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If you can't fix it with a hammer and a roll of duck tape, it's not worth fixing at all, my old mate said minutes before that nasty business with the hammer and a roll of duck tape. Tell us of McGyver-like repairs and whether they were a brilliant success or a health and safety nightmare.

(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 11:58)
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When my glorious pride-and-joy F-reg 3-series BMW expired in a cloud of oil, transmission fluid and smoke, I went on the hunt for a new disposable car. This was soon found in the form of an automatic mark-one Calibra, in polar white.

When I went to look at the car, it was 400. The woman then listed the problems with it, knocking off money for each one.

By the time we'd got through the broken immobiliser switch (a button on the door pillar), blocked dash vents, leaking rocker-cover gasket, leaky air filter hose (that was the worst; it meant the car wouldn't idle when cold and you had to drive with left foot on the brake and right foot on the gas to get out of the car park) she'd argued herself down a good 170.

Now I am not in the slightest bit practical or mechanical. The rocker cover gasket was a simple task aided by a more automotively-minded friend, but the rest presented a challenge.

The blocked dash vents were due to a small tennis-style ball being lodged in the hose - fuck knows where that came from. The air filter hose had massive holes in - a replacement would be sixty quid and come from Germany. I reasoned that Superglue would probably hold for a while - it lasted until I scrapped it two years later.

When the fuel hose disintegrated and sprayed prime unleaded all over the engine, I had no AA cover and no way to get home or to any sort of auto parts store that stocked the bizarre-diameter hose required. Garden hose would have to do!

I nabbed a hose from behind my shop and cut it into lengths of about six inches, attached it with jubilee clips and gingerly set off. Reasoning (correctly) that the petrol would melt through the hose after about five miles, I inched my way from Cambridge's glorious Histon Road all the way to Peterborough, stopping every five miles to replace hose. I reached Millfield with one length left.

Next issue? They had the hose, but some sort of tool was needed to expand the hose to fit over the, erm, fittings, before crimping it back down. They didn't have an appropriate tool. Shoving needle-nose pliers down the hole didn't widen it enough - the tough fuel hose was impossible to get over the, erm, squirty bits.

An idea? I ran to nearby Tesco, purchased lubricating products, slathered up the pliers and shoved them in the hose. It went on like a dream, I put three jubilee clips on each end (best be on the safe side) and off I went.

So now in addition to miscellaneous tools, cable ties and gaffer tape, the boot of my car ALWAYS contains KY Jelly.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 15:13, closed)
If the cops ever stop you,
I'd stick to that story.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 17:59, closed)
Wise advice
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 22:39, closed)
In the lab where I used to work
We had a tool for widening tubes to fit over the fitting, as you describe. Sort of a three-pronged needle-nose plier device.

It's official name, used by all engineers and managers of whatever age and seniority, was the "Fanny Stretcher".
(, Tue 15 Mar 2011, 10:37, closed)
With the full bodger kit of a hammer, duct tape and the KY Jelly
you'd better NOT get stopped.
(, Tue 15 Mar 2011, 17:12, closed)
Explaining all that
would be half the fun
(, Wed 16 Mar 2011, 17:48, closed)

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