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

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

  1. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

    Dec 1, 2012
    $$$ Valley, Utah
    I do recall this time I was looking for some engine bolts for a '66 Mustang I was keeping alive. Found a car on its side in junkyard. I think it might have been an old Falcon. I was able to remove some of the bolts from the engine from the bottom of the car, since it was on it's side. At one point the entire engine came loose and pinned my hand to the firewall. I was able to worm it out but as I was doing so I noticed about a 3/8" diameter sheet metal bolt sticking through the firewall about an inch. The engine had missed driving that through my hand by about an inch. Had that happened I would not have been worming my hand out and I can't imagine anyone would have come looking for me in that old junkyard for a long time...
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  2. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

    Jun 17, 2007
    Boise, ID
    Yes. Whenever I have done this with this type of tool, I put a couple of safety straps (ratchet straps) around the springs to add a little "just in case".
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  3. blackx70

    blackx70 Long timer

    Jul 18, 2010
    Sometime in 1991, I had a late 60 something ford 4 door boat with a 390, galaxy or LTD, something like that. The wrenching noob that I was, I decided that I was tired of the slight ticking of some lifters so I am going to replace all of them. Tear it all down and put in new lifters. As I am putting it back together, the distributor was fighting me. I forced it by cranking down on the bolt that holds the locking piece (that allows you to rotate the distributor to adjust timing). It snapped in and I was happy. Put in fresh oil, fired it up and the clatter was AWEFUL. Pulled a valve cover and fired it up again (per the suggestion of one of the shop guys). Clatter clatter and no oil. SHIT! He said to pull the pan and one of the crank bearings. I pulled the pan and what did I find laying there? The oil pump! It is driven by a shaft directly from the distributor and when I cranked down on that locking piece, it broke the pump off so I had no oil pressure. It was cheaper to get a used engine. Oil burning POS came from a station wagon. O well, it ran, but it was not the same. Lesson learned.
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  4. MacMcMacmac

    MacMcMacmac Reluctant Nihilist.

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I bought a Honda once.....

    But seriously, the "I'm bored with my bike so I'll make it faster with oem Suzuki parts and by reading the how-to from a website" turned out pretty bad...I finally got it all back together with a replacement GSXR1100 motor. It started fine and was nice and quiet. Then I found the transmission won't shift up and the clutch does not disengage properly...Looks like I was sold a pup.

    I swear before God and man.....



    I also remember a brake job on an 86 Topaz that seemed to go well until I took a drive afterward and found I had no brakes while rapidly approaching a red light at a major intersection in Edmonton, Alberta. I pushed the pedal to the floor with panic power, aimed my car at the vacant left turn lane, yanked the e-brake which was completely out of adjustment, and I braced for impact. Luckily, the stars aligned, I hit a gap in traffic, I yanked the car to the right, blended into the flow and pulled off to the curb. How the hell I got out of that one I'll never know. I got out and found the front disks smoking hot. It was weird. I limped home and tried to figure out what could have gone so wrong with a simple pad swap. The strangest thing of all was after sitting a few hours, everything went back to normal like nothing untoward had ever happened. I can only think that the act of pushing the pistons back into the calipers screwed with the proportioning valve, or the lines were breaking down internally and acted like a check valve somehow. It was spooky.

    I also discovered two upper missing pinch bolts on my XS650 triple trees while out riding once. Sometimes beer and wrenching don't go together.
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  5. Hennepinboy

    Hennepinboy Adventure Eater

    Feb 7, 2006
    Minnetonka Minnesota
    Second of many dumb things I have done. My ex-wife had invited her brother and his to be bride that we had not met to dinner. With company what should a guy do to kill the time before they arrive? I think I will change my transmission fluid in the 74 GMC pickup, GM Turbo 350 transmission. A guy wants to change the fluid when hot, make sure all the crud is in suspension in the fluid. I drive to the auto parts store and purchase fluid, pan gasket and filter for the transmission. At home I run the truck up on ramps. There is no drain plug on this transmission, you need to remove all the bolts and tip the pan to drain. I removed all but two diagonal bolts, the plan was to slowly loosen the last two bolts and tip the pan to were it would drain into the oil drain pan. Things did not go as planned loosen the two bolts and the pan is glued to the transmission. Get screwdriver to break one side loose and the fluid will drain were I want. NO the pan came loose and the scalding hot transmission fluid drained down my arm into my arm pit and chest. Hurt bad, I came out from under the truck screaming making up new swear words and using the normal words in new order that had never been used before. I grabbed my tee shirt and ripped it off and threw it on the ground and stormed into the garage to find a rag to wipe the fluid from my body.
    At the same time I was scalding myself Dale and Debby had just pulled into our driveway and exited their car. The first thing Debby saw was this long hair, bearded, biker covered with blood (red transmission fluid), ripping off his clothing and swearing, jumping out from under a truck at her. I scared the hell out of her. Her first impression of the biker side of the family.
    A little history of Dale, we called him "Mr. Rogers" behind his back, as straight as they come. Dale and Debby go to mass twice a week, maybe they think I need the prayers. They are still married 40+ years later.
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  6. oughtsix

    oughtsix Reverse Engineer

    Oct 11, 2013
    I’m okay at fixing broken things correctly. All of my dumbest moments seem to result from fixing things that aren’t broken until I try to “fix” them.

    Lesson learned: hammer down til something breaks, fix, repeat. Cheaper in the long run.

    Examples: transmission fluid changes (see above), various gasket changes, paint jobs. Pivot arm bushings on a 92 F250. All good times.
    SmittyBlackstone likes this.
  7. Mini Trail

    Mini Trail n°°b

    Jun 27, 2007
    West Tennessee
    I removed the control valve on my '92 F150 to try to diagnose a problem ( I didn't). When i had it back together I carefully poured 4 quarts of trans fluid down the dipstick, & started the truck but it wouldn't move. Back under the truck I pulled the pan to see what I had left out & to my surprise no fluid came out.

    I opened another beer & sat down to comtemplate what could have happened. I decided to check the disptick & as I reached for it, I realized I had just added a gallon of ATF to the engine.
  8. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

    Aug 24, 2008
    ATF...one of the best engine cleaners out there.

    Too bad the trans had to suffer for it.
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  9. CCitis

    CCitis Been here awhile

    Jan 13, 2013
    Beautiful BC
    And did that helping pay off for you?!
  10. telejojo

    telejojo Long timer

    Feb 2, 2010
    Huntsville Ala. foothills of the Smokey's
    I know it's probably been listed but forgot to put the drain plug in and poured 2 qts. of oil in the floor before I saw it.
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  11. BluByU

    BluByU Long timer Supporter

    Feb 24, 2007
    Lost in America
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  12. BlueRidgeBandit

    BlueRidgeBandit Taylor R.

    Jan 31, 2015
    Columbus GA
    That's hilarious man. Nothing you can do there but laugh at yourself!
    SmittyBlackstone likes this.
  13. jay pc

    jay pc Been here awhile

    Jun 28, 2019
    Before cellphones... Took the elevator in an uninhabited building where I was doing a (legit) job... Elevator stopped dead between floors...
    Yelling brought no-one... Two hours later I heard a door somewhere, yelled some more, caretaker got me out, he visited the place once a week...
    Never, NEVER take the elevator in an uninhabited building...
  14. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

    Jun 29, 2015
    Up. And to the right.
    Could be worse. I'm embarrassed to even admit this one.

    I was a Jeep tech back in high school. Had two vehicles on the lifts. Same year, make, model, color; everything. Identical. Both in for oil changes. Had them both drained, filled one, then guy in the next bay needed a hand with something. Went back to my bay and went back to adding oil. Well, one vehicle got twelve quarts and the other vehicle didn't get any. I filled the same one twice. The one without oil called the shop about 12 miles out with a locked up motor.

    Yea, that sucked.
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  15. luftkoph

    luftkoph Been here awhile

    Jan 17, 2008
    U.P. mich
    A friend of mine thought the bleed nipples on his calipers where grease zerks, and yes he did.
  16. tbas3

    tbas3 Been here awhile

    Mar 19, 2008
    Nova Scotia
    One of the worst mistakes ever was I spilled somewhere around 50 gallons of raw sewage into the belly of a Boeing 737. The dump cable was broken so it was probably months old and extra fermented. I pulled the cable with a set of vice grips. The hose connecting it to the valve blew off and most of it went into the belly and insulation. My crew chief asked why I was so mad about it. I said because its going to take me all shift to clean up the mess. He said "Nope, we have cleaners for that." That was the most disgusting day I have had at work. Sort of worked out for me because I did not have to do the final cleanup.
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  17. Oil Burner

    Oil Burner Adventurer

    May 6, 2009
    Mendon, Massachusetts, USA
    When I was in high school, my older brother bought an old Ford Torino for a project vehicle. After a garage rebuild of the engine, we put it back in and started hooking everything up. Well, he hadn't purchased a new cap, rotor, or plug wires yet, and they looked pretty rough. But, we really wanted to get it running and see the fruits of our labor. Put some fuel in the carb, and he hops in and turns the key. Cranking, but sounds like the timing is too advanced. I reach down and grab the top of the cap to twist the distributor a little. Unfortunately, the wires were a touch worse than I thought. Took a full current load from the coil wire, that found a ground path through my little friend into the LF fender. That will get your attention. If the hood had been on, I probably would have knocked myself out with how I jumped. Lemme tell you all. That hurt like nothing else before or since.
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  18. talbertjm

    talbertjm Adventurer

    Sep 12, 2018
    Cookeville, tn
    years ago when I was a qualified gravel driveway and carport mechanic, I was working on my friend's dirtbike, cleaning the carburetor. Took off the carb and cleaned it. Put back on, the darn thing still didn't run right on 1/4 throttle. Got lazy and loosened the boot screws, tilted the carb. Took off the bowl, dam I couldn't see anything. By that time I was frustrated and tired. I needed a light to look into the carb, well shoot, didn't have one within reach. So I grabbed a lighter in my shirt pocket. Hell yeah it's getting good right!! Lit the lighter, put it up to the bottom of the bowl, and HOLY SHIT, the bowl caught on fire and freaking fire and flames and mayhem everywhere. BUT, the float valve still worked after that. I never told him either, haha. Point is, keep your flashlight handy at all times.....and don't get frustrated..........I got the scoot running good and everything worked out great. I was so paranoid afterwards.....
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  19. Paul124ac

    Paul124ac Long timer

    Apr 28, 2015
    NE Vic
    @tbas3, that story reminded me of my worst day at work. Young apprentice and got the job of removing a burnt out sewerage injector pump motor. This involved removing many flange bolts on a large vessel, the pump was inside the vessel and the motor outside, the whole lot was 3 stories under street level under a lift pit accessed by a slightly larger than me door hence why I got the job. What had actually occurred was the valve had failed that shot the shit up to street level when the vessel was pressurised enough, the vessel remained pressurised, the pump ran again on the next cycle (all rotary selector control, no PLC in those days), but loaded up to stall and burnt out. So I’m removing the bolts but the last couple were REALLY tight. Gave the flange a whack with a lump hammer and all shit broke loose. Literally. A 20 floor buildings worth of shit. I couldn’t escape the torrent because I couldn’t find the fucking door let alone get out of it. Had to choke on the vomit because I didn’t want to open my mouth. The tradseman I was working with just ran. There was a biblical amount of crap. I had to catch a bus home in Tyvek overalls and nothing else after pitching my clothes and scrubbing myself for an hour in the shower with solvol.

    I have never done worse, I’ve fucked up but never had to endure that again. I took out a substation once with a 12 inch shifter across bus bars, and stuck a crane boom thru an adjoining building trying to fix a fault, but I’ve never ended up in so much shit as that day.
  20. amboss87

    amboss87 Been here awhile

    Oct 27, 2018
    Heard a rattling noise for a while from inside the exhaust of my beat up Yamaha dt250 two Stroke. After a while i got annoyed and grind cut open the exhaust. There i found the resonance conical plate came loose. Dumb me considered it as useless anyway and threw it away(which i normally never do), welded the exhaust close afterwards.

    This was three years ago. Since then the bike hardly starts and if it runs poorly. So anyone has a solution for that besides getting a new exhaust?