If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

Garage Trophies: Remnants of Lessons Learned

It’s safe to say we all have at least one. The leftover component of a failed project. The paper weight sitting on our workbench to remind us of a great idea that didn’t pan out so well. Two of my favorite trophies currently reside on my desk at work, and I will tell you why.

As you may guess from my Kinja handle, I am the proud owner of a 1970 Triumph TR6R motorcycle. It has a heartfelt story behind it, but I will save that for another day. Anyone who has owned an old British motorcycle or car will agree that their build quality was suspect, and as my Dad would say “they were machined with an axe.” After over-revving the bike one day (I missed a gear, it’ll happen) the few drops I was used to collecting underneath it in my garage turned into a sizable puddle. This would be the second time replacing the output seal, and as my father and I tore into it, we devised a plan to help protect the seal:


Based on the sloppy tolerances of practically every aspect of the bike, we figured a thin washer placed between the clutch basket and the output seal might aid in supporting the seal, and hopefully keep it from leaking in the future. After reassembly, I fired the bike up and it ran perfectly. That is until pulling in the clutch and dropping it into gear, at which point it stalled. Our “fix” resulted in us having to tear it apart again, just to remove the washer.

Lesson Learned (and why it’s on my desk): Don’t over complicate things.

Trophy two: For brief and miserable period I owned a 1995 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. I had dreams of turning it into a Jurassic Park Jeep, but they were crushed. It was incredibly fun to drive, but for every problem I fixed, two more would rear their ugly heads. The first project I set out to complete on the Jeep set the pace for what would be a miserable three months.

When I purchased the Jeep I knew that it was going to need replacement tires ASAP. The tires were about 15 years old, had little tread and a significant amount of dry rot. While removing the wheels we discovered that a lug nut had been destroyed, and basically mushroomed onto the stud. Tried hammering sockets onto it to no avail. Attempted to use a hammer and chisel to slowly work it off, no dice. Brought in an oxygen/acetylene torch, it laughed at our attempts. Finally, we decided to use a hole saw, cut the wheel off, and then remove the stubborn lug nut.

Final results:


This was my first project on this Jeep, and it only went downhill from there. Thankfully after fixing things for three months, I sold it (and only lost about 200 dollars) and it is now someone else’s problem.

Lesson learned (and why it’s on my desk): Sometimes you have to do things you really don’t want to do (like destroying a rim) to solve your problem.


So how about you? What garage trophy are you hanging onto, and why?

Also, this is my first post on Oppo, please be kind!

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