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Features Whats the dumbest thing you ever did to your vehicle while working on it?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 56don, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Bugguts
    Joined: Aug 13, 2011
    Posts: 640


    A friend asked if I could finish all the little details on his 55 Fairlane that were left undone when the restorer he hired had gotten burned out on the project. I gladly accepted the challenge and started finishing each task with success.The car had a fresh 292 Y block, with 100 miles on it as he had driven it down to me. The passenger exhaust manifold had a annoying leak where a tube should have been for the chock. After looking at it a bit, I though a tapered punch fit the hole perfectly , so I proceeded to cut the tip off the punch and thought I would just lightly tap it into the hole and all would be great. Unfortunately, I misjudged the hole size and the tip fell all the way into the exhaust manifold which sits above the ports. O.K., no problem, I'll just remove the exhaust manifold and retrieve the piece. But wait...., my wife calls me in for lunch.
    Yep, you guessed it, I came back out and stupidly forgot about the missing plug. Started the car, heard the clatter,shut it off fast, but too late of course.
    Crunched the #3 piston real good.,but everything else was good luckily.
    So the good side to the story, I was able to replace the damaged piston with engine in car, learned all about Y blocks, and have a piston to look at and always remember I'm not perfect yet.
    Oh, and I fixed the leak by tapping the hole and installing a small allen head bolt.
  2. m.kozlowski
    Joined: Nov 2, 2011
    Posts: 139


    I once prepared oil pan to sand blasting. That involved cleaning and bolting it to a wooden plate - for not sanding the inside. Oil drain plug was put from the inside, also to serve as a plug. After receiving oil pan blasted and painted i cleaned it from the inside once again and mounted on the engine. Thankfully that was before i put oil in the engine when i managed to see that i left drain plug bolted from the inside...
  3. Looks like wives are to blame for some of these mistakes. When are you guys going to learn not to listen to them?;)
    GuyW, CudaChick1968 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  4. I didn’t actually do it. But let’s just say it involved a poorly welded steering box and a long drive home.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    CudaChick1968 and VANDENPLAS like this.
  5. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,212

    from Spring tx

    Well, I was adjusting timing on my pops 58 when I got done getting motor and trans all buttoned up in there, checked trans fluid put dipstick back in, walked around front of the car to drivers side to check one other thing, was about to walk back to passenger when the car goes into gear on its own, runs into the 54 dodge I had at the time, demolished some trim on the car that was fresh, screwed the fender badly, mind you the car was blocked, running in neutral, had moved forward and backward before this and had idled in neutral for 5 minutes while I set timing, no one around. My foot almost ran over, and I was almost pinned. Me and that car have gone round and round its good to my pops but anytime I try to drive it, oh its got it out for me, running out of gas, stalling for no reason, lights shutting off for no reason. I named it Christine accordingly. Pop never has a lick of problems with it, runs every time, drives great for him, but me, Nope Ill walk first. But dang she shines and when I did drive it once successfully she rolls down the road great. SO I guess its not the dumbest thing I have ever done with a car, but its a car that has tried to kill me multiple times now. 58-0.jpg
  6. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,659

    from California

    I jabbed a screwdriver right through my BRAND NEW radiator in an OT car I had in the 80's. I just turned off the lights and left as antifreeze was pouring out the hole all over the floor in a shop I shared with 2 other guys. they were not pleased when they came in the next day.:D
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  7. Gr8laker
    Joined: Sep 15, 2011
    Posts: 58

    from Michigan

    Co-worker at the garage shows up there with 27 T-bucket he just purchased. Parked in front of one of the glass bay doors, shuts it off, and gets out. Starts bragging about his new acquisition. Co-worker then reaches in, hits the key, and steps over to the carb. While crowing "the throttle response is great", blips the throttle to demonstrate. Co-worker neglected to take the C4 out of drive, and the neutral safety switch was bypassed. Shot the T's front tires through two of the bottom window panes on the glass bay door. We all agreed the throttle response was pretty good.
    rockable, CudaChick1968 and Truck64 like this.
  8. rjones35
    Joined: May 12, 2008
    Posts: 865


    This probably isn't the dumbest, but it's the first one that comes to mind. I was young, 16 maybe. My old piece of crap car wouldn't start in the morning before school, so I jumped it off my dads car. Hooked the cables up backwards the first time...just a quick zapping, burning sound. Got my car started, went to school. My dad wasn't happy about having to fix his car, in the snow!!
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  9. 24riverview
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 843


    Sometime in the 70's, doing some kind of front brake work on my 39 Chevy sedan. Finished up but when backing out of my parents garage pedal went to the floor, stopped but just barely. Realized what line or something I'd forgotten to tighten so better pull back in to fix that. About half way back in I realized what an idiot I was. Dads toolbox took it pretty well, sedan still has a slightly kinked front bumper from that day.
    CudaChick1968 and safetythird like this.
  10. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,579

    from norcal

    I put a rag in the primary chain case on a HD shovel head to keep oil from dripping on the gasket surface, ran real quiet for a while
  11. rjones35
    Joined: May 12, 2008
    Posts: 865


    Back in high school auto class a kid came driving in the shop in a beat up VW bus. Came in too fast, and it turns out, was coming in for brake work. It didn't have any. That's bad enough, but the auto shop teacher had a buddies Ferrari Dino (I think) on stands at the far end of the shop. The VW kept on going and crashed into the Ferrari, knocking it off the stands. Messed it all up. Nobody was happy that day.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  12. elba
    Joined: Feb 9, 2013
    Posts: 612


    In 1965 I had a 57 Chevy and put a rear speaker in it . It worked good for about 10 minutes and smoked the radio . I put a 4 ohm speaker in instead of an 8 ohm . I didn't have any idea what resistance and an ohm was back then.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  13. Yes, this happened to me too except the buyer for my car was coming to pick it up the the next day. I pulled the gauge cluster to replace a few dead bulbs and forgot to reconnect the oil line when I put it back. I found out I hadn't reconnected when took it for one last drive. I spent hours cleaning up oil from the the inside of the dash and carpet. Luckily the carpet was black.

    Yes, this happened to me over 30 years ago when I needed to replace the windshield gasket on my 51 Cadillac coupe. I bought a new gasket from Steele. I got all the stainless trim in along with the windshield in it. I put a cord in the groove and pulled it in so to get the seal over the pinch-weld. It mostly fit in nicely. Then as I proceeded to gently push the glass down from the outside, I felt some resistance and tried to push it a little harder and snap! I had a nice crack running vertically from top to bottom just off center. I was pissed! I was even more pissed at myself when I couldn't find another windshield for a few years. The car shat in the garage untouched even after I found another windshield for a few more years. I couldn't find anyone to install it that would guarantee not breaking it in the process. I finally built up courage to try it again. It went better that time but I still managed to crack it but just barely at the passenger side corner. I got two small hairline cracks that were about two or so inches long in a "V" pattern. I quickly searched the local newspaper ads for someone who could fix the cracks. I luckily found a guy who came the next morning and was able to drill the cracks at the ends to keep them from growing. He also filled them with some kind of glass epoxy. They were barely noticeable and only if you looked for them at the right angle and light. He saved my windshield from disaster and only charged me $40 which I thought was a bargain compared to what it would have cost in time and money to find another one.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  14. Kevin Buehner
    Joined: May 1, 2017
    Posts: 15

    Kevin Buehner

    Decided to work on the drivers door on the 49 chrysler coupe that my Mom had dented in the 50's backing out of the garage with the door open. Tore the interior panel off, but couldn't quite get it out because of stuff in the way of opening the door fully. So I started the car and went to back up a couple of feet. Forgot the brakes weren't working and the floor sloped toward the OH door. Luckily the OH door was open, but by the time I thought about it there was more stuff in the way and couldn't close the door. Bent the door open and bent the fender as well. Soon after I cleaned up the garage AND took the door off to work on it.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  15. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,560

    low budget
    from Central Ky

    Done that when I was about 13 or 14 and just starting to work on cars more, It was on my Dads 70 impala, I think I had changed the carb and of course I panicked and didnt know what was wrong when I started it up and it went wide open:eek: so I ran around and tried to jerk the battery cable off thinking that would kill it but of course it was charging so it didnt:eek: but after I came to myself after it had set there and ran wide open for a bit:oops: I finally thought to just reach in and turn the key off:rolleyes:....:D
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  16. rgdavid
    Joined: Feb 3, 2014
    Posts: 363


    Grinding the bottom of doors, didnt think to take the freshly charged battery out of car,
    Big boom !!.
    Felt wetness, ...i thought the disk had exploded in my stomach and it was brave enough to look down and it was battery acid from the exploded battery,
    Ripped off clothes and ran to the shower.
    What a bang it was, it was a truck battery. Bits of plastic everywhere.
    My first and last hydrogen
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  17. rfraze
    Joined: May 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,003


    Slammed the door, broke the glass.
    CudaChick1968 and 56don like this.
  18. put the ball on the pit man arm, on the wrong side. DSCF4040.JPG DSCF4081.JPG
    had to cut it off and put it on the right way.
  19. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,023

    Atwater Mike

    1959, Santa Clara, in front of Grandma's house.
    My cool channeled '30 'A' coupe had a charging problem, I had just bought it back from my bud Allen, who was in the USN.
    I overhauled the '40 Merc generator, turned armature, checked fields with a 'growler', replaced brushes, and regulator. Had it on the charger, lit it, great! Charged 15 amps, but my friend Ramsay had to borrow my charger, "Sure, but bring it back tonight, have to go to school tomorrow..."
    Next morning, no charger, battery won't turn it over. (low batt., high comp. Push it!)
    I had a new pair of 'Continentals' (like 'Dockers') Kennington shirt, and my COOL corduroy jacket. Penny loafers, too...(for school)
    I pulled my linkage back to a 'soft stop' I used for 'high idle' ('til it warmed) the spring was sufficient to return to idle with a slight 'goose'. Two 97s, very warmed-over 255 Merc, '41 pickup box. My 'trick' was to open drivers door, select neutral, key on, 2 pushes on throttle, then 'soft spot' it to run when I shoved tall stick into 2nd, it would kick over, with a 'lunge'...then pull it back into neutral, engine running at fast 'soft' idle. Done it more than a few times, (gotta buy a battery!)
    Linkage pumped and set; ign on; neutral, I start to push. Hmmm, tough in these Florsheim loafers...Rolling now, lean in, push into 2nd...VROOM!

    Bastard ran over my right ankle, there goes my loafer...Tire grabbed the bottom of my jacket, running up my right shoulder, I'm on the ground...Coupe is literally winding up my jacket, over me now, "BUMP!" Coupe ran to right, across Grandma's driveway apron, and hit the big oak tree with the frame horn! Killed the engine, thank God...
    My loafer was O.K., but my jacket was torn off me...wrecked my shirt, too.
    Ankle hurt like blazes, but...
    I braved it, got into my familiar white tee shirt, Levi's, and engineer boots.
    Crap. Geri Ferrari would be in 2nd period English...and me lookin' like some 'rodder'!
    My 'style change' would have to wait. Maybe right after the battery.
    belair and low budget like this.
  20. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,141


    For twenty years my '49 Chevy 1/2 ton has been a dd/only vehicle. About year ten I came out of work one summer day and it's the 10th or 12th time it takes to start. Too tired to investigate I wake up the following day and she starts on the 6th or 7th try, after that at least a half dozen tries for every start-up. The following spring I'm checking plugs, etc. pop the cover off the distributor and there is no commutator or what ever it is called on top of the rotor! In order for 153624 to happen she's been arcing across the signal for 7 months! Felt like a fool, amazed that it could actually run not to mention start! Oh yes, metal contact? Lying comfortably inside the distributor laughing at me.
  21. safetythird
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 81


    Dumbest thing I ever did while working on it?

    I stopped.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  22. One time I drove around with an old loose car battery in the bed of a pick up. It had a bed liner so it slid around every time I took off from a stop sign or stopped. I later noticed brown spots on the back of the cab. That was where the battery acid ate the paint down to metal. Apparently every time it slid and then hit, like the front of the bed by the cab, it spit battery acid!:eek:
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  23. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,066

    from Berry, AL

    OT 92 T Bird, sitting in my driveway behind my pickup which is under carport. Decided to see if it will do a small burnout, brake torque it, starts to spin the tires and squeal them a little, let off the gas and brakes, floor mat has gas pedal stuck down! Pucker time! Stomped gas pedal a time or two, making it worse, at last second have enough sense to cut ignition switch off, car stops just slightly touching pickup bumper.

    I didn't unload my Lincoln off the trailer when I got it, knowing I would need to get underneath it to run brake lines. My trailer is open in the middle, ramps on each side. After I found out I had a Mustang II 4 lug rear end under it, I decided to just go ahead and pull it while the car was on the trailer, too. Had it sitting on jack stands on the trailer, I never had taken the chain off the front end so it couldn't roll back off the trailer on me. I needed to get to my 220v welder, so I decided I'd just go ahead and put the trailer and car under the carport instead of dragging out 50' of welding leads. Everything went smooth until I started up the slight incline to the driveway from the yard and touched my brakes so it wouldn't bump when it climbed the 1" onto the concrete driveway. Just that small change in direction was enough to make the Lincoln roll forward off the jack stands. The trailer bulkhead stopped the front tires, if it hadn't been there it probably would have ended up in the pickup bed. Went ahead and backed it into the carport, then had to jack it back up and put the jack stands back under the frame. Oh yeah, I ran a chain from the frame to the back of the trailer, too, didn't want it to roll forward again with me under it!
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  24. Cullyflower
    Joined: Jan 19, 2013
    Posts: 40


    1968 I bought a 57 chevy to run D/Gas. Time to remove the gas tank I pulled out the drain plug and not a drop of gas came out. Removing the straps holding the tank the nut snapped off on the first one. This was to easy when the second bolt broke too. Got out from under the car, got a hammer slid back under and tapped on one of the straps. The tank dropped and hit me hard in the abdomen. It was half full and now it was leaking stale gas on me. our neighbor helped me get out and insisted on calling the ambulance in case I had internal injuries. The ambulance came and took me to the hospital stinking of stale gas.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  25. My cousin sometimes had a short temper when he was young. He bought a really nice 57 Chevy Bel Air 4 door hardtop. Beautiful black paint looked flawless. One day while working under the hood he bumped his head on the hood. He happened to have a large wrench in his hand at the time and proceeded to show that hood who was boss. So he had a beautiful black 57 Chevy with only one dent in it....a big one right in the curve of the front of the hood. I'm thinkin' he regretted that.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  26. Leevon
    Joined: Oct 5, 2009
    Posts: 401

    from Nixa, MO

    Left my 4yo son in the cab while I went to the front to tweak the idle screw on our inclined driveway. He was doing fine until I told him "don't touch that shiny lever". Seconds later it feels like the truck is rolling backward, because it is. I couldn't do much without getting ran over so I had to let him ride it out down the drive and into the opposite street curb. Fortunately there was nothing in his way but that square curb and empty field. He had a white knuckle grip on the wheel and the look on his face was pure "oh crap I messed up!" right until it slammed into the curb. We both learned a lesson.
    Nostrebor and CudaChick1968 like this.
  27. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,637

    from Minnesota

    Too many to list and some too stupid to mention
  28. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,368


    I think this about sums it up for alot of us.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  29. GraeffSS
    Joined: May 9, 2016
    Posts: 51


    First time starting the 261 that went into my avatar, noticed a weird "wire" tied to the engine, it was oil coming out of where the oil gauge should connect and hitting the barn roof, when i noticed i told my father to turn it of, without noticing that my grandpa was in the trajectory of the now descending oil...

    Torquing head and flywheel bolts in my OT 42 Willys MB, our torque wrench reads in NM, and i had the torque values in FT/LB, only realized after the engine was in place. (i already torqued the head again, but will have to wait until we take the engine out again to do the flywheel)

    Moving my avatar back to the garage after months siting in an carport, my father was washing the tires and asked me to move the block that was holding it, when the tire hit the block it moved and the truck just keep on rolling backwards, luckily it hit a plastic trash can which absorbed the impact so there was no damage to the truck or any walls...
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  30. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 3,515


    This memory popped in after reading your story. I worked part time in winter at a gas station, big operation, towing, AAA service, snow plowing. On winter service calls usually no start, the rule was hook up starter booster unit, 3 squirts starting spray, spin it over, 1 more 3 squirts if no start, offer to tow it in or collect cash for call and leave, well a very pretty young lady pleaded with me to try some more as she has to get to work, So..... in my infinite wisdom, spray more and look down carb as she is spinning it over, spraying, Kaboom ! flame takes my eyebrows off, scared the hell out of me, now I have to tow it in, gave the lady a ride to work. George looks car over and says, that did'nt happen with 3 sprays, 2 times and asked me if I learned anything ? The carb was broken at base, I put a rebuilt carb on, George did not charge customer anything, thinking I bought a rebuilt carb. George was one of the nicest guys I ever worked for, learned a lot from him, he did not take carb cost off my check, but reminded me a few times, 3 squirts 2 times when going out on service calls.
    Fordors, pila38 and CudaChick1968 like this.

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