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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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Keep the junker running
Once upon a time, I had an aging pickup truck and no money with which to fix it... or register it... or insure it. Really, I was barely making enough money each week to stay fed and pay some of the bills. Thank god I wasn't a drinker. At any rate, steadily bits and pieces of the vehicle began to stop working or, in some cases, fall off.

Memorably, one winter the windshield wipers stopped working. Now, I live in Buffalo. In the colder months, we tend to get some snow. By "some", I mean we can get several feet in a go. After a good run, you can pretend you are Luke Skywalker in that last battle in the original Star Wars. Anyway, windshield wipers aren't really an optional convenience. Add in the complication that I couldn't afford to get stopped by the cops, since my vehicle lacked any of the necessary paperwork and my license was suspended.

So, I was forced to improvise. I cut the strings off of an apron I stole from work, tied them together, and tied the ends to one of the wipers while threading it through the cab of the truck. Pull the string one way and the wipers went up. Pull it the other way and the wipers went down. That winter, I got a lot of practice driving on ice with one hand while the other frantically worked the wiper blades. I won't claim that exercising that motion didn't have its perks, but it also required me to keep both windows partly open in below-freezing weather. All in all, very much the health and safety risk, though it did serve the broader purpose of allowing me to drive to work when it was snowing.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 19:22, 3 replies)
IP designers
32 bits? that'll be plenty ...
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 19:02, 5 replies)
Having been an engineer since I was 18 up until the ripe old age of 25
I think I have more bodge stories than I can remember, although I was an aircraft engineer and High voltage electrical engineer so bodging was a high risk game to play.
But bodges I am most proud of.

Turning the power back onto a small village using a paperclip to hold a lock nut in place on a .44Kv Transformer.

Getting an Army Gazelle helicopter back in the air in proper blue peter style by making an oil filter out of a washing up liquid bottle.

Fixing a fuel line using a straw and jubile clips.

Fixing countless phoenix uav using blue tac, which to be fair as they are pretty much made out of balsa wood, spit and old newspapers isn't really a bodge as an upgrade.

Altering a new circuit breaker to fit in the place of an 11Kv circuit breaker from world war one (no joke the thing had "Property of the war department printed on it") via means of a hammer, cable and lots of electrical tape.

I'm sure I will remember some more exciting stories later.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 18:52, 5 replies)
these aren't repairs. they're just not.
ex boyfriend of mine was very keen on D.I.Y.
he was also a cheap-arse fucker. some of his penny-pinching "fixes" are as follows:

hanging a torch from the bathroom ceiling instead of getting the strip lighting fixed.

using a sock as a filter for his fish tank.

replacing a broken spatula handle with the leg off a barbie doll.

replacing his C.B aerial with a coathanger.

filling his holey tooth with the silvery part of a kitkat wrapper.

replacing his broken toilet seat with an inflatable rubber ring.

fixing a hole in his boot with a plaster(band aid) that he'd coloured in black with a marker pen.

replacing the leg of his coffee table with a bottle of cooking oil.

"sealing" the hole in his water pipe with play doh.

there are more, but i'll have to see if i can remember them.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 18:35, 15 replies)
Like many others
I used to carry a sturdy stick in my Mark I Fiesta to 'fix' the starter motor in the mornings.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 18:34, 6 replies)
My deadly foe was a very built in wardrobe
My mission: to rip it out.
My weapon: crowbar
Final battle: top left corner of the room
Battle analysis: unable to get on top of foe, foe responds by making crowbar slip.

Final result: crowbar meets face, resulting in massive black eye and a big cut.
never a good look on a girl

POIDH...here you go

ps yes - very ow!
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 18:21, 6 replies)
Duct tape
(I remain convinced this is the proper spelling) is an amazing thing, but let us not underestimate the powers of the humble Stanley knife ("box cutter") either. It has many uses in the home. Why, you can even use it to fix your emotional problems when you feel sad or alone! Some may say it's only a temporary fix, but the results will last you a lifetime!
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 18:15, 3 replies)
is more interesting than this. what are we gonna have next week? People of walmart?

and hasnt this question already been done?
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 17:52, 7 replies)
My school mate Andy used
the upturned casing from a Mr Kipling individual deep filled apple pie and a jubilee clip to replace his missing oil cap. I imagine that this is quite common, it seemed to work pretty well for him.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 17:47, Reply)
Recently moved into another house. The previous tenants have re-wired.....

Pretty much all the wires hanging out were live and just going near it was a scary thing to do.

The power had been cut off when they skipped out without paying the bill. EDF had removed the big fuses from the outside meter box to do this and when I asked for it to be reconnected, the chap turned up, fitted the fuses, then said he would check all was well inside.
"wow, err....I didn't see that", and he left, wishing me luck.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 17:45, 10 replies)
Minor MOT infraction
Rewind some years to just before the turn of the century. Picture, if you will, a large dormobile bus of the type commonly used to ferry patients to and from hospital day clinics etc but now in the hands of a pub and offered as something of a 'beer bus' to return drunken fools to their homes or nearest fly tip after kicking out time. Despite the high spec of this beast of burden (including a fully functional flashing amber rooftop light) it was not subjected to the highest standards of servicing or care. It came to pass that one of the windows came off second best in a minor siege situation involving a visiting English rugby team (another QOTW if the right topic ever comes up) and thus needed replacing. Being some 1.5 m sq of glass this proved prohibitively pricey so the landlord engaged the services of a couple of regulars to 'find some way to patch it up'.

Add a piece of perspex badly cut to measure roughly 1.5 m x 1 m (unlike the hole which turned out to be about two centimetres bigger in each direction), two long strips of two by four attached to the exterior of the vehicle and the perspex by a plethora of wood screws and you might have something that would be classed as roadworthy...in Kazakhstan.

On the upside, although it flexed quite badly both at speed and whenever some sozzled goon leant on it the icy gusts of wind that whistled unrelentingly through the cabin served to sober up many of the passengers during the winter months and it had only cost us about £15 quid in parts.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 17:40, 2 replies)
I moved into a new fat and was spending my first night there. The bathroom was wallpapered over the top half and up to waist height there was wood paneling on the lower part of the walls, with a dado rail.
I had a shower, dried off and started brushing my teeth. Leaning on the sink I ripped the thing off the wall - turned out the landlord had fixed the sink to the flimsy wood paneling but not the wall behind it. The copper pipes folded over and one split, pissing cold water everywhere.
Tip for the future - know where the stop valve is for your water supply. This will save running round your new flat whilst naked, peering into cupboards etc trying to find it.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 17:35, 4 replies)
Exhaust pipe
During a trip to the beach, my mate knackered his exhaust pipe in his car and he couldn't drive home without it creating sparks and grinding on the asphalt.

So what did he do? Call the AA or RAC?

No.. He simply tied a rope round it, threaded the rope through his car and asked his passengers to pull it tightly and closed the windows up, effectively holding the car together with a very dangerous network of rope and head severing inventiveness.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 17:13, 1 reply)
I once superglued my fingers together whilst trying to repair my favourite pair of flip flops. That is all.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 17:00, 5 replies)
Superglued until doomsday
Over a decade ago i moved into a little flat converted from an old outhouse.
Damp and a little mouldy in places, but it was cheap and would do for a while.
It was attached to the main building by a short corridor which had been blocked off and left as a kind of utility area.
There were rows of drilled holes along each side wall that looked like there had previously been shelves there.
Not owning a drill and thinking some new shelves would be good , i thought I'd just use the existing holes.
Screwed in the first set of brackets, gave them an experimental tug and they fell straight out of the wall with a little puff of crumbling plaster.
After some thought about this, I vacuumed the loose powder out of each hole, squirted in loads of superglue, hammered the rawl plugs in and screwed the brackets back in as quickly as possible.
Waited a while then tugged again, result, they didnt move.
Happy new shelves.
The building was condemned a couple years ago and was boarded up.
I went past there about 5 months ago and in spite of its now vandalised state all the shelves bar 1 are still on the walls, and one had 2 breeze blocks sitting on it.
Superglue, you gotta love it
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:46, Reply)
WD40 and gaffer tape.
It's all you need if it doesn't involve beer.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:46, 4 replies)
That should hold 'em.
Terry Wogan's Daughter...Superman...swallowed a fly...And now the end is near...drove round and put clocks forward...pretend I am in the Millenium Falcon...and then wanked over Mary Whitehouse.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:45, 6 replies)
DIY Doctor
1) Constructing a lolly-pop & duct tape splint after punching a wall and breaking a knuckle

2) Drinking a mix of bicarbonate of soda, cranberry & berrocca after I thought I might have caught the clap as a student

3) Cutting out two warts with my Dad's (rusty and knackered) stanley blade

More worrying is that all three worked OK (did the piss test to make sure...)
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:43, Reply)
One day I was doing some yard work.
I had some chunks of wood that needed to be cut up, so I got out my chainsaw. I hadn't run the saw in over a year, so I wasn't terribly surprised that it wouldn't start. I emptied out the gas and put in fresh, cleaned off the spark plug, cleaned the air filter- all to no avail. And I was getting really tired and cramping from pulling on the starter for the past half hour.

Then I had an inspiration. I took off the pull starter to expose the flywheel, which was held on by a 1/2" nut. I got out the little gizmo that lets me attach a socket wrench to the drill, got out my drill and used that to crank over the chainsaw. Instant electric starter!

Well, it almost worked. The saw sputtered a few times as it cranked over- and then I noticed the smoke coming out of the motor of the drill.

I had to pay $25 to get the carburetor cleaned out and had to buy a new drill. Arse.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:37, Reply)
A tale of two rigs
I had a 1977 Toyota Corolla, a stripped down little econobox with a lawnmower engine in it. The thing was so utterly simple that it even had a manual choke, and had never had a radio installed. I could do virtually any repairs to it I needed to.

One night as I was driving home through the mountains I hit a deer (a story in itself) and cracked the radiator. I managed to get home, but the radiator had to be replaced. The car parts store wanted $120 for a new one, which was out of my range at the time. But I knew an old guy who had a junkyard with several Corollas in it, and he agreed to let me have a radiator for $20 if I took it out myself.

So out I go, wrenches in hand, and carefully remove the radiator from a car very similar to mine. Only thing was, the fan on that one was mounted on the flywheel where mine was a separate electric fan with a thermostat.

I took it home and installed it, then attached some wood strips around it to screw the fan assembly into. Wallah, it's mounted! Only what do I do with its sensor? There's no place in this radiator to put it.

I ran a length of speaker wire through the firewall and installed a light switch of the sort that's normally in a wall in the space where the radio should have gone. If the engine got warm, I'd flip the switch.

The guy I ultimately sold it to drove it that way for two more years.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:36, 2 replies)
my mate once lived in a studenty-type flatshare with a couple of nice, if strange, blokes. i stayed over one night as i was far too drunk to go home.
next morning, fried egg on toast seemed like a good hangover cure. i went to put the bread in the toaster, when i noticed the trowel. it was stuck down the side of the toaster.
"why is there a trowel stuck down the side of the toaster?" i asked.
"oh, the lever is broke," my mate replied. "you can't make the bread stay in unless you wedge the trowel down the side."
it worked, too.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:32, 2 replies)
I once drilled through a cable...
... excusable enough I guess, if I hadn't fixed and plastered over said cable less than an hour previously.

(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:30, 1 reply)
When it comes to ghetto-rigs, I admit to no master.
For instance:

When I was making this, I wanted to install a hanger on the back. I had just the thing, too- a metal disk thing out of an old piano, meant for holding the front on, and its intended purpose was to hold far greater a weight than I was trying to do with this thing. But I wanted it set into the wood, and not being a master woodworker I was a little unsure of just how to do so. Using my router would mean basically freehanding a perfect circle, so I was a bit hesitant.

Then I spied a set of hole saws that had been given to me. Woo! Stick one of those into my little drill press, ease it down a quarter inch into the wood, then use a wood chisel to pick out the center. Only problem was that the shaft of the hole saw was too big for the chuck of the drill.

But wait- it's hexagonal and should fit into a socket wrench. And I have this thing that allows you to put a socket wrench onto a drill. So if I put that into the press, add on the appropriate socket, then stick the hole saw in-

-well, if I'm lucky the damn thing will whirl around, fling out of the socket and embed itself in the wall rather than in me.

I used the router and actually did a very nice job of it.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:28, Reply)
Less of a bodge job than a coming of age ritual...
Bought our first house earlier this year - Victorian terrace. Needed a whole load of work doing, including getting a radiator moved and a bunch of dead pipe taken out from under the floors.

The plumbers came and went - all good. Mrs. H went off on a Saturday to catch up with a mate leaving me to sort everything out after them.

I was in the middle of replacing the floorboards when I put a nail right through the brand new radiator spur I'd just had installed.

There are 2 lessons in this:

1 - Do not do it.
2 - If you're stupid enough to do it, then leave the nail where it is until you have taken the pressure off your heating system.

I failed on both counts, put the nail through the pipe, and as soon as I heard the water hissing I yanked the nail out, thereby breaking the partial seal it had created and causing the entire pressure of the central heating system to discharge over me, the walls and ceiling.

So I then - completely unnecessarily as it happens, turned off the water at the main and drained off every drop of water from the whole house. An overreaction yeah, but I wasn't thinking most clearly at the time.

I then did what any calm and rational man does in such a circumstance - started wandering up and down the street swearing profusely under my breath, wondering what the bloody hell I was going to do and how I was going to explain to the missus that we had no water and would need to call out a plumber to sort this schoolboy bloody error of mine out. Thinking as a minimum a weekend callout and replace the entire length of pipe... Expense... Fear...

When suddenly...

I passed a van marked "JBW Building Services" (www.jbwbuildingservices.co.uk - I carry their card to this day). In hope against hope I rang the number on the side of the van. Heard the answering voice in my phone, and also in my free ear coming from round the side of the house the van was next to. Not daring to think that there might be a way out of my stupidity, I located the guy in the yard. Turns out he was just in the neighbourhood doing a bit of work for his ex. I explained my predicament and threw myself at his mercy.

Half an hour later he's round at my house. Rather than replace the length of pipe he cut a small length of slightly wider pipe, removed the section where my nail had buckled the original pipe, and soldered a very neat little cuff over the site of the damage. Everything then refilled, up to pressure, good as new.

I had to physically press a tenner on him for this service - he'd happily have walked out of the door with nothing.

By the time the missus got home, I had everything cleaned up and dried off, the boards back in place, and no evidence whatsoever of my complete idiocy. It would have been the perfect crime, but I 'fessed up, purely because I just had to tell someone!

John - you don't strike me as a b3ta person, but if you are and you read this, then know that you are a god among men.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:18, 8 replies)
Not mine
Mongolia + terrible car + terrible roads = Snapped axle

Snapped axle + tyre irons + belts + cable ties = fixed axle

snapped axle
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:14, 5 replies)
Landlord Story Part 2
There was also the time when we had a suspected minor gas leak from the cooker just after Christmas, it turned out that the gas was escaping from one of the knobs on the cooker and the cooker needed a new knob, which he fixed very well actually, it was just the way he described the problem to his brother over the phone in order to get the part:

“I am in Superkitty’s Kitchen now there is a problem with the cooker and I am smelling the knobs, yes there is a smell coming form one of the knobs, Super kitty come here, can you smell the knob, it is this one yes?? Get a knob and bring it over so I can fix it!”.

I should mention that my landlord has a middle eastern accent, and this exchange was frankly hilarious. And maybe a bit dangerous as he was waving a cigar about at the time!

There are more, like the time the ceiling was leaking in the flat and I called him to tell him of this thinking that, hey this is a top floor flat he might want to check on this as the roof could be fucked! But no his advice was “Have you got a pan or a bowl? Well put that under the leak that will take care of it”.

The fact that the window ledge in the living room was rotten so instead of replacing the window frames he just built a new frame and rested it inside the window to hide the evidence, unfortunately this meant that the window was un openable and the flat was like a sauna all summer until we ripped it out ourselves in desperation.

I am sure I will think of lots more examples when I get home and have a look around as he is still my landlord, but I am in another flat now!
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:08, Reply)
Landlord Story part 1
In my last flat in Liverpool the landlord, a lovely bloke if a bit cack handed, was responsible for a number of bodge jobs. Notably the time when our downstairs neighbour complained of a leak from our bathroom which resulted in the landlord “popping in” to empty an entire can of Top Tak ( a kind of glue/filler that sets a lovely orangey brown colour and completely rock hard) over the side of the bath to plug the leak. We know it was Top Tak because the can was stuck fast in the gluey residue and would not come off until I chipped it out using a knife. He is also rubbish at caulking and grouting, to look at it his preferred method of application is with his clenched fist after one too many pints.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:06, Reply)
The second house I bought...
One day I noticed that the gutter was leaking, onto the flat-roof extension at the back of the house.

"Blast" I thought, "That could be expensive"

However, the gutter was that black plastic stuff, and I had a roll of black gaffer tape. Aha! A cheap fix would be mine! So, I tucked the tape and Stanley knife into my pocket and fetched my stepladder - which was one of those extending ones. Extended to its full length, it reached about 6" higher than the flat roof. I scampered up the ladder and onto the roof like a particularly graceless fat monkey with a fear of heights. Part 1 complete!

Next, I pulled the ladder up behind me, and propped it against the house. Repeating my monkey impression, I was mere inches from the gutter...

Then I looked down. I mentioned a fear of heights, didn't I? The fat, graceless monkey? Well, I really do have a bit of a fear of heights. Looking down, the ground was about a mile away. I was sure to plummet to a painful death, I could already feel myself toppling. I froze, heart pounding, palms sweating, buttocks clenching in fear terror. After about 10 minutes* I climbed back down ever so carefully, put the ladder away, and had a cup of tea.

The following week, I tried again - this time I didn't look down. I did however say "Don't look down, don't look down..." to myself over and over again the whole time I was up there. This time I successfully managed to stick the gutter back together. When I got back down to the ground the repair was invisible! Master craftsman, that's me.

Length? A whole week, with 30 seconds of work...

*It felt like 10 minutes, it was probably more like 30 seconds
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 15:35, 1 reply)
The first house I bought...
...was previously owned by an electrician. I assume that a day at work wiring people's houses made him feel like he couldn't be bothered to do the same thing when he came home (in the same way that I get home from w*rk and don't much feel like going near a computer).

What makes me say this? Well, he wired the bathroom light to the same circuit as the upstairs sockets, rather than to the rest of the upstairs lights. I discovered this by accident when I replaced the bathroom lightswitch with the aid of light from a lamp plugged into a socket on the landing - which went off quite quickly when I accidentally touched 2 wires in the switch with my screwdriver... O_o
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 15:26, 2 replies)

(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 15:25, 4 replies)

This question is now closed.

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