Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Getting Hosed

As he was chugging up a hill in northeastern Maryland yesterday, Ed heard a pop.  The truck lost power and he immediately turned on his four-way hazards and pulled over to the shoulder.  The least ideal of circumstances for a trucker.

He called to me in the sleeper, saying he needed my help, and then went outside to unlatch the hood.  He poked around a bit, looking for leaking oil, tell-tale black or white smoke, but the engine seemed to be running fine.  He came back into the cab and asked me to rev the engine while he listened.  Still nothing.

He needed more investigation to figure out what the problem was, but first he had to put out our safety triangles, three of them, spaced fifty feet apart at the rear of the truck.  We were on a bit of a turn, it was uphill, and people still drive too fast and don't pay attention, so you have to do everything possible to alert them.  At least this was happening during the day, so people could easily see us.

He finally discovered the problem.  By the symptoms our sick little truck was displaying, Ed narrowed it down - it had something to do with the intake.  So he delved into the engine once again, and when he leaned further in, saw a spring protruding from the intake hose.  Now what?

We hit the internet, found some phone numbers and made a few calls.  We eventually found a guy who was willing to go to Freightliner to get the part, then come out and fix it.  Here he is working to get the hose off of our truck.

As the guys were working on the truck, the traffic continued to whizz by.  Fast.  Rocking our entire truck with each pass.  There were three lanes, but too many drivers neglected to move over a lane - cars and trucks.  The cars were actually worse because they were going so fast, the speed limit here is 70 mph.  And none of them moved over, which you should do whenever you see someone on the shoulder.  It's just the safest option.

The trucks weren't any better, although the ones that were loaded down were going much slower, because they had no choice.  The worst offenders are the usual speeders - FedEx and UPS - some of them pulling doubles, blowing by us like they had the road to themselves.  In this picture, you can see how much space is between the truck in the lane and our truck on the shoulder.

FYI to those of you who can't seem to come to this conclusion yourself:  MOVE OVER A LANE IF YOU SEE SOMEONE ON THE SHOULDER!!

Here's the part that needed to be replaced.  A 14" piece of hose that cost $189.00.  For rubber.  Plus another $15 for the hose clamps.
All told, between the parts, labor and service call, the cost was $520.00.  We lost three hours of time from start to finish.

We had a short run, only eleven hours, so it didn't affect us making our delivery on time.  And we were as happy as the service guy that it wasn't freezing, snowing or dark.

Another day in the life of trucking.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  River Of Grass

2012: Stupid Rock
2011: Crab Rangoon Makes Me Swoon
2010: Bonnie And Clyde Meet Toni And Frank
2009: Finally…A Bib That Is Both Functional And Accurate
2008: Trickling Down
2007: Anonymously Yours,
2006: Over 7,000 Feet Of Pristine Beauty
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!


M Hanson said...

Another take on the stupid traffic not moving over, if you will:

After logging more than 1M miles, then piloting a constuction zone flagging outfit, I would venture to guess that the 50-foot warning flare/triangle spacing rule is outdated, as it would be adequate in a school crossing zone.

By the time even the big rigs crawl up the hill and notice you without moving over, especially on a curve, they don't have time to shove over into the middle lane without risking the cars taking the outside lane to pass them.

Not that some drivers drive with their heads perpetually, well, in their elbows, if you get my drift.

Always enjoy your posts.

The Daily Rant said...

M.HANSON: I completely agree with you. I don't think many cars consider moving over because they're not taught that, and truckers often are so try to if they can, but I do think all passing vehicles need more warning. The curve certainly didn't help.

Sometimes though, there's just not room to move over. I know I've come across that same situation - even though we can see much further ahead than cars can - that as soon as you see a disabled vehicle and intend to move over, turn signal on and everything, you often cannot find a hole big enough to slip into. And the cars, even when you hae your signal on, just do not back off to let you in.

While Ed was up front with the repair guy, I kept thinking, "maybe we need to get out our flashing lights and put them on the back of the trailer". Thankfully, it all went pretty quickly, considering.

Thanks for the comment!