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The Young And The Clueless

2539 Views 3 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Mr Mac
As many of you know, I live and work in two different places so I commute weekly to work and on the weekends I'm here at the house doing the things I need to do. While it isn't easy, by any stretch of the imagination, God has us going through a period that He knows we can suffer through due to a strong marriage based on His love and our faith.

This past Friday I was on my way home and I got within a few miles of the IL/MO state line when the computer in my truck informed me that I needed to look at my charging system. Three minutes later the truck went dark and I pulled off the highway and on to a side road in the middle of East St Louis; not the place to be after dark, mind you.

As I am a person who believes that everything that happens to and around me is by design, I left it to God to take care of me. As the truck came to a rest in a turnaround area of this small highway, a set of flashing red, blue and amber lights lit the whole area and a tow truck pulled up in front of me. The younger gentleman asked what the problem was and I told him I was pretty sure my alternator (a 130 amp upgraded alternator=not cheap) had just given up the ghost on me.

We spoke for a few minutes and while he was already on another call he assured me he would return and tow my truck to the location of my choosing. Since the dealership I bought it at also has my warranty and takes care of our vehicles had already told me to have it towed to their shop that is what we had set up.

As promised, the driver returned about a half hour later and started to do what he does and hooked me up to his rollback truck. Since the battery was dead, he told me that he would have to drag my truck up onto the flatbed. It had been raining and the temp was already below freezing and the ground beneath my truck was predominantly ice so I figured, why not, you cannot really damage a vehicle too much by pulling it across the ice and onto a slick metal bed, so, that's what he did.

Anyone here ever been anywhere near a professional tow truck driver before? If you have, then you already have in mind what I had in mind at that point but decided to yield to the expert.

We got the truck secure (only one chain in the rear) and off we went. As we drove I asked how much it would be for the tow and he told me it was $75 hook up and $2.50/mile and that since it was bout forty miles it should be $180 for the trip. Not bad overall but I had already mapped our trip using the GPS in my phone and told him the trip was only 33 miles and that his math was wrong and that the bill should only be $158.50. "Right," he returned, "that's what it should be." I should have had him drop it right then and there and call another company, but we were already rolling, so...

When we got to the shop they had already closed up for the day and they have a key drop so that wasn't an issue. My wife had already arrived there and was waiting so I had him let me out while he maneuvered his truck to drop mine off. As I was sitting in the Jeep talking to my wife I looked over and saw my truck up in the air sitting on the flatbed with the wheels off the back end.

I walked...well, almost ran, to the driver to see what was going on and he said that since the battery was dead and we couldn't get the transmission into neutral that this was how he had to get my truck off the bed. "Don't you carry a portable jump starter in your truck where we could have gotten enough power to the brake switch to release the shifter?!?"

His reply was priceless; "Oh."

When I picked up my truck from the shop with the new alternator installed I headed home via the highway and noticed a wicked vibration in the whole truck and my check engine light was lit! I went back to the shop and they looked at it and said that the intake air temperature sensor was left disconnected and that surely would make the truck run rough. With that fixed I started home again only this time I took a different route since I had to stop on the way home and I didn't feel any vibrations.

Today I was driving to get a haircut and when I got on the highway I felt that vibration again but no light. I called the shop and spoke to one of the guys and I asked him if a bent drive shaft or lost counter weight might cause that and he said it would indeed and to bring it back and he'd look at it. Sure enough, there were fresh scars on the drive shaft but all the weights were there. He spun the rear wheel and you could see the bend in the drive shaft!

I immediately called the tow company and they said to bring it on by and they would look at it for me but, no promises. At that I told the gentleman on the phone that if I drove out there it would be on the highway and with a bent shaft I would risk further damage to the yokes, U-joints and even the output shaft of the transmission or the yoke on the differential. He told me that was my choice.

I called my insurance company and they took care of the whole thing under my comprehensive coverage and hit the tow company's insurance company up for the bill already! Last I heard it was going to be about $400 for a new drive shaft (incl. labor) balanced to my truck and another $100 for the towing from the house back to the shop and they are also charging them for my rental (brand new Chevy Z71) at $40/day!

Mind you, this is not an indictment of all young people...just some who drive tow trucks.
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By the way, for my truck, the brake-shift interlock override button is under the console trim plate, a 30 second job to access! Had I known what was going on I could have offered suggestions just to keep me from having to drive a Chevrolet (Cracked Heads Every Valve Rattles Oil Leaks Electrical Terrors) all week!
The Rental

The rental truck feels like a tin can! While it's pretty (sorta), it just doesn't feel right.

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Got a call today from the shop and they told me they would like to reject the drive shaft they were sent. The mechanic said that while it would work it just wasn't balanced right and he wasn't impressed with it. "Looks like they made it on a Friday," he told me. They should have another one in today.

Just gotta love a shop that looks out for their customers!
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