Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adventure Strikes Before Even Leaving Home Part 2.

Kevin gives me a call an hour later with good news. He was able to weld the gear shifter back together. We're both optomistic that the weld will hold. I meet him at the shop to pic it up, and Amber and I drive back out to Eagle River to give it another try.

The gear shifter goes back on the transmission without incident. Amber helps me bolt the cab floor back on. The truck starts with any problem. I give a verbal "Woo hoo" in celebration. Now it's time to try it again. I pull back onto the the main road. The transmission seems to be shifting without any problems. It's good to go!

I turn the truck onto the on rap for the Glenn Highway. The truck will do 0-60 in around five minutes (wait, the truck can't even go 60 mph) so a line of cars is building up behind me on the on rap. The truck is taking a while to go much more than 35 mph, so cars are honking as they cruise around me. I don't care, they don't know what I've been through!

I notice at this point that the speedometer doesn't work. Ah, who needs one anyway. I give Amber a call on the cell phone and I have to yell over the noise of the engine which is not very insulated after I had to tear up the floor insulation. "HOW FAST AM I GOING!", I yell to Amber over the phone. She is following close behind me. "About 50", she says. "Ok, that's fast enough. I'll stay in the slow lane." I say. That's the end of our conversation. The rest of the highway drive goes without problems.

I choose the most direct route to my house which take us directly through the middle of down town Anchorage. I considered a different route, but the main route has fewer stop lights to deal with. As I come to the first stop light as I enter Anchorage, the RPMs on the truck are not settling down even I'm stopped at the light. I don't know it at this point, but the problems is that the gas peddle is getting stuck a little because it has been driven much in the last 10 years or so. I think the problem has to do with the choke cable.

Shifting gears has become very difficult because the accelerated RPMs don't want to let the truck shift. Even when I do get the truck in gear, the gas peddle is so sticky that the only options are a medium idle, or full throttle!  I proceed to lurch down the road as I shift gears. The first thing that happens is the truck almost stalls because the engine is tired and doesn't have much power. As a result I press down on the gas peddle and I almost flood the engine with gas as the sticky gas peddle goes all the way down. Next the combustion finally catches up and the truck violently lurches forward. This process is repeated everytime I shift gears. The last five miles to my house are stressful. I'm sweating in the cab hoping the truck will not expload.

I reach our condo complex. Parking is kind of tight, and as I make the first corner, I side swipe a large cottonwood tree. Leaves and branches fall from the tree, and the truck is left with a permanet scrape down the length of the container. I finally get it backed up to Amber's garage. We made it home safe.

PS.  After doing a little work to lube up the throttle cables, the truck is running better than ever. Starts every time! It is now safely stored away in a vehicle storage lot. Oh, yeah, it's for sale too!

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