Simpsonsix

Tire. Tire. Tow. Truck!

So, we got a new truck (again!).

How did this happen? You thought we were going to run the brown truck into the ground, keep it until it dies.

(we did).

It just happened sooner than anyone expected.

We had another crappy day (click here for the first one). It started with us leaving Bend, saying see ya later to many cherished friends. As we were heading out of town our TPMS started beeping at us. I quickly pulled off to the side of a very dirt road to discover a valve stem had broken on one of the trailer tires. We made the decision to head back into town to Discount Tire to get it fixed under warranty, knowing we wouldn’t see another one for awhile, and would rather not put all of those miles on the spare.

So, a few hours later we were back on the road and headed east. Things were looking better (albeit we were a little more on edge). About an hour after our fuel stop, the truck got a shimmy in the steering. At first I thought it was the road getting rough, but I quickly found out that it was the front tire on the truck.

It blew.

Catastrophically.

Thankfully, we were right next to a DOT station when this happened, and one of the guys on duty (who heard the blow out from wherever he was) came out with the flashy light truck to do traffic control and loan me his jack. We got the tire changed out and got back on the road, more frazzled and wary than before.

And since things like to come in 3’s, and they were only escalating, about 30 miles from our destination for the night the truck started to shimmy pretty bad again. Me, thinking it’s another tire, quickly pulls off to the side of the road to catch it before anything worse can happen. The second I put the truck in park the engine dies. No warnings. Just dies.

And doesn’t want to start back up.

It struggles so much that I think the batteries have died. I start thinking alternator quit charging them and it’s an electrical issue. Thankfully I was able to flag someone down with a diesel like ours, so a jump would be a piece of cake. He had a set of cables too, so we were able to connect both sets of batteries to speed up the charge time.

I tried to start the truck again, but it doesn’t want to turn over. It just goes through its start cycle, but that’s it.

Well, crap. Time to call for a tow truck (or two).

Did I mention that this is the start of a holiday weekend in the middle of nowhere? Yeah, we waited for 3 hours, on the side of the road, at dusk, with about a bazillion mosquitoes feasting on my flesh (and about 4 on Stephanie).

We understand where we are, the situation we are in, and all, so we try to keep our expectations realistic. The tow drivers didn’t disappoint. Thankfully they had a rollback with a big enough cab for Stephanie and the kids, while I rode in the semi with the trailer. That was a fun, nerve wracking, 30 mile ride in a truck of questionable mechanical ability (I know duct tape, bungee cords, and electrical tape were involved).

We got into the fairgrounds where we were planning to stay the night, setup, and in bed at like midnight. The next morning I started making calls to get the truck into a Ford dealership, since it was still under warranty. The closest dealer couldn’t even look at the truck for almost 3 weeks (that’s a NOPE). The next closest one, 40 miles away, could get me in right away for diagnosis, so I called the tow driver to take it there. I spent about 3 hours waiting, drinking coffee, sticking my head under the hood of some new 2017 super duty trucks, before I got the news.

The engine was blown.

Not a little bit blown, either. 2 cylinders had holes in them, and completely failed the compression test.

So, the two options were rebuild the engine or install a completely new one.

Except Ford had to make the call, since it was under their warranty. And they were closed until Tuesday, since it was Labor Day weekend. So, we get to stay a lot longer and play the waiting game. I grabbed the keys to the loaner car and headed back to the trailer until Tuesday.

The whole family headed to the dealership on Tuesday, mostly so that if there were any decisions that needed to be made Steph and I didn’t have to do any back and forth, and I wouldn’t have to relay information to her. The estimated timeline that they came back with for tear down, diagnosis of cause of failure, order parts, and rebuild was over 3 weeks.

3 weeks. We couldn’t sit still for 3 weeks. We couldn’t bounce around the area even. We had commitments, both work and personal, to get to.

Ugh.

We told them to carry on with the work, and out of curiosity spoke to the sales department about prices for trading it in, before and after the engine work. We then headed home to discuss options, thoughts, crunch numbers, and figure out what we were going to do.

We didn’t like the numbers we were given, but we also didn’t like the time line. Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

We made a decision, went back the following day, and test drove the one truck that fit our needs (and a few wants).

And then this happened:

We said goodbye to the brown truck, Sandy, and hello to the Silver truck.

We wanted to get back on the road, after having been delayed for a week, but we knew we needed to break in the new truck before towing. As seems to be our modus operandi, we decided to head to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, because what better place to break in a new truck than at our National Parks Service!

After getting those initial miles on the truck, we hitched up and headed east to Yellowstone National Park, where we broke it in some more.

We really did like the brown truck. It was the truck we needed at the time (read about that here). It got us around, and had become part of the family. Things happened so fast that we didn’t really have time to process the change.
But WOW! After having driven it around for awhile, the new 2017 is an amazing truck. Aside from a few clearance items that needed address for hitching up, it does an amazing job at pulling our house.

We would like to give a shout out to Corwin Ford in Nampa, ID. They were amazing to work with, in both the service and sales departments. We can’t express our gratitude with how well they treated us, worked with us, and got us out the door as pain-free as possible.

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