Hooniverse Asks- What's your Goofiest Automotive Jerry Rig?

Doors held closed with rope – or clamps, see above. Throttles activated by strings threaded through the hood vents and driver’s side window. Tail lamp lenses made whole with paper spray painted red. I’ve seen a lot of Mickey Mouse fixes perpetrated on cars and trucks over the years. Paging through FAIL blog brings dozens of home air conditioner-equipped vans and cars running on four temporary spares, making you both marvel at the ingenuity, and dumbfounded at the inherent idiocy.
What have you either seen, or perpetrated yourself for which you think deserves either admiration, or a kick in the ass? Have you replaced a broken fan belt with your own belt in hopes of making those few final miles home – only to have it give out immediately? Or maybe you’ve seen one or more of those don’t give-a-damn Sawzall specials? What’s your most outrageous jerry rig?
Image source: [CollegeHumor.com]

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    Two come to mind.
    For admiration, removing a stuck thermostat on the 350 in my K-5 Blazer, finding a discarded orange juice carton in the parking lot and making a functional gasket out of it. It worked for a couple of days until I got a chance to replace the thermostat.
    For just don't give a damn, the actuating rod for the ignition switch on my F-150 had worn out. After a week or so of having to pop the hood and use jumper cables between the battery and the ignition solenoid, I spent the $5 and added a starter button.

  2. SirNotAppearing Avatar

    When the sunroof on my '87 Nissan Stanza started leaking, I crammed folded cardboard in there to keep it closed tight. When that stopped working, I caulked the whole damn thing shut.
    As a side note, that car had the best tape player I ever had. It had automatic fast-forward between tracks and played both sides without ejecting the tape. Fancy.

  3. engineerd Avatar

    My old '87 Crown Vic wagon battery started mysteriously dying. It was, to say the least, annoying. I was trying to figure out what the h was going on when one morning on the way to work I noticed the light for the rear window defroster flickering on and off. Ah ha!
    There was a three position momentary switch for it (see below for an example not from my car).
    <img src="http://zachbardon.com/tour/wp-content/uploads/otherdash.jpg"&gt;
    The defrost switch is on the right of the HVAC control head. I had two potential causes: the switch was going bad or my car was possessed. I called the local Catholic church to see how much an exorcism cost. They aren't cheap. Apparently they had some unexpected costs come up. So, I decided to try fixing the switch to see if maybe that was it. I stuck a nickel in the switch slot to hold it in the OFF position. That worked.

    1. IronBallsMcG Avatar

      There was a three position momentary switch for it (see below for an example not from my car).

      But is that your shift knob?
      I guess using one of those like that fits the theme.

      1. Black Steelies Avatar

        It's ergonomic.

      2. engineerd Avatar

        It sucks when there's not enough grip on the knob.

        1. ptschett Avatar

          That's what she said.

          1. engineerd Avatar

            Set and spike!

  4. Maxichamp Avatar

    I used a metal clamp and Duck tape to hold down my Jeep YJ's soft top when it suffered catastrophic failure at 55 mph (its top speed) on the way to the Outer Banks. What a trip.

  5. OA5599 Avatar

    I had driven my 69 Vette out of town to a race (spectating). On the way home, Sunday night, the rubber in a control arm bushing completely disintegrated and the car would oscillate wildly at any speed above 20 MPH and I was still 200 miles from home. I had a sponsor's banner in the cargo compatment and a Swiss Army knife. I cut some nylon rope from the banner, tied one end of it to the frame, wound it tightly in the area where the rubber used to be in the bushing (to take up the control arm slack), then tied the other end to keep it in place. I was able to return home at freeway speeds.

    1. texan_idiot25 Avatar


  6. baller_ride Avatar

    Breather tube for my 1984 Vette…Chevette…Took 2' of electrical conduit and soem radiator tape to put it all together

  7. Alff Avatar

    On one particularly abusive moto weekend we repaired a pickup's cracked exhaust manifold with high-temp silicone, baling wire and a metal tennis ball can. The fix lasted about 160 miles, or two miles short of home.
    A HiLux 4×4 was another casualty – a run through a narrow washout resulted in wicked positive camber to the front wheels and additional abuse trashed the rear u-joint. We found a local farmer to weld some rebar to the straightened links up front and dropped the rear drive shaft, resulting in a front-wheel drive HiLux. The owner drove with those "temporary" fixes in place for the better part of 6 months.
    I've never seen a leather belt used in place of a fan belt, but I have a buddy (a Ferrari mechanic, of all things) who used a pair of ladies' nylon stockings in that capacity. I never asked him where he got them.

  8. dukeisduke Avatar

    That looks like a Ford of some kind (I see a Blue Oval on the steering wheel hub). What is it?

    1. optflv Avatar

      Appears to be a first-gen Taurus.

    2. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      Thunderbird, or Cougar.
      Also, note the disconnected motorized shoulder belt… Taurus/Sable never had those.
      <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2010/09/02/20/31/1989_ford_thunderbird-pic-4515920955242602871-tmb.jpeg"&gt;

      1. ummagumma82 Avatar

        Yep! And that clamp probably exploded the first time that guy made a right turn, considering MN12 doors weigh roughly 4 million pounds.

      2. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar


    3. citroen67 Avatar

      Either way, I'll bet if they panned the camera back, that car probably had 25-and-a-half-inch wheels on it that the guy paid $5000 for…

  9. Castor Troy Avatar
    Castor Troy

    I can't claim this one as my own, but here it is… http://castor-troy.com/brakeadapter.jpg

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      That's got to be a mock-up prior to fabbing a steel one.
      Please, tell me it is?

      1. Black Steelies Avatar

        Well if it isn't, it hasn't been used yet by the looks of that rotor. Fingers crossed, here we go!

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Courtesy Embed
      <img src="http://castor-troy.com/brakeadapter.jpg&quot; width="500">

  10. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Ph I can't wait for Alff to see this question! Anyway I think I've already written about these before, so I'll keep them short.
    My best: My wife drove forward over a concrete parking block and then down a small drop to a parking lot a bit lower. The oil pan was bent and leaking. It was near an auto parts store, I bought gasket maker and j-b weld, and I found a bit of metal in the parking lot. It took two tries but it held up until the weekend. We watched movie and ate dinner near that strip mall while waiting.
    Best I've seen: My wife backed into a car. The rear bumper cover was damaged. My wife's stepfather took it off and we sat around blowing a hair dryer at it for about two beers. Then it was really pliant and we got a nice shape. Too bad there were some scratches, so we sanded it a bit in the bad parts and drove to Walgreens. Then we carried the cover into the store to get a good color match. The car was red, we found a nail polish. I think my wife still has it, had a funny name for the color.
    Best I've heard of: A dad of my buddy says that he used pantyhose instead of a belt for a bit of a drive from CA to IL. How he had pantyhose in the back of his car? Well we joke about that about every other time we see him.
    Best web image:
    <img src="http://www.chilloutpoint.com/images/2010/09/crazy-solutions-of-everyday-tasks/crazy-solutions-of-everyday-tasks-04.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. Alff Avatar

      If anyone in this photo had a basic understanding of physics, they would have put her on the end of the log.
      Apparently we both have some ingenious cross-dressing friends.

      1. jeremy![™] Avatar

        that is also a conveniently placed jean hole.

      2. IronBallsMcG Avatar

        At first I didn't notice the log going all the way back to our friend with the questionable jeans.
        I found it rather rude to mess with the young lady when she's obviously busy.

      3. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        There is actually a whole lot of subtle humor in that one above picture. No clever deed goes unpunished, your buddy better hope he outlives you now cause you might give his eulogy 😉 I was hoping you would post your roof rack again. That was the best!

        1. Alff Avatar

          Thanks for reminding me. That is an appropriate answer to the question.

  11. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2009/08/Worst_Mods_Escort.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Bad enough to earn a place on the Jalop's "Ten Worst Mods" list:

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      Worst, really? That's looks downright handy dandy!

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Rescue Attempt – &gt;Poof!&lt;
        (Replied via email to Black Steelies's unshowingup message…and it worked!)

        1. Black Steelies Avatar

          It didn't show up?…. You can reply via email!?!

  12. Feds_II Avatar

    I've got a couple, both on my Dodge D50 (mighty max)
    the first was on a trip to the cottage, the rear brake line rusted out about 60 miles from my destination, at 11:00 pm. limped to a gas station, folded the broken line over, and sealed it with a pair of vice grips. Added more fluid, and drove to the cottage on front-brakes-only.
    Second was in my weekend thrash to get it running after the unobtanium cam angle sensor failed. My best plan involved swapping a 16v head and ECU/wiring harness off of a (free) talon onto the truck. It (sort of) fit (after judicious smashy smashy with a hammer), but the heater core had to be removed. In order to get heat back in the truck, I mounted the heater core at the back of the cab, used copper plumbing line to get the hot back there, and stuck on the biggest 12v fan princess auto could supply. Worked a treat for about a week, until one of the rubber lines popped of the (un-flared) copper tubing, soaking me in hot coolant. On my drive in to work…

    1. Big Daddy Cool Avatar
      Big Daddy Cool

      similar. lost brake pedal on an exit ramp in upstate ny. got the car to stop and was nowhere near anthing open. Sunday night in the bible belt. even asked around about "who is the local car guy?" to maybe strip a line off of one of his cars. Used a needlenose pliers to bend over and "melt" the driver's side brake line. finished up my trip, but everytime i stepped on the brakes, boy did the car jam to the right!

  13. M44Power Avatar

    After breaking the turn signal (or wipers… I forget which) stalk off of my 1991 Civic, I used a lockback Gerber Gator to jam into the remnants and activate it. So driving around with an open 4″ knife is my best.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      For a while I had a Craftsman screwdriver JB-Welded in place on my old 79 Blazer that was the turn signal stalk.

      1. OA5599 Avatar

        If you happen to have an F100 with a bad three-on-the-tree shifter pivot, I have discovered that a Craftsman screwdriver makes an excellent replacement shift lever, except for the occasionall falling out of the slot on left turns..

        1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

          My mechanic proudly showed me that the same applies to automatic Dodge Ram Vans, too (his is an '03, I believe).

  14. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    Some years ago when I was a tech, a customer brough in his E30 BMW for a major service. He neglected to warn me about the 4 way flasher switch that would not stay in the off position (push on/push off) that he had jerry rigged by jamming a SEWING MACHINE NEEDLE into the side of it to hold it down. Part of a major service is to test the 4 ways. Not expecting to find the pointy end of a needle sticking out of it, well, you can imagine the rest. IDIOT!

  15. CptSevere Avatar

    My F100 has had a plywood tailgate for years. I've never been able to find a replacement in a junkyard, and I'm too damn cheap to buy a new one from a catalog. At one point I spray painted "Pro Net" on it, but that faded out. Nobody gets the joke anymore, so the hell with it. Also, at one point somebody gave me a Honda CB350 twin that an old girlfriend had abandoned in his yard when she split. I got it running, and covered the torn up seat with duct tape. I rode the thing around town for quite a few years, and just kept replacing the duct tape. By the time the poor thing finally died, the seat must have had about fifteen layers of tape under the most recent application.

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      My seat needs a new layer of tape as well. Seat covers are at least $80 and only look marginally better than the tape.

      1. OA5599 Avatar

        I used to have a van with captain's chairs up front. The vinyl on the driver's armrest fell apart. In addition to looking bad and making bits of foam fall all over the carpet, it made the armrest uncomfortable to use. My dad had a pile of mismatched socks. I found one close in color, put it over the armrest, and was back in business.

  16. dukeisduke Avatar

    Easy. On my '76 Vega GT 5-speed, where the clutch cable went through the firewall, there was a 2" diameter reinforcement held by three spot welds, and the cable had a tab on it with a hole, that a bolt went through, through the reinforcement. As the cable wore, and ate through the plastic inner liner, and rubbed on the outer flexible steel housing, it became harder and harder to push on the pedal, which translated into a back-and-forth stress on the firewall. This eventually cracked the firewall outside of the reinforcement, so that the whole cable assembly and the piece of firewall moved, meaning incomplete or no clutch disengagement. So, I bought a new cable, and added a pair of Vise Grips, tightly clamped around the cable, snug against the firewall. I then wrapped a hose clamp around the handles, and another hose clamp around the Vise Grips and the conveniently-located brake line. It didn't move, and the thing held for the next six years. Vise Grips used to run ads for fixes done with their products, but I was afraid that if I sent mine in, they'd run it.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      That's pretty clever, I've got to admit. Of course, everybody's seen Vice Grip window cranks and door handles on old beater trucks, that's so common it barely needs to be mentioned here.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        One of the guys at my high school had a Vise-Grip steering wheel but I wouldn't use the word "clever" in this instance.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          I probably could have had the crack welded up, but with the flammable sound insulation glued on the back side of the firewall (way up there behind the dash), it just seemed like a giant hassle. It took a bit of fiddling to tighten the screw on the vise Grips just right, so that they were tight enough but would still close. The first hose clamp made sure they wouldn't pop open.

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            No, not at all! Your solution was clever. I meant the guy with the steering "wheel." That seemed… problematic.

          2. coupeZ600 Avatar

            Wow! Where did you go to high school, I knew that guy! Eventually he added a second pair so he could hand-over-hand…..

  17. Black Steelies Avatar

    I don't have any of my own but have been thinking about jamming a coat hanger in the Regal's antenna hole after ripping out the shoddy auto-retractable one. I'm just too lazy to even half-ass a job.

  18. Froggmann_ Avatar

    1984 Ford Crew Cab Dually. After a junkyard trip my buddy and I stopped and got a burger before heading home. Afterwards we got in the truck and I went to start it, key in, thumb and index finger on the nubs and turn, uh-oh. With the feeling of your finger going through wet tissue paper the armature that both actuates the steering wheel lock and ignition switch snapped in two. Later on when I extracted it from the column I found that Ford used the cheapest pot metal they could find to serve as the actuator. Truthfully I have seen hardened wads of bubble gum that had more integrity than this thing.
    Onto the "fix" I quickly figured out what needed to move where to start the truck and unlock the wheel. So I looked at what I had on hand. Junkyard toolbox random plumbing pieces and, what the? a wire hanger under the seat. Perfect. I cut down the wire hanger with a pair of needle nose pliers, fashioned a little ring on one end and bent the other end at a right angle. Dropped the tilt wheel all the way down (Before this day I had no idea the truck had tilt wheel) stick the new tool into the column and pull. Truck started, the steering wheel was unlocked and we were on our way.
    That temporary fix was in use for close to a year before the turn signal switch burnt out which required me to dig into the column and replace the actuator and switch.
    3 months later the tilt wheel broke so I just replaced the whole column with a rebuilt one.
    This was 15 years ago, I still have that little "tool" in my Bronco.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      They hadn't fixed this by 1988. See my starter button above. At least mine would still unlock the wheel.

  19. Velocitré Avatar

    Yeah, I did the string through the window for the broken throttle cable on my Volvo 240, and rolling up the window is cruise control! But my shining moment is the fifth of July, on the grapevine. I t's 99°, and I blow the upper radiator hose on a '76 Chevy van. It didn't take long to realize that even with water refill and duct tape, I had twelve miles to the top, I was only going to make a 1/2 mile at a time, with 30 min cooldowns, and the fam was melting in the back. Then, I remembered I had safety wire and twisters in the back. I applied about seven layers of duct tape, and then put about eight loops of safety wire on (it was one of those convoluted, universal water hoses). We made it to the top, and I stopped at the bottom and it was still holding. It held all the way home and I forgot about it. I sold the van three years later and the buyer asked what was with the hose, I told him it might need replacement.

    1. Alff Avatar

      What's going on in that second one? Was somebody trying to address a rattle inside the muffler? Maybe they planned to remove the bolts, thus inventing triscadeca exhausts.

      1. lilwillie Avatar

        When the Mufflers are weld there are spot welds along the bottom, each rusted through so they stuck bolts in the holes. It was still loud.

    2. Black Steelies Avatar

      I'm gonna guess that top one is a kiddie swing from a playset? I wondered why it looks so familiar.

    3. Lex Avatar

      I've got a coworker with her f-150's gas tank held up by a ratchet strap…i guess it's better than a bungee, right?

  20. swisshoon Avatar

    When all you've got are bicycle parts and tools, everything starts to look like a bicycle.
    One day, the idle speed set screw from my 1989 Peugeot 405 S disappeared, and the car would run, but not idle. Lacking the correct part, I used a chrome-plated steel Campagnolo crank arm bolt threaded into a plastic Schrader inner tube valve cap to arrive at an OD slightly larger than the original set screw's. I then had someone start and run the motor, while I tapped the unit into the open hole enough first achieve a tight seal and then set an idle speed approaching normal. Good to go!
    I always liked to think that until VW introduced the Phaeton, with its outsourced to Vicenza trunk hinges, that I had the newest Campy-equipped automobile on the road after they stopped making wheels.

  21. ptschett Avatar

    When I was going over my KLR650 after a tipover that bent the radiator and broke a rear subframe bolt, I discovered that the plastic air filter housing had a hole melted in it on the clean air side where the exhaust pipe passes close by. I was going to buy a new one, but have you seen what parts cost from Kawasaki?!?
    So, I cut away the worst of the excess plastic, got some aluminized auto body repair tape, built up about 10 layers inside and out to plug the hole, and rode it that way for a few years till I got nervous about the patch and redid it with blue RTV, a piece of thin sheet steel from the lumberyard and about 10 screws. That lasted till last year, I was having some issues with it not running right and it got some gas burped back into the airbox, which predictably dissolved the blue RTV. I tried black RTV to re-seal it this time (I figure if I get it running right, there never should be gas getting in there anyway.)

  22. johnnymac09 Avatar

    Fixed the cruise control in my 1986 300zx Turbo with a dime!
    Cruis control wasn't working, found that the culprit was a missing pad on the clutch pedal. Therefore the switch that disables the cruise when you press on the clutch was never activated and the car always thought I had my foot on the clutch. It is a stupid design if you ask my and the rubber bumper is like a $30 part. I found a dime on the floor of the car and used electrical tape to hold in place.
    Still works to this day!

    1. IronBallsMcG Avatar

      That cost twice as much as Engineerd's defrost fix.
      Maybe a penny would have worked.

      1. johnnymac09 Avatar

        Well yes I am sure a penny would have worked. However, while I was twisted up like a pretzel and stuffed under the dash, the only thing within reach was a dime. It was most likely my Dads dime anyways, so really it didn't cost me anything.

        1. Black Steelies Avatar

          All of my fixes are on my dad's dime as well.

  23. Maymar Avatar

    Just thought of this – my fiancee drives a Hyundai Accent with a slushbox. The previous owner bought those cheap aftermarket pedal covers for it (the kind hawked by Manny, Moe, and Jack), but for some reason bought the ones for a manual car. They just bolted together the clutch and brake pedals.

  24. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Well, my most memorable was actually on my best friend's Series 2 Land Rover 109. The ignition switch had failed so we wired a doorbell push into the loom instead. It was illuminated like it would have been by your front door.
    Best of all, we also wired in the sound module so "When The Saints Come Marching In" would play when the ignition was cranked.

  25. OneBall McGee Avatar
    OneBall McGee

    Stranded on a logging road one night without spares, I once had to use a .22 cartridge in lieu of a headlight fuse.

  26. P161911 Avatar

    Do automotive websites count? If so, then this "remodel" counts: http://www.jalopnik.com
    (Admin note: If this is inappropriate, feel free to delete.)

  27. OneBall McGee Avatar
    OneBall McGee

    I've posted this before but it seems to fit here.
    This is how we travelled America's great southwest last summer…
    <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_fVEg3I8ek1A/TGQlVRrKS7I/AAAAAAAAASg/dN3MjorzWic/s800/2010-08-10%2017.02.00.jpg"width=500&gt;
    The cargo net served double duty as our camp hammock. The rack's tie downs are drawer pulls – they've since been returned to the tool cabinets in my garage.

  28. patrick Avatar

    This is nothing compared to what is already posted, but, in high school, I had a Studebaker that kept going through ignition switches. Eventually, I found one that would keep working. From a 20 year old Sears garden tractor.

    1. Feds_II Avatar

      I actually have a Sears garden tractor that I use as my outlet for jury rigged halfassery, so it stays off of my cars. It is currently black/red wheels/white pin stripes, with a vertical exhaust (from a honda motorcycle), pushbutton start (from a hydraulic press) , deck removed, car battery strapped to rear (didn't fit under seat), handlebars (to replace broken steering wheel), and 4 head/fog lights that were stripped off of various cars.
      This summer, it is getting a large set of tires (re-purposed snow tires). Just trying to decide the best way to centre the lawn tractor rim on to the car rim before welding.

  29. Dave Avatar

    I agree but usually don't troll this site.

  30. michaelwayne Avatar

    Got to disagree there, facelvega. I looked on the Merriam-Webster website and they say Jerry rig is correct

  31. smokyburnout Avatar

    Probably my best work:
    Last summer, I was shown a shortcut to work that involves this lovely winding road through the forest by the reservoir. It was a sunny day, and I guess I took a corner a bit too agressively for a suspension system that still has a few original parts because the passenger side rear sway bar end link disintegrated. The now-free sway bar end sprung upwards and would make this clankclankCLANKCLANKCLANK sound when it struck the wheel weight under cornering load. When I discovered the source of the sound, I also discovered that a sway bar end link for a 1980 Mercedes is a special-order part at pretty much every parts store, so I used a pair of zip-ties to hold the sway bar end closer to the lower control arm. The fix held for 65 miles!
    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v648/smokyburnout/Mobile%20Uploads/12-10-10_1738.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Honorable mentions: Duct tape door seal on my Jeep, vise-grip window crank on the Metro.

  32. smokyburnout Avatar

    The worst I've seen in the field is… this. Might finally submit it to "There, I Fixed It."
    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v648/smokyburnout/08-22-09_1756.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v648/smokyburnout/08-22-09_1822.jpg&quot; width="600"/>

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      now an even better fix would be to rig up something to hold the duct tape, so that when you drove down the street, you could give yourself a re-tread.

    2. sporty88 Avatar

      This begs the question:
      Is that 100-mile-an-hour duct tape?
      (sorry, couldn't resist)

  33. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    Fixing an early 80's Buick Skylark's exhaust pipe, which rusted out somewhere in the middle of the car with a soup can. (I don't think this is too original, but it's the best I think I have).
    Cut both ends off of the soup can, then cut down the length of the can. Slip 2 radiator hose clamps over each end of broken exhaust pipe, slip the soup can over the exhaust pipe, and then tighten the clamps over the soup can on each side of the break.
    I was actually amazed at how quiet the setup was. Worked for as long as I knew they had the car.

    1. topdeadcentre Avatar

      It's an old trick, I think, and far older than the same story from before 1970. When I was a very young Top-dead-center, right around four years old, my family was on a road trip from Boston to Detroit, and the rusty exhaust pipe on the Rambler fell apart. The mechanic at the service station on the New York Thruway (remember when they had restaurants with service stations instead of food courts with gas pumps?) had closed up shop for the night, but gas pumps guy found him in the restaurant. He got a can from the kitchen and some hose clamps from the garage and fixed it right up. I believe the soup can was still on the car when they traded it in for an AMC Ambassador a couple of years later.
      I'm willing to bet this trick goes back about a hundred years at this point…

    2. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar


  34. Black Steelies Avatar

    I've heard it put another way, but it's a more common slur so I won't repeat it, just offhandedly mention it.

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar
    2. CptSevere Avatar

      Yeah, we have more class here than that. Good call.

      1. coupeZ600 Avatar

        A long time ago I happened to say that "phrase" in front of a roommate of mine of that persuasion, and while he was cool with it because he knew I wasn't a dick, I was absolutely mortified. I've never, never, ever, said it again, and jump the shit of anybody I hear say it, no questions asked.

    3. Lex Avatar

      Here in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula, the ethnic makeup tilts decidedly towards various Scandinavian persuasions…especially Finns. Being from Detroit originally, i got a little tired of people who've never even known a black person using the slur you referred to, so i changed it a little bit. I present:
      Finngineering/Finnginered/Finnginuity. (My very Finnish father-in-law, naval architect loves my verbal creation.)

  35. AlexiusG55 Avatar

    The passenger-side window of the 544 decided that it didn't like staying up, so would keep falling down into the door. Until that was fixed, we wedged it closed with a kiddie plastic shovel jammed in between the window and the slot it rolls down into.

    1. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

      I had the same problem in my Delta 88, the passenger side window somehow disconnected itself entirely from the winding mechanism. I used a tent peg.
      On the same car, the 4-way power seat switch was a drywall screw.
      It would have been incredibly easy to steal that car, by wiggling the window around you could work the tent peg loose, and the ignition key was snapped off in the lock. Fortunately for me, this was the only car I've ever locked my keys inside.

    2. Joe Dunlap Avatar
      Joe Dunlap

      I have see this exact solution on a 122S using a rubber door stop. The guy drove it like that for his entire 4 years of college. And no, it wasnt me. 🙂

  36. Black Steelies Avatar

    I'd probably know that if my ID account wasn't created with an email address that is basically inactive. I never check it.

  37. ɹǝʌoɹ ǝБuɐɹʇs Avatar
    ɹǝʌoɹ ǝБuɐɹʇs

    When a buddy let the batteries in his aftermarket alarm die, thus making his ignition inoperable, at 1 or 2 in the morning, I opened up the remote and saw that the battery was 12v. I popped the hood of my truck, grabbed a guitar cable, bent the positive contact out from the remote, touched it to the positive terminal of my battery, and put the guitar cable between the negative terminals. The people watching were honestly surprised when the car let out a chirp. For this, I was awarded "mad genius" status by my friends for whom simple circuits are black magic.
    I have also repaired a Toyota Corolla overdrive switch with a spring from a Bic pen, and used a tie-down strap to lock the free-spinning wheel on my open-diff 2wd pickup to the rear bumper, sending drive to the wheel with traction and freeing me from a hole in the middle of the desert.

  38. WillysWonka Avatar

    Most Field Expedient:
    The clutch went out on my Willys when I was driving home from work. Pedal went straight to the floor and stayed there. I drove for a couple of block with no clutch, and while it turned out I could start from a dead stop in 1st using only the starter, I decided that might be a bad idea. I pulled over and climbed underneath to take a look. Fortunately a '54 Willys has a mechanical clutch. Unfortunately the idiot I got it from had assembled the linkage with bolts and non-lock nuts, instead of the clevis and cotter pins with which it was designed. The only things that I had were some bits of old 12ga cloth wrapped wire left from when I tore out the stock wiring harness. I managed to lash the linkage back together with it, and it held for the 2 miles home through heavy traffic.
    Most Elegant:
    The ICV controller in my '84 325e burnt out. After the resulting constant idle bounce between 400 and 2000rpm got me into 3 unintentional stoplight races (all of which I lost for failing to know were happening) I decided I should fix it. The actual part would have cost almost $300 from a junkyard, and far more from the dealer, so that wasn't and option. I had read about a fix where you just drill a correctly sized hole in a penny, and wedge it into the air line as a form of control, but that sounded a bit crude. What I ended up doing was using a brass gate valve (from a garden hose) and some barbed fittings to replace the original electronic ICV with a new, much shinier, manual one. It worked like a charm and a couple of times a year, as the air temperature and humidity changed, I would just readjust it to keep my idle nice and smooth.

    1. topdeadcentre Avatar

      Manual ICV? Brilliant!

  39. Froggmann_ Avatar

    Since I have already related my best field fix I'm gonna tell you about the best field fix I have ever heard of.
    A long time ago on a job not far enough away I came across the most stubborn foul mouthed grouchy old guy I have ever met. His name was Larry Beck and he was an Owner-Operator of a Cat 824B. His name on the job Larry Beckerhead, Mostly because he yelled at anyone. After a while I got to know him pretty well and he would tell me stories about some of his adventures.
    Time: I estimate sometime in the 50s. Place some lonely road between Kansas and Wyoming. Vehicle: Ford Model A that he bought for $20 so he could drive to California. As he was driving he noticed a knock coming out of the engine, so he pulled over and started looking around. Turns out it was a rod knock. Looking in all directions there isn't a soul in sight and no towns to walk to so he figured he'd just pull the pan off and see what he could do for a bearing. After getting everything apart he realized the bearing thickness was pretty close to the thickness of his belt so, he cut out a piece of his belt and placed it in as the interm bearing hoping it would get him at least into a town.
    It did, and the next one, and the next one and all the way to California.
    He sold the car a few years later. With the leather bearing still in place.

  40. VolvoNut Avatar

    I've backed the 240 into the guardrail outside my house one too many times, and it finally broke the aluminum bumper off of the mount on the passenger side. One large radiator hose clamp threaded through the resulting holes and around the bumper mount, tightened with the portable drill. Good to go.

  41. ChuckyShamrok Avatar

    Buddies Buick Electra Park Ave. Had a giant black push button screwed to the knee bolster for the horn, it was like that when he got it. One day he shows up to my work saying his right headlight didn't work. We check everything we can think of to test the circuit, turns out the switch had broken. Using the spare wire and a light switch we yanked out of a wall at work, we ghetto rigged him a light switch

  42. Seyr Avatar

    '68 Oldsmobile 88. I decided to strip out the A/C and heater system. This left a sizable hole in the firewall that I attempted to seal with a board of plywood from Home Depot, spray painted black to try to conceal that fact. However, the paint didn't do much to obscure the wood grain, so I duct taped over the whole board. I then plugged the pipe going from the water pump to the heater core with a conspicuous looking white PVC pipe plug, also from Home Depot, hammered on and tightened with a hose clamp.

  43. andy Avatar

    1994 jeep cherokee I was off roading and ripped the driver door off. it was snowing and I had to drive home. I used lexan from home depot and duct tape. I was warm http://inlinethumb29.webshots.com/4892/1211292511

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      <img src="http://inlinethumb29.webshots.com/4892/1211292511010959988S600x600Q85.jpg"&gt;
      (to borrow a phrase above… "courtesy embed")

    2. OA5599 Avatar
  44. texan_idiot25 Avatar

    You mean like that time I used a shoe string for a throttle cable, and it stretched so much that my top speed was 25 mph?
    Yeah, done that before.

  45. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    I don't even know where to start. And since I don't want people to start laughing at me, so I'll just list one of the latest.
    I start "Brownie, the world's Greatest Crappy Old RV ™" with a turkey baster I stole from my wife's kitchen.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Turkey basters are remarkable tools. My wife is still after me to buy her a new one, since the original is impregnated with "Eau De DOT 3".

  46. CBQ_241 Avatar

    I hit a erosion control "water bar" at speed on a remote fire road and bottomed out so hard that I sheared off the drain plug on my broncos fuel tank. after stopping I dove underneath and stuck my palm over the hole to stop the gusher of gas pouring out. My passenger grabbed the only thing we had to catch the fuel, my ice chest, and dumped all our weekends ice, food and drinks on the floor and slid it under the rig to me. We caught the remaining five gallons out of what was a full tank. We decided to head home and made it back about 90 miles to Seattle with the ice chest ratchet strapped on the passengers side of the hood with the fuel line shoved into the drain valve thingy gravity feeding the carb. The best part was stopping for gas on the way home and topping off the cooler. I still use the ice chest although it had to sit out in the sun all summer for the smell to leave the plastic.

  47. redaztec Avatar

    During a recent off-roading trip, all three of the bolts sheared from the passenger side engine support bracket of a friend's Jeep, causing the engine to half-way drop out (luckily for us the driver side bracket held). Naturally these bolts are about level with the frame so we couldn't actually reach them to drill them out and really fix the problem. So, we lifted the engine up using a bottle jack and some wood, tied a kevlar tow strap underneath the oil pan to the engine mount points on the "frame", and then dropped the engine onto the tow strap. Amazingly it worked fairly well, though the engine and transmission were at a steep enough angle that the transmission couldn't shift into 5th or Reverse. We were hoping it might get us 5 or 10 miles to the nearest town, but it held so well that he drove it another 80 miles home.

  48. floating dog Avatar
    floating dog

    I was driving a new 1980 Chevy 3/4 ton truck with about 2500 miles on it. I was towing an 8 horse trailer, fully loaded with racehorses and equipment. As I passed an irrigation trailer on the highway, some drops of fluid landed on the windshield. That didn't seem unusual, except that the cruise control cut off at the same moment.
    The same sequence occurred about three more times (minus the farm equipment), so I took the next exit and stopped to lift the hood. The fluid was from the transmission. The positive battery cable had been rubbing on the transmission cooler line, worn through the insulation and shorted out on the cooler line. While shorting out it had burnt a hole in the cooler line (the fluid on the windshield). Every time it shorted out the electrical system it would cut off the cruise control.
    I wrapped the metal line for the trans cooler with multiple layers of electrical tape. I then slit a piece of fuel hose lengthwise to fit over the tape, then wrapped it in more tape. Finally, I used four evenly spaced hose clamps on the outside of the tape.
    I taped up the battery cable, looped it up where it wouldn't rub and topped off the transmission. We watered the horses and got back on the highway; total of 30 minutes. When I turned the truck over to the other trainer, I warned him to have it repaired ASAP. He drove it most of the summer and never had to add fluid.

  49. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap'n fast

    such creativity shown in these posts should not go unpunished. therefore, I shall regal you with an adventure we had long ago in a land far, far away.
    our group caravanned down a "rustic" "rural" road (goat path) in Iceland. two beetles and a microbus full of drunks. the "roadbed" gave away (volcanic gas bubble-cooled but big as a bug) leaving no way around as the terrain is what you could call passible only by helicopter. after being properly inspired with more beer, the lead beetle was shoved into the hole and we drove over it. useful end to a $600 car.