Motorhead or Dummy

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Nic Wiederhold, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Nic Wiederhold
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    Nic Wiederhold Member

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    So I just wanted to share something I'm not proud of hoping I can help others avoid this fail.

    Friday (4/9/21) I decided to do a leak-down test on my BMW track day car. It's a fun car but it's gotten progressively weird acting like a vacuum leak. The MAF basically no longer works. So what I found was not terribly surprising except for the shear volume: roughly 30% leakage!! Damn. I'm surprised it runs at all. That said, it does run with the MAF disconnected (running a default curve). SO found my vacuum leak. Felt like I could run a tube to the rear of the car to get additional speed from the thrust produced by the blow-by. ;)

    So I buttoned it all up and put my tools away. Next day I go out to start the car. I hear a quick vaguely loud *SNAP* sorta like when you miss a shift. Then it's just running like normal... I'm like huh. What was that? I immediately think, Did I leave something under the hood. I start thinking back to the tools I put away, the stuff I took off and left off... Then I'm like, OH ****!

    Guess what I forgot?? Yup, totally gapped on the wrench I left on the crank pully! SO the wrench spun around, smacks the water pump pulley clean off. That drops into the radiator and punches a few holes. And it spun the crank pulley bolt out.

    What a dummy. I've been building/modifying cars and engines for 20 yrs. Never did that before. Guess I gotta get myself a whiteboard to keep track of what tools I've left in the engine bay.


    Anybody else willing to share a story? Thanks team.
     
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  2. Krazylegz1485
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    Krazylegz1485 Well-Known Member

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    My two worst ones that I recall, both of which happened at a past job. We did a lot of semi truck work and both have to do with that.

    First one was we had a Volvo in for a deer hit. I think we were replacing the hood, intercooler, and some other stuff right on the front end. On most semi trucks the intercooler is about the size of the radiator, mounted directly in front of it. When removed there are two huge intake pipes exposed with big silicone couplers. We used to put plastic paint mixing cups on them when parked outside to keep crap from getting in the hoses. I went to start it at the end of the day to bring it inside and totally spaced the cups. The turbo side cup shot off and flew a few feet away. The intake side sucked the bottom 1/4 or so of the paint cup in (the bottom of the cup, plus a little of the sides). The truck started, then stumbled for a second or two, and then corrected itself and stayed running normally. I jumped out and knew immediately that I f**keep up and what it was that I forget. Found the one cup on the ground intact, the other one (what was left of it) was still around the coupler. To this day I'm still baffled as to how I didn't destroy the thing, as it didn't seem to have any negative effects other than for the first few seconds.

    The second was a Peterbilt 379. It was a cold morning, sometime in the winter. Snow and ice all over the place. We would frequently have to shuffle trucks around inside and outside because we only had so much room in the shop and they obviously take up a lot of space. We had to move several at one time and we were kind of in a hurry since it was so cold out. I moved this 379 back almost to the road, as far as I could to get it out of the way. Jumped out to go get in something else and move that as well. I pulled the air brakes and proceeded to almost literally jumping out. Apparently I forgot I had my foot on the clutch still and even worse I forgot it was still in gear. Basically dumped the clutch, which had it just been on ice probably wouldn't have really been "that bad", but of course the parking brakes were all fully set. I think the truck shut off if I remember right. I was like "oh f**k...". I got back in and started it back up, took it out of gear, and then it wouldn't move more than a foot or two either direction. Grenaded the ring gear in the drive axle...
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
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  3. Krazylegz1485
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    Krazylegz1485 Well-Known Member

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    And as I wrote this last post I remembered what's probably my most embarrassing "at home" mechanic related story.

    The wife and I took the truck (92 GMC 1500 w/ a 350) and trailer to pickup a project car (an 03 WRX sedan) from over by Hugo (we live in Oak Grove, about 45 minutes away maybe). Trip down there went fine, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. After the fact I now remember that I had heard some weird sound coming from the footwell area of the passenger side of the truck while I was talking to the wife quick during the strapping down process of the car.

    Anywho, we start our journey home and we're headed north on old 61. Get to the southern end of Forest Lake and I noticed the truck is running HOT. I look for a spot to pull off and find a big, empty parking lot. Thing is making this violent bubbling sound and when I pop the hood the overflow bottle (mounted to the firewall on the passenger side) is shaking around and the water in it is bubbling/boiling like a pressure cooker. It was wild to see. So we park for a bit and I'm looking for parts stores. For some reason all I could think was the thermostat was stuck shut. There's a Napa like a mile up the road and there's an awesome mexican restaurant right next to it. Perfect. We head there, wife and child go get a table and order food, I go to Napa and grab a thermostat and a couple basic tools (screwdriver, sockets), and some coolant. I had my 18v Milwaukee impact with for swapping wheels on the car, so I used that with the sockets I picked up. I swapped the thermostat in the parking lot after dinner and we were on our way.

    Life was good til we got to the west side of Forest Lake and it was already running warm. Wasn't too much longer and it was creeping up on hot again. I was so confused. We pulled over on 18 just west of Lexington, where it goes west again. Sat there for another 20 minutes or so, then went some more.

    Got about 5 miles from home before it happened again. I even called @MrBlue to pick his brain about it and try to figure out what the hell was going on. Talking tranny coolers and overheating tranny fluid not allowing the radiator to stay cool, all sorts of crap.

    It was at that moment I realized I f**ked up... At some point during the winter before that I put a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator to help it stay warm when it was brutally cold outside. Well it was apparently still doing its job because I hadn't taken it out yet...

    :banghead::facepalm:
     
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  4. Nic Wiederhold
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    Nic Wiederhold Member

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    Dude, I felt each one of these while I was reading them. Great stories, man!!

    The Cups thing, hilarious. The ring gear. I swear I can almost hear it, YIKES!! That cardboard thing, I'm sure I've done that too. LOL. Thanks for the back up, man, feeling a bit better.
     
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  5. tangledupinblu
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    tangledupinblu Event Coordinator Staff Member

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    Yeah, the cardboard over the radiator one can get ya. It got me. I probably shouldn’t have spray painted the cardboard black to hide it better. It worked and I forgot all about it! Lol

    Nic, I think that what happened to you is better than driving down the highway and having the wrench come out and head out the back towards the car following behind you!
     
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  6. MrBlue
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    MrBlue Active Member

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    @Krazylegz1485 , haha!!!! Thanks for the reminder.... Probably about time to pull the cardboard from the tow pig.
     
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  7. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    When I was a teenager I had a brown '88 Olds Cutlass (hand-me-down from my grandmother) and was replacing the brake pads at my uncle's shop. Finished everything up, hopped in the car to leave, put it in reverse, and had zero effect when pressing the brake pedal. The car only stopped when I hit a rusty old International Scout shell that was lying on the ground. Turns out I had forgotten to pump the pedal and pressurize the system after compressing the calipers...:facepalm:
     
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  8. Chux
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    Chux Well-Known Member

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    Oh boy. I have my fair share (and then some) of these. And many many many close saves.


    The one that really sticks out, was my grandpa's '76 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible, we would get it out a couple times a year and drive it around Alexandria near our cabin. It had a bit of an oil leak from a valve cover that would drip on the exhaust manifold and smoke. One year, he stuffed a rag under the leaking spot. Next year, my uncle and I put a battery and fresh gas in it, and started it up, unaware of the now-oily rag stuffed into the manifold. Before long, we had quite an engine fire. My uncle and I probably had the same thoughts on where this fire was going....the Caddy, the carport, the '59 Lincoln sitting next to it in the carport, the tarp-shed next to the carport with the pontoon boat in it, the woods, the whole damn county.....

    He managed to grab the corner of the rag and pull it out of the engine bay and drop it to the ground, but being the car was pulled forward into the carport, I had to carefully fling it out between the 2 cars into the driveway to let it burn out. That was damn scary.


    I did a rear disc brake swap on my Blue '88 lifted wagon while I was running 15" wheels. One winter, I put 13" wheels with snow tires on it at my parents' house, and headed north. I didn't make it far before the smaller wheel rubbed a hole in the poorly-routed brake hose. I bought a piece of hose and couple clamps at a convenience store and slit the hose, and clamped it over the hole to stem the tide and keep enough fluid in the system so I could have a few good stops left, and drove it to Duluth...

    Then, one time I was doing engine work on that same '88, left my parents house for Duluth, and the thing didn't run great. And the longer I drove, the worse it got. Occasionally the tach would jump around, so I knew it was related to the crank sensor (in the distributor on the EA82s), so I pulled over and pulled the disty cap to visually inspect the components several times. I had to wind my way through the Duluth hillside in low range to get up the hill to my house it was so down on power. Turned out I had left the clamp bolts loose, and the disty was rotating freely, and ignition timing was all over the place. Tightened those up, and it ran great (well...as well as an EA82 ever does).

    I've had several wheels fall off. Peugeot alloy wheels (4x140 like old Subarus, but came with 14 and 15" wheels) use a 45* taper on the lug nuts, which I always had trouble getting torqued enough, keeping them torqued, and telling if they were loose before they fell off. I also had a rear axle nut fall off once, but being that it was a rear drum car, so that was the only thing holding things together. The wheel came off with the drum, obviously I hit the brakes, which made the wheel cylinder explode it's guts all over the road.
     
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