Another blog got me thinking about my adventures with trucks. I never had a problem while towing horses, thankfully. But we had our interesting moments.
I have had two full size trucks. The first was a 1972 Ford 3/4 ton that I got in 1983. It now lives with one of my handymen. That truck hauled a lot of hay when I was buying hay from a farmer. 23 bales would be loaded up and up the hill we would go. Every once in a while, I would get careless and go too fast on my dirt roads & have a top bale come rolling over the cab onto the hood & to the ground. One time, it stayed on the hood so I just left it there & drove home. Then there was the time I heard a loud "whump" and looked back to see my spare tire in the road. The tire holder had died of old age & rust. So now I had a big heavy tire & a fully loaded truck. I dropped the tail gate, got the tire up on the gate & used my handy pocket knife to cut off some bailing strings & tie the tire in place.
My other truck was a 1980 Chevy 3/4 ton that I got from my parents in 1995. That truck had pulled their 5th wheel RV across the country and back and all over the west. That truck was made to tow. It got 10 mpg hauling a big load or cruising empty and was happiest doing work. Big Blue pulled my heavy big stock trailer easily as well as pallet loads of bagged concrete, gravel, concrete block and what ever we threw at her.
Like The Ford, Big Blue was made to do a job, not be a decorative truck, and had a solid truck bed that could take a beating. The huge engine needed a big battery to crank over and ate a few hang-on parts but that engine just kept going. While my dad had her, she developed an exhaust system leak that no one could ever fix--not the dealer nor any of the mechanics who tried. All agreed it was the exhaust manifold and it gave a her a deep, sexy rumble. You could hear that truck coming up the road for some distance. My other handyman now has her and she still has that sexy rumble.
The Chevys of that time did have one flaw and it was the electrical system. My parents found out the hard way that the "Black Box", the module mounted on the inside wall of the distributor would just die at 20,000 miles. The first time it happened, they were in the mountains and suddenly had no engine, no brakes, no power steering, no anything electrical, and barely any shoulder to pull off onto. No one ever figured out why that happened, but it was easy to prevent. One of the times Big Blue had to be towed was when she would not start at a gas station. I called for a tow and sat there and waited, receiving angry glares from others who were mad that I was blocking a pump. I did make the offer to one young man that he could try pushing my truck out of the way; he declined. Once the tow truck finally showed up, he declared it was a dead battery and would jump it for me, despite my assurances it was something else. But he knew more them me! He hooked up the cables & told me to turn the key. I did & flames shot out from the back of the engine compartment. Yep, that was a dead battery problem, alright. Without a word, he hooked us up to tow. On another occasion, another electrical problem stopped us at another gas station. And the third tow was yet another electrical problem, which happened at home so a tow truck had to come in and out the 2 miles of dirt roads.
Big Blue had to be moved by a tractor once, but that was my fault. I was at a horse clinic and it had snowed the night before. I got there in the morning & parked my truck to the side of their driveway. Later that day, I wanted to leave. I had parked on a slight slope and the snow had melted, creating a slushy slippery layer on top of non-slushy not as wet ground. Big Blue did not actually slip on the mud but moved the entire top layer around and never could find purchase to get going. It was a good thing the clinic sponsor's husband had tractors.
My trucks were old, somewhat beat-up and obviously working trucks, but I got a lot of offers to buy them where ever I went. Those old trucks were hard working and tough and the engines went forever. And they both are still out there working for my handymen.
Eastern National Show 10/68 TMH
2 days ago