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Stupidly obvious things we've missed


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I trusted Euro Car Parts once.

That would normally be enough but I'll add more.

Doing an oil change with a spin off canister filter, drains oil, spins off old filter.

Can't fit new filter, need 3/4 thread which is 19.05mm. The one ECP supplied is similar at 19mm. 

Use 2nd car to go back to shop?Nope 1st car is blocking it in on ramps. Old oil has been collected in a filthy bucket so can't reuse.

To be fair ECP lad dropped the correct filter off on his way home so they redeemed themselves pretty well.

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Not me but a garage I used.

I had a Corsa Dti. I thought I'd treat it to a cambelt change. Got it back, used it a few weeks then the first sign of trouble was a misfire whilst driving through London. Drove 150 miles home without issue, parked up and it wouldn't start. 

Took it back to the garage, they had it for a few weeks without figuring out the issue, then sent it across the yard to a Vauxhall main dealers again without solving the issue. I eventually took it back, still dead as a doornail, they suggested contaminated fuel.

Some months later me and my brother were looking under the bonnet when my brother (who is unusually observant) spotted a build up of shredded black plastic on the the lip where the cambelt cover goes. We remove the cover and discover one of the new tensioners had shattered knocking the timing out. 

I'll never know whether the garage knew this and kept schtum but I never got back to them to get them to sort it out.

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I serviced a GP-Z500 once, Oil, plugs, antifreeze all changed.

 

Next run out, I got about 10 miles before the bottom radiator hose popped off and sprayed hot antifreeze all down my left leg!

Luckily I was wearing leathers but it was still pretty unpleasant.

In a bit of a red mist, I said some bad words and rode it home where I found the jubilee clip slid down the hose where it met the block.

Everyone I spoke to said "You did what?!" when I said I'd rode it home.

But it survived and I sold it a few months later and it went on to be a riding school hack. 

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I built a Lotus 11 for a client.  It came in as a pile of pieces, with a bare chassis with suspension and brakes sort of attached, usual bitza with about two genuine parts.   It was a base model with drum brakes, which was a thing in the early days.  Anyway, took it all to bits, keeping left and right side parts separate as you do, overhauled brakes etc, piped up chassis and assembled.  Discovered that the original* brake hoses were too short to reach the chassis brackets.  Oh well, these are almost certainly Herald brakes from the scrappy, not Lotus spec, just get some longer hoses from stock, sorted. 

When the car was finished it went quite well down the lane around my private test track but wasn't very willing to stop although the pedal was good.  Adjusted, bled, etc. no better.   Well, maybe it will bed in with a bit more private testing.  It didn't, very odd.  Then one day I was turning around at the end of the lane, tromped on the brakes in reverse, and the front wheels locked up, and I got the message.   Back to base, swapped the backplates side to side so that the twin leading shoes faced the correct way,  and the brakes were absolutely fine from then on.  I don't  know whether it was me or the racing mechanic* before me who mixed the bits up, it might have been like that for years, but the brake hose problem should have given me the clue.    

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3 hours ago, Mr Pastry said:

The stupid mistake we all made was to start working on cars in the first place.

Far better for you to stay out of it and keep your hands clean.  Then you can have a social life, get a nice job in an office, meet a better class of people, go the right parties, crawl up the right backsides, get a better job in a better office, get a bigger more expensive house, have more complicated relationships with more difficult wives/mistresses/insert preference, get a new Audi every year, and generally treat everybody else like shit.  It's not rocket science.

When I was 18, I thought that a career in Engineering would help me to own an interesting car.  Probably I'd design it and keep the 1st prototype. Turns out that its accountants, hedge fund managers and the like, that can afford a flash car, and engineers are unlikely to be designing anything other than the rear view fucking mirror.  As a manufacturing  engineer imagine knowing that my greatest achievement is being able to design a method to stop the wrong grey plastic parts being used in the assembly of switches for a Renault Clio.  (It's the same switch as a megane,  just a different shade of grey and who really cares) 

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It was 2007 and I was the proud owner of a brand new Renaultsport Megane F1 and a Mk1 MR2. The battery was dead on the MR2 so I decided to jump it off the Renault. I got the cars in position, went to put the leads on and realised I was going to have to disconnect the positive lead on the Megane as there were that many cables running from it that I couldn't get the jump lead on to the terminal. So I happily set to with my ratchet, undid the 10mm nut and just rested my ratchet dow..........

Cue a massive blue spark as the metal ratchet rolled over and bridged both terminals of the battery, welded itself in place and blew almost every fuse on the car. That was an interesting call to Renault Assist, "No, I don't know what's happened with it, it just won't start". To their eternal credit, they fixed it without even questioning it, although to be fair, I suppose total electrical failure on a 2007 Megane can't have been too uncommon.

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All these stories of forgetting to refit the oil cap (I have never done that, no, not me) reminds me of the attractive young lady who used to call at the (serviced) petrol station I used to work at. For no* reason other than good service, I would always check the oil when she came in (about every 2 weeks). The garage went self service, but the young lady still came in, and after a couple of months reminded her to check the oil occasionally (hoping for an invite later on to call around to her house to check her over the oil). This failed when she said she said she would get her boyfriend to do it.

Next time she came in it was in a different car. Turned out boyfriend checked the oil and left the cap off. Young lady smelt oil, boyfriend checked, found the cap missing and temporarily replaced it with a bit of rag. Two days later, there was an almighty bang and the car stopped. Turned out the rag had been picked up by the rocker shaft, wrapped itself around the shaft until the shaft broke out of the head. Dead car.

Sadly the boyfriend remained, and the last time I saw her they were engaged. This was about 40 years ago, so console myself she is probably an overweight grandmother now! :-) 

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6 hours ago, New POD said:

I broke a tooth in half taking a wiper arm off the omega. 

 

I did that recently,  trying to get a stuck solid nut off in the Gilbern, with a extension bar and scaffolding pole, socket slipped off and in the slowest motion ever i watched in through the air, hit the bench, and bounce into my face.

How i laughed last week paying 320 quid for a crown 

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6 hours ago, New POD said:

I broke a tooth in half taking a wiper arm off the omega

I've told this before but there was an angry customer who brought a faulty ratchet back to the shop with a fat lip and broken tooth after it slipped and smacked him in the mouth. 

He pointed out several times that ith mot thucking thunny! 

 

(It was very thunny). 

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1 hour ago, Saabnut said:

Sadly the boyfriend remained, and the last time I saw her they were engaged. This was about 40 years ago,

Slightly OT but that reminds me, nearly that long ago, I got chatting to a nice young lady in a pub and after trying to convince her that I was a creative genius or something, as you do, she discovered I worked on classic cars and said, Oh, Wow! I have an old MG Midget, needs some MOT work, could you have a look at it?  Yes, I know about Midgets, no problem.

I got a mate to drop me off at hers one evening, refused a glass of wine because working/driving,  had a quick look around the Midget and took it away.    In daylight it didn't look so good.  It was starting to rot, and more work than I wanted to get involved in, so I called her up and said thanks but no thanks, dropped the car back, no hard feelings, got the bus home, and forgot all about it.

Some considerable time later, I happened to be chatting to another young lady in the same pub.  After a while she glanced along the bar, and said, Um - Is that your girlfriend over there?  I looked around, and there was the MG woman, absolutely steaming with jealousy... That's when I realised it had all been a big mistake.  It wasn't actually the car which needed attention.  Oh.   Sigh...!

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2 hours ago, 95 quid Peugeot said:

I did that recently,  trying to get a stuck solid nut off in the Gilbern, with a extension bar and scaffolding pole, socket slipped off and in the slowest motion ever i watched in through the air, hit the bench, and bounce into my face.

How i laughed last week paying 320 quid for a crown 

Mine was repaired by my NHS denist at the emergency price of £16 or £36 or something cheap. 

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Not me but my dad...

We put a new radiator in his Mini  and after running it a bit he let it cool down then checked the level, all ok so started it up again.

Unfortunately he'd put the rad cap on the triangular top bracket and when it started, the cap went down between the fan and the radiator.

Next day I fitted a new rad for him while he was at work haha.

 

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At one point I’d been scraping paint or mud or oil or rust off the bottom of my land rover with one of those pointy triangular paint scrapers, which obviously I left on the floor in front of one of the wheels.

That would be a trip to get a puncture repaired.

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23 hours ago, Fumbler said:

Father and I were doing an oil change on our old Jazz. We had just mopped the floor of all the spilled old oil, made sure everything was clean and tidy, and began to fill up the engine with new oil.

We poured 5 litres in with nothing showing on the dipstick. As I went to fetch another can of the stuff, I hear a loud "OH SHIT WE FORGOT THE SUMP PLUG!", rushed over and found 5L of oil now draining down the freshly mopped floor! One £16 more expensive learning curve for the both of us...

I did the same as a teenager, the first year I started messing around with cars.

Then did it again about a year later. 

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3 hours ago, Saabnut said:

found the cap missing and temporarily replaced it with a bit of rag. 

Years ago my colleague drove his wifes blue heap of a Corsa C to work. Height of summer, utterly utterly boiling. No washer fluid, screen caked in bugs...so come clocking oot time he goes away into the staff kitchen with an empty bottle and fills it up. 

As I'm locking up the office, he lifts the bonnet up and sets to work to glug in some water. Cue howls of laughter. I walk up to the car as he pulls a (previously) white Adidas sports sock oot of the filler neck of the 1.0 ecotec.

His wife insisted she never done it.

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Obvious thing I missed?

As a teen not realising my Mk5 Fiesta was in gear and starting it through the open window whilst I was standing beside it. It chugged forward and twatted the fence/gate and stalled. 

Afterwards it refused to start off the key.  Had to bump start it and take it to the local garage. I'd killed the starter. Still don't understand how it happened. 

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3 hours ago, Saabnut said:

Turned out boyfriend checked the oil and left the cap off. Young lady smelt oil, boyfriend checked, found the cap missing and temporarily replaced it with a bit of rag. Two days later, there was an almighty bang and the car stopped. Turned out the rag had been picked up by the rocker shaft, wrapped itself around the shaft until the shaft broke out of the head.

I also left the oil filler cap sitting on top of the engine after topping up once.  Drove it around like that for a few days (not far, fortunately) then next time I opened the bonnet was greeted with the inevitable mess.

Now I also used a rag to plug the filler hole and I did consider driving it to the garage like that to collect the replacement cap.  Fortunately I thought better of it and waited until the next day when I could get a lift, otherwise that tale of woe could have been me.

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Years ago, jump-starting a friend's car on a slight incline. ADO 16 and a Maxi, or similar in period. During the process, while connected, the jumper rolled gently to bumper-kiss the jumpee. And no, they weren't both negative earth, but one was.

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Summer of 1982. My wife was expecting our first child and on the day of her final ante natal class I started up my Chevette HS and found that the oil light was on and the  gauge reading zero.

She had to miss her class and like any impetuous young bloke I started pulling the engine apart. Next day I borrowed a hoist from work and lifted the engine out and completely dismantled it. Didnt find the cause, although I didnt really know what I was looking for. Although I did find 12 of the 32 valve springs were broken.

I ordered a new oil pump, new valve springs, crank bearings and a complete set of gaskets from my local Vauxhall dealer. I lost count of the number of times they got the wrong parts in, usually weeks after I had returned the previous wrong parts, so when the baby was born on 5/ 11/ 82 the car was still off the road.

Father in law had to take me to collect his Daughter and newborn Granddaughter from Hospital, which was a source of great shame for a young new Father. 

I rebuilt the engine in a 6x6 shed with no door and no glass in the window frame !

I can still remember the blisters on my hands from grinding in 16 valves into their seats which seemed badly worn for their 30k miles.

I finally got it up and running just before Christmas. I noticed the radiator was leaking a little, but decided I would sort that after Christmas.  

Took the wife to Sainsburys, 8 miles away to do Christmas shopping and on the way back noticed the temp gauge starting to rise. Aware of the fact that a new alloy head was over £1000 (a fortune at that time) I decided to pull into a layby and top the rad up.

I should have switched it off, of course, but was a bit concerned it might not start again so decided to leave it running.

I lifted the bonnet and very gingerly undid the rad cap, which then shot up in the air, hit the bonnet and came back down and found its way between the cam pulleys, slicing through the belt instantly.

I didnt know whether to cry my fucking eyes out, or set fire to the bastard thing .I do know which option the wife would have taken. She hated the car before any of this mallarkey even started.

I left it where it was for a few days before getting it towed home. Took the top end off and found two slightly bent exhaust valves, so not as bad as it could have been.

The car was doomed after that though. I sold it cheap a few months later.

I still miss it though. 😄

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About 3 years ago I had a call from my son at Uni. He said his Punto wouldnt start and diagnosed that the engine had run out of oil.

I got him to talk me through what happened step by step. When he turned the ignition on, lights lit up on the dash, including one he recognised as the oil light ( hence his diagnosis) but the car wouldnt start.

So we then got into - did it not turn over ? Did it turn over but not start etc ?

He told me it kind of lurched forward a bit against the kerb, but wouldnt start.

I told him to put the gearstick to the neutral position and try again. He said he would call me back and let me know what happened. He didnt call. He was too embarrassed. 🙄

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1 hour ago, ThisWayUp said:

Not me but an old friend rebuilt the engine in his daughter’s Talbot Samba. On reassembling the head he put the gasket on the wrong way which blinded an oil passage.....to the cam. Didn’t take to long to become toast.

I've done that on a Cinquecento head gasket. Was getting late, i was in a rush, running out of daylight, slapped it on in a poorly lit lockup, buttoned it all up, started it.

Sounded great for about 10 seconds then rattled, immediately switched off. Removed rocker cover, started it again for a few seconds. Bone dry. Fuck. Stuck a screwdriver down the oil feed, blocked.

Easy done, gasket is almost identical either way up. all coolant holes will line up etc bar one diagonal hole in the centre that is the oil way.

Thankfully a mega easy job on them. just time consuming and pissing annoying having to redo with a new gasket.

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2 hours ago, Mrcento said:

I've done that on a Cinquecento head gasket. Was getting late, i was in a rush, running out of daylight, slapped it on in a poorly lit lockup, buttoned it all up, started it.

Sounded great for about 10 seconds then rattled, immediately switched off. Removed rocker cover, started it again for a few seconds. Bone dry. Fuck. Stuck a screwdriver down the oil feed, blocked.

Easy done, gasket is almost identical either way up. all coolant holes will line up etc bar one diagonal hole in the centre that is the oil way.

Thankfully a mega easy job on them. just time consuming and pissing annoying having to redo with a new gasket.

i know a bloke who did that, he welded a long rod to a drill bit, and drilled thru the head gasket. et voila oil feed. sold the shitbox that week mind so he didnt care either way.

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Renault Mégane 1.6e RT Sport.

We changed the cylinder head gasket at a friend's house. When refitting the drivers side wheel (because French) I forgot to tighten the wheel nuts.

I got within 1/2 a mile from home when I wondered what the banging was from the front. And it make it worse, I had left the locking wheel nut key on the wheel nut ready to be tightened. 

Locking wheel nut key lost, pride damaged but car lived to fight another day. It eventually had complete electrical failure and was traded in!

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I drove my Polonez for several days with a mysterious clanging from the front.  When I finally removed one of the plastic Astra hubcaps it wore, one wheel bolt had fallen out and was rattling around, and the other three were all loose.  Well that explained that!

 

Want more?  OK....

Two tales now that involved third parties.

Around 2000/2001 I was driving for a produce wholesaler which meant ridiculously early starts.  One of  other drivers, Stan, had taken a Vauxhall Movano home overnight; the van being a contract rental, stickered up in the supplier's name.  Although refrigerated, it had been delivered to them with  glazed back doors, which were stickered over.

Stan lived in a flat with a communal parking area, so he parked where he could; in this case he had driven up the entry ramp and straight into the first space.  The following morning about 4am I was picking up my wagon for the day, a 1987 Leyland Roadrunner with a six pallet curtain side body, when my mobile rang.  Stan had gone to his van and found the battery flat, could I come and help?  Well I wasn't going to leave him stranded, obviously!  So I drove over to check out the problem.  Neither of us had a pair of jump leads, but where the van was made it easy enough to push it backwards down the ramp.  Then with a gentle bumper to bumper push, the 5.8 litre Roadrunner would have plenty of power to push the van up forwards to start it, and Stan could at least get into work.

And the plan worked beautifully, with one slight exception.  The two vehicles touching as we drove up the ramp meant that as the ramp steepened the van began to tilt back before the truck did.  And one of the door windows met the truck's wiper spindle.  Oops!  It was a few weeks before they replaced that window and I don't think it ever got a new sticker.I

 

I had one of these moments in Cyprus too.  I don't remember why, but my friend John wanted me to look at something that didn't feel right under his 944.  So I said bring it round and we can get it up on my ramps in my drive.  On the day John showed up and guided by me, backed into my drive.  When I presented my ramps to his car, his rear tyres were somewhat wider than the actual ramps but we decided it would be fine.

HAHAHAHA!

As John reversed up, he was a little too heavy on the power, and one wheel just sucked the ramp under until the car's sill was resting on it.  Oops!  We brought it back to earth with jacks but the ramp had left a very noticeable dent in the sill.  John did have it repaired, and I still don't know what the initial problem was.

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