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BangShift Question of the Day: What is the Most Bone Headed Automotive Thing You Have Ever Done?

BangShift Question of the Day: What is the Most Bone Headed Automotive Thing You Have Ever Done?

Part of being a gearhead is learning hard lessons, that’s true for us as well. We have all done something really dumb to or with a car at some point in our evolution in the hobby. Maybe it was running that tired, clapped out motor in your teen-aged daily driver to the redline one too many times, or following the uninformed advice of another pal that resulted in busted stuff. Of course, there is the ever popular, “just try it one more time” stories that inevitably end in some sort of destruction.

Our ultimate bone headed move? It came on the first weekend my dad and I went bracket rain with the Nova that he still competes with. Having just built the iron-headed 383 with a PAW automotive stroker kit (remember them?), we hit the strip ready to really get after it. The car had an electric fuel pump so we installed a block off plate over the boss that the mechanical pump would bolt to and thought we were in good shape. Sadly, we forgot to run a bolt into one of the holes in the front of the block to prevent oil from shooting all over the place when the motor was under load.

I went blasting down the track on that first pass and lubricated the drag strip from about 50′ to the end. The motor was unharmed but the ego damage was pretty big, especially when a dude walked up to the oil soaked car and said, “You need to put a bolt in that hole,” and then walked away like we were total idiots.

We’ve blown junk up before and flattened camshafts, but bringing an entire drag strip to a stop for an hour or two was our crowning moment of badness, what’s yours?

Question: What is the most bone headed automotive thing you have ever done?



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18 thoughts on “BangShift Question of the Day: What is the Most Bone Headed Automotive Thing You Have Ever Done?

  1. FishBone

    Not the most expensive but one I will do only once and very messy! Routine oil change in my garage and did not make sure the old oil filter gasket came off with the old filter. 2 gaskets do not play well together. 5 quarts of oil on the floor in about 30 seconds and 1 hour in clean up while kicking my own ass.

  2. phitter67

    Put a clutch in my v8 Monza, “Spot”, and the wiring harness fell between the block and bellhousing. I didn’t know that until about midnight, three miles away. My dad wasn’t very happy that I got him out of bed to come get me. I learned how to replace fusable links and burnt wiring.

  3. Joe

    Just 1? Forgot to put gear lube in a customers 4 speed and didn’t realize it until I was going into 4th at 50 mph on the road test. Another? 69 Firiebird, 400 c/i, 4 speed. Put a clutch in the car, sheared off pinion on the 3/4 shift at about 70 mph..Favorite? I was going to do a 6000 rpm hole shot with my 1600 cc 72 Pinto and the flywheel broke. A small section of flywheel and clutch went through the bell, the floor, windshield and roof. I was covered in gear lube and clutch dust..

  4. jerry z

    First time I removed a cylinder head on a ’75 Celica. Did everything right till I started removing the head bolts. Liquid was sipping out between the head and block. Oops, forgot to drain the coolant, my bad. Put it back together, removed the spark plugs, crank it a few times, problem solved? Ended up selling the car a week later. Don’t know and didn’t care, car was out of my hair.

  5. Robert

    Converting an early big block Chevy from a cartridge oil filter to a spin on one but not realizing the bolts to the adapter were wrong. Got it all together and then driving the car, the filter blew off and I put a really nice new stripe on my street as all the oil sprayed out. Damn that made a mess! And as a bonus, I got to look at the stain in the street for a long time after to remind me of my stupidity!

  6. groho

    first motor build, installed a piston facing the wrong direction, caused just enough vibration months later to shear the vibration damper bolt and launch my damper three miles down the road. Pay attention to the dot on the piston face.

  7. 3nine6

    I swear I didn’t do this, but I did witness it. Freeze plug removal. Plan, drill a small hole to insert slide hammer. Actual result, drilled thru freeze plug, cylinder wall and piston.

  8. dakine

    Tightened the hell out of the pressure plate bolts in a buddy’s 4wd S-10. Because everybody knows it’s bad if those bolts loosen up, am I right? Had to pull skid plates, trans and transfer case, drivelines, etc to retorque the bolts when we figured out the clutch wouldn’t release. Bright side was he quit asking for me help working on his stuff.

  9. Singapore Hot Rod

    Forgetting I put 8 quarts of oil in my 572 and then putting in another 8 quarts (no dipstick). Nitrous plus excessive oil in the combustion chamber equals many burnt pistons. Dumb, expensive, bonehead move.

  10. John T

    like others I have many dumb moments…the one I remember though, had the flu, trying to figure out a driveshaft vibration in my car. Pull up the drive, bottle jack under the diff so the car’s got both back wheels about an inch off the ground. Start it up, in gear, cars doing 60 mph on the speedo. Stick my head under the car trying to see if driveshaft’s wobbling or anything – and i can feel a breeze down the back of my neck so I turn my head to see why…and see the back tyre spinning about 1/2 ” from my nose and realise that if I was 1/2″ closer I would have got sucked under and spat out the other side as a meaty pulp…

  11. BeaverMartin

    Auto shop class. Full Lincoln airbag suspension replacement. Figured the bags needed to be pre-filled. Took the car off the rack as soon as it was started the onboard compressor cranked up. The town car looked like a trar for a minute until all four blew.

  12. tom jennings

    i foolishly build a really unpopular and antique motor. hoping to increase oil pump capacity i milled the end cover clearance from about .008″ to about .002″. worked great! tons of oil!

    400 miles from home i pulled onto the freeway from a rest area, oil pressure suddenly went to zero. very, very expensive flatbed home.

    turns out .002″ clearance isn’t enough — the gear welded itself to the cover, shearing teeth off the driven gear. lucky me — i’d turned it off fast enough, put another pump — stock clearance this time — and the engine ran another 5 years before i tore it down.

  13. cap'n fast

    back in ’78,us young airmen at homestead afb built up a econoracer out of a clapped out pinto wagon. not a bad idea overall, but the engine choice of a 460 stroker and a spool rear end definitely entered the darwin awards contest. If you made 60 feet with out spinning around you were doing very well. never made a full pass with the uncontrollable turd.

  14. Razz

    A recent one. A rear brake job on a 99 Corolla. Never use flat screwdrivers to remove drum springs. Late night auto parts store searching on a Saturday night sucks. I was lucky thank god. Hooks are a money saver.

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