I know we have threads about PO stupidity, but how about the dumbest 914 thing you have done?
I will start with a, ahem, senior moment I had today. When I tried to add oil after my recent engine re-installation, it would not go in. Short version: I forgot to remove the paper towels I had folded up and tucked into the breather recess while the engine was out of the car, to keep anything from falling into the case.
I still can't believe that I installed the breather and did not see and remove paper towels.
I did something very similar a couple months ago. I was changing out manifolds, carbs, and air cleaners. I installed the new manifolds and then put the gaskets on top. At that point, I stuffed a balled up blue shop towel down each manifold intake to keep from dropping anything into the engine while I did the other side.
SOMEHOW, when I placed the carb down onto the manifold, I forgot the towels were there, even though they were in plain sight. Luckily, when I went to hook up the throttle linkage, I started dicking with the throttle and it wouldn't open freely. The throttle plates were hitting on the towels. That's when I realized what an idiot I am.....again. Crisis avoided. I'm just getting old apparently.
Last winter I built a 2056, got her on the stand and was unable to get oil pressure while cranking. Tried, tried, finally I said maybe she will get some pressure when she fires up. Sure enough she fired and still no pressure! Took it apart and had a small ball of paper towels in the pipe leading to the oil pump. Got her all together and she runs like a champ.
Most of us are getting older everyday, some more than others
BTW: great build Bob
there is bound to be some of the greatest moments to follow.
Last week my turn signals quit working on a short drive to the store. When I came home I checked fuse 7 and it was good but since it had the fuse panel upgrade - done by others - I checked them all to no avail. Well crap, it was time to dive into it. Removed the lower knee pad dropped the fuse panel, Emergency flasher switch, headlamp switch & Fog Lamp switch - can't remove just the one by itself. The Emergency Flashers worked but I tested the flasher relay anyway and of course it was good. I even opened it up to check the contact points. Next I checked for continuity between 48 & L/ R on the Emergency Flasher switch to confirm that the Turn Signal switch was good and yes it indicated so. Being the optimistic idiot I've become I installed a spare switch and still No Worky! Not trusting myself - I'm sure the neighbors think I'm giving my wife the business as I'm always verbally abusing myself in the garage - I removed the Turn Signal switch in hopes that I would find a dropped pin, etc. Everything looked OK but I changed it out with a NOS one in my stash and that didn't correct anything either. Now at wits end I decided to check the true signal lamps and found the loose spade connecter on the left Tail Lamp bucket. The 1st damned thing I should have checked but NOOOOOOOO! I had to piss off a few hours instead of checking the easiest & most common failure point in that system.
I had a body shop cut down my 914-6 rear snowplow valance
to make it look like the newer cars..
Also painted the white headlight surrounds
black to look more modern..
This was done around 1974..
I also bought a complete 1965, 911 engine
over an hour away from my house and brought it hone
in a 1966 MGB…
Drove my new Scirocco too close to the curb at a fucking toll booth.
Daughters first time driving, I pulled into an empty parking lot and let her drive my S4, within 30 secs she ran over a planter island, cost me a new tire and a nice ding in my rim. I had just gotten new tires the day before…
I bought a 3 liter 911 engine with a few broken head studs. I was going to fix the studs, put back together and perform a leak down, hoping for a quick fix. All kinds of horror stories about piston circlip dropping in the case - I know better, but continued to pull pistons without covering spigot holes… last one, the clip sprung out right into the case—- wasn’t able to find it, so now she’s getting a full tear down…
I’ve got plenty more…
Wanted to celebrate my birthday by doing some work on my car. I was replacing the gear lube in my transmission and stuck a short piece of rubber tubing on the end of the gear lube container to keep from spilling gear lube. When I squeezed the bottle the tubing shot into the transmission. I spent most of the day trying to fish out the tubing with no luck. Finally took the car for a drive and flushed the transmission - 4 times. 150,000 miles later and the transmission still shifts fine.
I took my transmission out, but, when putting it back in, forgot to install the throw-out bearing ("What is this extra part?"). I had to take the trans out again, by myself, and install the throw-out bearing, then put the trans back in, by myself.
I had pulled the engine on my 70 to fix a bunch of leaks and freshen things up. The trans, exhaust and bottom of the engine were caked with oil and trans fluid. I cleaned everything up including the heat exchangers. The good news, the leaks were solved. The bad news, I didn't clean the inside of the heat exchangers which now had a combination of cleaning solution mixed with greasy gunk in them. I had to pull the heater parts back off and using a hose, towels, and stuff to push and pull the towels I managed to clean the inside good enough without pulling them off the car.
Thanks all for the laughs, keep them coming
probably a dozen things.... we should call these the DACO " dumb ass current owner"
my" DACO" moment that first comes to mind is recent---
I have had my motor and trans out 4-5 times for various reasons, but recently pulled to do the RMS and some push rod tube seals etc, removed tin to clean and inspect etc and that means the distributor had to come out, well everyting goes back in just like it came out , ites all back together, it should start right up, unless of course you dont make sure that when the distributor is put in and it is not properly seated, , it was not and therefore no turning of the rotor and no spark. so simple, overlooked.
I also forgot to attach the transmission ground strap once, i dont forget that now.
I rebuilt a 901 trans in a 71 911 years ago. I did a great job! It had 5 reverse gears and one forward gear.
I put the differential in like a 914. I had to pull the engine/transmission back out to fix it.
Well, lets see... I have a tie I think.
1) after checking compression on my engine, I did not realize that the compression hose had unscrewed from the spark bore adapter on the #2 cylinder. I screwed in the spark plug to the compression adapter (they were the same thread and went in easy). I did not notice that the plug was sitting about 1.5inches higher then usual.
Drove around pissed off that I had a really bad miss on one of my cylinders after spring maintenance...
2) While doing work on the dizzy, the little spring at the bottom of the distributor shaft somehow went down the tiny hole offset in the dizzy shaft bore and into the engine case. I had to get under the car, lower the nose of the engine, pull the oil pump out and fish out the spring. It was a hot humid day and I was coated in sweat and oil by the time I rolled out from under the car.
Have a bunch of these stories, these two got me because it was the same thing on two different cars:
Got my 914-6 back together and test driving little farther from home each time. 2-3 drives out, heater flap box falls off (forgot to tighten clamp). Couldn't get it off road-side, had to drag it home.
Same with my Bug: Tranny swap, 3rd-4th drive and start hearing this clank, clank, clank, tink, clank. Heater box lever fell off dragging by the cable. Forgot to put the retaining spring on.
Made me giggle. Both times, heater cables saved my parts for me.
1979 had a 914 sold and promised the guy a clutch so he could pick it up the next day did it myself (used to be able to change the clutch assembly in 45 minutes) got the job done and tried to start the car, turned over slowly. Thinking it has a weak battery I put a battery charger on boost and tried again, still slow start and then smoke started to come from the center tunnel. Found out that I had melted the accelerator cable inside the tube. DISASTER!!!!!!! Spent the whole weekend cutting the tube out of the center tunnel and replacing it. I had forgotten to reconnect the rear transmission ground strap and the starter was using the accelerator cable as its ground. One of the first things I thought of when writing the book 914 "tech tips 700" In fact I put it in two different places!
I don't know if it's the dumbest thing I've ever done, but here is *one* that ranks up there. When in my 20's (long ago) I bought a sound system for my 914 to replace the 8 track player. The new system had a huge amp, and I proceeded to mount it in the cabin on the vertical area in front of where the passenger legs go.
I drilled my first hole through the metal and right on through the gas tank. I pulled out the bit and watched gas start to squirt out the hole. It looked just like someone peeing, and of course the tank was full.
I panicked and forgot to put a container down to catch the gas. By the time the tank was out several gallons of high test covered the floor.
Every time I drove the car after that the faint odor of gasoline reminded me what a dumbass I was.
I alternate between thinking it was the dumbest thing I ever did as well as one of the smartest things I ever did -- buying a 914. Every story starts there.
Perhaps not dumbest thing, but scared me crazy doing new 2056 build. Set up garage floor run-in stand for cam break-in. I'd installed a mechanical oil pressure gauge where the sender goes and while cranking w/o spark plugs was seeing no oil pressure. Finally pulled out the oil pump in desperation only to find it DRY !!
Couldn't understand why no oil feed, thought I'd mis installed the pickup tube where it sockets into the case to feed the pump, but decided you can't install it wrong.
Finally pulled off the oil strainer only to discover that this used part had deformed so that it blocked off the tube inlet. Not much displacement needed to achieve this.
Straightened the damn thing out and now got oil flow. I was then a happy camper.
Glad i was monitoring oil pressure while cranking
Trusting the machine shop...
I once built a 74 Fiat 1.8L Spider motor that I didn't verify the bearing clearances when returned from the machine shop.
This was from the best machine shop I've ever used. I had assembled multiple motors that they machined, went through all of the bearing clearance checks on the previous motors, and never had a problem.
I trusted them and assembled the Fiat (my own car, Thank God!) in record time.
Built, installed, and tuned in less than 5 hours. FAST AS SHIT.
It lasted 60 miles...
Crank main journals had been ground an EXTRA .005" so they were .025 under instead of .020.
Wiped out an early Fiat spider crank which had enough different than the later ones that I had to find the right critter. Took 6 weeks to find one.
I am an anal-retentive pin head regarding machine work that I have not done myself now.
And I've stopped trying to do stuff FAST anymore. Just leads to problems down the road
That was back in 1987.
The ONLY saving grace was that it was my personal car. Had it been a customer car I'd have been really screwed...
Compared to what was available at the time a Fiat Spider was light years ahead of the competition. X-flow DOHC, 5 speed all syncromesh. 4 link rear suspension with panhard rod, 4 wheel disc brakes with load sensing prop valve. The real early ones were 2 side draft carbs.
Compared to a MGB or a Triumph they were hot rods.
Only an Alfa Spyder was better and not that much.
Mazda kicked everyone's ass with the Miata but It was far more like a Fiat Spider than anything else.
I was one of the last "Factory Certified" Fiat mechanics back in 1983-4 when they were getting the hell out of the USA. I hated them at that time.
Later I worked for Bill Sours (Passport engines-ATK and Vege distributors) and he was an old school Italian enthusiast. He taught me the mindset you have to have with Italian cars. Sort of like Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.
I did come up with a better acronym for Fiat. First Italian Attempt: Transportation.
I can flat ass fix Italian shit...
One time I fixed a 6-month-old Maserati Bi-turbo with a rock!
It had been back to the dealership 5 times.
Had the car on the lift, headers off, and adjusted the valves. Put the headers on, then the muffler, but the two-holed rear valance wouldn't fit. I was stymied.
Then, finally, I figured out that I put the muffler on upside down.
my brightest moment was when I had just finished a complete restoration on my wife's Beetle. I had spray painted it in my garage and was very happy with the result. I took it around the block for a first test run. I was 100 yards from my driveway when I noticed a wobble in the steering. First thought that I would look at it when I got it back in the garage. At 50 yards from home decided to stop and check, turned out I forgot to tighten the front wheel nuts, by that time I had lost 2 bolts on each side and the other bolts were hanging on by a thread. The wheels were angled 20 degrees outward. I think if I would have continued another 5 feet both wheels would have come off.
Felt pretty stupid after that one....
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