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The lazy and incompetent make for interesting tales and unsafe cars

Think Before you Wrench

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I’ve been doing this for a long time, and over the years I’ve run across quite a few nutty things that people who shouldn’t be working on cars have done while working on cars.

Some of these fall into the ugly category where the main crime is that the finished job looks like it was farmed out to the Braille Institute, but others are just plain unsafe. As Harry Callahan said in Magnum Force, “A man’s got to know his limitations,” and it’s true. You need to know what you don’t know and not try to do things that are beyond your skill set, especially when it affects things that involve safety. If you don’t have experience with brakes, then find someone who does to steer you down the right path. Unfamiliar with drivelines? Well, seek out a professional to help, or at least go over your work. None of us know everything, myself included, which is why we need to put pride and stubbornness aside when it comes to seeking help from others.

There’s also the crime of being lazy. Yep, sloth is one of the seven deadly sins and some of the things I’ve seen reek of corner-cutting “I just want to be done” workmanship. Don’t be “that guy.” Do it right even if it costs a few more bucks or takes an extra day. Here are three of my favorite finds when messing with other people’s Chevys. I could write a book on all the crazy stuff myself and friends have come across, but you get the idea.

Unsafe Shortcuts Cars 001 2/4

I think my joke at the time was “Pep Boys was closed, but Home Depot was open,” which is the only reason why someone might have used compression fittings, designed for your fridge’s ice maker, on their rear brake lines. Yeah, we brake tested the car before finding this treasure. If you can’t afford a brake line flare tool or don’t how to use one please pay someone or phone a friend.

Unsafe Shortcuts Cars 002 3/4

Brake systems seem the number one target for crazy bad ideas. Joel Rode, of Hot Rod Specialties, showed me this mess from a street rod he was working on for a customer. Would you have guessed that instead of making a hardline to the back brakes some genius opted to just daisy chain 10 rubber lines from the master to the rear brakes. Really? While I’m impressed with the creativity, the person who did this needs a tool time out.

Unsafe Shortcuts Cars 003 4/4

So, the best I can sleuth from this one it that the billet caps for the billet yoke were lost, so the person doing the “repair” substituted some Dorman caps. The problem is that the bent steep caps didn’t come close to securing the U-joint cap snuggly in place and there was a good amount of movement, which was beating the snot out of the U-joint. We’re sure using mismatched parts was the faster route, but it was lazy and unsafe. We replaced the yoke with one from Strange and all was right with the world.

Photos By Steven Rupp

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