Tales From Under The Hood - NitroBurner
What,s the most catastrophic engine failure anyone's had the misfortune to suffer whilst driving?

What does it sound like when the cam belt throws the towel in & valves & pistons form an intimate relationship? (A cam belt went on me once but I was lucky & nothing went bang).

Had a Hillman Imp many moons ago that hydraulicked! The cyl head warped so much that the bores filled with water & the engine refused to turn over. Quite amusing looking back...
Tales From Under The Hood - John R @ Work {P}
This is not an engine failure but is a cautionary tail anyway.

On the perimeter track of an RAF Airfield somewhere in deepest Lincolnshire a young (well it was in 1978) RAFP Corporal was in a LWB Landrover driving round and round on his patrol route.

Land vehicles always have to give way to aircraft who are
taxi-ing(?). As a Avro Vulcan (99 Ft wingspan & 4 RR Olympus engines) trundled towards me, I braked and shifted down a gear to do a U turn and get the heck out of it's way!

The Landrover shuddered (awfully) and uttered a deep CLUNK! from the back end. The half shaft had snapped.

The diff spun, =...
no motion...
Vulcan getting closer...
What to do?...
LWBs are too heavy to push...
Think, think...

Slipped it into 4 wheel drive and drove (interesting noises from the back axle) out of the way just in time. Phew!

I left the Landrover there to be towed to the MT section for repair, and walked back to the Police Section to pick up another vehicle.

Did I get praised for quick thinking?
NO, I got a dressing down for moving a vehicle with a broken half shaft...

Some times you just can't win.

John R
Tales From Under The Hood - LongDriver {P}
Ford Orion 1.4L (3 yrs old)

Full tank of petrol

M20 motorway, Kent

Seam failed on petrol tank at 90mph in outside lane.

10 gallons of petrol deposited on motorway in fraction of a second.

Car ground to a halt in middle lane...wonder why that was...
Tales From Under The Hood - Chris75
About 10 years ago, the water pump on my Mk3 Escort (1.6 Ghia) siezed on the motorway. No bangs or anything and the car just rolled to a stop. I then spent the next ten minutes trying (unsuccessfully) to start the car again, resulting damage cost me about £250 to fix (never ran the same again) and the car got stolen about 2 weeks after fixing it.

Tales From Under The Hood - mike hannon
More than 30 years ago I was 'racing' a mini van on the M5 near the Ross Spur junction at Strensham when my clapped out Hillman Imp literally went 'BANG' and the car filled with smoke. 30 minutes later while waiting for the AA to turn up (in a Morris Minor van!!) I had three Worcestershire jam sandwiches lined up behind me on the hard shoulder (Range Rover and two BL 1800s I think) and a crowd of unfeeling coppers falling about laughing while they blipped the throttle with hands over the tailpipe (the engine still ran, just about) and watched it exhaust through the oil filler! So that's the bang that a holed piston makes...
Tales From Under The Hood - weatherwitch
About 12 years ago I was driving to work when my Fiesta cut out, no engine, no power, no brake lights, no indicators, thank the gods the driver behind me noticed it and drove round me as my car rolled to a halt as I couldn't give any indication that I was stopping or trying to pull in.

The RAC came out and tried all sorts of things, there was no power but the battery was fully charged, alternator ok etc. In the 20 years he'd been doing that job he'd only seen it once before, and if I recall right he called it the main fuse? It was my first breakdown and quite scary because I was new to driving and was thinking, 'what do I do? what do I do?' :D

That same car was totally allergic to rainfall and puddles, the slightest bit of rain and it coughed and spluttered violently until liberally sprayed with WD40 and also had a penchant for flatspot too!

No big bangs to report but a breakdown that I will always remember. A horror story of a different kind. 11.30pm, pitch black, chucking it down, middle of the north yorks moors, down a dip between the hills, the fiesta ground to a halt, no power, battery totally flat (not an alternator fault) and I was terrified. It's one thing to drive the moors at night but quite another to break down on them. It was like a Hollywood horror film scenario, lone female teenage driver stranded in the middle of nowhere. No such things as mobiles (nor would there have been a signal there anyway) and no-one for miles. I sat in the car, panic stricken and cried, then thought of hitting the horn in the hope someone might hear. Fat chance. With the car horn getting quieter with each desperate thump I knew I had to leave the car after 20 minutes and no lights of anykind from anywhere. I put my coat on and tucked my hair into a flat cap and set off with one of those orange council road lamps that my mate had given me a while back!

I knew of the phone box about three miles away, and before it a farm house over one and half miles away. Avoiding sheep and only seeing one car from which I hid (those moors are creepy places sometimes) I made it to the farm house, after hurting my ankle on the cattle grid which i couldn't see and having the life scared out of me from the farm dog who was luckily chained up. I then scared the hell out the farmer when i knocked on the window as they hadn't heard me as they were entertaining friends and were very drunk! Of course on the approach to the farm house was where the rest of the Hollywood film scenario kicked in, where was the house? The moorland was looking misty in all the rain, was that really a faint light or one of those willo-the-wisp gas lights that lured people to their deaths not many decades ago? would I be chopped to bits by the farmer after struggling all that way? hell no, I was given sherry, towels, sandwiches, and a phone call to the RAC and my parents who were out their heads with worry, so was I. It's one of those 'what if' moments that you hope will never happen. If I hadn't have known the moors roads and walked the other way, i wouldn't have found any houses for about 6 miles. Crikey I've gone cold just remembering that, and it was about 10 or 11 years ago.

Now you know why although I loved that car, I won't touch old Fords at all LOL
Tales From Under The Hood - Dynamic Dave
I couldn't give any indication that I was stopping or trying
to pull in.

Er, how about winding down the window and using good old fashioned hand signals? Wave arm up and down slowly to indicate slowing down; rotate arm in an anticlockwise direction to indicate turning left.
Tales From Under The Hood - Another John H
drying nail varnish??

(hides behind sofa)
Tales From Under The Hood - Rob the Bus {P}
I hope that you are not suggesting that one of our beloved moderators wears female accoutrements? Unless, Dave, there is something that we will find out about you on the 7th ;-)?


Tales From Under The Hood - weatherwitch
>> I couldn't give any indication that I was stopping or
>> to pull in.
Er, how about winding down the window and using good old
fashioned hand signals? Wave arm up and down slowly to indicate
slowing down; rotate arm in an anticlockwise direction to indicate turning

Good point (!) but being new to driving at the time and thinking 'help what do i do?!' at my my breakdown, thoughts of that kind of hand signal never occured to me. Of course most drivers are totally aware of the more modern versions of hand signals which are recognised everywhere!

Also if it had been a posh car, it would have had electric windows so that wouldn't have been a viable option!

Must remember that tip for drying the nail varnish LOL
Tales From Under The Hood - Hugo {P}
Involving a Mk 2 Escort saloon.

Just chucked a load of oil in it (it did burn a bit of oil every now and then) and had overfilled it. Well the valve seals were not in the best of condition, but were OK unless you put too much oil in.

Whilst driving on the A316 just outside Twickenham, I had just come off a roundabout, when this complete idiot of a Volvo driver was trying to climb in the boot. I decided to accelerate away. Moments later after the complete screen of black smoke cleared from behind my car I could see this irate driver about 100yds away flashing his lights, hooting etc. I must have put him in total darkness for those few moments!

Tales From Under The Hood - NitroBurner

What a splendid situation 4 a ovloV driver to end up in...!
Tales From Under The Hood - Dynamic Dave
>> Er, how about winding down the window and using good
>> old fashioned hand signals?
Good point (!) but being new to driving at the time...

It was fortunate then that the questions posed on the highway code as part of your driving test didn't include hand signals!! ;o)

Value my car