retiredmechanic74

What was your biggest screw up working on the cars

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Back when I was about 17 I was asked if I could put a rearend in a 1940 olds. O heck ya!!! So the guy brought the olds and the rearend over to my house and dropped it off. I went right to work on it. Taking the old rearend out was a piece of cake. When I got the old one out I had the incite to match them up. Everything was the same except the mounting plates for the springs where on the bottom of the replacement instead of the top. Not a problem I cut the mounts off and wielded them in there proper place and the rearend went in without a hitch. Came time to road test my job and I discovered the car had 3 reverses and one very strong forward. Yes when I matched them up I had the replacement rearend up.... side..... down.  

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3 hours ago, retiredmechanic74 said:

Came time to road test my job and I discovered the car had 3 reverses and one very strong forward. Yes when I matched them up I had the replacement rearend up.... side..... down. 

 

OMG:lol:

 

1980-ish... Young Fella brought in a beauty mint '76 Century, to get new tires. I have always disliked whitewalls. Daydreaming that it was my ride- and to try to sway the guy- I mounted all 4 blackwall. He really liked the look, all was cool. Later on- the kid's Father comes in with the SAME CAR, angry that the whitewalls weren't showing... it was HIS car! Rather than tell the guy his 12 year old Nephew did it- my Uncle just quietly changed them around. Because the guy was such a jerk, and my Uncle liked the way it looked- he never yelled at me for it.

 

 

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2 hours ago, 89RedDarkGrey said:

 

OMG:lol:

 

1980-ish... Young Fella brought in a beauty mint '76 Century, to get new tires. I have always disliked whitewalls. Daydreaming that it was my ride- and to try to sway the guy- I mounted all 4 blackwall. He really liked the look, all was cool. Later on- the kid's Father comes in with the SAME CAR, angry that the whitewalls weren't showing... it was HIS car! Rather than tell the guy his 12 year old Nephew did it- my Uncle just quietly changed them around. Because the guy was such a jerk, and my Uncle liked the way it looked- he never yelled at me for it.

 

 

Speak of white walls (which I like ) I took my Reatta into a tire shop here in South Carolina and had whitewalls put on it. When it was my turn to get the work done I said to the "tire" guy make sure the whitewall is on the outside!!!! He said WHAT and I repeated he then said these are NOT whitewalls these are bluewalls I looked at him dumbfounded and said are you serious and he was adamant, I just shook my head and said well make sure the blue is on the outside..... he was referring to the blue "soap" on the tires.   

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Back in the early 80's a co worker and I wrestled a transmission back into a 70's International Cargostar. These were usually a beast to get in but this went in fairly easily. I found out later, neither one of us checked if the clutch assembly was installed in the first place. He started on the job so I just assumed it was ready. Later we regularly ribbed each other about it by saying, "fit good huh?"

Edited by Bleach
deleted extra "other" (see edit history)
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When I was a young man I bought a beautiful little Fiat 600, I believe it was a '67 model, that had the engine in the rear. The previous owners said the oil pan was leaking so I set out to fix it. Right away I thought the oil was coming from the crankshaft, but no, it was actually dripping from the harmonic balancer Thinking it was a bad crankshaft seal I knew the balancer would need to come off. To remove the nut holding the balancer on I had to remove a cover on the front of the balancer. When I removed the cover oil came pouring out. I laid the cover to the side and I could see that oil was coming out of a hole in the end of the crankshaft. Being the smart mechanic that I was back then I mixed up some JB-Weld and plugged that hole. :o 

 

I put everything back together and that leak was gone!!!  On the test drive I made it about a mile and a half before the engine locked up never to run again. Little did I know that the harmonic balancer on that engine was a centrifugal oil filter and I had blocked off the oil going through the crankshaft with JB-Weld. I've made a lot of screw ups but that was probably my biggest. :lol:

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Back in the 70's my younger brother gave me a 64 1/2 mustang when he went into the Air Force..  At one point it needed new rings.  Not knowing what size engine it was I asked my dad.  He told me that it was the small 196 CI inline 6.  I bought the parts to re ring it.  Tore it down in my driveway and rebuilt it (only breaking 1 ring).  COULD NOT get it started.  Would turn over but not start.  Finally pull started it.  It smoked very bad.

After doing some checking found out it was a bigger 223 CI engine.  bought the correct sized rings and  completed the overhaul once again.  When I turned the key it started right up without any smoke.  Never had a problem with it after that.

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I was about 19, and I remembered someone saying you could just drop out a transmission on your chest. I do not think they were talking about a duel range hydro. So with the transmission on my chest, and short of breath, I started to roll the creeper out from under the car. This is when I started to pay attention to where my pony tail was in relation to the creeper wheel. So with the creeper in motion, weight of me + duel range hydro. It was like a rock under a skate board wheel, things stopped very quickly. As your head kissed the floor, at a dead stop, half way out from under the car, and really short of breath. I knew there had to be a better way to do this.

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Not an old car, but does a truck count? I was about 21 and Dad asked if I could replace the water-pump on his Ford cattle truck. Did the job OK under a shade tree, and got those four little bolts holding the fan nice and tight. He was about 200 miles up the bush with a load of cattle on when those over-tightened bolts let go. Of course the fan went through the radiator. My Mother told me about it, but Dad never said a word, to his credit. But boy, did I feel bad about it?  And yes, THAT was when I invested in a tension wrench!

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Biggest screw up was bringing them home and spending more time and money on them than their worth. Still making that mistake. Guess I'm a slow learner. Off to rescue another....;)

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)
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I put a set of piston scraper rings in upside down - engine smoked like heck. It scraped the oil into the combustion chamber, not down to the pan. Fortunately I found the problem when running the engine on the test stand.

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I must confess, 1964 I was 16 yr old, installed a new cam and used the old lifters. Old lifters ate the lobes right off that cam, and the metal shavings ruined everything else.. all in less than 50mi..

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My biggest mistake in all of my car experiences was to disassemble my first 1931 Dodge coupe and not keeping at the restoration of it. I did not bag and tag as I should have. Then I moved numerous times. So many wrong moves. And....here it sits....

post-81542-0-94914000-1433309997.jpg

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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I know it's been almost 24 hours since the Original Poster posed his question about one's biggest screw up when working on cars, but I need more time to sort through my mental list of past screw ups.  I first have to sort through the different categories of my screw ups.  For example, under the Dumb Category, there are the "Sorta Dumb", "Dumb", "Dumber" and "Almighty Dumb Ash".  Then there's the Co$t thing: "Sweep It Under the Rug Costly (don't say nuthin' to nobody)", "Budget Bending Costly", "Budget Bursting Costly" and finally "Sell the Wife, Kids and Family Dog and Get Out Of Town Costly".  Then there's the PAIN, ranging from: "Ouch", "Damnit", "Holy S__t", "Can't walk this one off", "Holy &%#*@&#@!XXX that hurts!", to the all-encompassing, "Hello, 911?"  Then the embarrassment factor has to be considered, sort of like when I ignited my mustache while cleaning a carburetor with gasoline, but the details are kinda fuzzy, so I won't talk about that. 

 

Right now, the single Biggest Screw Up that comes to what's left of my mind is my neglect of my 1993 Mustang 5.0.  I've let that sit for almost three years, and although it is in an enclosed dry (concrete floor) barn it's deteriorated to the point that it will barely run.  I think that I'm looking at replacement of most, if not all of the major components of the fuel system.  Although this Screw Up is well within the Dumb, Costly and Embarrassing Categories, it has not yet entered the PAIN category.  Of course, I haven't started to work on it yet ... :o

 

Still sortin' through the list ...

 

Cheers,

Grog

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my biggest screw up was just looking under the hood of my 1967 442 with the engine running. it was winter time and I was wearing a long scarf. I do not remember what I was looking for but I do remember getting a close look at the fan blade before the scarf gave way.

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36 minutes ago, retiredmechanic74 said:

POINT35cpe   Musta been a Chevy engine.

Yes it was, I love those small blocks. And it had the prettiest "Metallic Oil"..

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pont35cpe....Don't you wish you could get paint that color??? Back in those early years Chevy had a problem with the lifters being to case hardened and the cams where to soft. A good way to tell if a cam is bad it will make a popping noise under fast acceleration through the carb. 

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7 minutes ago, mercer09 said:

image.png.873398965cb58e7e17acfe6f5174741e.pnglLooks like hot rod fodder to me!

Never happen as long as I am breathing. It's all there....

1467489_10201964512253365_1450239591_n.jpg

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Picture this. 1960, 18 years old, drove out 100 miles with a friend to tow his "new" 52 Studebaker home.  Broken Left front spring.  Easy peasy remove spring, insert piece of wood long enough o keep car level and tow home.  Jack car up by the frame, put a bottle jack under the thing the spring sits on (who knew what it was called).  Undo things and ease bottle jack down ooops that was two pieces of coil spring that flew out between out heads.  All ended well, the before mentioned block of wood and a couple of turnbuckles and the car followed my 30 Pontiac back to my friends house.  He bought a manual and a spring and very cautiously we installed same.

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When I was in my late 20's I was the proud owner of a 58 Chevy with a 348 tri power & posi with a few other power enhancement goodies. (Man I wish I still had that car) I missed a speed shift and broke the clutch arm pivot ball off the side of the engine. Try as I might I could not access it to extract the stub. So it was pull the engine time. I built a tripod out of 2X4's. Just as I was pushing the car out from under the hoist and had the engine over the grill/radiator area the 2X4's broke. I was standing there manually balancing the engine on the radiator frame. I was very much by myself. That was a loooong time ago and being at an invincible age I decided to just go ahead an lift it off and set it on the ground. I actually managed to lift it off the car. Back and arms were stronger than my legs. I collapsed to the ground with the engine landing on my right hand. Off to the hospital driving and shifting my other car with my left hand. Incredibly there were no broken bones just major swelling and bruising.  Oh and no damage to the engine either. 

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Benjaminj. You where very lucky. Back when I had my gas stations I hired my younger brother to help me in the service area to get caught up on some of the repair work.  A Maverick came in with a whistling noise coming from under the hood. My brother got the car inside and started looking for the noise. He ran his head around the engine and determined was coming from the carburetor while reving up the engine he put his ear over the carb and the suction from the carb sucked his ear into it. That would have been bad enough but........the air filter stud was sticking up from the top of the carb. After that it took me 3 months to start understanding what he was saying. 

Edited by retiredmechanic74 (see edit history)

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4 hours ago, keiser31 said:

Never happen as long as I am breathing. It's all there....

1467489_10201964512253365_1450239591_n.jpg

 

You can still put it back together. You have a photo.

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