Gut Rumbles

August 29, 2004

dead truck, new neighbors

I wanted to go see my mama today. I loaded up a bunch of pictures I intended to show her, and I even remembered to stick a pocketful of Costa Rican coins in my cut-offs to leave for my Uncle Virgil's collection of international coins.

I went outside, hopped in my truck and heard nothing but a "click-click-click" noise when I turned the key in the ignition. WTF? I thought. Did my starter just die on me so quickly?

I did the elementary trouble-checks. The lights work. I tried starting the truck in neutral instead of drive. I rolled the truck a few feet forward, put it in "Park" and tried again. Nothing but "click, click, click."

I thought THEN that I could see a tow-truck or a lot of begging in my immediate future. I took a wild chance and hooked my battery charger up to the battery. The damn thing went straight to zero amps, which told me that it wasn't charging SHIT, because the battery already held a full charge.

I was pissed by then, so I went inside to call mama and tell her that I wouldn't be coming over. I tried to look on the bright side. At least my truck was dead in the driveway instead of dead in the middle of nowhere. I fixed something to eat and started making plans for tomorrow. I figured that I had a lot to do, but the first step was to get that useless battery charger offa my truck.

I did that. On another wild hair, I decided to see if the truck would start. Lo and Behold, it did! It fired up like a tiger. I took it for a 20-mile ride and watched the ammeter on my instrument panel. The alternator was working. The battery was semi-dead.

I took the truck back home and scratched my head. How could the lights, radio and everything else in the truck work if the battery was dead? I am no auto mechanic, but I have a theory: it just takes more juice than the battery had left to turn that engine over. Lights and radio are easy. Kicking that Bendix out on the starter and turning the flywheel on a V-8 engine is difficult.

That's how I met my new neighbors. They moved in yesterday and I saw them sitting on their patio drinking tea this evening. I was sick and tired of fucking with that truck, so I decided that now was as good a time as anytime to go introduce myself to them. So, I did.

They are extremely nice folks and as I bitched about my truck to them, Nathan (the husband) said, "I was meaning to talk to you about that. Did you know that the dome light in your truck just comes on by itself at night and burns for hours at a time?" I told him that I didn't know that. He said, "It does, trust me. I wondered last night if you kept running to the truck and back."

We walked over to my truck to check it out. The dome light was off. I opened the door and the dome light came on. I closed the door and the dome light didn't go off. I said, "It's got a 10-second delay." We waited about 20 seconds and the dome light kept burning. I started opening and closing doors and finally the dome light went off. As we were standing there, the dome light came back on again, all by itself.

I threw a cussing hissy-fit right in front of my new neighbors. "I've got a got-dam short somewhere and I ain't worth a damn at electricity. This has been a goodam good truck and Old Paint never let me down before! I'm gonna get rid of this sumbitch and buy me something else! You better BEHAVE, darlin' because I'm about to pull your fuse." I started to crawl under the dashboard.

Nathan stopped me. "What are you doing, Rob?" he asked. "I'm going to pull the overhead light fuse if I can find it," I replied. Nathan said, "You're looking in the wrong place. The fuses are right here," and he snapped off a compartment on my dashboard that I never noticed before. He pulled the guts out of it and said, "Do you reckon 'Illumination' is it?" I said try it and see.

He pulled the fuse and the light went out. I coulda kissed him. "Thanks a lot," I told him. "You just saved me a lot of money."

"That's what neighbors are for, right?" He just grinned at me.

I introduced Nathan and his lovely wife Victoria to a couple of the neighbors. I don't usually do that kind of thing but I saw the people out in their yards and I wanted my new neighbors to get to know the people around them. Yes, I was Social Director this evening. I kinda enjoyed doing it, especially now that I know what's wrong with my truck. Everybody was polite and friendly, just the way they've always been to me.

Did I mention that Nathan and Victoria are black? No, I didn't think so.

That's the racist in me.


Did you show them your klan costume? :-P

I had some similar car problems lately. I'd go outside to start the car and it would try to turn over, but then die. My car got several jump starts, and as soon as the negative cable would touch, everything would come on; radio, A/C.

Some of the jump starts came from AAA and some from my neighbors, one of which (a gentleman of Mexican descent) brought his battery charger and charged my battery to brimming over with acid. Three days later, it was dead again and he charged it again so I could take it to the shop.

Turns out that nothing was wrong with the alternator or the electrical system. The positive terminal merely needed to be replaced. The mechanics (all of Korean descent) replaced it. Guess what they charged me. Absolutely nothing (though I did have to go to Kraagen and buy a new battery, due to the old one's emptiness). They earned themselves a repeat customer.

Did I mention that I love America?

Posted by: Juliette on August 29, 2004 11:55 PM

Juliette loves America? She must not be a Michael Moore fan.

Posted by: GORDON on August 30, 2004 01:47 AM

Is your truck a Ford Ranger? Mine had a few annoying electrical problems like wipers witha mind of their own, a warning bell that took forever to shut off when it was hot, and a dome light that kept burning. I finally pulled the dome light bulbs out. A great truck otherwise.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on August 30, 2004 07:38 AM

Do your dashboard lights work now? Most of the time they are on the same circuit as the dome light.

Posted by: rightisright on August 30, 2004 09:03 AM

Did someone say Ford?

as in;
I have a Ford now,I've always had at least 1 Ford.

Posted by: Marcus on August 30, 2004 10:35 AM

Ford also stands for "Fuckin' old rebuilt Dodge". So what, I drive one and love it.
Sounds like you got some real nice neighbors there Acidman. Hope they like you just as well.
Sounds like it's time for a barbeque.

Posted by: Wichi Dude on August 30, 2004 10:53 AM

I've got to say... I bought a new 4-cylinder Ford Ranger XLT in '91, and I've never had a day of trouble, barring having to replace the battery twice since then. I've definately gotten my money's worth out of it.

Posted by: GORDON on August 30, 2004 11:47 AM

If pulling the fuse shut off the dashboard lights, no problemo. Just get a small flashlight, like a Maglite or some LED rig, to read the dash at night.

Posted by: John Cunningham on August 30, 2004 11:57 AM

I have some very good Black friends, some of them, would help me, before some of my White friends. But as a whole, most blacks are fucked up. I am an American Indian, so I know all about racism. Take care bowleggs, Cat.

Posted by: Catfish on August 30, 2004 12:47 PM

Rob, just be sure to top off the headlight fluid and check the muffler bearings, too.

My guess though is that you've got a loose nut behind the steering wheel. *heh*

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim on August 30, 2004 01:07 PM

Marcus: You forgot: Fuckin' Old Rebuilt Dodge and Fucker Only Runs Downhill.

Anyway, yeah, starter solenoid clicks but there isn't enough juice to spin the motor.

That said, a dome light really shouldn't suck a battery down in any realistic amount of time. Unless you left it sitting there for weeks, there's another short or major power drain somewhere.

Remember when I told you to get that Optima Gel-Cell a while back? Right now you'd be getting a new battery from them for free.

Okay, I'm done gloating.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on August 30, 2004 02:31 PM

My Bronco did that to me. I just pulled the bulb.
In the place of a dome light, I have a photon freedom microlight stuck up there with a magnet incase I need to look at a map or something.
I don't like the light to come on when I open the door anyways... It's a dead giveaway if I'm sneaking something.

I shouldn't have said that....

Posted by: Ogre on August 30, 2004 04:46 PM

"Did I mention that Nathan and Victoria are black? "

Well . . . yes.

Posted by: kc on August 30, 2004 07:49 PM

Yes, but is your TRUCK black?

If not, I'm afraid you're going to have to turn in your

"Friend to the Negroes" ID card.

Only authentic Friends (Democrats, Hollywood- types, wealthy White liberals or all three) can proclaim TRUE understanding of the plight of the Negro in this RACIST society!

Posted by: Hellfire Missle on August 30, 2004 08:24 PM

Day... by the way.


Dying (in)

A Ford fan forever

Posted by: Stevie on August 31, 2004 03:08 AM

The problem ain't the black or white humans, it's the unnecessarily complicated machinery we have to buy, and drive around in, which has WAY too many wires in it.

Ever look under the hood of a '62 Ford?

Maybe 3 or 4 wires, 1 or 2 vacuum hoses, and plenty of room to work in. (Not to mention plentiful service data, before the copyright-Nazi lawyers started pissing on Western Civ.)

Posted by: Justthisguy on August 31, 2004 11:14 PM
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