WorkShop Mis-deeds


Today I was refurbishing a small gear motor from the snowblower chute. I had all the grungy work done, rust and junk out, fresh grease and had to put on the output shaft snap ring. Gently widened it with my proper pliers, just about had it in the groove and thought " I'll push it the last 1/2 mm with a screw driver." Well, doesn't it develop a mind of its own the minute I contact it and sproing it ricochets to the far side of the shop bounces off two or three things and I think from the direction and nature of the sound it landed somewhere within my material stock pile. I moved about the outside 1/4 of the pile and concluded I had to try my luck at the hardware store. 3 second push became crosstown expedition.

Anyone else have escapades like that (that they are willing to admit to) ?

Dwelling on it reminded me of an engine swap in high school taking out a 4 banger auto and dropping in a V6 4 speed. Having meticulously cleaned out the engine bay and finally having all the ancillaries buttoned up except the headers I couldn't resist seeing if it would fire. So it fired up fine and sounded like the rocking rolling-est race car inside the closed garage and I blipped the throttle a couple times. It was indicated to me that I should shut it off which was sensible so I did. I knew about CO poisoning. However the real reason for the shut down guidance was that there was a big pool of oil on the floor, dripping from the previously pristine engine bay wheel well where some kid (me) had forgot to put an oil filter on and the oil had blasted out faster than insert-favourite-expletive-here. Iive and learn.

Thus far on a saw the worst I've done is almost snip off and lose some piston stop rope down into the crank case. I could feel a funny feeling as I torqued it and caught myself just before I cut the rope end clean off. Its a bit luck of the draw to orient the rope right each time as you stuff it down the plug hole.


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I blew out a carb the other day and realized the metal screen was gone. An hour on my hands and knees with 2.5 readers making my stomach queezy but I found it.

After some searching, found the last part of a bottle of brake fluid and accidently topped of the power steering resevoir with it. Hondas tend to not like that, so I sucked it back out, then had to go buy more DOT 4 AND that expensive Honda PS fluid.

Changed the transmission fluid on Honda. If ot wasn't enough that the refill bolt is under about a 1000 ft-lbs of torque, when I got the refill bolt out, the aluminum washer fell down into small crack and it took me forever to get it out. Magnet no help obviously. Topped off fluid a month or so after and forgot about washer and did it again. Just topped it off the other day, and that %$@!# washer ... ughh.
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Serf Life

Well-Known Member
Sheared the bolts off the distributer cap on my old Civic in a neighbor's shop who had offered to help check my brakes. Thanks for the brake check, can you help take out this part, drill out the bolts, and do you have a tapping set handy? Felt like an ass.


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First oil change on a Ford Expedition 5.4L I used to own.
Wrong plug. Drained the transmission fluid and then added 6 quarts of oil to a crankcase that was already holding the old 6 quarts.
Glad I checked the dipstick before starting it or driving it. No harm done except wasted 6 quarts of full synthetic.
I just saw a pan and plug and didn’t pay attention to what the pan was attached to.
Oops :rayos:


Active Member
Same. In a rush to change the oil Sat night as I had to head back to school the next day (10 hour drive) and was way overdue. Drained the TM fluid on a PT Cruiser. Was watching it blub out wondering what the deal was. Rechecked the fill cap was cracked open, still plopping away. Took the cap off... Plop, plop, plop... Saw the oil drain plug...

Then I learned the first gen of those things had some stupid special Daimler transmission fluid (next model year changed up the TM and used regular stuff)... Drove mom's car to school on account of auto parts places didn't have it, one TM shop said they had some additive they could sell me that would let me use regular stuff (sounded dicey) and the dealers 'round these parts respect the Sabbath.


Here's another truly embarrassing one. The local store changed the packaging of the brake fluid from those 450 ml head and shoulders style bottles to 1 liter generic bottles. AND, they changed the label colors and graphics layout of multiple products all at once with the only distinguishing feature being small writing declaring if a bottle was brake fluid, oil etc. So some guy had put an oil bottle in with the brake fluid bottles on the shelf and who chances to grab it but me. Here's where the convergence of multiple screw ups gets in on it. Size, shape graphics all say brake fluid, foil seal under the cap too, and as I pour it into the master cylinder it comes out fairly thin and perfectly clear like water - again my brain says "brake fluid". Then I spot the viscosity slightly off. Then I notice the small writing saying oil. I fudged the system and confess to making an excuse to exchange my now contaminated new master cylinder for another new one. I also went to the store and gave them what for about making all the products look almost the same. I put two bottles on the counter and told the guy from 5 feet to tell me if they were different products and they looked the same to him too. He shrugged and said I just work here and on another visit they said Hey aren't you the guy who put oil in his master cylinder? (chuckle) With less visits to the store and staff turn over I think they have now forgotten. I also refill a couple of old small head and shoulder style bottles so my brake fluid is instantly identifiable like it should be.


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Doing brakes on van today. Got rear rotors turned and new pads on. Move to front. Wheels off, caliper swung up and bungeed, rotors not grooved, but I'm anal and wanted a fresh surface. Measured thickness at 1.025". O'Reilly specs in millimeters, and my fronts are 26mm min. So, 1.25" x 25.4mm/in = 31.7mm, so I have plenty of thickness.

So, had it not been sprinkling off and on, I would have caught my mistake. 31.7mm thick rotors, really? Remove the mounting brackets on both sides, torch the retaining screws on rotor to melt the loctite, remove rotors and head to O'Reilly. Dude measured them and said they were just at 26mm spec and couldn't turn. I reminded him that everytime I bring them a rotor, they say the same thing, and they need to zero their calipers. He repeated with same result. Then he handed me the caliper and I did it. 26.04mm. Damn. So I pulled out my phone and 1.025 x 25.4 = GUESS WHAT!

I'm an idiot. I hung my head in shame and went home I and put it all back together with unturned rotors and the new pads, in the rain.

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
I hope I don't pickup a jinx from this thread.

A brake line on my Tracker rusted through. A buddy offered me the use of his heated garage. I've made brake lines before, I have a double flaring tool. Its not a fun job but I can do it.

No jinxes!


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The turn signal went out on the dump. I tracked it down to the switch it’s self. Took the steering column apart, and pulled the unit out. I was hoping for a simple mechanical switch which might have been corroded or some easy fix.

Removed the small screws holding the plate shut, which accesses the actual switch. All this was sitting in the cab mind you.. who knew there were two spring loaded ball bearings that did some weird thing. They shot all over the place.

I had to remove two spring loaded levers (the ones which trip the lever after you compete a turn). I could figure out how they went back together. Finally found the bb sized balls, brought it all inside and ordered a new one. Best I can tell is it was a fried circuit board inward from the switch.

All better now. I could have made 3x the money I spent trying to fix this damn thing as what a new one costs.


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What I've decided to try to work toward getting better at trying is cleaning machines and work areas before tearing into them. If I'm not on pavement, I"ll put a tarp under the machine. Way easier to find small parts that are dropped, or know they are still resting someplace up in the machine, not making the whole trip to the ground.