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cheesyking
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Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:25 pm

I fixed my boiler after finally getting sick of years the stupid thing intermittently working.

Just a simple electric valve head that switched between the heating and hot water, cost the princely sum of £38 including shipping and took all of, quite literally, 20 seconds to replace (didn't even need any tools to do it).

<mini_rant>
Why are plumbers so rubbish? I'd had two different guys round to look at it, the first one clearly wanted to sell me a new boiler (got rid of him pretty quickly). The second one mumbled something about needing a manual and disappeared. </mini_rant>

You fixed anything that's been bugging you today?
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:36 pm

cheesyking wrote:
I fixed my boiler after finally getting sick of years the stupid thing intermittently working.

Just a simple electric valve head that switched between the heating and hot water, cost the princely sum of £38 including shipping and took all of, quite literally, 20 seconds to replace (didn't even need any tools to do it).

<mini_rant>
Why are plumbers so rubbish? I'd had two different guys round to look at it, the first one clearly wanted to sell me a new boiler (got rid of him pretty quickly). The second one mumbled something about needing a manual and disappeared. </mini_rant>

You fixed anything that's been bugging you today?

I spackled some holes in a wall that I'm prepping to paint. That's as close as I got to repairing anything today. In general, I love the feel of getting something broken to function again. I have a Thinkpad that has, as of yet, always managed to fail in a way that is repairable. Saved a lot of money by just loading up the service manual and doing the work myself.

<response to mini_rant>
I have limited experience with plumbers, as I've only been a homeowner for a few weeks now. My last landlord has had a hell of a time with dodgy plumbers, though. When his good plumber was booked up and the water heater broke, he called in some new guys. Their "fix" ended up melting through the seals a day later and filling the basement with an inch of standing water. He was able to go after them for the damage, and apparently they admitted that they had never seen that kind of water heater before (it's a weird thing from the '80s), but were willing to whack it with spanners and charge him money nonetheless. </response>
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:42 pm

I am a homeowner. Every week is fix-something-week. Last Saturday it was replacing the stripped-out handle assembly for the rear sliding door.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:07 pm

I tried.

Instead I learned that it is impossible to use a native (non-USB) floppy drive on a UEFI Windows system
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:26 pm

cheesyking wrote:
I fixed my boiler after finally getting sick of years the stupid thing intermittently working.

Just a simple electric valve head that switched between the heating and hot water, cost the princely sum of £38 including shipping and took all of, quite literally, 20 seconds to replace (didn't even need any tools to do it).

<mini_rant>
Why are plumbers so rubbish? I'd had two different guys round to look at it, the first one clearly wanted to sell me a new boiler (got rid of him pretty quickly). The second one mumbled something about needing a manual and disappeared. </mini_rant>


Wow, here in the states had a very similar experience with my hot water heater some months ago. Pilot light kept going out, I thought it was probably the thermocouple but was a little afraid of disassembling something involving fire, so got a professional plumber out. Paid him fifty or so to take look, but he didn't want to try to replace the thermocouple because he thought there was some chance it was something else, and wanted to write up a quote for an entire new unit. So I got over my fear of blowing up the house and replaced the stupid $15 part myself, been working like a charm ever since. (Well, turns out some parts of the dis- and re-assembly were trickier than I thought, but nothing too bad.) I'm sure this guy could have done the whole replacement in 20 minutes and charged me $100 and I would have been thrilled (and not even complained if that didn't fix it), but he didn't even try. Not using that company again.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:46 pm

Replaced the handles on an old (but nice enough to be worth fixing) set of cookware. 30+ years of use had caused the handles to start disintegrating at the end closest to the pot. The recent acquisition of a new stove (with larger, high-output burners) accelerated the trend, as the young 'uns are always in a hurry, crank the burners way up when they make their ramen noodles, and aren't careful about making sure the flames aren't coming up the side of the pot. The handles were getting bad enough that I was starting to worry that someone would go to pick up a pot off the stove and have the handle break off, dumping scalding hot food on their feet.

Much to my amazement, the parts were still available. They also seem to have been redesigned slightly, to keep the plastic part of the handle further away from the flame; so I guess we aren't the only people who have had this issue.

Speaking of parts being available... this wasn't today (it was more like a couple of weeks ago), but I replaced the inside door handle mechanism on a '98 Corolla. The handle broke, requiring that you roll down the window (yes, old-school crank style windows on this car) and reach around for the outside handle to open the door. Driver side inside door handles for '98 Corollas are apparently stock items at Advance Auto locations. They're not even back in the stockroom, they're hanging out on a hook in the accessories aisle. I guess these break often enough and/or there are so many '98 Corollas still on the road that Advance Auto considers them to be a "consumable" like headlight bulbs or wiper blades! :lol:
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:08 am

just brew it! wrote:
Replaced the handles on an old (but nice enough to be worth fixing) set of cookware. 30+ years of use had caused the handles to start disintegrating at the end closest to the pot. The recent acquisition of a new stove (with larger, high-output burners) accelerated the trend, as the young 'uns are always in a hurry, crank the burners way up when they make their ramen noodles, and aren't careful about making sure the flames aren't coming up the side of the pot. The handles were getting bad enough that I was starting to worry that someone would go to pick up a pot off the stove and have the handle break off, dumping scalding hot food on their feet.

Daughter has been told many times that the riveted-handle Calphalon and AllClad pots are available to her. My Nana's screwed-on bakelite-handled copper-bottomed Revere pots, though, are strictly out of bounds. Have not needed to repair them yet and given their age, doubt I will be able to when the time comes.

just brew it! wrote:
Speaking of parts being available... this wasn't today (it was more like a couple of weeks ago), but I replaced the inside door handle mechanism on a '98 Corolla. The handle broke, requiring that you roll down the window (yes, old-school crank style windows on this car) and reach around for the outside handle to open the door. Driver side inside door handles for '98 Corollas are apparently stock items at Advance Auto locations. They're not even back in the stockroom, they're hanging out on a hook in the accessories aisle. I guess these break often enough and/or there are so many '98 Corollas still on the road that Advance Auto considers them to be a "consumable" like headlight bulbs or wiper blades! :lol:

Don't forget that that vintage Corolla was also sold as a GM product under the Geo Prizm name (we had one, it had the sex appeal of a road kill, the driving habits of same, but it was unkillable) and I have no doubt that many a Rust Belt inhabitant leapt at the chance to buy Toyota reliability with a GM nameplate, thus explaining the easy availability of parts (and not getting busted by his union buddies). Hood-release latches were always the weak point on that car for me.
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just brew it!
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:28 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Daughter has been told many times that the riveted-handle Calphalon and AllClad pots are available to her. My Nana's screwed-on bakelite-handled copper-bottomed Revere pots, though, are strictly out of bounds. Have not needed to repair them yet and given their age, doubt I will be able to when the time comes.

Yeah, I wonder what happened to the Revere stuff we had when I was a kid. I didn't come across it when I helped my dad pack up to move recently, and didn't think to ask at the time.

The ones I just repaired were apparently made by Regal (or a company acquired by them), since that's where I found the replacement parts; they are not Regal branded. The bottom is a triple ply stainless-aluminum-stainless sandwich, which I guess serves a similar function to the copper bottom on the Revereware (more even heat distribution). It was the set of cookware my wife and I bought right after we got married.

Captain Ned wrote:
Don't forget that that vintage Corolla was also sold as a GM product under the Geo Prizm name (we had one, it had the sex appeal of a road kill, the driving habits of same, but it was unkillable) and I have no doubt that many a Rust Belt inhabitant leapt at the chance to buy Toyota reliability with a GM nameplate, thus explaining the easy availability of parts (and not getting busted by his union buddies). Hood-release latches were always the weak point on that car for me.

Yup, "unkillable" is an apt description of that vehicle. This one has close to 200K on it, and has been through both daughters, who have tried to kill it on multiple occasions over the years; but it just keeps running. And yes, the hood latch has been a little balky for a while now; with my luck it'll probably fail for good on a sub-zero day when the battery gives out, thereby thwarting attempts at a jump-start.

Speaking of sub-zero days, I guess I need to decide in the next couple of months whether we're hanging on to it through another winter; if we are, I need to replace the struts. The gas charge in them has gotten low enough that the suspension behaves oddly once the temperature gets below about 20F.
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Captain Ned
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:51 am

just brew it! wrote:
Speaking of sub-zero days, I guess I need to decide in the next couple of months whether we're hanging on to it through another winter; if we are, I need to replace the struts. The gas charge in them has gotten low enough that the suspension behaves oddly once the temperature gets below about 20F.

http://www.1aauto.com/strut-and-spring- ... HwodbuAFcg

$270 + shipping for all 4 with replacement springs and top hats already mounted (if one can believe the pic), so no spring compressors, plus 4 new end links? Perfect time to teach children some wrenching skills.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:57 am

Yeah, I've sworn to never attempt anything requiring a spring compressor ever again. Once was more than enough, and I'm lucky to still have eyesight in both eyes.

Edit: Cripes, with the sway bar links? Almost seems too good to be true.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:04 am

just brew it! wrote:
Edit: Cripes, with the sway bar links? Almost seems too good to be true.

Which is why I put in the "if the pic is true".
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:06 am

You know, maybe I should finally try and fix the lock issues on my 2005 Civic. To be specific - the only way to lock/unlock the rear right door is by pushing the lock manually (could my friends and coworkers quit trying to use that door in particular by default :lol:). Supposedly it's a bad lock solenoid. And the other issue - if you push the lock/unlock button on the drivers' side door, it works fine (save for the rear right). But if you hit the lock/unlock buttons on the remote, the lights blink, dashboard clicks, car also honks if you hit lock twice (as all Hondas seem to do) - but it doesn't actually lock/unlock anything. The hell? All the relevant fuses check out with a DMM.

And then there's the luck with batteries in this family. Apparently the battery on the Civic was replaced 2.5 years in. Why that soon, I don't know. The second one made it 8 years, then promptly died with no warning when I needed to get to a doctor's appointment (a few weeks after I got the car). I did the long drive up to my college town (bay area to Corvallis), checked in with my parents, and found out that my mom's CR-V battery decided to take a dump that day, 4.5 years in (just a few weeks after my battery died - again, the CR-V was running fine a week earlier). Seems like a slightly unimpressive lifespan if you ask me.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:17 am

My house was built in 1914, so it's a rare week that I'm not fixing something. Last week was shimming the center beams so the guest bathroom door would close/open again. This weekend is adding grounded outlets in the garage. Never is fishing out the sash weights in the guest bedroom windows.
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just brew it!
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:23 am

sluggo wrote:
Never is fishing out the sash weights in the guest bedroom windows.

How do you even do that? Disassemble the window frame, I assume?
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:27 am

I installed some spacers in a crappy office chair I'm trying to save, though it doesn't work yet so it may not count as a repair. Next step, having replaced all the mechanical stuff, is probably to design and make a new wheel base because the current one doesn't grip the cylinder properly. This is worse than an old car...
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:28 am

just brew it! wrote:
sluggo wrote:
Never is fishing out the sash weights in the guest bedroom windows.
How do you even do that? Disassemble the window frame, I assume?

Since a modern replacement window can be installed, who cares.

OTOH, if you're looking for the lead to cast bullets, it goes down. Only question is if house builder put in a stop block to make recovery from a rope breakage possible. If the original casings are still there, there should be access panels in the sides of the window frames.
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Captain Ned
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:31 am

NovusBogus wrote:
I installed some spacers in a crappy office chair I'm trying to save, though it doesn't work yet so it may not count as a repair. Next step, having replaced all the mechanical stuff, is probably to design and make a new wheel base because the current one doesn't grip the cylinder properly. This is worse than an old car...

When the gas cylinder on an office chair goes it's time for a new office chair.

Sad, but true, I've killed several.
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just brew it!
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:41 am

Most of our office-style chairs were freebies. A couple were from other people in neighborhood who were getting rid of them and set then out with their trash. Another couple were from years ago when a former business partner and I rented an office, and the landlord told us to help ourselves to any of the furniture in the suite across the hall (the other tenant had skipped out on their lease and left their furniture)... I still have a desk from there too. I don't even remember where the remaining chairs came from, but I'm pretty sure I didn't buy them!
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localhostrulez
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:20 am

Captain Ned wrote:
NovusBogus wrote:
I installed some spacers in a crappy office chair I'm trying to save, though it doesn't work yet so it may not count as a repair. Next step, having replaced all the mechanical stuff, is probably to design and make a new wheel base because the current one doesn't grip the cylinder properly. This is worse than an old car...

When the gas cylinder on an office chair goes it's time for a new office chair.

Sad, but true, I've killed several.

I hear the IKEA Fingel's, Torkel's, and Torbjörn's from 2002-2005 were notorious for auto swivel tranny failures.

My office chair is something I bought at surplus sale for $2 as I recall. Works fine, except that it's missing the big thumb screw that holds it up. I can either figure out what part that is, or cut a chunk of a 4x4 to prop it up... Come to think of it, I had an old power brick (of not terribly useful specs) holding it up, but my roomies managed to lose it somewhere over the summer.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:29 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Yeah, I've sworn to never attempt anything requiring a spring compressor ever again. Once was more than enough, and I'm lucky to still have eyesight in both eyes.

Edit: Cripes, with the sway bar links? Almost seems too good to be true.

Nope, that's in the ballpark for cheap aftermarket Toyota parts. Did that same job on my '96 Corrode-a just a few months ago. Unfortunately I had forgotten that the end links tie to the struts on these models, and had to pay local prices for them.

The only special tool you'll need is a die grinder or a 4" cut-off wheel (got mine at Harbor Freight), since the end-links usually have a hex-key insert which has rusted out. It's also useful for carefully grinding a slot in the front brakeline support tabs, thereby avoiding disassembly of the hydraulics. Do the same to the new struts and then secure the lines back into the slots with a couple loops of copper wire or maybe galvanized pipe hanger.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:36 pm

Oilman gasket on a POS Toyota Tacoma.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:39 pm

Replaced intake valve on toilet a month or two ago. $18 part from Home Depot and 5 minutes of video on youtube were sufficient prep! Went off without a hitch.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:42 pm

I grew up on a cattle ranch in Idaho, and we grew up learning how to fix pretty much everything. I just installed a water softener, no previous experience with splicing something into existing plumbing. I've replaced wall outlets. Yesterday I replaced a leaky valve cover gasket on my car. You end up saving a lot of money if you can do things yourself. The first step is overcoming fear and just going for it. I'm always careful with electricity though. A few nights ago I fired up an old diesel furnace in this house I just moved into to see if it worked. It was getting cold outside, so I turned up the thermostat and pushed a few buttons and it fired right up. It reeked of diesel afterwards though, and will call a qualified HVAC person to come out and inspect it for leaks and make sure it is safe. I did an engine swap on an old pickup I wanted to make roadworthy. My first ever engine swap. Took me 2 days and it gave me 40,000 miles of trouble free operation on the freeway until I cooked the transmission going who knows how fast because when I did the swap it somehow disabled the governor and I couldn't resist the temptation to get from point A to point B as fast as possible.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:26 pm

confusedpenguin wrote:
I grew up on a cattle ranch in Idaho, and we grew up learning how to fix pretty much everything.

My grandfather used to be that way - built machinery for a living, and did all the random repairs in the house himself. My dad does the same, and so do I. Attitude and knowledge passed down through a few generations of guys. Light switch needs replacing? Bathroom faucet broke? Bah, you do it yourself. Only problem is no one ever taught me how to service a car, and I only got my first car, so I'm slowly learning as I go. Oh, I'm having this issue? Let's google it, get the tools, and call/email dad for help. :lol:

The sad thing is grandpa is now starting to get mild dementia (not Alzheimer's - he remembers day to stay stuff OK, but gets horribly confused with logic questions), and he's slowly realizing he can't (and shouldn't, for his own safety) do these things anymore. He tried to replace a light switch several weeks ago, got confused, and ended up with live wires sticking out of the wall. Dad and I came happened to come by later that day, he asked us to look at it, and got confused when one of the first things I did was hit the breaker. Talk about luck not shocking himself. I'm pretty sure I'll end up having to do the same for my dad someday. Already had to crawl under the house to run sprinkler wires for him a while ago (occasional back pains).
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:51 pm

Replaced a long run of very old galvanized steel pipe with PEX tubing because the flow through it was much too low. Stuff's incredibly easy to work with.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:35 am

Last night I fixed our Soda Stream. One of the connectors came loose and instead of carbonating the water, the gas was just leaking out of the line. Taking those things apart is a pain, but once I tightened down all the connectors, it works better now than it did when we first got it.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:05 am

Diagnosed and fixed my busted DSL connection yesterday. Eliminated wiring issues as a potential culprit by jacking the modem into the NID at the back of the house (made no difference). Tried a new modem, and that fixed it. No thanks to Netgear's crappy user manual though, it has the WRONG default admin password in it!

The trouble started during a thunderstorm, so I guess the old modem got fried. Weird thing is, it wasn't COMPLETELY fried; the connection would come up intermittently for a few minutes at a time, then drop again.
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cheesyking
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:10 am

just brew it! wrote:
Speaking of parts being available...


I think the most incredible examples of this I've encountered are:

Getting a new water pump, brake shoes and cylinders for my (now sold :cry: ) 1966 Skoda next day delivery from a completely standard car spares place. This was only a couple of years ago! I believe the reason the water pump was so easily available was that when VW brought Skoda in the 90s they used the Skoda engine (which had stayed more or less the same since the 60s) in their cars and continued to do so until 2004 :o I can't help thinking VW owners would have been surprised to find a 38 year old Skoda engine in their shiny new German car.

Getting a new button panel for a second hand microwave. This was a few years ago but the microwave must have been at least 4 years old at the time. The microwave is still working just fine today even though it was made by Goldstar which means it must be at least 20 years old.

sluggo wrote:
My house was built in 1914, so it's a rare week that I'm not fixing something. Last week was shimming the center beams so the guest bathroom door would close/open again. This weekend is adding grounded outlets in the garage. Never is fishing out the sash weights in the guest bedroom windows.

I have to say I don't think the absolute age of a house has much to do with how much maintenance it needs. I don't think I've ever lived in a house that was less that 100 years old and I don't think they've been particularly hard work. Then again maybe that just means I have a high tolerance for things not fitting properly, drafts and damp. I'd say in some ways that an old house is more reliable than a brand new one mostly because the quality of timber used in new housing is absolute crap compared to what was available 100+ years ago.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:33 am

Funny about the struts. I just had my wife's 2002 Stratus BLOW OUT both rear struts. The top mounting plate (that holds the spring/strut assembly to the car) corroded so much they disintegrated into about 8 pieces. I think the only reason they stayed in place was the pressure of the springs holding everything together. Had to use a spring compressor just to get the struts OUT since there was nothing holding the spring into the strut assembly. Lemme tell ya, compressing springs while still attached to the vehicle is no easy task. The lower control arms on that godforsaken vehicle don't articulate down far enough to completely release the springs either (about 1" - 1.5" short) so reinstalling the quick-struts wasn't as easy as it should've been either.
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+1 for "being a homeowner means every week is a repair something week" Just finished building myself a workbench in the basement, next things on the list: replace broken window in garage, find/fix strange creak in wife's car, lubricate squeaky hinge on master bath door, fix parents' laptop, etc etc.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:58 am

Somehow fixed my Sony Xperia, after reading some tips online...so I guess that counts? :D
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