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Cheap & Easy repairs that work just fine...


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The JB Weld thread inspired me to start a related one — let's see examples of effective and lasting repairs using various goos and glues at which many here would turn up their noses. A good example from the JB Weld thread is Ben Bruce's diesel fuel tank repair story.

 

Here's one of mine... I've long been a fan of Permatex's Right Stuff sealant which IMO could almost be marketed as "miracle in a tube'. Twelve years ago I used it to repair a water jacket crack in my 1912 KisselKar when the previous JB Weld repair failed after only 14 years.

 

Photo-story below was published in our local club newsletter. Photo underneath is the repaired area as of this afternoon. Not bad results for $2 and a couple hours messing around!

 

 

Kissel freeze crack repair.png

 

1873607930_KIsseljugrepairJuly-22.jpg.7833d3a136441a0194138e2773533a2b.jpg

 

Edited by Chris Bamford (see edit history)
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Yikes, how many 1912 Kissel Kars can there be ?

 

Anyway, I did use the “Stuff” to make a faux rubber seal on our ‘49 Buick Super torque tube ball. This after buying and returning two sets of parts from vendors who do not use there first names. Thanks Bob for setting me straight on the single year difference in Buick torque tube sealing techniques.  
 

Jim Mead

Owego, NY

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I see it both ways. If a $5 dollar fix keeps the car running to the owners delight instead of an expensive or near impossible rebuild then more the power. Years ago I would try stuff like this fixing mowers, mini bikes etc. and nothing ever seemed to work. So I figured if it cant be fixed right then it cant be fixed. Nothing wrong with trying some back yard engineering.

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42 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

Do it right and do it once................Bob

Some questions have more than one right answer. Case in point, how to repair my KisselKar water jacket crack...

 

Option A:

• Remove and store hood, remove manifolds, wiring, valve train, magneto, coil, rear jug (cylinders 3 & 4) and all brass fittings, etc.

• Vee out and clean repair area

• Find a competent cast iron welder to undertake the repair

• Preheat casting, weld crack, cool slowly, dress repaired area back to original height

• Repaint jug

• Reassemble jugs, brass fittings, manifolds, coil, magneto, valve train, wiring and hood; go driving

 

Cost & Time: $100s, could be over $1000. Minimum a week or two, could easily stretch into a month or two.

Advantages: Assuming all goes well, a permanent repair that will never, ever, fail.

Disadvantages & Risks: Tying up shop space, repaired & repainted jug will look out of place; risk of breaking, losing, or otherwise discombobulating rare parts; risk of further damage or warpage to the jug casting and all that might entail to correct.

 

Option B:

• Vee out and clean repair area

• Apply Right Stuff sealant and brass shim as described above.

• Cure overnight, fill radiator and go driving.

 

Cost & Time: $2 for Right Stuff and shim stock. Several hours over several days.

Disadvantages & Risks: It may fail again in a few years (rinse & repeat)

 

Plan B was right for me. YMMV 🙂

 

For more about my KisselKar click here

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Plan C might have been metal stitching. Might, or not, still have to remove the jug but no iffy cast iron weld repair,  no metal vee'ing out, and just a bit of minor paint touch up. But you are correct. Lots of ways to skin most cats and you choose what works for you. Best wishes..........Bob

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  • 2 weeks later...

I must have misread the title of this thread. I would swear it said “Cheap and easy fixes which work just fine”. I turned my iPad over and looked at the back just in case the thread titled “You too can own a machine shop, or farm it out to a professional”…….but there was nothing there.

I managed a garage which serviced a fleet of 27 armored trucks, several armored and plain vans, and a wad of K-car sedans.

in this fleet was a 1952 Dodge motor home cab, it sat on a fabricated frame, the 440 industrial engine was slung in the chassis with a piece of chain…..there were no front motor mounts. This old truck was the only one with the turning and hauling ability to service the Federal Reserve Bank, on Cherry Street, in Seattle, Washington.

Sadly, the old truck started backfiring through the thermoquad carburetor, and this was extremely bad because the truck had been converted to burn propane.

When the carb burned and the truck was declared a loss, I was told of a process used by Todd Shipyard, in Seattle which entailed chilling a cast iron block to sub zero temperature, reheating it to ensure even expansion, and weld any cracks which may have been found in the block.

This process was extremely expensive, time consuming, and the practice was usually reserved for large and difficult to replace marine engines.

And, the people at Todd refused to even look at a 1952 Dodge engine, and the boss insisted it be fixed before they lost the Federal reserve account.

Pulling the heads revealed a crack in the block which extended from the back of the number 2 cylinder bore to the front of number three, and it started at the bed and ran nearly the entire depth of both bores.

To make a bad matter worse, the cylinders was cross firing through the crack, and the heat of the propane had seared the edges of the cracks into brittle goop.

But, orders are orders and thus, the post is here rather than the Todd Shipyard annals. To make a long story short, I used welding rods of the same length as the crack. These were flattened and heated with a torch to nearly melting. The rods were hammered into the crack, and using a chisel, wedged as tightly as they could be to completely seal the crack. Using a bastard file and a disc grinder, the rods were filed down to conform to the shape of the bores, and the part extending above to deck was ground down. Then JB Weld was used to make a totally smooth surface, and then a hone was used to refinish the cylinder walls to a condition you could never tell they had been damaged.

About now the naysayers are having a holiday finding reasons this would not work. Well folks, it not only worked, I remained employed by the company for another 3 1/2 years, and was there when their last gasser was retired, and a new diesel rig was brought on line to replace it.

The old Dodge was driven from the lot, and to my knowledge, was turned into a wrecker to drag cars around in a local wrecking yard.

 

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Kind of reminds me of my Dad.

He had a farm, and farms being what they mostly are,  lots of aging equipment. Tractors, balers, pickers, rakes, wagons, you name it. He also always had a pair of vise grip pliers, a big hammer and a roll of baling wire close at hand. Now for you younger guys baling wire was actually used to tie bales before sisel and now poly twine came along. It was a nice soft annealed iron wire. With a good pair of pliers a guy could tie just about anything back together.

And that's what my Dad did. Near every repair was a temporary fix that some how never got made permanent. As you can imagine  every quick fix finally failed and it caused another break down that got a quick fix, that finally failed causing yet another break down. Poor guy couldn't get anything done without having to fix something first.

He, and the farm are gone now but one of the best lessons he taught me, although inadvertently, was................

FIX IT RIGHT AND FIX IT ONCE.

He called his farm Windmill Farms. When I restored my 39 Chevy I wanted a name on the door. I think he'd have liked it............Bob

insur pix 7-29-06 003 - Copy.jpg

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You guys are missing the point. You can’t ALWAYS fix it right! Sometimes you just have to get home.

 Give Chris a break, he was trying to start a humorous post on how things can be fixed thinking “outside of the box”!

 Chris, I’m gonna have to get a tube of that to have on hand. There’s a lot of times I’m halfway from Panama to the Mediterranean and sh*t hits the fan. I’d love to put up my hand and say Time Out and go have the thing fixed right the first time....but I’ve found out that life just doesn’t work that way.

 Thanks for the tip and thanks for the post!

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20 hours ago, yachtflame said:

You guys are missing the point. You can’t ALWAYS fix it right! Sometimes you just have to get home.

 Give Chris a break, he was trying to start a humorous post on how things can be fixed thinking “outside of the box”!

I don't see anything wrong with band-aid/patch repairs IF/WHEN "you just have to get home" (I've had to do such on more than few* times when driving hundreds of thousands of miles with antique/classic/vintage cars on two continents in past 40+ years, but none were intended as a permanent solutions) or thinking "outside of the box" (having lost my family in my mid teens and supporting myself since, I've done it pretty much all my life), but OP post seems to suggest his were not really intended as temporary solutions.

Right or wrong, but IMO attempting to do band-aid/patch repair as permanent solution is rather disrespectful of antique/classic/vintage cars and the technology they involve.

Besides, promoting/publicizing such endeavors can easily encourage others to attempt similar approach, while ending up with far less than ideal or satisfactory results, eventually leading them to have more frustrations and disappointments toward the hobby, not to mention growing number of antique/classic/vintage vehicles compromised by myriads of hack work out there.

But as I've said before, having been born into and growing up with nearly nothing, I've never been able to enjoy the luxury of being cheap. Apparently OP and some others do. 

 

* I could write a book or two on all the roadside emergency repairs I've done ("just to get home"), but won't...

 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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16 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

Kind of reminds me of my Dad.

He had a farm, and farms being what they mostly are,  lots of aging equipment. Tractors, balers, pickers, rakes, wagons, you name it. He also always had a pair of vise grip pliers, a big hammer and a roll of baling wire close at hand. Now for you younger guys baling wire was actually used to tie bales before sisel and now poly twine came along. It was a nice soft annealed iron wire. With a good pair of pliers a guy could tie just about anything back together.

And that's what my Dad did. Near every repair was a temporary fix that some how never got made permanent. As you can imagine  every quick fix finally failed and it caused another break down that got a quick fix, that finally failed causing yet another break down. Poor guy couldn't get anything done without having to fix something first.

He, and the farm are gone now but one of the best lessons he taught me, although inadvertently, was................

FIX IT RIGHT AND FIX IT ONCE.

He called his farm Windmill Farms. When I restored my 39 Chevy I wanted a name on the door. I think he'd have liked it............Bob

insur pix 7-29-06 003 - Copy.jpg

Regardless of how he fixed equipment, and apparently he was able to do it, if your dad owned, and worked on a farm, he is worthy of admiration.

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1 hour ago, yachtflame said:

TTR,  I guess you’re right. If we can’t all keep our cars at concourse level, we shouldn’t be allowed to have them.
  Now we just need to form the CLP (Concourse Level Police)

While I've owned a few "concours level"(whateverthefthatmeans ???) cars and still do, most (of the 100+) I've owned in past 4+ decades have been far from what most consider as such, as I've always been more into driving/using than showing mine, perhaps you just chose to miss my point, which was referring to practicalities of permanent vs temporary mechanical/technical repairs/restoration and potential consequences of promoting band-aid fixes as permanent solution.

I'll try to make my point(s) clearer in the future.

 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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I was driving a friend's XKE in San Diego back in 1969 before shipping out to Vietnam when I saw steam coming out from under the hood. The radiator had developed a pin hole in the tank. I was able to remove a trim screw and screw it into the hole, and it held for an entire month until I left.

 

In Vietnam at one of the big docks on the Saigon River, thieves stripped batteries and electrical equipment off two diesel-powered mobile cranes that we Seabees had been tasked with picking up. I jump-started one using thin metal wire picked up off the ground -- it got so hot that it turned red, and the guy holding it had to use rags to protect his hands. Another crane was stripped of its generator and tensioner, leaving the fan belt loose. I found the tensioner on the ground, and looked around until I found a nut and bolt that would just hold the tensioner in place, though the belt was loose. We cranked up and drove 10 miles with the van belt basically running in a big circle, barely touching any pulley -- but it was enough.

 

I was told of a Model T rod bearing burnout in the 1930s that was addressed on the side of the road by the insertion of a length of leather cut from a belt.  

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Wish to add that ONLY instances I can understand band-aid/patch repairs as somewhat permanent solution is if/when a person has a single, daily driver vehicle they depend on to get to earn enough to support themselves and/or their family, but don't have or make enough to afford better or more appropriate repairs or replacement.

 

WE are essentially discussing/talking about non-essential LUXURIES, apparently even including sailing yachts on the oceans and seas around the globe, all which vast majority of the worlds population can't even afford to dream or think about, let alone aspire to own or do.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, jrbartlett said:

I was driving a friend's XKE in San Diego back in 1969 before shipping out to Vietnam when I saw steam coming out from under the hood. The radiator had developed a pin hole in the tank. I was able to remove a trim screw and screw it into the hole, and it held for an entire month until I left.

 

In Vietnam at one of the big docks on the Saigon River, thieves stripped batteries and electrical equipment off two diesel-powered mobile cranes that we Seabees had been tasked with picking up. I jump-started one using thin metal wire picked up off the ground -- it got so hot that it turned red, and the guy holding it had to use rags to protect his hands. Another crane was stripped of its generator and tensioner, leaving the fan belt loose. I found the tensioner on the ground, and looked around until I found a nut and bolt that would just hold the tensioner in place, though the belt was loose. We cranked up and drove 10 miles with the van belt basically running in a big circle, barely touching any pulley -- but it was enough.

 

I was told of a Model T rod bearing burnout in the 1930s that was addressed on the side of the road by the insertion of a length of leather cut from a belt.  

Are you McGyver?

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I'll try and get the thread back on track. I haven't used it for a few years but I use to keep a tube of "Seal All" in my car tool bag and another tube in my shop at all times. I fixed rusty leaking gas lines, gas tanks, even a gray water tank in a borrowed camper. The only quick failure was a patch on my then young son's wading pool, too much flexing. Great stuff, you can even stop small active leaks with a couple of applications. A bandaid, yes but it does last a long time and if you forget to fix it right or it is too expensive, just patch it again. Most of my fixes last multiple years, some till I got rid of the vehicle.

61eYqu+hdcL._AC_SL1000_.jpg

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I used Seal All to fix a leaking gas tank after my hardware man told me he had watched someone fix a motorcycle tank that was leaking at the time.   I had tried the epoxy tank repair which failed first.   It is now 10 years later and still good.  Great stuff to have on hand with many uses.

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The old heavyweight (it did not say that on the can, but lightweight filler does say lightweight) plastic body filler stated right on the can it was good to seal leaking gas tanks, provided the area was dry of fuel during the cure time. I did it on a station wagon and the repair lasted over 10 years. Then I wanted to do it right, and sent it to a radiator repair shop (back when we had those) and it turned into a nightmare of pinholes, etc. I should have left the Slick (brand name) on it ....😉

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On 8/3/2022 at 8:31 AM, TTR said:

I don't see anything wrong with band-aid/patch repairs IF/WHEN "you just have to get home" (I've had to do such on more than few* times when driving hundreds of thousands of miles with antique/classic/vintage cars on two continents in past 40+ years, but none were intended as a permanent solutions) or thinking "outside of the box" (having lost my family in my mid teens and supporting myself since, I've done it pretty much all my life), but OP post seems to suggest his were not really intended as temporary solutions.

 

* I could write a book or two on all the roadside emergency repairs I've done ("just to get home"), but won't...

 

Just wanted to add that while I might drive my vintage cars, ranging from 65-90 year old examples, perhaps more than most here (several thousand combined miles annually. You ?) and carry, not only reasonable amount of tools along with service/spare parts, I also pack various adhesives/chemicals/lubes/etc, bailing wire, duct tape, tie-down straps, zip ties, etc, especially on long distance, i.e. more than couple of hundred mile trips, just in case should some unexpected roadside emergency repair need arise.

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