really why i do everything myself, im not a mechanic by any means, just years of being cheap. ive done all my own work on my cars(with a couple hundred in tools), and have relatively new drivers for my wife and i. they are not really any more complicated, just getting getting to what you want is the trick. but most everything you do has been done and has a you tube vid. scanner cost me 35, you need one that talks to newer cars, its torque pro on android a bluetooth converter, the newer the car the more they tell you about whats wrong.
ur right about the cost though, the w-body gm cars are 20 lbs of crap in a 5lb bag, but once you learn the tricks to tilt the engine, its as easy as any other. its all i buy, i put 20 to 50k a year and these are the only ones you can reliably put 300k on cost effectively, the wife does about 20 yearly and drives like john force, she always has had h-body like bonnivilles and lucernes. they do good against her beating. the rack on my current monte is leaking, its 1k job everywhere because you have to lift the car and drop the engine down in the back before you can even see any of the ps lines or bolts. i just take my time and work a few hours here and there. its tough fitting my gut under it, but i you can change the lines pump and rack for 300 even if you get the lifetime stuff. the job if i had them do all that would be 1500. got to go work on it now actually should finish it today, and save 1200