Duh moments while wrenching on vehicles

MolaKule

Staff member
Messages
21,488
Location
Iowegia - USA
I had just finished changing the oil and filter in our new pathfinder when the wife said her mother had a fall and she needed to get to her mother's house 36 miles away, right away.

I dropped the hood and off she went.

When she returned she complained of the windshield fogging on the return trip.

I popped the hood and realized I had not replaced the filler cap. Luckily, the filler cap was still in the same place I had left it.

I replaced the filler cap and rechecked the oil level and it was ok.

I then went to the car wash and promptly washed the whole car and the engine compartment--twice. o_O
 
Messages
3,434
Location
Millbrae, CA
dropped the new odd ball metric socket down into the suspension of wifes car and had to buy another one, done that a few times.
Now I start tapping the socket on the wrench.
 
Messages
1,300
Location
USA
I was working for a racecar builder, repair, and maintenance company years ago. I drained the rear diff and forgot to replace the diff bolt. Thankfully my co-worker caught the issue before i dumped 4 quarts of $8 a quart fluid.
 
Messages
12,474
Location
Indiana
Just last weekend I was replacing a front different seal on my truck. Went in with my puller and pulled the bearing out with it. Now my truck is in pieces while I wait for parts to come in and I am hoping the 4WD works after the fact. Lol
 
Messages
3,400
Location
Northern Ontario, Canada
Kind of on topic, used to have a company car, a 4 cylinder tbi Chev Citation, 80s wagon version. If you tried a part warm start, it wouldn't start unless the tbi valve was held open. A fellow manager was with me when we had a no start.
Brilliant idea was to use a Bic stick pen to hold the tbi open. The car started and somehow the pen tip got sucked into the engine, which started ticking immediately.
The car was returned months later off lease, with that engine tick.
The next cars we got were the Taurus wagons with the 3.0L V6. They were amazing compared to the chevs.
 
Messages
1,783
Location
British Columbia, Canada
About 5 years ago I was using my 2 foot Mag Lite flash lite working on my Ram. Forgot I left it in the engine bay and went for a rip up the road. Popped the hood when I got back and remembered I left it in the engine bay -- GONE!!!! Spun around and retracked my ride -- nowhere to be found.
On the prairies plugging in a block heater on cold nights was about the only way to get a car started in the morning. We occasionally saw cars driving down the street dragging an extension cable behind them. And doing that could result in damage to the block heater's electrical connections.

One mechanic I knew called this the "quick getaway problem".
 
Messages
591
Location
Virginia
About 5 years ago I was pulling the balancer off my 3800 and bought the wrong puller kit. It was for the pre series 3800 engines.

Long story short I thought the amount of effort I was putting into removing the pulley was normal and got the puller stuck in the balancer about an inch or two shy of the crank snout. Had to have it towed to my backup mechanic and he charged me about $230 to remove the tool and replace the balancer.
 
Messages
4,700
Location
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Not me, but one of my brothers who at the time was into lifting weights, was under his first car trying to remove the starter, and a friend realized he had been there for quite a while, and asked him what was he trying to do. When he said remove the bolts holding on the starter, the friend climbed under with him and asked him "what direction are you turning that wrench". He had been tightening the starter mount bolts instead of loosening them, and back then he was a strong young man. The friend was someone who had worked on his own cars for years and knew right away that he had been trying to turn the wrench the wrong way. The friend told him, and after that when he was turning it in the correct way, it took quite an effort to get it loose.
 
Messages
139
Location
DFW Metroplex
Built a SBC 350 in high school from scrounged up parts off a dozen different donor engines, and after spending every evening for months learning how to do it and doing it, it came down to the time to fire it up. I was so nervous and excited, but it fired right up! Woohoo!!

Not so fast...

The Holley carb had been sitting a while and a gasket or seal go stiff, so I literally had to stop dancing around in the driveway to kill the engine and find a bunch of rags to soak up the spewing gasoline before anything caught fire.

Carb was swapped out with a known good one to continue initial runtime, and once the idle settled down, a loud SCRATCH-SCRATCH-SCRATCH could be heard correlating to engine RPM.

Engine stopped with a heavy heart once again...

This one took a lot longer to diagnose - 2 more days longer. Turns out the timing chain cover I had found and decided to use was for an engine that had a taller water pump. Using it behind the water pump I had caused the water pump to contact the timing tab on the cover and dent it inward upon tightening. That put the inside of the cover in contact with the bolts on the face of the camshaft.

So each of the 3 bolts would scratch against the inside of the timing chain cover each revolution of the cam when engine was running.
 
Messages
1,629
Location
Roanoke Virginia
Grabbing a standard socket to work on an import LOL. Duh. 🤣 the only time I’ve ever used standard on an import was doing an oil pan gasket on the USA made 2002-2006 model Camrys they have oil pan bolts that take a 3/8 socket instead of 10mm.
 
Messages
22,684
Location
CA
Grabbing a standard socket to work on an import LOL. Duh. 🤣 the only time I’ve ever used standard on an import was doing an oil pan gasket on the USA made 2002-2006 model Camrys they have oil pan bolts that take a 3/8 socket instead of 10mm.
Someone replaced the bolts. I just did one of those a few months ago and they are definitely 10mm.
 
Messages
3,343
Location
Madiganistan/ChiRaq
Changed the rear brake pads on my old Ls400...
Next day on my way home from work I was having some odd vibes and high pitched screeching when the wheel was turned to the left.

Take the wheel off and the caliper was only attached with one bolt and it was not even finger tight. Must have forgotten to torque them and One fell out.

Inside of rim had a shiny ring where caliper had been rubbing flying down the road...🙄🙄🙄
 
Last edited:

4WD

Messages
14,314
Location
Texas
… one more recent. In an effort to improve on the “guy thing” of actually reading instructions … I watched a company video a couple times on how to install my winch mounting kit and the winch.

Get all the tools out and get started following the video - took a coffee break to watch it again. At some point I just stopped and thought why did I start taking all this off. Checked the video - that’s why. Had a hard look at what was left to do - and stopped removing things that was a waste of time and skin off my wrists. Finished up the easy way.
The OEM video was garbage. 🙄 (duh)
 
Messages
47,530
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Changed the rear brake pads on my old Ls400...
Next day on my way home from work I was having some odd vibes and high pitched screeching when the wheel was turned to the left.

Take the wheel off and the caliper was only attached with one bolt and it was not even finger tight. Must have forgotten to torque them and One fell out.

Inside of rim had a shiny ring where caliper had been rubbing flying down the road...🙄🙄🙄
Good to go! You had 3 fully function braking wheels as back up. Redundancy is a product of the space program. :LOL:

I was about 17-18 (~1978) at the time and wanted to remove my windshield on my 1971 Datsun 510 for painting. You guessed it. Glass doesn't pry real well. Trying to get the rubber molding and ws out with a pry bar............yeah. NOW the few $ I had went to a new WS. The silver lining is the old one was very pitted, sure was nice, bought new rubber as well - looked sharp. I think the cost was near $100!
 
Top