I was replacing oil cooler hoses on my AW11 Toyota MR2 this weekend. They were original, and after 31 years near hot exhaust and in a hot engine bay, they had started to leak. The job’s a bit fussy and requires that you’re flexible enough to shove your head in your own ass, but it’s doable. So I doable’d it.
However, I had a moment of terror when I started it up. Staring at the oil pressure gauge, it read zero at first. “The lines are just empty,” I told myself. “Give it a second.”
So I did. Then a second more. Then a second more. Terrified, I shut it down.
I scooted behind the car to check for a huge puddle on the floor.
Then checked the oil level.
The engine sounded like it was getting oil, right? Surely the pump’s not having a problem lifting the oil out of the pan.
I tried a brief start just a couple more times. It continued to sound OK but I began to question my ears. I scrutinized every little tap from the chatty four-pot engine at cold idle. I even went so far as to slightly loosen the oil filter, and then the oil cooler return hose, just to see if they were getting oil.
Finally, I looked up the location of the oil pressure sending unit and learned that it was exactly in that super-fiddly and tight spot where the upper oil cooler hose attaches to the engine. I had accidentally pulled the wire loose. Quick reconnect and restart—voilà!—got my gauge back. The oil pressure is dead perfect. I felt like an idiot, but thankfully, my pride was the only thing damaged.
Now we ask you: What was your biggest automotive false alarm?
We’re looking for stories of harmless mistakes here, not actual failures. A story that led you down a rabbit hole of troubleshooting for hours only to discover a simple, stupid operator error.
Don’t be ashamed. Let it out. We’re all friends here.
[Photo copyright 2017 Alan Cesar | Hooniverse]