Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

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Peter Silten
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Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#1 Post by Peter Silten » Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:17 am

We have all experienced at one time or another a breakdown. I am talking about the car type, though a car breakdown can often lead to an emotional breakdown as well. I thought it would be interesting and fun to hear stories from those of you who have experienced a car breakdown while driving in the middle of no where and had to resort to a clever fix using what you had at hand or found by the side of the road to get your car back on the road.

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Jon Schmid
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#2 Post by Jon Schmid » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:20 pm

Any vehicle or just 356's?

Dennis Grist
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#3 Post by Dennis Grist » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:56 pm

A small group of us 356ers were headed to North meets South in Paso Robles, CA when one members' car began to smoke. We pulled over and discovered he had an oil leak and oil all over his engine bay. After some head scratching one of the guys noticed oil pushing out from underneath the bolt head and copper washer on top of the oil filter cannister while the motor was running. Of all the spare parts we had amongst us, no one had a proper washer. However, one of the guys had a roll of teflon tape (the type used by plumbers on threaded pipe). So he wrapped the threads of the bolt with the tape and the car leaked no more. The owner was able to drive all weekend and home without losing a drop of oil. I put a roll of teflon tape into my tool kit as soon as I returned home.
Dennis Grist
1964 SC Coupe

M Penta
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#4 Post by M Penta » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:44 pm

No 356 stories yet but it is probably just a matter of time. Recent roadside repairs on other vehicles involved sacrificing a mag light to make a hose mender for 5/8 hose, and using a butt connector to fix a throttle cable end.

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Tom Keating
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#5 Post by Tom Keating » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:56 pm

Years ago a group of us were headed back from a 356 Holiday on I 90. I heard a scraping noise on my 56 Speedster. We pulled over & spun the left front wheel. I had a broken return spring for the brake shoes. We could not find anything to repair it. I remember the seat return spring might work. IT Did! When I returned home I pulled all brake springs and replaced them all. Tom356c
Tom Keating
1964 356C Sunroof

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Mark Sabbann
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Location: Stillwater, MN

Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#6 Post by Mark Sabbann » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:29 am

I wrote a Registry mag article about this a few years ago but here's the short story. Just before leaving the 2009 Holiday in French Lick Indiana, I was trouble shooting some rough running of the engine somewhere between timing and carburetion. I replaced the pinch bolt at the base of the distributor and got the timing to stop wandering and then dug into the carbs. In the process I seemed to have somehow misplaced the main jet in the #1 Weber. I discovered this the next day after limping along wondering what was causing the severe loss of power. What to use in place of a jet? Eventually I was able to fashion a crude jet from a small wad of aluminum foil off a yogurt container in the hotel's free breakfast bar, using a large paper clip to form the orifice. I mushed it onto the emulsion tube/jet stack, reinstalled the assembly into the carb and got us home with much better performance than without it. A real jet was eventually installed to replace the aluminum foil.
Mark Sabbann
1964 SC Coupe 'Essy'
1965 C Coupe 'The Yellow Delicious'
2013 Fiat 500 Abarth
2002 HD Road King
1989 HD Softail Springer

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Mike Wilson
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#7 Post by Mike Wilson » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:21 pm

Now THAT'S creative, Mark!

Mike
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Lomita, CA
'63 B coupe

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Wes Bender
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#8 Post by Wes Bender » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:28 pm

The first year I took the C up to the cabin at 8000 ft, I was dismayed at how rich the standard 130 mains made the engine run. Until I could obtain leaner jets, I carefully put a short length of.020" ss safety wire in each jet, bending it so it would stay in place. Worked like a charm.
Some days it just isn’t worth the hassle of chewing through the restraints......

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Vic Skirmants
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#9 Post by Vic Skirmants » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:48 am

Rubber oil filter can gasket failed. Cut two rings from a manila folder and used some sealer. No problem.
I also DON'T use a rubber gasket anymore.

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Jon Schmid
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#10 Post by Jon Schmid » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:31 pm

I remember my dad telling me of the time when something went wrong with the throttle assembly on the Roadster and he used the hand throttle to get home. This was probably close to 50 years ago and is why the car again now has a fully refurbished and functioning hand throttle. The car misses you, dad.

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Peter Silten
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#11 Post by Peter Silten » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:13 pm

A few years ago I had my brakes rebuilt by a local shop. I picked it up from the shop and took it for a nice long ride on the freeway. I decided to stop for gas. As I approached the freeway off ramp I discovered I had no brakes whatsoever. Fortunately, it was a steep off ramp so I was able to coast to a stop at the top. Using just the handbrake and the car’s gearbox, I got back on the freeway and drove back to the repair shop.

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Craig Richter
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#12 Post by Craig Richter » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:59 am

Back in the '70's, my friend Joe and I were in his VW Squareback on our way to Ensenada to visit his grandma. Suddenly, in the middle of nowhere, no throttle response... the throttle cable broke. No tools, no parts, late at night deep in Mexico. Scrounging around the floors and glove compartment we found a popsicle stick, some electrical wire and one small hose clamp. The amazing thing wasn't just that we made it to her house, in time for some delicious (hot!) home cooking, and home again to Newport Beach, but that 3 years later he still hadn't properly fixed it and the repair was still holding together! I wonder if he ever replaced that cable?
 

Alan Hall
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#13 Post by Alan Hall » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:40 am

In the late 70's I had a well worn '66 VW camper bus. On a camping trip at Joshua Tree, got horrible banging noises out of the transmission, crawling under discovered the bushing in the nose of the transmission where the shift linkage entered had worked it's way out of the transmission. Walked to a local gas station and got a hose clamp and put it on the shift rod such that every time I shifted into first or third it would push the bushing back into the case. It worked OK but on the trip home on the freeway. in fourth, I would be cruising along when the banging would start and would have to quickly shift into third with the clutch in and then back into fourth to get the bushing back into place....would be good for another 40 or 50 miles of freeway driving.

Mickey Murfee
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Re: Car Breakdowns and Ingenious On the Spot Fixes

#14 Post by Mickey Murfee » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:59 pm

Several years ago several members of the Dallas/Fort Worth Tub Club were enjoying the "twisties" in northern Arkansas. We were in a remote part of the state between Russellville and Jasper when Mike mentioned that strange noises were emitting from the engine compartment. It was finally decided the bearings in the generator were given up and we hoped it would work until the group got back to Mountain View. About a mile down the road, it really did give up and now Mike was stuck on the road side without help or parts. A good Samaritan in an old pick up drove by, stopped and asked if he could help but Mike assured the the Samaritan that AAA had been called would come to his rescue (they never came) and a new generator was being sent to the motel in Mountain View. An hour or so later, he drove back by and this time cooler heads prevailed. The old man said he had a buddy who had a garage and might help. Mike drove and coasted his car about a mile down the road to the "buddies house". Much to Mike's surprise the buddy had an elaborate garage full of metric tools. In a short while the generator was off and the group was then off to another friend who was "an electrical guru", and had formerly lived in California and had repaired generators in his former life. Generator Jim as he became known had the correct parts and pullers and repaired the generator on the spot. The restored generator was reinstalled and worked perfectly. Mike made the rest of the trip uneventfully and to this day is still running the Arkansas repaired generator in his C coupe. So you can never tell when or where or who will show up to help.

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