Scary Faults - maltrap
My neighbor is a retired service manager (think big cat).He was telling me about a problem they had some years ago with a microswitch. This switch was connected to the brake pedal, it's purpose was to switch off the cruise control when the brake pedal was pressed, this switch was faulty thus when the brakes were applied it didn't switch off the cruise control, instead the cruise control sensing the car was slowing down applied more throttle! Can you imagine say doing 70 mph down the M1, applying the brakes which makes the car go faster.fortunately the only damage was in the underwear department. anyone else with similair stories?
Scary Faults - kithmo
I've had two scary fault moments in my past years of motoring, a servo pipe detaching itself on my old Mk3 Cortina, reducing the braking effect to a very low level down a long hill and power steering belt breaking on a hired Austin Ambassador (wedge shaped) whilst negotiating a roundabout.
Scary Faults - bathtub tom
I think those old Ambassadors had a design fault with the power steering belt getting soaked every time the nearside front wheel went through a puddle.
Either that, or mine had a shield missing!
Scary Faults - isisalar
About 1973 my allocated company car was a Saab 93 ems (Ithink) The brake pedal took on the characteristics of a housebrick and the braking performance was akin to a pushbike.After much experimentation and diagnostic work it was discovered that when the pad sensors(a new innovation)sensed new pads were needed they cut out the servo,hence the symptons.Shortly after this I discovered that it was possible to lock yourself out of the car even though you still had all the keys in your possesion.I have hated Saabs ever since
Scary Faults - DP
A popped seal on a rear brake cylinder combined with a stuck float in the warning light actuator in the brake fluid reservoir cap.

The feeling of sheer terror as the pedal sunk slowly to the floor will stay with me forever.

Scary Faults - Pugugly
Chain link failure on a Honda 250 at er...speed (well it was a Superdream !) exited through the
number plate - I often wonder what could have happened....(chain wrapped round swing arm, immediate lock up)
Scary Faults - Westpig
that's brought back memories PU....I had a 400 Wetdream... and it seized on me as I was entering a dual carriageway. The rear wheel locked up solid and took a while before it freed itself enough for the wheel to rotate. Was grateful it didn't do it 400 yards previously as i'd been going around a 90 degree bend.
Scary Faults - David Horn
The Honda cruise control disconnect is in 3 places - brake pedal, master switch, and steering wheel. Irritatingly, it's not on the handbrake (wouldn't have killed them to add one more microswitch), so if I died at the wheel I have no idea what a passenger would need to do. :-)
Scary Faults - Oilyman
Marina coupe (woo hoo) - gear lever used to have rolled piece of metal to hold it in place which used to come out - leaving the lever detached from the gearbox - great fun.
Stuck in top (4th) gear having to slow down enough to allow mates to `egress` and then slip clutch like mad to get going and get home.
Scary Faults - Manatee
Had the gear lever come off in my hand on a Mk III Cortina - not unusual on that car.

When an idler pulley failed on a Scorpio diesel, the very serpentine belt came off and the brake servo and power steering stopped working. Not strictly impossible to control in those circumstances once you know you need the strength of Popeye, but as good as impossible when it takes you by surprise.
Scary Faults - oldtoffee
Mid 70s, my late 60's Mini 850 like others was prone to suddenly dying when the brilliantly located distributor and leads succumbed to the rain. Always a problem but especially once overtaking a HGV on the M1 with another one matching my speed, 10 feet behind me and it happened! 10 feet became 1 and for a split second I pictured the outcome of a mini vs 2 HGVs. Never happened but as close as it gets.

I bought and fitted the plastic shield designed to alleviate the problem and it did to a point but in heavier downpours it still cut out. I would plan my trips north according to the weather forecast. Which is what I used to do with my previous mode of transport - a Kawasaki KH250 - at least that made overtaking something requiring less forward planning!
Scary Faults - Mchenry
I had the pressure trunking between the turbo and the intercooler come adrift on a 405. It just died on me while I was passing a bus with a lorry in sight coming the other way.
Scary Faults - maltrap
My own particular buttock clencher was many years ago when driving down a long steep hill i thought i woulld save petrol by switching the engine off, you've guessed it the steering lock engaged (my palms are sweating just typing this) fortunately i lived to tell the tale.
Scary Faults - zookeeper
i did the same thing in a mk 1 cavalier coasting down from the top of mam tor in the peak district, luckily i had to turn in to the first bend reasonably early so my speed was quite slow
Scary Faults - Kiwi Gary
In the very early days of my driving, we had a Hillman 10 with beam axles. Unknown to me, the right side kingpin worked loose, and decided to seize the steering whilst I had right wheel on turning at an intersection. Nuisance !! Fortunately, there was sufficient break in the traffic for me to just continue across the road on to the right hand kerb and park there. Father came and rescued me, and , having got the beast home, bought replacement kingpin and bushes, and left me to fit and line-ream the bushes, and fit the kingpin. Passed MoT, so I must have got it more or less correct. It has given me a bit of a fetish about steering gear ever since.
Scary Faults - pmh
Morris minor 918cc sidevalve with the Bulkhead mounted Electric SU petrol pump. A well known problem of sporadic cut out when the points are worn. Easy fix, lightly tap pump with a solid object to cure, however not practical when moving, so the alternative is to get the passenger to open and slam the passenger door.

I recall doing an overtake on a line of traffic, pump cuts out, passenger well versed in survival, opens door and slams it, nothing happens. Lorry appears on the horizon at a significant closing speed, start to panic, passenger repeatedly slams door and the line of traffic refuses to let us in. Nothing for it, but to select a field entrance on the wrong side of the road and immediately turn right. Lorry passes, pump restarts, dont even stall the car, reverse out of field and join the line of traffic.......................................

And this all happened in North Wales. before the days of Brundstrom fortunately.

In the old days these things happened at relatively lowspeeds, making outcomes less spectacular. Today the yoof have things happen at 2 or 3 times the speed. Human reaction times have not improved, and basic physics dictates that there is then 4-9 times the energy to dissipate and things get messy quickly. But GCSE level physics, despite a practical box ticking bias, probably does not sink in.

Scary Faults - Pugugly
I remember the pump well, you could diagnose by clicks - an early analogue fault code ! Try doing that with a TDCI.
Scary Faults - doug_r1
Driving down a fairly steep hill with a 90 degree bend at the bottom in my dad's Rover SD1, put the brakes on and the offside rear locked, gently let it off and managed to stop before the bend, both brake circuits had holes in them, the under bonnet area was drenched in brake fluid. I'm not sure why all brakes went except the o/s rear. I nursed it home using the autobox and handbrake to stop. Funnily enough I don't think the fluid attacked the paint, the Rover had a rather plasticky paint finish.
Scary Faults - El Hacko
back in late 70s, mate bought new Austin Ambassdor ('wedge') and off we two families went, camping in France. He'd noticed vibration fm engine dept and on a non-beach day we dropped in on BL dealer in Brittany town. Got it on the ramp and mechanic kept mumbling "encroyable" as he inspected. Turned out only one of the three engine mountings was there! Exhaust was helping to keep engine in place.
Hardly a fault, but Mon Dieu ...what a tribute to BL quality control and pre-delivery checks.
Scary Faults - BazzaBear {P}
what a tribute to BL quality control and pre-delivery

You say that, but engine staying in place and working with only one engine mount? That's a more inpressive claim in my book than those Citroen bores who always go on about being able to continue on only three wheels!

My entry in this thread goes back to when I was a student, and had a Fiat Citivan for a little while. It was already the scariest vehicle in the world anyway. It seemed to always feel like it was on the verge of a crash. It was high enough off the road to make you feel horribly unstable and exposed, but not high enough for any of this 'king of the road' stuff 4x4 drivers talk about. The brakes would lock up if you looked at them funny, and the wing mirrors got scratched on the road if you went round a corner at any more than 5mph.
The fault it has was intermittent, and we never did manage to find out what caused it, despite replacing every constituent of the fuel supply lines and more beside. In normal driving it was absolutely fine, but if you took it on a motorway, and the mood took it, after about 50 miles the engine would die. This maybe happened to me 5 times in all, and on four occasions I drifted to the hard shoulder before it completely conked out. Then 5 minutes of fruitless attempts to start it, until just as you were about to give up and ring emergency services (aka Dad) when it would cough into life and act like nothing had ever gone wrong.

On the fifth occasion though, it happened just as the motorway started to come to a halt for some reason. And no-one would let me across lanes, assuming I was just trying to jockey for position. So it died in the middle lane, and then the jam started to clear.
I was left stationary in the middle lane with traffic travelling at increasingly motorway-esque speeds on both sides of me. Thankfully my fervent praying obviously merited some pity, and it started after what must have been a matter of a few seconds from the traffic starting up again (although it felt like hours)
Scary Faults - bathtub tom
That sounds like a partial blockage in the fuel tank breather.

A neighbour was swearing increasingly loud at his petrol mower. His wife explained that it would run for a few minutes, and then stop. He'd try to re-start it, fail, so open a can of beer. By the time he'd drunk it, the mower would re-start. He was running out of beer, so he asked for my opinion. His wife was concerned he'd drunkenly remove his toes.
He'd re-painted it the week before. The breather in the filler cap was partially blocked!
Scary Faults - Avant
"He'd re-painted it the week before"....Painting a lawnmower sounds like a 'scary fault' in a human being.

I clean mine, yes, but are there lots of you out there who paint yours?
Scary Faults - Pugugly
I thought that as well Avant.
Scary Faults - Chicken Vindaloo
My neighbor is a retired service manager (think big cat).>>

Was this on an XJS? My business partner had a scary cruise control related moment in one many years ago and was I believe one of the first (if not the first) to have it happen to him. The incident led to a recall.
Scary Faults - oilrag
Coming down a steep S bended hill, here in Yorkshire, in a Villiers engined Bond 3 wheeler (aged 16) .

This machine, already ancient, had cable operated brakes that were only gripping on one rear wheel due to my recent adjustment.. Came into the hill too fast.. I could only brake so much due to the single braking wheel locking and it went up on two wheels and across the other side of the road on the bend before thumping back down on the road again.

That was the left hander and the passenger side wheel lifted due to no weight there, but the bottom bend (Woolley Edge to Hallgreen) was a right hander and although my body weight kept the wheel down, the big cog under the scuttle for the steering couldnt take the loading and the big cog slipped on the open (worn) rack under the bonnet that operated the steering.

There are still a group of Birch trees at the bottom curve of that hill and 40+ years ago I saw them freeze frame as the `car` just made it.

Sold it for scrap after that, it was over 11 years old with 9 previous owners and a death trap.


(Chain drive, worn sprockets too, kept jumping off)

Edited by oilrag on 25/04/2008 at 19:41

Scary Faults - sdrio
Kawazaki z750, steep downhill road ending in a T-junction in South London.

Hit some ice starting about 10 metres from the T junction, and slid gently out of the sideroad across to the opposite kerb of the main road.

Rather luckily, nothing was coming in either direction.

Talking of big cats, in about 1980 my Dad bough a brand spanking new Daimler double six. It was one of the first mark IIIs on the road, and was at the time a pretty top end piece of gear. This thing was a total lemon - 4 gearboxes, 2 torque convertors amongst other things in 18 months.

Anyway, after a couple of thousand miles it developed a nasty vibration through the steering wheel at speed. My father complained and was told that the speed limit in the UK was 70. If the problem developed above that speed they were not prepared to look at it. (this was a 155 mph car).

When he wrote back and asked them what the situation would be if he took it to Germany and drove it on an autobahn, they responded that if he cared to pay for one of their engineers to travel to Germany with the car, they would be happy to try and identify the fault.

Funny stuff. Don't think he was terribly amused at the time though.
Scary Faults - fordprefect
Driving home late at night in the early sixties, having enjoyed the empty roads at speeds unhindered by cameras etc. the brake pedal of my Ford Prefect went to the floor when I tried to slow for a roundabout.
I made it round (with much tyre squeal) and when I finally stopped discovered a front wheel bearing had collapsed, allowing the hub to move far enough out for the shoes to escape from the brake drum and release all the fluid.

Scary Faults - Round The Bend
I was overtaking in my first car, an MG Midget, when the throttle cable snapped. Rather alarming as I was just ready to pull in front of the car I had been going past.

Pulled back out and slowly lost speed as he overtook me on the inside. Often wondered what he thought I was doing!

Edited by Round The Bend on 25/04/2008 at 21:15

Scary Faults - gordonbennet
Years ago, borrowed my sisters wartburg knight, went like stink and it did too.
Cruising down A1M, coming down slip road...look no brakes, pedal goes to floor, luckily handbrake very good, after about 5 minutes the brakes came back ok.
I'm led to believe the cheapo east block brake fluid would boil at the drop of a hat, but scary stuff though.

Bowling down M1 in artic at about 70 ish before limiters, emergency brake line breaks off trailer connection, trailer tyres all locked up, the black lines were there for weeks, and 8 scrap threepenny bit tyres.
Scary Faults - Alby Back
A mysterious characteristic of my old Galaxy was that in a heavy downpour it would occasionally lose the power assistance to the steering. Only momentarily, but enough to provide a lump in the throat if you were half way through a fast bend at the time. Took ages to figure out the cause but eventually it was traced to a cover for the front towing eye having come adrift and if water happened to spray through the resultant hole at the right speed and moment it would hit the power steering belt and cause it to slip. Replaced the cover and all was well.
Scary Faults - maltrap
Just thought of another one, my wifes MKiii golf broke down about a mile away my neighbour offered to tow me home, without PAS or servo braking it was a nightmare, the longest mile of my life, when we stopped eventually i was sat in a pool of sweat (at least i think it was) my neighbour thought it was hilarious.

Edited by maltrap on 26/04/2008 at 13:28

Scary Faults - Robin Reliant
I had a brand new Fiesta Mk 3 as a driving school car. On one particularly lesson with a five foot nothing female behind the wheel the spring on the adjuster for the drivers seat broke as we were pulling away from a junction. I thought I was halucinating as she gently drifted backwards beside me, losing contact with the steering wheel and the pedals.

Driving it to the garage with the seat sliding back and forth as I braked or accelerated was a real brown trouser experience.
Scary Faults - none
Speed wobble in a Ford Pop E93A I went over a raised railway crossing a bit to fast (about 30mph). As the car settled back down on it's springs a violent wobble set in. The whole car shook and steering wheel rocked uncontrollably. Braking made it worse and I coasted down to about 5mph before the wobble stopped. I was very careful at train crossings after that.
Scary Faults - astrabob
About 20 years ago, I was following a BL Ambassador on the M56 near Runcorn. The 3 lanes of traffic were all travelling about 70mph, and the road surface was a little wet.

The Ambassador driver touched his brakes. The car span through 90 degrees, and slowed from 70 to 0 sideways. Fortunately, the brakes of my Ford Escort stopped my car normally. All three lanes of the motorway stopped. Amazingly, I didn't see any cars collide.
Scary Faults - mrmender
Friend had a Renault Espace, his wife was approaching a roundabout at speed when the heater matrix burst severly scalding her left leg
3 kids on board! He got rid shortly afterwards
Scary Faults - bathtub tom
>>Friend had a Renault Espace, his wife was approaching a roundabout at speed when the heater matrix burst severly scalding her left leg
3 kids on board! He got rid shortly afterwards

Car? Wife? Kids?
Scary Faults - Robin Reliant
Friend had a Renault Espace his wife was approaching a roundabout at speed when the
heater matrix burst severly scalding her left leg

A mate of mine had a very lucky escape with a similar incident. I forget now whether the car was a Mk1 or Mk2 Cortina, but just as he was about to pull the bonnet up to investigate the cause of overheating there was a loud bang as the top hose burst, showering the engine bay in boiling coolant.
Scary Faults - Screwloose

The Espace heater matrix pipes is a common one; most garages also shudder at the thought of the 14 hour job to fit a new one.
Scary Faults - bathtub tom
Daughter had this happen on her Skoda Estelle. They hold an awful lot of coolant due to the engine at the back and the radiator and heater at the front. I was surprised by the thickness of the heater hose, almost like a bike inner tube.

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