Friday, January 15, 2016

Mechanical Mysteries And The Mid-Month Update

When we got home from camping last week, we were all healthy and happy and life was good. Dodge was getting his reward (some rest) after another successful journey to north Georgia and back. We were also celebrating the fact that Dodge had reached the milestone of 250,000 miles. Everything was great, or so we thought. Gary went downtown to get his mail at his PO Box in Casper, the white 2003 Dodge Cargo Van. The trip there was uneventful, but Casper's transmission started slipping badly on the way back. It took him a LONG time to get home with Casper constantly slipping in and out of gear. Luckily, he made it back without having to be towed. Casper sat for a few days while Gary scrambled to get ready for another trip, one that I reluctantly wasn't going to be a part of. In five short days from when we got home from our camping trip, Gary had planned to take Dodge, along with Henry the S.L.U.T. (Serro Lawn & Utility Trailer) up to his sister's farm. A large glass display case, a fence gate, and a trailer dolly were going to be hauled from our house to the farm, and forty sheets of rusty sheet metal that Gary is storing up there was scheduled to be brought back. Henry has never been far from home, and he has NEVER had his wheel bearings packed in the time that Gary has owned him. That was something that needed to be done before taking an 800 mile trip. As it turned out, Henry's outer wheel bearings were not in good shape. New ones were purchased, and they were much more expensive than any wheel bearings that Gary has ever replaced. Henry has an oddball axle, so the parts are pretty pricey. Henry's tires were also questionable for a long trip, so Gary decided to use my left side tire and my spare for Henry. You may recognize those red wheels and hubcaps. I'll have to admit that they look pretty good on him, but I want them back and SOON! I'm not too fond of balancing on a jackstand 24/7. With Henry ready to roll, Gary gathered everything else he was going to need for the trip. Everything was going well until the unthinkable happened. Dodge, who hadn't moved since we got home, was started up after his long rest. The unthinkable part was that he went from running great when we got home, to running badly just a few days later. Dodge ALWAYS runs good. What the heck happened? First Casper's totally unexpected transmission problems, and now Dodge's running issues. Mechanical mysteries for sure. The scheduled trip was cancelled. Casper got towed to AAMCO transmissions for an estimate on rebuilding. Unfortunately, the estimate was higher than what Casper is actually worth, so he returned home unfixed. He is now inside the garage with me, and Gary is using him for an indoor storage shed on wheels. It's really crowded in the garage with four vehicles, two trailers, and TONS of Gary's stuff, but we'll manage. Dodge runs, but not well. Gary is no mechanic, but he is doing his best to try to figure out what is wrong with our old buddy. There are no answers so far. More news (hopefully better) as 2016 continues.

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