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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. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 854

    wood remover

    How about as recent as Saturday !!!!
    Put a new waterpump on my 64 f100 390 .
    Buttoned everything up , ran the motor to operating temp.. 190
    Shut it down , removed the tools from the wheel well , removed the rad cap to check the water level . Water geisered out , my right arm and right tit are still red ......
    What was I thinking !!!!
    Bleach and CudaChick1968 like this.
  2. CudaChick1968
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 104


    @wood remover ... Well, it's cheaper than a new jacuzzi. :D
    Sorry you got hurt though. Here, have some Noxema.
  3. proartguy
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 378

    from Sparks, NV


    While replacing the trans in my ‘31 (my avatar) in 1964, one of my friends was helping on the top side as another friend and I wrestled it all together. We came up a bolt short but found a substitute. Got it done and went for a triumphant test ride. As I shifted to second, remarking how good it worked to my passenger, the rear tires locked up and we both just missed hitting the windshield!

    It seemed my inexperienced helper neglected to say he knocked a bolt into the open transmission during assembly. No wonder he had suddenly gone home. He avoided me the remainder of high school.

    I still have the bolt to remind me to pay attention.
    belair likes this.
  4. BillyM
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 144


    I have had a couple mentioned earlier, I too lit my backseat on fire on my first car. I thought I'd do a bangup job of welding a rust hole inside the front of the rear wheel well. Burned up the backseat and headliner on a 73 Cuda.

    Another time my buddy and I were prepping this very nicely kept 75 Camaro for paint. Two tone blue. We had it outside the shop as it was a nice day in the spring. We were only going to spray the lower dark blue colour as it had a few stone chips. My dad came piss wheeling along with the tractor and cornplanter - he had a problem and get out of his way when he had a problem! He pulls up alongside the Camaro and drops the planter, which of course drops the side marker and wham, it slices a crescent shape right into the hood of the Camaro, just missing the hoodscoop.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
    Joined: Jul 20, 2016
    Posts: 409


    Put oil in with the pan plug out...

    Tested an A/A roadster on the strip and discovered the front wheel lug nuts were only finger tight....

    dumb Phil
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  6. LongT
    Joined: May 11, 2005
    Posts: 935


    No flexible line between hard line and suspension on the brakes of a '39 Ford Coupe. Hardline broke when my brother was running it at Island Dragway. He did get it stopped.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  7. hotrod1948
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 386

    from Milton, WI

    The minimum attempt are two, every time. I try to get it in under 5, and I do in about 50% of the times.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  8. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,501

    from washington

    Left the ot truck out when it was freezing outside with no anti freeze and cracked both the block and both heads. Bought some rebuilt heads and had the machine shop hone the cylinders of the new, to me, block and install the cam bearings. The also said they installed the freeze plugs for me. Put the block on the stand and installed cam, crank, pistons, heads, ect. and painted engine. After installing engine and hooking up wiring, exhaust and everything , I started adding anti freeze to radiator and after a while, noticed a huge puddle under the truck. Long story short, they had forgotten to install freeze plugs on the back of the engine.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  9. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 15,216

    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    and how many of us have flared a line with out a fitting put on first? show of hands.........we have all done it....
  10. jimmy959
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 108


    Adjusting the carb on my ’58 Ford Ranch Wagon with a C4 and Lokar shifter set in Park. Hanging over the engine and revving the engine up manually, the shifter slipped out of Park into Reverse and backed out of the garage, rolled across the alley into a 6 inch wide steel pole, putting a nice dent and bend into my rear bumper. Luckily I got out of the way in time to not be dragged by the reverse opening hood. Also VERY lucky I didn’t hit anybody driving/walking/riding down the alley. Come to find out later that the shifter detent plate was installed backwards causing it to easily shift out of Park all the time….
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  11. Once put a fire out with beer while welding patches in an early bronco.., Damn shame about the beer....

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    CudaChick1968, Bleach and VANDENPLAS like this.
  12. Oh and once pulled a float bowl off a Holley to change jets, spilling fuel on the intake in the process, a backfire through the carb and the entire engine was on fire. Car half in my Dad’s shop, me panicking, pulled my shirt off to try to put it out, ended up running for an extinguisher. Car was fine....shirt not so much!!

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  13. 29moonshine
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,290


    I took the guard off a 4"grinder so I could cut off a bolt head wheel shattered. got 14 stiches in my neck.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  14. brianf31
    Joined: Aug 11, 2003
    Posts: 518


    Primed the oil pump but forgot to install the oil pressure sender first. I lost two quarts of VR-1 before I noticed the waterfall.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  15. Now that could have turned deadly.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  16. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,016

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Lately it only takes about 30 seconds for something that was in my hand to disappear..Then it takes 30 minutes to find it; IF I am lucky!! Recently I started a project on fire; I mean I caught the project on fire..Almost had it out by tamping with the fiberglass welding blanket that was supposed to not let the fire happen:(..Got too hot so I got the ABC extinguisher and gave it a shot..Fire out but holy crap what a mess!! Damn crap was even in my teeth and it don't taste too good either:rolleyes:....
    Bleach and CudaChick1968 like this.
  17. jailbar joe
    Joined: Nov 21, 2014
    Posts: 299

    jailbar joe

    was backing a toyo ute out of a big 100x40 foot shed and the coaster mirror knocked therfire extinguisher of the door post and in slow motion it fell to the floor rolled over and the pin fell out of the hand piece and it kept rolling till the handle was squashed against the broom......whooossh....filled the whole shed....couldn't go back in for ages:eek:
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  18. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,598


    Set my '62 Falcon's rear seat on fire welding in shoulder belt mounts. That cotton is damn hard to put out once it starts smoldering and I kept putting it out, it flared back up, put it out, etc, until I got concerned enough about the CAR to yank the seat out and hose it down..... brought a '66 Galaxie home and decided to get it running before checking anything vital, like BRAKES... luckily our chain link fence is strong and buried deep in the back yard... the back brake shoes had been taken off....
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  19. touchdowntodd
    Joined: Jan 15, 2005
    Posts: 4,063


    Tight 1 car garage...

    Collapsed a jack which turned in process, and pinned against the wall... Crushed 3" of rocker panel up on a show paint job....

    Not a good day, week, or month
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  20. chinarus
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 492

    from Georgia

    Hooked up a tow bar to my wife's non running station wagon in the early 80s to tow it to a shop.
    I was pretty skinny back then so I squeezed under it to unhook the driveshaft - but
    OOPS - I forgot to chock the wheels. :(
    The car started rolling and I could not get out from under it.
    My body acted as chock under the rear axle until I finally managed to twist and grab the rear end and ride it down to the end of the driveway where the neighbor saw the car in the street.

    After a ride to the emergency room, Xrays, and my arm in a sling for a severely bruised shoulder joint I mostly recovered.
    Unfortunately the small town ER doc missed the diagnosis for the #2 and #3 neck vertebrae that were twisted (or broken). I found this out last year when neck pain became unbearable.
    New Xrays revealed that my neck has a S curve and I cannot turn my head to the left because of fused vertebrae.
  21. southerncad
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 684


    This is one that I didn't do, BUT I observed a guy do today, he had a battery charger hooked up overnight, and when we went to start the motor....nothing, he couldn't figure it out. So I took a look at the connections, and yup, he had forgotten to pull the little plastic caps off the top posts...what a DUH moment!
  22. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,815

    from Ioway

    My google-fu isn't good enough to dig it up but there's a picture online somewhere of somebodies battery installed in their car complete with cables cinched down tight over those red and black plastic caps.
  23. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 393


    These all happened in my younger days. Have less dumb moves now, but that may be because I don't do as much!

    1) Rear end of my '41 Ford Opera Coupe had terminal problems, so I put together a replacement from pieces I collected from friends. Eventually had to replace the sick rear end, and was surprised to find I had only one forward speed, but three in reverse! (Inverted banjo!)
    2) Was running somewhat late to get to school for a mid-term exam, but my '52 Crosley needed both gas and water to make it. Stopped at the gas station, and frantically ran around the car, opened hood, removed radiator cap, removed gas cap, grabbed the water can, and dumped about two gallons of water into my gas tank!
    3) Wiped out the pressure plate in my XK120 Jaguar coupe, due to throwout bearing fork breaking on one side. Bought new pressure plate, installed in my driveway in mid winter, fired up the car, and found I had no speeds, forward or reverse. Never occurred to me that the bolts on the three fingers of the pressure plate might need to be adjusted on a new clutch; they were not screwed in enough to allow the clutch to release.
    4) Had to replace a burned out piston on a Jaguar XK140 I had bought as a non-runner, so did a valve job while I had the head off. (Very complex and time consuming job on a Jag DOHC engine.) Had to replace the front crank seal, and was given the wrong seal by the parts guy. Lying under the car, I had to rotate the crank attempting to get the seal in, but the crank didn't want to turn. So I pried on the flywheel with a large screw driver, and, with a substantial force, it sprung free and turned. It then occurred to me that I hadn't connected the cams to their chain drive sprockets, and the resistance to turn the crank was because a valve was leaning on a piston. I then re-measured all the valve gaps, and indeed one had increased by about 30 thou. The car was to be my honeymoon ride in about a week, so I didn't have the time to fix it. Ran pretty good anyhow!
  24. SOLD IT ! What stupid thing to do.
  25. scrap_metal
    Joined: Sep 26, 2017
    Posts: 182


    I was adjusting my advance on my distributer, External vacuum. The wrench slipped hit the starter and melted my ring. I was jumping around yelling trying to get that ring of fire off my finger. Cooked my finger pretty good. Didn't wear a ring for about a year. What I learned was disconnect the battery no matter what you are doing.
    Boneyard51 and Truck64 like this.
  26. I was making a set of headers for my truck, I measured, made a template, fitted things up, and then made a perfect set of welds 180 degrees out. I had to cut it all apart and start again. The second weld didn't look anywhere as good as my original welds.

    I was renting a house on a steep hill to a young guy that loved to work on cars. There was a flat concrete pad with lots of room to work. I don't know exactly what he did, but the truck was not chocked, and rolled backward 200 ft down the driveway, across a very busy road, and hit a tree on the other side of the road. If the tree had not been there, the truck would have gone through the roof of a house. He was very sheepish.
    My son parked his car in our driveway, which is also on a fairly steep slope. He left it in gear, but forgot to set the brake. Overnight, the car slowly rolled down the hill, across the road, and into the neighbour's yard. In the morning, thinking his car had been stolen, he woke us all up, and the moment I went outside, I could see the nose of the car on my neighbour's lawn.
    I sold 8 quarts of synthetic oil to a guy that always did his own maintenance. Later that afternoon, he called me and asked if I had another case of oil in stock. I said, sure, come right over. As I was making up the bill for him, I asked him what job he was doing now? His sheepish answer was, the same one. He stated that as he was pouring the last of the oil in, he heard this gurgling sound. He had forgotten to install the drain plug, and poured the oil all over his driveway. Expensive mistake, and very difficult to clean up. I gave him a bunch of sawdust, that I keep for just this kind of problem. He was very grateful.
  27. hotrod1948
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 386

    from Milton, WI

    Convinced myself that I had broken a timing chain and all that was wrong is that i was out of gas.

    Replacing a clutch in an Olds, simply set the pilot bearing in the crank, didn't pound it in and tried to install the transmission, twice, before I figured it out!

    Thought I had blown a clutch disc in a Pontiac, it was a radiator fan blade that cracked and caused the vibration. Didn't find that out until the trans was out of the car!
  28. While this did not damage the car, it was still a dumb thing to do while working on a car. I was installing a C4 trans in a car back when I was young enough to just let it lay on my chest and muscle it up to the engine. I got it all installed and buttoned up and it would not work. Resigned to the fact that I would have to pull it back out, I took a break. And there on my work bench was the input shaft for the trans. Stupid...
    Doctorterry likes this.
  29. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,826



    When I bought my first 40 Ford Sedan Delivery in high school, it was, for me a new car. My hard earned money as a box boy, cabinet maker, and car washer was able to buy that sedan delivery for our daily/weekly surf trips. Upon opening the latch to the pointed hood, I grabbed that lift up handle and proceeded to lift the hood up. Half way up, the cast metal part broke in parts and the hood came crashing down.

    I had no idea that the lever was not strong enough to lift the hood upwards. I had no money left to buy another hard to find replacement part, so I used vice grips to grab the broken end to open the hood for the multiple doses of reclaimed oil on those daily 60+ mile drives to the beach and back. Luckily, we lived near several old swap meets and a NOS lever was purchased for the hood. (thanks, mom...) It was the newest thing on the sedan delivery.

    10 years after high school, my wife and I bought another 40 Ford Sedan Delivery that was painted a red/orange and looked similar to my first one from high school.

    We were twenty somethings and it seemed like, despite the slow way of life we created, there was always rush to get the car ready to attend a whole family get-together. We actually did not want to attend these events, but it was mandatory for good, family relationships.

    I was used to checking the oil, motor, fan belts, A/C pumping, etc, before we went anywhere in this old 40 Sedan Delivery. The SBC ran well and over the years we owned it, not much was necessary as far as maintenance was concerned. But, again, we were in a rush to get to one of these awful family get-togethers.


    I grabbed the cast hood lever and for some reason, I lifted the hood up using the lever for, well, leverage. It hood went up, but came back down with in a few seconds. The half handle was in my hand, a puzzled look was on my face and now I was mad at the big family gathering for making an awful situation, worse. Since the hood shut when the handle broke, I just started the car and we moved along to our fateful destination 30 miles away. No time for a thorough check over before the trip.

    Disgruntled most of the way, the cool drive in the 40 Sedan Delivery, in comfortable bucket seats, nice rock music playing, calmed both of us down to the point that any family gathering was palatable.

    By this time, the Early Ford Store had plenty in stock. Money was available, so it was not a "vise grip" situation for long. Maybe other people did the same thing, too ???
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
    wicarnut and RICH B like this.

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