Sunday, August 28, 2011

On The Road Again!

It was around Christmas that I pulled out of Sam's Club in the little blue S-10 and it...stopped running. As luck would have it I had speed and the timing to coast into the Cinemark Theater parking lot next door to Sam's. Our son Matt came with the trailer and brought us, the S-10 and me, home.

Fire was not getting to the spark plugs. Why was the $64,000.00 dollar question, and we thought it was going to cost that much before we were done. I had the truck dropped at a local garage I have used in the past and it sat for more than a month without being touched. So, we were on our own.

Tracking the problem has been a hassle. The details lead me to break out in profanity, so I won't go into them here. In the mean time we have been using a Big White Truck built for towing heavy loads.

Short Trips Only!

The gas mileage is as low as gas prices have been high. It's been fun. A trip into Bryan means borrowing a vehicle from Matt.

I was back on the road with the S-10 yesterday. The only problem I encountered was overheating. Of course the 110 degree heat of the day may have had something to do with it.

Stopping the way it did still has me spooked. For the next few days I will be making short runs until I build up my trust S-10 again. One thing is clear; the difference in mileage between the two is going a long way toward winning me over.


I got one trip to Marlin Saturday.

Nothing yesterday.

This afternoon I went to the post office. At the house I had to let the truck 'crank' longer than usual. Once it started it drove to the post office with no problem. I parked, went inside, and came back out. The truck cranked

and cranked

and cranked

and cranked




and cranked!


This is exactly the way it acted in December. The only difference is it refused to start rather than dying as I drove down the road.

At least Helene and I kept the white truck, and she was able to come pick me up. We will fetch the S-10 from the Post Office in the morning. We will decide what to do once it's home.

As if offering a footnote, while waiting for Helene to pick me up a single rain drop hit my shoulder. I waited for more, but there was just the one.

Updated Update!!!

This morning Helene and I loaded up a tow strap and headed to the post office to retrieve the S-10. After checking the PO Box, I climbed into the little blue beast and cranked the engine. After much protesting it struggled to life. Waisting no time I drove it home.

Did I mention 'Spooked' earlier? For a while I will use it for short trips by my self. I don't want to risk it stranding Helene and I both anywhere. Someone has to drive the big white truck to the rescue.


  1. My 1984 S-rustbucket died at a stoplight in the middle of lunch rush traffic. That turned out to be the thick red wire that leads to the coil. It broke down inside the clip-in fitting (i.e. you couldn't see that it was broken). I still have the truck, but I don't drive it anywhere I can't walk back from.

    Cheers, Medium Sized Jake

  2. Greetings from Texas,
    Thanks Jake. We are on the same page.

    Helene and I won't be traveling together in the S-10 for a long time. Someone has to wait by the phone with the big white truck to ride to the rescue. Plus, I really don't want Helene stranded on the side of the road in 100 degree + tempture.

  3. if it was just not starting...but since its also stalling, have someone (or you if you have the tools) check to make sure fuel is flowing properly from the tank to the engine. I had a '91 Honda Civic do exactly what you're describing. Had it into the mechanic at least twice with him not able to find the problem.

    Finally (the mechanic also being a friend of the family) we left it with him for a week for him to drive around as his commuter car.

    Turned out to be a valve somewhere in the fuel line (I'm not a car person, don't ask what valve or where, I don't remember sorry this was 8 or so years ago) was malfunctioning in situations of worse than average heat or cold. It was "locking" in a position, sometimes open (flooding the engine, which is really disconcerting sitting at a light and suddenly the engine revs itself), sometimes closed (starving the engine). Generally after it had sat (stalled, or not starting) for a little while (sometimes as much as an hour, others just a few minutes depending) it would start back up with a little hesitation and then be fine, but it took forever to narrow down the problem so it could be fixed.

    On an interesting note, had an almost identical problem with a '90 Ford Tempo (god I hated that car), except it was only locking closed periodically (but only after the engine had warmed up) causing stalls in bad places. Which makes me wonder if its more common than alot of us realize, at least in older cars.