12 June 2014

Tips Your Dad Should Have Taught You — Five Epic Improvised Automotive Repairs

We’re not always around a fully stocked garage, auto parts store or tool chest when the need arises to save the day with a big repair. Sometimes, you’ve got to go with what falls readily to hand, whether it’s duct tape, J-B Weld or a coat hanger. Here are five stories of some truly epic improvised repairs:

  1. Dormitory Parking Lot Transmission Repair: Rory Carroll is now the Executive Editor of Autoweek magazine. But in his sophomore year at Michigan State University, he was foolish enough to loan his 1991 Volkswagen Golf GTI to a fellow student the day before he was supposed to make the three-hour drive home to Traverse City, Mich. “When he returned the keys to me, he told me that the car had made a loud noise when he'd parked it.”  Carroll found the GTI in the dorm parking lot sitting in a pool of oil; the “friend,” however, was nowhere to be seen. Two chunks of transaxle case were lying in the middle of said pool. Carroll took a bus to a hardware store where he purchased some J-B Weld and, optimistically, four quarts of transaxle oil. He cleaned the pieces of the transaxle case in his dorm room sink, mixed up the J-B Weld and drove the Golf up onto the curb to get at the transaxle. Carroll pushed the metal fragments and J-B Weld back into place, wedged them in with a piece of wood and waited a few hours before refilling the transaxle with oil and hitting the road — into the jaws of a winter storm as only Northern Michigan can do them. As you might have already surmised, the repair held up just fine and Carroll didn’t freeze to death on the side of the road.
  2. Blown Head Gasket and Cylinder Head During The 24 Hours of LeMons: The 24 Hours of LeMons is an endurance race for $500 cars. The organizers say that the premise “isn’t just an oxymoron, it’s a breeding ground for morons.” Damned resourceful morons, anyway — perhaps even the Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison of the improvised repair world. Team Dr. Feelgood’s 1993 Dodge Shadow was participating in “Capitol Offense,” the D.C.-area version of the infamous motorsports affront, when not surprisingly, the Shadow blew a head gasket and disintegrated part of the cylinder head itself. The intrepid racers made a new gasket and slathered J-B Weld on the toasted cylinder head, allowing them to finish the race and win the coveted Judge’s Choice Award without having to resort to a bribe, as is customary for awards in the LeMons world.
  3. Leaky Radiator Addressed by a Leak of Another Kind: Tim Suddard is the publisher of Classic Motorsports and Grassroots Motorsports magazines. No stranger to ill-advised road trips in old cars, Suddard (who resides in Florida) was on a cross-country road trip in a vintage motor home, when it sprang a leak in its radiator while traversing sparsely populated Wyoming. He valiantly dumped every liquid in the motor home into the radiator but still fell short of the nearest town (and bathroom) by a few miles. He killed two birds with one stone, and you can probably guess how.

    (Video: Son surprises Dad with his dream car)

  4. Fabricated Florida Fan Belt: Classic Motorsports Publisher Tim Suddard once again found himself behind the wheel of a questionable machine, this time an early 1990s vintage E30 BMW 318is in fairly dilapidated shape. Rather than towing the car home, Suddard elected to drive the tired Bimmer the 200 odd miles home. Predictably, something failed (in this case, a fan belt in I-95 Miami rush hour). The ever-resourceful Suddard reached for the only thing that fell readily to hand, a roll of duct tape known to racers affectionately as “200 mph tape.” By twisting a length of it repeatedly, and then fastening the ends, Suddard was able to fashion a temporary fan belt that allowed him to make it home.
  5. Failed Generator Generates Repeat Battery Purchases: Tim Suddard is clearly a good guy to have around when you break down in the middle of nowhere. In the third chapter of the Suddard trilogy, a few years back, he bought a 1963 Ford Ranchero that the seller assured Suddard was ready to drive across the country. Taking him at his word, Suddard set off in the Ranchero on a cross-country drive. As it turns out, it was far from road ready with no heat and a failing generator. Given the fact that Ford had switched from alternators to generators for the 1965 model year, there was none to be had at any auto parts stores along the way.  Suddard simply stocked up on batteries and a battery charger — enough batteries to power a Soviet-era diesel/electric submarine. He drove (during the daytime only) on the batteries and charged them in the hotel room at night.

    68 Reader Comments

    • 1
      Bill Denton Pittsburgh PA June 13, 2014 at 13:32
      I've got all of them beat... When I was in high school, my mother asked me to drive her to another town to do some shopping in her Corvair. While we were driving, and out in the middle of nowhere, the generator bracket on that car broke, which allowed the generator to move forward and cut a hole in the fuel line, stopping the engine. I was trying to find some tape or something in the car so I could patch the hole and we could limp home. I didn't find any tape, but I remembered that I always carried a couple of Band-Aids in my billfold because a was always scraping or cutting myself. I didn't find any Band-Aids, but I did find something else that did the trick. All the way home my mom kept asking, "How did you fix the car, son?" and I kept telling her not to worry about it, it would get us home okay. When we got back to our hometown I went directly to the Chevy dealership. When I pulled into the service bay one of the mechanics asked me what the problem was, and I told him the fuel line broke. He asked me to pop the hood, which I did, and when he saw my repair he started laughing so hard a couple of other mechanics came over to see the repair; they started laughing, and pretty soon almost everyone over in the dealership was over there looking at my car. I guess they'd never seen anybody repair a fuel line by wrapping a condom around it...
    • 2
      Janeda Kretzinger Gainesville, Tx June 16, 2014 at 11:16
      While we were stationed at Grissom AFB, the fuel pump went out on my supervisors car one morning. (I think it was a Toyota of some sort.) Undaunted, he mounted a coffee can on the hood, ran a hose from it to the carburetor, and poured gas into the coffee can, and drove the 5 miles from his house to our shop. We laughed at him, but he said "hey, it got me here!" We always called him McGyver before this incident, but this sealed it!
    • 3
      dampatents Albuquerque June 18, 2014 at 14:45
      In a 68 Volvo wagon on a trip through souther NM (nothing here, look at the map), the generator bracket broke AT NIGHT, with 3 kids under 10 and a pregnant wife… took out the trusty vise grip (a real one) and clamped it and renewed the trip, going over 400 miles with it clamped. Then went to the junk yard, went through his box of brackets and bought the heaviest (thickest) one he had and reclaimed the vise grip for future duties.
    • 4
      Tom Underwood Kentucky June 18, 2014 at 14:51
      Oh, the stories...The BMW 318 wiper assembly repaired with a rubber band holding the joint together. The Mercedes 123 diesel that lost a connector on its throttle linkage on the highway repaired with clips from the door check strap assembly. The TR6 carb repaired on a lonely highway by duct taping the bellows...those were the days!
    • 5
      Ed Clemmons NC June 18, 2014 at 14:52
      My 78 4wd f150 myself and friend went down to Charlotte auto fair in the 80s. Filled up with gas on way down. On way back truck kept getting slowerr so stopped. New fuel filter did not help so got a ride to pick up new fuel pump. No help. Fuel would not flow from tank in any appreciable amount. So bought 10 ft rubber fuel line, 5gal gas can stuck the hose in the small metal pour spout and other end to new fuel pump. Put in 4 gal gas and drove the 100 miles home with the can between my legs. Found the tank had a gallon of dirt, trash and water in it which stopped up the sock filter in the tank. BTW still have the truck which Hagerty's insures!
    • 6
      Nelson Kowal Grosse Pointe Woods, MI June 18, 2014 at 15:07
      A buddy of mine had a clapped out 65 Chevrolet Impala convertible that sprung a small leak in the aluminum die cast thermostat housing due to corrosion. He let the car cool down a bit so the coolant level would go down as well. He pressed a wad of bubble gum into the hole in the housing which sealed it up pretty well. The guys at the gas station he took it to for repairs were amazed the bubble gum held so well.
    • 7
      Bruce Eames Houston, TX June 18, 2014 at 15:24
      While an undergrad in the late 70's at the Univ of Minnesota in Minneapolis, I was the proud owner of a beat up 1970 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe. When the fuel pump went out, I was dismayed to be informed by the local dealer that a replacement would cost me over $80 - which was about $70 more than I had to my name at the time. I asked if they could simply repair my unit. They said they couldn't because the housing was crimped together rather than bolted and once opened it wouldn't be any good. Emboldened by curiosity and with nothing to lose, I went home, sat down at my kitchen table with a screw driver and pried back the crimp tangs and opened the pump myself. In addition to learning what the inside of mechanical fuel pump looks like I also saw the source of the problem which was a broken spring. It looked incredibly similar to that in a ball point pen so I dug one out of a pen around the house, bent it out a little, cut it to length, dropped it in place, reassembled the pump, bent the crimp tangs back with a few gentle whacks of a small hammer and re-installed the pump in the coupe. I waited until my roommates weren't around to avoid possible embarrassment but finally screwed up the courage to turn the key in the ignition. To my utter surprise and delight after what seemed like an interminable time it finally sputtered to life! I drove it like that back and forth to school through the entire following winter until I was finally able to afford a new fuel pump in the spring. Needless to say, the parts guy at the dealership didn't believe me so I had to bring back the old pump and pry it open in front of him to prove my story!
    • 8
      Phillip Colwart Hammond, LA June 18, 2014 at 15:25
      While on a date, driving from Hammond to the French Quarter in New Orleans, the fan belt on my '75 Chevy Nova broke. In the middle of nowhere, on the twenty-three mile long I-55 bridge, through the swamps. I had a tool kit and an older fan belt that I kept for a spare, and used the tire iron to tension the replacement fan belt. Just then, I overtightened the alternator bolt that provided tension for the fan belt, and the bolt snapped! This was long before every single soul carried a cell phone, but after only a few minutes, a good Samaritan stopped to offer assistance. The elderly gentleman, ever the wise handyman, surveyed the situation and retrieved a quart of oil in a plastic jug. It was Castrol GTX, fortunately, and because the bottle shape was more square than other brands, it fit perfectly between the GM alternator and the top of the engine, providing enough tension to allow the fan belt to turn the water pump and alternator. I thanked him, he wouldn't accept money for the oil, and we proceeded to our date in the French Quarter. The next day, I dug out the snapped bolt and made everything right.
    • 9
      george oregon June 18, 2014 at 15:41
      Years ago I drove my rear engined Simca 1000 in a Friday Night Rally when the throttle cable broke. to finish the rally and make it home I removed the throttle cable and replaced it with the manual choke cable (which was operated by a knob mounted on the floor near the gear shift lever). Because the throttle return spring was too stiff for the now finger operated throttle, I used a rubber band for a throttle return spring. the driving experience was unique -- the synchros were shot in the transmission which required double-clutching always. When slowing I had always heel and tow double clutched but now I had to use my right hand to operate the throttle, shift lever and steer all at the same time -- it's amazing what an 18 year old kid can do.
    • 10
      Dave Doyle Lynn, MA June 18, 2014 at 15:57
      One of my first cars was a 1956 Buick Special, w/Dynaflow, purchased for $50 at a backwoods junkyyard. It was in beautiful condition, all around, except for a profuse transmission leak, that as an 18 yr. old kid, I had no way of repairing correctly. So I fashioned a plastic dishpan to fit up under the trans., & fitted it with a Stewart Warner 260 electric fuel pump (Now a transmission fluid pump). The output of the pump was stuffed into the dipstick tube opening. Thanks to the Buick's trip odometer, I was able to accurately predict exactly how far I could travel, before turning on the pump, and refilling the transmission. Never had any more problems with it.
    • 11
      David Hayden Burleson, TX June 18, 2014 at 16:16
      Many years ago when I was a teenager i spent every dime and waking hour on my 64 Impala SS. Most recently I had just added a capacitive discharge ignition system and an Accell distributor coil. To test my handy work I took the car to the newest section of I-225 east of Aurora, CO. It was late at night and a stretch of road not yet used. Out in the lonely darkness, I did what all teenage boys love to do. I floored it expecting a rush of squealing tires and head snapping acceleration. The engine died immediately. Having no lights and very few tools I had to improvise. I pulled apart the center console, and removed the courtesy light and wires. I then wired it to the battery under the hood for illumination to repair the car. I discovered the problem was the accelerator linkage hit the positive terminal of the of the coil and fried the ballast resistor. So I took a couple pieces of wire from the horn and used them to jump the resistor. i arrived home safely about an hour and half later.
    • 12
      Dennis Denver, CO June 18, 2014 at 16:22
      In the 70's I was driving my brothers International truck from Denver, CO to Wichita, Ks. About 100 miles out of Denver the truck coasted to the shoulder at an idle.. Opened the hood to find that the accelerator cable from the carb to the foot feed pedal had broken.. I managed to find the wire under the seat that actuates the lever to adjust the seat forward and back. Attached the wire to the carb, ran it through the back edge of the hood, and into the door vent window. With a screwdriver in a loop on the end of the wire, I was able to get to the nearest town (15 miles), only to find that there was shop 20 miles behind me, that had the part.. So back onto I-70, screwdriver in hand, to get the truck fixed, and back on my jolly way.. At least it was an automatic, so if I closed the window wing on the wire, it was almost like cruise control..
    • 13
      Skip Cannon Erie, Colorado June 18, 2014 at 16:46
      Last summer on the Grizzly Bear Blat (11 Caterham 7s and other Lotus 7 clones across the Canadian Rockies) one of the Caterhams hit a 300 lb bear at 60 mph. No one hurt other than the bear but massive damage to the front of the Caterham. The car was trailered to the nights stop and the owner arranged to get a ride back to the starting place to pick up his truck and trailer. In the morning six of us took the Caterham apart and found a bent transverse frame tube, bent sway bar and tie rod not to mention a badly fractured nose cone, radiator and head lights. Using an I beam sunk in cement in the parking lot, a tow strap and some muscle we straightened the frame and sway bar. A hammer took care of the tie rod and rope was used to align the front end. We had a used radiator along and two rolls of duct tape were used to put the fiberglass nosecone back in shape. In 2 1/2 hours we had the car road ready and tested. The wife of the owner test drove it and said she felt confident to continue on with the car. An email to her husband informed him to meet us at the next stop. One of the other women on the trip found a teddy bear head at a gift shop and installed it in the empty headlight shell where it rode for the rest of the trip.
    • 14
      Richard King Near Philadelphia New Jersey June 18, 2014 at 16:46
      in 1977 I was in Seattle WA after a very pleasant evening checking if the bars had any beer left. On the way back to a boat house to sleep, we swerved to avoid a bus and ran up onto a high kerb. After that the accelerator cable on the 1966 VW Beetle and the brakes would not work. I removed the boot laces from my pals Eddie Bauer work boots and attached one end to the butterfly actuator arm on the carburetor and ran the lace through a vent slot in the trunk lid and under the rear bumper and then forward to the passenger window. Steve steered and changed gear I pulled the boot lace to accelerate. We made it and used the handbrake to stop us rolling down the hill and into the sea in front of the boat house.
    • 15
      Rick Davis Vienna, OH June 18, 2014 at 17:03
      Back around 1979 I bought my first collector car, a wrecked $250 55 Chevy wagon. After repairing the car and getting it running, I was driving to my Air Base one day when it started back firing. I found that an exhaust rocker kept slipping of the push rod due to the slot in the head becoming D shaped instead of oval. Being a poor airman, I found a sturdy coil spring and jammed it horizontally between two push rods. It kept the rocker from slipping off until I had the money to buy a new head!
    • 16
      Ray Albany NY June 18, 2014 at 17:07
      In 63 or 64 I lunched the hydramatic in my 52 Olds, I found a cheap Lasalle 3 speed. No linkage for the clutch, using a clothes line pulley,a length of steel cable a swinging pedal with the clutch rod,from a 55 Merc and a cable tightener , I was ready to ROCK & ROLL
    • 17
      Howard Federalsburg Md June 18, 2014 at 17:09
      I repaired/rebuilt master cylinder on my 1953 Willis f-head 6 cylinder car as a teenager and as expected failed 40 miles from home with Mom in the car. Being resouceful (dumb) I decided that the vehicle had a 3 speed transmission with overdrive and I could (I actually had tried this before) while keeping speed below 35 miles per with o/d in I could slow down by shifting into reverse, applying gas and moderate clutch, could brake. All mom said after arriving home safe was, boy you sure shift a lot. Wonder how I got to be 71.
    • 18
      Rick Davis Vienna, OH June 18, 2014 at 17:13
      Just about a month ago, I drove my 96 Buick Roadmaster hearse 6 hours to a hearse show (that I was in charge of). The AC wasn't working so I picked up some refrigerant intending to take care of it at the convention center after I unloaded. After opening the hood, I decided to check on a known problem with the Roadmaster, a loose nut on the auxiliary battery terminal. Sure enough it was loose. Having a bare minimum of tools, I stuck a wrench on the nut, moved it less than an 1/8th of a turn and the stud snapped off! That cable supplies the power to EVERYTHING in the car except the starter. Dead in the water 6 hours from home with no hopes of replacing something that probably required a trip to a junk yard. After I ran out of interesting words to use, I had an idea and got lucky. I borrowed a battery powered drill from a vendor and hitched a ride to Lowes where I bought a bolt two sizes smaller than the stud diameter and went of looking for a drill bit and tape. The guys in hardware said that they hadn't have taps in a year and the JUST came in! Fortunately, drilling and tapping worked and it got me home and is still working, perhaps better than the original!
    • 19
      Lewis Mendenhall Maryland June 18, 2014 at 17:17
      I've got a good one. I was riding with a friend in hey 29 Hudson when it studdered, coughed and died on the side of the road. We open the hood and found that there was no fuel running to the carburetor. This car has a vacuum tank rather than a fuel pump. The seal on the vacuum tank had dried up and cracked allowing vacuum to escape from the tank. The only sticky substance we could find was a brand-new pack of Wrigley spearmint gum. We open the gum and chewed, and chewed and chewed. We formed the gum around the lid of the tank bolting it down and drove the car home. We forgot about the repair and drove that car all summer on our makeshift fix. That is been close to 40 years ago and I still laugh about it every time I think about it.
    • 20
      Tom Shumaker Elkhart in June 18, 2014 at 17:19
      On a trip with our car club in my triumph tr7 and noticed a trail of antifreeze after examination I discovered a leak in a bypass hose under the manifold removing it wasn't bad it was the fact that it was 3/4" at one end and 1/2" at the other end ended up finding the 3/4 hose and cutting off part of the old hose and slipping It into the one end and fight for 2hours to get the 3"hose back on saving a 250 mile treck home on a flatbed
    • 21
      John Sims Aberdeen, NJ June 18, 2014 at 17:34
      When living in Las Vegas about 20 years ago, the distributor rotor on my 58 Austin Healey broke while on Interstate 15 and I came to a rapid stop. The driver of a roving repair truck stopped, took out a tube of super glue and a rubber band and was able to repair it by wrapping the rotor with a rubber band and smearing the assembly with super glue. After a few minutes to dry, we put the rotor back on and I was able to drive 15 miles or so home. Still have the rotor (along with several other ones)
    • 22
      Mike Denver June 18, 2014 at 17:58
      1972 - Driving my 356C Porsche, LA to Denver, the accelerator cable failed in Pueblo. Like Dennis, a length of parachute cord from my camping tent from the left carb linkage thru the engine lid, around the luggage rack and into the drivers window for a manual accelerator cable for the next 90 miles or so. No difficulty getting home.
    • 23
      David houston, TX June 18, 2014 at 18:04
      Wow - twist-tying the throttle linkage on a '61 F100 to make it back to town on a COLD Kansas winter night. Peeing on a frozen Triumph throttle linkage to unfreeze it. Making an replacement ignition wire harness from 110V lamp cord when the original burned out to keep from missing a date with a hot waitress. But Ithink the all-time great was from a biography (The Last Ivory Hunter by Peter Capstick) in which the fella owned a Model A Ford pick-up and snapped a driveshaft in the middle of Africa back in the '30s. He cut a length of mopane wood to fit and shot bolt holes in it with a rifle and jacketed bullets.Had to do it a few times to get to a road, but made it.
    • 24
      Howard Lewis Philadelphia, PA June 18, 2014 at 18:05
      I am the sixth owner of a 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto (one of the previous owners being a salvage yard around 1980). I purchased this fine piece of Italian machinery from a cousin after its fifth or so coat of Maaco paint. Just after I bought it I was driving it tentatively in ever expanding circles trying to figure out what was wrong with it other than everything when it died on the side of the road. It wasn't the first time. However it was the first time that all four carburettur throats broke leaving the intake manifold resting on the wheel well. There was little to do except prop the manifold back into place with the rubber throats pressed together then jam a cardboard box I found on the side of the road against the wheel well to hold it is in place, duct tape the throats, duct tape the box against the well and the manifold and drive her home. When I got the manifold out, not only did it need new throats, but the carbs were so worn that the gasoline paths inside the carb and the jets were all ovaled. How many miles does it take to do that to a carburettur? I really wonder.
    • 25
      Roger Cunningham New Port Richey, FL June 18, 2014 at 18:08
      In 2003, I retrieved and revived my '63 Ranchero (260 V-8) Pickup after 20 years of storage in my parents garage in WA state. I'd entrusted the little truck to a boyhood friend who spent a month and a few grand in fresh parts recommissioning it. Intended destination: 2,800 miles to my home in Anchorage, AK, by way of the ALCAN Highway. On the 2nd night, well into the wilderness of Yukon Territory, it began to sputter and stalled ... literally miles from nowhere! The mechanic had forgotten to lube the rubbing block on the new points, and there was nothing left but a nub! I had a small tool box with a couple files, a hunting knife, and in my luggage, a white nylon-plastic pocket comb. The key ingredient: Super Glue that I'd remembered to toss in the box. I fashioned a new rubbing block with the files, and glued it in place. After using a Visa Card as a gap-gauge, I was back on the road. I continued the trip well into Alaska before I found a rural NAPA store that still stocked points for my then 40-year-old Ranchero.
    • 26
      mister C LA June 18, 2014 at 18:12
      my buddies turbo unit on his pick up was overheating while he was driving out to Texas and i was leaving, driving the opposite way. I stopped at a gas station half way between us and when he arrived I figured out we could take the hose for the windshield washer and attach it to a rag wrapped around the turbo. To get down the road he could watch the dash mounted temperature gauge for the turbo, and every time it got hot, just hit the windshield washer button, wetting the rag and dropping the temperature. Worked well enough to get through east Texas until a real repair could be made.
    • 27
      Gary San Francisco June 18, 2014 at 18:22
      Gas tank roadside repair when I was in high school working as an apprentice deliveryman for a furniture company. The leaking tank (corrosion or scrape) meant danger and fuel loss enough to limit travel to outlying areas. The seasoned driver took a bar of soap and with sufficient water got it goopy and pliable and simply puttied the hole with it. Apparently gas does not dissolve soap. We drove with virtually no fuel loss.
    • 28
      JR. Dugas Greenwich NY. June 18, 2014 at 18:44
      Back in the 80's my girlfriends Honda died on the side of the road. I went to the rescue finding no power anywhere, I realized the fusable link had fried. In front of her eyes, I pulled out a piece of chewing gum, Peeled the foil wrapper and got the car started..Mcgiver before there was Mcgiver!
    • 29
      Tom Dorset, VT June 18, 2014 at 18:54
      My Wife Joy was driving her 72 Spitfire from Albany, NY to Minneapolis. It quit 4 miles south of Minneapolis and she had it towed to the nearest town. While waiting for me to drive down she popped the hood and noticed distributer cap was off and the rotor was broken. She repaired the rotor with Super Glue and electricians tape and tied the cap back on with the tape, I was able to drive it that way the rest of the trip with no problem
    • 30
      Robert Mencl United States June 18, 2014 at 19:27
      Did you notice how 90% of the breakdowns listed above are GM? I was driving from New Orleans to Houston in 1978 in my 69 vw squareback, one of the first cars with electronic fuel injection. The car quit on I-10 at 2 a.m., no hope of help, and I was scheduled to perform a heart transplant at Memorial Hermann hospital at 7 a.m. Fortunately I had a Clymer's manual and a Radio Shack multimeter. Using the diagnostic heirarchy I was able to find that the distributor was making spark, but sending no signal to the engine computer for fuel and timing. Fortunately, I had my Bulova Accutron electronic wistwatch on. I opened the watch case with Vise-Grips and located the oscillator coil. I used hemostats from my doctor's bag and 2 lengths of wire cannibalised from the horn to connect the Accutron watch oscillator coil to terminal 86 and 102 of the VW's engine computer, simulating engine pulse and timing, and finished the trip to Houston by maintaining constant throttle position to match the output pulses from my wristwatch. The car is long gone but I still have the watch and it keeps time to half a second a month.
    • 31
      Warren Houston TX June 18, 2014 at 19:28
      Came across a man and a women with a broken down Camaro on the beach in Galveston many years ago. both quite drunk. the fan belt had broke and they needed a ride to a 7-eleven which was the only thing open that late. i figured they were going to use the phone but instead they bought pantyhose. i took them back their car and they took it out of the "egg", wrapped it tight around the pulleys were the belt had been and then tied a knot in it and cut off the extra. to my utter surprise and entertainment it worked and they drove off into the night
    • 32
      Mike California June 18, 2014 at 19:40
      In Santa Cruz CA, about 50 miles from home, the electric fuel pump in my Morris Minor quit. I borrowed a wire from the radio and had my friend click the wires together on and off to make the fuel pump work. It got us home.
    • 33
      Alan Pasadena, CA June 18, 2014 at 19:56
      On a road trip with a friend we stopped for lunch in my dad's SAAB 99, and noticed a pool of oil below the car. The plug for the sump was nowhere to be found, and the last of the oil was leaking into the soil. Being a European car, the local garage had nothing to replace the plug, so we cut a small tree branch with a Swiss army knife, whittled it to size, then twisted it into place with some pliers. After adding couple quarts of oil, off we went. The repair held nicely until we got back to civilization and metric parts.
    • 34
      Glenn "MacGuyver" McColpin Houston June 18, 2014 at 20:13
      I've got a number of these stories. While in college in New Mexico I receive a call from a friend who's jeep broke down near White Sands Missile Range and had just hiked a couple of hours back to the highway and got a ride back to town. I grabbed my toolbox and drove out to meet him. While inspecting the jeep I found that the ground strap had broken off the block. I repaired the strap then said, "Ok give me the keys and we'll check it out". Well, no keys. They were 2 hours away back at school. I grabbed a hacksaw blade and cut a strip out of it lengthwise to make the end look like a key then put it in the ignition and started jiggling it while applying pressure. Within a minute I had the ignition turned and the jeep started! After getting my first job after college I was driving my 1982 mustang from New York to Texas. Two hundred miles into a 1700 mile trip I lost 2nd and 3rd gears. I found that if I rev'd the engine up to almost the redline then dropped it into 4th gear, I could get up to highway speed without stalling and cruise in 4th until I had to stop for gas and start all over again. I ended up parking the mustang in the parking lot at my new job, pulled the transmission and rebuilt it on the bar of my first apartment. The boss asked who owned the mustang "hovercraft" in the back parking lot two days after I started there. The same mustang started having ignition problems a few weeks later requiring me to push start the vehicle multiple times on the grounds of the new job. I finally ran a wire from the horn to the starter solenoid so that when I pushed the horn button the car would turn over. I took the boss to lunch when the vehicle was still in this state and he shook his head but it wasn't long before I received a promotion. One time I was stationed in Edmonton Alberta and sent to a job far to the north. A hundred miles out of town the throttle cable broke on a fairly new company truck. I opened the hood, tied a piece of wire to the throttle linkage and ran it up through the vent window of the truck with a loop on the end so that I could give the vehicle enough gas to engage the cruise control then drove 11 hours using just the cruise control and my "fly by wire" setup.
    • 35
      Ken Nelson United States June 18, 2014 at 21:22
      Around June 5th, 1966, two ex-roommates and I started driving my '59 Citroen ID19 from Claremont Cal. to New Jersey to catch a plane to London to look for jobs during the summer. This Cit had the early single piston hydraulic system pump driven by the camshaft. Just outside North Platte Nebraska, we lost the pump's main seal and the car bled to death, meaning the hydropneumatic suspension went flat to the bump stops! Fortunately it was a manual gearbox car - not the "Citromatic" hydraulically shifted & clutched version - otherwise we'd have been really dead in the water. So bumping along on the bumpstops with 2 in. of ground clearance, we struggled to the edge of N. Platte, slept on the verge of a grass airport field, then crept into the first gas station (there were only two...) and I asked the attendant if I could work on the car in his parking lot & got an OK. Pulled the pump endcap and found the main Oring seal was toast, and we had to seal it against the output pressure of 2500 psi. Remember it's 1966, not a metric Oring in sight and the only store that had ANY seals was the one and only hardware store - not exactly a haven for Citroen parts. Found one overly fat Oring which might fit if it wasn't such a thick one in cross-section. Having no alternative and 1500 miles to go and a plane schedule deadline, I broke a double-edged shaver razorblade in half, and very carefully carved down the inside diameter and one side to remove enough rubber to hopefully squash the seal into the case and have the two critical surfaces seal. Amazingly, the seal held, we made the plane, parked the car in the parking lot in NJ of a branch of the co. my Dad worked for, and found jobs - I in Oxford, my two buddies in Germany. At summer's end we were still alive and caught the plane back for graduate school in Sept. I never changed that Oring. BTW, having no campground one night, we managed to sleep 3 with the front seats folded down - til the farmer whose field we'd parked in shooed us outa there -
    • 36
      Ian Foster, RI June 18, 2014 at 21:44
      My first car was a 1972 Dodge B100 Tradesman van with a slant 6 and 3 speed manual tranny and over 300,000 miles on it. I had a number of Mcgyver moments with it, but I made it home every time. My weirdest one was when I had a coil wire snap off over an hour from home. I had a twist tie and some masking tape. I stripped the twist tie of its paper covering and wound one end around the coil post and then wove the wire around the other end, then wrapped masking tape around it all hoping to lessen the chance of shorting something out. It fired right up and home we went to make a decent repair. It still runs today with 444,000 on it and counting.
    • 37
      JSD ABQ, NM June 18, 2014 at 21:51
      One I remember well involved a “69 Jeep CJ5. After a “dead stick” coast to the roadside, it was determined the fuel pump had failed. Long before cell phones & AAA, the fix we applied involved a translucent windshield washer fluid “bag” from under the hood. Relocated to the top, outside of the windshield & filled with fuel; then plumbed to the carb, it provided a visible gravity feed to keep the fuel bowl filled. You are no doubt thinking of the frequent stops to fill this small fuel tank & you are right. On this vintage Jeep the windshield washer fluid pump was a manual plunger pump on the dash. REV 2 was a re-plumb from the under seat fuel tank by way of this pump to the fuel bowl. This provided a manually operated fuel pump that got us the last 30 miles home. A few furious pumps when the engine started missing, restored the fuel the carb was gasping for & short rest for the right hand. You all can see the danger involved in this tale, but we were young, far from home, late at night. Sometimes you have you have to do what you have to do.
    • 38
      Gerry St Paul Mn June 18, 2014 at 22:00
      Middle of the night on a lonely stretch of road I was showing my date some of my autocross technique with my '67 Corvair. and the fan belt snapped. Remembered tip from Aussie friends, my date hesitantly surrendered her panty hose to replace the fan belt.
    • 39
      Gerry St Paul Mn June 18, 2014 at 22:01
      Middle of the night on a lonely stretch of road I was showing my date some of my autocross technique with my '67 Corvair. and the fan belt snapped. Remembered tip from Aussie friends, my date hesitantly surrendered her panty hose to replace the fan belt.
    • 40
      David P. Boston, MA June 18, 2014 at 22:02
      I was on a first date back in the early 1980's and my '79 Jeep CJ broke an alternator belt. Thankfully my date was wearing nylons and she sheepishly agreed to remove them for the cause. (I had to stand outside of the car while she removed them) I'd heard of this trick - the alternator belt (not the pantyhose rouse), but never tried it. It actually works! I was able to drive 15 miles and drop-off my date and then drive home. We went out again and laughed about it because she really thought it was a sneaky way to "get in her pants" until she saw grease on my hands and the success of the nylons.
    • 41
      J R WOOD canada June 19, 2014 at 13:15
      Best one I know of is a friend was towing an airplane to OSHKOSH and his van died. HIs plane was on an open trailer facing forward with the wings folded back. He was able to start the engine and use the thrust to push the van and trailer to get him to a gas station. From anyone else I would not have believed the story.
    • 42
      Grant S Traverse City, MI June 19, 2014 at 14:02
      I was running in the 24 Hours of LeMons about a year ago on Road America in a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier. During my first run in the car, my brake lines boiled, and I lost total use of my brakes. I brougth the car in, and let the lines cool off, and then my father decided to take a run at it. He was going down the front straight at 120 mph, when he lost the brakes. He t-boned another car on the passeneger side (thank god for roll cages and 5 points.). Everyone involved survived, excpet for our poor cavalier, which had a broken radiatior, fan, and alternator. Instead of packing the car up, i brought out the JB-Weld, and managed to work the entire night to seal every crack in the radiator. We somehowmanaged to put the entire car back together to run the second day of the race the next day.
    • 43
      Ed Lanier Brunswick, GA June 19, 2014 at 02:45
      One of my first cars as a teenager was a 1954 Ford. When I pried off a battery cable with a screwdriver, it poked a hole in the top of the battery. All I had to seal it was the chewing gum in my mouth. Apparently, the acid made the gum hard, and it became a permanent repair.
    • 44
      Rick Severn, MD June 19, 2014 at 06:07
      In the Army, driving 400 miles home (at night), the headlight switch gave out. Had an AC extension cord in the trunk - cut a 8' or so length of it, split the cable, running a line to each headlight and wedging the plug into the positive battery pole. Worked fine, replaced the headlight switch the next day.
    • 45
      j r Carlisle PA June 19, 2014 at 06:58
      I had an old International Scout that I had to drive 300 miles. After about 50 miles the throttle linkage broke and normally I would have been "sunk." I just happened to have some bailing wire with me. I attached it to the accelerator lever on the carburetor and found a small hole in the firewall which I ran the bailing wire through and then put a loop on the end inside the cab. I drove it the rest of the way on the bailing wire hand throttle.
    • 46
      Dan Fidler Washington, MI June 19, 2014 at 19:07
      My buddy had a well worn Toyota Corolla and the throttle cable had broken. He had no tools and wanted to get it to his Dad's place so he could fix it. We tied twine to the remaining cable, dropped it down in front of the firewall, retrieved it from under the car and ran it in the passenger window. He operated the clutch and brakes and I operated the throttle through the window with the twine. We drove 15 miles on I94 to his Dads with no problem.
    • 47
      Brian MD June 19, 2014 at 07:36
      We once used a pair of mom's pantyhose to make a fan belt for a 1976 Coupe DeVille. My friend driven it over to my house. It was his neighbor's car and he let him drive it once in a while. Made it back without overheating.
    • 48
      Greg Toronto Ontario June 19, 2014 at 08:22
      Driving my sisters 1982 Chevette north on interstate 81 and developed a bad rad leak somewhere in Scranton P.A. No money for a new rad or repairs so I got myself a carton of eggs at the convenience store, cracked all 12 into the rad ( much to the amazement of the store staff) topped it up with tap water and completed the 6 hour drive into Toronto. As a matter of fact it drove for another 2 weeks before the rad started showing signs of a leak again.
    • 49
      Carl Walled Lake, MI June 19, 2014 at 09:17
      I used to have a '66 Chevy Impala that was my daily driver. While rebuilding the 327 V8, I needed transportation to get to work, so I borrowed the 235 straight six out of my brother's wrecked '64 Chevy Bel Air. The engine bolted right up the automatic trans, and the throttle linkage from the '64 bolted right in, but the motor mounts didn't line up. Luckily my dad was a welder, so he put a flat steel plate between the six-cylinder mount and the V8 mount, and just welded the plate to the mounts. It was just temporary, right? About a week later, I was late for work and when I slammed the floor shifter in the console into park, I heard a loud "clunk" under the hood. The engine was still running, and I was late, so I just turned off the motor and ran into work. When I got out that night, the engine started right up, but I couldn't move the shifter into gear. I opened the hood, and found the engine laying on its side! The rubber motor mounts on the six had broken from age, and torque had laid the engine over, twisting the shift rods enough that they couldn't move. Luckily it was laying on the intake/exhaust side, so I was able to get the car's jack under the manifolds and start jacking the engine back upright. In order to do this, I had to stand in the engine bay while jacking, and got some strange looks from people walking past in the parking lot! The engine bay on the full-sized Impala was huge, so there was plenty of room for me stand in there next to the engine. When it was back upright I jammed the jack handle under the manifolds, let the jack down with a screwdriver, and wrapped a piece of bailing wire around the jack handle for good luck. It got me the 30 miles home, and new motor mounts let me drive it for another month!
    • 50
      ASrnold Union ME June 19, 2014 at 10:10
      I came to Maine with the back-to-the-land movement in the early 1970's. I had an old jeep with a plow that I used to plow my long driveway until the engine developed a loud knock. Dropping the oil pan I discovered a connecting rod bearing had pounded out. Having no monay to have the jeep towed to a garage to have the journal reground. I cut a piece out of my belt and after soaking it in oil, fit it into the rod cap. The engine turned over pretty stiffly, but it worked and got me through all the snow storms until spring when finances were better.
    • 51
      Ray Cleveland, OH June 19, 2014 at 10:47
      A couple of years ago, I was invited to show my 1955 Ford Country Sedan at the Ford Motor Company's annual FDC Show in Detroit as part of a "Salute to Station Wagons". My wife and I were not more than 40 miles from home when the accelerator pedal began to fail. We were able to coast off the highway into a parking lot near a convenient exit ramp. Upon flipping open the hood and examining the carburetor, I discovered a small disconnected piece of linkage. It appeared a tinnerman clip had fallen off. I was able to connect it temporarily and drive to a nearby auto parts store. I was forced to buy an entire box of various-sized clips. As I attempted to do a "parking lot repair job", a crowd of (predominantly male) on-lookers began to gather with offers of advice or station wagon stories. While all this was going on, my logical wife noticed a craft store across the street. She slipped away from the men and proceeded over there to purchase a spool of picture hanging wire. Returning shortly, she cut a short piece off with a side-cutter I had brought and unwound one strand. Handing it to me, she suggested twisting it around the linkage piece to hold it in place. Having already lost two clips down in the engine compartment, I was willing to try anything to get back on the road. Not only did it work well enough to get us to Detroit and back, I kept it in place the rest of the year until the carb was rebuilt the following Winter. Sometimes men have a tendency to over-think things.
    • 52
      Chuck Creel eastern NC June 19, 2014 at 11:04
      In 1978 I was headed to my new job at Fort Riley, Kansas on I-70. I was driving a 1967 MGB, and about 30 miles east of Kansas City a semi cut me off so I had to get on the brakes real hard. They lasted nearly a second when the pedal went to the floor. Luckily the semi missed me but now I had no brakes. I pulled to the shoulder and as the speed bled down I used the parking brake to finish stopping. I found the right rear wheel cylinder blown. I proceded to move my stuff enough to get jack out and jacked car and got the wheel cylinder out. The foward cup was broken. Now what to do. Since I was moving, I had most all I owned with me, which wasn't much in an MGB but I did find some super glue and alcohol. I scrubbed those ends real good and applied the glue. After a minute I put it back on the piston, amazed it held. I don't remember what I used on the brake pedal but I blead the brakes. I always carried a can of brake fluid. Made it to a hotel in KC. Next morning, I called around and found the nearest parts store with the parts needed, luckily only about 3 miles away. When I pulled into the store parking lot it gave out again-perfect. Changed everything and "on the road again".
    • 53
      BartJr Connecticut June 19, 2014 at 11:07
      My first car was a 1951 Oldsmobile 88, which I bought in 1959 for $225. It had a clogged crankcase vent (which was far beyond my knowledge at the age of 18), and had the nasty habit of blowing oil out the dipstick hole, creating lots of smoke (I was in California at the time and was afraid of the APCD police who looked for smoking cars). I was able to buy "reclaimed oil" for 10 cents per quart at the local gas station, but even that became expensive after a while - one or two quarts per day! So I obtained some rubber hose sized to fit over the dipstick tube, and routed it to the windshield washer jar, which held over 2 quarts of oil; when full ( I figured out how often to check), I would simply pour the oil back into the crankcase and drive again. I kept the car for over two years that way, and although it did the engine no good, it certainly reduced my oil expenditures, not to mention the smoke, and kept me out of the clutches of the Air Pollution Control police.
    • 54
      Roger Lubbock, Tx June 19, 2014 at 11:49
      In 1953 I was eight years old in the back seat of my folks 1951 Buick. We were traveling south on the Black Canyon highway in central Arizona. This was dirt road with portions in questionable service. Dad had heard about this as a short cut and a way to avoid the legendary Yarnell hill when traveling to Phoenix (long before I-17). I was using the hood ornament as front sight to shoot down imaginary Migs and look out the back window to watch them spiral to earth. I noticed trail in the dust of the road that was behind us but not in front. After notifying dad he stopped and surveyed the damage. There was a hole in the fuel tank the result of one of bang and clangs of tire launched rocks or scrapes over the uneven surface. Proximity to civilization was unknown as the maps didn't really show where we were traveling. Dad had mother and I start chewing gum hoping to make a substance that would seal the tank. In the mean time Dad pressed on hoping to find some assistance. In five or ten miles we came to a "one stop sign" village with a Chevron station that had a lift. They got the Buick the air and surveyed the damage. Gas was still streaming out of the hole. The station owner suggested an alternative to our chewing gum. Earlier in the week an itinerant salesman had talked him into buying a display of twelve tubes of sealer that could fix any fluid leak even without stopping the leak or cleaning the surface. For $1.25 the leak was stopped. Dad traded the Buick three years later still with sealer repaired gas tank. In the late '60's I was a broke college student at the University of Utah. The battery in my 1959 Ford died in the middle of the winter. I would park on the uphill side of the student parking lot. Coast downhill and pop the clutch to start. In cold weather this might or might not work. Many cars had hoods that could be opened with hood releases in the front grille. Then I started coasting down hill to a place where I could stop close to a car that I could open the hood and boost my car. Several times I could not get close to the front of another car for the boost. In these instances I would "gently" let my bumper come in contact with rear bumper of the other the car then connect the jumper cables in series to provide a single cable long enough to provide the positive to positive connection.
    • 55
      Darrell Benner Fremont CA June 19, 2014 at 00:55
      in 1991 I bought an Almost new VW Passat at a salvage auction that was wasted all down the right side. After making the needed bodywork repairs everything was fine except the Power Door Locks didn't work. VW used a Vacuum lock system and the Pump had burned up trying to pull a vacuum on an open system. Checking with VW the Pump was Not in Stock and when was available it would be $350.00! So I took the old one apart and noticed the Motor looked a lot like the one's used in Radio Controlled Model Cars so I went to a Hobby Shop and bought one for $10.00 of similar size and by combining parts of the new and old motors I was able to get the Pump working just like VW intended! Years later when the car was Sold the pump was still doing just fine and probably lasted the life of the car.
    • 56
      Don Wankel Jr Charlotte, NC June 20, 2014 at 02:18
      Not automotive, but boat. When I was in the Coast Guard we were heading up river to hurricane moorings for Hurricane Hugo. About 10 miles up river the windshield wiper quit working, broken shaft as it turned out. I ran parachute cord around both sides of the windshield and tied empty drink bottles on the end. By pulling one bottle then the other, we were able to clear the windshield and keep going.
    • 57
      roy Everett Wa. June 20, 2014 at 20:10
      While on the first date with a new girlfriend in her Rabbit convertable the clutch pedel went completely to the floor, i found out later not an uncommon problem the pedal linkage broke where it went into the hole of clutch link she was upset and i asked if she had any tools? To my surprise she had a little kit in it a pair of vise grips i placed rod that still had a little piece left to put in hole clamped it with vise grips and made it 15 miles back to my place! She thought i was the greatest and still does!
    • 58
      J M Elko Northern California June 20, 2014 at 21:01
      My first car, in about 1958, was a 31 Ford coupe. It had a Model C 4 banger, chopped flywheel, V-8 carb and generator, Willys distributer, split exhaust manifold, dropped front axle, 49 Merc reversed wheels and 40 Ford hydraulic brakes and primer everywhere. (This was pre-Rat Rod era.) Occasionally, one of the rear metal brake lines would snap at the rear wheel cylinder fitting. To avoid having to come home on the parking brake, I carried a short section of brake line with a fitting for the center T fitting on the axle. The tube was hammered flat, and folded over several times, making a tight seal. All I had to do was remove the 40 line, insert the plug, pour in some fluid into the master cylinder, pump it a bit, and continue my Friday night drive-in cruising on three wheel brakes. I still have the car abet, it is not running, but it is insured by Hagerty.
    • 59
      Joel Cary, NC June 20, 2014 at 10:49
      Ok. So I always drive USED cars. In this case, it was a 1926 Model T Ford Depot Hack. I'd restored it, but, apparently, not so well. I took a date out on a drive in the country and started smelling something burning. A look underneath revealed the top of the battery was on fire. The positive battery cable's insulation had worn through from rubbing on the frame, causing a short. I pulled up the floor board behind me, used a big tree branch to knock the wire from the melting battery cable clamp, and used an extinguisher to put out the fire. Model T's are usually started with the ignition switch on "battery" and then changed over to "magneto". I moved the shorted wire away from the frame, clamped it to the battery post with some vice grips, turned the ignition switch to "battery", hand cranked the engine as the cable was only connected to the battery by a few strands of wire that would not carry enough amperage to power the electric starter, turned the ignition switch to "magneto", used the tree branch to knock the battery wire free from the battery preventing another short, replaced the floor board, and drove the car home. I also, of course, saved Hagerty the cost of a claim for a burned up Model T. They really don't make them like they used to. <<HEE, HEE>>
    • 60
      Bob Phoenix June 21, 2014 at 17:28
      so was that 12 tips or FIVE tips.? looks like 5. I knew a guy who had a loud knocking noise and he nursed his car home with lots of STP.
    • 61
      John Middle village ny June 22, 2014 at 10:21
      In 1979 I was traveling from Hampton bays LI back home to queens when my old chevelles radiator sprung a leak and the car started to over heat . My buddy told me that black pepper worked as good as any stop leak and since I had no money anyway ,I borrowed the pepper shaker from a local diner ,emptied the contents into the radiator ,filled it with water and drove home ! That repair held up for the rest of the summer and into the fall when I replaced the radiator .
    • 62
      Andre Australia June 24, 2014 at 16:02
      While traveling after college in Australia, my friend and I bought a 1976 Volvo 242DL which wasn't in bad condition. I fixed a few things including a front brake job on the widow maker jack using a leatherman tool and my all time favorite was fixing the small wire off of the alternator that was too short with a clip of speaker wire that was dangling down in the trunk. Worked great and we ended up selling it for what we paid three months later!
    • 63
      Billy Bob Birmingham, Al June 24, 2014 at 16:15
      Leaving a world of wheels show closing around 2AM, I made it out of the show hall with around $2000.00 cash in club proceeds. First turn my 76 F100 stopped cold dead. Raised the hood and found the wire had corroded out of the lead positive terminal. Scrambled back to the hall and found an appliancce service man, he had no terminal only a stainless worm clamp. Removed insulation and tightened the clamp to the battery post. Cranked up and promised to fix it the next day. Next oil change finally put a proper terminal on, about 3 weeks later.
    • 64
      Rick Michigan July 2, 2014 at 11:06
      I was 23 when I did my first restoration (On my own). I needed something inexpensive (Cheap as I did not have a lot of money at the time) and pulled a 1947 International pickup truck out of a barn for $100.00. I thought it looked cool and no one I knew had one. It had been there for over 30 years and "needed work". I got it running in about 4 or 5 hours and spent more on parts than I paid for the truck. In addition to all of the engine parts I had to put brakes on it as well. The gas tank was shot so I took a new gas can, put a hole in the lower side. I put a fitting in it using Permatex to seal and hold it in. Then I took a hose and clamped the end onto the fitting, ran the other end to the intake side of the fuel pump through a hole in the firewall. I put 2 gallons of gas in it and started the truck. I drove it home, about 40 miles and it ran perfect. The tires were dry rotted and I think post WW2. They were non DOT tires. The seat was shot and used as a mouse hotel at one time. I cleaned out the seat with a hose and once dry, tossed and old blanket over the seat springs. I had to hot wire it because the owner could not find a set of keys. I bought a new tank, fuel lines and filter once I got a little money. I still own the truck, restored it but have never had to rebuild the drive train ( the truck now has about 60K on the odometer). I cleaned it, painted it using the correct color code and done all the maintenance. I also rewired the entire truck during the restoration including the dash and restored all the gauges. It runs better than anything I have including the new cars.
    • 65
      Darcie Boelter United States July 6, 2014 at 17:47
      In the late 60's all we had were Peugot 403's (simple and well made) My mom was driving home from Evergreen when the throttle cable snapped. Common occurrance apparently! She cut a piece of barbed wire from the field beside the road, jury-rigged it to work with foot feed and drove on home. The car was, btw, fuel injected. Worked well enough that when the car finally died years later, it still had barbed wire.
    • 66
      michele bridgeport alabama April 4, 2016 at 13:39
      i have a 1990 ford van automatic transmission, it wont move forward when vehicle sitting on the ground move but wheels move forward when its jacked up in the air. can anybody explain this to me
    • 67
      jim trunk Pleasant valley N.Y. May 11, 2016 at 13:04
      got 2. I was driving a beat up Datsun pick-up I'd bought for $250 when my van went tits up.On my way to work,the throttle got stuck wide open.I'd clutched to slow down,and before the thing blew up,I shut the ignition off. Checked it out,and the throttle cable had shorted itself somehow going through the firewall.It got so hot,the plastic shield around the cable had melted it self to the cable at full throttle.I'm a carpenter.I had my tools, so I ran tie wire from the carb,under the hood,in through my window to a wooden dowel.I had to yank on the dowel for throttle,let go of the wheel to shift,but made it to work and back.My buddies were shaking their heads and crackin' up as I proudly showed off my new throttle.A guy at Nissan told me they were famous for that.They got so rusty,the ground would deteriorate.I followed his advice,cleaned a spot for a new,dedicated ground to the batt., and the new cable stayed cool. The other one,my wife and I are cruising down the Hutchinson River Parkway around 80, and I feel a shudder with a loss of power.Very luckily,I was able to coast from 80 in the fast lane to the slow lane,down an exit ramp that just happened to be there,turn right and stop on the shoulder.We're about 60 mi. from home,and I've got nothin' but my Swiss Army Knife. It's a '96 Accord I got for free.I'm thinking,find the nearest junkyard and maybe get a few bucks for it. I checked the only thing I could with my knife.Took off the dist. cap to look for cracks.No cracks but the metal contact on the rotor had flown off and was sitting on the base.I hadn't ever heard of such a thing. After a while,I thought I might be able to "weld" the plastic enough to get us home.I kept heating the tip of my knife blade with my wife's lighter and stuck the thing on.I had zero confidence that it would hold together,spinning as fast as it does. It started,we got home,and even my wife had to give me props for my latest McGyver.
    • 68
      Bruce MacGregor Fredericksburg, Va June 17, 2016 at 21:15
      About 85 miles from home, my '62 buick skylark convertible (with their aluminum V-8) overheated. I was at an exit on an interstate and was able to coast right into a gas station. After the car cooled off some, I put some rags over the radiator cap and attempted to remove it. The cap stayed attached to the neck, and the whole neck and cap came off. I said to myself, maybe if I re-attach the neck while it is hot, the solder will cool and reseal. To my astonishment, that is what happened. I filled up the radiator, with, if I remember right, was just water. I was able to drive the car home with no problems.

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