From Redditor /u/Nevermind04:
My first vehicle was a 1985 dodge ram that had around 300k miles on it. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly reliable.
Anyway, my friend and I had tickets to go see a concert in a city that was about 3 hours away. We made it there just fine and had a blast at the concert. We couldn't afford to stay overnight so we started on the long journey home. If all went well, we would get home around 3AM.
There was one stretch of highway where there was 60 ish miles between towns. It's pretty much the worst place to break down on that journey. There were big signs warning travelers to fill up with gas before leaving town, but I had half a tank. My truck sputtered out... halfway between the two towns. It sure sounded like I ran out of gas but the gauge still showed half a tank. All had not gone well.
So there we were - 1:45 AM, stuck on the side of the highway in Texas, 30 miles from the nearest towns, no moonlight, and this was before teenagers had cell phones. We were screwed. After a bit of poking around with a flashlight, we discovered that we did have fuel but the fuel pump had died. We decided to sleep in the truck and mess with it in the morning.
On those old dodge trucks, the fuel pump was inside the engine instead of in the fuel tank like a modern vehicle. It was powered by the engine instead of an electric motor. Essentially, the fuel pump would constantly pump gasoline when the engine was running and gas would always be available for the carburetor float valve. The extra pumped gas would just go back into the gas tank.
I was just drifting off to sleep when I got an idea. I worked for almost an hour in the pitch dark. I used some extra hose from an agricultural fertilizer, a drink straw, screw clamps, and duck tape to rig the windshield fluid pump to pump fuel from the fuel line into the carburetor float line.
I got in my truck, hit the windshield fluid lever, and the truck started right up. It took a bit of trial and error but I was able to get the timing down where I knew how often to hit the lever to keep the truck running.
We made it back home just after 4:30AM. My dad wasn't immediately amused with my handy work, but he told all of his friends how clever his son was so I guess it passed the dad test.