Friday, January 20, 2017

I wanted to share a article from a fellow man in the trenches. It is very well written and may shed a light on how tough, but rewarding, this industry can be. I've followed Mitch for as long as I have worked on cars. Being in a family business his articles and stories taught me a lot through the decades.

By Mitch Schneider

"For as long as I can remember, this industry has defined me—who I am, the person I would become.
As a child, my father's service station in Brooklyn was my playroom, feeding my imagination with tow trucks that were really pirate ships and lube pits that were dungeons hiding pirates, dragons and all manner of desperados.  
That same service station was my ticket into an adult world forbidden to all my friends. I enjoyed 4 a.m. rides to Jones Beach for an hour of surf fishing before the long ride back into Brooklyn to open the shop. I spent Saturdays and holidays and summers pumping gas, washing windows and checking oil for nickel and dime tips—more than enough for a “cup of coffee” and a comic book (or two).
Looking back, the shop wasn’t just a place of work, it was a much greater experience. It was the slow, invisible absorption of real-world values and the inevitable conclusion of being immersed in a blue-collar world. It was the magic of discovery, the hidden science and respect for all things mechanical. It was layer upon layer of callous and an appreciation for hard, physical work. It was cuts and scars defined by ridges of black grease stains proudly proclaiming the choice I had made—a choice to follow my father’s footsteps and our family’s legacy into this industry.
It was a life defined by long days, late nights and more than an occasional trip to the emergency room to stitch, staple or remove. It was years of clinics and after-work classes, weeks at the General Motors Training Center in Burbank and hours of technical training at home. And, it was the constant quest to validate those hours through voluntary certification.
Through it all, this industry and the career I carved out of it gave me clothes to wear, food to eat and a place to sleep. It gave me cars to drive, albeit not always the ones I wanted to, especially in those early years. It gave me my life and despite my father-in-law’s warnings, it supported our family.
After almost 52 years spent as a professional in this industry, it would be hard not to reflect on the time I’ve spent here, much of which has been with you. After five decades, it is everything you might imagine it would or could be, and far more.
I’ve been blessed throughout my career with a constant parade of remarkable individuals, unforgettable characters, clients, employees and colleagues who have enriched and enlightened me, confused and confounded me. They helped shape my world and define my place in it.
More than anything else, this industry gave me the ultimate gift: the opportunity to work with my parents for four decades. And, here in Simi Valley, it allowed me the privilege of working with the finest group of professionals I’ve ever worked with and for the most wonderful group of clients, vendors and friends one could hope for or imagine.
I wouldn’t change a thing, but for all the good, my chosen career likely gave me one of the rarest forms of bone marrow cancer there is, and a new and very different appreciation of time. 
You see, my father and I worked side-by-side 50 hours a week or more until he was 82. My mother worked here until she was no longer able, more than forty years. And, until I was diagnosed, it was my intent to do the same: to work until I was no longer able. 
But, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that time is not just linear. It is multidimensional. It has volume and because it has volume it has content. Content that is filled with energy and effort, creating and building, enabling and giving. A lifetime of relationships and memories.
This new appreciation of time, this new appreciation for time, is a gift I’ve been afforded through all the carcinogenic chemicals we’ve all been exposed to over all these many years. A gift of clarity: the ability to see clearly what is urgent, what is important and what is not.
It has helped me to recognize that my illness is a constant distraction filled with an endless stream of appointments. These appointments take me out of the shop for hours almost every week. It has also helped me realize that any chronic disease takes up a lot of bandwidth. It occupies an inordinate amount space in your head and is a distraction too often responsible for lapses in concentration and a new, almost unbearable tension between “have to’s” and “want to’s.” It creates a primordial need to make up for the late nights and lost weekends sacrificed to this industry at the expense of time spent with family and friends.
Recognizing that these challenges constitute a new reality that prevents me from being everything my clients and team members expect and deserve, I made the decision to sell our business—to give up the one single, most recognizable thread that has run through the entire tapestry of my life. It is the single hardest thing I have ever done, the most difficult choice I have ever had to make. Perhaps that’s because the decision was not entirely mine, nor was it one I made willingly.
It is a decision I’ve decided to share, a journey I hope you will accompany me on. I think there is much that can be learned. You see, as much as has been written about exit strategies and succession plans and the importance of having them, I’m not sure anyone has offered you the chance to accompany them on a first-person ride through this dark and unsettling territory. I’m not sure anyone has offered an insight into the sometimes impossible and emotionally-charged decisions that must be made, starting with the initial decision to exit the business.
So, meet me here next month as I take you on an adventure—my adventure—the type that should begin the moment you go into business. But one that will certainly begin the moment you decide to sell."

Mitch Schneider is a fourth-generation auto repair professional and the owner of Schneider’s Auto Repair in Simi Valley, Calif. He is an industry educator, author, seminar facilitator, and blogger at

Friday, March 25, 2016

Time to get off my ass

My oldest will have a learners in 18 months. Time for something he can learn in.

Friday, August 01, 2014

No...No...No Navigator pivots.

Like Consuela from Family Guy I have to say ' pivots" a little to much lately.

Back in 2010 we did this

Lincoln Navigator running board pivot

It worked really well. We made just the one set and the machinist friend keep the CAD file since he did all the design work. Well, he actually got someone else to do the design work and that person has the file. That is the issue I have. I no longer have access to that file or the machine shop that cut the pivots for me. I've tried, and tried, and tried but no go. I've explained we could sell each pivot for say 3-400 bucks easily but pivots.

Every month or so I get a email or phone call from someone with this problem. A rotted out pivot on the running board and each person I have to explain the situation too.

So...maybe seeing this post when people are searching for the pivot they'll realize I can't help any longer. I can say though, take the pivot off, go find a competent machine shop and tell them to build you a pair. You'll spend some bucks but you'll have the pivot, but make sure you keep the CAD file, or at least get your hands on a copy. Don't make the mistake I did when I figured they would want to make a little money doing these.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Loyalty and patience

noun: loyalty
the quality of being loyal to someone or something.
"her loyalty to her husband of 34 years"
a strong feeling of support or allegiance.
noun: patience
  1. 1.
    the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
    "you can find bargains if you have the patience to sift through the dross"
    synonyms:forbearance, tolerance, restraint, self-restraint, stoicism; More
    calmness, composure, equanimity, imperturbability, phlegm, understanding, indulgence
    "she tried everyone's patience"
    "a task requiring patience"
  2. 2.
    chiefly British term for solitaire (sense 1).

What's wrong BJ? Cracking up a bit? Actually I thought I was but I had the opportunity this past week to talk to a lot of different shop owners. Not technicians, not managers, actual shop owners who see the "big picture" of our industry in our immediate area. January is always a slower month in the automotive repair world since you have holiday bills coming in, property taxes due and generally crappy weather which means less driving. This gave me the chance to bump into some shop owners I know in the area.

First lots of people are wondering "Oh my god, you talk to your competition?" Yes, all the time. See, we all know each other and don't worry about each other. We see each other at trade shows, we may bump into each other at parts stores or sublet different things since each has their own strengths and weaknesses and we know who can do something for a guy in a pinch. This includes dealers.

Sorry, I got sidetracked there. Above are two definitions I wish every single person in this world would review and relearn. The common theme from talking to the shop owners is the two words above. Loyalty in this industry is going away. Customers are becoming to used to a instant everything society and want it now. Hell, even the commercial for money they should already have now screams. "It's my money, and I want it NOW." Good grief. All of us have been seeing loyalty fall to the wayside for faster, cheaper service. Which leads me to patience. Wow, there is non of that these days either. It does take time to repair a car properly, it also takes time to do estimates, juggle other work and wait for parts. Patience means that sometimes you may be second, or third, or god forbid the last car that will get looked at that day. It might even mean when you call for a appointment that you may have to wait a few days to get in.

Where did this originate from? Personally I think the information age has brought it upon us and a little of the change in how the dealer market themselves. You can have a android device, or apple product and basically have your world at your fingertips, instantly. We used to wait for calls back, leave messages. Now we wonder why they aren't answering and if we did something wrong. We used to get our news the next day or in the evening. Now we are blasted instantly (and incorrectly) on a by minute pace. Add in the fact that when you go to a dealer now there is a big door you drive up too, honk and in you go and right to the front you go. That has put a mindset into peoples heads that it should work everywhere. Not everywhere is equipped with the staff and room a dealer has. Most shops have a few hoists, a few techs and a lot of cars to juggle in that schedule. It won't be on a rack right away.

"Oh BJ, your sure a whiny little guy." Maybe, but after talking to most every shop near and far, speaking to them online in tech forums I am hearing the common theme. The customer is wanting it faster, cheaper and right now. Even the dealer service managers I talk to see it as a problem since people expect it done as fast as it took them to drive in. How we react to that is going to vary from shop to shop but the general theme I got from everyone is if they want it that fast it can't be cheap. It they want it cheap it can't be fast. It used to be you could have it three ways "Good, Fast, Cheap" but you needed to pick only two of those options in combination. Good and fast? It won't be cheap. Fast and cheap? It won't be good. Good and cheap? It won't be fast. Now it seems like you are going to pick only one....

Loyalty, patience. Those customers that exhibit it sure get a hell of a deal in our place.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Soapy has a problem

So this happened this morning.

Back story. Soapy is about 90+ years old, great guy. His daughter called Monday and said Soapy had a brake problem in the Ranger. I asked a few questions and she didn't have much for a answer, just that something in the back wasn't right and he would bring it in Tuesday morning. Ok, see you then.
Soapy lives about a mile from me out in the country. So we are neighbors in the mindset of country living. He knows he could have asked me to stop in and grab it or see if it was drivable but knowing Soapy he didn't want to trouble me.
I left for work and to drop the kids off at school, by chance I caught up to Soapy as he was driving his Ranger in to the shop.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Time for Harvest

It is that time of year again. Fall Harvest. Or as I fondly call it. "Do you have any 15 inch tires" season. This is the time of year farmers from the area come knocking on your door with wagon tires that are flat. They don't care what size 15 inch you have, they want it. If it can hold air they want it. Thread depth? Pffft, that isn't important. All that is important is that you have a used 15 inch tire on hand and can do it for nothing, cause it is just a wagon tire, isn't much work and shouldn't cost anything.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Russian Style Boat Anchor

Russian Boat Anchor
Russian Boat Anchor

Available now we can get you a Russian style boat anchor for your fishing boat. Different sizes are available. With multiple rope holes for back-up ropes. These anchors won't catch on debris in the lakes and rivers.

We started stocking these after a young man in the area pointed them out to us this week. Extremely hard to come by. Send a email or message to

Prices vary, call for a quote. Used anchors are available. These used anchors were used on patrol boats during the Cold War. We ordered in a large quantity of used anchors this week.

Any questions, please contact us!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Nope, not dead....yet

I know this blog has all but died but let me try to explain. I haven't given up the hobby but just have taken a very long break. With the boys doing baseball all the time there is no time to Hoon. Oh, I'd like to but it just isn't in the cards right now.

Summer Baseball season just ended and now I at least get the back portion of my Trailvoy back. For all the naysayers who scream about SUV's being useless I can guarantee they never coached a sports team. I don't know what I'd do without a SUV. The Trailvoy is even a little to small to haul all the team equipment around, then add myself and a few players. It is packed!

Anyways, life keeps on keeping on. Maybe if I catch a Visit car I'll post it up.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cobra stickers

After a year delay there is little over one week away for GI Joe Retaliation. I cannot wait.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Noises. They are the toughest nut to crack. Sometimes you just can't narrow down what it is the person is hearing. What is abnormal to them might seem perfectly fine to you. Noise diagnostic without the customer riding along with you, so they can point it out when it does happen make it even tougher.

Some rules I like to live by.

I want info, lots of it, I want to be a journalist. Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. The more the better.

TSB's help, looking them up is one of those first steps you should do.

Test drive with the customer. When they say it happens "all the time" then have them drive and show you. When they don't have it happen all the time then more information will come out.

There is more, but usually these three will help you get on the right track to find it after it is racked.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Every morning...

Lego, yes, I am a AFOL. and enjoy the hobby with the boys. With the whole car scene a little pricier than I can afford right now I can just as easily build a MOC of a hot rod or make silly comics about life at the shop, like the one above. Very rough draft, I threw it together one afternoon after a frustrating morning. I'll make some more in the future if people do enjoy them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just a Lego vignette

A little scene from a off-road race/rally.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


It's gone, bu-bye. I've keep from posting to get over the fact that I have sold the Camaro. Yup, down the road it has gone. I hope the new owner is happy with it, I let it go for less than I had hoped to get but more than I needed to get. So a lot of bills paid off after a long year of different, crazy events that have basically left me getting up, going to work, family, sleep, repeat all over again.

2012 will be gladly gone and forgotten in a few weeks and hopefully 2013 brings some better times with cars.

I did actually fire up and drive the '60 this fall. It has been a long time since I did that which I should be ashamed about. My hopes for 2013 is to get some new tires on it, replace the buckets with a bench seat and try to put some miles on.

We will see.

Friday, July 06, 2012


How about a BMW 335D as in D is for Diesel. Oh the hugmanatee you say? Nope, this thing gets up and hauls ass.

The torque curve in this car is amazing. It really throws you back and puts a smile on your face.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


still stealing this from everywhere else that does it, vehicles I see in traffic....VISIT.

Today, something you would not expect to see in Mazo

Very nice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


 Vehicles I See In The Shop

'79 Caddy Eldorado, 350 Olds, Fuel Injected.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Seatbelts are good

 Pretty much a no-brainer, wearing them is smart, not wearing them is dumb. I still know people that don't and recently had someone I know die in a car accident. They were not wearing a seat belt. So instead of showing pictures of that situation or talking more about it I'll leave this here.

A few weeks ago on my way to work I came upon this accident. A high school age girl hit a Turkey, lost control and rolled the car into the ditch. She and her passenger walked away with not a scratch. The Taurus? Well, let's just say there is one less clogging the roads.

Again, nobody hurt, seatbelts on.

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 Caprice Spotted In The Wild


Monday, February 20, 2012

Just a Trailer

That is it. Slow month, not much going on. So a trailer we have had for 30 some years gets dragged out of storage it has been in for the last 20 and is back in service. For what? I haven't a clue. But it is a excellent example on why you pack your trailer bearings before storing it. They looked clean and fresh when I inspected them. The tires on the other hand, whoa.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where have I been?

I figured I needed to get a post in December or everyone would think I was dead or in jail...or both.

First, why I haven't been posting. I have had a enormous amount of personal issues in RL that I have been dealing with which has meant I have basically set my automotive hobby to the side. I haven't done anything gearhead related since the Summer car show for Mazo. Life has been overwhelming. In this day and age many will understand the why so there is no reason to get into details.

Second, I have been kicking around selling the Camaro. That has got me not wanting to think about doing anything gear head related since every time I think of it I start to wonder about selling the Camaro. The car doesn't have a emotional attachment like everything else we have in the fleet. Every other custom or toy car we have in the family or shop has a certain attachment which would make selling them very hard to do. The Camaro, not so much. I don't dislike the car, I just need to go a different direction in life with a few things and selling the car would allow that. So if you are interested in it, send a email or respond below. I'd be happy to talk about it.

Third, the kids. This I am not angry about so don't take it that way. Their needs trump everything else. William's sports have taken me totally out of the car seen. If I am not taking him to practice, coaching, or traveling to games then I am doing everything else I need to do. So I haven't hit any cruise nights or car shows this past year because I am focused on him. Brock is going to start getting into these sports also, so the spare time will be short.

Lastly, I'll try to post more but I am going to steer the topics back to a few things that I am doing often enough. Working on cars and family stuff that might have a auto theme to it.

If you are still bothering to check in on me, thanks, I'll try to keep things rolling.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Because it has been a few months

Yo Dawg, I heard you like Cobra so I put a Cobra with your Cobra.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Convertibles Invade Mazo

I couldn't get or grab many details about the road rally. I did bump into one driver who mentioned it was a Convertible club that started their rally in Middleton and were heading towards Lacrosse. I would have talked longer but the County Mounty pulled up behind me and I wasn't in a "make the local cops mad by blocking traffic" kind of mood.

So, play "ID the 'verts" if you'd like!

Monday, August 01, 2011

BMW Art Car

I am happy to report that our little project of turning our 320i BMW into a "Art Car" was a success. The prepping, priming and work paid of big time. We had roughly 27 different kids stop by during the Mazo Car show to try their hand at painting the car. One particular young boy keep coming back again and again and again. He just about did the entire hood himself. Our favorite moment of the day was when my brother Troy explained to a young boy to paint flames on the hood. So the kid painted the word "flames" across the hood. I guess he had never seen flames painted on a car before. It was very funny and got a lot of thumbs up and laughs.








Friday, July 15, 2011

Value Package

The following body options are listed in my Carquest and Weaver online parts ordering for the 2008 Honda Pilot

Special Edition
Value Package

Value Package? WTF? That is actually the one I have racked. Now to investigate the Value Package. Does it mean I have Wal-Mart seat covers? Target cup holders? Curious I am.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Art Car

For the upcoming Mazo Fun Dayz car show Troy and I are donating our 320i BMW to become a "Art Car". What is that you ask? Here is a nice link to explain it all but if you'd rather not travel around looking what we are basically doing is this. We sand down all the paint on the Bimmer. Then tape off anything we don't want painted and after that let any kid 12 and under have at it. They can paint whatever they want with the paint we will supply them. Of course we will have a "Sponsored by Willie's Repair" sign and try as much as we can to get a few new customers from the idea.

It will actually be the first car show I will be attending this Summer. With the kids at the age they are now sports for them has taken precedent over my fun.

Here is the before, can't wait to see the after.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The '57 Is Out The Door.....Finally

I really wish I would have had this car done sooner but circumstances be as they were. It wasn't. My little mishap with my right arm really set things back but it is now ready to rock and roll.

What is in it? A 383CID stroker motor from Blueprint Engines. Edelbrock Performer Intake, Carb and then a Spectre CAI kit. Of course painted up in Chevy "Red" and dressed up with a little chrome here and there. It feels stronger than the engine that was in there as it should. That was just a regular old 350 with a set of "camel hump" heads and a older Edelbrock intake.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Are the Hoon's Dying?

If no one understands what a Hoon is here is a good definition. There is also where all things Hoon is celebrated.

I'm wondering if Hoon's are dying?" The kind of person who doesn't trust the catalog, computer or what is written in stone at the parts houses. The kind of car nut that loves learning as much as possible about their automotive passion. The kind of person who always wonders "will this work?" They won't wonder "Can I make this fit." They will wonder "How much Beer will be drank coming up with the plan to make it fit?" They will never say never for the automotive world. Anything is possible if you spend enough time and energy to make it happen.

I've been battling a dip stick. Haha, not myself. A actual Oil Dip Stick for the '57 Chevy engine swap that I am finally coming to completion on. The frustration mounts when you take different era parts and equipment and try to mold them into one. The engine is a "after '86" when they went to a one piece rear main. This is also later than '87 because it has the valve cover bolts in the center. It is a fresh build, 383 stroker motor from Summit.

I've made attempts to get a dipstick locally to no avail. It is frustrating when they just look at the catalog and say. "no". I tried and tried to explain to the last place I called that I had to have the smaller dipstick tube that fit that late '80's and early '90's SBC. They guaranteed this one would work because it worked it their SBC. "Is yours a late '80's early '90's?" The answer; "No, but I know it will work, it says fits '79-'91. "

I even started giving them applications for the era that I knew would have the dipstick I need. "No, don't have it, special order." "No, don't have it, warehouse would ship in 7 days." Arrrgh, one dip stick tube that no one can get easily.

Grrrrr....I finally bit the bullet knowing I would regret the '79 to '91. I knew it wouldn't fit but he guaranteed it!

So here is why the pictures are in. To the far left is the one that was in the old block. In the middle is the one that was guaranteed to fit. As you can see I got mad and tried to make it fit. Then calmed down and walked away for awhile. All the while bitching that again, someone didn't listen to me. There is a difference in the dipstick holes on SBC's.

Finally there is the one on the right. I went to the steel dumpster out back with a hammer and side cutters and yanked out the dipstick that was in a 4.3L from '92. I knew it would work because the 4.3L shared much in design as the SBC engines for that year. Just two cylinders looped off.

If you look close, see that orange paint? That is where it slide right in snug as a bug and is ready to rock and roll. I hooned it in.

So is the Hoon dead? Are to many guys just looking at the screen and thinking. "the computer says so, it must be fact" instead of maybe playing around with different applications? Researching a little? Ask the old Hoon in the corner who has BTDT?

I will openly admit I am as much to blame for my fiasco as the next guy. I had a part number squared away and should have pressed for it to be ordered. I just tried to get it locally. Tried to make it easier, cheaper. I know better. I really do. Anyway, I have a dipstick that fits. I'm getting this car fired off later and will post up some results of my work next week.

I didn't give up, I finally just said I'd make something fit. I want to see this car Hooned.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Soft Top Cobra

Dan has been going gang-buster on his Cobra as of late. The next installment is this wonderful Soft Top he scored. Two bolts in the body, the rest are removable parts that don't affect the Car.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


'Nuff said

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

It Worked!

Ya, another continuing discussion of paintball. Oh you will be fine. It isn't like anything I ever talk about is really that important anyway.

The RUKNK-4 performed wonderfully. Throughout the day it never skipped a beat and made the scenarios that much better. Some pictures of the beast from the day. Video will come down the road. Shawn, from Redhead racing (see how I keep the auto theme going?) was out to shoot with us also and mounted some Go-Pro cameras on the turret and windshield. Once those are in my hands I'll post them up!