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We get a lot of posts about the horrible workmanship and shortcuts Previous Owners have done to our cars. But if we've been in this hobby long enough, and if we are being honest, I bet most of you have done some terrible things yourselves. A lot of us have discovered the same issues. I'm wondering what awful things some of you did to your cars when you were too dumb to know any better. To save embarrassment, this could be stuff you OR a PO did (unless you feel like being honest). Here's a few I have seen (or possibly done):

Torch cut holes in the shock towers to access upper control arm grease fittings
Air shocks in the rear
Fix rust with bondo
Rusty floor repair done with any combination of sheet metal, screws, and roof tar
Bars leaks in the radiator
Trailer hitch
Hack the dash to make a modern radio fit
Cut big holes in interior panels and doors to fit speakers
Sunroof (saw one on a '65 fastback once; appalling)
Double set of taillights
Drop the oil pump drive shaft into the oil pan, and leave it there
SBC engine swap
Glue in windshield with urethane instead of bedding compound
Eleanor

What sort of tragic mistakes have you seen or done? Discuss...

MrFreeze
 
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Well in a recent post about a pontiac 400 w/ junk in oil pan...I ID'd the sludge as "Bars Stop Leak" so I guess I can admit to using it before on a pickup.
I have dropped the oil pump shaft into the oil pan while pulling a distributor. the shaft was installed upside down, so the little washer did its job once half of the shaft was exposed and coming out with the dizzy...until I heard that famous clanking noise as it disappeared back into the block. But I did fish it out and put it in correctly before running that SBF. As for the sunroof...no way. But I once had the chance to buy a fastback shell at a junkyard. It was a roller, no motor, trans or interior. It was a 68 390 car, but had multiple dents throughout the top...like someone did a victory dance on the roof. I passed on it for 2K. That is one I regret...it was in the mid-90's...so the crazy value wasn't there, nor the replacement roof panels.....
 

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Bolted / screwed in misc metal and glass for floor board repair.
 

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I cut my dash to fit custom A/C vents. First pic is the dash "protesting" (kind of looks like a screaming face to me). 2nd pic is how it looks complete. I did not lose any sleep over this mod.

The previous owner cut speakers into the doors which sucks. I plan to plug those holes with......well....speakers.....

750397

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Previous owner used a piece of metal that he riveted to the rusty floor. :( When I first started working on my car I broke a few bolts since didn't have a torque wrench and was using the feels tight enough method. After about the 2nd broken bolt and PITA to fix it I bought a good torque wrench. Have FlowMasters which a lot of folks don't like on here but I still like them. :) My real first 67 200ci I bought V8 springs since I though these should handle better, and after installing and seeing that it raised the front by like 1-2", I knew I had made a mistake, had thrown originals out so I cut them to lower it but as you can guess it rode like a brick truck.
 
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In HS, a friend of mine sold an old Honda beater he used as a DD. Before the guy came to pick it up, my friend wanted to take one last joy ride in the car. During this drive, he decided to jump the car, sort of like Bo and Luke style. He did get it a bit off the ground, but when he landed, three wheels fell off. On several, the lugs were completely sheared off, so he super glued the lug nuts to the wheel. And that’s the way he handed it to the new owner.
 

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I swear the lug nuts were tight, but after a block the front drivers wheel was wobbling something fierce. Worst walk of shame back home I ever had to get the jack and four way. Thankfully no real damage other than a few wheel studs met their fate and were stripped.
 

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I'm guilty of cutting holes in the trapdoor of my fastback to install 6x9 speakers. In my defense, the trapdoor already had a few holes drilled into it; for what, I do not know as they were already there when I bought the car. However, I do have an original 65 trapdoor in my pile of stuff that can be easily switched out if necessary.
 

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I'll proudly share this one because it's just awesome.

When I built my engine I apparently bolted on the harmonic balancer without the big washer. So I essentially just tightened a bolt onto the crank shaft and the harmonic balancer was being held on by nothing other than the tension with which it was pressed on and the tension of the belts.

I drove the car like that for THREE YEARS until one day when I was giving a coworker from Denmark a ride. We were about 3 miles from my house and I got on it hard. Then I felt a vibration and heard a rumble sound. Then the balancer/crank pulley came completely off and hit the fan and made the worst sound you'd ever heard under the hood. Was painfully obvious what had happened as soon as I opened the hood.

Not a thing was damaged. Winched it up on my flatbed, took it home, reinstalled balancer with an ARP balancer bolt AND WASHER and been driving it ever since.

I really do not take short cuts when I build anything, whether it's carpentry or cars, so I can't think of anything else at the moment.
 
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Cut through dash to install equalizer. Used bondo, rivets and aluminum.
Rigged window washer to supply bleach to the back tires.
Used a bleached out box turtle shell with a bunch of holes drilled in it as a dome light diffuser.
Hey, I was 17
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Things PO did:
  • Removed passenger floorpan, replaced with a good sheet of metal, but just siliconed it to the surrounding floor and frame. Silicon is not a good substitute for welding the floor of your unibody car to the frame of your unibody car, incidentally.
  • Jacked up the wiring harness (all POs do this as far as I can tell)
  • Built the motor with 3 brands of pistons, a used cam, original bottom end w/ bearings, beat up dizzy, and no hardened valve seats, resulting in a... unique.... motor, which to its credit did make it another 30,000 miles under my care before the oil pump mostly seized and it mostly spun a bearing... mostly.
  • Replaced lower quarters with fiberglass and glue, presumably for weight reduction.
That's about all I can think of right now... really the list is pretty short, all things considered. The engine thing was a real doozy though.

Now... Things I did:
  • Wrecked the car (though it was not my fault)
  • Ran the car into the side of the garage... twice... (no excuse there)
  • Set the carpet on fire (the carpet got replaced but there's still a burn mark on the rear seat upholstery... oops)
  • Killed the motor (though as mentioned above, that was really not my fault either)
  • Wired the distributor backwards so a column of fire came out the top of the throttle body when I tried to start it (hugely entertaining)
  • Destroyed a power steering pump, three times (got tired of swapping it out when the third one went bad, so I just drove on it with it nonfunctional, until one day it abruptly started working again... causing me to hit the side of my garage)
  • Destroyed a brake booster, three times (eventually scrapped power brakes altogether)
  • Swapped in two different engines in a 24 hour period, neither of which fully worked to the extent that I wanted it to (one spun a bearing, the other one overheated terribly)
  • Attached my brake calipers with wishes and prayers, causing them to clunk 5,000 miles into a road trip, at which point I found that the bolts holding the calipers were mostly backed out
  • Forcibly removed the mufflers from the rest of the exhaust system using a curb, large rock, large speed bump, and/or very deep puddle... multiple times... (that's why my exhaust is bolt-together)
  • Fixed a failing coil 8 hrs away from home temporarily by hammering it (only gained me 25 miles really but it was worth it)
  • Limped a dead flywheel (well, dead ring gear) from Reno, Nevada, down the Sierra Nevadas, and across Yosemite to Modesto to get it repaired (and pop started it about a thousand times in Tioga Pass to make it happen)
  • Replaced a fuel pump in the back of a Carquest warehouse with a random one from someone's racecar (it's still in the car today)
  • Fixed an intermittent ignition failure by scrambling the underdash wiring harness with my hand while 4 hours away from home (a genius fix for someone else's hackjob wiring)
  • Destroyed a timing cover by being too strong
  • Destroyed an intake by being too strong
  • Destroyed a water pump by being too strong (honestly I've destroyed a lot of parts by not knowing my own torque limits)
  • Completely fried both horns after they got stuck on at random, frequently (they only fried right before it was time for a state safety inspection, of course)
  • Ran the motor without any coolant in it after the thermostat stuck and it puked out all of its coolant, which made me mad and caused me to drive it home with nothing (which I think actually did teach it a lesson because it never happened again)
  • Cross threaded the engine crossmember bolt into the nutsert in the frame (it's still crossthreaded and I pray I will never need to remove it)
  • Did something cruel to the speedometer which caused it to scream at unholy volumes every time someone sat in the passenger seat (hilarious)
  • Forgot to retighten about 75% of the bolts on a brand new motor after break-in, causing a lot of leaks (but no other damage)
  • Drove on a dead (no longer advancing) distributor with it locked out at something like 26*BTDC (causing Dan Nolan to call me and ask me how I had possibly driven with this distributor when I sent it to him for a rebuild)
  • Left my key on all night, causing the Pertronix I to burst into flame eventually (worst smell I've ever smelled)
  • Squashed my fuel line between the axle (which has no bumpstop) and the trunk floor, causing the fuel pump to start screaming (until I squashed it back out with a pair of pliers and drove another 9000 miles on it)
  • Snapped the center out of a water pump pulley and then drove on it all day (only incidentally noticed it at the end of the day because the crack caught the light of my flashlight)
  • Filled the radiator with gross campground water after I (must have forgotten?) to tighten the lower radiator hose clamp and it popped off... after a full day of driving across Texas... (actually I don't really know why that one happened)
  • Left the car out in a hail storm multiple times (I can't help that it's hailing but I sure as hell can't see through a frozen windshield)
  • Waded through super flooded areas of Texas multiple times (I can't help that the only road across Texas always seems to lead into a gigantic storm)
  • Lost various bits of paint on the front of the car to rocks, random things in the road, and very large bugs (gross)
Nearly 10 years running of one continuous circus with Jane and I! :ROFLMAO: The Wall of Shame is pretty extensive by this point. Honestly I don't know how we keep things together for long trips like we do, considering the sheer volume of dumb things that I do to this car. Oh and I guess that's the last terrible thing: every year I screw around with the car and decide to start a huge project sometime in the spring, which then drags on into the summer at which point I realize that I'm about to leave on another 3-week, 5000-mile trip, causing me to slap the car back together totally haphazardly with the assumption that it'll be fine until autumn, and I will TOTALLY fix it the right way in autumn (I don't).
 

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I was working on a '68 for a friend, stripping it for a new interior and paint, and realized both front floor boards were made of car tags pop-riveted together. Still have em.

I bought a '69 Mustang once that included a chicken snake in the hood and a bumblebee nest in the firewall insulation, and the guy put it on the Bill of Sale. The bees got me.

I gave up street racing after realizing that my 289 could have gotten me arrested, Natalie and me killed, and that Brian L's 5.0 couldn't stay with it even with a few mods and overdrive. Money well spent, her kiss I'm actually glad I turned down, and Brian's still a good dude in my book. Ahhh, the days.
 

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A long time ago, I had a Capri 2.8i (European standard muscle-kinda car) with the desirable 5-speed gearbox. When the known to be fragile 5th gear finally stripped, I replace the shifter knob with a 4-speed one and sold the car to a delighted new owner.

I am not proud of this, but it happened.
 

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My short block was OLD in my '66 coupe. A buddy of mine and I replaced it. Kinda ruined the whole originality of the car. Only bright spot was the replaced short block was from a '68 Mustang.
:rolleyes:
 
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