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Fixing former owner's idiocy


seyman
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HVS mentioned in another post about stupid things former owners do. I just replaced the front frame member on a 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon. When I bought it last fall, the front member had been removed and someone welded in a single leaf spring to take it's place. Wondered if this was a first, or if someone had seen that or anything else as strange?

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55/56 Fords were bad to rust out the front crossmember; this was probably a patch (por I will admit) to enable further use of the car.

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Ooh this thread worries me.<BR>The only thing preventing me from being a stupid previous owner is the fact that I'm still the current owner!

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To show that even the most sophisticated are not immune from stupidity I restored a guy's 1903 curved dash olds and had the temerity to fit an aluminum piston! what will they say 20 years from now!! god forgive me!!!

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Since confession is good for the soul, 30 years ago on a 1931 Cadillac I created a water pump drive connection between the timing chain drive and the water pump drive by using a cut off 1/2" drive socket with a home machined bolt in the drive end. The original parts had completely rusted away and there was nothing left to turn the pump. An authentic repair would have been a MAJOR undertaking. <P>Worked great for me for 10 years. I just hope no subsequent faint of heart owner ever opens that thing up. rolleyes.gif" border="0rolleyes.gif" border="0rolleyes.gif" border="0 ~hvs

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Here is the dumbest thing I ever saw.<P>In the early 1980's I was in graduate school at Iowa State U. There was a Fish and Wildlife Co-Op as part of our Dept. They used Federal vehicles, which tended to be much older that the University's state cars.<P>One of the Federal cars was a (very clean) 1968 Plymouth Satellite wagon. It was the lovely standard Dept. of the Interior dark green, absolutely stripped of options. It even had the "dog-dish" spotted hubcaps so prized by Road-Runner restorers today.<P>This car, of necessity, had a class 1 trailer hitch attached for towing the boats to various sites. This wonderous device appeared to be completely homemade, I've never seen one like it before or since. <P>Here's the intersting part: the hitch was welded to the bottom of the car, not bolted. One apparent problem with access to the underside for welding was neatly sidestepped by the genius installer, <I> <B> who welded the hitch bracket to the GAS TANK! shocked.gif" border="0 In 2 places, no less!!!</I> </B> shocked.gif" border="0shocked.gif" border="0<P>Close enough for (minimum bid) government work!

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That's not as dumb as the news item of the guy who, in the dead of winter, when his car was frozen, siphoned a couple gallon of gas out of his tank and took it in the house to warm it up on the stove. shocked.gif" border="0 <BR>The talking head reporting this item couldn't continue - laughter will do that to you. grin.gif" border="0

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The first time I fired up the engine in my 56 Packard (after I had purchased it for $100), I was listening to the engine for knocks, rattles etc. and hearing none was breathing a bit easier when I noticed the oil pressure gauge showed NO pressure. I immediately shut off the engine and sat there thinking about the fact not even a lifter had clattered. I turned the key back on and the gauge swung over to FULL - BEFORE I started it? Going back under the hood I located the oil pressure sending unit. Some one had replaced the sending unit for a Packard with one from a Clipper, which uses idiot lights instead of gauges. This was just the first of several discoveries made while restoring The 400. rolleyes.gif" border="0

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<A HREF="http://www.darwinawards.com." TARGET=_blank>www.darwinawards.com.</A> The gentleman who thought his gasoline needed to be warmed up is a prime candidate for a Darwin, which are given to "those who have improved the gene pool by dying as a result of their own stupidity".<P>I've been fortunate I guess. Most of what I've had to fix behind someone involved butchered wiring or baling wire. Ty-Raps and duct tape are always fun to find too.

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A Type 40 Bugatti has a crank driven generator that fits under the radiator. Years ago a fellow was tired of having oil leaking out of this area since the original generator was replaced by one running off the driveshaft. A one pound coffee can is just about the same diameter as the generator. So, this guy filled a one pound coffee can with Speedy Dry and installed it in place of the generator. Voila! Oil leak stoped! One week later the engine stopped, and never leaked again.

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A friend of mine had bought a 69 Mustang Mach I, he had found it parked behind a musicians house sitting in about 3 feet of grass. When we got it home we set about trying to get the engine started, it was a 351 HO with toploader four speed. The car was extremely rough but complete so once we replaced all the hoses, degunked the carb we tried to fire her up. She started right up but had the most awful clunking coming from the bottom end I have ever heard, bad enough that on the first few revolutions I shut it down immediately thinking that the crankshaft had went through the oil pan. He yanked the engine and he took it to the local speed shop for a rebuild and head modifications. <P>Upon disassembly the techs there found that the crankshaft was turned 0.030 under but was installed with standard bearings, the flywheel had been overheated so bad that under magnaflux the radial cracks made it look like a porcupine. The crankshaft looked similar. The transmission was inspected through the side cover and was missing all the circlips and the gears were all chipped and shift forks bent beyond repair. He was so disgusted that he let the car sit behind his garage engineless for over a year.<P>Since I loved that year of Mustang I offered to buy the shell from him for $300, he jumped at the money. I had a 351W and auto trans out of an old Galaxy so I put the engine and trans in and set about connecting up all the bits when I noticed the speedo cable had no end or gear? I went back to his place to see if it had been left in the weeds when we towed it. It was not there so I called him out to ask where it might be, he explained that he could not get it out of the trans when we pulled the motor so he had cut it off with a big pair of side cutters! <P>Sure enough it was still in the trans sitting on the floor of the garage, I went over and pulled on the stub of cable sticking out and it literally fell right out. I looked at him and he just said "Oh, you just have to pull it out?", at least I had the gear and could replace the cable easily enough but I had to wonder what I was getting into. <P>The drivers side strut/engine mount had the typical tear that most early 4 speed Mustangs get from repeated clutch drops and the hood and roof had at least 2 inches of bondo and the frame was out of line about 1/2 inch. I fixed everything and finally had a good running car, at a local 7-11 some guy stopped me and asked if the car was owned originally by this musician. I said yes and he proceeded to tell me the cars tale. It had been street raced unmercifully with the engine blown more than once, the final death of the car came when the original owner had rolled the car at over a hundred miles an hour. Apparently someone had died in the crash and the owner had spent some time in jail for the manslaughter. <P>I sold the car soon after.

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A fellow I know loved Buicks and found a '36 series 90 limo with division window and all the bells and whistles, the car had a hard life but was complete and ran fairly well but somehow seemed to lack top end power and torque that one associates with these fine cars.<P>Rebuilding the engine was out of the question as he had already sunk near $18,000 in the body and interior and besides, Buicks of that era were famed for their durability.<BR>First the carb was inspected and rebuilt, then the ignition, fuel pump and every external part associated with fuel and spark.<BR>One fine day I pulled the valve cover off and saw that the pushrods for #7 cylinder were missing!!!!<BR>This was indeed a disturbing state of affairs which grew more bizzarre when I removed the plug and discovered there was no piston!!!!!!!!<BR>After much puzzlement and guesswork the pan was dropped showing that the #7 piston and rod assembly were not there.<BR>A good clue was revealed by the condition of the bearing journal which was badly grooved and scored, additionally a 4"piece of the lower crankcase seemed to have been punched out and brazed back in.<BR>The car obviously threw a rod at some point and whoever "worked" on it simply did not replace the broken rod or piston and removed the pushrods operating the valves for that cylinder so as not to affect the mixture balance thus effectively running on 7 cylinders, strange but true.

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LI ~ A friend of mine bought a mid '20s Peerless about 25 years ago from a fairly well known antique car dealer in Pennsylvania. Like the Buick, it too lacked the power expected for that particular make. My friend dropped the pan and found that he was the owner of a 7 cylinder Peerless. Gutted just like the Buick you mention. The dealer pleaded ignorance, but we felt he knew it.<P>We kidded my friend about his rare 7 cylinder Peerless for years.<P>No names are given to protect the guilty and those feeling very foolish. ~ hvs

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About ten year ago I purchased an old restoration 1903 Olds.In the process of restoration I was talking with Monroe Miller out in Penn. Somehow the topic of the crankshaft came up and he mentioned that it had a counterbalanced crank, I disagreed as my case was open and it was obvious that the crank had no counterweights cast on it. He mentioned that they weren't cast on but bolted on and to look for some threaded holes. Sure enough, the holes were there but not the weights. I often wondered how it ran as the previous owner had used it briefly. The front of the case also looked like a road map as the weights had loosened up and exited that way!@! Someone also had broken a rear spring and shortened the other one to match plus shortened the drive chain and kept on going. This car was full of surprises!

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Somewhere perhaps in the midwest lies a'49 Cisitalia whose engine is literally held together with permatex.<BR>I'm told a heartfelt mea culpa is good for the soul but the owner wanted everything "done yesterday" as the saying goes and that was the result, thanks Napa!<BR> shocked.gif" border="0

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LI has given this thread a bit of a twist in fessin up to something he did to a car he once owned. I did it earlier [2/28] on this thread.<P>Anybody else want to fess up and tell us a good story? rolleyes.gif" border="0 ~ hvs

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Had a nice older restoration '30 Ford Coupe for many years. During that time, I never could get the windshield to close tightly. When it was decided the A had to go, I spent many a late night getting it ready to sell. One of the last things - I took off the windshield and found that the replacement header was too thick, or so I thought. So I spent a lot of time shaving the header in place and testing the resized opening. After hours of this process I came to the point where more wood removal would have effected the working of the steel hinge that the windshield pivots on. In a moment of brilliance, I solved the windshield operation problem by driving a couple of steel box brads between the front body frame posts and the header on each side, effectively raising the roof by a fraction of an inch. Worked like a charm. These corrugated steel brads will probably outlast the car. The buyer never complained, so it must have kept on working. Still not the right way to fix a framing problem.

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