My dad was a hot rodder and drag racer in the 50’s and 60’s in the Panhandle of Texas and the ultimate DIY garage guy (in my eyes anyway). Partly because we didn’t have much money, but mostly because it was just more fun – we did all of our own work on our cars. I honestly cannot remember my father ever taking a car to a dealership or shop for anything in his whole life.
I learned everything I know about working on cars from my dad. A few of the things he did drove me crazy, or just plain scared me – like taking apart an engine and just throwing all of the bolts into one big box. This was long before you could just go buy an ARP bolt kit for the rebuild, and we wouldn’t have had the money for that anyway. But he always managed to get everything back together.
My dad passed away several years ago, and I have to admit that with a few major “solo” engine rebuilds under my belt now, I still don’t have the guts to just throw all the bolts into one big box. Instead I meticulously sort and organize every piece and take lots of pictures (and I admit to a few ARP bolt kit purchases). But one of the things he taught me that stuck was that the job isn’t finished until the tools are all cleaned and put away. I try to follow that one to this day. But I have also now amended and extended that “job is not done until…” rule to include documenting my work. Originally I did this with pictures, a paper filing system and a spreadsheet, but now I keep everything digitally archived in RideCache. It takes a little time at the end of a job, but just like cleaning and putting away the tools, there is a payoff down the line along with the added satisfaction of a job well completed.
As an example of how I use RideCache, here is how I documented my most recent major task – replacing a busted front axle u-joint on my 1974 Ford Bronco (that I also inherited from my dad).
Here are the steps I took to complete the job in RideCache:
- Created the task in RideCache and gave it a good description – including a brief description of why the task was necessary (on an off road adventure in the rocks that put a little too much stress on that axle).
- Taking and uploading several pictures before, during and after the job.
- Entering all major parts used – in this case – a u-joint, 2 wheel bearings + hub seal (might as well) along with their costs
- Selecting and associating the vendor where I purchased the parts
- Uploading the receipts for those parts as associated Papers
- Entering a few notes about the task that I may want to remember later (like how I got that pesky snap ring out of the hub).
In all, entering and fully documenting this task took me about 15 minutes. It may take you a little longer for an involved task like this with multiple parts and papers to load, but certainly not much longer than cleaning and putting away your tools. And if you make this part of your routine, it won’t be long before you will have a very nice and detailed RideCache record for all of your rides!
You can see this u-joint replacement task in my RideCache at lilbuddy.ridecache.com – just click the tasks tab and type axle in the search field.