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Somewhat Sobering...Brake Failure


keithb7
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I saw that on another site, there appears to be a lot more involved than just a brake failure.  Read the comments the poster of this video made.

 

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This is Russ, as I sat in the hospital for a couple days, I replayed everything in my head hundreds of times, things that I should have noticed as a warning, and what I could have done differently. I’ve seen lots of comments so I’ll address a few of them, not being defensive at all. In a normal car throttle sticking at 2200 RPM’s is not the end of the world, in my car that’s 900 ft/lbs of torque. I should have realized the load that was putting on the brakes. Didn’t cross my mind at the time. FYI: It had double springs on the throttle. In a normal car, I could have pulled emergency brake, I even got a quote at Good Guy’s Del Mar for an electronic e-brake & bigger brakes. Hindsight’s 20-20, I was just gonna trailer it to a few shows & not drive it much till I could do that. Why didn’t I downshift? Car had a B&M ratchet shifter, once I shifted up thru the gears you can’t downshift till you put it in park. So much going on in those last few seconds, forgot to downshift it after putting it in park, but it was probably too late to have had a big reduction in speed. As far as I know, driver of van was not seriously injured. Beauty of a modern car with crumple zones, self tightening seat belts & air bags. Car had liability coverage but no collision, I was still in the process of getting stated value insurance

 

Some might think I am overboard on how I do things, re: the Rusty Hope brake kit.  There is a reason I am the way I am and stuff like this is one of them. 

Edited by Sniper
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IMO, he was doing a "thing" for a guy and didn't want to show weakness in his build.  I read he was riding his brakes pretty much the whole time, that right there should just make you pull over and stop.  IMO pride got in the way of common sense.

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1 hour ago, DonaldSmith said:

Maybe he didn't think of the hand brake.  I think he downshifted.  Into Reverse?  Did he think to let up on the gas?  People do strange things under pressure.

Some later discussion he said he didn't have a hand brake.  Also due to some special ratchet shifter he couldn't downshift.

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the gated shifter I had on both cars, one a standard and one on an automatic..could be down shifted...but involved using a sperate lever in conjunction with the shifter....not safety practical at all for this situation, no handbrake, massive oversight....excellent restraints not used, they paid for that, no kill switch on the beast was just downright stupid not to have...just way too many safety factors overlooked or flat ignored.  Lots of time and lots of money with the attention on fast fast fast...feel for the guys and the folks they hit....but this was but a buffed up shiny rat rod.

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23 minutes ago, Plymouthy Adams said:

the gated shifter I had on both cars, one a standard and one on an automatic..could be down shifted...but involved using a sperate lever in conjunction with the shifter....not safety practical at all for this situation, no handbrake, massive oversight....excellent restraints not used, they paid for that, no kill switch on the beast was just downright stupid not to have...just way too many safety factors overlooked or flat ignored.  Lots of time and lots of money with the attention on fast fast fast...feel for the guys and the folks they hit....but this was but a buffed up shiny rat rod.

Harsh, but accurate.   At that level of performance safety stuff is a must have!

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Many years back I went to a dealer to test drive a new car.  The salesman kept trying to get me to punch it to see how powerful it was.  Told him no thanks but he kept bugging me.  So I punched it.  Well the throttle stuck open and there was a red light ahead with cars stopped at it.  Shifted the trans to neutral and got the car stopped in plenty of time.  Turns out the dealer would flip the floor mats over so they wouldn't get dirty on the test drives.  That allowed the floor mat to slide up over the gas pedal and hold it open.  I knew what to do because of the experience with the junkers I had when I was a teenager.  Had to be ready for failures on those old cars.  The young salesman was a basket case after we stopped.  Bet he never tried to get anyone to punch it again after that.  

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4 hours ago, ggdad1951 said:

IMO, he was doing a "thing" for a guy and didn't want to show weakness in his build.  I read he was riding his brakes pretty much the whole time, that right there should just make you pull over and stop.  IMO pride got in the way of common sense.

If you think about it, with a sticky throttle idling about 2200 rpm I think they said ... Depending on the rear gears & 1300 HP, could be cruising on the freeway 70 mph at 2200 rpm.

He had to be riding those brakes hard .... So hard they could smell them overheating.

 

Pride can make you do some stupid things.

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Over the years, I have worked/built/even hacked (in my teenage years and very early 20’s) many cars.  Did not take long for me to transition from making power my first upgrade to making stopping and safety the priority.  Sad some people never learn even after hundreds of thousands of dollars and ruined relationships!

 

Thank you for posting that.  First thing I did was show my boys.  They had already seen it, but told me plans they had already made for upgrading the safety and brakes of their car as a result of that video.

Edited by nonstop
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It is amazing the driver overlooked the fact he was riding the brakes to hold the car back from a sticking throttle.  
 

Maybe there was pressure to get the scheduled video production done? The host and film crew were there and ready.  It was go time.  Pride and pressure combined maybe.  Who knows. A very unfortunate outcome.  
 

Hindsight here is painful. In advance of the drive they talked about the brakes. They discussed sitting on the shoulder belts instead of wearing them. 

The car damage is easy to deal with compared to the personal injury. New front teeth. Probably pins drilled in the driver’s elbow too. Massive servings of humble pie served. 

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1 hour ago, keithb7 said:

Hindsight here is painful.

I think we all have made mistakes in our lives .... I Think @ggdad1951nailed the reason for this mistake .... thats an important lesson.

 

I hope we are not ignorant enough to create the same mistakes as the car owner in the video ... The video creator is trying to use the mistakes as "content creation"The car owner knows what he did wrong. There is no point in the internet beating him up over it ....That man will live with this mistake for the rest of his life. .... & the internet will beat him up long after he dies.

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I agree with you to a point.  If he crashed into a pylon or guard rail, it would be lesson learned and he should not be beaten up a lot more than he has.  He was out on the street and hit other vehicles.  He got VERY lucky others were not hurt more.  If he was driving a bucket or a beater, and this happened, people would be relentless in ripping him a brand new one.  At the end of the day, he was just as culpable and irresponsible - with a nicer car.

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I've never felt the "Need for Speed", so this is not at all the kind of car I would ever build.  Now my oldest brother, yeah.  A 66 Charger.  Not built like this one, but enough to need to take the precautions mentioned especially seriously, more than even all of the rest of us.  But I wonder, was this the first drive where the throttle was sticking, where he had to ride the brakes?  As was pointed out, a good bit of humility could well have avoided this loss.

 

(I assume the throttle was cable controlled.  Worked on a fellow classmate's car - a Gremlin - back in the 70's.  That was the first time I saw a car that had a cable throttle control.  I wasn't really impressed with that then, but a bit of lube did the trick on her car.)

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