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

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

  1. MATTY

    MATTY BORDER RAIDER

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    4,781
    Location:
    England On the Scotish border
    Been there done that 1975 Kawasaki Z1B 900 , i must admit that was a stupid thing to do , and ironic thing is i knew it the second i saw it leaving in the back of that transit van.
    #41
  2. DeathValleyTiger

    DeathValleyTiger Scrub

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    High Desert
    Had a 250SXF, did all the maintenance myself, including a top end replacement (with help from a knowledgeable friend). Rode great for a while, decided to do another oil change before a trip. Actually made it a couple hours....and then the drain plug fell out. RIP new engine.

    Instead of rebuilding it (I had another ride planned the very next day) I called the guy I had literally just bought a TON of parts from, who had a 320 big bore complete engine for sale. Bought and swapped it that night, loaded it up and took it for the ride. Didn't check the clutch. Plates were worn, leading to pretty bad slippage. Overheated on a gnarly single track uphill, RIP gaskets. Tried to get away with just changing the base gasket, went from an external coolant leak to an internal.

    Paid a local machine shop to rebuild the old 250 engine, and then paid them AGAIN to rebuild the 320 big bore. And never reinstalled the 320.

    I'm much slower now when I rebuild things now haha
    #42
  3. BlueRidgeBandit

    BlueRidgeBandit Taylor R.

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Columbus GA
    I actually remembered another good one, riding this time. I was on the KLR and my wife was riding her DRZ that we had at the time. We were working on street driving on a curvy back road. I was leading, and got ahead by a decent clip. I slowed down to wait for her to come around the curve, watching in my mirror... watching... waiting... watching... starting to get nervous I sat upright and turned around, coasting towards a stop, only to look back forward just in time to sail off into the ditch. Since I was already slowing down (15-20mph) it was easy enough to stand up on the pegs and control the decent into the ditch, recover control and pop back up road. My wife, meanwhile, had come around the corner right as I had plummeted off the road like a moron. She watched me recover and pull back on the road, aaaand we carried on our way!!
    #43
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  4. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,336
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    Saving money when you are a broke is always important. I had a 1980 Chevy pickup that the trans went out. I pull it myself and a buddy and I are off to trans shop. The shop repairs the trans, I pick it up and install it. A few days later the trans stops working. I get ride to the trans shop and ask what we can do about the failed trans. The owner looks at me and asks
    "did you replace the torque converter?" All the trash from the blown trans sitting in the torque converter was sent into the repaired trans. I was a 19 year old broke soldier, the next payday I bought a torque converter and paid for a trans rebuild.
    #44
  5. BluByU

    BluByU Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,042
    Location:
    Lost in America
    I was 19 and helping a girlfriend out with her 66 mustang, needed a trans overhaul. I pulled the trans and we sent it to the shop. Go it back with new TC and proceeded to install. Not sure how but the TC came out of the pump, I remember it being hard to get the trans bellhousing to bolt up to the engine, but I "got it". Yep I got to replace the TC and front pump on my dime. That was a lot of scratch for a young kid, but she was sooo hot and I was well 19....heck I fxx it up so fixd it. I know better now, it it ain't fitting somethin's wrong
    #45
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  6. motomike14

    motomike14 Thumper Crusader Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,307
    Location:
    Florida
    Rebuilt a TT500 motor, put the points cam in upside down. Bike wouldn't start, just made vicious back fires. Dad said flip the points plate 180 degrees...started 1st kick after that. Fast forward about 18 years, made the same mistake while throwing in a new clutch on an XT500. Both times I forgot "12 o clock comes twice a day" and didn't do as you're supposed to do and go off the timing marks on the flywheel.

    Another time forgot to put a cotter pin on the axle nut on my XT500. Raced it in a hare scramble, noticed a vibration but kept moving. Next corner, a loud "grind" and a sudden stop. Axle bolt had loosened just enough and backed off, wheel came out of alignment and chain jammed all up. Luckily had the factory tool kit, between me and one set of muscles we got the chain back on and wheel corrected tightened, then on my way to finish another lap. Similar scenario while I was messing with a ratted out Norton Commando; got it running without the rear wheel on, somehow accidentally threw it in gear with the chain still attached. Bike all of a sudden shut off, thought I just ran out of fuel in the bowls, looked down and saw the chain had wrapped itself about 5 times over again on the countershaft sprocket. Took about an hour to get unraveled.
    #46
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  7. firemanonabike

    firemanonabike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    422
    I got married, once
    #47
  8. Malamute

    Malamute Low speed adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2018
    Oddometer:
    540
    Location:
    Northern Rockies
    I picked up the top end parts for my Superglide from getting bored for new pistons and the valves and guides replaced, went had some beers with the buds at the bar, then went home to put the top end on the bike. 500 miles later, it was still smoking. Should have stopped, whatever little bit it may have at first, but no....took it apart, realized having a few beers before putting the top end on can lead to not checking the rings, they were all in upside down. New pistons, rings and bore the cylinders again. The upside down ones marred the bore, they wouldnt clean up on a simple hone. It wasnt that long after that that I stopped drinking. Just wasnt that much fun any more, for a number of reasons.

    Rebuilt the 47 knuckle motor from the ground up at the shop i worked at, went with S&S 80" flywheels, new pistons, valves, guides, line bored the cases and new bearings, new pinion and output shafts, S&S rods, balanced the lower end. First oil change at a buddys place, 500 miles. Drained the oil, grabbed 4 quarts from the case of Kendall 60 wt I had, and realized while I was balancing the bike with one hand and dumping oil in that there was a growing pool of new oil across the floor. Hmm, set bike down, grab plug and screw it in, glad I have a whole case of oil handy. We get on the road, 20 miles.....bike is acting weird, hot, bogging down,...pull over, see the trail of oil.......oh sheet, forgot to torque the oil plug after quickly screwing it in to keep the oil from going all over.

    Got to pull the entire motor down, flush out the aluminum bits from the pistons that galled up badly in the cylinders with no oil, new pistons, bore the cylinders again... Tried to be more attentive the next go around. Its on of those mistakes you hope you learn to never do again.
    #48
  9. slide

    slide A nation with a future

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    21,410
    Location:
    NM, USA
    I used a brass (bronze?) feeler gauge to check the valve clearance on a KTM LC4 engine. I dropped the gauge into the engine and then remembered why I always use steel gauges as I stared at my magnetic fisher.

    Hours later I managed to fish it out with a grabber. Never again.
    #49
  10. RVDan

    RVDan Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,466
    Location:
    Abbotsford British Columbia Canada
    Paid a Harley dealer to change the rear tire tube after I got a flat the previous day and put a 21” tube in to get me to the next town.
    After the Harley dealer charged me $100 the bike handled like shit all day and sounded scary on deceleration.
    The axle bolt was loose.
    #50
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  11. Tall Man

    Tall Man Medium timer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,638
    Location:
    The Occident
    During that period of time that you were riding with the 21" tube in the rear tire -- and I know it was done for the sake of expediency -- how did the bike handle? Did you choose, or have to, ride at a really reduced speed in recognizance of the quick fix?

    With space limited on my dual sport, I carry a single, spare 21" tube that would be used on the 17" rear only as needed.
    #51
  12. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,241
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Riding a performance pocket rocket. The liquid cooled t-niney type that can be carried under one arm.

    With itty bitty wheels, it doesn't take much of a pothole to send the rider over the bars.

    Didn't ride it again and sold it. Wouldn't so much as ride one across a parking lot, ever again.
    #52
  13. RVDan

    RVDan Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,466
    Location:
    Abbotsford British Columbia Canada
    The bike didn’t handle any different. I was tempted to just leave it in there
    #53
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  14. tvpierce

    tvpierce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    940
    Location:
    Maine
    Doing front suspension work on a '92 Mercedes 190E. The coil springs on that car are of a very tight diameter, and quite stout. The spring compressors I had would capture the edge of the sping but didn't fit the curve of the springs very well.
    [​IMG]
    What could possibly go wrong?:hmmmmm
    I get the springs compressed and off the vehicle using a socket and ratchet. Once off the car, I figure let's speed up disassembly by using the air-impact tools. As soon as I hit it with the impact gun, the compressors come loose, the spring flies out of the garage shooting across the yard, and one of the compressors flies up and hits me just below my eye socket ! Required a trip to the ER for stitches below my eye. And to this day, I have a chip out of my eye socket that's about the size of my finger tip. More precisely, it's exactly the size of the end of a coil spring compressor!
    In hind sight, that could have ended much worse.
    #54
  15. Hennepinboy

    Hennepinboy Adventure Eater

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    800
    Location:
    Minnetonka Minnesota
    Trying to impress a group of girls in HS with my wheelie skills. Suzuki T350 Rebel, I wheelied okay and went over backwards. Laying on the ground watching my bike bouncing down the road, spinning in circles, parts flying off. The girls laughing at me. Rode off, minor road rash, missing turn singles, mirrors and bent parts, tail between my legs.
    #55
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  16. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    90,142
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    BUT, there is that one girl that says: "Damn, that is cool, and he has balls"! Marry her!
    #56
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  17. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,895
    Location:
    $$$ Valley, Utah
    Let a friend try out my GasGas 300 trials bike. He spent a week in ICU and doesn't look the same. :(
    #57
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  18. msahern5

    msahern5 Jumping at Shadows

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    891
    Location:
    Upstate S.C.
    These things always have scared the crap out of me. It’s a sketchy design to start with and usually made in a country not known for metallurgy. Ive used them in the past but finally swore them off. Now I pull the struts myself and take them to a shop with a real compressor.

    Sorry for your incident, it or worse could have happened to any of us.
    #58
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  19. husqvarna

    husqvarna Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    263
    Location:
    Darkest Efrika
    Aye been there. You get so used to responsive bikes, someone asks for a ride you give them the basics and off they go. No injuries but three very scary moments for me on various 2 stroke Huskies from back in the day (390 and 430). Two friends went from wheely to flying W in three episodes, one across a surfaced intersection, the other almost into a fence. A girlfriend, now wife, wheelied that 430 up a 2 foot vertical bank despite (because of?) hanging off the back. She saved it but kept well clear after that. Heart stopping for spectators.
    #59
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  20. tvpierce

    tvpierce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    940
    Location:
    Maine
    +1

    Even before my "incident", whenever I used them I felt like I was on the bomb squad defusing an explosive.
    #60