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#4524698 - 09/24/17 10:32 AM Easy or Happy Outcome Stories
Kira Offline

Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 5561
Loc: Champlain/Hudson Valley
Hello, I'm starting a thread of problems which were solved easily or cheaply. No solution is too small.

While the stories will likely be automotive most of the time there are no limits to the problem type.

I'll go first.

Years ago a friend was bouncing down his rocky, unfinished driveway in a 1974 Fiat 124. The car then ceased to go.
The engine would rev but the car wouldn't move.

My friend opened the door and said, "Hear that hissing?".
I heard nothing.

We pulled the car up onto ramps with a tractor and he found a cracked black elbow which was in a ridiculously vulnerable location.
It was essentially a 3" piece of 1/2" hose bent into an "L" which connected a pipe to the side of the automatic transmission.
We cleaned it with a shot of brake cleaner, wrapped it with electric tape and reinstalled it.

This simple fix restored the trannie's operation. CAR JOY.
We replaced it shortly thereafter with something more flexible (newer).

Anyone else? Kira

#4524846 - 09/24/17 01:04 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]
simple_gifts Offline

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 12016
Loc: Middlesex County CT
Looking at cars on a sunday, a guy pulls in in a 20+ year old pickup; as he negotiates a speed bump he stalls the engine and the truck won't even turn over; he is not a mechanical guy so i asked him to pop the hood. Turns out the connection to the battery sheared off since the bolt was rusted and the battery was just flopping in the tray since there was no hold down mechanism.

Got it reattached by a few threads and he is on his way.
2004 Prius; 97K ML Syn 5W-30
2007 Yaris 71K 0w-40 Castrol
2006 B2300;130K;ALM

Was driving an ox cart; Now on the USS Enterprise

#4524852 - 09/24/17 01:07 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]
Bud Offline

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 1808
Loc: Texas
Several years ago I had a house on a high hill with a long steep driveway getting to it. I was driving up in my MGB when about half way up the car quit. Fuel pump cratered. I left it in gear, pulled the emergency brake and walked up to get my truck and had to back it down to tow the B up to the house. Whole time I was worried the car would head down the hill. Took about 20 minutes to change out the fuel pump and I was back in business. I had learned long ago to always have a spare fuel pump on hand.
2016 Honda Pilot EX-L with NAV.....Mobil 1 0w20 AFE and Ultra XG7317

#4524906 - 09/24/17 02:19 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]
TheKracken Offline

Registered: 04/18/17
Posts: 515
Loc: Fort Worth TX
Years ago when I was doing pizza delivery and didn't know much about cars...I had a 98 metro and it would randomly not start back up again all the time and I would have to roll start it (manual trans). Anyway I took it to a shop that couldn't figure anything wrong with it (and charging me 250$) I just learned to deal with it. A year later my GF and now wife was carless since her parents took away her car (for refusing to go out dating and wanting to settle down with me :P )

Anyway I give her my Chevy Metro and since I knew a little bit more about cars at this point (still not much) I realized one of the terminals was pretty loose so I went took a hammer and tightened the thing as much as I could and hammered it back onto the terminal...never had an issue starting since! Cant believe a reputable auto shop didn't check to see if there was a good connection on the was obviously just barely attached.
2011 Prius 96k miles RLI 5w20
97 Toy T100 4x4: amsoil 0w20 242k Miles
04 Toy Sienna awd: Pennzoil 0w20 281k Miles

#4524961 - 09/24/17 03:33 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]
ecotourist Offline

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 1087
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
In 1971 I was driving the company's almost new Ford station wagon on a stretch of gravel road. The car died while in full flight. Looking under the car we found a puddle of gas. A 3 or 4" length of rubber hose in the gas line had been destroyed by flying gravel. Had to go to town with the other vehicle to get a new part but had it running in about 5 minutes. Easy repair - but a poor design.

I had driven my 1965 Comet 289 V8 to my in-laws for the week-end. It wouldn't start. After a bit of checking I discovered that the rotor wasn't turning. Pulled the distributor out and found the pin that locks a gear at the bottom of the vertical shaft was missing. Fabricated a new one out of something or other and presto - back in business. Never did replace it with a proper part.
2000 BMW 528i 5MT
2007 Honda Accord EX-L 4Door V6 6MT

#4525012 - 09/24/17 04:38 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: simple_gifts]
Wolf359 Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 5042
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: simple_gifts
Looking at cars on a sunday, a guy pulls in in a 20+ year old pickup; as he negotiates a speed bump he stalls the engine and the truck won't even turn over; he is not a mechanical guy so i asked him to pop the hood. Turns out the connection to the battery sheared off since the bolt was rusted and the battery was just flopping in the tray since there was no hold down mechanism.

Got it reattached by a few threads and he is on his way.

Something similar happened to me. I was driving down the road and hit a bumpy stretch, then the engine died. No idea what it was and I figured I'd have to get it towed. So I just popped the hood not expecting to see anything and just stared at it for a little bit. Then I noticed the wire to the ignition coil was loose, I guess the bumpy road had knocked it loose somehow or it was never really on tight. Anyway, put that back on and it fired right up and I was on my way.

#4525017 - 09/24/17 04:45 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]

Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 36764
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Had the air pump plumbing on my '87 Mustang rot off and the pump seize. I bypassed the pump with a short belt and found that spark plugs actually were the correct thread for the AIR crossover on the backs of the heads, LOL! Drove that thing for YEARS with those plugs (which were free, they were the old plugs out of the engine that I had kicking around) blocking those holes grin
2018 RAM 1500 Big Horn EcoDiesel
2016 Grand Cherokee SRT

#4525063 - 09/24/17 05:38 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]
HoosierJeeper Offline

Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
I had been doing some suspension work on my Liberty and to get the driver's front coil over out, you have to take the battery out. Got it back together, drove it for a few days and then it just died in the driveway and it had no power. Didn't get one of the terminals tight enough.
15 Jeep KL Limited V6: Formula Shell 5W20
07 LR3 SE V8: Maxlife 5W30
05 Jeep KJ Limited: PHM 5W30
96 Jeep XJ Country: STP HM 5W30 (winter)

#4525078 - 09/24/17 05:56 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]
SaturnIonVue Offline

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 674
Loc: New Jersey
Back in the 70's I had a 73' VW that had gone through several winters with heavily salted roads...went out to go to work and had a no-start in the driveway, but seemingly had a good battery. Got her rolling on the street and let the clutch out and off it went! Went straight to my indy VW shop, explained what happened and just knew that a new starter motor was the fix. Had a work friend pick me up and as soon as we got to work the phone was the indy shop telling me the car was ready! "How could that be," I asked, "I just dropped it off 10 minutes ago." Turns out the grounding strap connecting to the starter motor had "rusted out." "We replaced it and the bill comes to $8.95 for the strap and labor." I couldn't believe it...I'd gone to what must have been the ONLY honest auto repair shop in the nation, and told them so!! I told them they could have shinned up the starter motor and thrown in a few extras and charged me several hundred dollars for parts and labor and I would never have known. With a smile, the guy looked me eye to eye and said, "We don't need to be dishonest here, we have all the honest work we can ever handle."

#4525176 - 09/24/17 08:14 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]
eljefino Offline

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32907
Loc: ME
7 degrees below zero and 1 o'clock in the morning, I get in my 1982 cadillac cimarron and the starter just clicks. I look under the bumper and see the starter motor right there. Kick it and try again. Works from then on out. Did the same thing for a mazda b4000.

Had a dodge dakota that I got cheap with "massive electrical problems". It was the underhood fuse/relay box with a few corroded connections. They were all 1/4" female spade lugs! (Those were the days!) Got a box of 100 for $6 from home depot and changed a few, had a reliable truck.

Wife texts me that my camry's CEL is blinking. I get home, pull the code, take a spare coil out of the door pocket, and zip it on with a cordless mini-impact in under a minute. Car runs mint. New (spare) coil on order.

Buy a $300 saturn that runs rough-- a coolant sensor was making it think it was 40 below and flooding with fuel. Switch that out streetside. One spark plug is bridged with carbon. Pick that out with a pocketknife. Drove it home. drive

#4525352 - 09/24/17 11:51 PM Re: Easy or Happy Outcome Stories [Re: Kira]
Silk Offline

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 4686
Loc: New Zealand
One day a young mother was on the forecourt, and her car wouldn't start. I had a look at it and found the bad wire, quickly sorted it, and then said to her...

''I don't know what's wrong with it, I can't fix it. You need a magician.''

I looked at her two kids and said with a puzzled look...

''Do you know any magic words?''


''Ok, let's try that.

So I waved my hand over the engine while the kids shouted abracadabra, then told the mother to start it up. The kids were pretty pleased with themselves.

They will be grown up now, maybe with kids of their own. I bet they tell their kids how they magiced Nana's car when it broke down.
1987 BMW R65 - Penrite V Twin 20/50
2005 Nissan Expert - Gulf Western 10W-40
1996 Volvo T5 - Penrite HPR15 - 15W-60. Ryco syntec filter.