Bent-Valve (FS)
Bent-Valve (FS) Dork
7/16/20 10:24 p.m.

Some people are just dense, I may be talking about me, or I might be talking about the former owner of a 80's Chevy stepside I bought once.

I remember it was under a $1000, barely ran, and I drove it home. What I remember more was the giant single plane tunnel ram, the single 4 bbl and the massive vacuum leak.

Fixed those pretty easy, still ran, or should I say barely ran, like crap.

I wondered if the cam was worn down, not common but not un heard of in early to mid 80's small block chevys.

It was a 350. I pulled the valve covers to measure valve lift. I noticed that the pushrods were various amounts of loose and really tight, like a lot. So I spin the motor around to bring #1 up to top dead center.

Imagine a Drill Sergeant yells "FALL IN!", all the little soldiers line up ASAP, perfect straight lines. Somewhere in the motor those rockers heard that.

They lined up perfectly even, like the guy who worked on the motor before me used a straight edge to set the rockers perfectly level with #1 on top dead center. All the pushrods where uniformly tight, not loose. And my heart dropped at the amount of damage I imagined was inside the engine.

I looked at the passenger side, it was the same, all rockers perfectly level. The guy that owned it before me must have been dense.

It was amazing that it ran at all. Fast forward through mucho work, I have it back together and need to to time it.

Pyro is standing by watching as I rough time it and climb in to crank it for the first time. I pump the gas a few times, crank it over, nothing. I crank it a few more times and it starts to cough. I pump it (no choke) a couple of times, hit the starter and it back fires.

Pyro, very calm, "Its on fire."

Me, thinking its a carb fire, "That's normal." -- Maybe I'm the dense one.

I climb out to adjust the distributor and as I round the hood I am confronted with the ENTIRE top of the engine on fire.

Me, not so calm, "ITS ON FIRE!"

Pyro, still calm, "I told you it was on fire."

A short set of censored verbs, adverbs and even some pronouns and a bit of panic later the fire was out, I adjusted the distributor and got it started to set the timing and cam broken in.

Later Pyro related the flames were hitting the hood. But "that's normal" I guess.

laugh

 

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
7/17/20 8:05 a.m.

I had a similar thing happen in HS autos class. Shop instructor mostly trusted me as I was one of the least dense in class. He has me hop in the Janitor's rough heap of a 1972 mustang to start it while my instructor fiddled with the open carb. It backfired through the carb a few times before it finally caught fire. After that we called it quits for the day.

Bent-Valve (FS)
Bent-Valve (FS) Dork
7/17/20 8:14 a.m.

I figure many of us at GRM have that same experience,

But the pnp type cars with excellent fuel control have made this a myth or legend that new generations of gearheads will miss out on.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
7/17/20 8:18 a.m.

In reply to Bent-Valve (FS) :

I caught the 78 on fire once. Back fired after putting the new motor in, distr was still a little off. Made pretty flames coming out of that holley. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Dork
7/17/20 8:28 a.m.

Kid in my high school was helping his dad restore an old jeep.  He was pouring gas into the carb and waiting understood while his dad cranked it.

Backfire, startled kid, open 20 oz bottle of gas.  Through the rest of high school he was being treated for the burns.

Bent-Valve (FS)
Bent-Valve (FS) Dork
7/18/20 7:24 a.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

Ouch. 

I sliced my finger good on a motorcycle, then later burned the same finger on the same bike.

The burn was over part of the scar and where I put aleo vera (sp?) the scar doesn't show now.

Its NOT how I recommend scar removal.

John Brown (Forum Supporter)
John Brown (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/18/20 8:23 a.m.

Driving from Florida to Ohio in 1989 in a 1979 Oldsmobile Starfire V6 auto that has a decent amount of stereo equipment in it. No tools, no spares. Little money. The starter fails. It's $19 at the nearby parts store. A guy in the parking lot helps out with tools. I'm all jacked up and cinder blocked for safety and under the car while dude takes care of the top stuff like battery. I get the old one out and run to the store to get the new one. When I get back dude is under car and wants to help install it. He gets done rather quickly and I say "Oh hey, there was a ground cable that I had on the mount bolt, did you get that on too?" "Yup!". I toss the ground on and as I drop the terminal on to the top post battery terminal I realize that I am welding. FUHHHHHH! I can't get the cable off. As I sit there watching everything I own go up in flames dude looks at me and says "That's not supposed to do that, right?"

Luckily Allstate was awesome back then and I actually profited on my Starfire and drive a solid 1973 Camaro the rest of the way to Ohio after two days in a $20 motel.

chandler
chandler PowerDork
7/19/20 5:18 a.m.

My first driver was a 81 Plymouth Voyager, 318 2 barrel. After running out of gas I was doing the solo cup pour into the carb when it backfired and singed the roof. Scared me to death! I had that van for years and only had one girl notice the burned spot in the headliner above the doghouse.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
7/19/20 7:53 a.m.

I've never burned a car, but I had a close call with my miata recently, when the handle for the scissors jack slid over and contacted the positive battery terminal.

I was puttering along at idle in 2nd gear on my way out of our last autocross at the Firm. The road to the gate is kind of a washboard.

The electrical system suddenly shut down. I figured it was the main relay. You're supposed to carry a spare when you own an NB Miata.

I raised the hood. When I got back in the car to look for the spare main relay, I smelled ozone, and saw smoke coming up from behind the passenger seat. 

When I opened the trunk it was completely full of smoke. I burnt my thumbs knocking the jack handle off of the terminal, but I was afraid the battery was going to explode. The smoke was the paint burning off of the jack handle.

This is the ground cable, two weeks later. You can see where an arc burned through the paint of the inner fender.  The jack handle was nowhere near that part of the fender, and the battery cable doesn't reach that spot.

I've got a bulk spool of marine-grade two gauge. I need to buy a ring terminal for one end, and I'll use it to replace the burnt section.

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
7/19/20 8:03 a.m.

I have yet to burn down a car but I've watched a couple. When working at an Advance Auto on the north side of Atlanta in college we had a lowered box Ranger burn down in the parking lot. Guy apparently ran over loose newspaper coming up to the light in front of our store and it blew up into the exhaust manifold. He turned into our lot when he saw the smoke but By the time our store manager ran inside and hopped the counter to grab the extinguisher the truck was doomed.   It burned to the ground in the lot entrance and left a massive scorch mark on the concrete. We joked about burnt offerings to the god of junk cars the rest of the time I worked there. 

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/19/20 12:30 p.m.

You can blow stuff up with efi, too:

 

That was exciting.

Bent-Valve (FS)
Bent-Valve (FS) Dork
7/20/20 8:31 p.m.

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

That's impressive!

What exactly happened? Did you ever find the oil cap?

I keep scrolling back up and looking at it, its fascinating. I have honestly never broken / blown / perforated a valve cover, so I'm kind of jealous.

Bent-Valve (FS)
Bent-Valve (FS) Dork
7/20/20 8:35 p.m.

I just thought about it.

You can't hijack this thread, post your destruction here!

I am always curious about how it went wrong.

chandler
chandler PowerDork
7/21/20 4:52 a.m.

Brand new NPR, first oil change.


Dealer check over and oil change, dropped plug 35 miles up the road. Towed back to dealer, put the plug back in and said "it'll be fine". 35 miles up the road...

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Dork
7/21/20 8:41 a.m.
bluej (Forum Supporter) said:

You can blow stuff up with efi, too:

 

That was exciting.

Reminds me of a story I heard once.  Kid wanted to install nitrous in his econobox.  Had it all plumbed up and was "working".  Took it to the drag strip and just wasn't seeing anything from the nitrous, someone recommended he up the jets.  Pass after pass he just kept swapping out jets.  Finally he just sprays as much as he can.  A horrendous noise ensues, engine stops running.

He had plumbed it into his valve cover.  Then he pumped so much nitrous into the valve cover, and directly onto one of the cams, that the cam snapped in half

Bent-Valve (FS)
Bent-Valve (FS) Dork
7/21/20 6:11 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

You mean the nitrous doesn't twist the crank like a water hose spinning a lawn mower wheel?

So how does it work then? 

laugh

I have met people that shouldn't have tools.

Some of then work at dealers. Ask Chandler.

 

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/21/20 8:59 p.m.
Bent-Valve (FS) said:

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

That's impressive!

What exactly happened? Did you ever find the oil cap?

I keep scrolling back up and looking at it, its fascinating. I have honestly never broken / blown / perforated a valve cover, so I'm kind of jealous.

I effed up the wiring on the coil "sub harness", effectively crossing two cylinders (forget which). It was my first megasquirt install, and thought I had checked that wiring. turns out I didn't check close enough!  Ignition timing was off for a couple cylinders, but it was close enough it really seemed to want to run, leading me on a goose chase of other things. .  eventually enough gas vapor built up in the crank case from washing the walls that it went boom.  That "garage" was in a neighborhood that I'm pretty sure everyone just assumed someone was shot in there that day. It wasn't quite code brown, but I definitely pee'd a little, and also kept an ear out for sirens.

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/29/20 9:07 p.m.

We're not sure what exactly happened, but earlier this summer or last fall when we hooked the battery up on the fishing boat, the outboard started smoking. Something got crossed under the cowel - we're not sure what exactly - but we ruled out user error which was the first thing we went to. 

Never fun to have smoke coming out of an outboard, but at least it was a 5 minute fix for our mechanic.

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