Category Archives: Troubleshooting

Dad Stuff/Truck Stuff

I had another leak on Bruce. Same spot where we replaced the radiator hose.

Come to find out that the part the hose attaches to was the problem.

It was a tough part to remove and replace. We, me and Pop, spent the better part of the morning getting it out and back in. But it’s fixed.

During all this we had to remove a spindle that involves the serpentine belt so that we could actually reach the part. When we cranked it back up there was a horrible screech. Like banshees in a bag on fire beating a group of cats.

The truck still runs. It’s drivable. But they will hear you coming from miles away.

Still, no good for me.


I went on from working on the truck to going to the band competition and helping there, loading and unloading, etc.

84Β° in October in South Carolina may as well be 100Β°. Long story short, I was already worn out. I hadn’t eaten we’ll yesterday and I got a bit dehydrated fairly quickly. I have some minor problems with a recurring Hiatal hernia problem and I aggravated that.

Also, I try to film for the band and sat in the top of the bleachers in the sun which exacerbated the problem. That’s when Pop came over to check on me.

Good grandparents don’t miss grandkid stuff and they were there watching. Apparently while I was looking for them in the stands, I walked right passed them. I saw them but didn’t see them. Which cued mom to have dad come check on me.

The result was near heat exhaustion, and hernia problems knocked me down last night and today. I’ve been in and out of it on the couch. I feel 100% better than at 3 AM this morning.

Just to back track a bit, the wife received her second vaccine shot Friday. We ended up in the ER yesterday at 4 AM. She’s okay. Working through it. In my opinion our earlier fears are justified. She shouldn’t have been required to take the shot with her medical history. But this isn’t a medical or political page.

Sleep deprivation will throw you for a loop as well.


Today while I was somewhere in the void, Pop came and got the truck and replaced that part causing the noise. He wasn’t asked to. Didn’t have to.

He won’t even let me pay him.

And he told me, β€œI see what you do for your family and how hard you push. I don’t realize what you do sometimes.”

And I said thank you and he went back home.

And I stood in the garage and broke down. Because after all these years, he realizes, and that affects me in a healing sort of way.

And he knows, too.

What I do for my family I do out of love for my family. A lot of the time I do not matter. As long as they are safe and happy and healthy, I’m good.

It’s a joke from the old tv commercial. People make memes about it all the time.

What my dad knows is that I learned it from watching him. I’m a product of the way he raised me.

He never set a bad example for me.

I’m good today. I’ll be better tomorrow.

That’s it. That’s the post.

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SAK And A Zip Tie

𝙸 𝚐𝚎𝚝 πš–πš’ πš πš›πš’πšπš’πš—πš πš™πš›πš˜πš–πš™πšπšœ πšπš›πš˜πš– πš πš‘πšŠπš πš‘πšŠπš™πš™πšŽπš—πšœ 𝚝𝚘 πš–πšŽ πšπšŠπš’πš•πš’. πš‚πš˜πš–πšŽ πšŠπš›πšŽ 𝚐𝚘𝚘𝚍 πšœπš˜πš–πšŽ πšŠπš›πšŽ πš˜πš”πšŠπš’. π™Έπš πš’πšœ πš πš‘πšŠπš πš’πš πš’πšœ.


I had a rough start this morning just getting out of bed. My back has been bothering me, and my shoulder started giving me trouble this afternoon. I’m sitting here with coffee and my old friend the TENS unit right now.

I left the house at 7:00 and was on my way to being right on time to work when I took my second major turn, and the truck started shuddering. It didn’t want to pull, and my stomach just sank.

I left on time to be on time. And now, I was late.

We’re getting ready to go on our anniversary weekend trip soon. I do not need to put more money into Bruce right now.

Bruce is my truck. He’s green and temperamental. Marvel fans will get this.

Sometimes you need the right tools to fix a problem. But first, you need to define the problem.

My tool of choice for this situation is the OBDLink MX+. I have had it for a couple of years.

If you ever go to an auto parts store and have them figure out what’s making your check engine light come on, they are using a piece of equipment that does the same thing. This is a simplified version of that equipment that connects to my phone through Bluetooth.

I’ve deciphered more than a few problems with Bruce because of this piece of equipment. Today it was saying that the ignition coil had gone bad. But the ignition coil is only a couple of months old!

It turns out that wasn’t the problem.

It was too early in the morning for something complicated, so we always K.I.S.S.

KISS is an acronym; the letters stand for “Keep it simple, stupid.”.

And simple it was. On the ignition coil is a plug that carries the power to the ignition coil and allows God only knows what to happen in the engine. I can fix stuff on a simple level. I don’t even pretend to understand how the magic happens.

The plug has a small retention clip. This being a twenty-two-year-old truck, that clip had broken. This kept the magic from transferring to the ignition coil, which transforms the magic into something else. I know, pretty technical.


Now, I’m a terrible half mechanic. I don’t always have the right tools with me. My toolbox has work stuff in it. I don’t half mechanic for a living.

What I do, quite effectively, is troubleshoot at life. You can fix most anything just by getting your head to a place where you can think through the problem calmly.

Two fictitious characters from the 80s brought me to this, Hannibal Smith and MacGyver.

Troubleshooting is all about imagination. You have to be able to, and I actually hate this saying, think outside the box.

“Imagination is the most important thing the human mind has.” – MacGyver

I always have three things with me.

1. Duct Tape. Most of life’s problems can be solved by a liberal application of duct tape.

2. A Swiss Army Knife. (Thanks, MacGyver). Incredibly versatile tools that can be found in almost any configuration you want.

3. Zip Ties. I use these a lot at work. Fast and easy to secure a wide variety of things.

The simple fix was to use a zip tie to secure the plug to the ignition coil. Problem solved.

I had called Mags, and Dad had told her he’d come to me when she was dropping off the kids at his house for the day. I told her to have him call our guy with the flatbed before I got my head straight and figured what needed doing.

By the time he’d shown up, I was getting ready to fix it, but since he came, I let him get under the hood. And this was all about respect.

I’ve spent no small part of my life holding the flashlight, getting yelled at while he turned the wrench. But I’ve learned a lot from him. At 72, he’s still a formidable man. Arms like tree trunks and one of the best shade tree mechanics I know. He has forgotten more than I’ll ever learn about an engine.

All of this went down within forty-five minutes. And just like that, I was back on the road.


And that was this morning. It wasn’t the plan, but it was what happened.

A twenty-five-cent zip tie saved me a 150 dollar bill on a flatbed ride.

And at that point, Hannibal Smith steps in.

There’s a plan in everything, kid. And I love it when a plan comes together. – H. Smith

That’s it. That’s the post.

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