Saturday, May 23, 2009

Travelog day 4; What's That Noise?

I was making good time.
I still had a tail wind across most of New Mexico, and I thought I could make it to Arizona before stopping for the night.

Unfortunately, about 15 miles from the AZ border near Lordsburg, NM, the engine started to make a knocking noise. It was loud enough I could hear it over the radio, which is typically cranked way up so I can hear it over the wind and engine.

I slowed down, thinking I had thrown a rod or something equally horrible.

The noise slowed down along with the engine, meaning it was definitely IN the engine.


Fortunately, the noise started about 10 seconds after I passed a billboard for a Ford Service Center exit 1 mile.
How convenient.
I let the van slow down even more as I approached the exit. The knocking noise got louder with acceleration, but I didn't seem to be losing power.
I limped into the Ford Dealership, and was told that everyone had gone to lunch but someone would be take a look at it soon.

I opened an emergency beer and consulted my Diesel Repair manual's troubleshooting guide.
Hmmm.... bad fuel? Nah.
Injector pump? Gawd I hope not, and I didn't lose power so probably not.
Injectors? Quite possibly. She had been giving me some trouble starting warm.

As I removed the engine cover, a little hobbit of a man came over to take a look.
He peered around in the engine compartment with a flashlight and mirror.
The cats were terrified by this strange person invading their van. They hid in the bowels of the cargo hold.

The mechanic determined I had a cracked fuel line which was the cause of the noise.
I was doubtful, but hey, he was the Ford mechanic.

They had to order the part, it would be in tomorrow. The fuel line had been pulled out, so I couldn't drive anywhere. They offered to get me a motel.
"I don't have money for a motel. Can't I just sleep in your parking lot? Think of me as free security."
After consulting the Big Kahuna, I was OK'd to sleep in the parking lot of the dealership.
I passed the rest of the day drinking the remainder of my emergency beers and re-reading 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' which is a fabulous book that was eerily appropriate to my situation.

My little kitchen, with the stove set up.


  1. Hope everything is better and roadworthy tomorrow.

    Doing pretty good so far! Good luck!

  2. I definitely agree about your opinion on the book - I liked it too. Sorry to hear about car problems - I do hope they stay on the minor side of life.

  3. Diesels have ways of making minor problems sound like the world's coming to an end! Ha ha! Glad it was minor....