What is Seen, Cannot Be Unseen
No pictures today. They’d be too horrific. This day was spent at the Ford dealership while they dismembered the Mighty Furd’s front suspension. Got there ar 8AM, left at 4PM when it because clear that all of the needed work could not be completed by the time the mechanics end their workday. The suspension will be done and the new shocks are on, but then there’s the alignment and that bad tension pulley for the serpentine belt. They graciously carted me all the way out to Wellton, where I got out only to hear a newish Chevy pickup owner across the street climb into his cab and yell with a grin, “And they told me I should get a Ford!” Hyuk hyuk. Your day will come, my friend. Your day will come. …Or maybe you’ll trade it in before that day of reckoning and lose your wallet in that manner. In the end, we all pay.
My service writer had approached while I was in the dealer’s waiting room, once again looking like the messenger of doom. “Bad news, huh?” I asked.
“I’m afraid so,” he replied, looking very uncomfortable.
“They found something else?” I offered.
“Oh, no,” he said, “It’s just not going as smoothly as we hoped.”
“So it’s not about money, just time?” I asked.
“That’s right, it’s a time problem.”
“Then enter, friend!” I said, “Have a seat here and relax. I can take anything but finding more parts going bad.”
He explained, “There’s enough rust on the fittings that things have resisted coming apart, even with spraying a lot of rust cutter and penetrant on everything, scrubbing the threads. It’s been a battle. There’s no way we can complete all the work today, as we’d hoped.” I could sympathize, having myself marveled at just how determined a nut can be to refuse to back off over dirty or corroded threads. He arranged to have me carted home, and they’ll pick me up tomorrow around noonish. I can live with that. He then escorted me out to the shop floor where the gutted remains of the F-250 lay spread out on the cement floor. The new balljoints were in, but the two new drag links were still on the floor waiting, and the Ford’s front hubs and stub axles lay exploded, surrounded with fasteners and all manner of mechanical bits and pieces. It was visually traumatizing to a cheap person such as myself, or to one who has a sense of psychically bonding to the vehicle they cohabit with. It’s something like sensing a tremor in The Force, except you don’t feel it until they come and drag you out there to look. Hopefully, I’m not scarred for life. The mechanic said that the suspension would be done by end of day, but the rest wouldn’t.
I asked him about the shocks, and he told me that the left front Monroe Gas Magnum had been completely useless, and also that the new shocks were built and valved per the factory originals. Same hardware. He also mentioned that some (not my) OEM Ford shocks were actually built by Rancho in a plain black disguise, so assumptions about Ford parts have some risk to them. When I voiced my concerns about the slightly higher engine oil temps following the flush he’s done last week, he told me that the only time they use the Ford-specified chemical flush sequence that takes all day is when they already plan to replace the oil cooler, because that flush forces everything out of the motor and is largely trapped by its tiny passages, adding insult to injury. He confirmed that I need only be concerned when the difference between oil and coolant temps reaches 15 degrees, which should throw a dashboard light. My ScanGauge II should give me some advance notice in that regard, hopefully giving me a chance to locate a qualified service place – or make arrangements to trade the truck in. Whatever. It’s got a ways to go yet in that department, thankfully, and the temperature variance has since stabilized a bit after a couple of heat/cool cycles.
One theoretical disappointment I found while walking around outside where the new trucks are is that Ford has at some point removed manual control over the front locking hubs on their F-150. They are still vacuum-operated in all cases – it’s just that should they fail to engage when the 4WD switch is thrown, there is no longer an option to get out and mechanically engage them. That’s bad. The fact that they are still vacuum-operated is a liability in deep water. You don’t dare let water go any higher than the bottom of the front hubs, or it might suck water into them. That’s bad for multiple layers of massive bearings, and if you just ignore the submersion, you can be in for new front hub assemblies pretty quickly. The bearings are not considered to be serviceable, so the hubs alone cost $400 per side. Like telling spooky stories at bedtime, I’m scaring myself, so I’ll end here. Hopefully I won’t be afraid later that a front hub is hiding under my bed!