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Tips for Beginner Mechanic

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Hey guys. I'm a young kid who's looking to get into dirt bike repair and just the entire mechanic field. One thing I've always wondered is, how do people take apart an engine entirely and know where everything goes back? Also how do you know where every nut and bolt goes?

Also, where do you think I should begin if I want to become a mechanic? I don't want to do a large project and mess it up completely and not be able to get it out back

Thanks

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Well, you don't throw all the parts together. As you take something off you lay it to the side with the bolts. If you took an engine apart and just threw every thing in one bucket, you would get lost.

Remember, you will learn more from mistakes.

Grab an old bike and go thru it, if you mess up just asked for help. Once you do anything once, you'll know how it works from then on.

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Hey guys. I'm a young kid who's looking to get into dirt bike repair and just the entire mechanic field. One thing I've always wondered is, how do people take apart an engine entirely and know where everything goes back? Also how do you know where every nut and bolt goes?

Also, where do you think I should begin if I want to become a mechanic? I don't want to do a large project and mess it up completely and not be able to get it out back

Thanks

 

I like to use a model specific manual as reference...

a good manual is often a blessing as it eliminates a lot of apprehension... 

 

after you do a certain repair you'll remember and wont need it as much...

Edited by THUMPERRRR

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Ziploc bags and a sharpie. Label each section. Use wire or zip ties to keep gears/shims in order. Use cardboard template to keep things like case bolts in order. Take pictures of things before you disassemble. Truth is, it will take years of experience to get good no matter how much you study. Some things must be learned the hard way. But a service manual is a must have as well.

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Read the service manual. 100X

Study the part fiche

Loose is better than too tight

Cheap, non-OEM diminish the value of the bike

Take your time

Think

Measure everything

Do not take shortcuts

Never assume

No matter how good you think you are, there are thousands of guys that are better. Accept it.

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i have parts trays and say I'm taking off even the rear wheel, first comes off the nut, that goes in the first slot, then the blocks and that goes in the next slot, so when i put it back together i just grab parts in reverse. also take pictures with your phone so you will be able to see what it looked like before.

 

and youtube is also awesome, but definitely either buy a manual for the bike or see if there is a pdf online

Edited by knero250
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U learn brotha I wanted to be a mechanic growing up with my dad and watching him work on cars and bikes, I'm still young (17) but I know ALOT about engines it gets easier after a while you become familiar with what you are working with. But one way I'm getting into the world of mechanics I am interning (basically working) at a vw shop in my town. My dad knows the owner so it was easy for me but for you just go to a local shop not like a dealership and tell them you wanna be a mechanic and stuff and how you wanna get into wrenching, most mechanics would love that! That's just my 2 cents anyway

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U learn brotha I wanted to be a mechanic growing up with my dad and watching him work on cars and bikes, I'm still young (17) but I know ALOT about engines it gets easier after a while you become familiar with what you are working with. But one way I'm getting into the world of mechanics I am interning (basically working) at a vw shop in my town. My dad knows the owner so it was easy for me but for you just go to a local shop not like a dealership and tell them you wanna be a mechanic and stuff and how you wanna get into wrenching, most mechanics would love that! That's just my 2 cents anyway

same way i got into a shop, went to a local small engine shop around the corner from my house, told them i grew up in the garage and would like to wrench, i apprenticed with a 2-stroke guru for a year, then moved for college, i had a job in 2 days because of the skills i had learned.

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So if I get a project bike or something and the owner before had everything misplaced and nuts and bolts were all in the wrong spot, how should I go about restoring it?

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You're going to drop bolts and tools 24/7 and it sucks. I learned a lot from my pops and still suck. It takes time. 


So if I get a project bike or something and the owner before had everything misplaced and nuts and bolts were all in the wrong spot, how should I go about restoring it?

Buy a complete bolt kit and go to town. 

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Most bikes I've worked on have been fairly logical, so if it looks right there's a reasonably high chance that it will work.  Having said that, the internal combustion engine is a thing of great mystery and each will have its own oddities, so you just need to get stuck in and get some experience.  Small air cooled two strokes are easiest to work on as they have fewer parts than four strokes and you don't have to worry about bending valves if you get the timing wrong.

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I second the sharpie and ziplocks. Service manual or alldata is a must on big projects. You learn from experience. Having the right tool for the job can also save you a lot of hassle. Also, buy once and cry once but don't get too caught up in the snapon/tool truck hype. While some of their tools are worth buying, most aren't worth paying 4x the price over a mid range brand such as gearwrench.

Edited by problem_child

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I'm 16 myself and I've started to wrench on bikes since i was 12. The things I'm just going to throw out there is get a manual, Never assume it's right without double checking and most og all TAKE YOUR TIME. As much as you prepare to not mistakes, things happen and you gotta live and learn.

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 You asked for tips. above all be honest your profile says your 25, not a young kid in my book.

 Get good tools as you need them. Get hold of free junk and take it apart and put it back together doesn't matter if you make them run or not clocks, appliances,small engines, bikes, car, etc. anything. When you get something that you want to keep like a dirt bike, car or a pickup get the manual for it like others have said. 

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Knowing what the part is makes it easier to know where and how it goes in. Read, watch and ask. Youtube, Google, service manuals, etc are great resources, but ultimately you'll need tool in hand and dig in.

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Once you've completely taken a apart a bike you know every bolt on that bike and where it goes by heart. Just takes youtube and practice

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They are all just machines. From a moped to a helicopter, they are all just machines. Be patient, be thoughtful, but don't be intimidated. Be willing to make mistakes and ready to learn from them.

And take a piece of hard earned advice from an OG, doing what you love for a job can ruin it fast. I grew up eating and sleeping motorcycles, and was good with a wrench from the first time I picked one up, but trying to make a living by wrenching on bikes made wrenching and bikes miserable to me for a long time. Today I earn my living wrenching on industrial vehicles. It's very challenging and satisfying, but I have zero emotional attachment to these machines, and neither do my clients. I've only recently started enjoying wrenching on bikes again, and I'm only doing it for friends and family. If I had it to do over again I would never have tried making a living in the motorcycle business.

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It's just one of those things you know how to do. Atleast that's how I see it. If your a mechanical person you will find tearing down an engine easy. I personaly find rebuilding a four stroke no harder than a 2 stroke in anyway. But it does help to have a book on whatever bike or engine your working on

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Start with the basics, there was no internet when I was a kid so I went to the library and read all the books I could find on small engine repair, motorcycle repair, etc...  I recommend the same for you.

There are a lot of little tricks and techniques for working on machines, more than can be found in any particular OEM service manual.

My first project bike was a 1973 Yamaha 360RT3 2 stroker that had blown the big end bearing in the rod. I had that thing apart and layed out on old doors sitting on concrete blocks in my parents basement for 2 years before I could afford all of the parts I needed to put it back together.

My old man would constantly tell me "it will never run again, get rid of it". It brings a smile to my face even today as I remember the first time I kicked it over, the old man was shoeing a horse in the driveway and my bike backfired like hell and spooked the horse, I saw him trying to calm the horse down as I ripped out the lane...  :ride:

Cheers,

Jon

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