The Ingenuity of a Master Craftsman

When it comes to auto repair there is a right way and there is a wrong way and there is the cheap yet still effective way. The right way is indisputable, not really subject to debate. If the cylinder head gasket is blown then the proper way to repair it is to replace the gasket. If all of the tread is worn off of the tire, the tire must be replaced. The proper way to handle these situations are absolute.

This level of repair while desirable, but is quite often cost prohibitive. The following are some crazy examples of repair jobs that people have tried. These are things just pulled randomly off of the web. Some of them are wrong but probably work just fine and some of them are crazy dangerous. Despite the fact that these repair jobs are not by the book, you have to admire the ingenuity on a few of them.

Oh the skills of a master carpenter. Turning raw materials such wood, nails, screws and other bits of hardware into anything in the world you might need. This is actually a great job of reinventing the old woodies of the 1940's, and honestly the fit and finish doesn't look much worse than the original steel trunk lid that this Oldsmopile came with from the factory. Just think how good this would look in mahogany with a nice dark stain and a lacquer finish. Four hinges make it sturdy while opening and closing and it even has a lock on it to protect the valuable things that typically go in the trunk. 

If this guy had a saw and a hammer maybe he could have done as well as the guy above did. Not only does the cardboard not fit very well but it won't hold up to the weather and there are no hinges that allow for easy open and easy close. Actually the hinges are still there but they are just sticking uselessly into the air.

When you go rolling down the city streets in your Mercedes-Benz you need to represent. If the hood ornament is broken off of your ride then you might look like tool. No problem. Just take take a wire coat hanger and fashion a new one. You can tell people it was sculpted by Salvador Dali. They won't know who he was but they will appreciate the artistic accents of your and they will think that you are truly part of the upper crust.

So you drive a 1989 Volkswagen Jetta that doesn't have an USB port for your iPod, and it doesn't even have a CD player. You don't need to spend a pile of Benjamins on a new deck. Just find an old CD ROM drive that will play MP3 discs and wire it in to the dash. These usually run off of 12 volts D/C anyway so everything you need to make this thing play the latest hits from Adele is right there in the dash. 

Windshield wipers are a must have on every vehicle unless you live in a place like Las Vegas or Phoenix where rain storms are few and far between. If the wiper motor burns up it's okay. All that you need to do is get two pieces of rope and tie them both to your wiper arms or arm as the case may be. Then stick one rope into an open driver side window and one rope into an open passenger side window. Then all you have to do is pull one rope, and pull the other rope, then repeat over and over again until it stops raining. This might make it difficult to drive but it can't be any more difficult than texting while driving and that always works out just fine when you do that. Also, make sure that as you are driving and pulling the ropes back and forth that you keep your speed up so that less rain can blow into your open side windows. You wouldn't want your phone to get wet while you are texting.

In most small fender benders, you know, the kind where the vehicle only gets a little banged up and is by no means disabled. The part of the car that is still very susceptible to damage are things like the headlights and taillights. The problem with a broken headlight is that the bulb will usually still come on, but as soon as it gets wet it will burn out. This can be easily solved mounting a mason jar or some glass bottle sideways with the bottom pointing forward to direct the light. The bulb can be put inside the jar and the opening taped off. This will provide excellent lighting for all of your nighttime motoring needs, and it's much cheaper than taking it to the body shop.

The controls for the heater are extremely important. Even if you don't mind freezing a bit as you drive around in your car, you must have functional heater controls in order to have a windshield defroster. These controls help to route hot coolant through the heater core under the dash. where the blower can blow the heated air onto the windshield. Since hot coolant is a lot like hot water forget about getting the factory heater control parts, those are of course, too expensive. Just get the cheapest faucet that you can find at home depot and attach the heater hoses to it. You will have all the temperature control that you need.

Duct tape is the answer to most of life's quandaries. Anything in the world can be fashioned from duct tape including a new car door release strap. The outside door handle is just a lever that lifts a rod connected to the latch down inside the door. If the handle breaks off just make a strap from some duct tape and...oh, I don't know, a stick, and you are back in business.

When you need some new tires, or when you have some sweet five spoke alloys that you want to use to add some bling to your ride, there is always a way to make it happen. Today oversize wheels are very popular but if they don't clear the fender then all you have to do is some trimming here and there and they will look sick. A good pair of aviation shears can make short work of your fenders, a reciprocating saw can also be very effective for all manner of auto customization and repair, including the facilitation of proper tire fitment. 

Speaking of sick tire and wheel combinations. If you don't have oversized wheels but you still want to look cool you can put very low profile tires on your rims. These tires can be expensive so it might be cheaper for you to get an old garden hose and wrap it around the rim enough times so the hose will touch the ground. Most of those low profile tires are just like rubber bands stretched around the rim anyway so using an old garden hose should do the trick. If you are lucky your will be able to find four old hoses that are the same color so that all of your wheels will look cool. Either way, when people look at your car they will know that it's cool.

The Subaru Outback is a rugged, outdoorsy wagon for people that love being outdoors, love mother nature, and love all things biodegradable. A good idea is to remove the rear bumper and send it to the recycler because that plastic might hurt a landfill somewhere if you just throw it away. Then steal some felled timber and a few chains from some lumber jacks that your are protesting against and fashion your self a new bumper that not only looks rugged and natural, but is biodegradable and helps the car blend in much more easily with the forest. This can help you to be good friends with the squirrels.

It's a rear view mirror. Everyone knows that a hand held mirror like this is often used for viewing rears, therefore it should work good as a replacement for the rear view mirror on your car. I wonder if objects in this kind of mirror appear closer than they are.

This Chevy/Geo Metro is a one of a kind thanks to the creativity and resorsfulness of one individual. With escalating gas prices it may only be a matter time before people are selling their big pickup trucks so that they can get something like this that offers the best of both worlds. The fuel economy of a a sub compact, with cargo hauling capacity of...a...well, a subcompact with a wooden box on the back. At least it has four doors so that you can still take a few kids along when you go to buy a load of bricks for the retaining wall that you are building in your back yard.  

An exhaust leak is something that can happen on any car, and it can make itself known rather suddenly. As it turns out, Red Bulls gives you exhaust repair. actually you could use any aluminum or steel can as a repair sleeve to put the two broken pipe ends into. Make sure you use a couple of radiator hose clamps to seal the deal. The other advantage to aluminum cans is that they don't rust, and it reduces the overall weight of the vehicle which can actually make the car faster. 

A broken control arm can be a real problem. The last thing you need while your are driving down the road is for one of your wheels to suddenly flop over sideways. Maintaining the directional stability of the vehicle in this type of situation becomes considerably difficult. Many different things can actually be used to put the two halves of this important bit of suspension linkage back together. The safety minded individual who owns this car used the three best things (after duct tape) that can be used to repair anything. Radiator hose clamps are very sturdy and completely adjustable. Not only do they work for clamping tin cans onto your exhaust pipe but they can also hold a control arm together. The old leather belt that you used to use to hold up your pants up should also be able to hold up that back tire as it keeps that broken control arm from falling apart. Finally, the zip tie. Made from space age polymers, zip ties are are super tough, very high tech, and adjust to the shape of anything. The vehicle in this picture will be safe for many miles to come because of the careful repair performed by a true craftsman.

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