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Aggressively improvised car repairs

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by mexicanyella, May 3, 2018.

  1. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    On a currently running Subaru ownership venting thread, which also contains some Hyundai content, I was just posting about this beater 2001 Hyundai Accent I had for awhile. It got me thinking about a few "extreme car repairs" I got away with on that car and a few others at various times of being a grown-ass, broke-ass man.

    I had the friction material come off of the front brake pads on one front brake in that '01 Accent, which scored the hell out of the brake rotor. Needed the car, like, now, and could only afford the cheapest set of front brake pads from Autozone. So while I had that front wheel off, and that corner up on a jack stand, I "turned" my own brake rotor by locking the emergency brake, starting the engine, and putting the car in drive. The other front wheel was still on the ground, so the rotor was spinning due to the idling engine. I took my angle grinder and carefully, lightly and gradually went to town on that rotor. Luckily only the outside rotor surface was scored; only that one pad lost its friction material. If I'd had to do the inside surface too, I might have had a problem.

    Well, clearly I already had a problem, but...

    Anyway, I figured the worst that could happen is the new pads might wear a little quicker until the surface got smoothed out a bit, or the rotor might warp due to being ground below some thickness dimension.

    But nope, worked fine. It was a little grabby and noisy for the first three of four stops, and then it was fine.

    I had a muffler disintegrate on a '94 Cherokee 4.0 once, and I just broke out the welder and installed a length of straight pipe in its place, so my exhaust system was catalytic converter but no muffler, stock tailpipe still in place. Didn't look altered unless you got underneath, and it wasn't THAT loud...althought it did have a cool little inline-6 snarl after that. I ended up driving it like that for nearly a year.

    My dad and uncle had to repair a similar problem in our slant-six '64 Plymouth Belvedere wagon when I was a kid, but in their case they used a slit-open metal tennis-ball can wrapped around the pipe break and a bunch of twisted baling wire. That sounded like gentle under-car farting and we had to drive with the windows open until it got fixed right.

    Also on that Belvedere, on a trip from Denver to Kansas City, the accelerator linkage broke once, late on a Sunday, and my dad rigged up a length of wire (speaker wire, I think) from the carb linkage, through a firewalll grommet, up onto the front bench seat, where he clamped on a pair of vise grip pliers. You pulled on the vise grips to open the throttle. I was about eight or ten years old, and dad had me "man the vise grips" for part of the time to give his hand and arm a rest. I remember thinking it was pretty cool to have a direct link to the car's speed and throttle opening. I doubt I was very smooth at it as he worked the clutch and column-shift three-speed, but it's kind of a cool memory.

    So come on, post 'em. Surely some TDPRI'ers "got 'er home" with some ill-advised non-standard repairs...?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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  2. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    I once bought an airplane with no seats, instruments, or control knobs/levers installed. I flew it home off a grass strip sitting on a milk crate and using vise grips on a he throttle cable. Coming in at dusk I had to circle until someone keyed the runway lights. While circling the field the oil temp sender started leaking oil on the hot engine and smoked everything up to where I could hardly see. Scared crap out of me because I had no gauges and had no idea how bad it was. I'm older now.
     
  3. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    My toyota corolla station wagon was the same color as duct tape. Perfect. Now enough said eh.
     
  4. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    Not improvised but I learned how to pack wheel bearings right there on the side of the motorway in England.
     
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  5. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

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    My first car in 1978 (a hand-me-down from my dad) was a Fiat 124. The bodywork was typical Fiat - i.e. you could actually stand and watch it rust.

    Eventually, I could see the road beneath my feet as I drove along. Some papier-mache and a set of rubber mats took care of it long enough for me to trade it.
     
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  6. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Not a repair but: Lost my keys in a deer swamp. Had to jimmy my 1974 F-100 truck shell open to get a piece of coat hanger, used that to unlock the truck door, then cut a piece of wire fence with my Buck Personal which I used to hotwire the pickup.

    A simple repair: clutch cable snapped on my 1979 F-100 coming back from steelhead fishing. Saw my friend Bruce had fishing pliers hanging from his vest. Commandeered both, then cobbled the cable together enough to get home. Bruce, who couldn’t abide by newfangled motorized contraptions, was dumbfounded that I could get it going as the whole process was a total mystery to him.
     
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  7. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Did somebody say "aggressively improvised car repairs" and "Hyundai content"?

     
  8. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    On my motorcycle, water got into the throttle cable and rusted it out in the middle. For a couple years, I rode one handed with the remainder of the cable wrapped around a ballpoint pen and brought out under the tank. On that bike, the same happened to the speedo cable. If I ever sell it, the mileage will have to be disclosed as 'unknown'. Currently needs new seat padding and vinyl. And all 4 turn signals were on rubber stalks that have degraded.
     
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  9. Pickin N Grinin

    Pickin N Grinin Tele-Meister

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    Back in high school auto shop my buddy had a G Tempest O (For you non car guys that's grandma's Pontiac Tempest with a GTO hood, LOL) on which he decides he's going to put dual exhaust. He shows up with it finished a few days later sporting some absolutely savage workmanship right down to the flex pie running below the rear end. From then on we busted his chops that his car featured a "Grumpy XXXX" dual exhaust conversion kit. The kit came with 40 feet of flex pipe, 2 Hush Thrush mufflers, 6 metal coat hangers, and a hack saw to cut off the Y pipe. Needless to say we broke his balls for a long time on that one.
     
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  10. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    My father used to have a roll of asbestos cloth back in the 70's. Cars would break pieces of exhaust pipe all the time. He would wrap the broken section with asbestos, then a soup can, and put breeze clamps / hose clamp over both ends to hold it together. This would typically last a two to ten weeks until you could get the parts replaced. We did that for an uncle's car, and it got him back from NE Ohio to North Carolina - plus a week or two - until he could get it fixed. If we only knew how dangerous that asbestos cloth was. We have not had issues, but still.

    Our neighbors growing up were hay farmers of very modest means. They had a tractor throw a belt waaaaaay out in the fields. They tied a bunch of bailing twine around the pulleys to make a belt - tightened it up as much as they could - and that got the afternoon completed and the tractor back to the barn for repairs. Bailing twine is some sturdy stuff.

    A friend could not get a steering wheel back on the spines - so he used vice grips in place of a steering wheel for a week until he had the time to file the splines.

    How about using mechanic's wire to hold a bulb assembly where the bracket rusted out, then fill with gaps with bondo to hold everything in place?

    I have been known to remove a door card, glue a sheet of denim material to a metal door frame, cut holes where the mounting pieces need to go, then replace the door card. This did wonders to eliminate squeaks and rattles for those 70's and early 80's GM cars. My 1976 Monza had a loose transition mount - I wrapped a nut in rubber, and placed it in the travel catch on the transmission to keep it from banging since the bushings had long since gone bad.

    I had a friend at work tell me the spines on the output shaft of an old Saab were worn. He would take the tranny off every 6 months, and push pieces of paper clips into the splines to make proper contact, and push the tranny back on. He did that three or four time in college before he replaced the car.

    1994 Grand AM - removed the middle HVAC vents, put packing foam between the underside of the vent and the radio to keep cold air from fogging the radio, then replace the vent. Easy fix to a really bad design issue. There were spots of construction adhesive I put under the dash on that car as well to prevent squeaks when the weather was "just wrong". When the window track wore out, I used a good sized suction cup to help guide the window up squarely. At that point, the car was 9 years old with 165,000 miles and failing, so no sense spending money to get it fixed.
     
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  11. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Tele-Holic

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    Bicycle cables and wire stops make great throttle cables.
     
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  12. cattzap

    cattzap Tele-Meister

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    In the old days, before plastic everything, you could jump start a car by touching bumpers then making a single arch from a coat hanger or fence wire and just connect the positive posts.
     
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  13. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    Lol...love it...is that how you got your name?
     
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  14. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    On the topic of motorcycle cables, my 16 year old buddy and I were about to set off on a trip of about 200 miles on ridiculously chopped, unsuitable motorcyles...a 305 Honda scrambler and a 441 BSA Victor. One of the throttle cables broke the ball off the end. Amazingly, we laid the cable on a welding table and started arcing beside it. Eventually, a glob of spit actually attached itself to the end of the cable. As far as I know it lasted for as long as Frank owned that bike...
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
  15. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    This is called the Hillbilly Lathe. Put the front wheel drive car in drive, and you can use a spare sharpening stone. We clean up and true up rotors all the time like this. In some cases you can even transfer a rear rotor to the front and true up that rear rotor using the FWD Lathe. If there's limited access to the back of the rotor, sometimes you can flip it for better access. You can also use this approach to take that "ring" of leftover rotor that was never worn down by brake use, grind it off of there so the pads and caliper can be removed more readily.
     
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  16. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Two relatively simple things spring to mind...in the sixties, the tailpipe (after the muffler) rusted out. No emissions issues back then, but it did leak exhaust fumes into car. I took a metal coffee can, split it length-wise, and hose clamped it around the pipe.
    The other was on a 1958 VW Bug I owned in the seventies. There was a gear shifter connection under the back seat, for the gear shift to the transaxle, with a rubber pad (sort of thing) to absorb force when shifting. That pad wore out and separated, meaning you couldn't shift gears. I pulled the two pieces together, and "tied" them with a coat hanger. Worked fairly well until I could order and receive a new part. This (of course) was light years before Amazon same day purchases....;)
     
  17. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    In Baja Mexico in the 80's. My wife and I were hitch hiking just a few miles into town. (we were exploring the Sea of Cortez in our sailboat) This guy in an old Mustang gave us a ride. There was no interior in the car. No passenger seat. In the back on the floor with us was a 6Pak of Corona. He opened it and pulled one out, removed the cap with his teeth and handed it to me. Ditto for my wife. Everytime he stepped on the brake the car jerked and almost went off the road. After our short trip we thanked him, I slipped him a few bucks and on we went around town. A half hour later we see him with the front wheel off. He's got a wood pencil stuffed in the brake line on that side and trying to wire and tape it in place plugging the line. Now I know why the car pulled to the side so bad.
     
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  18. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Clutch cable broke on my VW Bus just before finals week in college. I drove back and forth all week long without a clutch. I got good at driving around parking lots and gas stations waiting for the the intersection light to turn green.

    Fuel pump went out on my cousin's VW bug. I hooked the fuel line end to a BIC pen housing and strapped it to the top of the carb. The tiny hole was just the right size for intake vacuum to suck the fuel through to get us home.

    Lights went out on my '59 Harley with 50 miles of night riding ahead for a group of 8 bikes. I sat in the middle of a tight pack with bikes front, back and sides on the highway to make it home.
     
  19. cattzap

    cattzap Tele-Meister

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    Put the front wheel drive car in drive, and you can use a spare sharpening stone


    Lookup Beyond The Press Channel on Youtube. They took a car, jacked it up and held the brakes with it wide open just to see what it would do. Hilarious. They also chucked a disk in a 50 hp lathe and used a bike brake held down to see what it would do.
     
  20. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I've used this 3M Structural Epoxy for some really crazy uses:

    https://www.nationaltoolwarehouse.c...MI1p7Ht_Tp2gIVTzqBCh0lBAx7EAQYBCABEgKqCvD_BwE

    I'm too ashamed to explain exactly how it was used, sometimes, but you can fix it right later. Sometimes you just need to get to somewhere.

    I remember one schoolmate and he had a bad brake assembly. He borrowed a small handyman's vice, used it to crimp down the line to the bad wheel, and just left it like that. And bought his uncle a new bench vice to replace the one he borrowed. It was still like that, last time I saw.

    I also remember helping a friend with a ruined fuel pump get home. We took off the hood, and used wire to affix a plastic jug filled with fuel above the carb, with a couple tiny holes in the jug, and we had to refill the jug a few times to keep the carb nourished with fuel so we could get the vehicle home. Why not just tow? First, no tow line but second, this guy had had a super close call in a previous towing accident - which I have described to you guys before a few times.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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