Friday, October 9, 2009

Back to Work, kind of a Rocky Week Though

We went back to work on Monday night, Tuesday morning this week. We left Orlando at about 0400 Tuesday morning and headed for Columbus, OH north on I-95 to I-26, then I-77 fueled in Rock Hill, S.C.and continued on to U.S.33 West at Ravenswood, W.V. on into Columbus(Groveport),OH. We had a very small problem on the way with a slight loss of coolant, (anti-freeze). We stopped and I added about 3/4 of a gallon, couldn't find an obvious leak, and really never gave it another thought. Well, not right away anyway.

We arrived in Groveport at about 8:30 pm on Tuesday evening, and had been pre-assigned to a load to Irving, TX at 0500 the next morning, so we promptly went to bed for a good night's rest. Our load was ready at about 0545 on Wednesday morning and we hooked to the trailer and headed south west. We travelled down I-71 to Louisville, KY and accessed I-65 south to Nashville, TN, then onto I-40 to Little Rock, AR and I-30 into Dallas.

The low coolant light started illuminating and ringing, a very obnoxious, impossible to ignore, warning bell just west of Nashville so I went on to Kinsington Springs, TN where I had to add a full Gallon of coolant, again. After another visual inspection of the engine, the oil dipstick, and under the truck at the coolant lines to the rear of the sleeper, I again found no visual indications of a leak, so journeyed on towards Irving. We made it another 240 miles, or so, to Palestine, AR, lites and bells again, so we stopped at the nearest truck stop and with more redundancy, I added another 3/4 gallon of coolant, visually checked and rechecked the entire cooling system for obvious leaks, This time I even checked the heater core areas in the cab and sleeper for signs of leakage, again with no satisfactory resolution. Once again we trodded on to Irving.

This time we made it about 120 miles or so, to about Omaha, TX on I-30, more bells and whistles and I found a place to stop near Whitfield, TX. I pulled into what I thought was a closed weigh station. That is to say, the sign indicated closed but upon exiting the interstate to the off ramp, I seen 2 Texas D.O.T. pickup trucks sitting near the scale house and several drivers entering and exiting the building. Let me just interject here, seldom, and I mean very seldom, is there a weigh station open at or about 11:00 or so on Thursday night, or any night for that matter, but I digress...I parked the truck, opened the hood and began my inspection of the cooling system, again. I added another gallon of coolant, and by this time, I can see that we aren't going to be able to make it back to Columbus to the shop I like there. We headed for Irving, got there about 0130 and dropped our trailer.

I called Kenworth's "Premier Care" and with their help,was able to find a shop in the area to get the truck in right away. I had already called dispatch and gave them a heads up about our problem so we took off for the shop.

We arrived at MHC Kenworthm Ft Worth, TX at about 0230 and Dan, the night manager, already had our repair order hand written and was waiting for our arrival. They proceeded to diagnose the problem. About 0400 the came to me and advised me that the EGR Cooler had Failed and would need to be replaced. They also let me know that it would be about 6 hours or so and that they had all the parts in stock,an available technician and would get started on the job immediately.

I called dispatch, to inform them of the bad news and they were very understanding, yet obviously distraught about what they would do with the load, who would cover the trip. The freight has to move whether we haul it or another truck makes the move.

I napped in the lounge, Tina in the truck, while they performed the repairs. After replacing the EGR Cooler, they performed a final test and also found the EGR Valve had failed. Another 2 hours but the had the parts and got the valve replaced. We headed back to the terminal at about 2:00 pm and were relieved to have the truck fixed. A special thanks to everyone at MHC Kenworth in Fort Worth, TX.

We called dispatch to let them know we were again ready for our next load assignment and they said they'd let us know what was happening as soon as they knew.

We settled in for lunch then a we were going to get a good nap, in a comfortable bed, rather than a chair in a customer lounge. Just shy of starting to prepare lunch, my phone rand and it was dispatch. They had a truck broke down, and the truck had been under a load that would be late for delivery in Atlanta, if it didn't get moving right away. They asked us if we would make the move so we complied, happily.

We fueled, at the terminal, headed for the Peterbilt shop, in Dallas, and hooked the loaded trailer. The other drivers met us there with the paperwork, had a brief conversation, and off we went, happy as a couple pigs in slop.

I had been watching my oil pressure slowly decrease since we took off on Monday night. I didn't think a lot about it though because there was no water or coolant in the oil and the pressure was high enough that there was no engine damage being done. I went to bed in Jackson, MS, where Tina took over. Sleep was good. Tina woke me up about 45 miles west of Birmingham, Al with the oil pressure warning lite blinking and the buzzer sounding off just like the low coolant buzzer. There was a truck stop at the next exit so we stopped, looked the truck over manually checked the pressure at a valve I have installed. The pressure looked good, I could see no visible signs of pressure loss, IE: loose filter, very low oil level etc. so on we moved towards Atlanta. The lites never came back on nor did the bells and buzzer. I decided that the pressure relief valve inside the filter had stuck open and that we would have the filter changed when we get to Atlanta.

After arrival in Atlanta at about 0430, we headed for the shop, again. Needless to say, it was way too early for the shop to be open, so we got another short nap. The shop opened at 0700, pulled us in and changed the filter. That appears to have fixed our problem. We shall see.

We have been assigned to a load to Erlanger, KY for about 7:00 tonight. We will head that way and see what happens. We will be travelling up I-75 to Cincinnati and stopping for fuel at mile post 12 on I-285 in Atlanta. Maybe we will see you there.

We did also meet another great Patriot at the shop this morning. Lynn is a manager for another local delivery company in Atlanta. His picture will be posted, signing the truck, as soon as we get our regularly used computer back from the shop. Lynn sent me, via email, a story called "Dinner With Obama...A Parable" and that can be read at Stop the Destruction of America. That short story is definitely worth the read. Thanks Lynn.

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In God I Trust
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