Interesting automotive stories

So @draco’s thread about the idle brought up some memories of one of my previous vehicles.

I had an 86 Prelude that we used toothpicks in the throttle adjustment to keep it stable. It was an interesting car.

My brother in-law gave me the car as it had a bad clutch at 295,000 maybe miles.

Speedo cable has been replaced in it twice when I owned it, the speedo would squeak & oscillate right before it broke.

It would randomly die while driving but crank right back up.

Ultimately my sister-in-law killed it as she ended up splitting the transmission case on it.


I briefly owned an E30 that was the biggest absolute pile of megacrap. It had most of the floor still, everything was super worn. but the best part was that the car had been turbroed. They flipped the exhaust manifold poorly welded a turbo flange on it and grabbed a turbo off a cummins and slapped it on there. Im pretty sure it never really made boost. The turbo drain was a piece of flex hose run in to a hole in the valve cover that also served as a pcv valve and windshield oiler. It had no idle control valve, and the hole it lived it was replaced with a shotgun shell because apparently it fit. The exhaust off the turbo was a 90* elbow with a flapper made from a soup can lid welded to the top of it. When you drive it the exhaust would pour in the passenger side window that couldnt be rolled up and slowly kill you. I miss that car, it was a magnificent shitbox…


My first car was a 1971 Datsun 240Z.
Black vinyl interior in Texas without A/C. I get all sweaty just thinking about it. Not to mention the second degree burns on the back of my thighs from the hot vinyl.

When I got it, i didn’t have a drivers license. (I had a learners permit for about 6 years) So, I (re)learned driving on the road coupled with 4 on the floor. For the first six months after getting my license, I had a very circuitous route to work and back home again that involved as many traffic lights NOT at the top of a hill as possible. Coordinating three pedals takes some time to master…

I learned a lot about cars owning that thing.
Pretty much, it would automatically turn in whenever we passed my mechanics shop. Dual carbs are such a joy. Not. In any case, I named her Roseanne Roseannadanna, because “there was always something.”

Because it was rated as a “muscle car” by insurance companies, insuring it was $$$$. Big I-6 motor with the aforementioned dual carbs. But puny little two-seater car. Driving in rain was scary as shit, because all the weight was over the front axle in a rear wheel drive car. Fishtailing was the norm. (Shudder)

One fun experience was having a windshield wiper break off during a rainstorm, driving on LBJ. Twisted metal scraping along the glass with every swipe. Yay! I pulled over, and puzzled over what to do. I found a bandana in the car (probably for hot-day road trips) and decided to remove the offending broken part and wrap up the remaining wiper-stump in the bandana. Later, managed to find a car parts store somewhere on Harry Hines. Counter guy was impressed with my temporary solution, and put the replacement wiper on gratis as my reward.

But my overall experiences allowed me to correctly diagnose a failed master cylinder for the clutch on my dad’s Corolla. And a failing water pump on someone else’s car. And bad suspension struts on a subsequent vehicle… While I sometimes miss the fun of stick shift (except when stuck in a traffic jam), I do appreciate a/c in Texas, light-colored interiors, and

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I had a '91 Geo Storm in highschool; it was given to me as a birthday present and already had 200k miles on it when I got it.

I remember it blowing a head gasket while driving and doing a road-side replacement after walking to an Autozone that was “nearby” (~2 miles) to get replacement parts. Of course, this was before I knew that it could warp, so I had to do this a couple more times due to warping of the head.

Of the 8 vehicles I’ve owned, all but two have been three-pedal and only 1 two-pedal was a daily driver. The novelty of the manual has all but come to an end and the automakers have finally begun to make slushboxes that have acceptably low levels of hesitation and indecision to the point that they might actually be enjoyable to drive. As such I expect my next daily driver to have an automatic transmission of some flavor - or perhaps no transmission at all vis-a-vis a fixed reduction gear.

But this is about stories I suppose.

The daily driver I had with a slushbox was a 1989 Acura Integra. The transmission in that car was almost tolerable for a 1980s 4 speed automatic - especially with the “S” setting that would … encourage … early downshifting and late upshifting.

The vehicle reached a point where the engine would stop randomly. Switch the key to off, restart without issue. It got progressively worse to the point that it would not reliably stay running and even the stop-restart trick would fail. It was a baffling problem and I didn’t have the money for exploratory repairs. I stumbled across the solution during the usual stop-restart circus - I managed to hold the key after finally restarting, slowly released pressure, it started to sputter, I continued to release pressure, and it recovered. Bad switch. I experimented with a means to maintain position and settled on a pair of vicegrips on the key with a wad of poster putty to de-bounce the vice grips - sufficient for a single leg of a journey so long as I managed not to touch the apparatus with my thigh.

Of course this was merely a semi-robus kluge so I eventually, gruidgingly, coughed up the then-astronomical amount of money that a fancy Integra ignition switch went for (~$300) vs a Civic switch (~$50) that Should Have Been Compatible™.

How she do this? :expressionless:

I train to drive without windshield wipers mostly because I had an incident with a former cars windshield wiper motor. It was either my 84 Delta 88 or my 97 Chevy Cheyenne.

When I was 16, I had an 84 Mercury Cougar XR7, we were on my way home from somewhere in Plano. At Plano Parkway & 121 my brake line/hose decided to let go. That was the longest 3 miles I drove home extremely slowly. We went down the alleys in The Colony, we had a car pull out in front of us where we then jumped out of the car & I steered it to an awaiting trash can. This was also the only place where we had to go downhill.

I lost (got impounded) my sisters 91 CRX due to a clutch going out on Plano Parkway. Had we pushed it to the right side of the road instead of the Grass median, it wouldn’t have been towed. What can I say I was 16 & we didn’t have any cell phones. I didn’t quite have the understanding of full coverage insurance either, which had towing. Not even sure how we got home. That was an interesting car to get my friends into.

Not sure, she has always been hell on cars. She learned to drive a standard on that car. I dont think she drives any different today either. She scares the living hell out of my kids & wife when she drives. When she signals to turn on the highway, she is immediately in the next lane.

Last year we were driving the Cruel Bus out to Wasteland when we had a real fun time. We were about an hour east of Kingman, AZ and I was following behind when @PearceDunlap comes on the radio and says the bus is vibrating a bit. Before we can safely pull over to check, there’s a bang and smoke/dust/debris comes flying out from under the bus.

Turns out the fan clutch had seized up slightly off-axis and begun to wobble real bad, which caused the bad/worn spot weld holding on a fan blade to break. The blade shot off the fan, blasting through both coolant lines coming from the radiator, rapidly dumping all of the coolant. The rest of the fan then shook violently while Pearce came to a stop on the shoulder, completely breaking the water pump by bending the shaft (the fan was attached to it) and even going so far as to knock the alternator loose.

Many hours of and a few trips into town for parts, we replaced the fan, fan clutch, water pump, and alternator. But we were having trouble burping the system, it seemed like there was air that just wouldn’t come out. Turns out the rapid unplanned disassembly had also damaged the thermostat. Since we didn’t really need to worry about running too cold, we pulled it and that solved the issue and we were back on the road.

And that was just one of the times the Cruel Bus broke down on that trip.


My current car (2000 Honda S2000) is a standard - my first one. When I bought the car a friend dropped me off at the dealer to pick it up. I had never driven a stick, so I actually had to ask the sales guy, “could you show me how to drive this thing?” He thought I was joking - but I wasn’t. And then after my 10 minute lesson I got into it and drove it home via Central Expressway!


To the story of the rocks in my hub caps,
In about 2004 I drove an E350 with the dog dish style hubcaps. A guy I worked with could be a prankster, he took those hub caps off & then put rocks inside them. I drove around for about a week with them in there. We were at our job when our boss showed up, The prankster pulled the rocks back out & said “ He(the boss) may not find it nearly as funny as I do” Same guy put 36” wire ties on our project managers drive shaft on the company truck. It was interesting to say the least.

We do commonly like to screw around with each other’s vehicles, not as much as we used to. We had 2 guys who’s vans for some reason of another keyed the same. My buddy got into the others guys van while at the shop & drove it around the front from out back.

We will sometimes throw bumper stickers on each other’s van. I had a magnetic sign I’d throw on the back of peoples vans. It made its rounds on a lot of vans. This is or is close to the magnet that made its rounds