Bent-Valve Reader
6/17/18 9:14 p.m.

Now I had an 84 Chevy 1/2 ton, SWB Stepside 4x4, it was jacked up with Dick Cepek 33 x 16 tires and got 13 mpg. When I got it, well it barely ran. Some "mechanic" had it before me. The valves clattered so I pulled the valve covers and realized they needed adjustment, badly, some flopped around not touching the push rods or valves. So I  spun the engine to bring number one cylinder up just to see how far off everything was. All the rockers lined up flat, like you could put a straight edge on them.


This story isn't about that truck. I had fixed everything and rebuilt the auto trans, front axle, etc. I would have driven it to California. (and back) That truck was sitting comfortably in the garage.

Instead I decided to drive 300+ miles in a red S-10 I had bought for $500 and barely knew. It was ok around town. I set off down 281 from Wichita Falls, TX looking forward to great gas mileage. I was also looking forward to meeting friends, camping, margaritas, steaks on the grill.

About 150 miles into the trip, I pulled into a hamburger joint to get a bite. I called Pyro to check in, popped the 5 speed into reverse. It didn't move. I slid it out and back in, because obviously I just missed reverse or something silly like that. Nothing.

I could hear and feel the tranny spin when I let off the clutch. I slid it into first and it would move forward, which would be ok except for the Impala parked in front of me. I called Pyro back, "I'll just keep going and not park where I have to back up.."

My reasoning was solid, it was just reverse, right?

I got out and pushed the S-10 out of the parking spot, got in and headed for the highway, first was good, second pulled, well not at all, third, well its ok, so fourth, what the heck? Fifth? Ah, E36 M3.

I pulled to the shoulder, called Pyro, "I guess I'm heading home, SLOWLY." I was pissed, no camping, no steak, no margaritas. I think the last one was what really got me. I am now exactly half way to "Nowhere". I waited until it was clear and I punched it down across the median.

I was really dogging the motor when I came to my senses and hit the pavement on the other side. I had 150 miles to go in third gear, I better save the motor.

Maybe, maybe, 3 miles, yes just 3 miles down the road, knock, knock, Knock, Knock, KNOCK, KNOCK....THUD. I really didn't have to raise the hood, but I did anyway.  147 miles to "Nowhere".

So anyway, Yup, you guessed it, there was a rod hanging out the side of the block. I blew the transmission and engine in less than 5 miles and as many minutes, that had to be a record.

So I am sitting on the side of the road, its roughly 100 degrees,  I call Pyro, she says "do you want me to bring the Chevy or my Jeep?" I said the Jeep. And yes, this was my fourth mistake of the day if you need to keep count. See she had towed me behind the Chevy once before, it had 300 hp and she has a heavy foot. It was the second scariest tow of my life, all I could see was the big tires going around and the really solid 3/4 inch plate steel* back bumper of MY truck and I was really impressed with the acceleration it had even towing the S-10. I was more impressed with how little control I had over anything and it really was scary as hell.

Pyro was at work when I called and said she needed to go get me. "Whats the hurry?"  her coworkers quipped "whats he going to do shoot it?" Very seriously she replied "He has his pistol." She was really surprised there were no holes in the truck when she got there.

I must admit, I thought about shooting it. "Yes officer, I shot my dead truck to put it out of my misery.." Ah, no, I better not shoot it.

So she shows up with the Jeep Wrangler, we hook up and she points it toward home. I'm in the S-10 at the end of a chain, yes I know its illegal to tow that way, and I wonder about the a/c compressor clutch on her Jeep, I had one sitting behind her seat in the Jeep waiting to go on the compressor. It had been making noise...(hint)

90 miles from home that same a/c clutch feels my warm fuzzy thoughts and just explodes with joy that someone is thinking about it, literally explodes. I had never seen the copper wire guts of one spew everywhere before, it was truly impressive. Oh and it snapped the serpentine belt. "Nowhere" is only 90 miles away now...

So now we are sitting on the side of 281, somewhere south of Wichita Falls, it at least 100 degrees, on beach towels, staring at 2 broken down vehicles. There is no parts store, there is almost nothing, the cell phones didn't pick up. There was a little store with in walking distance. It was our one link to the world. Oh and I didn't have the tools to pull a compressor clutch, and I didn't have a belt anyway.

Here is how you can tell who your friends are -- we called Ryan and explained the situation. Ryan then went to 6 different parts stores to get the right belt (that skipped the a/c) and drove 90 miles to deliver it. Once he knew we had the tools to fix it and could get moving again he booked, 90 miles back. I think he was going to be late for work...or college, I'm not sure which.

So after replacing the belt with one that skipped the a/c compressor the Jeep ran fine. The final leg of my, now our, trip to "Nowhere" was really uneventful.

*that is not a miss print, it was a bumper made from 3/4" plate steel about 9 inches tall, yes it was solid.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc HalfDork
6/17/18 10:17 p.m.

Glad you got home at last. Quite an adventure! Well written, too.

I can't be the only baby boomer to recall one of Bill Mauldin's most famous cartoons....

nutherjrfan SuperDork
6/17/18 11:10 p.m.

Now I'm scared to drive my $250 S-10 anywhere.  laugh  Nah not really it has a few hard highway runs but no wash wipe yet so rain would be the only thing to worry about.  smiley

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
6/18/18 7:47 p.m.

In reply to Bent-Valve :

Ouch. Glad you made it home without any further drama. 

Bent-Valve Reader
6/24/18 9:59 p.m.

Oddly I just found a picture of that S-10, the Jeep and me.

And notice there are no bullet holes, or engine, or transmission....

I don't have scans of the finished C-10 truck but this is with the radiator out, taking the engine down.

Yes I had hair at one time, and I did fit in that space.

These are further in the process...

I guess I could do a build thread of that truck, I have other pictures I could scan. I painted it grey / maroon with mismixed paint from the auto parts store, Accordianfolder always called it my  junky old truck when it was primed and not painted.

I miss that truck.

sleepyhead Mod Squad
2/27/19 7:09 a.m.

zombie thread, canoe deleted

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