retiredmechanic74

What was your biggest screw up working on the cars

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  • keiser31
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I will be resuming it's assembly this spring.

 

 

Ive been saying the same for over 20 years now and it never happens!

 

time to take up knitting.................

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If you do not have a heated garage to work in during the winter, then knitting is for the winter and don't forget to develop a plan on getting the car back together. 

 

Maybe bringing a bucket of parts into the warm house and sorting them to where they belong in anticipation of warm weather.

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A guy I knew years ago put a water pump on his Falcon Econoline. He did it in the back yard in the dirt and lost one of the four bolts that held the pump on. So he went down in the cellar and found a replacement bolt in his collection of stuff. He tightened everything up good and filled the coolant up but it took a lot more coolant than it should have. He went to start it up and the starter didn't crank at all. I looked at it.It was locked op tight. I took the water pump back off. The replacement bolt he found was too long but he tightened it up "real good". The too long bolt poked through the #1 cylinder wall and the cylinder completely filled with coolant. That van never ran again.

Monday,04:42 AM PSTAA

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Replacing the oil in a friends garage, all 5 litres of it finished up on the floor - forgot to put the sump plug back in. :angry:

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About 25 years ago I did a rotisserie restoration on a 48 Chevy convertible.  Anxious to take it for a test drive, so on the way home the rear diff began to growl . Yup, I forgot to put lube in the diff.  Actually it was a blessing in disguise. 

I found out that  1952 power-glide cars had better ratios and I gust happen to have out back. Live and learn.

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Not me but a fellow who worked for a shop that used to be associated with us. Leaning over the hood of a '65 T Bird he attempted to start it. The car was in gear and unbeknownst to him the starter cut out was not working. The car started and he rode it thru the fibreglas garage door, across the parking lot and into a tow truck. Badly broken hip for my friend and $1600 in parts to repair the T Bird. The tow truck was not injured.

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Restorer32....... Same thing happened to me. At one of my gas stations.  I was outside when a "girlfriend" came in with car trouble wanting me to look at it. It was a 1961 Chrysler. I didn't know it but she left the car in gear when she shut it off. As I laid across the fender I hit the starter and the car fired up and slammed into the side of a Olds Conv. I had just painted the night before. 

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Close thing happened to me.  Wife's Monza (bought before we got married) had starter problems and left her in a parking lot.  I got there, jumped over the solenoid and the thing ran over my foot.  No damage to anyone, but a quick pucker moment.  

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I've done my share, I rebuilt an engine for my 40 Plymouth with mostly good used parts I scrounged up, it was a little tight. I ran several batteries down trying to get it to fire. My father took a look and suggested we drag it down the street in gear. While doing that the overdrive bound up somehow and we drug it home. I was sitting in it trying to figure out where I went wrong when I noticed the ignition was in the off position. It fired right up after that and I got to drop the transmission and replace the spragg clutch assembly next....

 

Part 2 of the screwup didn't become known till a little while later. It developed a tiny knock. I tried the pull a plug wire to determin which cylinder but couldn't find anything. It developed into sizeable knock but I needed the car to get to school so I drove it till I found another engine. I tore it down just to see what failed. Apparently I hadn't fully seated a wrist pin retainer, that pin had just about worn through the block and into the next cylinder.

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9 hours ago, hchris said:

Replacing the oil in a friends garage, all 5 litres of it finished up on the floor - forgot to put the sump plug back in. :angry:

I know a guy that did that on a much larger scale. He was filling a locomotive engine. He realized his mistake after he had already put over 200 gallons in it with a hose. All that oil was going into the pit below the locomotive. The engine normally held 275-300 gallons when full. He got one month off without pay for that mistake

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On one of the ships I work on we were doing a major service. Heads came off, pistons with rods were sent up to the machine shop ashore for Piston pin removal and checking of pin bushing.  The rod caps stayed on the ship adjacent to their respective cyl. The rod's have a serrated face mating surface with the caps. Piston and rods were inspected , reassembled,  came back to the ship and we put the engine back together. Started it and it ran for about 45 seconds , then a crankcase explosion, emergency shut down.  After it cooled down in about an hour we took off the crankcase doors. One big end completely burned up, crankcase full of melted bearing, second big end hot but not as bad. Crank badly warped. 

 The machine shop had somehow mixed two of the conrods. We put the pistons back in the correct bores and the rod caps back in the correct cylinders but the serrated faces varied slightly in position from rod to rod so the caps were offset slightly , 1/8" or so on the two interchanged rods. Good chunk of $1,000,000.00 before that one ran again.

 

Greg in Canada

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On 1/9/2018 at 12:35 PM, keiser31 said:

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

 

 

Been there, done that.  Finally sold the pieces for about what I had in the car - hope the guy that bought it got it all back together.

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11 hours ago, hchris said:

Replacing the oil in a friends garage, all 5 litres of it finished up on the floor - forgot to put the sump plug back in. :angry:

 

 

Did that once after flushing a radiator - forgot to close the drain before refilling the coolant.

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Yea- repairing vehicles for complete thankless morons that just continued to damage them- and didn't care at all. Sure- I got paid, but money isn't everything. One day came- and I had had enough. Told my Uncle, and changed jobs. Worked at the front desk 1 year. That was even worse. I just don't like GQ Public in general.

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Screw up #1 - Changing a tire on an inclined driveway - neglected to set the parking brake.  Got the tire off just before the car started rolling backward over the bumper jack - at least it stopped when the brake drum hit the concrete.

 

Screw up # 2 - Taking the rear end out of a bare 30s Ford frame.  Rather than crawling under, I was taking the nuts off the u-bolts from above - the more I ratcheted counterclockwise, the tighter they got.  Even got out the breaker bar before it dawned on me that, using the wrench upside-down, "lefty-loosey" is actually "righty-tighty".

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19 minutes ago, retiredmechanic74 said:

Man....you guys......this is a great topic... I feel soooooooooooooo much better knowing that I'm not alone when it came to screw ups.

 

Hate to admit it but a lot of this sounds familiar.

 

I had a mechanic working for me once that was getting a lot of comebacks. I had a talk with him and he said any job worth doing was worth doing twice.

I had the lot boy help him load his tool box. The jerk hit the road and unloaded his tool box right as he left the lot.

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Back in the '60's I rebuilt the six cylinder in my brother in laws RAMBLER.

Engine was buttoned up, reinstalled into the RAMBLER.

I then looked over to the work bench, where,  much to my surprise, I saw the oil pump !

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2 hours ago, bobg1951chevy said:

Back in the '60's I rebuilt the six cylinder in my brother in laws RAMBLER.

Engine was buttoned up, reinstalled into the RAMBLER.

I then looked over to the work bench, where,  much to my surprise, I saw the oil pump !

 

2 hours ago, bobg1951chevy said:

 

I can sympathise. The older I get, the more I'm expecting that to happen. The short term memory is getting to be a worry. Did I double check the big ends? Did I put assembly lube on that part? I don't remember fitting the distributor drive? Did I fold those lock-tabs? I find myself (unnecessarily)  pulling them back down to check.

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7 hours ago, retiredmechanic74 said:

Man....you guys......this is a great topic... I feel soooooooooooooo much better knowing that I'm not alone when it came to screw ups.

 

As long as we are telling stories on ourselves. . .

 

When putting my '33 Plymouth back together I neglected the cotter pins that safety the rear axle hub nuts. I probably didn't have the correct size on hand and then forgot about it. And possibly I did not get those nuts properly torqued to the minimum 142 ft-lbs called for.

 

Anyway, all this came to light, fortunately at low speed, on a drive not too long after I got the engine plumbed up. I was lucky I did not collide with anything and it did not take too much metal off the bottom of the brake backing plate as it slowly came to rest (neither the single master cylinder service brakes nor transmission mounted parking brake are functional if you are missing a rear drum).

Edited by ply33 (see edit history)
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 My best friend ever was a tool and dye maker and a master mechanic in all respects. Even the best of us have mental lapses. He was trying to start his old John Deere (Johnny Popper) and it was flooding. he jumps off, takes a plug out and holds it against the hole so he can see if it's firing. He was a ball of fire got a helicopter ride to Crozer burn center and spent about7 mos in saline and getting grafts. The rest of his life was in a body suit. 

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Not my screw up but on the recomendation of a great friend who is a top mechanic I had a Buick 3800 rebuilt. Engine ran like a dream after install, but about 2 months later I started noticing a grinding noise in the front of my engine. Checked the cam sebsor, bad, so I replaced it. Started the car, immediate failure. Took it to my mechanic friend and he confirmed what I thought. The timing gear bolts were loose. We took off the timing cover to discover the only thing holding the bolts in was the the timing cover. There was no thread lock or indication the bolts had ever been more then finger tight on build.

 Engine runs great but I still wonder [even after 6,000 miles what else might come loose.

 Not much remorse from the builder other the paying us for parts and our time to do the repair.

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I had just replaced the thermostat in my '65 Chevy 2 and was running it up to see if it would open.It was a bitterly cold day and my fingers were numb.I placed my hand on the radiator to feel if it was getting warm.The car had no fan shroud and my finger tips were skinned by the cooling fan ! Took a while to grow new fingerprints.

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