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JohnD1956

Hobby mishaps

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Reading Mr Earls post on his recent junkyard trip, and in particular the damage Butter-cup inflicted on him for contemplating yet another 54 when he hasn't taken the time to replace the front end on her lovely bones, I thought some of these types of mishaps may make an interesting thread. Here's one I encountered, which I swear is entirely true.

Two winters ago I had the 69 Electra parked on the side of my driveway covered by a tarp. The tarp was intentionally too small, with several pieces of 4x4 under it to keep it off the roof. I held it down by a series of bungee cords on each end and even some to the fender welts. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />

Now, this is a car that needs total restoration or more, so don't be thinking I'd do that on a good paint job. But I just wanted to keep the snow and ice off the windows which leak from the dried out sealer.Anyway, I digress. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

One day I was looking to get something out of the car and I undid several of the cords to accomplish the same. Then I went to button it back up. I got to the last cord, the one from the bottom of the front bumper up over the headlight to the cover which was several inches up on the hood area.

Stretch, <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> Stretch <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> ,,, close, <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" /> just an little more and WHAM!!! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> off it comes at the bottom, right up between my legs and the hook takes a chunk out of the ole privates... If I wasn't in so much pain I would have passed out from the blood too.

I was really sweating while I checked to make sure I still had all my parts... <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/ooo.gif" alt="" />

I now keep a loose cover on the car and never stand in front of a bungee cord while installing the same..

JD

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Thou Shalt Not Pulleth up whilest installing thy bungie cord, least it shouldeth fail..... <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> I haven't had any as of late but in my yonger Days....... Been hit in the Head a few times with hand cranks from starting old tractors as a young un. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> ( Now everyone knows the truth. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> LOL) I have a shoulder/ rotator cuff problem now but I think that was from a tree removal project last year. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> I can lift my arm about strait out and then I get a sharp pain. Can't seem to push up or forwards with my arm extended. Heading to the Doc's today to see what they have to say. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Dave!

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Man it hurt just to read that post. Can't top that one, got the typical gas in the eye, cut the crap out of myself, while doing spark plugs wonderin where the hell did that fresh red paint come from. Seen some good mishaps though. Socket vibrate off the shroud drop in the fan an promptly hit the guy right above the eye, several stitches. A coil spring that went whipping across the shop and through a garage door, luckily no one hurt on that one. And last but not least I stopped a rookie from trying to cut an A/C hose with a utility knife thinking it was a radiator hose to splice a connector for anti freeze flush. Hate to think about what could have happened.

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A friend of mine owns a rather large junkyard, over 10 acres of it is pre 1970 only. For several years I worked evenings and weekends in the yard, the shop, the retail area and machine shop. (never wanted or expected pay, I just enjoyed dealing with parts, of course if I needed anything, I was welcome to take it, within reason) I can't remember the number of times minor mishaps occurred, due to the cold, rain, mud or carelessness. One sunny upstate NY afternoon (that's rare) I was removing a rear bumper filler panel, the aluminium one behind the tag bracket on a 64 Bel Air. The car was mostly stripped, just a body with glass and trim sitting up on 2 55 gal. barrels on end. I was sitting on a 5 gallon pail working at getting the top corner bolts. The bumper was just above my knees. I sat up, clear of the car, shaking the blood back into my arms, so the numbness would go away, I don't know what happened, whether I leaned on the bumper, wind? whatever, made the car move a little. I reached out and put my hands on the bumper to steady it, just as one of the barrels tipped, letting the bumper ease down an inch or two, resting on my knees. It didn't drop, it just slowly came to rest upon my knees. I couldn't get out, but I didn't want to push or pull on the car either, to keep it from really settling or falling and causing me untold problems. The walkie-talkie I carried was in my tool bag, about 6 feet away, beyond my reach. The guy on the desk was calling me, busting my chops about taking so long to retreive a $20 part. Since I didn't respond one of the regular parts pullers came out into the yard and found me unable to get out, uninjured, madder than a wet hen at myself for doing something as stupid as getting any part of my body under a car sitting on unstable blocks, on wet ground. He was able to get a jack under the car and lift enough for me to get out without leaving my kneecaps hanging from the bumper. It took me a long time to live that one down. Total extent of injury: softball sized bruises on my legs, just above both knees and stiff ankles and knees for a few days. I often wonder if my knee troubles in my left leg are from that or from owning kick start Harleys for 30 years.

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Badly broken right arm from crank starting a '28 Autocar, broken right thumb from trying to push too short a piece of replacement car wood thru a jointer (could have been much, much worse), two black and blue (and very numb for several days) forearms because my partner (and brother) dropped one end of a '46 T&C Chrysler frame we were trying to hang in the paintbooth, and worst of all, a broken heart from all the cars I should have bought in the 60's when I had the chance.

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Whenever I get a retractable razor knife out, I manage to give myself a pretty substantial slice, usually with a lot of blood. It's gotten to the point where I just slice my finger open before I start using it, just to get it out of the way early. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

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I'm so dumb when it comes to working on cars, there are too many mishaps to list here. However, the first one that came to mind is this one. One time I had just rebuilt a 4bbl carb on a 401 CI engine and installed it. With the car running, I was making the usual adjustments and I wanted to make sure the back jets were squirting gas when they were supposed to. So, obviously, the easiest way to determine that is to lean over and stick your face about 3 inches directly over the carb and watch as you work the trottle by hand. I did that. I remember a big ball of flame coming at me when the engine backfired. I raised up so quickly I hit the back of my head on the hood latch pin and nearly knocked myself out. I ended up with burnt off eyebrows, a very red forehead, and a knot as big as a golfball on the back of my head. Needless to say, I never stick my face over a running carb.

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When I read Lamar's tale of woe, it reminded me of this story that has been floating around for years. Perhaps one of his ancestors???

<img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

A Bricklayer's Lament

by Joe Pierre

Donald Smirthwaite, adjustor

Standish Insurance Company, Inc.

473 Ogallala Ave

Sioux City, IA 51101

Re: Claim no. 54784

(More detailed explanation)

Dear Mr. Smirthwaite:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number three of the accident reporting form, I put, quote ... poor planning ... unquote, as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and so I trust that the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of brick left over. Rather than carry all of the bricks down six flights of stairs a few at a time, I decided to lower them in an empty barrel someone had left behind, using a pulley which was conveniently attached to a projecting beam on the side of the building at the sixth floor.

First, I procured a stout rope twice as long as the height of the building at the sixth floor and threaded it through the pulley. Then I rigged a sling for the barrel, attached it to the rope, and went down and secured the rope at ground level to a small tree, with a slip knot. I then went back to the roof, swung the barrel out and carefully loaded the bricks into it. They all went in nicely. Then, quite pleased, I went back to the ground and pulled the slip knot loose, holding the rope tightly to ensure the slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks.

The next sequence of events occurred in much less time than it takes to relate them.

You will note, in block number eleven of the accident reporting form, that I weigh 145 pounds. Thus I was unsuccessful in slowly lowering the barrel of bricks. As soon as the rope was untied, I was propelled upward at an astonishing velocity. Dazed at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I momentarily lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I collided with the descending barrel, which explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone.

Slowed only briefly, I continued my rapid ascent, stopping only when the fingers of my right hand entered the pulley, explaining the contusions and abrasions of the fingers. Fortunately, by this time I regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope despite the pain of my injuries, which you can imagine.

At precisely that moment, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground. Did I mention that it was an old wooden barrel? Anyway, the bottom burst, spilling all the bricks. Devoid of the bricks, of course the barrel became considerably lighter. I refer you again to my weight in block eleven, 145 pounds. As you may imagine, I began a very rapid descent down the side of the building.

Again, in the vicinity of the third floor, I met the now empty barrel coming up. This accounts for the multiple contusions and the lacerations to my legs and lower body.

The encounter with the barrel slowed my fall barely enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks, resulting, fortunately, in only three cracked vertebrae and badly sprained ankles.

I am sorry to report, however, that, as I lay there on the bricks, in agony, unable to stand and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I'm afraid I again lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope. Which explains the internal injuries, broken ribs and upper body lacerations.

I hope this explanation will suffice for your office. Have a nice day!

Yours sincerely,

Bjorn Luzer

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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I cranked a lot of old iron in my life but have not broken an arm yet. Retard the spark and never wrap you thumb around the crank! I gotta tell about this one customer I had about 20 years ago though. He had a 1929 Allis Chalmers tractor and this dude weighed about 300 + pounds, an old farm boy for sure. I did some mag work on it for him and when I got the mag installed he decided to grab the crank and spin it over before I had a chance to give him a lesson on the importance of retarding the spark. He pulled up on the crank and the engine back fired. He didn't let the crank go though and the front of the tractor jumped off the ground as the piston rebounded with him still holding the crank. When it came to rest on the ground it sheared off the pin that went though the crank shaft and he was still standing in the same position holding the crank kind of dumb founded. Anyone else would have broken their arm. This hillbilly had enough strenth and weight to over come the forces at hand. I never saw anything like it and probably never will again. Toughness counts! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Dave!

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Yea, yea, I know...the spark was retarder, my thumb was in the right place, I was pulling up on the crank. This was a truck I hasd restored and had started probably 50 times before. Because of the front end arrangement on an early Autocar you have to stand directly over the crank and reach down behind a heavy steel "bumper" to reach the crank. The shaft connecting the crank lever to the engine is about 3 feet long in this cab-over design. Apparently the lube on this shaft had congealed to the point where the shaft did not completely disengage from the front of the enging causing the crank to fly around and hit my arm. Happened too fast to really see what actually caused the injury. 2 operations, a stainless steel plate, several screws and 6 months in a cast and my arm was good as new. A '28 Autocar with crank start only and acetylene headlights. Unusual on a vehicle as late as '28. We later fitted the truck with an electric starter.

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Im sure if I sit here and think long enough, Ive done something stupid with a car....Im sure of it. However the first "hobby related incident" that comes to mind does not pertain to real cars but it does pertain to slotcars. There are people out there who take thier slot car racing very seriously. For a few years I was one of them until the Buick came along and rescued me. Anyway I was getting ready for a local tri state race one saturday, I finally got a lane to do some test & tune on my car. This was a super stock race which meant these cars were much faster than what you get on your tabletop raceway. They had hopped up electric motors , stronger track magnets , better tires and lexan bodies. The paint on lexan bodies is very flammable I have learned. I had touched up the paint , oiled and cleaned my car while waiting for a lane on the track. I put my car on and started running some test laps. Coming out of the one turn I hammered a wall , the car got airborn and when it landed it landed right back in the slot, so I squeezed the trigger and figured I would just keep going. What I didnt know was I had cracked the chassis when I hit the wall, and the car had become a dead short. When I squeezed the trigger the short got hot , and set the fresh lexan paint on fire. My slotcar burst into flame on the track and since everything including the track was plastic, it all melted. the race was delayed for close to 2 hours while the track owner replaced the melted section of track and cleaned the fire extinguisher residue off the track. I wasnt invited to the next race.....I wonder why?

Dan

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These days, when I work on a car, hurt myself and go into the house to find the appropriately sized bandage, my wife only asks one question--do we need to go to the hospital? Lets just say that I have done some things so bad that a couple of my current fingerprints don't match those in my security file.

On the good side, there are some great pills out there for the pain......

Joe

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OK...DON'T get ahead of me here.....

Working on a 78 Olds Omega daily driver. The job was to replace the rear leaf springs. With jack, jack stands, electric impact wrench and an assortment of hand tools I begin the job. I know a car spring is under tremendous pressure, even when worn out like these were. So I proceed and get the car up on jack stands safely. Next is support the rear end properly to remove the spring pressure. Exactly how I determined that I had supported the rear with the jack enough to relieve the spring pressure...I don't remember. There are certain parts of this job I don't remember anymore. Pain will do that to memories. OK. Back to the spring removal. These nuts on the u bolts had been in place for about 20 years, and they weren't giving up without a fight. With impact wrench in hand I begin removing the 4 nuts on the drivers side. 3 nuts down and one to go. I back this one off about 1/4 inch to verify no pressure on the spring. All looks good. Time to remove it the rest of the way. Due to the weight of the electric impact wrench I was using 2 hands to steady the wrench. The nut backs off grudgingly. The spring hasn't moved at all...till that nut was off the bolt. I just begin to remove the impact wrench from under the now free spring and BAM! 20 years of rust let something loose. The spring rams the impact wrench to the cement driveway with my thumb between the two.

With true mechanics instinct, I grab my right hand with the left fully covering the damaged digit. All mechanics know if you hold it on long enough, 15 minutes or more, the thumb will not be severed and will still be attached. While she was quite worried and wanted to do something, I just sat there rocking back and forth in pain hoping the thumb was still attached. I couldn't feel the thumb at all. About 20 minutes later I opened my hand to find a severe laceration that was prevented from bleeding due to the pressure holding the hand. Back to holding...must stop the bleeding... It took 30 minutes to convince me to allow a dressing to be formed to cover the cut. The thumb wasn't broken, but it wouldn't move either due to the swelling. Now with a right hand minus an opposable thumb (I'm right handed) I had to finish the job since the car was now immobile. The straps that hold the spring together let loose and the spring was in pieces. This was the failure that got me. On to the work at hand (pun intended). I still had to do the second side! I was prepared for an exploding spring this time. With long Rube Goldberg-ish devices, I was at least 3 feet away from this spring when that last nut was freed. What happened on this side? You guessed it. The nut fell to the ground and nothing happened. Nothing! The spring tension was properly relieved, and this time the spring didn't explode. The scene looked like the bomb squad removing a fake wire from a ticking alarm clock.

The rest of the weekend was spend trying to assemble the rear with my opposite hand and my now opposable thumbless right hand. By late Sunday night I got it done. I'll never forget parts of this incident...other parts to this day I still can't remember. Pain will do that.

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While getting my 47 Super 4 door ready to go to Batavia a few years ago, I pulled it out into the driveway. My driveway has a slope to it but not real bad. I put the car in gear and got out and slammed the door.

Obviously the car jumped out of gear or something like that because before I knew it, I was pinned between the 47 and my 88 Station Wagon. Thank God nothing was broken, but I was trapped. I yelled for a while but with the A/C on, nobody heard me. Finally my neighbors came home and was able to push the car off of me. That is when I found the cell phone in my pocket that I could have called 911 with. The 47 had a butt sized dent in the left front fender, the 88 had a crushed in door and my legs were black and blue for the next couple of weeks.

I wear shorts to work most of the time, so I had lots of questions about what happened. Later on the clutch exploded and left me stranded in Kentucky.

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Oh man!!! These stories are scary...and embarassing, but it 's sort of a public service. Hopefully others can learn from these mistakes and avoid the embarassment themselves.

Here's another one, on a slightly different twist.

Back when I was 18 I got my first 56. A Roadmaster model 72 ( 4 door sedan). At the time my brother had found a set of Kelsey Hayes wire wheels and he gave them to me for the Roadmaster. The wheels were showing their age in 1973 but cleaned up pretty well on the visible parts. I never did anything with the inside section. Instead I just had the tires mounted up with a new set of tubes.

Anyway, one hot summer day My sweetie ( and now my sweetheart) went to the beach. Robert Moses beach on Long Island. That's about an hours ride from where we lived in White Plains NY. I was really proud of that car. Man it looked great. Those wheels really set them off.

Got there okay and most of the day as I checked on the car things were just fine. But when we went to leave I noticed one of the rear tires was going flat. I remember thinking " Crap...It's gonna look like hell with one steel wheel. But hey, we had to get home. So I jack er up and change out the tire. Took a while being sunburnt and all. But got it done. Put everything away and started out for home. Pulled out of the parking space and.. What the??? Feels like a flat tire!!! Sure enough the front one was flat too, but I didn't have any more spares. 2 hours later we finally got a tow truck out there with a newer rim and after removing the locator pin I now had two wire wheels, one red rim and one black rim. Ugh!!! but we made it home.

The next week, and two new tubes later ,I realized why the rubber liner was so important on these rims...

Oh well.

JD

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Ah, to be young and foolish again! (instead of old and too wise, sometimes).

John

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Best story that I can share will teach each and every one of us to use easily distinguished words when shouting guidance to someone operating a powertool. Back in high school my buddy had a 79 Jeep Cherokee. Seems that he decided to crash test it into a boulder while messing in the snow. In an effort to patch it back up before his parents found out - we zipped down to the shop I worked at and promptly assessed the damage to the truck. The bumper had met the front tire, half the grill and the headlight were now gone...in short, without panels, it was going to be noticeable to mom and dad. My father shows up when he sees us in the shop and he suggests pulling the bumper and the panels out with a tow motor (forklift) and a chain. We tied the chain around the bent bumper and my buddy sat behind the wheel holding the brakes on. Here is the key phrase to remember Whoa! over a straining propane powered fork lift sounds the same as GO! So I juiced it. With a rather load POP! the bumper end from the frame to the outer edge came off! The look on my buddy's face was priceless. No hiding it now...(like there ever was before! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />) So remember - Stop and GO, not whoa and go. He drove that old Jeep like that for another year before selling her to a buddy...probably still out there.

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I've had my share of brain farts, luckily still have all my important digits! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

A couple of weekends ago I was working on the wildcat and figured I would try to diagnose a rattle under the car while I was doing the spring tune-up. I yelled for the wife to come get and get into the car. As I was underneath using my Inspector Gadget (Okay, Tim Taylor from Home Improvement!) skills, I yelled for her to start her up and give her some gas. About the time I heard the engine wind up I realized I had the front wheels off the ground, not the rear!!!!!

I did use STOP and it worked. Luckily my wife doesn't have a lead foot!

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All I have, are scars on my hands and arms from getting a little close to bench grinders and wire wheels...lots of puncture wounds from exacto knives and razor blades..

I nipped off about 1/8" of the tip of my right index finger about 6 years ago with a pair of garden shears. That was highly painful for a couple months while the skin grew back! Exposed nerves, anyone?

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