The End of the Truck Saga · 20 August 2016

If there was ever any doubt of resurrection, it was removed when I turned the key. My truck lives again.

Okay. I know that the resurrection of a truck is certainly not the same as resurrection of a person, but it does give pause. If I am not the creator of the truck but can still make it rise, then it should be easy enough for the Creator of all to handle resurrection of an individual.

But enough preaching.

I am excited. My truck is running again. Of course, I am a bit hesitant to declare complete victory yet. The oil was not the nice clear amber color of new oil when I checked it after starting it the first time. But it was not the chocolate milk mixture of oil and coolant either. Fortunately, my friend and mechanic guru, Dean, agreed that it is probably residual from two years ago when I almost had it fixed.

[Note: If you have not been reading about the truck saga, here is a quick recap. I broke my truck three years ago. Found out there were several problems. Fixed said problems. Almost. Could not get truck apart again to fix one last problem. Truck sat for two years. Called the cavalry (not Calvary) for big gun help. Finally repaired the truck and it started up right away after sitting for a total of three years.]

So while I am not quite ready to call the victory complete and the resurrection a success, I am ready to reflect on a few lessons I have learned. Some of them mechanical. Some of them not.

We all know it, but the internet is a great resource. It provided me with lots of tips and tricks. It was a visual tool to help me figure out what parts I needed and how to perform certain operations that I had never done before. But friends are even better. I talked to Dean via email, text, and phone many times during the processes. He was the one who told me to trust the wheel and got me thinking that I really had done it right the first time except for a part I should have replaced. I started to just replace the head gasket. Then, I found that I needed a new head. (No jokes here please. I already know I probably need a new one.) Dean told me to change the timing chain since I was going to have the head off anyway. Long story short, I ended up removing and reinstalling the oil pan, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, head, timing chain cover, timing chain, and oil pump. The first iteration. When I could not get it apart to find the problem, I waited (almost two years) before calling in the cavalry to help me take it apart a second time, when I only removed and replaced the timing chain cover, oil pump, and water pump.

Since I had the engine apart a second time, I consulted Dean again and the guru said I ought to replace the water pump and oil pump. I also ended up changing the crank shaft pulley (or harmonic balancer depending on how technical you want to sound). The lessons I learned besides how to take apart and put back the engine were that you need to grab the wrench and just do the job. Then, do the job right (the first time is preferable). And do not, repeat do not, skimp on parts. If I had just looked at the parts and the mileage on the odometer (over 250,000 miles), I would have realized I ought to replace all those things I replaced on the second iteration. As it was, I ended up paying thousands of dollars instead of hundreds. (I had to buy another vehicle.) Unfortunately, the lesson of the cheap way is usually the most expensive way is a lesson that I seem to need to keep relearning.

As important as those mechanical and ideological lessons were, the two biggest lessons I learned through the long truck saga were not truck lessons. The most important lessons were about patience and friends.

Patience is truly a virtue. Especially, when working on vehicles. (Just do not ask for it in prayer or the Lord might send you an old truck to fix.) Mainly, you need patience when accessing bolts that are in unreachable places or even just pondering how to get to those bolts. Reading manuals and sifting through the internet resources are painstaking, and are certainly patience-building exercises.

Learning about friends was an even greater lesson than the one about patience.

We all need friends. We need them for companionship. We need them for support and encouragement. And sometimes we need them to be our cavalry. My wife likes to provide the companionship. She likes to say that she is supervising the job when she is watching me do the job. And even though I sometimes comment on it being unnecessary, it is nice to have her there. Along with my wife, Dean and others provided support and encouragement. They cheered me on and said that I ought to be able to do the job a second time since I got it done the first time. And it seems they were right. It is also nice to know that we have friends who can come in with the big guns to save us when we are in over our heads. (I know, mixed metaphors.) Matthew and Miles came through with the biggest impact wrench I have ever seen to help me on my way instead of towing the truck away.

I know the truck saga is not completely through. I need to rechange the oil and refill the radiator. A few times. Just to make sure the chocolate milk is residual rather than new stuff being created. I am almost certain it is, but I am taking the advice of my expert friends and trusting the wheel. I am believing I did it right. And I am believing, that even though I was not the creator, I could be the instrument in the resurrection of a truck.

[Note: The truck is running. The oil coolant mixture was residual. Praise the Lord and my friends.]

© 2016 Michael T. Miyoshi

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