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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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Lessons Learned & Safety Tips

While using our tools, working on our cars, transporting our cars, taking them for a test drive, horsing around with our rides, or just taking a drive, many of us have or will experience a few (or many) acts that when we did them seemed innocent or didn't at the time seem to be dangerous - until we did it. Sometimes the end result teaches a good lesson or that "personal tip to self", while other results can lead to damages, personal injury, or worse. With a lot of enthusiasts always entering the hobby or looking to do their own work on their car, there are pitfalls that can happen if you are not aware they can happen. I don't call it being stupid, because if it were we would not have done it in the first place knowing the end result. If you were not aware of the danger, then you just didn't know -not everything comes in a book. And even when you have "done this before" and it turned out OK, it doesn't always mean the next time you can count on the same outcome -you might have just been lucky all those other times. So share your car related stories of those lessons learned and tips related to "don't do this, it may injure you, damage your car, hurt some one else, or even kill you" so that others might be spared, or at least think before they act.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 08:04 PM
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Almost set my car and house on fire once welding in the trunk pan. I had a couple of lacquer thinner soaked rags in the corner I didn't see and suddenly.....Whoomph! up in flames!!

Lesson learned, be more organized and aware of your surroundings...... And have a fire extinguisher on hand!
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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1. Do not lean over your dual four barrel set-up with the air cleaner off, choke open, looking down the carb trying to figure out why it seems to have a fuel delivery problem. The carbs can backfire with a resultant ball of fire that will singe your eyebrows and eye lashes off.......and you will look silly for a couple weeks. Lesson Learned: Never look down the carb if you seem to be having a lean out condition. Use a mirror or something if you must. Have a fire extinguisher handy just in case. A backfire can burn your ride down if there is any raw gas present.

2. Always secure your car when you plan on getting under it. Even though you had to "gas it" to get it up over those ridges on your metal car ramps, these small ridges are not designed to take the place of wheel chocks, bricks, your mother-in-law, or other objects better suited in keeping your car from rolling backward or forward. Don't trust the hydraulic jack to keep your car up in the air. A hydraulic jack can roll, it can leak down, or it can topple sideways -especially in soft dirt if you work outside. Don't trust jack stands unless they are securely placed on the car and they are on a hard surface. They can slip or slide on any flat metal surface that you have tucked them under on the car, especially when the car is at an angle. They can tip over if they sink in soft ground. Don't put a car up in the air with minimal support and do anything by yourself. If it falls, no one may be there to help. If you do have help, make sure they know how to work the hydraulic jack. They will be of no use to you when your chest is being crushed and you have no air to explain to them how to insert the handle into position, turn it to the left to lock the hydraulic function, and pump to lift.

Yep, true story. Pulling the trans out of my brothers 1974 Plymouth Scamp. Up on the car ramps in dad's garage (smooth cement floor) - car won't roll because the ramps have those built in stops/ridges, right?. Dad decided for no reason to come out to the garage to help - something I usually blow off as I can "do it myself, I don't need any help, thanks." Got all the lines unhooked, emergency brake cable off, trans in neutral so I can get the driveshaft out. I had to yank on the driveshaft to get the darn thing unstuck and out. Man was it stuck. I yanked real hard while laying underneath it, my head a few inches back from the base of the car ramp, but even with it. One more hard yank and in a split second.....here comes the car rolling down the ramp and I am watching the front tire roll right for my head. I pushed back towards the rear of the car to avoid the tire from running over my head. I was too far underneath to push out and it happened so fast, there was no time to do so. The car rolled down and hit the garage wall which was the only thing that stopped it from running over my face. I now have 3,400 pounds of Plymouth pressing down on my chest. I am a big guy, and have a lot of power, but trying to lift 3,400 pounds off your chest doesn't work in real life. Dad went into a panic and tried to lift the car off me. Not going to happen even with all the adrenaline running through the old man. I am fighting to breathe and not doing so well at it. Dad has never used a hydraulic jack - he is used to the old bumper type jacks used to change tires. I manage to squeeze out instructions on how to work the jack ending with the words "hurry" because I am struggling. Dad is wide open and finally gets it off me enough for me to slide out. Dad is a wreck at this point, he's visibly shaking and pacing back in forth and almost apologizing for not being able to lift the car off me. I was a lot more calm, had to be, even though it could have been my end - and would have IF my dad had not decided on his own for no reason to come out and help me when I told him I didn't need any help. Dad finally got calmed down. I grabbed the hydraulic jack and began to set the car back up. He asked me what I was doing. Told him I had a transmission to change. But this time I left nothing to chance and blocked and propped that dang "Christine" car up.

Lesson learned: Don't EVER assume that your car ramps will keep your car in place and it won't roll off. ALWAYS block your car - as many wheels as you can. If you raise your car with a hydraulic jack, ALWAYS support your car on jack stands by fitting the jack stand under the car, and letting off the pressure a little on the hydraulic jack to put the weight on the jack stands, then pump the hydraulic jack up enough to place it firmly under the car as a secondary means of support. ALWAYS use another means to keep the car from crushing you in the event it should drop. I use several rims/mounted tires (sometimes solid cinder blocks as well) placed on top of each other under the frame side rails. Should the car drop, I will at least have the needed space either to crawl out or not be crushed. If possible, get assistance, have some one nearby, let some one know you will be working under your car and to check in with you, or even keep your cell phone handy should you be able to pull it out of your pocket and call for help if you get pinned under the car. If someone offer to help, take it......it might be a sign and save your life.

I had been under many cars on ramps before and never imagined that it could roll off. It always took extra power in getting the darn front, or rear, tires up over the built in tire stop when putting the car up on them, or backing them off. I just assumed. Now every car I go under is shored up like a brick sh*thouse. If it should drop by some strange act of nature, it won't drop on me and I will live another day to tinker on the old car.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-20-2014, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Towing a car with no brakes by chain. Yep, bought a complete 1956 Chevy 2 Dr rolling body/shell less engine/trans and interior. Very sound body for $100 in about 1979. I'm not a '56 Chevy guy as I don't like the side chrome or square grille. It was a good deal. Had to move it, and back in "the day", they had tow bars, but didn't have the convenient tow dolly like today. Being a kid, I figured a chain would do it. Had my buddy swing by with his 1964 Chevy work truck to tow it. Attached an unmounted tire to the front bumper to act as a cushion when we had to slow down or stop. About 10 feet of chain as I recall. Got it hooked up, me sitting on a wooden box, and off we went down our town roads in tow. Went back roads as opposed to the center of town. All was well until the first stop sign. My buddy comes to a fast stop just as he would by himself alone. Bam! Front fenders took a slight hit. I was not happy. Had to explain to him to stage his braking by allowing me to ease into him first and then brake. He got it, and no more body damages the rest of the 8 mile trip. Traded the car for a complete 4 speed conversion set-up I had wanted to use in my then 1956 Pontiac. The Chevy was indeed brought back and was to be seen driving the streets around town. Looked great. Lesson learned: don't ever use a chain to tow a vehicle without brakes even it seems sensible.

Don't use a tow bar to tow your unregistered stripped down 1966 Pontiac Tempest as you sit in it to steer. No nose, no doors, and just the shell can be towed on back country roads successfully this way at slow speeds. The problem is that it quickly attracts law enforcement people who just happen to be cruising the back roads on the only day you are pulling this stunt. Explained to the officer that I did not have much further to go where I was transporting it to. He saw the tow bar - which was safely attached, but never knew it was a "liberated" tow hitch straight from U-Haul with all numbers removed (got it at a price I could not refuse and the guy had 10 of them). The police officer allowed me to be on my way and I quickly got the car and tow bar to its destination for fear of the next cop not being so generous. Lesson learned: If it was not for bad luck, I would not have any luck.

Last car I towed was the 1957 Cadillac I have. About 8 years ago I rented a U-Haul box truck, drug out my trustee old U-Haul tow bar knowing it would work on the U-haul truck, went about 100 miles to get it at night, affixed a flashlight with red cover to the trunk lid to act as a tail light, and had a friend follow up at the rear. Used walkie-talkie's to keep in communication as cell phones were new and I did not have one. Took a little time to get back as I kept my speeds down on the interstate. The cover of night certainly helped here. Lesson learned: Be prepared and use the right equipment, the cover of darkness can be a big plus, make the car look legit with an inexpensive homemade tail light, don't speed, and have someone follow for best results.

My 1968 Lemans was in drivable condition when I bought it 12 years ago. Threw an old tag on it and drove it 1 1/2 hours home with a chase car to cover my butt. No problem with that one. Lesson learned: Always better to buy a car that moves under its own power and use a follow-up friend to mask the use of your illegal tag.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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Horsepower can be fun, but dangerous as well. Horsepower for me is a package; sound, smell, sight, and feel. I like the throaty sound of the exhaust system, a wide open carb sucking in air, and the squeal of tires trying to bite at the asphalt; the smell of an over-rich exhaust/racing fuel, burning rubber; the sight of a big cloud of tire smoke and those telltale strips of black rubber; the feel of acceleration as you are pressed back into your seat. But sometimes things can go wrong.

Driving about on the rural roads of yesterday, I was cruising in my 1967 Olds Delta 88 in which I had installed my HP 409 engine and a TH-400. It was a 2dr fast back boat, but I like big cars. It was a southern car with clean body and interior. The 409CI made it move. I like to light the tires up whenever the opportunity arises - traffic lights, toll booths, tunnels, stop signs, and in the middle of nowhere. I pulled up to a 4-way intersection that had stop signs in all directions. Wide open intersection, no one around back in the day, and just me in the car.

One of the easiest ways to get your non-posi single legger rear end to spin tires into oblivion is to make a right hand turn from a dead stop with the gas matted to the floor. This will even work with your dad's 1971 Pinto for a short squeal of tire. By making a right turn, you shift the weight of the car over to the left as the body rolls over. This lifts the weight off from the right side tire and it takes no effort to break the tire loose from the pavement and get it to spinning, squealing, smoking rubber, and leave a very impressive black strip of rubber for all to see when they arrive at the same intersection where you have done your deed. You know it was a good burnout when the black stripe is still there 6 months later.

This stunt is not so much a problem with stock numbers horsepower, but could be. Higher than stock horsepower, or really big horsepower, can prove to be a handful. The key is how tight you make the right hand turn. The less the right hand turn angle (the closer to straight), the more control you have. The closer you get to making a tight 90 degree turn, like at an intersection, the greater your chances are of losing control of the car during a big power burnout, because basically, after about 90 degrees, your getting ready to do a doughnut - or a complete 360 circle.

I nailed the gas to the floor, the dual fours opened up, tires lit up, and I turned the steering wheel to the right to make my turn. Had some good tire smoke going into my 90 and thought I would ride it out nicely around the right corner turn as one would on ice - done a lot of these burnouts in many cars of mine. But this time the big G-50 tire must have done what it was supposed to do when it gets real hot, it gets sticky, or maybe the melting asphalt was getting sticky. The tire must have grabbed traction amid its tire smoke spinning and threw the rear end of the car hard to the left as I was steering to the right. I found my self going past my 90 degree point and into a doughnut. Plenty of RPM's still left on the tack and not traveling very fast at this point, I kept my foot into the carbs. (Today it is called "drifting", back in my time it was called "power sliding." I am well experienced in doing this as being from Connecticut, I used to do this a lot in snow and ice when the opportunity arose and it was safe to do so. Learned to further this technique with big horsepower on dry and wet roads. Posi-traction worked best on wet roads.) So basically, you steer into the direction the back end is kicking out to bring it straight and ride it out. Except a big boat of a heavy car has a softer suspension and is "springier" which aides to body roll on the rebound. The back of the car is now over the centerline in the other lane as I get control of the slide. Takes a lot of steering wheel turn to ride it out......and then the body roll snaps the 2 ton car the other way and the rear end of the car kicks out just as quick under full acceleration to the right and it swings hard trying to go sideways. Nothing I have not experience before, and you have to feverishly spin that steering wheel the opposite direction as fast as humanly possible just to get it corrected. But you always seem to over correct to straighten it out, and the body roll quickly snaps to the other side, and you are now going back sideways in the other direction again which seemingly makes the ass end of your car act like a swinging pendulum.....and now your picking up speed plus losing straight line directional stability as physics begin to take over and apply itself against your well honed driving skills and desires.

By now I am well past my right hand turning point back at the intersection, tires still burning rubber, speed increasing exponentially, rear end still fishtailing, and me still wheeling the steering wheel, except now I am squarely planted in the opposite lane going the wrong direction with a Ford station wagon now heading for me. At this point I am not going to pull this stunt off as planned, so I let off the gas, gain control, whip in to my lane, and hope the other driver didn't get a good look at me or my plates and call the local cops. I was getting my alibi ready which is a quick ditch to the side of the road, throw the hood open, reach by the carb like making an adjustment, and if someone stops, exclaim that you just put the carb on and the return spring fell off and the carb stuck wide open. (This has worked). But nothing else came of the encounter and I got out of Dodge.

Lesson learned: Even though this can be great fun and usually no problem, a car is still a car and has a will of its own when big horsepower is applied to any car under even the best of conditions. The lesser the turn angle used to roll the body to get the weight of the car off the tire you want to set ablaze, the safer and more control you will experience. The greater the turn angle and the nearer that 90 degree turn you go, the more uncertain things can become and the quicker out of control your car can become -even if you are as good a driver as Steve McQueen himself. If you find yourself in a rear end pendulum swing, you can try to ride it out, but be ready for the reality that the car will win and you will lose control, spin out, or worse. Best bet is to let go of your ego and let off the gas to gain back your control as soon as you recognize the danger. Then go back and try it again, but with a little less throttle!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 07:51 PM
 
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Was given a 2 stage 4500 series (Dominator) nitrous system to run on my bracket racer by a close and dear friend. He had 2 of them and knew it was what I wanted so he dug it from the stash and brought it over. Had all the tuning jets too so I set it up for 100/150 shot. I though to myself, "...damn that's a lot more holes than the usual "Super Power Shot" systems..." but went ahead and installed it. The next day at the track I launched on 100 (was going to try the initial stage 1st) and the car was heading just slightly toward the tree so I back off the throttle just enough to settle it down, shift light's on so I bang it into 2nd and said "...**** it..." to myself and hit the 2nd stage too. I thought the guy who was a car length ahead of me hit the brakes! I mean it was on a mission and then it started to miss and sputter a bit so I let off the juice and shifted to 3rd and then got shoved forward in my seat and against the harness for less than a second. "WTF? It stalled?" No gas pedal response, no oil pressure tach on 0, an I'm still wondering what happened and "HOLY SH!TT I'm runnin outta track!!" and get on the brakes hard to stop it. It broke in 2nd about 6-700' out and still coasted through with a 10.70 at 111MPH. Once it stopped I hear the sound of frying eggs and then see smoke. grabbed the fire extinguisher and ripped the hood open, no fire, not really all steam though, hmmm, WTH? I look under it and saw the dreaded "Motor Honey" (as in I need a new motor, honey...) oozing out the side of the pan. Upon teardown I found the #4 cylinder wall gone from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock and from the top all the way down. The rod was broke in 3 pcs, the piston too around the pin and the dome was separated from the rest. Lesson? Greed is bad, in spite of what 'Gordon Gecko' said! It turned out that he gave me his modded plate vs the standard and I probably shot closer to 400HP or more through it. Lesson? If it looks unusual, ASK. I still have that block too. A reminder to the idea that "If some's good more's better" doesn't apply to everything.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 09:16 PM
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Towing a car with no brakes by chain. Yep, bought a complete 1956 Chevy 2 Dr rolling body/shell less engine/trans and interior. Very sound body for $100 in about 1979. I'm not a '56 Chevy guy as I don't like the side chrome or square grille. It was a good deal. Had to move it, and back in "the day", they had tow bars, but didn't have the convenient tow dolly like today. Being a kid, I figured a chain would do it. Had my buddy swing by with his 1964 Chevy work truck to tow it. Attached an unmounted tire to the front bumper to act as a cushion when we had to slow down or stop. About 10 feet of chain as I recall. Got it hooked up, me sitting on a wooden box, and off we went down our town roads in tow. Went back roads as opposed to the center of town. All was well until the first stop sign. My buddy comes to a fast stop just as he would by himself alone. Bam! Front fenders took a slight hit. I was not happy. Had to explain to him to stage his braking by allowing me to ease into him first and then brake. He got it, and no more body damages the rest of the 8 mile trip. Traded the car for a complete 4 speed conversion set-up I had wanted to use in my then 1956 Pontiac. The Chevy was indeed brought back and was to be seen driving the streets around town. Looked great. Lesson learned: don't ever use a chain to tow a vehicle without brakes even it seems sensible.

Don't use a tow bar to tow your unregistered stripped down 1966 Pontiac Tempest as you sit in it to steer. No nose, no doors, and just the shell can be towed on back country roads successfully this way at slow speeds. The problem is that it quickly attracts law enforcement people who just happen to be cruising the back roads on the only day you are pulling this stunt. Explained to the officer that I did not have much further to go where I was transporting it to. He saw the tow bar - which was safely attached, but never knew it was a "liberated" tow hitch straight from U-Haul with all numbers removed (got it at a price I could not refuse and the guy had 10 of them). The police officer allowed me to be on my way and I quickly got the car and tow bar to its destination for fear of the next cop not being so generous. Lesson learned: If it was not for bad luck, I would not have any luck.

Last car I towed was the 1957 Cadillac I have. About 8 years ago I rented a U-Haul box truck, drug out my trustee old U-Haul tow bar knowing it would work on the U-haul truck, went about 100 miles to get it at night, affixed a flashlight with red cover to the trunk lid to act as a tail light, and had a friend follow up at the rear. Used walkie-talkie's to keep in communication as cell phones were new and I did not have one. Took a little time to get back as I kept my speeds down on the interstate. The cover of night certainly helped here. Lesson learned: Be prepared and use the right equipment, the cover of darkness can be a big plus, make the car look legit with an inexpensive homemade tail light, don't speed, and have someone follow for best results.

My 1968 Lemans was in drivable condition when I bought it 12 years ago. Threw an old tag on it and drove it 1 1/2 hours home with a chase car to cover my butt. No problem with that one. Lesson learned: Always better to buy a car that moves under its own power and use a follow-up friend to mask the use of your illegal tag.
Hoo boy, reminds me of towing my 65 Satellite from behind a little repair shop in O'Fallon Mo. to my parents house in St.Charles. Car had been sitting on blocks but had sunk to the floor pans. When we jacked the car out of the mud the floor pans basically stayed on the ground and the rest of the car came up. I remember opening the trunk and seeing the raccoon nest and feces. What a treat. At least it did have a trunk floor. I put a set of wheels and tires I had on it and unbelievably it still had functioning brakes! We chain towed it some 20 miles back to my parents house with no windshield in the car. I wore a set of goggles to keep all the leaves and debris from flying in my eyes too as it had no windshield.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-24-2014, 08:51 PM
 
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I had a close call a couple of weeks ago. As I was finishing the install on my new high performance 200 4r transmission, I had the car up on jackstands in the garage. I had attached a hose and pressure gauge to the pressure port on the transmission and had the gauge taped to the windshield. I started the car, let it warm up, and started going through the gears, recording the pressure readings compairing them with the builders notes. Suddenly I heard a hissing sound, then VOOM, the engine compartment erupted in flames. The rubber hose had shifted as I shifted gears and came in contact with the header, spraying ATF at 285 psi. I shut the motor off and reached under the passenger seat for the fire extinguisher, and it was GONE! In a panic I jumped out of the car, ripped my coat off and tried to smother the flames. I got it almost completely out, then grabbed some snow and threw on it and got it out. My heart was racing, scared me to death. The bad thing was the car was on Jack stands and I had an old work car in the driveway outside the garage with no battery in it behind me. I couldn't have even got the car out of the garage and could have burnt the whole house down. I later found the extinguisher on the back floor board, it had slid out from under the seat. Lesson learned, ATF is highly flammable and ALWAYS have a fire extinguisher handy!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2014, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hoo boy, reminds me of towing my 65 Satellite from behind a little repair shop in O'Fallon Mo. to my parents house in St.Charles. Car had been sitting on blocks but had sunk to the floor pans. When we jacked the car out of the mud the floor pans basically stayed on the ground and the rest of the car came up. I remember opening the trunk and seeing the raccoon nest and feces. What a treat. At least it did have a trunk floor. I put a set of wheels and tires I had on it and unbelievably it still had functioning brakes! We chain towed it some 20 miles back to my parents house with no windshield in the car. I wore a set of goggles to keep all the leaves and debris from flying in my eyes too as it had no windshield.
No windshield? Check out the attachment. How about no fenders, engine, trans, brakes, hood, glass, and the middle of winter - I think February 1977. This is the $25 1935 Dodge pick-up I bought at a local antique store. My buddy in the car, Ed, volunteered to drive it as I towed it behind my 1956 Pontiac. Used a tight chain and rubber tire bumper as I recall. Ed wore goggles and was suited up with an Army coat. Was about a 10 mile tow down a main road to the house.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2014, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Today's lesson: Drum Brakes. I began driving in 1975. Front disc brakes were a fairly new option that was being put on many cars by this time, but there were still many older cars with drums only which most of us either drove or owned. The top of the line in stopping was of course power drum brakes which was an option in many cars. I learned on dad's 1965 Impala without power brakes and drove it until I got my then 19 year old 1956 Pontiac sometime in late Fall. I did my first ever drum brake job on that car with the help of one of dad's friends who used to work at his father's garage as a kid. The car had good brakes........except if you had to stop hard.

Here is the problem with the older drum brakes, especially if you did not have power brakes. Manual brakes took more effort to apply. The average brake shoe of the day used asbestos (called organic shoes) in the linings. As the asbestos got really hot, like when you had to stop your 1956 Pontiac at the stop sign at the bottom of the long steep hill you were doing 50 MPH on, the brakes could become of little value just when you needed them the most. Pushing that pedal right through the floor didn't make any difference as you looked for oncoming traffic and sailed through the stop sign at 30 MPH scared sh*tless. When the asbestos shoes get really overheated, they produce a film of gas that build between the shoe and drum and acts more like a lubricant. It is known as "aquaplaning" in modern terms. But who knew? So I learned that the brakes on my 1956 worked great IF you didn't have to get them hot in extended braking situations.

Fast forward to about 1982 or so and I'm in my $250 1968 GTO special, complete with a brush painted house paint blue exterior from some previous owner. It ran good and the tired 400 could still chirp tires through the His & Hers TH-400 tranny. Standard drum brakes, no power option here. Had the wife in the jump seat and my 2 kids in the back seat, and were driving to visit her mom. Along the way pulls up a 1973 ish 'Cuda. He pulls alongside and starts the "lets race" taunt. I'm game. The road opens up to a nice 4 lane stretch for some distance and we get on it. He got the jump, so he was a little in front to my right. We were about even in performance. Speeds are going up close to 90 or more when the road drops back to a 2 lane and its down hill. I let the 'Cuda cut in front of me, but then he pulls the brakes on a bit hard. No doubt he has front disc brakes, but I still have drums all around and I'm hitting them real hard. He continues to drop fast, and I continue to eat up his rear bumper as I close in faster on it as we go down the hill. At that point I am sliding over towards the shoulder and it looks like I might tag him because my brakes are not doing their job under these conditions. Very narrow shoulder at this point in the road and a cable guard rail (I hate those things), and with no option I manually pull the His & Hers shifter into 2nd gear (which is the function of the His & Hers) and it drops down into 2nd, my engine screams of RPM's, and proceeds to drop my speed fast enough to avoid buying the 'Cuda guy a new rear bumper. We are now way past the wife's mom's house by several miles and I turn around to head back. No problem from her because she grew up with fast cars and was pretty good at handling them. Not too longer after that the factory nylon gear & timing chain let go.

My latest ride, my now disassembled '68 Lemans has non-powered drums all around and there have been those sphincter tightening moments with it when someone in traffic has pulled a "right now stop" in front of me. Using the transmission to downshift hard has saved me a couple times - just like driving a tractor trailer, you use the gears and the engine to slow down at times.

Lesson learned: Brake drums suck. Modern technology, minus the asbestos in brake shoes, hasn't improved panic stops or long hard stopping with non-powered drum brakes. If you gotta run drums, then at the very minimum upgrade to power assist and don't worry so much about the originality of your car. The originality of the car might not be important if you crash it because you could not stop. Best bet is to convert to front disc brakes, and power assist if you have the vacuum from your engine to do so. I am doing a disc brake conversion on my Lemans. Your option in materials is better today, but I personally steer away from metallic or "lifetime warranty" pads/shoes. They wear out/score/warp your discs/drums much faster and cause you to replace these more frequently. I prefer to get the cheapest pads as they are softer, but also stop very well, and don't chew up or seem to warp your discs/drums. Now if you are going to do a lot of sport style driving, then metallic (or the newer ceramics?) would be my choice because the work better under high heat conditions.
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  Pontiac GTO Forum > The 1964-1974 Pontiac Tempest, Lemans & GTO > 1964-1974 Tempest, Lemans & GTO General Discussion

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