The Truck Saga (pt. 3)

November 14, 2009

[This is part 3. Parts one and two complete the story].

So our “new” truck was home, safely, and out of commission. I spent some time trying to figure out what was wrong, a process involving phone calls to knowledgeable folk, and purchasing a Haynes manual at O’Reilly Auto Parts. I also got books from the library, and spent several hours in the barn on the dirt floor poking around trying to figure what was wrong.

All signs seemed to point to a bad clutch. Which is unfortunate, I knew that a new clutch is expensive. The most frustrating part of the whole thing is in the back of my mind I felt like I should have known. I’m not an auto-care expert, or even a moderately qualified mechanic, but I’ve driven a car with a bad clutch before, and the truck didn’t feel like that at all.

I learned that you can still drive a vehicle with no clutch…you start it in first (make sure you’re not in the path of anything), and the starter pulls you along until things kick in. Then, just keep driving and work the gear shift when you get to a bit higher RPMs…you’ll be able to slide into 2nd with some finesse and some luck.

After my various attempts with nothing to show for it, we decided to take it to a local repair shop out in the country not more than 4 miles away.

My wife followed me in the Jetta, and we were off, slowly, taking back country roads, I tried to never come to a complete stop, there was no real way to get going other than to stall out and restart the truck.

Finally, after sweating and swearing and the fervent half prayers that come with driving a vehicle you are not confident in up and down hills, we were climbing a last hill near the repair place…and the truck died. Sputter, cough, chokesputter, stop.

Tried to start, it turned over, then nothing.

After 20 minutes of trying to start, rolling backwards, cursing, being terrified as other cars crested the hill, I gave up. We put the emergency flashers on (which I have found by this time, it’s on the steering column, a tiny broken nub on my truck.), and drove over to the repair place.

Now this is a small country repair shop, the owner taught me in Sunday School years ago. We explained the situation, and we headed the mile over in the shop-owner’s early 2000’s Jimmy.

He took a quick look at the truck, figured it was the fuel pump, and we started to head back. In the meantime my very pregnant wife headed home for a bathroom break.

The process of getting the truck over the shop involved some backing up in neutral, coasting down the hill a bit, pulling into a nearby driveway and performing the most awkward Y-turn ever executed.

But eventually we got there.

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