Repair Mistakes & Blunders

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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:31 am
Location: Madison WI
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Repair Mistakes & Blunders

Post by RockAuto » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:03 pm

We are looking for some good repair mistake and blunder stories to feature in the RockAuto newsletter (we know you have some)! Tell us about your most infamous auto repair blunder or unconventional fix. Use your woe to help others avoid similar mistakes or share off-the-wall solutions that worked (at least for a while!).

Please e-mail your story to Include your mailing address and let us know if you would like a RockAuto T-Shirt (please let us know your shirt size) or Hat if we publish your story. See the T-Shirts and Hats under Tools & Universal Parts in the catalog.

The story will be credited using only your first name and your vague geographic location (state, province, country, continent, etc.) so you can remain semi-anonymous!

Here is a link to the current newsletter if you’d like to take a look:

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Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:08 pm
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500SE
2002 ST1100

Re: Repair Mistakes & Blunders

Post by garwil » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:01 pm

When I was a young married man with two small children, I changed my own oil because I couldn't afford to let anyone else do it. I still change my own oil, but now it is because I am too cheap to pay anyone else. :D

Anyway, I had been taught by my daddy to always start the motor and look under the car afterwards to make sure there was no leak around the filter and drain plug. But, I knew it was OK because I had just done it myself. ;) So I did the job on the car my wife drove and the next morning I went off to work and thought nothing of it. Later in the morning my wife comes up to my office to tell me that, while she was running errands, the "Check Engine" light kept turning on and off. She had driven across town to my office because it was worrying her and she thought I aught to know about it. :roll:

Turns out the oil filter had a burr in the thread, so when I though I had tightened it, I had only snugged it up against the burr. There was about an .25 inch gap between the filter gasket and the block. :oops: The light was turning on because the oil pressure would fall when the level in the sump got too low. Then, after some oil ran down from the head, the pump would pick up and raise the pressure, and the light would go out. I could track my wife all over town by the intermittent oil streak she had left behind.

It is embarrassing to tell this story because I should have been old enough to know better than that. However, it turned out to be a cheap lesson. The motor was not ruined, and I ended up putting a couple of hundred thousand miles on it. But it was the object lesson that finally taught this slow learner why checking your work is so important. I wonder how many motors have been saved by that one experience. How many times I discovered the old gasket stuck to the motor, or that I had failed to tighten the drain plug, etc. There is no teacher like experience.

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