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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have signed up for a course in motor vehicle engineering.

The interview was ok'ish, ya know the usual!!

However the workshop and course "breakdown" was very disappointing. I was under the foolish impression that if something broke you took it apart fixed it put it back together etc.

This wasn't the case though, basically if it broke you threw it away and replaced it with new no "real mechanics" involed unfortunately:confused:


My main concern though is the new electric cars! will there still be a need for "old mechanics" that work with REAL vehicles when the E.V becomes the dominant transport choice for Everywhere. :confused:

Will there be a separate course for E.V's ?
 

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There will always be a need for them. But where you will find a decent wage doing that kind of work, that's another ball game.

You need to go in for Heavy Engineering. Plant machinery, work on Rigs, that kind of thing if you want to have a job where you can get oily and go home knowing you have fixed something. I used to change crankshafts in quarries when I was plant fitting, when I worked down the pit I was responsible for everything that had a prime mover, every day I was taking something down and repairing/replacing/measuring.
 

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For me Diagnostics is the thing , so many Garages have these Diagnostic Tools and simply don't know how to use them ,
the Instruction Booklet for some of them also take longer to read than the Bible .
I think for many years now the Motor Trade have been into the Renew rather than Repair culture and more often than not
that is down to the Manufacturers themselves , everything now has a shelf life and where they are serviceable then they operate
an exchange policy , Brake Calipers and Starter Motors are two that spring to mind . Another less talked about factor is the Customer ,
he simply isn't going to wait days on Fault Finding and refurbishing Starter Motors so its renew rather than repair
 

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Which is why I suggested the Heavy machinery aspect, not so easy to pop to the stores for a new one when you are sat on a plank hanging over the ocean... Or two miles underground. That's when real lateral thinking takes place.

You might not have the deep ring spanner with the stepped bend and short shank that fits the inner bolt on that hydraulic pump on an L160 loader, so you make one with what you have (That example being exactly what I did at Offham Quarry a lot of years ago). Or you drop the whole gearbox. No contest really.

There's fitters, then there's mechanics. There's washing machine "engineers" then there's the kind of Engineer that designs bridges. Which one do you want to be?

I'm the kind that does Civils.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks chaps

I am looking into heavy engineering.

does heavy engineering involve working on something like this?

 

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My eldest lad works for Volvo Truck and Bus and is indeed earning good money, it's hard work, and if I want to wind him up "tell me about Hybrid buses Paul". He's not interested in car mechanicing, he says the don't do technical stuff, the diagnostic machine just identifies the problem and they just fit a new part. That's not mechanicing.

£40000+ for new batteries in a hybrid bust.............and there's a big demand for them
 

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Engineer must be one of the most misused terms in the UK. It is not surprising that few want to become real engineers when almost everyone claims that they are engineers but have limited knowledge. Compare that with Germany where engineers are respected and well paid as the majority are graduate-level or equivalent people involved in designing engineered products. Mechanics who assemble or repair stuff cannot call themselves engineers.

Mechanics and technicians are and will be required to keep the machines that engineers designed running but the two are very different disciplines. As Red intimated, labour rates and plant down time are simply too expensive to rebuild stuff when a replacement part can be fitted quickly. There will always be different levels of mechanics and technicians but they are still intrinsically configuring and repairing equipment designed by someone else.
 

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I worked for Volvo BM way back in the last century. We worked on all the Volvo heavy plant, changed our name to VME Construction about that time, which was a mistake, but VME meant Volvo, Michegan, Euclid. Also worked on backactors, mudskippers, for the British Army during the first Gulf War (I'm still not allowed to talk about that).

And very much, we pulled gearboxes down in the field to change clutch packs, flywheels, cranks, spill time, design adapters, build oneoffs, fit load cells, the first ever fully auto transmissions were tested on Plant, if they can live in that environement... 7 speed ones, drop boxes, transfer boxes, fluid flywheel changes, we even had the (rumoured) first ever commercial common rail deisel lump on test on one piece of kit.

If there was a problem they expected us to get in there, get the part number, cross reference it, call Sweden.... order the parts, pick them up from the depot, take them to site, fit them, put the machine back to work. This was way before mobile phones, must be much easier now?

The plant were all on a clock, the hours the machines worked they paid a portion to VME and from that budget came the repairs costs in many cases. Very much the case that taking them to an area workshop was way too expensive.

We also had to justify what we did, the spend, reports, times, materials, and the biggest shock when I left the mines and went to work on heavy plant was how backward/stone age the stuff was after what I'd been used to working with. My VME Transit used to do 30,000 miles a year, we got new ones every two years because the old ones were simply worn out. Mine was always the quickest one in the workshop. No-one ever figured out why... Know my way around the odd derv engine.

Probably the best job I've ever had, even back in the 80's I was earning stupid money every week. But I had to work for it, 80-100 hour weeks were normal if you were any good. Can't think it would be any different now, but you had to be really fit to do it. Taking a wheel off an A30 dumper on your own was expected. That's a lot of weight to let fall over...

Once when I was on the A27 bypass by Hove, one of the guys lost control of one off an L160 loader and off it went down the hill, would have killed anyone it hit, it rolled for almost a mile and then started back. Hit another dumper and almost took the cab off when the wheel bounced off the side. H&S would have murdered us... We kept it reasonably quiet, but when they found the tyre marks on the roof of the cab they knew something was afoot... They don't half bounce well and go up a long way....

I was called to a digger at Brighton once that was being used to put huge lumps of granite on the beach. I was told it had "Broken down and must be fixed no matter what it took". I got there and the tide was coming in, it was winter, the darkness was coming in, they expected me to wade out to it with a box of tools and bleed the fuel system (they had let it run out of gas oil). Told them to take a long walk off a short pier... Didn't go down too well.

Another one at a rail marshalling yard, there was obviously something stuck in a spool valve because this digger was spinning around on it's tracks at a fair old lick, they wanted me to get on it and stop it spinning. I said "Where's the operator?". Oh. He jumped off it when it started spinning. I said "Give me a shout when it runs out of fuel..."

Another one, an old 4600, they asked me to look at it as it was "making a funny noise". There was a hole the size of a football in the crank case, the funny noise was a small end trying to make the hole even bigger... When I looked at the service records it was well on it's way around the hour meter for the 2nd time, engine had never been touched.

Used to be 250 hours was about the equivalent of a 6,000 mile service, the "Biggy " was 1000 hour services. 2 days to do that one properly...

I was onsite at the side of the Thames once when a Cat engine ran away. In a D6, the crew all ran away too, I walked up with a galvanised dustbin lid, took the air filter end cap off and stuffed it on the airfilter snorkel, it stopped after a few seconds having run out of air, I got £200 stuffed in my hand for that one. Would have done it anyway, I'd heard of it happening but never seen it. Good craic, good lads, good money. Shame the Tory Government put the country into recession. 12% interest rates killed construction. First and only time I've ever been out of work.

I should write a book on what I've seen and done during my short life...
 

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Spent nearly 50 years operating heavy plant, demonstrating for Case Poclain,1.5 tonne skid steer to 210 Tonne back actors. Dozers from D4 to D9g with Kelly ripper. Spent the last 12 years as a trainer B-Tech and CITB on rail adapted equipment. spent a few years on the spanners and a few years on cranes along with a stint of hard rock mining using air operated over loaders. H & S if it is broke get if fixed ASAP down time is lost production. Have not got the right bolt or spanner get some washers or the hot spanner bend it to shape GET IT WORKING we will order the correct parts and replace after the shift. Sorry wife and children I am going to be several hours late again tonight.
 

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Henry nobody gives low-level training any more, just big-bit changing.

Witness car dealers who only replace chunks at the customer's expense.

So choose something you will enjoy for many years.

Car repairs will always be needed but the kit you will need is very expensive and needs frequent updating too.

Electric car repairs will change with time as new tech is developed and applied.

More kit, more often. It will lock repairs to dealers only more and more I think.
 

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Spent nearly 50 years operating heavy plant, demonstrating for Case Poclain,1.5 tonne skid steer to 210 Tonne back actors. Dozers from D4 to D9g with Kelly ripper. Spent the last 12 years as a trainer B-Tech and CITB on rail adapted equipment. spent a few years on the spanners and a few years on cranes along with a stint of hard rock mining using air operated over loaders. H & S if it is broke get if fixed ASAP down time is lost production. Have not got the right bolt or spanner get some washers or the hot spanner bend it to shape GET IT WORKING we will order the correct parts and replace after the shift. Sorry wife and children I am going to be several hours late again tonight.
Been there, done that. Still got the scars. HNC means Hammer N Chisel.

I really don't see EV's being that popular any time soon, maybe in 20-30 years?
 

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I don't know what your qualifications are from school or where you are based and while not easy to acquire I would advise you to try and seek out an apprenticeship with a manufacturer, who will have far greater facilities than any independent college.

A good example is JCB a British company with great profits, exporting products all around the world.

https://www.jcb.com/en-gb/about/careers/students-and-graduates

Failing that some colleges do have associations with manufactures so these would be the next best thing as their facilities should/would be better.
 
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