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IHateSprouts tells us they once avoided getting caught up in an IRA bomb attack by missing a train. Tell us how you've dodged the Grim Reaper, or simply avoided a bit of trouble.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:31)
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DIY car maintenance - common sense required.
Many a year ago I endulged in a bit of DIY car fun to keep my ageing but classic Mk1 Astra GTE on the road.
One easy source of cheap parts was to buy the occasional MOT failure as a donor car and pinch the good bits off it.

So one day I managed to escape death and maiming twice in one day. The recently purchased donor car had, among many useful bits, a near new stainless steel exhaust on it. Literally still with labels etc, probably only done 20 miles!

I decide I'm having that for my car and it's quickly removed from the donor car, which as it's destined for the scrap yard I make no effort in avoiding any damage to the car and simply holes in the car with an angle grinder to make removal easier.

Of course contrary to the Haynes manual refitting is not "simply the reverse of removal". Nor am I about to cut up my prized motor, so fitting it to my car requires a touch more care...

So there's my car propped up on some axle stands to make access a bit easier. Clueless and naive me is sat with my legs under the car while I'm trying to undo a stubborn bolt... after soaking with WD40 I put a spanner on the bolt and give it a whack with a mallet... bit of movement. More whacking = more movement. Perhaps the thing I didn't notice was it wasn't just the bolt moving.... when I paused for breath I noticed the car was quivering a bit, almost shaking.... perhaps it could sense what was about to happen? As that's when I notice the axle stands are no longer upright, but are teetering on edge... and my outstretched legs are underneath a ton of metal essentially balanced on a knife edge. After passing the "oh no" second I scrabble to shuffle backwards away from the car which crashes onto the driveway just as my feet clear the axle, my upright feet now sat either side of the wheel hub in the empty wheel arch. Narrow escape from multiple compound fractures.

Not one to be phased by such mishaps I get everything sorted and turn my attention to the scrap car. What else can I have off it that might be worth something? I recall the petrol tank being pretty empty but there might be a litre of fuel in the fuel line right? So I go and grab an empty 2 litre coke bottle and a stanley knife.

Worryingly easily the fuel line is cut and the pricey petrol begins to glug glug glug into the bottle. In seconds we're past half way and the bottle is filling quickly... too quickly.
I run to the recyling bin and grab more containers, quickly switching bottles my hands are soaked in petrol. I begin to panic as the 3rd and final bottle is nearly full and the flow of petrol shows no sign of stopping! By now I've got the washing up bowl out too, petrol is everywhere, on my clothes, running down the driveway.... the air is thick with the fumes of it... I look around me in a desperate attempt to find a way to stop it.... when I see a bunch of chav kids walking up the road.... smoking....
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:32, 3 replies)
My front offside headlight
Had an intermitant fault which I decided to fix.

I turned the lights on so I could see when they were working or not and set about tweaking the connectors and things.
Nothing going so I gave it a good blast of WD40 to displace any water, which did nothing.
So I decided the connectors were dirty so set about giving them a scrub with some steel wool.

I strongly suggest against scrubbing a live electrical circuit with a piece of WD40 soaked steel wool.

I got quite the shock. Not from the 24v electric, but from when the handful of steel wool suddenly burst into flames.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:44, closed)
The petrol isn't a problem
A cigarette wont set fire to liquid petrol, or the vapour it gives off.


I like science, me
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 16:52, closed)

I never found it very effective to loosen nuts by whacking anything with a hammer, a couple of foot of electrical conduit pipe for massive extra leverage pretty much always works though.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 14:11, closed)

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