Muscle Car

Safety First When working On Your Classic Muscle Car

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By Mark Weisseg

Working in the automotive industry for many years, I have witnessed first hand a car falling off a lift.
Once, a Dodge with those big bumper pads on the front bumper saved us. The car slid forward and fell right on those big bumper pads and the car stood straight up. We just brought a tow truck in and slowly brought it back down to the ground. There were others that fell side ways like this one that caused major damage. We were lucky nobody got hurt or killed.

That brings me to safety. When I was slinging the wrenches and such we did not use safety glasses, ear protection or even gloves.
We blew the brake dust out of the drums and did a lot of other things that are considered unsafe today. There was no training until late in my career. We had to force guys to wear safety glasses back then and they hated it.
I remember Ether was used to ” blow tires” onto the rims. Spray the ether on the bead and hit it with a match and kaboom. The kaboom was the tires going on the rim. We were all afraid of split rims but that did not stop us from doing them. It is amazing we did not kill ourselves or someone close.
The business can be dangerous and the safety practices in effect today are all good. I nearly took an eye out at one point. Air chiseled through my thumb once and once the air chisel slipped and nearly took off a finger. I am convinced my hearing is bad due to air tools. The high pitch whining cannot be good long term. Any older guy that have been in the business for any length of time usually have bad knees, arthritis, or back pain. I got out of spinning the wrenches at one point and moved over to the sales and management side of the business. I knew my body could not keep taking the beating I was giving it on a regular basis. The six days a week, 11 hours per day for years takes a toll.

Today, Safety protection is a must for eyes, ears, and overall body. If we are going to attract young men and women into our world we better pay them well, take care of them, and provide a safe work place. It only makes sense to be smart about our hobby. I have seen people crawl under a car with just a floor Jack holding up a side. Huge risk of course.

So, the Camaro fell off the rack. It can be fixed, people not as easily. Think ahead, plan ahead, and proceed with caution. You do not need to race the clock to do front brakes. Take your time and look around while you are in that area.

Lastly, I was at a auto parts store over the weekend and some genius comes in and he wants two calipers, rear pads and one rotor. The counter guy pleaded with this customer to do it right and pay a big extra for the second rotor. Mr. Customer refused so the counter guy said he would sell it at cost just to do the job the right way. The genius refused and left with his rear pads, two rear calipers, and one rotor. Another bad brake job. Why, oh why would anyone want a cheap brake job or one that is not right??
After the genius left, the counter man told me this happens every day. People cutting corners on parts to save money. I get the saving money part but not having the correct parts is dumb. If they are that dumb to cut parts out of the job I would be interested how they work on these cars at home.

I might just lose sleep.

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