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Old 23-06-2017, 17:39   #91
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Re: Women and engines

Bearkeley,

A woman's perspective here: it can be a little frustrating if someone is demeaning --whether or not you're a man or a woman you'll feel bad or respond to that. However, in all the years I've been puttering about working on cars (since I was a kid because Dad was a professional mechanic and my bit of helping him was keeping his tools clean, handing him things, and according to my mom keeping him from breaking things because he wouldn't show his temper when I was around...) I can say that there's always somebody who you can learn from and you just need to be direct, ask your questions, listen to what they say and do your best to learn and fix things as you go along. For the most part, people that you treat respectfully and professionally will do the same back at you.

If someone's treating you like a kid or a puppy dog, just re-start/re-direct the conversation "This engine is up to me to keep in good shape. I discovered this problem X and I don't have the skills to take it on but I want to understand what you're doing so I can troubleshoot it or manage it in the future." or "I can't diagnose this problem and appreciate your help. I will need to understand it fully so I can decide if I'll be doing the work or if it is small enough that I can afford to hire you do to it." Yep, that usually gets them--usually people say "if it's little I'll do it and if it's big I'll hire it done." but the fact is as a cruiser if it's big you're probably going to have to do it to save your pennies. Placing your interests, priorities, and goals in front of the mechanic is important. Letting him/her know that you're going to have to understand what s/he is up to is also important.

Look at the issues the mechanic is facing straight on. While you want to learn and you want to be treated like any other boat owner with a good head on his/her shoulders, it is a fact that a lot of women really don't want to be near the engine repair and get a little huffy if you try to get them to DO something about it. If you're the red nail polish gal that you said you once were, you probably have plenty of friends who'd run screaming from an engine repair. These women will tell you that they really DO NOT want to be associated with any responsibility for the engine mechanical function. So a mechanic you encounter may have learned that a high percentage of the time what he's telling a women about the engine goes in one ear and out the other. She doesn't give a flip. She just wants it done. Talking to such a woman is burning daylight. That's wasting the mechanic's time. Sure, a high percentage of the time what he's telling a guy goes in one ear and out the other. Just happens to be a slightly lower percentage of time, on average. Those are facts and the mechanic may just be playing the odds thinking "woman ignores what I'm saying 70% chance, man ignores what I'm saying 50% chance...I'll talk to the guy."

Like a lot of people--including a lot of men--I hate (HATE!) getting dirty. Yup. I embrace this fact. All those years of cleaning Dad's tools musta done something to me because I really detest working on greasy engines or laying on grubby floors. Yet, I want my engine repaired and sometimes I am THE person who has to do it plain and simple. 99% of the time I'm stuck doing the work myself because nobody is going to do what I want done how I want it done reliably. If I'm making a lot of money with other endeavors and my husband the same and neither of us has time to do things AND we have access to one of the few mechanics that we have really high regard for -- sure,. we'll have them do the work. Rarely will all three of those things happen though. OTOH, you'll not catch me hiring my painting and varnishwork done by others -- I really enjoy it and it's like zen meditation doing the it.

I did go to college and get a degree in mechanical engineering back in the 80's, so I do usually know what's supposed to do what, when, and where, and why for that matter. My husband (of 35 years) and I make a good "team" of working on cars and engines. While he's swift and mechanically inclined (and doesn't care that he gets dirty) sometimes he can't see the forest for the trees and it's me who has to diagnose and do a repair design before or after he's beat his head against it for a bit. Yup, that's what we call it when we mechanical engineers go telling the rest of the world what to do: repair design.

I'm the one who confers with mechanics & others with expertise. My husband's a sort of shy fellow and he doesn't really like bothering folks. Seriously he'd rather just try and fix things even if it's not as efficient as asking for someone else's help/ideas. So that's the way it goes.

What I hope for you is that you ask your questions, learn your stuff, do the things you like to do and offload the yucky stuff to your husband (if he's like mine and doesn't mind dirt) and the hired help as needed. Ah, the way it should be.

Have a wonderful time cruising and sailing your boat.
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Old 23-06-2017, 17:50   #92
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Women and engines

Once you gain skills you will learn that you don't have to get very dirty at all, very seldom do you see a professional mechanic that looks like a "grease monkey".
I started first working on racing vehicles and later airplanes to a large extent because neither were dirty. I cut my teeth on Bulldozers and the like, and they are horrible filthy things.
Anyway there is no reason to get nasty working on our little Diesels.
I have heard of tricks like scratching a bar of soap so you get soap bits under your fingernails that will both keep the dirt out and wash out easily, and there are apparently even liquids that you put on your hands that dries quickly that is I guess actually a soap so dirty easily washes off as well as mechanics gloves.
But you learn to stay clean I guess.
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Old 24-06-2017, 04:05   #93
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Re: Women and engines

Before I would start the work, I'd rub waterless hand cleaner, under the finger nails, and all over the hands. Facilitated after work clean up.
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Old 24-06-2017, 07:26   #94
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Re: Women and engines

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Before I would start the work, I'd rub waterless hand cleaner, under the finger nails, and all over the hands. Facilitated after work clean up.
I've found that simply having skin that isn't dry makes cleanup easier. Without getting the point of being slippery, just use a skin moisturizer like Vaseline Intensive Care.

When I was working as a mechanic, I'd have to wash my hands many times a day as I switched from dirty jobs to working on interiors that needed to stay clean. The harsh hand cleaners can really dry out your skin and cause them to absorb more dirty grease.

Unfortunately, engines always seep a little even if they don't "leak". That seepage collects dirt, and there's your dirty hands. Unless you go over your engine, trans, etc with a Q-tip regularly, there's almost always going to be some "dirt".

A64pilot - yes, due to the required periodic maintenance and inspections, aircraft engines engines get the attention and cleaning that cars don't get. Usually if a car is working, the owner never opens the hood between long-delayed oil changes. The A&P at our flying club was pretty good about keeping things clean, but the bellies if the planes got pretty grungy between dedicated cleanings.
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Old 24-06-2017, 09:45   #95
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Re: Women and engines

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Before I would start the work, I'd rub waterless hand cleaner, under the finger nails, and all over the hands. Facilitated after work clean up.
Wifey B: Gloves. If just for keeping clean then medical type gloves work perfectly. We don't touch things like engines without them.
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Old 24-06-2017, 19:30   #96
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Re: Women and engines

When you "are out there", you are the mechanic!

So don't ask for your husband, just fix the problem yourself.
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Old 24-06-2017, 21:27   #97
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Re: Women and engines

Communicate to the mechanic that you would be interested to deal with the concern yourself as well.

The more frequent that is practiced, with as often as necessary , will allow the mechanics to get the message that you are willing to deal with it and may even be capable, or even willing to learn (whatever the case is).
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Old 27-06-2017, 23:45   #98
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Re: Women and engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Once you gain skills you will learn that you don't have to get very dirty at all, very seldom do you see a professional mechanic that looks like a "grease monkey".
I started first working on racing vehicles and later airplanes to a large extent because neither were dirty. I cut my teeth on Bulldozers and the like, and they are horrible filthy things.
Anyway there is no reason to get nasty working on our little Diesels.
I have heard of tricks like scratching a bar of soap so you get soap bits under your fingernails that will both keep the dirt out and wash out easily, and there are apparently even liquids that you put on your hands that dries quickly that is I guess actually a soap so dirty easily washes off as well as mechanics gloves.
But you learn to stay clean I guess.
We have different definitions of "dirty" Just because it's relatively clean doesn't mean it's not "dirty" as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 30-06-2017, 11:24   #99
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Re: Women and engines

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Ha, exactly.

There are so few real "Craftsmen" out there among the ranks of the people just collecting a paycheck. The over tightening of wheels is a very common example. Most of these guys don't know - or care - that manufacturers have torque specs even for the lowly lug nut ant that it's there for a reason.

When you send a customers car back on the road with wheels installed with an impact wrench, it can be damn near impossible to get those lug nuts off on the side of the road with the OEM leg wrench. EVEN if you're not small or weak.

Basically, lots of people we hire to do "skilled" work for us just don't care about doing a quality job.

DIY is the way to go. I've concluded I can buy all the materials, install it myself, screw it up royally, tear it all out, but materials again, do it right the second time, send STILL come out spending less than paying someone else to do it.

Yes. There are some great, skilled, professionals out there. But not every guy who hangs up a shingle is one.
Ditto on the above and the marine trades seem to be much worse than the automotive side of the house. No professional certification program. Anybody can call themselves an expert. You have to ask for references but you will find that they all have departed the area and moved on. Electronics, refrigeration nd water maker techs seem to be the exception according to my experience.
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Old 04-07-2017, 20:25   #100
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Re: Women and engines

BandB has the right idea... gloves. I've engines and other machinery all my life, but didn't discover latex gloves until epoxy. Wish I'd learned sooner.
Women and engines: In racing and commercial fishing, I've met many women as good or better at mechanics, fishing, you name it, than most or any men. Women often think thru problems better than men. They sure do better at divorce.
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Old 04-07-2017, 23:02   #101
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Re: Women and engines

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Ok...don't want this to be controversial so trying hard not to vent...but....how can a woman learn about her boats engine when mechanics always ask for the husband!

We have a 1984 Ford Lehaman engine on my Albin27. It's my boat and hubby is the mate (hubby has the center console fishing boat, where I am happy to be his mate). Anyway, I've taken a 2 day diesel maintenance course and have been able to change impellers, replace battery chargers and troubleshoot, but I admit, I'm new to mechanics (never cared for it until now that I'm retired and have a Diesel engine on my boat) and don't sound confident yet because I need to learn a lot more. But it's so frustrating when mechanics asks for my husband instead of helping me directly.

For women out there, how have you overcome this? What have you done to learn your systems to gain confidence? For men, any helpful advice?
I think the stereotype about women not being interested in things mechanical is owing to the fact that it's GENERALLY true. I'd probably assume the same about you but if you said something along the lines of "Hey this is actually my boat and I'd love to learn how to diagnose and repair the engine" only the most backwater mouth-breathers will scoff. I think most men would be thrilled to pass on what they know to a woman. Personally, I think it's great when women are interested in these kinds of things and would be happy to help if I could and I know I'm not alone there. All you really need to do is express interest in learning this yourself

No offense intended btw. I have a knack for offending people... It's a gift haha but I truly wish you the best.

Humourously, the first book I ever read on automotive repair was authored by a woman.
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Old 04-07-2017, 23:59   #102
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Re: Women and engines

Most people like to help people. Sometimes, though, it's hard for a woman to get herself into the "people" consideration. All us female types (or almsot all) appreciate it when someone of whatever gender offers to help.

So, thanks to all you helpful folks out there, you know who you are, and I, for one, appreciate that you-all are there. Too bad there's not a hat's off to you emoticon, but this will have to do.
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