I had finished working on my old Ford truck; I had put a new water pump in it. That was an adventure in itself. As I took off the water pump I found a small thumb sized hole in the timing chain belt cover. To replace that cover I would had to have taken apart most of the upper part of the engine. Something that I am not prepared to do. I noticed around the hole on the cover there was sufficient room for me to repair the hole by cutting a new piece of aluminum just a little bit bigger than the hole and gluing it. I did some research on the kind of adhesive I would need to make the new piece of aluminum adhere to the original aluminum cover. I found a product called SteelStick. It is rather odd looking as it comes in a see-through cylinder. The product looks more like Play Doe than any adhesive I have use before. The product reminded me of some type Tootsie Roll product. It is about 6 inches long with an outer coating of a light gray material and the center, like a tootsie pop, was a dark gray color. The ideal is to cut off the size of piece you need and then roll it around so that the two different colored pieces mesh together into a single color form. I cut a piece of aluminum so that it would cover the whole with an inch or so on each side to allow the adhesive to hold. After doing this I put on a new water pump, which also involved taking the air-conditioning pump and the power steering, off the engine After putting everything back on I was feeling pretty proud of myself to accomplish this goal. But I remembered that it was a good practice to replace the thermostat each time you replace the water pump. That seemed to be a pretty simple task; the thermostat housing is in the front of the engine and on the top of the engine. All I had to do was to loosen the hose clamp and take thehose off of the water thermostat housing. And then all I had to do was to loosen and take out the two bolts. The first bolt came off just fine, but as soon as I put pressure on the second bolt it snapped off right at the head. After a few choice words and going from feeling proud to being cursed I developed a plan to get the broken bolt out. Believe it or not it took several days for me to work on that bolt. I ended up taking the front fan off the engine and the fan cover. I bought some special left-handed drill bits and a few new extractors in an effort to get the boat out. I drilled through the bolt and twisting the extractor inside the new hole. The extractor took hold but after a short time it stripped out the remaining metal of the bolt. So it was back to the drill and drilled out as much of the old bolt as possible. Then I went in search of a self- tapping bolt to replace the old one. And I found one but it was about 3 inches too long. As it was the only self- tapping bolt of the right size that I had, I decided to use it anyway. I just slipped on an oversized nut and three compression washers. And as odd as that may have looked, I was able to put the thermostat housing back on the engine and with a little extra pressure there were no leaks and I was ready to put the water hose back on. In all this action I had taken off all of the water hoses to make sure that they did not need replacing. After putting all the hoses back on, I put the timing belt back on. I started the truck and waited to see if there is anything leaking out of the engine compartment. To my delight there was nothing to report from the bottom of the truck. I let the truck run for about 15 min. and check it again. There was still nothing gripping from the bottom of the truck.
So now feeling a little more confident I drove the truck around the property a couple times and check for leaks. Yeah, still no leaks. So by the afternoon I decided to take it out on a test drive. I took off and drove about 3 miles. I thought maybe I should turn around and go back to the house and check the engine. About that time I came up on some road work being done on the road so I was unable to turn around at that point. Feeling pretty secure I kept driving. Then about two more miles down the road, I watched the engine temperature gauge quickly spike up from cold to hot. I immediately pulled over, pop the hood and look down to see a lot of water pouring out of the bottom of the radiator where the radiator hose had been connected. To my embarrassment I did not tighten that last clamp around that hose. And so with the pressure of the engine running it just popped off. All I needed to put the hose back on was to tighten the clamp with a flathead screwdriver. It was then that my embarrassment really took hold. I left the house on a test run with this truck without taking any my tools. So I scrambled to look around for something I could use to tighten the water hose clamp. While I was doing this I was pulled over on the side of the road with the hood of my truck up. During that time I had several people pullover and asked me, “do you need some help”? There I was on an old country road, broken down and several people took the time to pullover and asked me if I needed some help. That was a wonderful feeling. I asked each one of them if they had a flathead screwdriver with them. No one did, but one good guy said he would be back soon with a flathead screwdriver. I continued to look around the truck and I found a dime. It occurred to me that a dime or penny usually was the same width as the clamp screw in the clamp. So I took the dime and did the best I could to tighten the clamp. This is not easy as there is very little leverage to be used in a dime. While waiting for the first guy, a second guy pulled over and asked if I needed help. I said yes and asked if he had a screwdriver to his truck? He did not but he spent sometime on the side of the road talking to me about his truck. It was while I was talking to the second driver, the first guy drove by and must’ve thought that the second driver had helped me. So the first driver just kept on going. I then decided to try to make a slow drive back to my house. I had a container of water in the back of the truck so I ported some water back into the radiator and decided to take my chances. I made a U-turn and drove about 2 miles when I noticed that the water temperature gauge was starting to rise again. I pulled over on the side of the road and opened the hood. There was no more leaking of the water and so now I thought of I just got a little more water and I would be fine. So I looked around and just like in some country movie, I found an elderly man sitting on his front porch in a beat up old chair. I grabbed my container and walked across the road and asking if I could get some water. Without hesitation the man got up and grabbed my container. He went inside his house to fill it up. I looked around at what was an old home with a good bit of clutter on it. The man came back and gave me the water and I left thanking him over and over. I put the water into the truck radiator and I made it home. Upon getting home I immediately put together a bag of tools and put them in the truck.
All in all this was a pretty cool adventure. First of all, for people to pullover on the side of the road and asked me if I needed help was something, Iam just not used to that. Working and living in Los Angeles it is very rare that anyone does on a pullover on the side of the road to help you. So in this adventure there was several people kind enough to offer me help. And on the way home to run across this elderly gentleman sitting on his porch was almost like living in a movie. His voice was raspy and his clothes were well worn with his front porch was full of old chairs. But this kind man without hesitation supplied me with some water so I could get home. I think all in all I was a pretty cool adventure.
So my thought of the day is to be sure to look around as you travel and if you see someone in need; ask them,” do you need some help”? Even if you do not have the equipment or the capability to help that person, that is still a very good deed anyway. It made me feel good and made me feel thankful to live in the area I live.