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  #1  
Old 23 December 2008, 11:39 AM
catty5nutz catty5nutz is offline
 
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Default Using panty hose as a temporary fan belt

I have often heard that if the fanbelt in your car goes bust, and you are in the middle of nowhere, you can use a pair of pantyhose or a stocking as a temporary measure.

Is this true? I would have thought that pantyhose or stockings would melt in the heat of the engine.
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  #2  
Old 23 December 2008, 02:09 PM
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Never heard this before.

I imagine you'd have a time getting something as inherently stretchy as pantyhose to get up the required tension to act as a fanbelt. Why not just use a few rubber bands?

Wonko
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  #3  
Old 23 December 2008, 02:13 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
 
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It would work (as a temporary measure, as it would tend to stretch); the fanbelt is not in a particularly hot area of the engine compartment and certainly not hot enought to melt nylon (and silk does not melt).

In practice it would be quite possible to drive a car long enough to reach a garage without a working fan before the engine overheats
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  #4  
Old 23 December 2008, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WonkoTheSane View Post
Never heard this before.

I imagine you'd have a time getting something as inherently stretchy as pantyhose to get up the required tension to act as a fanbelt. Why not just use a few rubber bands?

Wonko
I've heard it loads of times, but I'm very dubious.

I think the idea is based on the notion of it being night-time and/or remote, hence no shps or garages available. If there is a woman in the car there is a good chance she might be wearing hose.

Not such a good chance that anyone in the car will have a large number of rubber bands about them.
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  #5  
Old 23 December 2008, 02:55 PM
FullMetal FullMetal is offline
 
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Anecdote here...

returning from camping one day, we had gotten back on the highway, when the fanbelt snapped on our motorhome. we couldn't drive the way it was so we pulled over, unhitched the boat, and flagged down a passing truck, they drove us 10 minutes down the road to get a fanbelt from a garage. when we got back we realized we got the wrong size, the nice guy had already left us. at this point mom remembered that story, and grabbed a pair of her pantyhose. and we wrapped it up, started the motorhome, and were able to limp back to the garage to get the right fanbelt.

barely, by the time we got there, the pantyhose was shredded and ready to give but we were there...
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  #6  
Old 23 December 2008, 04:12 PM
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It is not the cooling fan that you are worried about but the water pump. You can go a long ways without a fan. In fact most race cars do not have a radiator fan. But you can not go far at all without a water pump to circulate water through the engine.
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  #7  
Old 23 December 2008, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullMetal View Post
Anecdote here...

returning from camping one day, we had gotten back on the highway, when the fanbelt snapped on our motorhome. we couldn't drive the way it was so we pulled over, unhitched the boat, and flagged down a passing truck, they drove us 10 minutes down the road to get a fanbelt from a garage. when we got back we realized we got the wrong size, the nice guy had already left us. at this point mom remembered that story, and grabbed a pair of her pantyhose. and we wrapped it up, started the motorhome, and were able to limp back to the garage to get the right fanbelt.

barely, by the time we got there, the pantyhose was shredded and ready to give but we were there...
I have seen it as well, I don't remember the particulars, but it lasted long enough.

The problem with this is that most modern cars use a serpentine belt that runs all the belt driven stuff--water pump, air conditioning, power steering and alternator--from one belt. The panty hose trick sort goes out the window.
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  #8  
Old 23 December 2008, 06:41 PM
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I have also seen this. It is a very short-term emergency measure. In the mid 1990s I spent a few weeks temping in a fleet car dept. I had a car returned with tights used as a fanbelt. The borrower told us this when he returned it and the donor of the tights claimed for replacements. They should have called out the roadside repair service, but I think they were in a hurry to get back to site.
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  #9  
Old 24 December 2008, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
It is not the cooling fan that you are worried about but the water pump. You can go a long ways without a fan. In fact most race cars do not have a radiator fan. But you can not go far at all without a water pump to circulate water through the engine.
I always thought it was for the generator, so that the spark plugs would keep working.
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  #10  
Old 24 December 2008, 10:08 AM
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...and if she still doesn't believe you, you can always try a last gasp gambit that a bra cup makes a good emergency distributor cap.
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  #11  
Old 24 December 2008, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SatansHobbit View Post
...and if she still doesn't believe you, you can always try a last gasp gambit that a bra cup makes a good emergency distributor cap.
Anything to get some oil on your dipstick eh?
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  #12  
Old 24 December 2008, 10:22 AM
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Stalled years ago, mate.

Haven't had an oil change, or needed one, for eighteen years.
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  #13  
Old 24 December 2008, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SatansHobbit View Post
Stalled years ago, mate.

Haven't had an oil change, or needed one, for eighteen years.
Maybe you need to get your emissions checked then
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  #14  
Old 24 December 2008, 01:21 PM
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Not since the vasectomy
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  #15  
Old 24 December 2008, 01:34 PM
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Not really an answer to the question, but this 1980 ad for Pretty Polly perpetuates the notion.

(if anyone knows a synonym for 'notion' that begins with 'p' then please complete the alliteration. )

Last edited by Eddylizard; 24 December 2008 at 01:56 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #16  
Old 24 December 2008, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
Not really an answer to the question, but this 1980 ad for Pretty Polly perpeuates the notion.

(if anyone knows a synonym for 'notion' that begins with 'p' then please complete the alliteration. )
Pretty Polly perpeuates the possibility?
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  #17  
Old 24 December 2008, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
Pretty Polly perpeuates the possibility?
Nicely done, thank you.
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  #18  
Old 24 December 2008, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
I always thought it was for the generator, so that the spark plugs would keep working.
The electrical system can run for some time on the battery alone.
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  #19  
Old 24 December 2008, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
I always thought it was for the generator, so that the spark plugs would keep working.
I believe a car will travel farther without an alternator than without a water pump. The battery will keep the plugs firing for a time. And Richard is correct, it is the water pump that is critical, but as the fan is mounted to the water pump assembly, it is generally referred to as the fan belt. The panty hose trick can actually be used to replace any single belt on a multi-belt engine. But as the fan/water pump belt is the most critical, it usually gets mentioned most. Lose a power steering or A/C belt and so what. The car can be driven to a shop without those systems.
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  #20  
Old 24 December 2008, 05:24 PM
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In no particular order:

I can see pantyhose driving a low-torque accessory for a few miles on deep v-groove pulleys of 3L or 4L sizes (.4" or .5" deep). My Triumph Spitfire could maybe have done that.

But these days, as Centex points out, most cars are using serpentine belts. In a serpentine installation, the belt is relatively flat and wide, and runs on pulleys with four to six ridges that match shallow grooves in the belt. Also, its most common to drive three or five accessories on a single long belt that winds through a complex path, hence the term "serpentine." The flatness of these newer belts makes them easier to bend, so they have lower friction losses and last longer, and since you only need one or two for all the accessories it's less weight, easier to service, and easier to assemble at the factory. But I think it would be nearly impossible to make an improvised belt out of pantyhose that would stay on serpentine belt pulleys and would follow the belt path without snagging.

Yes, the water pump is the most important accessory, especially on modern engines with so many plastic components (my Neon has plastic intake manifold, plastic coolant distribution inlets and outlets, plastic valve cover, and plastic camshaft position sensor). If you run those engines into the red on the temperature gauge, often times you will soften a lot of that plastic stuff and it won't fit right and it will leak and your engine will be unhappy forever more. But these days a lot of engines drive the water pump directly off of the timing belt, so a loss of the serpentine belt will leave you some limp-home margin.

Yes, the alternator is an important accessory, and without it you're pulling power out of the battery to run the required engine systems. Back in the day, you could run for hours on the battery alone if you kept the headlights off, I did that many times when alternators quit or the drive belt broke. But that was with a mechanical fuel pump, a carburetor, and breaker points ignition that only needed electrical power to charge the coil that makes the high-tension impulse for the spark plugs. Breaker points ignition with a 12 volt battery will make enough spark to run a warm engine down to only 7 or 8 volts. On modern cars, the fuel pump draws about as much power as the headlights, and the electronics that run the the fuel injection and ignition functions draws a bunch, and none of it is happy below about 10 volts. So if you lose the alternator or its drive belt, you're probably looking at well under an hour of run time even with the headlights and other accessories turned off.

Thanks, Bob K.
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