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This is a question Bodge Jobs

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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Another Car Tale
Last year driving back from a funeral, the brakes suddenly failed on my car. I had a quick look and the brake caliper was loose and the movement had caused the brake pipe to fracture at a joint.

By a strange coincidence the wheel bearing on that very wheel had only been changed a few weeks ago. The mechanic concerned said he normally does them up "mental tight" with a breaker bar. He must have forgot on that occasion and so I felt it would be a nice idea to tell the stupid fucker that he could have killed us!
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 16:36, 6 replies)
I was hoovering up and the hoover got blocked. My housemate being the 'pro' he is, said 'pass it here, i'll fix it' - He removed the filter, banged it a bit, shook the hoover, dropped it and then passed it back to me.

I switched it on. It emitted a banshee-like scream and then promptly died with a final hellish screech and a strange smell. It no longer works.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 16:05, 2 replies)
I was once tasked
with creating a small animated child that walked with a strange telescopic-legs style gait.

That was my Bod job.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 15:44, 5 replies)
When we first got a house together
Me and Mrs SLVA were church-mouse skint. We'd rustle up a few quid each month to buy wallpaper and do each room. The downstairs toilet, being the smallest and therefore cheapest in materials was done first.

I'd never hung wallpaper before and it showed. I assumed the corner of the room was vertical (it wasn't because it was a council house) and used that as a guide. I never thought to make a plumb-bob to check if it was vertical, and fabricated a spirit level from a small box and a jug of water like some sort of bronze age tomb builder. One that got the boot by lunchtime.

Rather than working around the room, I did one wall, then the opposite wall. It all didn't line up properly at all. Still, it was my first time. I knocked a nail in and hung a mirror.

Later that day, I went for a pee. I finished up, turned around and nearly fell over. The vertical stripe not lining up with the door frame, or the mirror, or the string on the light switch fucked with my sense of balance and I felt like I was in one of those funhouse rooms with wonky walls.
I hurried out of there as it was making me feel rather disorientated.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 15:39, 1 reply)
Baby, it's cold outside.
I’ve been doing some work recently on synthetic biology – the discipline that attempts to recreate life artificially in the lab from non-living materials. In principle, this should be fairly easy: after all, a living organism is just a hodge-podge of chemicals. And recent advances have demonstrated that creating life in the lab is almost as easy as expected. In fact, it’s possible to generate a basic living entity from the kinds of odds and ends that one might find lying around any reasonably well-equipped scientific establishment.

That is to say, you can perform a biological bodge-job.

I wouldn’t recommend it, though – and the project with which I was associated should serve as a warning. Knowing what ought to be possible, planning was sacrificed on the altar of excitement and basic safety procedures sacrificed on the altar of scientific curiosity. Life was there, being made in the lab – but corners were cut, and much too little attention was paid to what’d happen if things went wrong and quarantine failed.

Inevitably, because this was a bodge-job, quarantine did fail. Things went very, very wrong, and did so very, very quickly. There was a couple of deaths.

And that’s why you found me near the North Pole, chasing a seven-foot-tall artificial life form.

Your pal
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 15:38, 3 replies)
Not a big bodge, but WHY?
In our first home, an old terraced jobby, the walls were mostly covered with that most wonderful of material: wood-chip paper that had been painted over many, many times.

Fair enough, and common enough in an old house, you might think, but what was unique is that the paper was laid horizontally.

Now I know lining paper is normally laid horizontally, but never before nor since have I seen the actual top-level paper laid that way.

And what was amazing was that he got the lines PERFECTLY horizontal on 13ft lengths of paper. No gaps, no wobbles, dead straight and totally level.

It was a "bodge" but what a talent!
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 15:30, 5 replies)
Best Advice
If it moves, hit it again with a hammer

If it doesn't move, get back in your lorry and drive away. In Bradford somewhere preferably.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 15:23, 7 replies)
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, 5 replies)
If it does not move, but should; WD40
If it moves, but shouldn't; gaffa tape.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 15:10, 6 replies)
Red nose and red face.
It was 1988, and the first Red Nose Day was upon us. I was at primary school at the time, and all my friends had red noses. I, though, didn't. This was because my parents refused to give me the money to buy one - I don't think that they'd quite understood what Red Nose Day was all about - and I had neither the cash nor the opportunity to buy my own.

I felt like I was the only kid in school not participating in this momentous event. In truth, I was not the only one - but this was mainly because my younger brother also lacked a prosthetic proboscis.

But things got worse: I was supposed to be going out that evening with some friends, most of whom were not at my school. Not only would I be the only person in class without a red nose: I would also be the only person in my entire social circle without one.

Something had to be done. I adverted to the one guaranteed weapon in the child's armoury: pester-power. And it worked. My mother relented, and provided me with a red nose.

I had won. Curse the gods, I had won.

My victory wasn't supposed to be like this.

The red nose with which my mother provided me was a ping-pong ball, coloured with red marker, attached with elastic.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 14:01, 5 replies)
I refuse to get anything fixed if it can be bodged...
My washing machine: Must be thumped firmly, in a precise location, before it accepts the door is shut
My tuba case: Consists mostly of gaffer tape
My trumpet: Can only be tuned using an adjustable spanner and some cunning lever action
My piano: top octave only works if end of keyboard bound up with a cable, and tightened immediately before use. Some keys must be dextrously flicked upwards following playing to return them to their normal position.
My TV: must not ever be turned off completely or it takes considerable skill and patience to reanimate
My oven: has no outer door/handle and can only be operated with oven gloves. Also all markings worn off, so temperature set by guesswork.

The thing is, I'm not superwealthy or anything, but I could afford to replace all of these now, without getting near my overdraft. But coming from a poor background, it just goes against every fibre of my being to replace anything that can possibly be made to function. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly WHY I could afford to replace them. A more normal person would've gone bankrupt years ago.

The best possible situation in life is to have more resources than your parents did. Life seems laughably easy.

EDIT: My god this sounds smug. It's not intended to be smug. It's a genuine tribute to the joys of bodging, and why it actually makes life better. Most of my life is actually rubbish...
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 13:53, 5 replies)
It only has to work until they're gone
I got a call from a mate, who was stuck because the key had snapped off in the ignition of his car. Because of the nature of this particular mate (a shambolic mess of clumsiness and weird coincidences), this wasn't at all surprising. Knowing that I was rather more technical than he was, he called me up to see if I could come and hot-wire the car to get him home.

It was an old mini, so pretty easy to get into the ignition and spark it up with a screwdriver. But there was another problem: the steering lock was on. Now a steering lock that can be unbolted would be rather pointless, so they use security bolts: strange shaped ones that can be tightened, but if you try to undo them the spanner just slips off.

Except that, as I gazed at these particular ones, I noticed that they had been filed so that they would take a spanner. Odd, I thought. So I had a look at the broken ignition key, and saw a strange residue on the broken edges.

It turns out that a couple of days before, he'd taken it to a garage for some work. At some point they'd managed to snap the key, but rather than replace it they'd dismantled the steering column (which required filing the bolts), extracted the broken key tip, then super-glued the two halves of the key together before returning the car...
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 13:21, 2 replies)
Back in the early 80s
my brother offered to sort out some wiring on his mate's Triumph (a 2000 I think, it was certainly a large car). It had a 2 litre engine and went like a rocket. Well it did to me as a ten year old because I was used to tootling around in my dad's 1100 Mk1 Escort.

Anyway, to do said wiring, he removed the driver's seat and managed to lose two of the bolts down a drain and so had to go to the scrapyard to get some more. He secured the seat with some twine from my dad's greenhouse and set off gingerly.

He forgot all about being careful at a set of traffic lights when a neighbour pulled up alongside of him in a Cortina. The lights changed, my brother floored it and the car lurched forward.

However, the drag race was short lived because the twine snapped and the seat tipped backwards leaving my brother on his back like an astronaut in the ill-fated British Leyland space program, with no control of the car or any way of seeing where he was going as it coasted slowly to a halt three-quarters of the way across the junction.

He said it was a very awkward position to get out of and took slightly longer to right himself than it took for a policeman to wander over and squint down at him through the window with a bemused expression his face.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 11:29, 2 replies)
when i was about 15, i had a bit of a hair dye incident where i basically got dark brown hair dye over a large section of the brand new bathroom tiles..

i thought it would be ok as i tried to wash it off with some bleach and a cloth..but it wasnt OK, it was bad, very bad, and my mother was going to be angry, very angry.

although the dye came of the shiny green and blue tiles, the grouting was fucked. i mean there was no hiding that nearly half the bathroom now had a new black outline, and mum was due home in about 2 hours.

PANIC, FUCKING PANIC. after trying to bleach it off with all sorts of shit, oven foam, window cleaner, toilet duck i resided to the fact that it was not going to come off and id be better either moving in with my nan, or somehow hiding the evidence.

it makes excellent grouting.
she sold the house about 2 years later, with the toothpaste grouting still in place and is still none the wiser about it.

remeber that one. it worked a fucking treat.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 9:39, 14 replies)
My banger failed its MOT on brakes, which I let them fix right away.
Went to collect it later and immediately noticed a scary wobbling sensation. Took it back - all the 10 yards I'd made it down the road - and dragged out a mechanic to look at it.

A back wheel was hanging off. The nuts hadn't been tightened.

So, the mechanics a. hadn't tightened the nuts b. hadn't re-tested the brakes (as required by law in those circs) and c. hadn't checked each other's work.

I showed the boss what had happened and he sort of shuffled his feet.

This was a monumentally disastrous bodge, because we'd taken all our cars there for 10 years or more and trusted them. We won't be back.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 9:34, 9 replies)
I don't know if this is a repeat or not.
If not, then good. If it is, so what.

I used to have a 1976 VW Golf 3 door. I loved that car. not physically, that would be weird, but if she had a vagina......

Anyway, I digress (mental note to think of the Golf when needing some wanking inspiration later)...

I knew that car intimately (damn, there I go again....), and once drove 5km flat changing gears after the clutch cable broke, and didn't grind or clash gears once.

I was driving down the steep side Roseville Bridge when the return spring on the carburettor broke, and my foot slammed to the floor, the Golf took off like a scalded cat. And I was already travelling at 90. For the rest of the trip, I had to pull the accelerator ledal up with the toes of my shoes (fortunately I was wearing my very funky Cuban-heeled suede winklepickers).

When I got to my destination, considerably sooner than I had anticipated, I checked out the problem. As it turned out, I had a couple of 'wriststraps' from the old Kodak disposable cameras with me. They were basically heavy duty elastic bands. I looped one of those about the carby arms where the spring once was, and hey, presto! Perfect. In fact, the 'lacky band worked better than the spring it replaces, and the one I put on the carby once I got round to it, eight months later.

Length? No...Fuck YOU.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 9:22, 3 replies)
No duct tape here...
Narrated to me by my father, who is one of the best mechanics I've ever known - the real life MacGyver. Think Joginder Singh in a pick-up or bakkie (whatever you call it)

He gets a call from one of his friends who are stranded with 3 other white-collar, bean-counter or lawyer types in a rural part of Kenya. By rural - I mean on the moon, except for the atmosphere, the already potholed tarmac and fuck-off to DR Congo jungle on both sides.

They get a puncture - the car is jacked and all the wheel nuts are off. The problem is they couldnt get the wheel off the hub. The wheel hub had expanded in the hot weather, trapping the rim on place.

Their efforts at pulling the wheel off are mightily jeopardised by the fact that
a) they are well into their 50s
b) don't have much experience changing a burst tyre

So the lawyer, H, calls up dad. Who asks him all the basic questions, etc...

Dad: have you got any water ?
H: No we just finished the last bottle... its 40 C out here
Dad: How many guys are you altogether.
H: four
Dad: nothing to it then... just line up and piss on the rim of the wheel!
H: Sorry - what?
Dad: Where are my manners? All of you ought to PISS ON THE FUCKING WHEEL - shouldnt be that difficult...

At this point H puts the cellphone on loudspeaker and asks dad to repeat what he said for all to hear.
Bewildered expressions and protests everywhere, but if they were to go on they had to do it. And it was getting dark.

It paid off, the wheel came off and the rest is not worthy of being mentioned here.

It became a great story at parties whenever they got together.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 8:57, 4 replies)
I bought a house where the previous owner had been a bit of a DIY-er. He'd installed the radiators himself, and consequently the pipes hung in graceful curves between the radiators, all except in one bedroom where the pipes were actually installed properly: however I just couldn't get the radiator in that room to come on. I traced the pipe back and found a whole section of it missing. In the same bedroom was a built-in cupboard, with a suspiciously coppery-looking hanging rail. The bloke must have thought that the bedroom was warm enough, so he used a bit of the radiator pipe to hang his shirts from instead.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 8:02, 3 replies)
Bodgy nerd-gasm
Just yesterday conky showed me that the temp on my graphics card (a GeForce 9400 GT with a gig of ddr2) on my work/uni (main) box reached 226°C after watching several eps. of The Inbetweeners (teenage boy-humor-snarf!). As you might imagine I was a little concerned.
Closer inspection (opening the box) revealed the gpu fan was munged. I searched in my 'repository' for a similar sized fan with the correct plug into the card to no avail. The closest I had that would fit were some old 386 cpu fans with a bigger 3 pin config. Off I go to the nearest geek store with said fucked fan.

I got told that they had no fans of that size and hence onto a new card (with the missus permission). $89 later I had a Radeon HD5570 which was popping my ATI cherry. Of course I didn't think about the fact that I have 2 monitors,1 with a vga plug and 1 with a dvi plug when I bought it did I. Back to the geek shop and $10 worth of adapter which I *did* verify was the correct male2female only to get home & find he was wrong!
Even if you're a poof, 2 male dvi connectors won't work.
I popped the old 386 cpu fan in place on my "cooked" card's heatsink and plugged the fan into a spare mobo 'chassis fan' jumper. As you can see now
it's all good.
Bodging a gpu fan = sweet.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 6:15, 1 reply)
The punctuation and spelling
fell off my YouTube comment, but I replaced them with conspiracy theories and mental retardation.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 1:27, 3 replies)
curtain rings
when i bought myself a fancy new curtain pole, i neglected to buy curtain rings, mainly because i still had tab top curtains.
however, i soon realised my curtains were shite and got new ones. as i'd spent all of my money on the curtains, i had none left for the rings.
this is when inspiration struck: keyrings! everybody's got keyrings, usually with one or two of the things originally attached to them missing or broken. a quick trawl of family members' coat pockets soon turned up a good 20 rings. they worked a treat and are still holding my curtains in place 4 years later.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 23:53, Reply)
8pm and the phone rang
It was Dave, a mate of mine from days of crawling and scrambling round the local limestone caves. His old Datsun 180B which he'd just bought cheaply had conked out near the local theatre and he'd phoned from there. It had been coughing and sputtering a bit after turning right but usually came good after a few seconds. This time it didn't. Could I come down and give him a hand. It was only about a kilometre from my place. Dave was a semi-professional photographer, had his own darkroom and enlarger, knew a lot about radio and TV but was clueless about cars.

Got there a few minutes later and checked the spark. That seemed to be OK so the next thing was the fuel. The car had a carburettor with a sight glass on the side and sure enough the bowl was empty. Dirty or jammed needle valve I thought and we took the air cleaner off. One of the screws holding the top of the carby on was absent without leave and one was loose.

There wasn't anything wrong with the needle valve but the float was up and would not go down. I lifted it out and there was a tiny bolt which had replaced one of the missing screws, rolling about in the float bowl. When Dave turned right, it rolled under the float bowl, the engine coughed and it skittered out of the way, and things went back to normal. But this time it did not.

Some moron had wrecked the screw thread in the carby body and somehow managed to use this bolt from the inside of the float bowl with a nut outside. Of course the nut had vibrated off and the bolt dropped into the float bowl.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 23:00, 1 reply)

A while back at the workshop where I work we had some guy bring his motor in. He was mates with our boss and turned up totally out of the blue and expected us to drop all of our other work so we could sort his out first, total pisstaker. Even so the boss went for it, but it seemed like he was more interested in getting frisky with his mates bird who was with him.
Anyway they all fucked off for a while and what with our boss being a bit of a practical joker he sends us a message to stitch up this guys motor before they come back. So we left a few parts working so they would just get started and get no further, boss thought it would be hilarious. Always was a joker old Lando.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 22:01, Reply)
To the person who bought my very old Audi 80, the bolts (which I trust are still) holding your automatic gearbox together aren't exactly the manufacturer's original parts. They are scattered somewhere on the M6, the bolts I used to bodge it were from the concrete panels attached to the pillars in my old garage.


To the person who bought my old house off me, I believe some bastard stole the bolts holding your garage together and it fell down just after contracts were exchanged, what a total bummer. You don't drive an old Audi 80 auto by any chance?

Length? Almost exactly the right size.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 21:13, Reply)
Oil fired heating boiler.
Yeah, it's been on fire.

still works ok though.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 20:40, 1 reply)
bedroom door on the piss?
bought a house many years ago and started to do a few bits to tidy it up , now this house is made like most others but uses a steel frame not timber.
so far, i have found and sorted heating system pipes that run along the top of the steel frame, with the floor boards resting directly on top of them. found out about this when we had a rather large wet puddle in the sitting room all the other floor boards are very thick but the ones on top of the pipes are very thin bastards
our main bed room door is seriously on the piss with a 3inch gap at the top and a perfect fit at the bottom, no idea how they did that, tried putting a new frame and door in but door still had a gap , turns out that the last owner had moved the wall by several inches and not squared it up so when the put the door frame back in it didnt fit, fixed with a new wall and another door frame .

a wall unit in the kitchen never seamed to level or straight didnt wobble or move but when it was taken down it was fixed only to the plaster board with a couple of screws and what looked like a box of matches stuffed in the ever growing screw holes not even a wooden batten or stud to fix to .
a plug socket that worked some times and other times blew the main fuse found out that a picture hook nail had gone through the cable fixed with another nail under neath to lift the picture enough so the short didnt happen

oh ho we loved that house every new diy job was an epic adventure that started in one from and usually finished some where else

happy times but now thanks to autism that i got of a guy on ebay everything is just peachy
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 20:38, 3 replies)
Fractured Gear
The 1970 Plymouth Valiant wouldn't start, and we had the hood open trying to puzzle it out. The starter seemed to be functioning but the engine just wouldn't catch, suggesting an electrical fault. Out of ideas, I had removed the distributor cap and with my finger was idly spinning the interior of the distributor in circles when I had a Eureka moment: you CAN'T spin the interior of a distributor around in circles, or at least you shouldn't be able to do so, since it's connected to the camshaft, or at least it's supposed to be. Sure enough, the plastic gear connecting the distributor to the camshaft had fractured.

Once we realized the problem, the repair was simple. It was getting to that point of realization that was hard.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 18:49, 3 replies)
There was a hole in the internet
but I filled it with boobs and pictures of cats.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 16:41, 6 replies)
not really that exciting
but we have this really fat director that works for us and he is known for breaking every chair since he is so fat so i tend to fix those and just get as much screws and nails into the chairs as possible so they will won't break apart the minute he sits down but nothing really works and i always end up fixing them.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 16:37, 5 replies)

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