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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is not exactly a survivalist question although it has relevance to the subject. It's something that's bugged me ever since it happened. And I’m almost embarrassed to admit how long ago it happened, but here goes.

This is in the 1970s, before cars become totally computerized. My car broke down and a guy came to two damsels in distress, that is me, and my sister. He gets under the car & checks things out. Comes up for air and asks me if I have a bobby pin. I did, and give it to him. He gets under the car & performs the miracle repair with the bobby pin.

He tells us to go to a mechanic ASAP and have the mechanic put a “cotter pin in in the *****”. And this is where my memory gets hazy and I wish I had taken notes, because I don’t remember where he told us to put the cotter pin in. The asterisks aren't covering up a curse, they are placeholders for my faulty memory.

I know what a cotter pin is but not where he put it.

What do people here think he did? Was it something in the axle? :xeye:
 

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Made In Detroit
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Maybe on a Carb linkage? Linkage for an auto transmission steering wheel shaft mounted/ or floor mounted shifter?

Cotter pins are sometimes used with "Castle Nuts" for steering components/ holding the castle nut on the spindle bolt tight for wheel bearings on front wheels, etc.

Once for an emergency roadside repair, I used a small finishing nail bent with needle nose pliers to limp back home where I had plenty of different sized cotter pins in my tool box.
 

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So you know what a cotter pin is now.
Do you understand it's function?
As others have guessed it secured some kind of linkage. Most likely.
Without the malfunction it's a big guessing game.
 

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Please answer the questions posed by the members above, a bobby pin is a POOR substitute for an appropriate sized cotter pin in almost EVERY instance and is at best a TEMPORARY "fix" (and it ISN'T much of a "fix").

Have you taken the car in for service?

What originally went wrong when as you say the "car broke down"?

This from an experienced PROFESSIONAL mechanic automobile/truck/bus/coach and some motorcycles and boats since 1981. I rebuilt my first engine at age 14 in '77
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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Please answer the questions posed by the members above, a bobby pin is a POOR substitute for an appropriate sized cotter pin in almost EVERY instance and is at best a TEMPORARY "fix" (and it ISN'T much of a "fix").

Have you taken the car in for service?

What originally went wrong when as you say the "car broke down"?

This from an experienced PROFESSIONAL mechanic automobile/truck/bus/coach and some motorcycles and boats since 1981. I rebuilt my first engine at age 14 in '77
it happrnrd 50 yrs ago
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LULZ, it probably happened in 1978. That is 39 years ago, not quite 50, but horrifyingly close enough.

I cannot remember exactly how the car “broke down” other than we were in a parking lot – so perhaps I turned the ignition, and it wouldn’t move. But I cannot swear to that.

Of course, I realize that a bobby pin isn’t a cotter pin, but it did get us to the nearest service station.

What happened there? I can’t remember.

One more thing. If this was a VW bug, and it might have been, it was a manual shift. But I can’t swear to that either.

I realized that this was a long shot. The moral of the story is if you have to remember something, write down all the particulars. The only things I remember for sure is that he got under the car & used the bobby pin to secure something & told us to ask for a cotter pin for…..whatever.....
 

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Of course, I realize that a bobby pin isn’t a cotter pin, but it did get us to the nearest service station.
A "Bobby pin" can work every bit as well as a "cotter pin." Cotter pins are not intended to be strong or take any torque. Only down side to a make-shift pin might be lack of corrosion protection and having it rust off in a year.

There are many sorts of light-duty fasteners on cars and trucks that do not handle any torque-load. Cotter pins, split-pins, push-on caps, hair-pins, 'Jesus-pins", etc. Sometimes a makeshift fastener works just as well as what the factory used.

Hey, a lot of "safety pins" are made from stainless steel and will outlast plain steel cotter pins. That said, I used stainless steel cotter pins in my boat props.
 

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I keep a variety of cotter pin sizes in my workshop, cause I'll not stop and run to a hardware store for a pin. They are relatively inexpensive, as repair items go, so stock up on a variety of sizes NOW. It's a simple prep.

CB
 

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I think the OP should probably work on memory function before starting any more of these, way back when, something happened to me but I'm not sure what. Or why. Or where. Or with whom.
Maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think the OP should probably work on memory function before starting any more of these, way back when, something happened to me but I'm not sure what. Or why. Or where. Or with whom.
Maybe.
I don't intend to make a practice of this. It was just something that was bothering me, and I thought that the incredibly helpful and knowledgeable people in this forum might be able to help. Even if they didn't have the answer to this specific question, I've always found the twists and turns that these conversations take to be very thought-provoking.

I have a suggestion of my own. If you think that a threat is particularly stupid, just ignore it.
 

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Made In Detroit
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LULZ, it probably happened in 1978. That is 39 years ago, not quite 50, but horrifyingly close enough.

I cannot remember exactly how the car “broke down” other than we were in a parking lot – so perhaps I turned the ignition, and it wouldn’t move. But I cannot swear to that.

Of course, I realize that a bobby pin isn’t a cotter pin, but it did get us to the nearest service station.

What happened there? I can’t remember.

One more thing. If this was a VW bug, and it might have been, it was a manual shift. But I can’t swear to that either.

I realized that this was a long shot. The moral of the story is if you have to remember something, write down all the particulars. The only things I remember for sure is that he got under the car & used the bobby pin to secure something & told us to ask for a cotter pin for…..whatever.....
From my foggy memory of way back in 1978 when I graduated from High School and then joined the Marine Corps - WV Bugs were equipped with manual transmissions with a clutch.

Where did the guy crawl under the vehicle at?
Drivers side door?
From the rear by the engine?

I have never owned a VW Bug, so I have no idea what the different linkages looked like.

I based my earlier observations from working on my 4 door 1969 Pontiac Catalina way back then, which was my 1st car that Dad paid $100 dollars for.
 

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I replaced the clutch in a VW once. It's in the back - right in front of the engine. VW's keep the engine in the trunk and the spare tire under the hood. Weird.
 

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I replaced the clutch in a VW once. It's in the back - right in front of the engine. VW's keep the engine in the trunk and the spare tire under the hood. Weird.
Odder yet - many of he older air-cooled VWs used the spare tire to power the windshield wipers that ran on an air-motor. If you used them too long , the spare went flat and they stopped.
 

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Some VW's had a manual automatic (stick shift sans clutch), that was interesting. I had a beetle, super beetle and Corvair with rear engines. The shift linkage was problematic on all 3


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