Vehicular Derpitude

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted here so I figured I’d gather an important collection:

TV and radio station related vehicles I’ve murdered in the line of duty!

#1 – the Q97 truck. This was my first time ever going up a nasty little dirt mountain road and the truck just… unceremoniously shut down on me right then and there at a switchback in the road. After it cooled down for a few minutes, it restarted and worked just fine. The fault was never identified or replicated by anyone else, but we decided after that incident that it probably shouldn’t go up to the transmitter site again.

#2: The Nissan Frontier that couldn’t take RF.

It made it to the top of Shasta Bally perfectly fine, but as soon as I got back in it, turned it so its back was to the KNCQ-FM and KRCR-TV transmitters, and started driving back down, it decided to shift from 4WD to 2WD. When I tried to shift it back to 4WD the transfer case motor started moving and then halted in a neutral position. An “ATP” light came up on the dash which is apparently the warning that the transfer case is in that neutral state and the transmission’s park pawl won’t do anything to make the vehicle stay put.

It was downhill from this spot where the truck died to a space about a hundred feet away, so I coasted it down there and power cycled the whole thing, which was the point at which I found Nissan’s ONE GOOD DESIGN FEATURE:


Those quick release connectors come out of the bottom of the battery positive terminal, uh, conglomeration, and it’s easy to disconnect them to kill power to everything. The big red wire that remains connected is the starter I guess. After it sat to think about its place in life for a while, it was willing to work again.

On a side note, here’s an important warning about Nissan pickup trucks, and it is likely to extend to other Nissan vehicles. I observed this same behavior on two different Nissan Frontiers and one Nissan Titan of three different model years. When you downshift the transmission to descend a long steep grade, it will automatically shift back up to drive and then start upshifting with no user input OR INDICATION on the dash after 15 minutes.

You get no warning that this is about to happen, it’s just suddenly… clunk and you’re accelerating downhill way too fast.

The only way to reset this is to stop, turn off the engine, and restart the vehicle!

#3: Ford Econoline van I seem to have no photographs of. Blew up SPECTACULARLY while hauling a load of e-waste to a recycling center. The transmission began slipping just before I got there and the cooling system went off with a “POP!” sound and dumped everything out in a flash as soon as I stopped. With absolute seriousness, I asked which bin to push it into and leave it there.

#4: Ford Econoline. Is anyone surprised? Heater hoses blew off where they go into the firewall and the coolant dumped. By this point in time I’d gotten tired of faking it with that dark brown and decided to embrace my natural rainbow.

Honorable mention: The Ford F150 on which some of the wiring harness tape got onto the exhaust manifold and started slowly burning away until I squashed out the flame and tore off the smouldering pieces. I’m not including this one here because it didn’t really die— I caught it before it did, and to be perfectly honest, if it didn’t mean it would have been a 9 mile walk back to the main road, I probably would have just said “NOPE!” and marched off.

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