Dumb things you done when learning to work on cars

General Discussion

  1. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    778
    Likes Received:
    949
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Location:
    USA
    Admit it, we’ve all pulled some bonehead moves when we first started. Heck, I still do!
    My very first one working on a car was when I was around 13. My dad gave me his old 1973 Dodge Coronet. Dad would drive one into the ground and buy another. It had overheating issues, charging issues, and ran like crap.
    My uncle was completely the opposite. He would take the best of care of his cars and I always aggravated him while he was doing it.
    After dad gave me the Coronet, I asked my uncle what I could do to get it running better. He said to clean the plugs and distributor cap/rotory button.
    So I took all that stuff off, took it to the kitchen sink, and washed them like mom washed the dishes. Then, I put it all back on willy-nilly with no regard as to firing order. I even washed the wires for good measure. Needless to say, I had to get my uncle to come fix it. He cussed me, and called me everything but a milk cow when he saw what I had done.
    Anybody else? Come on now!
     
    • Like Like x 7
  2. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    11,337
    Likes Received:
    6269
    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Location:
    Marcellus, NY
    I've done my share... Never washed a distributor like that though. LOL

    The most memorable was getting engine and trans in the race car and getting it ready to run that weekend. Got everything together and the very last thing I did was get under the car to bolt the converter to the flex plate. As I slid under the car, out of the corner of my eye, there was a torque converter sitting on the floor and it registered as I looked in the empty bell housing. I'd left the converter out!
     
    • Like Like x 10
  3. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    778
    Likes Received:
    949
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Location:
    USA
    Oh man, that’s bad! I’ve done similar things. I really cuss myself when I do.
    When I was young I was dumb. Now I’m old and can’t remember what tool I crawled out from under the car to get.
     
  4. Zymurgy

    Zymurgy Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Likes Received:
    4128
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    London, Ohio
    I'll commit more when I have more time to list them all. :)

    To start with, I installed my shoes backwards on my rear brakes. Someone here noticed from a photo. They have been wrong for over 6 years
     
    • Like Like x 7
  5. GJS

    GJS Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,242
    Likes Received:
    2242
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I broke a cotter pin off in the stud of my upper ball joint when I was swapping to front disk in my 68 way back when. I'd been at it for many hours, the sun was gone and I had a massive headache. With my hands covered in 25 year old grease, I took my leatherman out, opened up the awl, put my left hand on one side of the stud to support it and tried to drive the remains of the pin out.... a couple seconds in I realized what I was doing just as the awl slipped and I drove it fully into the ball of my left hand.

    I'm sure I've done a bunch of other dumb shit. Dumb but cool stuff was like, changing a transmission parallel parked on 11th Ave in Vancouver ... changing a piston parallel parked in Montreal. .. Oddly, nothing bad came of those incidents... just a few tickets.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  6. mr. fix it

    mr. fix it Old Man with a Hat

    Messages:
    6,129
    Likes Received:
    3540
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Location:
    Welland, ON
    Personally injury or just a plain old dumb thing I broke while working on a car?
    There's been many or both :lol:

    I can only remember buying a used 289 Ford V8 once to drop into my 68 Cougar that was my personal money pit at the time.
    Got it all dropped in and took it about 1/2 mile and blew that engine to kingdom come...
    & another one now I'm thinking about this was when i burned a 2 ton Dodge dump truck to the ground trying to use a torch to remove a seized bolt that was near the reservoir tank for the dump box... Got hauled up on the carpet for that one...

    Personal injury was working on my sister's little 74 Honda civic with the stupid external signal lamps on the front bumper.
    I was fixing the bulb when I tried to remove the one lens & the Phillips screw was stuck & I was applying pressure to the screwdriver because the screww was threatening to strip off.
    Well the screwdriver slipped and next second I was staring at the business end of the screwdriver coming out of the back of my hand having stabbed myself right through the fleshy part of my hand between my thumb & fore finger.
    Still got the scar from that one...:rolleyes:
     
    • Like Like x 5
  7. mr. fix it

    mr. fix it Old Man with a Hat

    Messages:
    6,129
    Likes Received:
    3540
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Location:
    Welland, ON
    Good thing no one else saw that Mike!:rofl:
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  8. Zymurgy

    Zymurgy Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Likes Received:
    4128
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    London, Ohio

    You beat me. The last one falls under the no good deed goes unpunished.
     
  9. GJS

    GJS Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,242
    Likes Received:
    2242
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Location:
    Connecticut
    ooooo reaaallly stupid one:
    "Modifying" a 73 NYer stub to put in an already sketchy 69 Sport Fury ... that in and of itself was stupid... the steering coupler wasn't wanting to go over the splined input shaft so I gave it some love and got it on to the point that I could get the roll pin in... after tooling around Vancouver with my new TOTALLY WORN OUT 440 I pulled into a gas station, past the pump, put it in reverse, went to crank the steering wheel and it just spun... seems I over extended the coupling and broke the pin that held the bushings and it just came apart. A few minutes prior I'd been noticing how nice the engine sounded at close to 100MPH. How the hell I didn't die that day is beyond me.

    That was the last time I did anything to an automobile without looking real close into the proper way of doing it.
     
    • Like Like x 7
  10. Polara_500

    Polara_500 Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,267
    Likes Received:
    933
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Location:
    Up North, you betcha!
    Showing a friend how to do a tuneup on a 383 in my old Polara, got it done and it would not fire.... after I killed the battery he even towed it around the block so I could dump the clutch and start it - still no go. Got back to his place and opened the hood and the first thing I saw on top of the radiator was the rotor.
     
    • Like Like x 8
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    778
    Likes Received:
    949
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Location:
    USA
    See this scar on my hand? That’s from a 727 falling off of the back of a 360 in a 77 Cordoba. It was up on blocks in the gravel and I had a buddy helping me. It was about the humpteenth transmission change on this particular car. We had no jack to jack the transmission up with and we were just muscling it in there.My buddy thought he had a bolt started and he didn’t. I still had my hand under the bell housing when it fell. That was 33 years ago.

    6B15A567-D124-481A-B5DA-55130A013836.jpeg
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    778
    Likes Received:
    949
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Location:
    USA
    I’ve done that more than once!
     
  13. BLUPORT

    BLUPORT Carpe Diem Cras FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes Received:
    869
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    I went out to the beach with my girlfriend (at the time) and one of my "buddies." I use that term loosely, because he has never really been a good friend, more of a mooch who was useless as a person, but fun to drink with. I had a 4WD Grand Cherokee and found out there was a section of the beach I could drive on, so we went out on the beach, hung out for a while, and a few hours later went back towards the road. having behaved the entire time, I decided to splash through one puddle on the way out at 30mph, and found out the hard way, it was a hole someone dug, several feet deep. Jeep instantly shut off. No structural or body damage, surprisingly, so I figured I got water under the distributor cap. Pulled it, wiped it for good measure, but still nothing. Checked all fuses, they were good.

    I had no actual tools with me, but there was *a tool* I had brought along, and I wanted to check for spark as far down the line as I could, so I pulled the wire off the coil, and told him to keep one hand on the coil, and put his other hand on the radiator support, and let me know if he felt a "tickle" like when you put a 9v on your tongue... then I bumped the key to crank the engine, and the resulting sound of his hand smacking the under-hood, and incessant cuss-fest told me I had spark.

    A few hours later, it still wouldn't crank, so I had it towed to my apartment. Pulled plugs, checked for spark, checked for fuel, everything was there, but it still wouldn't crank. I looked over the block (everywhere I could see) and I was out of ideas. Finally slammed the hood, and let the mechanic come get it. He walks up, turns the key, and the sunuvabitch started right up. Turned out the bulkhead connection had a bolt in the middle that worked its way out a bit, and the bump was enough to break connection. Threw some dielectric grease in there for good measure and it was good to go.
     
    • Like Like x 6
  14. 70bigblockdodge

    70bigblockdodge Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    10,904
    Likes Received:
    4229
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Location:
    Avonmore Pa.
    Touch stuff you know is hot, and I will do it again just wait.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  15. Rapidtrans777

    Rapidtrans777 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    346
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera
    Unless you read the thread, lol:lol:
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Rapidtrans777

    Rapidtrans777 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    346
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera
    I still do stupid stuff. Haven't lost any digits yet. 20190515_141329.jpg
    Taking loose a transmission cooler line, it didn't want to crack loose, gave a good grunt and when it came loose a bolt head caught my thumbnail. Ripped my nail to the cuticle. 8 years now, its almost grown out.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. bluefury361

    bluefury361 Old Man with a Hat

    Messages:
    11,276
    Likes Received:
    6937
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Location:
    Alabama
    Worst thing I did was pick up the correct end of a screw driver. Shooda went to school.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. 413

    413 Active Member

    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    77
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2019
    Location:
    NW USA
    Teenager working on drum brakes, no proper spring tool, so just grab it with vice grips and pull. Still have the scar on my forehead, just above eyebrow so it’s well hidden. Man did that hurt for a while!
     
    • Like Like x 7
  19. Wildbunch02

    Wildbunch02 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    121
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island
    I did an oil change once when I was a teenager. I removed the drain plug, drained the oil, swapped out the filter, refilled with 5qts of oil, and I got 5qts on the garage floor.
    Sometimes you learn the hard way.
    :rolleyes:
     
    • Like Like x 7
    • Agree Agree x 4
  20. jollyjoker

    jollyjoker Member

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    56
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Location:
    Ohio
    Back around 1991, I had my "new" 65 Monaco project, and found out that somebody along the way had plugged one of the two gas tank vent tubes w/ an old pencil. Went to salvage yard, and obtained correct tube (you know, the one that loops up through the trunk, then back out). Went to install, and found out the attachment was stripped-out. Went to hardware store and obtained some sort of plumbing fitting which would fit - if I could make the hole a little bigger. So, there I am . . . car jacked-up, wedged in between the 8 3/4 and the gas tank, w/ Dremel tool cranked up, and sparks flying everywhere from the gas tank sheet metal. Hey . . . what could possibly go wrong??? Guess I'm living proof that the Good Lord does look out for idiots and fools . . .
     
    • Like Like x 7
    • Agree Agree x 1