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Busted my ass putting on stock new heads and used copper head gaskets.
Dumbest thing I ever did was do a tune up on my best friends 1965 Buick Wildcat with a 430 engine, then go out the next night, get drunk, and let him challenge me to a race. He cleaned my clock against my 1969 Newport with a 440. I still have not lived that one down in 46 years.
I had one of those nailhead Buicks. Drag a 5.7 hemi backwards faster than it would go forwards.
We all have so many tales to tell.
My first one: Put a fancy-scmancy Holley 500 2bbl on my 318 '68 Dart, circa 1973 when I was 17. Got it installed correctly, started the car, hit the gas once or twice and the return spring flew off and the engine went to the sky. Pals and hanger-oners scattered in every direction instead closing the throttle, and in my panic I got out of the car to do the same instead of simply switching the ignition off. Instead of diving back into the car, I snatched off the coil wire to kill the engine which was now at about 12,001 rpm--which worked, of course--but also lit me up like a Christmas tree. I can remember it like yesterday.
My second one, same Dart: Installing the infamous Gabriel Hi-Jacker airshocks. Wanted a clean installation so I located the inflation nipple in the trunk. Now, to get the air line to the shocks, I drilled a hole in one of those "black plastic body plug things". Then I smelled gasoline!
Third, same poor Dart: So excited to be putting headers on it! But those "bar things" down there were preventing the last 1/4" of needed clearance to slide the right side into place. A big crowbar and a large, strong pal bent the bar just enough to force those glorious headers into place. As I learned later, that was the torsion bar, a highly loaded bar made of spring steel. Fortunately it didn't take a set, but was I ever humbled at my ignorance.
And isn't that what it is, simple blissful ignorance? In the ensuing 46 years there is very little ignorance left (as it should be). After all, I now tinker with high-strung Ducatis, fer gawdsakes. But I know a bonehead move is always waiting for me in the garage.
That's me with the wrench on the engine mounts. High-revving 318 going out, 340 going in.
I'm not going to tell you if you didn't see it , but it was recently.
We are finally having a warm dry weekend. I am planning a nice long test drive to hopefully confirm the reversed shoes have been the source of the problem all along.
I'm sure you will let us know Mike.
Putting the top end of my engine back together last year. Was almost done bolting everything back together. Then i realized i forgot to remove the rags i had in the valley...
Are you saying you removed them before firing the engine?? I didn't - not until after I'd dropped the pan 3 times to pick crap (shredded terry cloth) out of the pickup after losing oil pressure 3 times. Sometimes I can be a slow learner.
As others have stated I probably have forgotten more bonehead moves but will post up a couple.
Probably around 16-17, and I had Picked up a nice set of cragars for my then 1980 2dr Plymouth caravelle....got them on and started a nice high speed run down the road to test them out....well I started noticing shiny things catching the light coming by my driver and passenger window....car started to shake really bad so hit the brakes. Turns out I had only hand tightened the lug nuts, was down to 1 lug nut half worked off on each front wheel!
Had a 72 Demon around the16-17 age with a slanty/auto. I rebuilt the motor, had the head professionally done, but did not understand then about setting lash on solid lifters so just tightened them up., also never checked any clearances on the bearings/rings etc. Motor only lasted a few months before it killed itself.
Dropped the pan on my 73 340 roadrunner for the rear main seal and a HV oil pump. Got it all back together and looked over and the oil pump and pickup were still on the bench.
I would say that the latest boneheaded move was when I was putting my Polara front stub frame together was I had painted the engine and used spark plugs that had too long of a reach
I was about to install the engine and cranked it over by hand only to hear the sickening sound of porcelain electrodes being crushed in the cylinder combustion chambers
I tried fishing out the debris but ended up having to remove the cylinder heads to make sure that there were no electrodes or porcelain left behind ...
Edited: I had a few extra beers after that day LOL!
Ha, this is great, all coming back to me now... I knew I did a lot of stupid stuff!
First fire on my freshly built 440 for the 68. Decided to break it in with the original logs. Primed the oiling system, checked for fuel at the carb, hooked up ignition, got a basic timing, turned the key and it fired right off. Keeping my eye on the tach maintaining 2500 rpm, oil pressure is good, temp climbing... still just keeping it at 2500. A buddy of mine is holding the hose in the rad and watching everything up front. Temperature is looking a little north of what I’d expect from something being fed cold water from a hose but.. 10 minutes in. At about 15 minutes, I notice the hose fall out of the radiator and there’s nothing out the window but steam. My buddy appears through the fog and sort of calmly says “shut it off.”
I say “what? We’re not there yet!” And he goes “ok, shut it off now and possibly toast a valve or keep pushing and suck a valve and potentially destroy a perfectly good block..”
So I drop it to idle and get out. The drivers manifold is GLOWING red. I shut it down.... then noticed the exhaust tubes I’d hacked up just to keep enough back pressure to keep this very thing from happening.
Didn’t start it again until the next morning after hooking up the pipes and everything was fine but man, I had nightmares about that glowing red exhaust manifold for years after that.
I don't feel alone anymore.
Keep in mind that those that don’t do, can’t get hurt
We have all done and have the scars to show it
This is quite possibly the Best Thread Ever.
Uh oh, thats exactly how I work on my drums!
There is too many for me to list. Just a few examples: Making the perfect double flare on a brake or fuel line only to see the fitting lying on the floor. Not putting the ground wire on a GM HEI ignition coil and wasting a lot of time trying to figure it out. Driving out old lower control arm bushings and hitting my thumb not once, but twice. Hey, if it was easy, anyone could do it.
Many moons ago my first car was a 29 Desoto roadster, I was 17. My dad who lent me the $50 bucks to buy it said when you get it home you need to change the oil etc but dont do it on my new lawn! Well when he was out I naughtily snuck onto that nice soft grass and like wildbunch02 I forgot the sump plug. As you guessed I ended up with a sump full of new oil all over dads prize lawn. In a panic I replaced the plug and refilled with oil, I quickly started her up from outside the car and she? quietly dawdled off in top gear through the back fence, boy did I well and truly cop it!'#*%
I was about four, when I got to help dad with fixing his then-current daily driven 82 Buick Electra Park Avenue. Don´t ask what we were doing, but one thing I remember clearly is closing the hood. I had left my other hand under the front edge of the hood with no idea how to open it.
I did not do this myself, but paybacks a bitch....;) I had done something to wrong my grandfather and he asked me to help him tune up a car, I was probably 10 or so and was super happy to be included. He had me tinkering on a few odds and ends while he finished what he was doing and fired the vehicle up. Then he came around and showed me a wire to remove when he got around to the inside of the car and hollar'd at me. Well turned out it was the coil plug wire and when I pulled it out he rev'd the motor up causing me to get a significant jolt. He chuckled and said I would remember that one for sure.....yup sure did thanks Grandpa!!