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2/13/22 6:35 p.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

Got any Cuban connections? I hear they have a mystery fix that is a bit more focused.

M2Pilot Dork
2/13/22 6:56 p.m.

Seems that  by now someone would have said "Shotgun".

DarkMonohue Reader
2/13/22 7:22 p.m.
M2Pilot said:

Seems that  by now someone would have said "Shotgun".

Well, that's certainly one approach.  Seems a bit heavy-handed given the circumstances...

drock25too Reader
2/13/22 9:34 p.m.

In reply to M2Pilot :

When I was in my early twenties I bought a dirt late model complete with a  650 horse 327 and 180 headers that exited through the right side door.  I  bring it to my parents house and unload it because Dad said we could work on it there.  The neighbor, who I grew up next to and had seen my first cars and my friends cars, came over and looked at it. Walked around it a couple of times and said,  fire it up. I started it revved it up a couple times and shut it off.  He says, I'll make you a deal, you don't start that s.o.b. after 10 p.m. and I won't shoot your a$$. I said, it's a deal.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
2/13/22 9:59 p.m.
M2Pilot said:

Seems that  by now someone would have said "Shotgun".

See post #8 on page 1

dxman92 Dork
2/13/22 10:21 p.m.

Maybe offer an open hand and open advice to help him.

daeman SuperDork
2/13/22 10:36 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

It worked for Walt Kowalski.....

hybridmomentspass HalfDork
2/16/22 9:54 a.m.
DarkMonohue said:
hybridmomentspass said:

Heck, I'll say it - he want to sell that 2 for cheap?

As far as this goes, Im not sure you can do much. I'd say that yes, invite him over and try to mentor. But depending on the kid and his friends, I'd, personally, be concerned with them knowing all the cool stuff I have.

He seems very fond of the MR2. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem capable of keeping cars between the ditches, so fondness or not, he's likely to ruin it, bit by bit. It's now sans RF fender in an attempt to repair some pretty minor tweaks from the latest off-road excursion. He didn't really need to remove the fender, but with more enthusiasm than experience, he did. And it only took him ten hours.

We'll see how things go for a week or two. Will probably text after a week or so. He's probably not eager to hear from me right yet.


Tell me the 10 hours thing is a joke

I removed one at the junkyard last year in less than an hour in crummy weather and limited tools

Appleseed MegaDork
2/16/22 9:59 a.m.

In reply to hybridmomentspass :

Nobody's an expert the first time. I'm ashamed of some of the things I did, the way I did them,  with the *cough* tools I used when I started out.

iansane Dork
2/16/22 10:14 a.m.

I think it's been pretty much covered that it's going to take positively reinforcing the things you want him to do while distracting him from the things you don't. Imagine you're training a dog.

DarkMonohue Reader
2/16/22 10:39 a.m.

In reply to hybridmomentspass :

Not a joke.  He found a YouTube video on the process but I don't believe he has yet procured any of those old-fashioned "books" I suggested.  IIRC he failed to remove the bolts hiding under the headlight.


In reply to iansane :

That seems to be the approach.  He's actually kept things fairly quiet since our last exchange.  I'll find time to thank him soon and see what he has going on.

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/16/22 11:11 a.m.

Few boxes of cheap mufflers delivered to his door may send a message. 

jh36 Dork
2/16/22 5:25 p.m.

That seems to be the approach.  He's actually kept things fairly quiet since our last exchange.  I'll find time to thank him soon and see what he has going on.

That is very cool.  Well done.  Influencer.

Appleseed MegaDork
2/16/22 6:33 p.m.

In reply to jh36 :

Thanking him is huge. When I was a kid, not getting yelled at was collateral approval.  The rest was just a massive question mark.

84FSP UltraDork
2/16/22 6:34 p.m.

I like where you are headed here sir.

I thankfully had enough positive parental influence that I wouldn't have gone to the lengths you described.  I was however massively more influenced by the neighbors, family friends, and mentors who took the time to steer me to the right path.  My young kid brain told me they liked me and they had a lot of knowledge to share.  In reality many of those interactions could have been someone's response to me being oblivious to my idiocy.

If possible there is a silver lining here in the training of a good future gear head.  I thankfully had so many great mentors and folks who took a minute with me.  They made me whatever I am today, good or bad is debatable.

DarkMonohue Reader
3/4/22 10:04 p.m.

Seems as good a time as any for an update.

First and foremost, the nuisance visitors have almost totally disappeared. I have to admit, I never expected such immediate and near-total success. Shortly after my last post here, I thanked him for that, and told him it made a huge difference. He seemed receptive. A day or two later he had friends over trying to attach an oversized AutoReilly exhaust tip to the world's scruffiest Mazda 3 and was able to win a little rapport by un-Chineseing it enough to get it securely attached. While we were talking that over I tried to help answer a few questions about the Celica and broke the news that my own AW11 quit on me and would likely require a tow. Kind of a "brothers in junk car ownership" moment, in a way. So we have that.

Last weekend I went out to pick at the MR2 and found this next door.

The tarp and the mud are nothing new.  The damage to the Celica is. He was on the phone at the time, trying to secure insurance coverage for the car. Yes, the same car he just wrecked.  Between chats with the person on the phone he was asking me how to take things apart and what the car would need and did I have some tools he could borrow.  I got frustrated and asked if he had graduated from high school. When he said yes, I handed him the tools and grunted, "Good. Then go join the military."  And then walked back to my place to continue troubleshooting my own ancient Asian box of crap.

Here's a better pic of the freshly berked Celica.

Back in a second...


DarkMonohue Reader
3/4/22 10:51 p.m.

Sorry about the lack of continuity.  I can only type on a phone so long before I have to give up and get to a real keyboard.

Anyway, after he wrapped up his phone calls, we talked for quite a while.  Conversation was surprisingly relaxed and pleasant.  I had to ask what happened to the Celica.  He said he "hit some ice", and then fleshed the story out to say that he had gone out on some ice with people with "more capable cars" - perhaps someone with full tread depth - and messed up.  He claims to have hit a friend's car.  I am not positive that is true. 

I told him, "I'm trying to help you, but you keep berking up.  And it's becoming kind of a pain in the arse to live next to you."
-  "What, just because I wreck cars doesn't mean..."
"Buddy, you've been here less than a year, and you've crashed six or seven times.  If you were my kid I'd have broken your legs by now."

His math is not surprisingly different than mine.  He doesn't count his hit and run because it got forgiven as a "medical emergency".  Maybe so, but after the crash, it was a hit and run.  Somehow he doesn't seem to agree.  He also doesn't count the scuffs and dings and bouncing off curbs.  Apparently, to him, they aren't real crashes - they're just something that happens sometimes.  Well, regardless, they're going to get real costly real fast.  "Yeah, yeah, I know..."

I guessed correctly that he is all of nineteen years old and then asked him what he wanted to do with his life.  He really has no clue.  "Something to do with cars" is as close as he could get to an answer, along with the indication that he wanted to do something he could learn on the job.  His desire right now is to work just enough hours at minimum wage to keep food in his belly and gas in the tank, and no more.  He wants to be a kid.  I admitted that I could understand that, but told him I'd fallen for the same siren song myself, and that it had cost me heavily.  I did my best to sell him on the advantages of going to school, NOW, before he had a wife and a kid and all the trappings of adulthood dictating where he had to be and when.  More than that, I pushed hard on the idea of enlisting in the military.  Told him one of my greatest regrets was not doing so when I was young and unencumbered, because it would have given me a solid foundation and the many benefits of the GI Bill.  He said his dad and uncle and all manner of people were trying to convince him to join the air force.  Well, yeah, of course!  They have the best toys, and they don't have to sleep in the mud.  Do that.  Do it now.

Somehow, he didn't seem all that convinced.  It sounded like a lot more fun to work twelve hours a week and wreck cars, and never have to wear anything more formal than sweatpants and plastic sandals.

He did mention having to pay rent.  His dad just bought the house last year, and the internet says it went for just shy of $300K, so if he's paying anything close to his dad's mortgage, it's a big nut to crack - too big for a kid working part time at minimum wage.  I kind of wonder if his dad didn't set him up with the place and charge him a nominal rent figure just to get him out of his hair. 

That's kind of where we are now.  Did my best to plant as many seeds as I could and offer an appropriate blend of encouragement and caution.  Maybe some of it will stick.  For now, even if he doesn't necessarily agree, he still seems to listen when I talk.  We'll count that as a win.


914Driver MegaDork
3/5/22 7:58 a.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :    "Apparently, to him, they aren't real crashes - they're just something that happens sometimes."

No respect for his stuff, maybe some day it will come to him.

P3PPY Dork
3/5/22 10:10 a.m.

I had to check your location to see if you were in the same neighborhood as me. The entire vibe of the neighborhood changed every time the tenant got herself a new boyfriend. Culminated with them using a truck to try to pull the fender off a Durango...

I'm glad to hear it sounds like you're making progress and I'd encourage you to continue this conciliatory approach.

As to the situation itself, it sounds like you're powerless, and that should be recognized and acknowledged by you. I've been there before with uncooperative vendors hired from way up the food chain and I did it wrong the first few times. There are a number of sites that give good advice on dealing with them but it boils down to what the ppl here are saying about surprising them with your ability to be polite despite how poorly they're treating you, and then after that it's relationship that's going to get you anywhere. 

We get cooperation either by fear or relationship. If you try the fear route, once they discover that you have no actual power, now you're dealing with equal and opposite reaction *at the least*.

FWIW the above applies with one's own children, too. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/5/22 11:40 a.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

First, let me thank you for doing your best to reach this kid.

Second, he probably has no idea how to manage money. When you talk to him about repairing body damage, rims, etc, ask him how many hours he has to work to pay for it, and what he would rather use that money for. Before AK1 got her first part-time job, she never hesitated to ask me if we could stop at Starbucks or Dunkin or get a smoothie etc. When she got her first paycheck I said "hell yeah, let's go to Starbucks!" So we did. And she realized that it took 2.5 hours of her labor to pay for it. Huge lightbulb moment. Maybe he will have the same.

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/5/22 12:41 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) :

This is huge for most people. Once they realize that they are literally buying things using hours of their life, it really hits home. Further thinking makes you realize you don't know how many hours you have either really.


There was actually a fairly decent movie with that idea I watched

DarkMonohue Reader
3/5/22 1:05 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) :

I appreciate your encouragement.  It's not strictly altruism.  I have my own selfish motives here in that it is in my best interest to point him in the right direction. 

Your point about the cost of repair, and of life in general, is an important one.  He appears to be starting  to learn that lesson.  Once we determined that his AW11 needed an alternator, I gave him the name of a local rebuilder (parts house replacements for these cars are notoriously bad).  Two weeks later, he was still asking me if I thought his alternator was really bad and what he should do about it, and last time we talked, he told me he'd called the rebuilder, and then asked me again what I thought it would cost to have it repaired.  To the best of my knowledge, he still hasn't even removed the alternator. 

He's also asked me multiple times about parts cost and replacement procedure for the worn-out suspension on his Celica, and has asked a couple of times how to address the interior stink in the flooded MR2, but hasn't yet removed the carpet, let alone dropped $30 to rent an extractor from the department store half a mile away. 

The above all seems to suggest that he doesn't have the funds to take action and is hoping that if he keeps asking, maybe I will come up with a different solution that fits his cash-in-hand budget. 

When we found that his latest crash resulted in damage to the inner fender and would necessitate straightening by a body shop at a cost of multiple hundreds of dollars, he seemed to sober up a little.

I failed to mention that we discussed autocross a while back.  He's familiar with the concept and eager to try it out, but with the MR2's alternator issues, and the Celica's combination of bald tires and sacked out suspension, not ready to go yet.  I really am not interested in participating myself, but if necessary, may be willing to attend along with him to act as an interpreter and offer some encouragement. 

We also discussed the concept of being car poor.  He's starting to see the light.  Between a wrecked 200SX, a stinky MR2 with dead alternator, a Celica that needs a full chassis refresh and crash repair, and a mid-80s Toyota pickup that doesn't even run well enough to make it to the property, he's absolutely buried himself.  The cars now own him.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/5/22 1:41 p.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

I understand that your guidance is in part selfishly motivated, and there's nothing wrong with that. If the result helps both of you, that's good stuff.

WonkoTheSane UltraDork
3/5/22 11:06 p.m.

Even if you're being selfish for the reason to help him, sounds like the guy either isn't getting the help he needs from other guys in his life, or they're not talking frankly enough (or maybe in a language he can understand) and you are.

Regardless of the reason, if you're giving him solid life advice and it's getting through, good on ya.

yupididit PowerDork
3/6/22 8:02 a.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

Telling people to go join the military because they haven't figured out life yet is not good advice. Maybe back in the day it was. He seems like he'd still be in the same situation if he was in the military too. Plus, maybe that is something he really doesn't want to do. Kid needs to find what motivates him. Unfortunately, it might be at the cost of your patience and peace, for now.

Dealing with young folks and dealing with old folks is very similar. One is stubborn and thinks they know everything out of ignorance and the other is stubborn and think they know everything because they survived life long enough. Neither are really going to listen to you if it doesn't align with their reasoning and goals. 

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