Ahhh, the good old days when you could actually work on your car, and do it on the side of the road (but before cell phones so you HAD to fix it there, or walk). For my first 15 years or so of driving, all my cars (and I went thru a few) were old junkers. Usually when faced with problems (many of them over the years) my focus on the side of the road was to just fix it well enough to get me to my destination where I could safely fix it right.
My two consumable materials that I always had on hand were duct tape (actaully capable of sealing spewing radiator hoses without turning off the car) and wire (or coat hangers, for exhaust and other issues). Apart from the standard small set of tools, my indespensible tool was a pair of vise grips.
The only thing you can do with a modern car is call AAA.
I have used WD-40 for so many things I've lost count. The WD in the name does refer to water displacement, but the number of times it is used for that application are probably a very small fraction of the overall uses!
Good story, Bob. If you fleshed it out a bit, we could use it as a Sherlock Ohms posting. You would just need to add a couple examples of your sleuthing to find out what was wrong and an explanation of how you finally figured it out.
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Had a Volvo that would run in all circumstances and temperatures except during very heavy show storms. The car would run fine until it just seemed to lose spark and die. It was so consistent I bought an extra coil and distributor cap "just in case". It turned out that the SU carburators (same as the ones on the MGB) would ice-up just behind the throttle plates. Stopping the engine allowed the heat conducted from the engine to melt the ice and the car would run for another 5 to 15 minutes depending on how hard it was snowing, the longer you shut it off, the more of the ice melted and thus the longer it ran before quitting again. This short paragraph in no way covers the tens of times I tried to troubleshoot this problem, of course always in near blizzard condtions. The fix was to make a shroud that covered the air cleaners with a snorkel that took air from the exhaust header. After making this, I found that it was available as a stock part for an earlier model year. It cut down on performance but the car soldiered-on for 375K miles through 13 winters. My 1920 Model-T has the same problem when driving in very thick fog.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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