When my truck broke down it was frustrating, inconvenient and the thought of expensive repair bills kept running through my mind.
As mentioned in my last post, I had towed my truck to two different shops, and neither could figure out the issue. Then I took it to the local Ford dealership where it was for over 40 days!
Still, I was able to get around on my bike and handle the necessary errands everyday life brings. Over the past 3 weeks I was able to use a loaner truck the dealership provided but still found myself using my bike except for those times when it wouldn’t be safe because of what I was purchasing, specifically dog food and bottled water.
Then, last Friday I got a call from the dealer, he told me they had identified the problem, completed the repairs and I could pick it up that afternoon. I asked him what the issue was, and he said he would explain it all to me when I picked it up.
When I arrived at the dealership I waited while my service technician assisted other customers. Looking out on the near empty car lot shocked by the lack of vehicles available. There was not a pickup truck to be found! I read that there is a shortage of computer chips necessary to build the sophisticated cars of today and it was impacting dealerships across the country.
Then, he waived me up to his counter. I said to him “it’s been a long time; I’m really interested in learning what the problem was”. He printed off several pages of parts and labor that were needed to get my truck repaired and I remember thinking, this is going to be expensive!
After he pulled up several photos on his computer, he showed me what the problem was, a broken valve spring intake valve to cylinder 8. Not being a mechanic, it didn’t mean anything to me but a large repair bill! He continued explaining the problem to me in as simple terms as he could and going over the many steps they took to identify the problem and make the necessary repairs.
Then the moment of truth! I asked him what the damage was, and he told me that he was able to work with Ford to get it covered under warranty and my total bill was $100.00 for the deductible. WOW! What a huge relief!
We chatted a bit more, I thanked him, and he thanked me for my patience during the ordeal. We shook hands and he handed me my keys. Getting back in my truck felt wonderful!
Looking back over this event, I couldn’t help but feel that it happened when it did for a reason. By this time, I had planned on being in remote areas of Idaho with Ace, exploring, camping and enjoying this beautiful state. But, with Ace’s current health issues, I haven’t been able to get to those places as I had hoped . What if I had been able to get out and explore on my timetable? I may very well have been stranded in an area without cell phone service or near anyone that could have helped me. Not to mention, the costs of getting assistance in the rugged terrain!
I’m not going to say I’m glad this happened, that would be silly. But it has opened my eyes to what is possible when we don’t try too hard to figure out the events in our lives and why they happen when they do. When things don’t seem to be working out as we expect or on our timetable, trust that God has the perfect timetable for the events in our lives.
Sorry for the delay in updates! The photo above is my truck being towed on March 24, 2021. It's been in two shops and has been at the Ford Dealer since April 29th. The issue began when I topped off my fuel tank trying to stay a step ahead of the rising fuel prices. After filling the tank with less than 3 gallons, I started it up and tried to drive off. Wasn't happening! It acted as if it was out of gas which clearly it wasn't. I limped across the intersection to the fairgrounds parking lot and attempted to keep it running but it continuously kept stalling out. No other options, I called my insurance company and had it towed to my place. Several friends and neighbors came by offering to help me figure out the problem. I took it to a shop a neighbor recommended. They were certain it was a "spark issue". They replaced the plugs and coils but it didn't fix the issue. Another neighbor, a mechanic at a local shop ran several diagnostics and suggested I have it towed to his shop where they had better equipment and tools to diagnose the problem. Long story short, they couldn't figure out the issue and I had to have it towed from his shop to the Ford Dealer where it still is today.
I know next to nothing about engines and even Ford themselves have had a difficult time figuring this out. Exhaust? Manifold? Heads? They just haven't been able to get it fixed! They've ordered additional parts (don't ask me what they are) which are supposed to be in the middle of next week. The service tech seems to think they will correct the issue. If not, I don't know what the next step will be!
After several weeks at the dealer and without "transportation" I asked the dealer to PLEASE provide me a loaner vehicle which they did about 2 weeks ago. I'm still driving the truck they loaned me and it's been a relief when I need to buy large bags of dog food, bottled water or other heavy items. But, until I received the loaner vehicle, I've been getting around by my trusty bicycle! Going to the store, running errands and just going for rides around town. In fact, I've ridden more in the last 2 months than I have since I completed my ride across the country in 2017 and have been loving it! I've been using the panniers I had from my bike ride across America, to carry groceries and other items. It's amazing what you can accomplish on a bike!
This episode has been frustrating, not so much because I haven't been able to use my truck but because it has been so difficult to get properly diagnosed and fixed. For crying out loud, it's a pickup truck not a jet fighter!
Life will throw us curves, they can be short disturbances to our daily lives or go on for a long time as this incident has. But, we must adapt and make the best of it.
The one thing that I've always enjoyed is having the freedom to explore and go pretty much anywhere by any means. My bike ride was a great example of this. I've been working on building out my truck so I can be self sufficient at any time in any environment. Below are some early photos and videos of the progress I've made so far.
Using an old twin bed frame, my coworker cut down the frame for my bed that is 30" wide, 75 " long and 15" tall, leaving plenty of room to clear the fender well. It is also has metal plates at the bottom for stability.
As you can see in the above photo, the shell has the BedRug for added comfort and insulation. The top headliner is also covered and has rope lights (more about that in an upcoming video).
In my next post, I'll be showing the completed bed and storage as well as some of my survival gear.
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