Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Most Desperate “Keep it Going” Tactic?

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Have you ever seen that Simpsons episode where Lisa steals Homers BBQ pig and he has to chase it through shrubbery and swamp all the while mumbling “It’s still good! It’s still good?” That sort of anti-defeatist attitude is what’s keeping a lot of cars and trucks on the road as well, and today we want to hear your stories about those who never say die.
There are tons of products, and old wives tales, promising cheap solutions to major car problems, eagerly believed so a few meager miles could be added to the odo. What’s your take on trying to go the extra mile? What is the most desperate “keep it going” tactic there is?
Image: S2KI Forums

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  1. Judging by the number of cars I see using them, and at speeds on the interstates, it has to be the donut spare. Seriously, does the large “50 mph maximum” on it and the horrible ride not tell you that maybe you should just go to Belle Tire and get a new tire?

    1. What always gets me is seeing an abandoned car on the shoulder of the highway, with a flat donut.

        1. The ’80 Chevy Monza I had in college had one of those plus an inflator can.
          The temp spare in my ti is flat and will not hold any air. Not surprising since it’s been hanging under the car for 20 years and 243K miles. You cannot buy a replacement either.

          1. I was wondering how a spare would be collapsible, LOL. So it comes w/a mini air compressor and you have to sit and wait for it to fill up ? Interesting. Thanks for the reply.

  2. http://www.belletire.com/ (I’ll admit I had to Google that, and I’m not being a douche today by putting it into let me Google that for you: lmgtfy.com)
    I would have said Discount Tire, or Tire Barn for here in Indy.

  3. I’ve always stuck with fix it right the first time and never worry. Half-assed work and wive’s tale ju-ju is for people who have to strive to be mediocre.

    1. Wow, that was harsh. I’ve had a gazillion idiot fixes out of lack of competence, time and/or money. Sometimes, one can aspire to, but not instantly achieve perfection.
      /soft values

      1. I understand there are time and money are constraints, sometimes a bean can is going to be what holds your exhaust together. But the ability to determine how much you can chew?
        And trust me, I’m not perfect. I break bolts and strip things and hit things with hammers and use torches and grinders like I was born with them in my hands. If you saw my car you’d think it was going to fall apart. It runs rough and leaks oil onto the exhaust from the valve cover gasket and the shocks are well and truly shot. But I’m not going to kill myself or someone near me taking those struts apart and they’ll go back together right whether I have to get out a manual or have someone else do it or not. I’m not gonna smear some silicone on the bits that leak and call it done and have to redo it, or get a one-size-fits-all O2 sensor and cut up my harness and use scotch-loks to put it back together.
        It’s not about perfection, it’s not even about it looking good (it is for me sometimes, I’ll admit), it’s about not making my life more difficult down the road, or pissing off the guy who gets the car after me. It’s about making my car as safe for my family and the people on the road around me as it can possibly be. So yeah, I’ll use the occasional bean can, but I’m not gonna risk poisoning my daughter by having it on there any longer than it absolutely has to be.
        And you know what I want? I want the people on the road with me to put some effort, time, money and thought into what they’re doing so I can be safe on the road with them.

        1. Well, that’s about it: This escalates from zero to death really rather quickly. I once mended an exhaust with exhaust tape and steel wire, then allowed a friend to borrow the 1971 Volvo for a hunting trip. From the looks of it, they went jumping with it in the mountains, and the exhaust had obviously come off. Nobody was hurt, but he never borrowed a car from my driveway again, voluntarily. I did an only marginally better fix a day later that lasted for 5000km, and was disclosed when I almost gave away the car. Not all dirty work is a safety issue. More bad stuff:
          Driveway rust “preservation” (provokation? procrastination?):
          http://s26.postimg.org/feskqajqh/Kopi_av_P1110379.jpg
          Fixing a bad blinker with aluminium kitchen foil:
          http://s26.postimg.org/uyzygttux/P1060986.jpg
          http://s26.postimg.org/ms7yp93s9/P1060991.jpg
          That’s the decomposted “before”:
          http://s26.postimg.org/ob3cu8acp/P1060976.jpg
          Nothing of this is smart or recommendable, but it worked back then.

          1. I can’t tell if that’s 76 Caprice Estate beige for my dad’s old car or 74 Valiant beige for my old girl. I’m pretty sure the rust would match my MG though.

    2. I’ve unfortunately learned from experience many of those “repairs” are done by a trusted relative, friend, boyfriend, hack “mechanic” ,…whatever,…that is clueless but the car owner trusts them and thinks their helping them out.

      1. “Hey man, I wanna fix my brakes but I’m afraid I’ll kill myself or somebody else if I do it wrong.” And the other guy’s thinking: “How hard can it be?”

  4. The first E30 I owned had a bad idle control valve. I bought the car for $300 and didn’t feel like I could justify dropping a bunch of money on a new one (the only ones I could find at the time were $150-$300), so what I ended up doing was removing the idle control valve, taking two rubber stoppers to plug up both ends, and then used the throttle body screw to crack it open slightly enough to where it had a decent idle speed. Occasionally I’d have to adjust the throttle body, but otherwise it ran like a champ after that.

    1. Meaning you basically constructed the system that every other automaker uses, for the reasons why they use it…
      (I have a personal hatred for some of the engineering decisions made on the 80s BMWs EFI systems)

      1. Yeah, everything else on the E30s seems pretty well designed and is easy to work on. Much of the EFI stuff is…interesting.

        1. It must be admitted that BMW does give you two whole adjustments to fix that issue in the form of the throttle stop AND the throttle cable adjuster. Both of which can be fixed with the tools that originally came with the car!

          1. Very true. I really liked the two E30s and E28 I had, and I loved how easy they were to work on.

      2. But most EFI systems use Idle Air Control valves? I don’t understand how this is a system that every other manufacturer uses when they simply don’t do it that way. The throttle stop screw on all EFI systems is set at the factory and there’s rarely a good reason to turn it. ScannerDanner did a video on an old Ford that someone had monkeyed with and it did nothing but make diagnosing and fixing the car more difficult. https://youtu.be/ayjhL9jpFH8?t=458

  5. I’ve always been dubious about those non-foulers. You put the spark plug up in a tunnel, making it harder to ignite the mixture. And don’t you think that oil is getting up there too?

  6. Not strictly a car fix but at a job site visit, there was a front end loader driving around with a 55 gallon drum of hydraulic fluid on the back deck replacing the fluid leaking out of a blown cylinder seal because they couldn’t afford the down time.

    1. It seems like the potential for ecological, personnel, and equipment damage would be of greater cost and concern than having a front end loader down for a little while.
      I used to do landscape construction and I kind of enjoyed it when a skid-steer or other hydraulic equipment would burst a line and hydraulic fluid would go streaming into the air. Granted, it was not a good thing, but it was entertaining.

      1. This was the 80s when environmental stuff was not as well enforced and yes, sometimes it is cheaper to dump fluid than stop work.
        I can top you hydraulic fountain with flames, one of the bosses at work had a very old Bobcat with no engine cover so when a hydraulic hose failed it sprayed fluid onto the hot muffler which predictably caught fire. Fortunately he had the presence of mind to shut down the machine and dump pressure so it was mostly paint damage.

  7. I’ve seen several cases, including one neighbor of mine, constructing taillights entirely out of red tape.

    1. That reminds me; I was supposed to replace my mother in-law’s rear tail light which suffers from such a condition.

  8. Its gotta be engine and transmission additives. Yes, I know a few of them actually work (lucas power steering stuff, I’m looking in your direction). However, most of them are snake oil that people buy because something is JUNK and they are hoping for a miracle. “Restore” additive that will fill in scratches in your cylinder walls? I saw one in high school that was a “fix” you pored in the radiator that would fix your blown head gaskets. Cmon!

    1. There is good chemistry behind the head gasket fix gunk, but it only works in very specific circumstances. Just dumping it in without understanding it leads to mixed results. It is also dodgy in that it can (as I understand it) make a real repair more difficult. While I’m generally in the camp of “you’re just better off pulling the head, checking the mating surface for flatness, doing any machining necessary and putting a new head gasket in,” I have heard of it working and holding up for multiple years.

      1. Only person I’ve ever known to use it did so in an ~90s Vulcan 3.0 Taurus, I don’t know miles but it was high. Got him by for a couple weeks, he claimed the car ran a little smoother. He was just trying to save and find another vehicle and worked at a parts store so got it on discount and figured wouldn’t hurt to try and see what would happen. He knew the car was must going to get dumped either way.

    2. Bar’s Leaks got the USS Nautilus through the northwest passage after putting it in the boiler of the nuclear powerplant.

      1. My copy of “Nautilus 90 North” is stamped in several places with a short passage in praise of Bar’s Leaks which directs the reader to the pages on which its role is described. I assume such copies were originally distributed as advertising; I picked it up in Seattle, the site of the incident.

        1. Thank you, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of that book, then I promptly forgot what I was trying to remember. I’m too young to think this old.

    3. Some of those head gasket elixirs will work if the circumstances are correct. The truck I drove to work this morning is a living example.

  9. When the ’66 Handi-Bus was in its death-throes, so much combustion pressure was getting past the valves that fine droplets of oil started coming out the PCV valve constantly. I created a labyrinthine catch-can arrangement for the valve cover vent to dump into. It did nothing to stop the root cause, but it did prevent cars following me from getting an oily mist all over their windshields.
    It bought me an additional four months and was still running when I traded it in…barely.

    1. In British cars this is called a rust preventative system. Usually poorly maintained MGB’s have better floors and undercarriages because the PCV hose would be removed from the intake when the valve failed and the vapor would coat the entire bottom of the car with oil.

  10. A friend’s Bronco tipped into a ditch up in the mountains on an icy day. The grille got pushed in and made some holes in the rad. Luckily we had that epoxy leak stopper stuff and got home with fewer water stops than we would have otherwise needed.

  11. I admit to, past a certain point, just carrying 6-8 quarts of the least-expensive motor oil in my 1980 F-100 I had. This lasted only a few months, but I was familiar with the truck, intimately, since new. Purchased by my male parental unit, new, it was hated almost immediately. It became my primary transpo in 1987, several months after I was hit in my ’67 Dodge A-108 FC passenger van by a ’70 AMX going what the cops estimated was 70 MPH, and accelerating.
    It leaked oil…well, it burned oil, too, but primarily leaked it…out of the oil pan, but only where the dipstick was riveted to the pan. So, on primarily right-hand turns.
    I had had it with this particular truck for many months beforehand, so I was not about to do anything remotely resembling maintenance/repair on it, as long as it wasn’t tire/brake/steering-related.
    In 1988, I had it for sale, posted price, $900, and mind you, I drove it 80+ miles a day, yet not one bite.
    There was, at this point, not one body panel, save for the passenger’s door, without significant and obvious damage. Yes, roof included.
    The ’88 Mercury Topaz which T-boned me in the passenger’s side took care of that…thankfully. Cops did not object to me driving home in reverse, it wasn’t all that far, thankfully, because that final hit bent everything just enough, the only gear which was usable in the three-on-the-tree, converted to a three on the floor, transmission, was reverse.
    I could not have been much happier, honestly.
    This said, when you start carrying tubes of JB Kwik, you’re in trouble. Wait, wat?! I love that stuff!!!!

  12. A friend’s exhaust manifold cracked dramatically during a session of extreme abuse on an MX camping trip. For shits and giggles we repaired it with baling wire, a metal tennis ball can and a tube of high-temp gasket maker. The repair lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes of the two and a half hour drive home.

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