Repairs on the road (McGyver)

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Tee Jay
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Repairs on the road (McGyver)

Post by Tee Jay »

Last week whie riding in Mission Valley (San Diego) next to the freeway. I started hearing a loud exhaust noise, like a Harley. I saw nobody next to me, so i revved my 150 Buddy. Damn it was me. I pulled over and found out the exhaust nuts were gone. I walked about a quarter mile back looking for my nuts. I found none. I had a leatherman (pliers) with me and that was it. I started looking at my Buddy for a nut I could remove. Sure enough the chrome rear rack has a acorn nut on it that fit the exhaust. Got me home and fixed withe correct

My question- what repairs (McGyver style) have you made on the road?
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jonlink
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Re: Repairs on the road (McGyver)

Post by jonlink »

Tee Jay wrote:I walked about a quarter mile back looking for my nuts.
:shock:

Luckily, I haven't had to do any repairs using only what was in my pocket... or look for my nuts.
westniner
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Post by westniner »

I lost my nuts in Mission Valley once. But that was because the pants I bought at Hot Topic were too tight.
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Lagerhead
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Post by Lagerhead »

I've done the same rack / exhaust nut repair.

I once fixed a bad spark plug wire with a spring from an ink pen I found on the side of the road.

But the best one I've ever seen was, a friend of mine was with us on a group ride and he was riding his wife's bike, it had been having trouble starting ever since he got to the start of the ride, at one point we stopped for a rest and some sight seeing about 70 miles out. After that the bike flat would not start, whatever we tried, and we tried just about everything. No dice. As a last resort (and I would have never thought of this myself...) He called his wife, and had her yell at the bike through the phone, and ISYN, it started on the next try as if nothing was ever wrong. :shock:
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viney266
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Post by viney266 »

Getting a friends Ducati with a broken throttle cable home...Vice grips on what was left of the cable.

My proudest moment? I had to tighten a axle nut. No wrench the correct size, but we took the passenger peg off my Yamaha, and the inside of the peg bracket was the axle nut size...it worked!
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LunaP
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Post by LunaP »

Oh boy do I have a story for you.

This summer, right after Lokky and I started dating, our mutual friends started organizing our annual trip to Otakon, an anime convention in Baltimore. Of course Lokky wanted to go, and of course he wanted to take the Stella. He gave me the option of a free ride up as his cupcake, rather than drive my car. So we planned our route... we would leave earlier than those in the rest of our group for both the trip up and the trip back- Baltimore is 4-5 hours by car on I-95, depending on DC traffic. We figured by scooter, it would be at least 6 on route 301.

Aside from backup due to a car fire on the 301 bridge (we lane split the 3 hour bridge backup, it was epic), the ride up was leisurely and uneventful. The ride back, however, was not. We were halfway through our trip- just miles from crossing the 301 bridge back into VA. Suddenly, the Stella ran very roughly for a few seconds, then lost power completely.

We pulled over. He tried kickstarting her. No go. Time to start wondering what is wrong. First theory- an overheat. It was around 90 and late July, and we'd been running WOT, or near it, for 3 or 4 hours (with 2 stops) Remedy? Wait 20-30 minutes and let her cool. Then he tried to start her again. She refused. So he pulled off the cowl and took a look.

The first thing he sees is a good size dry rot rupture in his air intake duct. I'm in the process of asking Genuine Roadside Assistance is there's any way they can just bring us some duct tape (Genuine wanted to send us a tow from 2 hours behind us, who would end up costing over the daily Genuine warranty limit and charging Lokky 200 dollars extra, cash on the spot, which neither of us had... who carries cash on them like that?? And it wouldn't have even gotten us all the way home, either... just about an hour from Richmond), when somebody pulls over to ask us if he can help.

That's right... people still do that. I hung up on Genuine.

This man was very... interesting. He was a very nice, older gentleman. When we showed him what we thought the problem was, and told him we just needed some duct tape to hopefully get home, he readily offered to drive a short '5 minutes' to his house and get some for us. I was about ready to hug this man already.

He returned with Gorilla Tape, a gallon of water, shop-grade soap, and a trunk full of tools. He then proceeded to tape the duct hole up for us, very excitedly. Afterwards we tried to start Stella again. Nothing. David, as we had come to find out his name was, made an extremely dissatisfied face. Lokky got back on the phone with Genuine, determined to argue a way into getting a tow without having to pay cash.

Just as Lokky started to argue with somebody, David, who had been studying the engine very carefully, started waving at Lokky and pointing at the Stella VERY excitedly. Lokky hung up on Genuine.

Turns out, David was a retired electrical engineer. He retired from the huge power plant just down the road when he was in an accident that cracked open his skull. David had spied EXACTLY what was wrong with the Stella. The magneto had broken off, and the whole electrical system was no longer grounded. Later, we found out that this is something that commonly happens to Stellas that go from carrying one person to carrying a cupcake frequently... it happened to our President's Stella as well.

But for now, SOMEHOW we were stranded on the side of the road, and SOMEHOW the ONLY person who had pulled over to help happened to be probably the ONLY person that COULD have helped us out of all the cars that passed us in the 3 hours total we were on the side of the road. If that isn't amazing, I don't know what is.

David tested his theory quickly by having Lokky trying to start the Stella while he held the magneto in place, and it started up fine... so he got to work. He got pretty funny when he worked... he made it clear he needed a lot of concentration and we shouldn't get in his way. He went to his trunk and retrieved some tools and a pipe cinch.

Using a screw from another location, the pipe cinch, and a rock from the side of the road to take up the extra space in the cinch, he jury-rigged the magneto into a working location so that we could get home.

Here is a photo of his WORK OF FREAKING ART:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/luna-p/6420504823/" title="IMG_1178 by Luna-P, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7174/6420 ... 77c3cd.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_1178"></a>


It got us home. Stella lost power about twice towards the end of the ride- but after that it made it for a few days until we got her to the shop to have it fixed properly. Lokky still has the rock in his glovebox for good luck. :wink:

And stories like this are why I will never listen to pessimists who try to tell me people suck, btw.
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Post by Lostmycage »

The Stella story (not quoting to save space) reminds me of the Top Gear episode where they're using scoots and bikes to get across Vietnam. Jeremy had an old Vespa that broke down and some locals fixed it by jamming grass and plant material in the housing. I'm now wondering if what they did was make a shim for the magneto like in Luna and Lokky's instance.

I like this thread.

I also can't leave home without my Leatherman.
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Syd
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Post by Syd »

Luna's story reminds me of a non-scoot, but very similar story:
A friend and I are driving my '60 Karmann Ghia from Chicago to Flagstaff to return to school. We stopped in Rolla, MO for gas, got the Ghia started (a crap shoot all by itself) and started down the on ramp to I-44. Halfway down the Ghia died. Dead on the side of the road at midnight.

We walked back up the ramp, where we noticed a light on in a used car dealer. We knocked on the door to find the owner sitting in his office drinking and watching TV because he had just been kicked out of his house by his (soon-to-be ex, I think) wife. He was nice enough to call a guy he knew that drove a tow truck. We started getting worried ($).

About an hour and a highball later, the guy with the tow truck shows up, we get in and proceed down the ramp, him mentioning how little he knows about Volkswagons, even asking where the engine was. We got more worried ( :shock: )

He pulled up to the rear of the Ghia, after we told him the engine was back there, and started to look around, all the time muttering about how little he knows about VWs. "But I'll betcha this is the problem" he says, pointing to the detached, broken hot lead to the coil.

Ten more minutes, a new connector and $10 after that, the Ghia started and we were again on our way.

Just another example of how many good people there are in the world.
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Post by BuddyRaton »

Reset my 68 SS180 points gap with a matchbook cover found at the side of the road. Yeah...a feeler gauge is now in the tool sack.
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Keys
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Post by Keys »

Back in the ol' days, matchbook covers were pretty much all that Harley riders used to set the points...

--Keys
"Life without music would Bb"
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Post by PeteH »

I don't [yet] have any two-wheeled McGyver stories, but I have managed to get home in my air-cooled VWs after having broken both throttle and clutch cables (not on the same trip, fortunately), and cleared 'real' vapor locks (hot bubbles in the fuel line) by blowing 'em back to the tank.

The 'Fix Yer Volkswagen / For the Compleat Idiot' book by John Muir is the definitive guide to old-school VW maintenance for us chuckleheads, with stuff as deep as how to pull your engine for a head rebuild alongside the road with nothing but stone knives and bearskins. Right after the part where he says to keep spare throttle and clutch cables on board, he tells you how to synchro-shift without a clutch, and encourages you to practice this technique before you really need it. Thank you, John, 'cause it got me home one night. My current '73 Thing eats throttle cables (there's a rough spot somewhere in the guide tube), so I've got spares, but I once left the house without the Leatherman and couldn't replace the broken cable. A wadded-up ball of paper jammed in the throttle linkage got the RPMs up, and I hot-shifted all the way home.

Most of my McGyver moments are computer-related - using garbage bag ties with the ends stripped as makeshift serial cables, etc.
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siobhan
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Post by siobhan »

viney266 wrote:Getting a friends Ducati with a broken throttle cable home...Vice grips on what was left of the cable.
Ahh, broken throttle cables. At the side of the road in Massachusetts.
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Instead of turning around and going home, we kept riding to the campground, figuring we'd deal with it in the morning. We called one of the parts guys at our local shop in Rhode Island who we thought might be coming up for the vintage bike show we were attending. Sure 'nuff, he had a clutch cable for a '71 /5. Didn't even have to pay for it until our next visit to the shop.

The most McGyver-y moment was when the headlamp went out on the Honda Dream, in the dark, in the cold, about 20 miles from home. My b/f took some wire from somewhere and managed to bridge the break on the wiring harness without any kind of tape. Not like having the headlamp makes much of a difference on that bike.
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Syd
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Post by Syd »

PeteH wrote:how to synchro-shift without a clutch
I once had to get myself out of a parallel parking spot with a busted clutch cable by removing the coil wire and using the starter to move the Ghia (a different one) back and forth.
PeteH wrote:using garbage bag ties with the ends stripped as makeshift serial cables, etc.
:clap:
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viney266
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Post by viney266 »

Keys wrote:Back in the ol' days, matchbook covers were pretty much all that Harley riders used to set the points...

--Keys
^^^ I remember being about 14 years old and giving my grandfather grief for using a matchbook cover and not the right tool...He looks RIGHT AT ME "young man, go get a match book and use your micrometer on the cover then"..

Well? after that I didn't question Pop so much. YUP, .014...RIGHT on the money..The EXACT gap specification for what he was working on. Those old guys were smarter than I thought.
Speed is only a matter of money...How fast do you want to go?
TVB

Post by TVB »

Briefly tangentially off-topic:

There is a MacGyver comic book series in development. The creator of the show is one of the writers.

You may now return to your stories of True Grime.
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Post by noodoggy »

I didnt have a repair, but I MacGuyvered a way to get home after my throttle cable snapped on me. I was about 5 miles form home so i just removed the sleeve around the cable and ran it through a hole that held a body panel on the scoot and drove the rest of the way home sort of one handed while pulling hard on the cable lol pretty risky and funny lol One good thing I got out of it was that I discovered that my cable was not tight enough and I was missing out on a lot of speed and pep!
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Post by Stormswift »

Nothing as exotic as some of the stories here in my case. The 1st spring I really started practicing riding I led Dobby powered across the front lawn. With pretty scary results. Dobby has a small dent on it's exhaust pipe just where it curves under the belly of the scooter. Couple of nearly invisible scrapes completed the picture. In other words I was lucky no one was killed and bike was not really damaged. What did crack was a fan cover. It cracked in such a way that the fan blades were completely exposed. Not a good thing if small stone gets in there. I needed a cover fast because I was practicing for my riding test and I had no way of getting the bike to the dealer. I ordered the part but could not replace it myself because I just did not see away to do it without removing the plastics. So I went to the hardware store, got aluminum mesh that is used for covering the gutters, cut it on a circular pattern and used the screws from the bike to secure it over the fan. It stayed there for quite a long time, until I finally passed my riding test and was able to bring the bike for it's first oil change. This is when they replaced the cover for me.
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Hellvis
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Post by Hellvis »

Keys wrote:Back in the ol' days, matchbook covers were pretty much all that Harley riders used to set the points...

--Keys
What do you mean in the ol' days. I still do that. :P I can't even remember how many repairs I had to do on the side of the ride. lol
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Post by agrogod »

Not a scoot McGyver but one none the less. Circa 1977, one very unreliable '74 Plymouth Duster. I drove this beast back and forth to work at the time and always had to fix something on it.
Changing out the plugs one day I noticed a gas smell, normally when poking around under the hood it just smelled of old rubber and oil, so I knew something was up.
Checking things I found a gas line that had cracked and was leaking. Not wanting to drive the car for fear of a possible fire I looked around in the garage for a replacement hose, just my luck there was none to be found.
Oh what to do.
That's when I saw a BIC pen, the old cap type, laying on the floor of the car. I grabbed that puppy up, cut it down so the vent hole was not an issue, cut out the bad spot in the line, and jammed it in.
It stayed like that until the transmission went a year later.
Of all things made by man, the BIC pen has got to be one of the most versatile tools ever made (and the Leatherman, don't leave home without it).
I have also used click BIC springs to fix lawnmowers.
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still shifting
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Post by still shifting »

Bailing Wire I still remember... R
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Post by PeteH »

I keep a small roll of lightweight bailing wire with my tools in the pet carrier. You never know....
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Post by Tom »

I have a friend who years ago (we were about 15-16?) owned an old beat up 70's Honda scrambler. There was some part for the clutch (sorry that I'm going to know ZERO proper terms for this explanation) that he wasn't ever able to find and/or afford. But he was always a clever dude for mechanical things so he would actually shift by kicking some 'post' inward toward the motor with his left boot, or catching the edge of his sole to pop it out. I can't believe that solution lasted as long as it did, or how good he got at doing that. We were all over town on that thing for 6 months before it finally died.. That being the first actual transportation one of my friends had, it probably contributed greatly to my good free feelings every time I step over a motorcycle or onto a scooter.

I'd regale you with many other stories of his mechanical ingenuity if I even slightly understood some of the things I've watched him do. 8)
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Syd
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Post by Syd »

PeteH wrote:I keep a small roll of lightweight bailing wire with my tools in the pet carrier. You never know....
Wasn't baling wire the duct tape before there was duct tape?
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BootScootin'FireFighter
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Post by BootScootin'FireFighter »

my only McGyver fix was plugging a tire on a rural road. It was a big tear, not a clean puncture, so I needed a new rear tire from it. I always bring a small tool kit with me on trips out of town just incase.
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Post by michelle_7728 »

Not really a road side fix (and NBR), but I had '79 Datsun truck that died because the catelytic converter (probably misspelled) quit working. I couldn't afford to buy a new one, so my dad and I took it off and looked at it...it was totally blocked from who knows what..polution, age, you name it. Anyhow he took some kind of pointed implement (maybe it was even the pointed handle of a car jack), and using a hammer, hit away at the internal corrosion laden mess (frequently turning the catelytic converter over to empty it out) and sooner or later there was nothing inside the catelytic converter at all! It literally was just an empty shell. We reinstalled it, and it ran fine for a couple more years until I finally sold the vehicle...it still passed the emissions test too, believe it or not!

I also had a 66 Baja bug that I always had "fun" with...due to constant vibrations, if I wasn't tighting up the bolts on the exposed dual carburetors, I was having to crawl under and reconnect the fusable link (car would just die and coast to a stop). My main memory (I used to play a lot of pool) was coming out of a bar to leave, put the car in reverse, and had the shift lever just come off in my hand....like the whole thing, from in the floor, not just the part you put your hand over. I put it back in place, tightened stuff back down and went home.

I was always having to replace one of the rear drums in that car too...the previous owner had put super wide wheels and tires on it, and normal torque didn't keep the drum mounted on the rear axle tight enough, so after a couple weeks the teeth holding the "new" drum would get stripped out again, and the car couldn't move (the axle would just be spinning in that wheel). I say "new" drum, as I just kept picking up replacements from a wrecking yard. Finally I wised up and started torquing way more than the owner's manual called for. :P

Fun times....
Past bikes: 08' Genuine Buddy 125, '07 Yamaha Majesty 400, '07 Piaggio MP3 250, '08 Piaggio MP3 500, '08 Aprilia Scarabeo 500
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Post by sleepscoot »

I went for a ride in the country yesterday and stopped at the only gas station for like 30 miles to top off when I noticed a puddle near my gear oil drain. I must have screwed something up when I changed my oil a few days ago because the bolt was missing. The only useful stuff at the gas station was some 80W-90 gear oil and duct tape.

I shoved some tightly rolled tape into the hole, used a screwdriver to wedge it in really tight, and put in some of the oil because I figured the wrong oil was better than nothing. I also washed the oil off the back tire before getting back on the road. I made it back home and the end of the tape that was sticking out was still dry.
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Post by neotrotsky »

Keys wrote:Back in the ol' days, matchbook covers were pretty much all that Harley riders used to set the points...

--Keys
Funny, I grew up thinking that was a VW thing. That's all I used to set the points on my 914/4 after learning how to do it from my dad (my first car, and a total score for $1400! This was before they became so popular).

I think the best example of channeling "Mac" was snapping the clutch cable on my Stella right when I was pulling out of the parking lot from work. Luckily I was working at Gammage Opera House at ASU, and the music department was right across the street. Ran over and was able to grab a spare bit of piano wire and rattled around the spares ziploc in the glovebox for a spare pinch bolt and put that in at the top end. Adjusted the hell out of it and it was able to limp home. Was rough but I was able to shift it from Tempe to Mesa and got a new cable in the mail later that week :)
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