03 August, 2010

The joke is on you

Go to YouTube and do a search for something like "dodge cummins", "Chevy duramax" or some other truck/engine combination. Pick the first video that shows up. You don't necessarily need to watch the video, just read the comments. Any truck/mudding/winch-out/stuck in ditch type video will always degrade into a bunch of idiots leaving comments such as "If you had Ford/Dodge/Chevy/Tonka you wouldn't have been stuck. Duramax/Cummins/Powerstroke/Briggs and Stratton rule!!!!!" Oh just shut up. I'm so very tired of these brand loyal people. Each truck, or car, or motorcycle, or lawn mower is going to have its good points and its bad points regardless of the brand. The person driving the vehicle is the key factor most of the time. As a mechanic I see what happens when people maintain their vehicles and when people do not maintain their vehicles. I always smile when I see a lifted pick-up get towed into the shop. It's very common for people, young males in particular, to lift their truck and stick big tires under it, install the K&N air filter, performance "chip", performance exhaust of some sort and the cheesy sticker kit. What did they forget about? Anyone? Gearing. By the time they have the "Bad boyz drive big toyz" crap stuck on the back window, they don't have any money left over to change the differential gears. Of course, changing gears really isn't a shade-tree, DIY sort of thing anyway. No matter. The typical bonehead doesn't really understand that by putting a bigger tire on their truck they're changing gear ratios. And not for the better. Usually by the time they smoke off those expensive tires by doing burn outs, the transmission, transfer case, engine, steering linkage, suspension and differentials have taken such a beating that they're on the verge of failure. The whole truck is pretty much junk at this point. I've even heard a few guys complaining about the dealer not honoring the warranty. Uh, Einstein, as soon as you stuck that lift kit on, you voided your warranty. You purchased a vehicle that was designed to perform well as it rolled off the assembly line. As soon as you started fucking with things, you were making the vehicle do things it wasn't designed to do. Suspension made to handle a 245/75-16 tire is not going to last long with a 38" mud tire bouncing all over the place. People have to accept the fact that trucks simply aren't made as well as they used to be. You can't expect to modify them extensively, beat on them and still have a long lasting truck.

Sitting in the shop is a truck just like I've described. It's been there since late May and will probably be taking up space for quite some time. Some kid had it towed in because it didn't run. The brand doesn't matter, but it has a diesel engine (because they're sooo cool!) and it took quite a lot of diagnostic time to figure out what the problem was (a few bad injectors and injector cups amongst other things). We received authorization for every single thing we did. We finally got the thing repaired and it runs great. Whoever put the lift on it was smart enough to change the differential gears, compensating for the larger tires. Let me tell you, this truck hauls ass! But, the kid can't pay the bill. So, we're stuck with a truck taking up space until the bill is payed in full. Welcome to diesel engines kid. Expensive fuckers aren't they?

Just for shits and giggles, I donated some time after my shift one night and inspected the truck. Sloppy ball joints, transmission fluid that's brown (it's supposed to be reddish in color), leaking transfer case, a few marker lights don't work, exhaust leaks... If it was a big truck, it would not pass a DOT inspection. We've had a lot of this particular brand of truck in the shop lately. Probably ten or twelve in the last three months. All of them came in because they shut down and wouldn't run. Some of the trucks were bone-stock, others were "mud crunchers". The majority of them had the same problem. After the first three or so, we had to tell the customers that it would be at least $2000 to fix their truck. It's sad that a particular part failed with such regularity we could tell the customers what the minimum cost would be without even opening the hood. We've changed this particular part so many times that we've made special tools to do the job faster and know exactly how to change it. I know, I know, I've ended up on a different subject than I started with but believe me, there's a point to it.

The point I'm making is this. It doesn't matter at all what brand of truck you have or how you've modified your truck. Each brand of truck is going to have problems of one kind or another. Oh, one more thing about the brand-faithful. I was shootin' the shit with a younger guy while pumping gas one day and a Chevy truck drove by. Lift kit, every gaudy accessory known to man stuck on it, Duramax diesel with a performance "controller" as shown by the black smoke coming out of the exhaust (which is fucking stupid. That's unburned diesel fuel aka wasted money) This kid said something like "Yeah! Can't beat that GM power!" I looked over at him and replied "Uh, you should know the Duramax isn't a GM engine." He looked at me all stupid and asked me what I was talking about. I said "Kid, the Duramax is an Isuzu engine. GM is totally incapable of building anything resembling a decent diesel engine." He just stared at me and I couldn't tell if he was going to start crying or try and hit me. "Sometimes the truth hurts, kid. Dodge uses Cummins engines and the 'Ford' Powerstroke diesels are actually Navistar engines." Speaking of Cummins, I always get a laugh when some jackass calls them "Cummings" engines. Just proves they don't have a clue what they're talking about. One last thing. Stop putting exhaust stacks on pick-ups. It looks stupid.

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