Shade Tree Mechanics
I was wondering. What is the most unusual shade tree fix you have seen that actually worked.
I have several but this is mine. I spent a year in Southeast Asia. My 1966 Dodge was stored at my parents place. I had asked them to start the car occasionally but they didn't. I got back to home in Indiana, charged the battery, changed the oil and tried to start the 440 ci magnum. Bad stuff happened. I had absolutely no money and had to report to duty in California in two weeks.
I went to a local mechanic who owned a welding shop. He knew me. I was best friends with his nephews. He towed the car in. It had three frozen valves each of which bent a pushrod. He carefully matched a socket to the rocker arm and hit it with a hammer to free the valves. I objected when he did but he said to trust him. He then pulled the pushrods and straightened them. I told him it wouldn't work but he often did precision welding and told me it would.
We put the motor back together. It ran great. I warmed it up drove it for a week and took it to the "old quarter" where I had no trouble turning a 13 second quarter. I then left for California. No problem. I actually drove it across country several times before I eventually totaled it.
I still cannot believe he freed the valves using a hammer and a socket, eye straightened the pushrods and it ran that good.
P.S. The year was 1971. Technology has changed considerably but there are still things shade tree mechanics can do. For example, in 2012 after paying a "stealership" over $1,000 to fix my truck it broke down again probably 60-75 miles from home. When I picked it up they said there were no codes. I told them it was running really bad. They told me it was the spark plugs. BS. I tried to make it home, but didn't. I paid to have it towed home. My repair shop is owned by a guy my age. He uses computer but still knows the old way. He was, within a half hour, able to determine it was a clogged cat and he didn't need a damn computer to tell him that.
My opinion: If you find a repair shop that is really good and you trust don't go anywhere else.
ProCharger P-1SC, 9 psi, STD 396/383; Uncorrected 388/375; SAE 383/370.
USAF 1969-1973,1980-1996: Vietnam veteran. Aircraft maintenance. R & D, ICBM Operations.
Also own: 1997 Harley FXDWG, 1998 F-150, and 2002 Corvette LS1