You're Not The Only One (A Thread About Fails)


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Oct 8, 2023
Some people are smug enough to think they have done every repair and mod correctly the first time. And then there's myself, incompetent AND humble enough to admit my failures. Hehe
Let's share our mistakes made so others don't feel like they're the only ones who've failed at some of their projects....nothing long, just the short of it.
(Maybe Chris can link these posts to their corresponding threads?)
I'll start with this weekend's fail of the month....
Project: Replace Rear Drum Brakes On Dana 35
Vehicle: 1998 Wrangler Sport
The Fail: After a successful transmission and rear diff fluid change, I felt confident enough to tackle another project I've not done in decades....rear drum brakes. Well, I busted knuckles and fingertips multiple times while setting the tensioner springs and other springs in the correct order, only to forget the metal plate that holds the pads in place. Had to remove springs to put the plate on, all while busting my knuckles and fingertips all over again. Fail. (This was even after watching multiple vids and looking at the helpful picture from another thread.)
But the EPIC FAIL was realizing I should've replaced the pistons anyway at the same time, because they were slightly leaking before and now blew all over the place. I wish I had the money for a disk brake conversion.
Time to invest in Band-Aid.
Used the hood prop to hold the hood open while I was changing the oil filter and the wind blew the hood up and it struck the windshield headliner and left two dents on the edges of the raised portion of the hood.

Another time I cut a small tree down that was crossing the trail. The way it fell it went toward the Jeep and hit the corner of the hood and left a dent. 🙄

Didn’t listen to my spotter (aka @NashvilleTJ), zoned out, and flopped on my drivers side. Remarkably it did less damage than the two previous failures. 🤣
I just had a fail on my headgasket this weekend. Just put a new one on last week I went to start it and heard a pop/ loud snap at cylinder three. Now I have white smoke billowing out the back. I have water around the gasket at three. Im half way to getting the head off, and this time I'm listening to Mac and using copper spray. I have had tons of fails on my cursed Jeep, as one thing always leads to a new issue
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This is one of mine from several years ago from a thread called "Rancho shock debacle. Warning: read for amusement purposes only"
  • I also got the shocks because you guys talked me into it. Since I'm smart enough to live in the desert, NO CORROSION!! Take the old ones out, install the new ones. Except for the part where I dropped the nut for the R/H front behind the splash guard. I haven't seem it yet, but the original fit so it's in place. I can't tell much difference, but my wife can, so good enough!
    Now, MY fun story. I've had an "Angry Sparrow" problem since I got The Muddog, but it is/was from the D/S front, NOT the driveshaft. It only squeaked about four or five times when cold, then shut up. I finally decided that it was time to fix it.
    I figured that the u-joint was going bad, and so set out to replace it. I've never worked on a differential before, so I was nervous about it. No problem: YOU TUBE to the rescue! I watched several videos on the subject and decided that this was indeed something I could handle.
    So Sunday morning I went at it. Pulled the wheel, set up jack stand, removed brake caliper. Dropped brake caliper. Every video I watched said NOT to drop brake caliper. Set brake caliper on control arm. Brake caliper falls OFF control arm. DON'T DROP BRAKE CALIPER!!!
    After the third time, I got some wire and hung it in place.
    Destroyed an old socket getting old u-joint out, as well as sweating off a couple pounds because I'm dumb enough to try this when it's 105 out, but new u-joint successfully installed. Of course I had to use a couple of the old clips because the new ones went "SPROINGGGGG"!!
    Had trouble getting brake caliper on, but finally managed. Got the whole thing back together and went to see if I had indeed cured the Sparrow problem.
    Started driving, and HURRAY!, NO SPARROWS!! Not much in the way of brakes either!
    The almost felt like they needed bleeding, but pumped up most of the way. Still didn't feel right, and the D/S wasn't working!!
    Took it back apart tonight and it looked like I didn't get the caliper on correctly. Looked like I missed the top bolt and it was holding on with the bottom. Pulled it off, and SOMEHOW I had managed to BEND the brake pad.
    Straightened it out as best I could, which wasn't much, but when I was done, the brakes feel right, but still not much D/S brake.
    New pads on order, so I'll try again when they get here.
    Now you know why I pay to have my wife's car worked on.
Not on my Jeep but on my Sprinter, it was time for belts, tensioner and guide pulleys. Not an easy job on a Sprinter motorhome, barely any room to work and see. Several hours later I was cleaning up and putting things away and picked up the old serpentine to pack it away for a spare..........and it was the new one :rolleyes: Turns out I had held them together and stretched them out to make sure the size was the same then I dropped the new one on the floor and re-installed the old one.
Rebuilt my Dana 30...trusses, sleeved and a super 30 kit and e lockers. Got the hubs on and torqued and then realized I forgot the dust shields. Took everything apart, put them on, got the axle back under the Jeep and went to put the calipers back on...only to realize I had the dust shields on the wrong sides...

And that's just one of many many mistakes.

Let me just go with today's fails when all I am doing is a valve cover gasket.

  • Broke the line for the rear valve on top of the valve cover that runs to the intake manifold. That's a $72 part.
  • Broke both valves on top of the valve cover. That's kind of a given considering the age of them.
  • Broke the wiring harness that runs along side the engine on the driver's side. Try to pull it up off the bolts and it just broke in 2 places.

I'm probably about 60% done with the VCG job and I'm sure I'll break something else.

Oh, when I was replacing the heater core, here's what I screwed up.

  • Put some gouges on the steering column and the windshield washer stick because I let the dash rest on them unprotected.
  • Broke the shift indicator when trying to remove it to loosen up the center console
  • Broke the passenger side door switch
Don’t hold something that a vise (that was 2 feet away 😐) can hold for you. Also wear the proper PPE no matter how simple or quick the task is. When you pick a fight with a power tool, you usually lose.

Oh I forgot about this one...when rebuilding your Jeep in eight days prior to a 1600 mile road trip don't forget to tighten all the battery terminals.


Oh and get you thinking your alternator is dead and limping the Jeep along for 100 miles of dirt roads to get to the next town, buy an alternator and suddenly discover a melted fuse block between the pdc and alternator.

And then the next day the exhaust rattles loose enough to drop the O2 sensor body on to the clutch line...

You're just an average idiot...takes videoing your fails to really reach the next level.


P.S. My personal favorite is @hosejockey rolling his Jeep... hopping out with both hands is the air was classy excellence! Celebrate those moments!
Don’t hold something that a vise (that was 2 feet away 😐) can hold for you. Also wear the proper PPE no matter how simple or quick the task is. When you pick a fight with a power tool, you usually lose.

View attachment 477309

I have a scar at about the same spot but under my thumb from something very similar.
Ive screw up so many times I can’t even remember them all. Latest Jeep related one was backing off my trailer crooked and slicing a 6” gash in the sidewall of a one month old 35” tire when it slipped off the ramp. One before that was changing out the alternator on the side of the freeway and grounding out the stud bolt to a remote reservoir hose which the wrench and spraying shock oil all over the place required the shock to be serviced and the hose replaced so luckily it wasn’t too damn expensive and was a repairable shock. You are certainly not alone.
Not auto related, but a real Lulu. More in the category of "I'm a fucking idiot" than a fail per se.

A while back, one of my DSLRs suddenly wouldn't display its settings on its rear screen, although it would continue to playback pictures. This went on for a couple of years, I just worked around the problem as it otherwise worked, and I thought there was something wrong with it. Last nite, I was getting acquainted with a used DSLR I had just purchased, a slightly newer model. I noticed a button marked "DISP". What the hell is that? So I pressed it. The setting screen promptly turned off. I pressed it again, the screen turned back on. Wait a minute, does my old one have this button? It did, although it had an incomprehensible icon by it instead of text. I pressed it - for the first time in several years, the damn setting screen came on. I told my wife, "You're married to a complete fucking idiot...". Gotta laugh at myself...
As for auto related stuff, I once had to have a Chevy pickup towed to the local garage because I'd gorilla armed the oil filter onto it the previous oil change. Took the head mechanic - who had been doing auto work for our family for almost 30 years - a half hour with a hammer and chisel to get that damn thing off. He gave me the "mechanic's advice" that you NEVER want to hear: "Don't you EVER do that again, and if you do, don't bring it here!". Definitely EPIC FAIL - although I'll just say I was a dumb kid and let it go at that...

I was able to use that verbiage a couple or three times in my computing career: "Don't you EVER do that again, and if you do, don't call me!"
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Don’t hold something that a vise (that was 2 feet away 😐) can hold for you. Also wear the proper PPE no matter how simple or quick the task is. When you pick a fight with a power tool, you usually lose.

View attachment 477309

I'll add, on a drill press, always position a work piece that is long enough to hit you if it spins, against the column, or at least to your left not your right.