What was your dumbest mistake, and how did it turn out?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BlueRidgeBandit, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. BlueRidgeBandit

    BlueRidgeBandit Taylor R.

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    Columbus GA
    Everything I know about wrenching (not much) I've learned by trial and error on my 2006 KLR 650. I've had it since 2013, and there have been some moments. The worst was during a time I was commuting frequently on it, and decided to get new tires put on. I pulled the wheels to save money at the shop, got the tires on and remounted. A few days (and probably over a hundred miles) later I was leaving work when I noticed the castellated nut on the rear axle was STRAIGHT UP GONE. I don't know if I had messed up putting the cotter pin in, or never put the nut back at all (never found it). I caught a ride home and ordered a new one, bike sat at work a few days - no worse for the error. I shudder to think how badly that could have ended though. Lessons learned; 1) finish the job while you're working on it so as to not lose your place. And 2) thorough inspections when finished.

    What's your dumbest wrenching (or riding or whatever) mistake with a bike? How did it turn out?
    #1
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  2. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,907
    Location:
    The Occident
    Filed under Whatever:
    I sold my first DR650, under the mistaken belief that I needed a fast sport tourer. The STs -- two of them -- came and went before I finally realized that what I really wanted is what I already had: a simple and reliable dual sport. And so I purchased my second [and current] DR650.

    I've resolved not to make the same mistake again.
    #2
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  3. BlueRidgeBandit

    BlueRidgeBandit Taylor R.

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    Columbus GA
    Several other bikes have come and gone, but my KLR is sticking around until one of us dies lol
    #3
  4. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,016
    Location:
    Baking in AZ
    Towing a boat, light turns yellow, not going to make it through. Hit the brakes, stop in time. As I stop the ABS cycles through and jams. Pedal nearly on the floor, pull off the road, play with some stuff, all I have is the right rear brake on the truck. boat has no brakes. 8 tires on the ground, only 1 has functional braking and that is a little questionable. 60 miles of town and highway and I was home, put stuff away, fixed the ABS and all was good. Missed going to the lake that day.
    #4
  5. mokosai

    mokosai Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    222
    Location:
    America's Cornbasket
    One of my first attempts at motorcycle service was an oil change on a KLX250S, the night before I needed to bring the bike to a friend's house so we could load it on a trailer and pull it to Colorado.

    Turns out I didn't change the oil. What I did was dump the coolant, add oil, then get on to ride it to my friend's house with no coolant and double oil.

    My wife was going to follow me and bring me home after I dropped the bike off. After about 5 miles I pulled over because the overheat light was on. She pulled over behind me and said, "did you see all that smoke? I could hardly see anything!" I let it cool off for 15 minutes, then rode it the two or three more miles to get to his house and loaded it on the trailer.

    I brought new oil and coolant to Colorado, dumped all the oil, added both fluids. That bike ran just fine for the next couple years that I owned it.
    #5
  6. racer1735

    racer1735 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,180
    Location:
    Amarillo/Canyon, TX
    My first car was my dad's hand-me-down 1971 Ford Pinto. Battery went dead so purchased new and installed myself (I was 16 years old at the time). Knew the terminals were on the top-front of the previous battery so installed new one the same way, not noticing that the terminals were reversed if I installed the battery in the same manner. Hooked it up and watched the wire insulation melt from the battery to the a couple components under the hood. Didn't affect the starter or alternator (this was before there was too much electrical on a car!). Replaced the harness and all was well, but that was definitely a learning experience.
    #6
  7. nhbubba

    nhbubba Internet Tough Guy

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    672
    Location:
    Southern NH
    Racing an SV. Bike is running rough in practice. Pit in. Pop the tank up. Checking the terminals on the coils. Rear cylinder is hot. I grab an oily rag that was at hand, place it on the head. Bam! Insulation between me and the rear jug. Tighten the terminals, slap the tank back and we’re done. 30 min later I’m on track and see corner workers black flagging me. ME! WTF! I pull off track and a worker sets on me “you are on fire” “what?” “FIRE!” “What?” “FIRE MUTHER EFFER!!!”

    Yeah. Turns out it was just smoking. But still. Earned a dose of that dry powder extinguisher. Couple of new crank vents and a good wash later we were good to go. But geez man!
    #7
  8. BlueRidgeBandit

    BlueRidgeBandit Taylor R.

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    Columbus GA
    That is a *quality* mess-up story. Glad the bike recovered!
    #8
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  9. SmittyBlackstone

    SmittyBlackstone Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    Oddometer:
    660
    Location:
    Westchster County, NY
    Got married the first time.
    Still paying for that one.
    #9
  10. baloneyskin daddy

    baloneyskin daddy bikaholic Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,522
    Location:
    southcentral PA.
    Everybodys made that mistake.
    #10
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  11. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,180
    Location:
    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    left a rag in an engine I built up. it would run great for 30 seconds, then the oil light would come on. apparently the rag would suck up & stick to the pickup screen, then release when not running. I thought it was the pump, but obvious when I dropped the pan. didn't have to pull the engine though. and it wasn't that big a rag either, about 6" square

    theres probably dumber stuff but my self protection systems won't let them surface
    #11
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  12. baldman1

    baldman1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,749
    There are to many for me to pick from.
    #12
  13. nhbubba

    nhbubba Internet Tough Guy

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    672
    Location:
    Southern NH
    I could fill a book.

    Nearly new/used DL650. Pull plastics & tank to inspect the air cleaner before the first ride in spring. Pop a bit of paper-towel in the intake port to keep anything from falling in. Inspect. Re-assemble. Power on. Throttle body cycles.. sounds funny. Whatever. Send it.

    3 miles from the barn the EFI light goes off. Circle back. Dealer mode. She's effed, never should have bought it.. is there a warranty or do we just push it off a cliff?!

    Pull plastics & tank. Separate air box from throttle bodies. Yup. F#%king paper towel half in the throat of the throttle body. Remove. Re-assemble. Nother test ride. Runs fine. 50k miles later sell bike to a bud for cheap.

    Me and rags. I just don't know...
    #13
  14. 23103a

    23103a not n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2016
    Oddometer:
    242
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Done that before. I remembered after starting the bike up after a valve clearance check that the shop towels were still in the throttle bodies.

    Did an oil change on my old 636 once, started it up... oil light not going off, must be an air bubble in there. Woops, missed the 'add oil' step. It ran fine for many thousands of miles after that, so 10 seconds of dry running didn't hurt it too bad.
    #14
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  15. KevinP65

    KevinP65 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2016
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Nelson Cty, VA
    I had to make a 3" nut. I bored a 3" hole. Ah, threads. I had no shop experience and had been an apprentice for a few months. I did learn a lot from that bit of stupidity; but, you never learn enough, lol.
    #15
  16. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    9,401
    Location:
    alabama
    trusted a shop in Tampa to install tires.

    they didn't balance them, and completely left out the rear caliper mounting bolts.

    picked up the bike (without inspecting) and rode to work the next morning.

    going over train tracks i heard a awful clattery noise. the caliper was bouncing around against the wheel/swingarm. thankfully it was on a brake arm, so it didn't stop the rear wheel.

    dumbest mistake ever: trust a shop
    #16
  17. cal08

    cal08 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    875
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Yup.
    #17
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  18. BlueRidgeBandit

    BlueRidgeBandit Taylor R.

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    Columbus GA
    I feel that man
    #18
  19. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    85,465
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Way too many to list.

    My first major mistake was when I was 16. I had an Opel Manta that had a slow leak in the radiator. I got lazy one day going to work and didn't check it. 30 miles into my 40 mile commute to a truck stop in the middle of nowhere where I was a short order cook the car overheated and cracked the head. It took 2 hours in 100+ degree heat to catch a ride to where I could call home, and 4 more hours before my dad got off work and got home to get the call that I was stuck. Long day, missed work, got in trouble for not calling in, and cost me $300 to fix a car I paid $200 for, and had to drive my mom's 64 Buick that got like 10mpg for two weeks.

    [​IMG]

    There have been many more, some dumber, some more expensive.
    #19
  20. CA_Strom

    CA_Strom Cunning Linguist Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,003
    Location:
    The Temples of Syrinx (So. CA)
    Helped my best friend in high school change the transmission oil in his VW diesel pickup. He was a mechnical dolt and wound up pouring two quarts of oil into the timing inspection port on the transmission. After we wrapped up the fluid change and congratulated ourselves on a job well done, he started up the vehicle only to find that it would not move... The clutch was completely saturated in oil!
    #20