The truck got broke!

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Thursday, November 22, 2007

It's raining acorns and snowing leaves as I start writing this. The temperature is awesome, though a little breezee. I'm parked underneath some oak trees and when the wind picks up it rattles the branches and a bunch of acorns come crashing down onto the roof of the trailer. Sounds like a hail storm. Which is annoying now, but when it's been doing it all night long....well...what can I say? The leaves in the trees are mostly yellow. So when the wind picks up they fall down in bunches, which is actually quite pretty...almost like a snowstorm...but in yellow.
So I'm stuck here for a few days. Yesterday afternoon I was heading out for a bike ride when a campground attendant came over and gave me a message to call the Ford Dealership. Since I was heading out, I rode my bike over there to chat. They had tried calling my cell phone but their phone system wouldn't allow a call to a Canadian number. So they called the campground office. They had to order in the shocks and they weren't expected until sometime today. The mechanic also wanted to talk to me to clarify what kind of noise was coming from the rear of the truck. These things are often difficult to pin point and they didn't want to be going out on a wild goose chase. After discussing what I was hearing the general consensus was that it was the ring & pinion in the differential. They'd have to order the parts in. Told them I'd drop back in today to see what the ETA would be for the repairs to be completed (it's only a 3 block walk). Estimated cost to repair....a lot more than I'd like...but less than it could be if I ever got stranded because the parts blew up.
From there I go for my bike ride. The Town of Fort Mill has a population of about 8000 and is about a hour drive from downtown Charlotte. It's mostly newer housing in the area where I am. The streets I end up on are new upscale houses with most of them backing onto a lake. I see one house that is for sale. There's a box in front of it with leaflets on the house specs and the asking price listed. This house would sell for way over a million in Calgary. It's a lot lower here. As I'm riding, people in cars drive by and wave. Everybody in this town is just so nice. I head back to the camper. Grab something to drink and sit outside in my shorts and t-shirt enjoying the sun.
After a while I decide to come in and do some research. Exactly what is a ring and pinion on a rear differential and how does this whining noise become an issue. Looks like this is a common problem on Ford trucks and Explorers. Symptoms reported sounds just like what I have. Some people have had their vehicle repaired a couple times, and the problem comes back, and others have driven quite far without having it fixed. Ford has also issued a service bulletin for this issue and have a repair kit to fix the problem. So now I have a dilemma. Some people have said you can go a long time without repairing the problem and others have had the repair done and it starts over again fairly quickly. So do I spend the money and get it fixed or wait and see if it does develop into something major? My problem is that I have anxiety issues about cars breaking down. One summer when I was about 12 the family went on a trip heading west. We were pulling a travel trailer behind the car in a windy rain storm when the transmission stopped working. My dad pulls over and when we get out we notice that the transmission had overheated and was on fire. He quickly uncouples the trailer in case the car blows up. With the rain water we were able to put the fire out...or for whatever other reason the fire went out. We get towed into the nearest campground. For a 12 year old this was extremely traumatizing. Years later, I'm driving back alone through Northern Ontario from College just north of Montreal when my car develops a transmission leak. I'm stuck in this tiny town all weekend until the garage can get my car fixed. A few years after that, driving through Saskatchewan in the middle of a cold spell in the dead of the middle of the night...the fuel pump stops working on my car. Luckily, if I kept the RPMs up the suction created by the engine kept the fuel flowing. We get home without getting stuck on the side of the road.
So I have issues about cars and long drives. To add to the concerns with the rear differential, in July, as I was leaving on that East Coast Adventure, the front seal developed a leak the night before leaving. A friend fixed that for me early the following morning so that we could leave. We get to the campground quite late and I explain to the attendant the reason why. He tells me he had a camper in a couple of weeks earlier who's rear differential blew up and it took a couple weeks to find one in a junk yard and it still cost over $4000 to repair. So my motto is...better be safe than sorry. My truck was getting fixed no matter what the cost.
Get up this morning, have breakfast, then walk over to the Ford Dealership. Want to find out what the status of my truck is. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and everything is closed. If the truck isn't ready today I'll have to wait until Friday. I get there and they tell me they've received the ring & pinion parts but the shocks haven't arrived. The mechanic works till 6 and the dealership is open till 7. Tell them I'll be back later.
I'm still reading my physics and math book on Einstein's Dream. I know....nice, light, summertime reading. But it's extremely interesting. Big Bang Theories. Age of the Universe discussions. Black holes. Cosmological Controversies. Enjoy the sun some more. Go for another bike ride...different area. More awesome homes. Found another beautiful house for sale. Twice the size of my house in Calgary for the price and property taxes are less than half on 1/3 of an acre of land. Still more people waving as they drive by. Everybody here is just so darn nice. I would seriously consider moving here. Oh...I haven't mentioned it yet but the women here are gorgeous...not that those in Calgary aren't, but......I'd have to stick around a lot longer to confirm that that statement isn't skewed by the small sample that I've seen.
6 o'clock comes around and I walk back to the Ford Dealership. The mechanic has the innards from the differential out on the work bench and is about ready to put everything back together. He wants to get this finished tonight because he has Friday off and he doesn't want to come back in to finish this. I waste some time walking around looking at the new cars. Prices are a lot better than in Canada. They have this 2008 Shelby Mustang in the showroom. My dream car....the reasonably affordable one. The one I tried buying last year when it came out as a 2007 model, but I was too far down the waiting list...then wouldn't pay the dealership's $20,000 over MSRP ransom fee to get the extra allocation vehicle. The Ferrari dream car is the...if I meet a super rich Hollywood actress who falls madly in love with me...kind of dream vehicle I might get. 6h45 rolls around and the mechanic is putting the cover back onto the differential. 7h00 and I'm paged to the service counter cashier. The mechanic is out on the test drive. YES...I have my vehicle back. I'm a little more in debt. But my truck is in awesome shape. I'm good to go for the rest of the trip. The mechanic indicates that there were metal filings in the fluid and the probability was high that something major would have happened sooner or later. Most probably sooner...than later.
Really...I DO lead a Charmed Life!
I started writing this before lunch. It is now night. Time to go to the bar for a drink. Who knows...there could be a gorgeous...single...local woman there. If I don't look, I'll never find! Though I'd have to finish my Journey then come back.
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