as well. Again, thank you all for reading, I hope you guys can help me out.
n

Just how old is the Batman fan ? Wayne

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Sears Craftsman is a thing of the past. In the last few years I have been buying some very good tools at cheap prices at Canadian Tire, a Canadian hardware and auto parts chain. No doubt you can get the same tools where you are, sorry I don't know all the store names.

The point is, tools today are better and cheaper than ever and not hard to get. Suggest you start with basic socket wrench set, wrench set, screwdriver set, Vice grip pliers etc. No need to buy second hand unless you find a deal. Buy a set every few weeks and you will soon have all the basic tools.

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A few good points (or questions) have been made by "responders", here.

1. What, exactly, is your age? Are you in high school and if so, are there any auto mechanics classes you can take?

2. Remember, cars have changed somewhat since the days of the '65 Buick you say you want. If you're using a 2000 or newer car as a ''learning tool'', you may discover that your education doesn't cover the "stone ages" of your '65.

3. If you looked around, you might actually discover that a '65 was within your price range (not a pristine one, mind you, but something you could start on).

4. If you looked around, you might find some older, experienced guys willing to share their advice and help with a younger person. If it's Buicks you like, pony up the money to join the Buick club and seek out a local chapter. Once the local members get to know you and find that you're earnest in your desire to learn about old Buicks, you might be surprised at all the assistance you'd be offered. Who knows -- someone might even know about a '65 that's available cheaply!

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The reason I was persistent about ascertaining age was because previously I got scammed. Not suggesting this is a scam but I was cautious. On a post from another site I felt somewhat sorry for " a kid " just getting into the hobby. I sent him a starter set of Craftsman tools ( wrenches, sockets and odds and ends ) only later to find out that I had been scammed and the kid was 25 years old. Once burnt twice shy! Wayne

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Maybe this one is legit (and let's hope it is), but these kinds of things end up on automotive & motorcycle message boards all the time and some of them are scams to get folks to donate parts, tools, or even cash. This has all the makings of that:

1. A "kid" that claims to know nothing about cars

2. Mentions some sought-after and specific year and model of car they want

3. Claims to have no money and no tools

4. Mentions current late model vehicle they are "learning" on (despite knowing nothing and having no tools???)

5. Rarely or never answers follow up questions or is never heard from again

6. Might pop up in another thread with ideas for a completely different vehicle they can get "cheap." Just look at this one: in 3 days he goes from a '65 LeSabre Custom to a MGB?

Obviously I'm pretty darn skeptical of this sort of thing. I'm more of the "work hard, save your money, and pay cash for what you want" type. I do realize this poster did not come here asking for a handout and that I'll be labeled a curmudgeon for even mentioning this stuff, but it's got all of the ingredients of a potential scam setup. Maybe totally unintentional, but they're still there.

I've read quite a few accounts over the years like AlCapone's: members feel sorry and they send stuff off into the great unknown to "help out." The kid turns out to be a 20 or 30 something that's playing the sympathy card and doesn't think they should have to work for anything.

If this is legit, my advice would actually be to NOT buy anything right now. Instead, I'd advise saving some money, buying a quality, BASIC set of tools (you do not need Snap-On, Mac, Matco, or Cornwall tools...Craftsman work just fine), and doing A LOT of research, reading, and learning before buying anything as the original poster does not seem to really have the means to afford the buy-in and ongoing costs of the hobby.

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Sears Craftsman is a thing of the past. In the last few years I have been buying some very good tools at cheap prices at Canadian Tire, a Canadian hardware and auto parts chain. No doubt you can get the same tools where you are, sorry I don't know all the store names.

The point is, tools today are better and cheaper than ever and not hard to get. Suggest you start with basic socket wrench set, wrench set, screwdriver set, Vice grip pliers etc. No need to buy second hand unless you find a deal. Buy a set every few weeks and you will soon have all the basic tools.

Rusty, I don't want to start an argument but I have in my hand a Sears newspaper insert with a set of Craftsman hand tools listed that sells for $199.99 on sale for $99.99 and a $399.99 set on sale for $199.99. The local K-Mart also sells Craftsman tools.

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I can't answer that but as far as I know they still have a lifetime replacement guarantee. I bought a large set about 1963 and still have all but a few pieces that got misplaced after I got married. Never even had a problem with adjustable wrenches; that is more than I can say for the ones I obtained through my employer.

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The words CHEAP and GOOD usually do not belong in any sentence regarding tools.

You can have one or the other.

There isn't anything particularly CHEAP about Craftsman Tools but they are fairly priced and every bit as good as what the "pros" use who think a tool isn't a tool unless it's Snap-on.

For someone who wants to wrench once in a blue moon many (not all) of the Pittsburgh tools from Harbor Freight will do as well as any other.

Edited by cahartley (see edit history)
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