QotW: What’s your most heroic repair story?

GR1-824s_Honda S800 Tenken-kun

The theme of this week at JNC was Things Breaking Down. Our webhosting company has installed some new software that will hopefully make things more stable from here on out but it just goes to show, not everything can be as clockwork reliable as a Toyota Camry. In fact, some of your cars have probably needed a repair or two, despite not being British. Tell us about the time you saved your family from becoming vulture food by MacGuyvering a busted timing chain with nothing but a pair of vice grips, roll of duct tape and a McDonald’s ketchup packet. We know you’re dying to tell someone.

What’s your most heroic repair story?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What nostalgic-new body kit will be next?” 

X30 Toyota Cressida nose on Chaser body

We said there’d be bonus points if you actually Photoshopped your old-new car chimera, and reader Jack Robinson did not disappoint:

How about a Chaser with a old Cressida front end? I have done a quick photoshop to prove the point! With arches and everything! ?


Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash


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7 Responses to QotW: What’s your most heroic repair story?

  1. Jason said:

    I was 19 and driving back from Las Vegas to my home in the California bay area in my new wife’s old Saturn SL that was given to us that week. Despite being January the temperature outside was hot on the drive through the desert so naturally the AC was running, until it wasn’t. At first the AC just acted weird so I turned it off. Then the car made a sizeable clunk under the hood and we partially lost power. On the side of the road somewhere between Tehachapi and Bakersfield I found the AC compressor had not just broken but had actually suffered some sort of internal destruction. The internals had actually left the casing so the single serpentine belt was dragging on AC guts hanging out of the compressor casing. Armed with an emergency roadside tool kit… wait, no tools? Since this had literally just became my vehicle last week there was not yet a tool set in the car. Armed with a tire iron and a roadside rock I was able to force the guts of the compressor back into place enough to spin with only a bit of drag. This allowed the car to move forward for 5-6 miles at a time before I had to get out and cram the guts back in again. After 8-9 AC gut reinstallations I was able to get to a Bakersfield AutoZone where I bought a non-A/C belt and a weird shaped 14mm wrench to grab the belt tensioner with. Years later I still have that strange 14mm Chinese knock off cheap wrench mixed in with the good tools, and I’ll keep it forever as a reminder. The wife says she knew then that I would always take care of her after this challenge on day 1 of our marriage.

  2. Cdu86 said:

    This QOTW should have Jasen Palencia all over it.

    Socal AE86 guys have been through a lot. JB welded engine blocks, to duct taped throttle bodies, to ziptied intake manifolds, to full suspension systems flying out of a fender at a track day.

    When it gets tough though, the community is awesome and when one car is down… the whole gang would help fix it. As for most heroic though, i think it is yet to come. Or maybe we are already immune to ghetto fixes that it has become the norm. Its our crapcans that bond us.

  3. Ryan Senensky said:

    Not mine but a good friend of mine named Will Happle once fixed a windowed D15B2 engine block in his EF Civic STD hatchback by pulling the left over piston and chunks of rod out through the bottom of the block in an O’Reilly’s Autoparts parking lot.

    He then took his front license plate off, went to the store asked for “all of the JB weld in the building” and proceeded to gaft the plate onto the block. He refilled the engine with Valvoline VR1 SAE 30 oil and drove it home. The most amazing part of this, is that he drove the car from Madison, Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota without so much as a drop of oil leaking from the fix.

    Now here is the part that everyone here is going to call B.S. on, he continued to use the engine for a month in this newly made 3 cylinder state. Driving from here to Minnesota to his job in Wisconsin.

    After swapping in a new block about a month later his transmission started pop out of 4th gear and eventually the shift linkage broke. He stuck the car in 2nd gear manually, removed the shifter and continued this drive in 2nd gear, his entire drive at 7k rpm while at open header. He now has tinnitus.

  4. Kurt said:

    So many years ago I was driving my Mazda RX2 to see a lady friend. Obviously a rubber block-off cap on an unused heater pipe outlet decided to blow off at some stage of the journey. Luckily it really only began to overheat as I neared my destination. Auto parts stores were long closed so I had to improvise. I began rummaging through her father’s shed and managed to find a length of syphon hose and a couple of rogue hose claps. But how to ‘plug’ the hose? We I dug around in the garden until I found a small tree branch that was the right diameter. I wrapped the stick in a couple of lollipop wrappers, shoved it in the hose and clamped this beautiful contraption onto the side of the engine. Well of course it sealed perfectly and so it remained for a number of weeks to follow. If the phrase ‘winning’ was in regular rotation back then that is surely the level I had achieved.

  5. Andrij Mishalow said:

    Many many years ago, around 1989, I owned a KE 25 with a 3/4 race built 4K. The car looked like crap, the only panel that was straight was the roof, with bog and rust and 3 shades of bamboo yellow paint. I had a 1 3/4 inch exhaust, straight thru to just one muffler out the back.

    The exhaust was made by the engine builder, but was not supported in many places like it should have, so it tended to vibrate a bit when driving.

    Well, long story short, my best mate and I decided we would drive1300 miles over 2 days just because we were bored. Well, the exhaust split just before the muffler when we were about 100 miles into our journey, so we stopped beside the road, and fix it as best as we could. All I had in my tool kit was some fencing wire, pliers and some empty cans of coke.
    I sliced the can into a strip, would that around the pipe, before wrapping the fencing wire over the can and then tying it off in 2 other places. Worked a treat, for about 10 miles.

    We continued our trip, with the muffler placed in the boot, an open pipe, and no stereo that could be heard.

    On the way back home, the bolts fell out off the starter motor, so I had to tie wire it, and hot fuel the car on the way back.

    Took 3 days for our hearing to return after the trip, but lesson was now learnt. Have more stuff in my tool kit.

    Did I mention that I dropped the car off at the engine builder’s place to get the pipe repairs, and he commented to me casually, that he thinks he heard my car from almost half a mile away when I turned up.

    Ah, the memories 🙂

  6. 90s kid said:

    I dun goofed.

    Let me start, So a friend asks me to help him look for a car. He said his budget was 3300 and wanted a stickshift and something reliable. Ok a honda. We check craigslist and found some of the worst POS civics out there and their scummy owners (WHY DIDNT YOU TELL US THE CAR HAD A SALVAGE TITLE, ANON?!?!). But for 3300 youre not gonna find a holy grail type r or nsx.

    The worst owner hands down had to be this kid in Azusa. His car was so fucking dirty on the inside. I mean if its your daily do what you want, but if youre going to sell it please for the love of satan clean your fucking car man. For details he was some late high school typical stoner. The car for details was a 95ish integra with a hideous brown interior, bone stock with a non v. Typical fart canon. Swisher wrappers all over the place. please if youre selling your car, have pride in it, and please clean it.

    Oh youre still reading? Ok this is the story on the car he bought. So he mentions that he found an integra with a type r front on it, midnight blue, and for relatively cheap. We were at the hat in San Gabriel and this car was in Lancaster. We got there. The car was ok typical acura mods. The hood didnt close well, but whatever its a simple fix. We agreed that the car needed work. we got the price down. >awesomebaby.jpeg Drove it home. Got teased by friends. whatever.

    Couple of weeks pass and he calls me that his car feels off.
    >brakes? Must be the brakes
    >replace brakes, notice that it wont close properly
    >remove brakes
    >dad says driveshaft is damaged
    >mfw I told him that the car was in good condtion
    >raid the local autozone for parts.
    > the bearing inside the steering knuckle broke
    >welp more shit to take car of
    >Take to a shop? Fuck no man, Ill do it in my back yard.
    >time to get shit done.
    >bearing parts was a pain to remove, Went to a local shop. we had some trouble removing it.
    > guy finds slab of metal that fits through the hole and pounds it out with a hammer
    > bro you are my hero. hands him 8 bucks.(why not)
    > Dad places drive shaft back into place.
    > places brakes and this time it fits.
    >drove it since I had some free time to kill.
    >called him and he picked it up
    >told me that it drove so much better than before.
    > didnt charge him since I felt bad that the car was in good condition

    Yeah I got kinda chewed by my dad, it was worth it, plus I dont know how much they would charge in a shop. Plus the fact that I drove it from Lancaster To SGV without the wheel popping out really puts things into perspective. Also CLEAN YOUR DAMN CAR WHEN YOU POST IT ON A SELLING WEBSITE.

  7. Okiera29 said:

    Bah! all of the above is child’s play. Let me show you what a heroic fix is…
    My first car was a 77 Celica. I loved that car. I drove it everywhere I could. I ended up going to college 3 hours north of my parents and drove it routinely home once a month. I had just left the dorm one snowy wintery night, when about an hour into the trip, things started to go wrong. First, the blower motor started lagging on the defroster. Then the lights kept dimming on me when using the brakes.
    Eventually the car stopped running. Here I am, on a small two lane blacktop, in the dark and snow and the car just quits. I get out and pop the hood, I can’t see anything wrong with my small anemic flashlight… remmeber, this is well before cell phones, so no flashlight app.
    I jump back in and try to start the car. Nothing, not even a click… I am on a hill! Push the clutch in, let out the brake, gather speed… pop the clutch… sputter, sputter… Hmmm I jump back out, pop the hood and check around again. Turns out, some how, the plug at the back of the alternator has cracked and is not connecting properly. Back into the car to dig around in the tool kit.
    Hmm, long screwdriver? Check! Duct tape? Check! I jump back out of the car and take the screwdriver and wedge it between the inner fender and the plug on the alternator. I then take the duct tape and secure the screwdriver to the fender so it will maintain constant pressure on the plug.
    Gingerly, I close the hood and get back in the car. Fingers crossed, I push in the clutch and let the brake off. Build up speed(remember, still on a hill) and pop the clutch. Success!!! My beloved 20R purrs back to life! I continue merrily on my way.
    Eventually, my luck would run out. In the cold weather, the duct tape’s famous grip is greatly reduced and the pressure from the screwdriver is loosened. Twice I have to stop and reapply the duct tape, but luckily I make it home. Needless to say, my next door neighbor(a toyota mechanic at the time) laughs at my misfortune, but he graciously brings me home a new plug and we rewire the car that monday night.
    The car suffered many more monstrous fixes as well, but ended up making it back and forth between Oklahoma and Maryland as well as California numerous times. One time with the well know panty hose fix for the water pump belt.

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