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Confessions of a Shadetree Mechanic

You're in over your head - should you throw in the towel?

Tech Tips
Thumb picture SVT_MAN - Sep 21, 2017


I have a confession to make:

Although I have done my own modifications on my 1999 Ford Mustang GT, I am sometimes insecure about my mechanical abilities.  There is a lot I either don't know how to do or don't have confidence doing.  

I mean, sure - I definitely have quite a bit more mechanical ability than your average millennial.  And certainly a lot more raw ability to work on my car than your average man-bun-coifed hipster sitting at the corner table at Starbucks.  And I've even installed lots of things in my Mustang: a new steering wheel, new headlight housings, new third brake light, new grille, new wheels, new shifter, and last, but certainly not least - an entirely new suspension system.

But here's the rub: during all but the most easy of these projects, I was solidly in a zone that I refer to as "in over my head."

Yeah, that  zone.  Most of us have been there, and it isn't the most comfortable spot to be when your self doubt creeps in.

But I have a secret: every time I get to that zone, I kind of cheat.  And, no, that isn't a euphemism for, "I have a shop do it."

Let me explain. 

Get Your Cheat Codes

If you don't already realize it, YouTube isn't just for watching cute cat videos and old people doing things only a youngin' should.  Sure, that's part of YouTube - but YouTube is also a dynamic treasure trove of information, with guides on just about anything you want to work on.  

If your vehicle is your game, YouTube is your cheat codes.  This is especially true if your vehicle is quite common like my New Edge Mustang.  

So just how much do I use YouTube?  Uhh - not sure if I should be proud of this, but ...

Steeda Tri-Ax shifter installation?  YouTube-d it.
Eibach Coilover installation?  YouTube-d it.
Third brake light installation?  YouTube-d it.
Steering wheel installation?  YouTube-d it.

YouGet the idea.

So the next time that you have a project on your car?  

Consider heading out to YouTube to check into what they have to offer.  Even if you don't follow a video at their every word, you can at least get someone else's perspective, which is sometimes half the battle.

Get Your ... Fix On

Of course, not all informative YouTube channels are created equal. 

Some are pure trash - impossible to decipher anything useful from.  Some are informative, and perhaps useful, but ultimately so boring that you wonder why you made such poor life choices.  Yeah, you want your last twenty minutes back.

But on the other side some are informative, entertaining, and awesome  to watch outside of their inherent usefulness.  And one true jewel that pulls off this video hat trick is the ChrisFix channel.

I'm honestly not sure what's better: the ear-candy of the narrator's smooth baritone-brass voice or the awesome visuals and point-of-view camera angles.  Either way, his videos are some of the most instructional and well-done videos on all of YouTube.  And I don't say that lightly.  They're so good, in fact, that I'll occasionally find myself watching videos for things on the ChrisFix channel that I don't even care to learn about just because they're so entertaining.

But entertainment or not, his channel is extremely useful.  

Seeking proof?  

Well, I recently followed ChrisFix's steps for installing a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter to install my own in my 1999 Ford Mustang GT project car.  It told me most everything I needed to know.  I had it installed in no time.


So now you know:  My favorite informative YouTube channel is ChrisFix.  So give his videos a try, and give him a like and subscribe if you like what you see - and I'm guessing you will.  

But what about you?  Do you have a favorite informative-style YouTube channel?  Post it in the comments below.  

P.S.  If you prefer to be entertained and moved by a YouTube channel or don't fancy yourself a DIY, try out the satisfying production qualities and creative narratives of Dream Machines Video Series.



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Authored by SVT_MAN


Featured Vehicle

1999 Ford Mustang


Liters: 4.6

Cyliders: 8

Vehicle Category

American Muscle


0-60: 5.5 seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.0 seconds @ 98.0 mph

Top Speed: 142 mph

Horsepower: 260 @ 5250 rpm

Torque: 302 @ 4000 rpm

Transmission: Manual (MT)

Weight: 3200


Exterior Color: Dark Satin Green

Interior Color: Saddle Leather


Mileage: 111000

Ownership: Currently Own


This is my weekend cruising car for driving on the backroads.

- K&N Cone Air Filter
- Smoked Headlights
- Eibach Pro Street Coilover Kit (set to lower about an inch)
- Mach 1 Grill Delete
- Raxiom LED Third Brake Light
- SVE FR500 Style Steering Wheel
- Torque Thrust IIs
- Sony MEX-XB100BT head unit
- Steeda Tri-ax Shifter
- Maximum Motorsports Full Length Subframe Connectors
- Steeda Bump Steer Kit