Without a doubt there are some car repair jobs that should not be attempted by a DIY shade tree mechanic due to either a lack of expertise, a lack of the proper specialized tool(s) for a job; or in some cases, just because the repair will cause more grief than anyone in their right mind will ever want to attempt.
A good example are repairs that even mechanics do not like to do like having to remove the entire dashboard assembly just to get to the HVAC system in some makes and models.
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The issue in this article, however, is not about skills or tools, but it is about grief…and access to some parts for replacement.
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Case in point: many DIY mechanics can easily enough handle a simple starter replacement job---typically 3 bolts to remove with only the topmost one being a challenge to access and torque properly after installing the new starter. In many models this is a 10–15-minute job licensed techs and mechanics can do. For the shade tree mechanic---more like 30 minutes, but you save a significant amount of money and can take some pride in your DIY repair.
However, some starter replacement jobs are actually a nightmare. And believe it or not, there is a Toyota-based Lexus that is surprisingly poorly designed when it comes to its starter placement.
The Lexus LX 570 V-8
A premium luxury utility vehicle, the Lexus LX 570 is a popular model that is known for its off-roading and towing (up to 7,000 pounds) capabilities. Powered by a 5.7L V8 engine with an impressive 383 horsepower that achieves 90 percent of peak torque at just 2,200 rpm, it is a great vehicle for owners wanting luxury while traveling on the highway pulling a load or for getting slightly dirty off-road for camping with its full-time 4-wheel drive.
What is not so great about its V-8 engine is access to its starter should a replacement ever need to be done sometime in its life, which is likely---hence this warning to anyone buying one used who is counting on their DIY skills to keep it running and maintained.
That was the message in a recent Toyota Maintenance YouTube channel episode where the host does a show and tell on the pitfalls of attempting to replace the starter on a Lexus LX 570 with a V-8 engine where the starter has been moved to the worst possible place---behind the exhaust manifold with interfering heat shields.
The message is especially poignant for DIY mechanics working on a used model not only because of its not-so-easy access, but that rust complicates the repair when following the manual recommendations that can easily lead to broken exhaust manifold bolts and thereby a job that gets more difficult and more expensive as you…progress?
That said and done, here is the video as a good example of why some jobs really need some forethought---and a master mechanic---before delving into what experience has previously taught you is typically a simple car repair.
TOYOTA! THIS is REALLY A Horrible Design! You Could've Done This Better!
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Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.
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