Rednecking in Rifle — Keeping Our Trucks Running

Post by blogger | September 14, 2005      

Rifle, Colorado is in the midst of an energy boom (natural gas), so it’s a fun place to visit and see all the big service trucks running around, along with the general upbeat attitude. More, it’s interesting to note where our home heating comes from. Was down in Rifle today at CODE 4×4 getting a tranny service for the Toyota Tacoma TAV, and getting a “certified” weld on our new 14 foot PJ car hauler trailer.

We purchased the trailer a few days ago, for hauling Rumble Bee to Moab for backcountry adventure, and transporting sundry items such as topsoil and perhaps a few snowmobiles or quads if the opportunity comes. The custom hitch on our Tacoma is built as high as possible so it doesn’t drag offroad, making it tough to hitch a standard trailer. All the ball mounts I could find with enough drop were too weak, so we had to raise the hitch on the trailer 2 inches by grinding the hitch welds off, installing 2×2 square tubing as a spacer, then re-welding the hitch. I was able to do most of the work in about 3 hours at my home shop, including enough welding to get the rig safely down to Rifle for the beef welds to make it safe.

Had a nice adrenaline rush today when the trailer breakaway wiring shorted out and caught fire. The factory PJ wiring was routed through a tiny hole in the frame with no chafe protection, and as it turned out, no fuse. It got cut on the edge of the hole while I was unhitching at CODE, and the next thing I knew the full amperage of the emergency breakaway battery was trying to melt all the wiring. Smoke was pouring off everything, and heck, I was a bad redneck and didn’t even have my multi tool on my belt to cut the wires before the battery exploded, so I’m shouting to Chris “I NEED A KNIFE — ANYTHING TO CUT THESE BLANKTY BLANK WIRES!” So he hands me his Spyderco (unlike my yuppie self, Chris ALWAYS has a pocket knife), and I cut the wire just in time to prevent the battery from blowing up. Several wires are somewhat fried, however, so we’ll see what PJ will do on warranty. Blessing was that the regular trailer brake system still worked after this adventure — it’s only the breakaway part we’ll be needing to renew. Yes, adventure is where you find it!

Code 4×4 service manager Brian operating their primo transmisson flushing maching. No muss no fuss, everything is contained for recycling. We installed an aftermarket transmission temperature gauge while we were at it, since we’re using the Tacoma for tow at the upper limit of its rated capacity.

Photo note: I used the Canon Rebel for this shot, on the setting that mixes flash with ambient light, at 800 ISO. It did an excellent job (Photoshopping this image only took a couple of minutes, mainly sizing it and sharpening), but the flash was not powerful enough to balance the background sunlight. Too bad Kennedy wasn’t around, as I’m sure he could have done a much better job.


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