Mike Stevens | Jul 8, 2008

We all know that the internet is an almost unlimited resource of information on just about any subject. From self-diagnosis of symptoms for those seeking medical advice (which is scary in itself), right up to “how to cross-stitch” that dress your girlfriend wants to wear next Saturday night – it’s all there. (Start stitching boys.)

But the Internet can also be useful for seeking automotive knowledge from people ‘in the know’. I, like you no doubt, have read numerous interesting articles and stories from right around the globe - from topics like” how to build your own Hummer” (with a step by step building process), to blokes that retrofit gas turbine helicopter jet engines to their cars in pursuit of more horse power.

When reading these stories I can’t help but get excited, grinning like a loon and thinking how it’s people like this that should be running the country.

Sometimes however, the internet has a way of letting us know just how ‘stoopid’ some people can be. Especially when it comes to cars. Then you learn why some people should never be let loose near a mechanical object no matter how basic. I’ll give you a few examples.

This is an excerpt from a dedicated AUDI forum entitled: “Hey guys, please help with my mods gone wrong...”

Hey guys, I've got a 98 1.8T. I've had a k04 and chip for a while and wanted to get more performance. I was recommended to port and polish the intake and exhaust. We found out they used abrasive material to do it like gritty sand. So I got with my friend that tunes Hondas and we decided to try it ourselves. We got a bag of sandblasting sand and hooked up into the intake and started the car. We had to hold the gas so it would run. He wanted to let the engine suck in the sand through the intake so it would port it out and then push it out the ehxaust so it would port the exhaust manifold.

I was worried that it might cause problems but he figured it'd be OK as long as we didn't make boost and it get sucked in the turbo. After running the car and letting it suck in sand we got about halfway through a 25 lb bag. The check engine light was on and the engine was bucking and kicking and sounding really weird. We stopped and hooked the car back up normal and took off the sand supply. We tried to start it again and it was really hard. Once started it couldn't idle and kept making weird noises. We took it out and drove it and it started to make scraping and knocking noises.

Help! Can anyone tell me what to do! My buddy only does Hondas so he doesn't know much about Audis.

Can this be fair dinkum? Apart from being almost an unbelievable display of stupidity, you can’t help but think that the ‘engine police’ should be immediately notified of the harm and suffering that was inflicted on that poor little AUDI. Those same authorities should enforce a ban on all things automotive to both of the geniuses above.

Another shining example of ingenuity was performed by someone much closer to home, in fact right here in Australia.

Named ‘Copex’ amongst his peers within the Mazda MX6 forums, this Mensa candidate decided that he would take into his own hands the complex equations of fluid dynamics involved in turbo charging. Perhaps he thought he could ‘out-think’ the boffins who design turbo chargers and understand their intricate nature. Here is what ‘Copex’ came up with.

ok my new turbo arrived... no go coz everything was way off measurements etc. so I took off my old T3/T04e 57trim and welded 1/2 of the fins (not fully closed shut as you can see) on the hotside used to spool @ 3000rpm & get 5psi @4000rpm now only 2400rpm & get 5psi by 3500rpm.

way more torque (throttle response was amazing too) @ around 2000 rpm it feelz like my dads supercharged v8 now ^^.... weight increase by a total of 3.5grams (6 fins) + maybe 2-3 more grams from the stainless steel weld spots (pic was taken when finz had minimal weld spots). btw it has a bit of the whining sound when spooling ... I like it alot but letz see how long it'll last.

welded-turbo-fins

Scary isn’t it? The fact we share the same roads with these ‘creative individuals’ is scary enough, but the thought that they could be driving a car with these modifications would make Stephen King turn white with fear. What other ‘improvements’ have they made?

Sometimes, it just becomes a case of losing one’s common sense, and thus they find themselves inducted into the halls of automotive stupidity.

Just like this hapless BMW M3 owner (yes, an M3).

“…the oil light came on, i got oil, put it in and accidently dropped the oil cap down below the engine. heres where i messed up- i temporarily plugged the uncapped oil hole with a sock and the sock got sucked into it after about 5 mins of driving. its wrapped around the cam shaft-im pretty sure thats what it is... and i need some advice on how to get it out without shelling a lot of money out to bmw to take it in there. should i unbolt the top piece there and cut it out and then flush the whole thing …or just try to cut it out piece by piece through the hole with a sharp razor and take the pieces out with needle nose pliers and then flush it? …please any advice or help on this crap move i made would really really really help me out.”

I do have some advice for the M3 driver above: Try a skateboard, it has less moving parts.

Unfortunately, floating around the world wide web are dozens of examples, just like the ones above, of people inflicting cruelty to their cars. You have to think they shouldn’t be allowed to breed let alone go anywhere near a motor car. (Perhaps they did breed, but with members of their own family.)

At any rate, it doesn’t matter, just be warned that the internet and car advice don’t always go comfortably hand in hand.

After thinking about the scenarios, I am starting to feel queasy. Hrmm… better get to the pages of www.be_your_own_doctor.com for the answer…

Until next time, happy and safe motoring.

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