Rebuilding my Dodge Truck…..
When I was a young kid, my Dad by trade, was a Trucker. Now he wasn’t your ordinary truck driver, he was the ultimate truck driver – (or at least I thought he was). Dad worked his own loads, tarped, loaded, strapped, stabilized, drove and even at times unloaded his own trucks. He was also his own diesel mechanic. His mind was like a living Road Atlas and I vividly remember him planning his routes (before GPS and Cell Phones), when he would call out landmarks in other states that he would need to turn by or remembering certain tunnels and overpasses that were too short for his loads. Driving long haul he was fortunate to visit many new and interesting places and during the summer months I would ride along with him for a week or two before school started back. Learning to talk on the CB Radio and giving other passing truck drivers, a certain nod and wave that only Truckers knew how to do. It was definitively an experience that I will never forget.
Now what does all of this have to do with rebuilding my dodge truck you might ask? Well…….
I can remember days when Dad was home on the weekends cleaning his truck and doing routine preventative maintenance – he would always try to get me involved in working on something. As a teenager, all I wanted to do on his Big Rig besides drive the darn thing was maybe install a new stereo and speakers in there for him. After all, if you’re going to listen to Bluegrass music, you might as well be playing it through quality equipment!
When things would break, Dad would always rebuild or replace his own engines, exterior pieces, interior pieces and he was even an accomplished welder – a Jack-of-all-trades it seemed and at any given time, he would have me washing parts with gasoline and a wire brush. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my Dad and loved spending time with him but I hated getting greasy and doing mechanic work. I would often run and hide at the mention of the word. So needless to say I never really caught on to the whole working on engines and being a mechanic thing. Dad retired in 2002 after a million miles and 35+ years on the road only to pass away in 2007 at the age of 70. He lived his passion and was a Trucker till the end.
Now, 10 years later I find myself on the cusp of a new adventure. The same year that my Dad passed away, I had purchased a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab with a 4.7L engine with 38,000 miles – I loved the new look of these Dodge Trucks and I planned on keeping this one forever. I have always been a huge Mopar fan and with the help of my Wife and her Father who had just passed away as well, we purchased this truck. I have had this truck for over 10 years now and have well over 215,000 miles on her. I can tell she is getting a little weak and I am noticing some wear and tear on the engine and drivetrain. My Wife has tried to talk me into trading my truck in on something newer and more reliable since it is paid for but I just can’t seem to bring myself to let her go.
In High School I took Woodworking and Carpentry, all four years and became quit good at it, although as it turns out, I would never do this as a profession, it was definitely my hobby – I loved working with wood and building things. But after all of my youth spent running from being any type of mechanic, something in me has clicked. I am now contemplating, and heck – even looking forward to, rebuilding my own engine.
My oldest brother owns a towing company and I was lucky enough to score a 2004 dodge ram from him that was wrecked in the front and needed some engine work. I bought the whole entire truck from him for $500.00 cash to pay off the tow bill. Thanks Brother! So now I will soon begin my adventure of rebuilding my entire engine from the ground up just like my Dad would have done. (except that I have a safety net – I have a Master Mechanic on standby when I have questions or problems). Thanks Dave!!!
Funny how things come full circle…….