Breaking expensive cars

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Bill Powell, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Bill Powell

    Bill Powell Cross Member CLM

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    What's the most expensive thing you ever screwed up because of a personal brain fart. Being a car person that's where my chance at mayhem is most likely to be. It can be trains, planes, or automobiles, or tanks, or boats. You know, like McCain almost sinking an aircraft carrier, the one he was sitting on at the time.

    Up until 1931 most car had either gravity fuel system, or a large can on the firewall that used engine vacuum to pull fuel into it, and it in turn fed the engine through gravity feed. A lost of the old cars have been fitted with electric fuel pumps to fill the tank, at whick point YOU SHUT OFF THE ELECTRIC PUMP.

    Well, we were trying to start an eight litre Benlley that our boss had just paid almost a million dollars for. I showed my bud, who was starting the car, where the electric pump switch was. I assumed he would shut it off after a little while. (You know that old saying about assuming) Another feature of the tanks was a filler cap to fill it if it ran dry, for those of you who are not lazy like us. In that filler cap was a tiny vent hole which, when the tank got full, started spraying that gasoline in in a fine pre-atomized vapor.

    Directly beneath that tank was the magneto, full of electrical sparklies. When the engine compartment wa full of vaporized gas my but turned on the ignition and hit the starter, causing that magneto to start creating sparklies. When that vapor ignited it blew both hood panels open and there was fire shooting out all the louvers and around the hood panels. Luckily, being a vapor fire it quickly ran out of fuel. I don't know why we didn't destroy that car, God protects the feeble of mind, I guess.

    I didn't do it, but my brain fart was not reminding him to turn off the pump.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  2. Bill Keith

    Bill Keith

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    Oh Lord! what a great story. I can only recall one incident in my life that could have had serious repercussions. I was working for the USPS, it was 1979, and I frequently worked in processing registered mail. Cold, hard cash is sent out by the Federal Reserve banks to banks across the country via US Registered mail. It is sewed up in creamy white, brand new canvas bags with a Roman Numeral on the back of the address tags denoting how much money is in the bag. One local town was getting a shipment of $220,000. The money is shipped in one mail pouch with a rotary lock, and that is placed in another locked pouch with a common lock. The guy loading the truck, put the bag (he didn't know what was in it) on the roof of his 1 ton pickup and drove off. Two hours later, when I got off at sunrise, I was heading home and turned a corner and saw a mail bag against the curb of a street. Didn't think anything about it. Took it back to the post office and gave it to a shift supervisor. When I got to work the next evening, I had a surprise visit by two postal inspectors. After a grilling interview, I found out that the bag I picked up and returned was that bag of cash.:faint:
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012

  3. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed JAFO

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    Great story Bill. :thumbsup:
     
  4. PBCounty

    PBCounty

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    Not a car, but I may or may not have been using a 3.5" hole saw to mount instruments in the fiberglass instrument panel of a ~$200K boat, and failed to have quite a good enough grip to account for the torque when the center bit punched through, and the saw blade made contact just a hair unevenly...

    Wow, you can gouge a truly tremendous amount of gelcoat with a runaway hole saw on a 1/2HP drill body. And it's awfully tough to re-gel it in such an obvious and visually exposed area. Crikey.
     
  6. texasglong

    texasglong NRA Life Member

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    On a Chrysler Lebaron I had just replaced the radiator, after having the Tranny rebuilt. On the bottom of the Radiator was a small inlet for the Tranny to circulate oil to be cooled and returned to the tranny box. I forgot to rehook the hose. got almost to work before the transmission went out again.:crying:
     
  7. Eric

    Eric Big Giant Head CLM

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    I was loading my first ZX14 on a trailer. My brother was behind the bike, keeping it stable. The trailer floor was corrugated. When I got to the top of the ramp, the bike catches on something so I cob the throttle a bit and the bike goes up on the trailer. Once I was there though, the rear tire started slipping around. I gunned the throttle to get control of it. I know, that sounds counter-intuitive, but it works.

    So I got the bike stopped and looked down and back and the floor of the trailer was covered with 4qts of $15/qt synthetic bike oil. Then I looked back at my brother. He was covered in oil from head to toe with the oil the tire slung up when I gunned it. He was actually spitting out oil.

    What I felt catch was my oil drain plug. When I gunned the engine to get loose, I ripped a whole in the bottom of the engine case about the size of a baseball and the bike's lube system did a speed-unload right under my rear tire. The damage to the bottom of the engine looked horrific, but luckily, the piece of the engine case I gutted was replaceable (Not an integral part of the engine case). so it cost me about $170 and four hours to repair. Eric
     
  8. knightkrawler00

    knightkrawler00

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    I "squeaked" a Cummins B series in a Dodge pickup when I was a very green technician. I was three months into my first technician job when I was told to reseal the timing cover. A very large job, and one that I shouldn't have been doing with my experience level. At least, unsupervised anyway. Turns out that a couple of oil pump bolts weren't torqued properly and the engine lost oil pressure on the test drive. Of course, being an early 90's Dodge truck, the idiot light didn't come on and the engine was noisy enough that I didn't pick up on the knock until it was too late. The engine let out a loud squeak as it spun it's last revolution. The truck may not have been expensive, but it cost the shop about ten grand. This was the most expensive mistake for me, but I've seen worse.
     
  9. M&P15T

    M&P15T Well I'll Be Dipped!!!

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    So, I was drunk.

    I had just purchased a home, and it had a fire place. It was early fall, and I wanted to get a fire going. I loaded up some wood, and tried to get the fire going, but it just wouldn't get going.

    So, I grabbed a small white-china tea cup, and headed out to the garage where I filled it with gasoline. Came back into the living room, got near the fire place, and wrist-flipped some gasoline into the smoldering fire.

    WHOOOOSH!!! Flames followed by billowing black smoke.

    In my drunken stooper, I looked down to see that the white china tea cup is on fire, my hand is on fire, and there's a line of fire coming from the fire place, across the wooden floor, up the side of my wooden entertainment center.

    In .56 seconds I tossed the entire tea cup into the fire place (another WHOOOOSH of fire and black smoke), shook my hand extinguishing the flames, then grabbed a blanket and put out the fire on the floor and up the side of the entertainment system.

    Total cost? One white china tea cup, some hairs on my hand/lower arm.

    I later learned the idea is to mix oil and gasoline 50/50 to help get a fire started.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  10. Eric

    Eric Big Giant Head CLM

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    Never throw an accelerant on smouldering embers. The Accelerant has a chance to completely vaporize before it ignites, resulting in an explosion and a fireball that will roll right up the front of you and singe your eyebrows, your receding hair and any arm hair, within reach. Your hands, face and neck will feel sunburned and it will take a while to get rid of the burned hair smell. There will be a smell of stupid in the air, that will linger a little longer, but it will clear up. Eventually.:supergrin: Eric
     
  11. pack-indy

    pack-indy Emissary

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    Thats awesome. You could have won some money if it had been caught on camera :supergrin:
     
  12. Eric

    Eric Big Giant Head CLM

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    To ad injury to insult, we had been outside all day having a yard sale and we were both severely sunburned. I would have thought the oil would have been soothing, but he said it was more stingy. Eric
     
  13. M&P15T

    M&P15T Well I'll Be Dipped!!!

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    Yep.

    The only response I ever got from Mensa was "Don't call us, we'll call you.":supergrin:
     
  14. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

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    I wrecked the top two floors of the apartment building we lived in when I was a kid when I strung a rope between two brick chimneys to make a swing. When I sat in the center, I pulled both chimneys on top of me and the whole mess went through the roof and through the kitchen floor of the apartment directly below and settled in the kitchen below that. While I was very seriously injured (FDNY said I only lived because the first apartment's refrigerator landed sideways on top of the second apartment's frige and range keeping the tons of bricks off me) Miraculoulsy, nobody else was hurt. This happened during the summer and I missed an entire year of school I was so badly hurt. HH
     
  15. 208GunGeek

    208GunGeek

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    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Thanks for sharing that story!
     
  16. PBCounty

    PBCounty

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    :shocked:

    What did the neighbors have to say about that?
     
  17. Rabid Rabbit

    Rabid Rabbit

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    My dad told me to replace the rockers and rods in a 318, with no supervision. Up to then, the most mechanical thing I ever did was change the oil. I installed the new gasket on the wrong side and blocked the oil hole things. The engine survived about 50 miles.

    My dad wanted an excuse for a new truck anyway.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  18. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr CLM

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    First trip to Clearwater Florida in 1992. Being young, having a
    bit of money and basically no bills. I decided to rent a Ferrari 348
    at a rental lot in Clearwater. Wasn't too bad, $500 deposit & $750
    for the weekend. Had limited mileage, can not remember what it was.

    Anyrate,....there was an area along the side of the Gandy Bridge.
    There were a few seagulls hanging out, thought it would be cool
    to speed up a bit and "buzz" them. Bad part was out of no
    where came a pelican! I hit it at around 50. Destroyed the
    upper windshield frame and caved the windshield.

    Needless to say.......lost the deposit & was screwed out of the
    second day's rental use....not to mention screwing up a flippin Ferrari.
     
  19. M&P15T

    M&P15T Well I'll Be Dipped!!!

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    Well, I went to start a fire in my fire place....and it didn't work out very well. With the chimney gone, there wasn't much draw.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  20. pack-indy

    pack-indy Emissary

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