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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, with my new (to me) 91T, I have run into an issue I have never had before. With the engine in the middle, how the heck do you work on that engine without damaging the rear fenders by leaning on them? I see my car has some small dents that are clearly caused by mechanics struggling to reach items in the engine compartment. I'm about to dump a bunch of money into bodywork and paint, so I do not wish to repeat this abuse. Does anybody have any clever tools for this? Should I tank the trunk lid off and get into the trunk to reach the more hard-to-reach areas?
 

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The autotechs working on my car normally use a very heavy blanket similar to what an X-ray technician uses - or nearest thing I can compare to is sort of like a tactical vest material. It's so thick, they can put a few of their lighter weight tools on it w/o harming the bodywork. This stiff but flexible blanket absorbs [most of] the kinetic energy the mechanic brings into the equation instead of transferring it directly to your car panels which may result in dents and new body dimples. Don't ask me what it is or where they got it, but I know it when I see it.

If they ain't using something like that, maybe it's time they do.
 

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Also can use old bath towels. One major point is to make sure you're not wearing a metal belt buckle when you have to lean into the engine compartment. A mechanic I used to know would always move his belt buckle around to his right side. Maybe not as important if you have a really thick fender protector.
 

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Personally, Ive not caused any dents to my car by working on it. Its very possible that it could happen if they had heavy stuff in their pockets or on some sort of work belt (though I never see mechanics wearing tools that way).
Id say put a towel over for scratches as youre leaning on it and go.

Ive seen people remove the trunk for access, not tried it.
I put a towel down (double folded) on the trunk, get it completely covered, and use it as a place to keep tools and nuts/bolts close by while working. Dont keep the parts there, but will keep my tools there.
Cheap towels at walmart for about a buck work well, white so everything is easy to find/wont get hidden in any folds
 

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Don''t forget to do something about those metal shirt/coverall snaps too. As well as the small metal studs on most jeans, they are prime 'tools' for scratching when reaching in to service the engine bay. It's a cumulative thing.

Also, watch for 'leaning' on the car's body panels while removing heavy components (like the turbo which ways half a ton). Even heavy toweling will not stop those sorts of broad indentations when using the body panels as leverage or support areas for the elbows. Only discipline and a caring tech can avoid damage when you're not there to overlook their actions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For better or worse the aforementioned "disciplined and caring tech" is me:) I recently bought a set of magnetic fender covers, and they work OK for keeping scratches away. They don't solve the leaning problem at all. It dawned on me to see if I could find a pair of wrecked rear fenders that I could make a mold out of. Kydex, a heat gun, and enough of a fender for maybe 16 inches of reasonably form-fitting plastic. Incorporate some magnets and glue some soft fabric on the back. Maybe even just do it on my own fenders since it's about to go to the paint shop anyway. Or...maybe just try real hard not to lean on it.
 

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Also can use old bath towels. One major point is to make sure you're not wearing a metal belt buckle when you have to lean into the engine compartment. A mechanic I used to know would always move his belt buckle around to his right side. Maybe not as important if you have a really thick fender protector.
Hand Tartan Arm Dress shirt Belt buckle

No No!
 
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