Saturday, February 20, 2010

God Must Love Ford Drivers...!

Many moons ago, I was the proud owner of a 1974 Ford Falcon XA... very similar to this '72 model but green all over, no black roof. It was my first car with any real power and I took it to places where one shouldn't drive a street car – my first excursion was on such a rough dirt road that I ripped the exhaust pipe right off!
I wasn't earning great money then, so maintenance took a back seat. Consequently rust gradually appeared, especially around the boot (trunk) area. Rainwater seeped in and gathered in the tyre well.
One weekend I decided to drain the rusty water out, so with a power drill I bored a hole down through the metal so the water could drip onto the road. I didn't realise the tyre well was actually an indent in the petrol tank (!!) so I happily drilled through the steel - sparks flying, petrol fumes drifting out of the punctured tank, rusty water dripping down into the petrol...!!!
With the job done and the water all gone, I drove to the petrol station for a full tank of gas... strangely it seemed to take much much much more petrol than normal. By the time I got home, the car reeked of petrol fumes and when I opened the boot, I found it was swimming in petrol that was fountaining up out of the hole I'd drilled through the tank!
I quickly plugged the hole with a wad of chewing gum but, as I couldn't get to a repair shop until the next day, all I could do was bail out the petrol, until every plastic container I had was full and lined up along the front lawn! Leaving a spare tyre nearly floating in petrol is not recommended any more than drilling into a fuel-filled tank: the rubber rapidly rotted right down to the fabric and steel belting! And because of the danger of explosion, the tank could not be welded - it had to be removed entirely and replaced!
So for want of some preventative maintenance, my budget was blown out for another petrol tank, another tyre and of course another full tank of gas. How my brilliant drainage plan didn't blow me to pieces is a mystery to this day!

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