From the full version of Sunnyside's Lousy Book.
Getting on with Life
After losing everything in the fire, I looked for a used work truck, but the ones I looked at were all in need of some kind of repair. Lacking tools and a place to work on one, I thought it would be best to put $5,000 down on a new cub van. (A van with a large moving van body mounted on it.) I planned on put-ting together a paint-shop on wheels.
I was disappointed when I found out later that I had bought a lemon. The first sign was the slipping transmission as soon as I drove away from the dealer with it. The next disappointment was when I changed the oil for the first time; as I finished filling the engine with fresh oil, I checked the dipstick and discovered it didn’t even register on the stick. At first I thought, “Maybe they put a larger oil pan on their commercial truck engines.”
Then when I reached down to grab another quart of oil, I noticed a big puddle of oil on the street below me. I said to myself, “Sattler, you’re smarter than that.” I bent over even further to look underneath the engine only and found that I indeed replaced oil drain plug.
With a little investigation I discovered that the oil filler tube wasn’t even stuck into the valve cover. It spilled the oil down the side of the engine and coated the spark plug wires with oil.
Then my mind slipped back to the time when I was working as a bodyman on race cars. On race cars, the PCV valves are usually plumbed into the side of the collectors of the exhaust headers. I was told that it was important because it helps the seals within the engine work more effectively. Also without the filler tube plugging the hole in the valve cover of my new engine; the PCV valve wasn’t doing what it was suppose to do. To say the least, it was very disappointing to me and wasn’t the kind of thing I wanted for the brand-new engine that I was going to have to live with for years down the road. I thought to myself, “Why me?”
I took the van back to the dealer and told them I wanted, either a new engine and transmission, or a new van, or my money back. But they told me that they cleaned the oil off the spark plug wires and they could find no proof of any damage to the engine, therefore they wouldn’t replace the engine and my concerns were nothing to worry about.
The next problem I noticed was that water would run down the sheet metal floor that is part of the sheet metal uni-body sub-frame that the moving van box was mounted to. The water leaked into the cab between the two front seats and everything on the floor got wet. I took it to the dealer near my house to have it fixed and the knuckle head there couldn’t comprehend what the problem was. He made an ill attempt at sealing the front edge of the floor of the moving van box against its own lower walls, doing absolutely nothing to solve the problem.
That wasn’t the last of the problems, because it wasn’t long before I felt the front suspension getting loose. The left front wheel began to quiver as I drove at high speeds and abnormal tire ware became apparent.
The place where they dent the hell out of the top of the cab while putting on the moving-van-body was in Montana. They’d install the van body in Montana; then drive the vans 800 miles on wet highways to western Washington. Rain water would splash up into the ball joints and they would set on the dealer’s lot. Since ball joints don’t normally get lubricated until they are serviced; they would sit dealer’s lots with water in the ball joints and corrode.
I tried to get a dealer to replace them, but the mechanics would only jack up the front-end and shake the wheel in an effort to get the wheel to move out of place. But as I told them, the pressure from the springs were holding the ball joints tight enough to where they couldn’t get them to move with their physical force.
Then the real scary thing about the van became apparent a short time later. It was the ABS brakes. They would sense a lock up and would set the truck free-wheeling at any given time. It didn’t mater whether I let up on the brakes and reapplied them, or just stomp on them. The truck would just quiver and shake to a delayed stop.
Then one day, I was up in Seattle fetching some materials and equipment, I made a corner through a puddle of water and drove about one block to where the signal light changed in front of me. As I applied the brakes, people began to walk across the crosswalk and the van began to freewheel. I tried everything and I ended up standing on the brakes with both feet and both my hand pulling up on the steering-wheel. My ass wasn’t even on the seat as I looked over in panic to the car to the right of me. I was hoping the person inside the car next to me would notice and pull into me in an effort to stop me. With a little luck, the left front tire of the truck began to quiver and shake, letting out a tattered skidding sound. The pedestrians noticed the wheel screeching as I was about to overrun the crosswalk. Thank God they heard it, because I almost ran over a lady, but she stopped just in time.
The experience almost gave a nervous brake down and not far from the incident was a dealer I’d shopped at before I bought the truck from a dealer in Federal Way. I stopped in and asked him if he could help me get ride of the piece of junk. He noticed how disturbed I was and informed me of what I was up against if I took it back to the dealer I’d bought it from and just left it there. He said that the dealer would be able to sell it for any amount of money and I would be stuck with having to pay off the balance.
He was concerned enough to take it for a test drive to find out for himself first hand. Since it was so hard to control, I was keeping most of my equipment in storage and at the time I only had a small compressor in it. Even though it was all but empty, he noticed that it was under powered while going up hills, but he couldn’t get the brakes to act-up as they did earlier that day.
The dealers just kept jerking my chain and wouldn’t fix any of the things that were wrong with it, but thanks to the Lemon Law, I had the choice to not be stuck with the piece of junk. I knew I could make GM buy it back. So I ran the piss out of it and never changed the oil ever again.
It finally qualified for the lemon law by the amount of times I took it in to have the front ball joints fixed. I also learned that the manufactures have learned how to use the limitations of the Lemon Laws to the full extent. They weren’t about take the truck back until the dead lines were drawn out to the last days they could put off doing anything about it before it would end up in the courts; where it would be labeled as a Lemon.
About eight months down the road; I bought a roll of yellow shelf paper and cut out some large lemon shapes and stuck them on the side of the van. On and Sunday morning I drove over it over to the local dealer on South Tacoma Way and parked it on the street in front of the place.
When I arrived, there were a few customers looking at cars, but soon thereafter, there wasn’t one to be found. While parked out in front of the dealer, I ate my lunch and read the Sunday paper. For over three hours, not one customer entered the dealer’s lot. I had several pissed-off salesmen standing in the front window looking out at me. One of them came outside to my driver’s window and asked me, “Why don't you go park in front of the dealer where you bought it from?” I said, "It really doesn’t really matter which dealer I chose because the problem is with GM, so why waste my gas? I’d get on the phone if I were you and complain to GM.”
The next day I got the call I'd been waiting for. It was a lady from GM, asking me not to park the van in front of the dealer anymore. As it turns out, the reason they drag the whole process out so long is that you still end up paying for every mile put on the vehicle. As a result, it's just like leasing a vehicle that is a lemon.
The auto manufactures very seldom let their lemons go all the way to the courts where the vehicles would be deemed a lemon and the reason they don’t, is that they would then transport it to a state where there isn't a lemon law and put it back on the market without having to disclose that it’s a lemon to the next buyer. To avoid transporting the vehicle to another state, they just use the Lemon Law’s limitations to their advantage the best they can. In my opinion; the auto manufactures consider a Lemon just another leased piece of junk.
I decided that once youve paid $20,000 for a new truck, you’ve paid was too much, so a buyer might as well pay a little more and get the top of the line model, so I decided to buy a truck equipped with a Cummins Turbo Diesel engine because everyone I'd spoken to having knowledge about them, said that they are real work horses because just don't stop ticking.
I figured that if I’d just put $10,000.00 down on a truck equipped with a Cummins engine instead of $5,000.00 down on a piece of junk, the annual cost of owning the more expensive truck would be about the same overhead.
The next chapter of Sunnyside's Lousy Book is:
Hay, where's your women and minorities?
-not available yet.
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Featured chapter prior to
Getting on with Life is-
They called it Newsworthy
My Synchro-link truck
is a whole fleet of trucks in one
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