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Old 08-25-2019, 09:16 AM   #1
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Whatís Your #1 MacGyver on the Road?

As most of us know all too well, thereís a reason many of carry a variety of items for quick repairs on the road: duct tape, clothes hangers, rope, rivets and rivet guns, well stocked tool boxes, etc. There are times when you have to improvise a bit to keep rolling. And, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Which can lead to some, err, pretty clever fixes. It would be fascinating to read some stories of MacGyver level fixes from this crowd. Iíll start with one of mine.

I swear this is a true story. A few years ago I was driving across the remote Eastern Oregon back country in a Ford Mustang towing a small trailer. Vicki and my oldest son, then an infant (well, maybe more than a few years ago), were with me. Suddenly the engine shut off. I coasted to the side of the absolutely empty highway and got out of the car. There was complete silence, peaceful and foreboding at the same time. This was before the days of cell phones and I was concerned about my young family.

I opened the hood and looked around. Fortunately I had had a misspent youth before my college days building hot rods and I knew a little bit about cars. I removed the distributor cap and discovered that the rotor was broken in half.

Now what? I didnít have a spare rotor and how was I going to repair a piece that spun at thousands of revolutions a minute? My only hope was to put it back together and pray that it held until we got to the next town, well over 100 miles away. I didnít have glue so out of desperation I used my wifeís fingernail polish remover. It did seem to melt the plastic just a bit and I pressed the two pieces together. Just to make sure I did a high quality job I reinforced things with a rubber band.

You might not think itís possible to hold your breath for over 100 miles but my wife and I did (John-John was busy pulling all of the Kleenex out of box). We made it!

Duct tape is OK, but fingernail polish remover is a must. Your turn.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:18 AM   #2
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Whatís Your #1 MacGyver on the Road?

I busted a roll pin in my PPP jack (2nd time - apparently I didnít learn from my first) and had no spares in the toolbox. Used a nail which was good enough to hitch up and get out to the highway and eventually to a big box store to buy a couple dozen spares which Iíve never needed since...

Was walking in my neighborhood the other day and one of the lawn company guys is walking around his trailer befuddled. I ask him whatís going on and he says he lost a pin that holds the gate of the trailer closed. I shared my vast knowledge of how nails can serve that purpose and I could tell it sunk in

Itís exceptionally rare that I can figure mechanical stuff out let alone offer any meaningful advice. That day I felt like a giant
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:31 PM   #3
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While at a rally, I made a huge rookie mistake and broke an awning arm.
So, I'm 600 miles from home and one side of the awning is on the ground.
I knew I'd have to rewind the spring to get it to roll and stow, so I bought the largest wire ties I could find, 30", and tie wrapped a 3' section of pipe (my breaker bar extension) to the broken arm. Using that, I managed to wind the spring and get the broken piece back into the rest of the arm. (thanks, Jeff)
Not only did it wind up, it looked normal once the pipe was removed. When I got home, I bought another arm section from ZipDee.
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:58 PM   #4
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Most of my MacGyver's are permanent adaptations from found objects...

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Old 08-26-2019, 06:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
I busted a roll pin in my PPP jack (2nd time - apparently I didnít learn from my first) and had no spares in the toolbox. Used a nail which was good enough to hitch up and get out to the highway and eventually to a big box store to buy a couple dozen spares which Iíve never needed since...

Was walking in my neighborhood the other day and one of the lawn company guys is walking around his trailer befuddled. I ask him whatís going on and he says he lost a pin that holds the gate of the trailer closed. I shared my vast knowledge of how nails can serve that purpose and I could tell it sunk in

Itís exceptionally rare that I can figure mechanical stuff out let alone offer any meaningful advice. That day I felt like a giant
Steve what size nail fits best? I havenít opened my jack but would like to have a few of the right size nail on hand.
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:20 PM   #6
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Last June me and the the better half were ocean side in gaspe region of quebec. We had a mild rain when I went to bed and decided against my better judgement to leave the awning open in our sport 22fb. The rain got heavier as wet slept. And when i woke up i checked the awning. I should of closed it the night before or at least sloped it. But i didn't and i realized there was a puddle accumulating and straining the arms. I decided to slowly push up on the awning to help the water leak off. As soon as I did....the rear arm bent into a U shape. ......F#$ck..... so I was stuck with a bent arm no where close to an airstream dealer or another rv dealer...... so I decided to fix it myself.

I had read in a previous airstream forum post how some brave soul had rebent or is that unbent the arm on his airstream using his hitch receiver as a folcrum ...... well I can honestly say that it can be done. 3 hrs later after bending and checking and rebending ...I managed to get it back to original shape. Only visual difference is the pits on the arm where I pried it. I smoothed out the pits using an exacto knife and smoothing it out. I'm still using it and you'd never know it had been bent if you didn't see the pits.
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:10 PM   #7
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After finding the rolling pantry shelf open and contents strewn about the trailer, I purchased a $4 brushed nickel window sash lock at Lowes. Now also installed on two other doors with failed latches.
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 69SoulShine View Post
Steve what size nail fits best? I havenít opened my jack but would like to have a few of the right size nail on hand.


I donít recall 8 penny maybe? But best to have the right roll pin available. I took the broken one to a big box store and got a bunch there. I donít recall the size. See if itís listed in the manual or if not - check with Sean at ProPride. Heíll know the exact size.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:07 PM   #9
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I once jump started my tow vehicle by using bits of wire to connect two battery drill battery packs (19.2v each) in parallel with my car battery.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:58 PM   #10
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Airstream wise, I changed the fuel pump on my tow vehicle at the Queen Mine RV Park..

I replaced the bracket that attach my Hensley jacks to the spring bars with sections of chain. This was at a Tractor Supply, I think in Big Spring, TX....

That was a few years ago, the chains are still there.

I had some road debris that bounced up and knocked a hole in my main propane line under the trailer.

I used epoxy to fill the hole and then wrapped the hole with silicone "pipe repair tape".....

I left that repair in place for a few months..... I mean it didn't leak....
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:00 PM   #11
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I once jump started my tow vehicle by using bits of wire to connect two battery drill battery packs (19.2v each) in parallel with my car battery.


I think you win so far.....
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Old 08-27-2019, 12:10 AM   #12
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Hi, the only one that I can think of was for my stove top. The plastic igniter knob was loose on the shaft so I stuffed some thin cardboard in the split of the shaft. This worked for a while.

One night, on our first day of our trip, we had two problems. One was the fact that my knob fix had failed just when my wife was going to make our dinner. The second problem was that we left all of our lighters at home, and we had about six of them, but none in our trailer. I was able to save the day by drilling two holes in the stove knob at opposite sides. [some trips, I left my drill at home] Then I used two Airstream cabinet screws, screwed inward toward the center shaft. This worked great.

After we got back home I ordered a complete igniter replacement kit. The new kit had a redesigned knob and shaft so this should never happen again.
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Old 08-27-2019, 02:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
I donít recall 8 penny maybe? But best to have the right roll pin available. I took the broken one to a big box store and got a bunch there. I donít recall the size. See if itís listed in the manual or if not - check with Sean at ProPride. Heíll know the exact size.
From someone who just replaced his broken pins in the field...theyíre 5/32 by 1 1/4Ē. At just about any Ace Hardware youíll see them in a bin marked ďTension Pins.Ē That particular size roll pin isnít stocked by every store, though, so call ahead before making the trip.

Sean told me they should also be available at any Home Depot or Loweís.

Jim
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Old 08-27-2019, 06:08 PM   #14
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Re: dead battery. Years ago, my wife loaned her '72 Caprice to a co-worker to make a trip to the Waco, TX police dept on 4th street. When he came back out, the battery was dead and a half-hearted attempt in getting a jump from someone was made. She called me at work and off I went, without verifying I had a set of jumper cables in my car.
When I arrived, no cables but I recalled a 'tip' I'd seen in Popular Mechanics years before: roll the cars' bumpers together (remember when these were metal?) then, unwind a coat hanger and attach each end to both cars' positive battery terminals.
Let the operational car just run a few minutes, charging the other vehicle's battery and disconnect the wire hanger. Sure enough, the Chevy started. Oh, and the article did mention NOT to try and crank the dead car with the coat hanger attached. That's another story...
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Old 08-28-2019, 04:51 AM   #15
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From someone who just replaced his broken pins in the field...theyíre 5/32 by 1 1/4Ē. At just about any Ace Hardware youíll see them in a bin marked ďTension Pins.Ē That particular size roll pin isnít stocked by every store, though, so call ahead before making the trip.



Sean told me they should also be available at any Home Depot or Loweís.



Jim


Thanks Jim. Once I put a dozen or so in my toolbox Iíve had no need for them

Get one a size smaller (thinner) too to hammer the broken pin out. I have a few of those. We also have Kermit chairs that use those pins (wider) and I have those in my toolbox too.
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:37 AM   #16
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Panty hose replacing a broken V belt on Sandra's '53 Victoria.

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Old 08-29-2019, 11:06 AM   #17
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Amazing! A lot of very clever folks on this forum. Keep Ďem coming!

Cheers,
John (on the road in the Oregon Blue Mountains)
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:35 PM   #18
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Speaking of batteries, when the cable is as tight as she can go, and it still spins on the post, you can run a screw down in there and that'll take care of it.

A proper bowl of water on the counter can get you pretty darn level at the campsite.

Not really McGyver, but that little button on the shower head can be used to adjust the flow rate.

Chapstick will work kinda like grease in a pinch.

As already stated, nails are always good for cotter pins.

A bicycle hanger screwed in to a broom handle makes for a good hook to grab stuff in the back of the truck. Drill a pilot hole first.

Now if you could list what you put in the goofy tube that's supposed to hold the sewer pipe I'd be grateful.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:05 PM   #19
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g

Now if you could list what you put in the goofy tube that's supposed to hold the sewer pipe I'd be grateful.
Hi, I ended up with a Dominator sewer hose kit. I think this is the best choice out there. What I like most is that each ten foot hose collapses down to three feet long. While driveway camping at a friend's house, I needed 45' of sewer hose to reach her clean out connection. [answer coming] Four of these hoses fit in my rear bumper storage compartment and the fifth one goes into the goofy tube.
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Old 09-05-2019, 09:50 AM   #20
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Coming off a 3 week trip to DC in the summer of 2018 we were about 60 miles from home when a fella pulls up next to me driving down the highway and motions for me to roll down my window. I hear him yelling "you're dragging..." What? I pull over to the side of the 4-lane, and discover the rear 6-7 feet of belly pan have fallen and are dragging the ground. And since the pan on my Excella provides the bottom of the bumper compartment, well all those stinky bits were somewhere back down the road and my shore power cord was dragging like a tail. Good grief.

MacGyver - took my daughters jump rope and tied up the pan as best I could (not much to tie to back there) and run the power cord through the rear window. It got me home and gave me a chance to primer and paint up the rear exposed frame and secure the pan better. In the picture you can see the hanger straps I used, along with some large washers to hold up the pan nice and tight. Pulled about 8000 miles since and no problems and no corrosion on the straps.

Now I carry some rope just in case... And no, I didn't go back hunting for the stinky stuff.
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