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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. I guess I have done a lot of dumb things.
    I was rewiring my Corvette yesterday and remembered when I first got it, after painting the engine compartment nice and shiny and p0lishing up all the aluminum trim, I was going to start the engine for the first time. I had open headers on it.
    I evidently dropped a rag under the car and on the initial fire up it backfired. I didn't notice but it caught the rag on fire.
    By the time I did notice, it had caught some of the plastic body on fire. I quickly pushed it out of the garage and attempted to put out the fire with a garden hose. My neighbor called the fire department.
    I got it out, but not before that burned plastic and flames ruined all of my shiny under hood detailing with black soot.
    Since then I have had a fire extinguisher handy to protect my new front end and new paint job. That was 35 years ago and I have a friend who still brings that up and kids me about it every time we meet.
  2. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    from SW Wyoming

    I always lube all the hinges and latches on cars and trucks with WD40 and white lithium when I first buy them. A couple years ago, I got a really nice g-body GP, and ran out of WD while doing the hood hinges and latches, got sidetracked, and went into the house for the night. The next morning I left for work in it, and I was extremely surprised when the hood flew up about 200 yards up the street. Duh! New rule #1, never leave the hood unlatched for any reason.
  3. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,525

    seb fontana
    from ct

    I learned to NOT pump the brakes with the cap OFF the master cylinder! The brake fluid squirted up hitting the ceiling and dripping down on to the firewall; nicely messing up the fresh black paint..
  4. LOL dumbest thing? Well that usually involves me picking up a wrench. LOL
  5. jbon64
    Joined: Jul 26, 2006
    Posts: 465


    a few i can think of at the moment . using a breaker bar on a stubborn bolt , finally broke loose ,there is a good reason you pull the bar toward you . nice big gash on my forehead bled all over the place.
    cleaning valve covers on the bench , i had them sitting on a couple old t shirts , used several cans of brake clean , the tshirts soaked up the brake clean and i was leaning over the whole operation breathing up all the fumes......first everything went black and white ,then i started seeing sparkles . i made it out before i fainted.
    wicarnut and Bandit Billy like this.
  6. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 6,778

    Bandit Billy

    A buddy of mine this morning sent me a text. He has a habit of warming up spray cans on his propane heater on cold days so they spray out better. Well he evidently left the can on the burner a bit too long today. When he grabbed the can and shook the agitator lose the can exploded sending the bottom of the can into his gut and the rest of the can through the sheetrock ceiling above his dead. Talk about spray bomb!

    He is ok fortunately, sore but ok. I asked him if he found the marble out of the can, he said not yet but will check his stool.
    mgtstumpy, 56don and Boneyard51 like this.
  7. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,037


    Working on an old Power Wagon 4x4 I had just replaced the trans and couldn't get it to engage, put it into gear nothing, checked the clutch adjustments several times nothing changed, finally I decided to take it apart again, when I happen to look down at the transfer case and noticed it was in neutral.
  8. The Milwaukee Crippler! Dad had a 1974 XLCH and told me I could ride it if I could start it. Young and dumb, I jumped up and down on that damn old bastard not realizing it has a procedure. Once I learned it, no problem.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  9. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,137


    Guy lived across the street from me in 1968 had a brand new OT Mustang GT390. He found out how much the Ford dealer wanted to change the plugs and asked me if I could help him do it instead. After 4 or 5 Budweisers, we decided we didn't have enough U-joints in the tool box to get it done and the best way was to torch out holes in the inner wheel wells. Made it a lot easier to get to the plugs but, I'm sure it hurt the resale value somewhat.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  10. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 589


    Guy I worked with at the body shop had a side job painting his neighbour’s car.
    It was in primer and he decided to wash it to clean the dust off before spraying it. Then he made the decision to drive the car around the block to dry it off. He forgot that he had taken all the latches out to do the jambs.
    About a block up the street and about the time he found traction the hood flew up over the roof, scared him enough to stand on the brakes and the doors and trunk flew open.
    Several more weeks of bodywork before paint.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Truck64 likes this.
  11. Twenty five years ago was grinding of some metal while a bottle of Acetone fell on the floor.
    Was almost finished my grinding so i thought i would finished that first and then clean up
    the broken and spilled Acetone. Of course it catched fire and my Porsche 911 was 3 feet away and was almost damaged. Got lucky to loose only some hair (that never came back :() on my head.

    Three years ago was welding something and was forgotten that i was standing on some rags that were on the floor, which were used half and hour earlier and were still containing gasoline.
    You guessed it it was catching fire and with the welding helmet on i didn't see it before i was on fire.
    Had to go to the hospital and they had to transplant skin of my legs to 'restore' everything.
    Lesson again, be careful with flammable things :)

    Bandit Billy likes this.
  12. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,137


    Did something similar, set my brand new insulated Carhartts with the nylon lining on fire while welding overhead 135 feet in the air on a water tower. The nylon melted and stuck to my skin. I found out that peeing your pants can sometimes be a good thing.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  13. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    from SW Wyoming

    I have always loved old Sportsters, although I am now "officially banned from any more motorcycles". The last one left a few years ago, sold to a member of the chaps and fringe set, whose first change was to find electric start parts for it D)
    There will be another magneto equipped Sporty in the house one day, she just doesn't know yet....
    XLCH definition;
  14. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,804

    from Nicasio Ca

    Me and my room mates. The limping 3.

  15. Kirby50
    Joined: Nov 4, 2012
    Posts: 14

    from san diego

    Had a '71 pickup with a SBC 350 that had about 360K miles on it. What does any 18 year old do to freshen up an old motor like that? You but a 292 Duration cam in it put a single plane intake and 3500 stall in it while doing nothing else to the motor!! Every 4th or 5th time starting that truck it would backfire for no reason at all. Each time it back fired it would caught on fire!!! After a summer of fires and numerous hats and shirts used to put out fires. I finally investigated the source of the fires. I had a small pin hole leak in the fuel line and it would pool up behind the carb on the intake. Oh the life of a teenage....
  16. I’ve never heard that, but it’s so very true!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  17. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 773

    oliver westlund

    hmmm...most i wont admit to or have selectively forgotten but i have to tell one right? had a 72 firebird ot i know...did all mechanical stuff first, engine rebuild, trans, billet flywheel, clutch, rear end, the works... had it all ready for bodywork when life hit, fiance was pregnant, the car was backburner. we went through a very very cold winter for here, major ice storm. i didnt check any of my vehicles coolant status as i normally do.... a couple months later we were moving out to the family farm. i hop in the 72 and fire it up, start out on the 15 min drive, 5 min goes by and a little tick tick tick starts.... i turned the radio off.....tick tick tick.... i lean forward and listen reeeeaaaal close....clack clack clack CLACK CLACK CLACK BOOM! crank rod, and various other internals go shooting everywhere.... no.... i pull over....oil....water/coolant....i stick my head under and theres a 4" hole in the oil pan... noooooooo..... baby on the money.... SO MUCH INVESTED.... sold it for 2500 i think? i paid 4k before i did all the work... still makes me sick
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  18. I did that with a tractor a few years ago. Always check the antifreeze before winter, even in a temperate climate, its very costly to forget that.
  19. Had my little brother helping me do some cutting with a torch under my 1956 F-100 after it came out of the spray booth (for the second time). Truck was on jack stands, he was under the truck, came out and used the running board to help himself up and pointed the torch square in the middle of the fresh yellow paint. Hate when that happens!
    Truck64 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  20. Doublepumper
    Joined: Jun 26, 2016
    Posts: 648


    Done many over the years, but my most memorable one was when I had my '65 Chevy truck up on a lift doing some tranny linkage adjustments and had opened the drivers side door to get at the shift lever. Got it done and went to lower the lift....down it goes, only to find the truck is leaning heavily towards the passenger side....WTH? Go over to the drivers side to see I had left the door open and it's now resting perfectly centered over the top of a fifty gallon barrel of oil. I'll never forget that one.
  21. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,197


    19 years old, helping a friend put a 396 in his Chevy, engine on hoist, friend has to go into his house for a phone call ( remember that)...wait.....wait.......wait.....well I’ll just push that Chevy in the garage by myself....did.....engine now in windshield!

  22. Crocodile
    Joined: Jun 16, 2016
    Posts: 231


    Really amazed at how many folks will run straight water, even down south. Anti-freeze coolant helps to keep rust from forming in the block and heads, and has other corrosion inhibitors in it. I would think even a weak mixture would be well worth the money. And, even weak, the coolant usually just slushes up, rather than freezing hard, so much less risk if it does get below freezing.
  23. hotrod1948
    Joined: Jan 17, 2011
    Posts: 454

    from Milton, WI

    Thoughts like this one assumes we all have our brains in gear, are not in a hurry, not thinking about women/girls, and there is no alcohol involved!
  24. While adjusting valves in the 70's on a big block Nova with a firewall mounted Accel Super Coil and the engine running, I managed to cross the posts on the coil with the extension on the ratchet. I ended up 3 feet away from the car, on my ass with the ratchet and extension still clenched now quite tightly in my hands. Never, ever made that mistake again !
    wicarnut likes this.
  25. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 773

    oliver westlund

    I DID have coolant in it... mid summer the year before i had a loose rad hose, snugged it up and being a lazy idiot (probably drinking too) i just topped it off with water haha seems like a common. trend. booze...dumb shit with cars.... Screenshot_20190216-231123_Gallery.jpg
    Saxman likes this.
  26. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 773

    oliver westlund

    this one reminds me of another ill share...was stick welding the floor pans in another ot 66 charger...cable got caught so i pulled it, when i pulled it the stick went through a hole in the steering wheel...behind my mask...connected with my temple, i was lucky enough after a bit my body shaking broke the contact. i rolled out into the fetal position for ohhhh 30 or 40 minutes before shakily walking back the 300 yards to the house. looked in the mirror and i had a line running down the side of my head that was pink, no hair anymore and blood dripping down. i never did THAT again either haha
    56don likes this.
  27. Tri-power37
    Joined: Feb 10, 2019
    Posts: 510


    In the late 80s I had a rusty 65 ford short box three on the tree 300 six ran beautiful. It got real cold real fast lots of wind chill . My dear old dad said you better check your anti freeze. Typical teenager - to stupid to listen . Truck wouldn’t even turn over ,we pushed it in the garage took the head off -cylinders all cracked and broken. The look on the old mans face was priceless. I always put antifreeze in cars ever since even if it’s summertime cause that’s how it gets you , l had done a repair on that truck months before when it was warm out and only put water in it.
    oliver westlund likes this.
  28. I have always put straight water into an engine after rebuilds or other mechanical work that requires removal of radiator, heads, etc.

    The reason is that it is a lot easier to clean up water than anti-freeze in the event of a big leak. You have to remember to get back to a 50-50 mix, however.

    I'm waiting for the thread about forgetting to put oil in an engine after an oil change, however.
  29. OK Your wait is over.. kinda the same thing. Mid 80s I had an Olds 442. It had a bad oil leak but ran like a scalded dog. I didn't drive it for a while, I forget why, but one day after a few months I put a battery in it and cranked it up. In a fit of stupid, I did not check the oil. It cranked up and ran. I gunned it to warm it up when it just stopped dead suddenly. Oops!. I checked the oil....empty. I had to rebuild it, it had the main bearings fused to the crank.
    olscrounger likes this.
  30. Low-Blow
    Joined: Apr 6, 2009
    Posts: 174


    I leaned on the front of the grill shell and broke the V8 emblem off my '35!

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