Automotive hacks and Macs, ingenious ways to better your car.
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Scorpion Regent
Posted: 23 July 2016 - 07:13 AM                                    
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Some tricks I have found to make do, or better on cars and trucks.

Super glue a penny to the top of your car battery as a sacrificial anode. Old washers left over from changing out shock absorbers can be used to to bolt together lengths of chain to pull cars out of the mud and such. Paper clips and safety pins can be used to back probe wires. If a battery terminal is loose, even at its tightest, a sheetmetal screw can be screwed down in between the terminal and the clamp to improve the connection. Black pepper will plug small cooling system leaks for a short time. Duct tape will seal up leaking hoses in a similar fashion. If a starter is going bad or a battery won't turn the engine a car with a manual transmission car can be pull started like a lawnmower if one the tires is removed and a empty wheel rim is wrapped with rope. One person works the clutch and one person runs away from the car pulling the rope. If a sticky bolt doesn't want to loosen up use a drop or two of oil from one of the following, automatic transmission dipstick, oil dipstick, power steering reservoir. Wire clothes hangers can be used to guide and secure wire looms and hoses. If you want to make them look nice use heat shrink tubing. A coin or washer clamped in a pair of vise grip pliers will work as a flat blade screwdriver. A coin or washer can be used as a shim if a open end wrench is one size too large. A cars engine can be used to cook food during longer drives, caution and good sense are a requirement for this.

Many of these are not the proper way to do a job, but they are acceptable options when the choice is stop-gap fix followed by a drive to proper repair shop or being stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting for the zombies to arrive.

I can likely think of more, but that's enough to get started. Any one else have stuff to share?

 
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denizen
Posted: 24 July 2016 - 08:42 PM                                    
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Love it! Thanks, Scorpion Regent! smile.gif

 
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Barry Rowland
Posted: 25 July 2016 - 12:12 AM                                    
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On my old VW, the starter was going bad and I didn't have the money to buy another one. My temporary solution was to run a wire lead from the hot connection of the starter to the engine bay. I would turn the key on, make sure the car was in neutral, and touch the end of the wire to the positive terminal of the battery. Worked like a charm!! I taped the engine bay end to keep it from shorting out when I wasn't using it.

 
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Scorpion Regent
Posted: 25 July 2016 - 05:15 AM                                    
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The only problem with that is car batteries are filled with acid and hydrogen gas. If you have ever had a battery blow up in your face, I have, you will know that throwing high tension sparks right on top of the battery is a dangerous game. Thats why when you make the final connection when jumping a car you make it to the frame or the engine block not the battery.

 
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Barry Rowland
Posted: 25 July 2016 - 02:08 PM                                    
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You are absolutely right Scorpion. It worked in a pinch until I raised the needed funds. The other key thing was to make sure it was in neutral instead of first gear or reverse. On a vintage VW, reverse wouldn't be a pretty thing when you were standing back there!

 
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Scorpion Regent
Posted: 4 August 2016 - 12:24 AM                                    
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Oh yeah it's one thing to MacGuyver yourself out of a bad situation, quite another to get nominated for a Darwin award. First and most important tool is your brain, don't MacGyver without it.

 
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Maclover
Posted: 4 August 2016 - 10:21 AM                                    
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Modern cars don't leave much room for Macgyvering with their modern electronic gizmos and transmissions. However, before a long journey to the alps in the winter I have two things I pack above other usefuls (these are listed in a different thread) (in addition to the substantially huge SAK which lives perpetually in the glove box for the 'just in case' situation). One is a bottle of screen wash concentrate. The other is a large tatty 3 litre plastic kitchen jug. In poor weather you can get through screen wash like no tomorrow and in the foothills of the alps they charge an arm and a leg for it. I could carry the diluted screen wash, but it takes up bulk. In many places the garages provide water cans of water, but if these are run out, frozen or non-existent the three litre plastic jug is a life-changer when taken to the washrooms and filled under the sink tap and then mixed in the car with a suitable quantity of concentrate. The jug also pours warm water from the washrooms over dirty car lights and windscreens. OK, I get the odd 'look' appearing from the washrooms with a jug of steaming water, but there are many envious looks from other drivers when it becomes clear what I am doing with it when driving in otherwise 'filthy' conditions.

 
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Scorpion Regent
Posted: 4 December 2016 - 07:20 AM                                    
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"Modern cars don't leave much room for Macgyvering with their modern electronic gizmos and transmissions."

Cars can still be Mac'ed old or new it's just a question of knowing what you are doing. You can still rig up independent powered circuits, such as lights and other electronics. I attached multiple car horns to a bracket under my hood and drove them off a starter relay, for when a truly distracted driver needs to get in touch with reality. There a people out there installing computer disc readers into cars as audio visual systems. Cars are still held together with nuts and bolts, what you do with those nuts and bolts is up to you. Ultimately it's your car, as the kids say now days, "Own it".

One factor I see in newer cars that discourages Mac'ing and hacking is the abundance of useless plastic under the hood. I understand that the engine and chassis aren't pretty in the conventional sense, but if it's under the hood who can see it? What is the purpose of all the plastic lingerie? It just adds weight, takes up space and cost extra money. It certainly doesn't improve the car. You can still install a hard drive magnet on your oil filter to keep ferrous particles to a minimum. If your oil filter is a cartridge style just put the magnet on the bottom of you oil pan, or even your drain plug.

More important than all of this is you don't need to own brand new car. There are plenty of cars out there that work just fine and if they don't, ask yourself, "can I fix this?" Sometimes the answer is yes. People are more capable than they realize, most simply lack knowledge and a proper attitude. Ignorance begets fear, learn and be brave.

 
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KiwiTek
Posted: 4 December 2016 - 12:12 PM                                    
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QUOTE
People are more capable than they realize, most simply lack knowledge and a proper attitude. Ignorance begets fear, learn and be brave.


don't forget Time people lack time to spend doing any of that stuff.

Lots of people are working longer and longer hours or double jobs just to make ends meat now and simply would prefer to use what little free time they have doing stuff they enjoy or that relaxes them or spend time with their families. I think our way of life is the biggest obstacle for this kind of thing.


 
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Scorpion Regent
Posted: 4 December 2016 - 12:31 PM                                    
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I learned helping my father fix things he couldn't afford to pay someone else to do. He took the time because he didn't have the money.

 
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KiwiTek
Posted: 4 December 2016 - 11:21 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Scorpion Regent @ 5 December 2016 - 09:31 AM)
I learned helping my father fix things he couldn't afford to pay someone else to do.  He took the time because he didn't have the money.

Yes.

The irony of todays world is that people don't have time because they are working so hard to make money to pay someone else to fix stuff because they don't have time to fix it themselves because they are working so hard to make money to pay someone else to fix stuff because they don't have time to fix it themselves because they are working so hard to make money to pay someone else to fix stuff because they don't have time to....

....you get the point. laugh.gif

 
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MiracleMac
Posted: 5 December 2016 - 01:38 AM                                    
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I heard this story a long time ago that one of our neighbour washed his car with a butter. So when he kept his car parked under a tree and the sap was dripping onto the hood and dried, so then he washed it off with butter biggrin.gif

 
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denizen
Posted: 5 December 2016 - 01:48 AM                                    
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Oh...kay... And how did that work out for him?

 
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MiracleMac
Posted: 5 December 2016 - 02:08 AM                                    
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It worked very well I believe, because later he recommended that trick for the guy who lives behind my house. And that guy had a problem with birch trees which are dripping sap onto his car too.

 
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Barry Rowland
Posted: 5 December 2016 - 04:50 AM                                    
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I'd think that would be a bit pricey biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

 
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denizen
Posted: 5 December 2016 - 04:59 AM                                    
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Weird. biggrin.gif

But hey. Whatever works.

 
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MiracleMac
Posted: 5 December 2016 - 08:47 AM                                    
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QUOTE (denizen @ 5 December 2016 - 04:59 AM)
Weird. biggrin.gif

But hey. Whatever works.

Well that is a really weird laugh.gif

I would maybe try that, if I would have little bit older car

 
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Scorpion Regent
Posted: 13 December 2016 - 01:01 PM                                    
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I've been thinking about it for a while and butter on car paint, there's not much that can go wrong other than possibly catching fire. It's a bit icky, but otherwise it's harmless until someone wants to but slide across your hood. I keep trying to think of something else that would do the same job and so far I've got nothing.

 
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Maclover
Posted: 13 December 2016 - 02:34 PM                                    
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Vaseline might work and isn't likely to harm the paint. If you aren't moving the car for a few days a neat solution might be to run a cheap roll of cling-film around the hood/bonnet both sides and then close it, you could no doubt do the same thing over the roof and close the ends in the door and across the windshield and again trap it in the doors. In fact when I go skiing I buy a cheap purpose shaped bit of plastic sheeting that calls itself a frost-guard and although you have to spend 30 seconds fitting it each night this is more than compensated for by the time it saves no scraping the glass in the morning. The same sheet of plastic would protect against resin from trees and bird lime too if you are at the seaside!! I suspect a layer of silicone oil might not do any harm either and would probably provide some protection. Mind you I've used all sorts of things against frost from sheets of brown paper to bin sacks, to newspapers - all work if suitably held down - positioning the windscreen wipers is often good for holding such things down. Physical disposable barriers are great for this sort of thing. Mind you I quite like the notion of the cling film - I reckon that would do a good job if you were leaving a vehicle for a while.

 
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Scorpion Regent
Posted: 15 December 2016 - 11:27 AM                                    
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They sell tall rolls of shrink wrap to enclose loaded pallets for shipping. That would work for storage, you would have to be careful not to scratch the paint taking it off. As much as I like to MacGyver a solution, a car cover really makes sense here.

 
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Barry Rowland
Posted: 16 December 2016 - 01:17 PM                                    
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In the end, a lot quicker as well!

 
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