Saturday, October 15, 2011

braking up is hard to do

I have been laying rubber.

Not like we once did in the 60s.  With traffic signals acting as drag lights.

Nope.  This rubber is being laid right in my courtyard.  And my truck is going nowhere.

Whenever I think I have cataloged all of the things that happened around here in the hurricane, I find something new.  After all, it took me over a year to realize I had lost a tool kit during my first truck break-in.

Yesterday I went out to the truck to drive over to Jaluco to have breakfast with my friend John.  I did the usual routine.  Unlocked and opened the gate.  Started the engine.  Disengaged the parking brake.

I shifted the transmission into drive and barely moved the accelerator.  Getting through the gate is a tight squeeze.  Warp drive is not recommended when leaving the space port.

Nothing.  No movement.  I gave the truck more gas.  Nothing.  It was as if a log was blocking me.

Into reverse went the truck.  Same thing.  Of course, my first impression was that the transmission had expired in its sleep -- rather than on a steep and winding road.

But,  this is the age of hope where change is touted.  So, I looked under the truck half expecting to find a body.  But nothing.

Back into the truck I went.  The obvious solution was the force of the wind on the brakes had forced them into a temporary lock mode.

I revved the engine in drive.  And the truck moved.  Or, rather, it dragged.  The front wheels were moving.  But the rear was being dragged along.  It reminded me of poor Professor Jiggs when his back legs were atrophying.

Moving forward did not break loose the brakes.  Neither did backing up.  I tried the same maneuver twice to no avail.  And, rather than wear the rear tires through, I gave up.

I walked up to my mechanic’s shop to explain the problem.  He said he could help and would stop by the house as soon as he finished painting a large tanker trailer.  But he would be there before dark.

He wasn’t.

I just talked with him.  The trailer is only about half painted.  But he will be at the house around five or six this afternoon.

I have nowhere to go in particular.  The highway to Manzanillo is still washed out, but a temporary road is being built.  Even so, who needs to go to Manzanillo?

Mentioning Jiggs reminds me how I waited too long to relieve him of his suffering.  Maybe it is about time to make the hard decision on behalf of the Shiftless Escape.

After all, falling coconut palms did not turn out to be a very good (or successful) way to dispatch it.


wiley stagg said...

If you end up buying another vehicle I would buy it down there if you are going to continue living in Mexico, since it will be imported easier for insurance and plates.

Steve Cotton said...

I will. Several people have passed on that advice.

Felipe Zapata said...

Looking at the photo, I can see the Escape has not been washed since you were here in August, and it was pretty crusty then. Buy a nice new car (Mexican plates, of course), and wash it now and then. You will be proud.

Steve Cotton said...

Clean cars always seem to be a bit neurotic to me.

Giorgos said...

Hi everyone. I was planning to come at the end of October to Melaque for the first time from Ontario Canada and stay till April. I was invited by my late's wife first cousin who lives there for the past 13 years. He call me last night to informed me that his place was completely ruined and it will take him a couple of months to fix. As I was unable to contact him again and get info of other places to stay and some advise to whether take the loss of the one way ticket that already paid and save on medical insurance by staying in Canada until January and wait for things to return to normal. Any advice will be appreciated. Steve from what part of Greece you are?    

tancho said...

Remember that if you purchase a small pick up with passenger seats or even a normal pickup your yearly taxes will be a whole bunch less than a car.

Steve Cotton said...

A great tip I learned from you -- and you will always get the credit.

Steve Cotton said...

I am sorry to hear that the house will not be available. Melaque has a message board system called TomZap. If you post a message there, I am certain you will find a place quickly. You can find it at:

I lived in Kato Achaia in the early 1970s.

Don Cuevas said...

Great advice. We had a Datsun King Cab pickup during the '80s in the States, and we generally liked it. In fact, we made our first trip to Mexico in it.

It wasn't too good on icy roads, but we don't have to worry about that here.

Saludos,Don Cuevas 

Jose Stew said...

Not a truck comment, just wondering what the beach front place you, first stayed in after the leaving Salem for good, looks like after the storm? 

ANM said...

Sir, you have the weirdest relationship with machinery of anyone I know.  It is hard to believe that you are the son of a man who ran a whole fleet of trucks.

My guess is that the mechanic will probably find a nest of squirrels in your rear-differential, who took up residence during your last trip north.  Or, there is a crocodile snout snagged in the universal of your drive line.


Kim G said...

My guess?  I think your parking brake is stuck. Try jamming in on hard and releasing it a couple times.  Failing that, look under the truck. The parking brake is actuated by cables that run to the rear wheels. After making sure the wheels are chocked and the car can't roll, with the parking brake off, tug on those cables.  If the release spring is broken, or the jam is "upstream" this should free it.  If that's the case, don't use the parking brake again until you get it fixed or it will likely stick again.

Whatever it is, it doesn't sound like reason to buy a new truck.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Across the river from 'Click and Clack,' the Tappet Brothers.

Giorgos said...

Harika Poli. I hope we will meet some day soon, Patriotaki. I lived in Athens from 1971 to 1981

Steve Cotton said...

Meeting would be nice.

Steve Cotton said...

My rear brakes are drums. A church friend and I did a bit of hammering today and broke them loose. But I think it may be time for a brake inspection.

Steve Cotton said...

If only it could have been so Seuessian. Probably just stuck calipers.

Steve Cotton said...

The house ropde out the storm with no problem -- as did most of the houses on the Villa Obregon beach.

Steve Cotton said...

Who knows what I will do next? Certainly not me.

Brake said...

I suspect that you rarely use the parking brake on your truck.  All parking brakes, whether disc or drum, must be used regularly or never.  Parking brakes are mechanically operated via a cable, which is prone to seizure from rust and corrosion when not used on a regular basis.

Steve Cotton said...

I am a regular user. A habit I acquired with my 240Z, I suspect.

ANM said...

I bet you say that to all your critics.