Oct 23, 2012 - Personal    4 Comments

Perhaps I Should Have Named My Truck Jekyll and Hyde

Yesterday, I brought my truck into the shop to have several things checked and fixed. I haven’t been driving it much because I knew the front bearings needed work. But, more worrisome, every so often, I would start the truck and it would make a weird electrical-type sound from the passenger side of the engine compartment. When I’d get to my destination, the compartment seemed hotter than it should be and there was an overheated smell.

My mother recommended Centre d’auto Chagnon on Périgny, so I called last week and booked an appointment for first thing yesterday. The mechanic and I went out but we could not reproduce the weird electrical sound. He then did a couple of test drives on his own and also couldn’t get the truck to make the sound. Except for the stuff I’ll enumerate below, he came to the same conclusion as Ken, that the truck is in great condition and he has no reason to believe there is anything wrong in the engine compartment. I basically need to do exploratory surgery (ie. spend tons of time and money running diagnostics) to find what ails my Ranger, if anything. Augh.

My list had:

– The weird sound. Not solved.

– Check front bearings. Checked and only the right one had to be replaced.

– Oil change. Done.

– E-brake light not working properly, please check the fuse. Turns out the e-brake line was shot. They replaced it and now the light is working properly and the e-brake is much more impressive in its ability to keep my truck stationary! 🙂

– Why is the headlight on the passenger side not working when it has been replaced? Turns out it was burned out. So I either didn’t replace it properly, or I have an electrical problem along the lines of my alternator over charging and shorting out things, which could make for an odd electrical sound and cooked smell… The mechanic said that if my light burns out again and the noise comes back, then I should start by having the alternator looked at.

The shop noted that:

– One of my battery posts was broken. Also, the battery failed a load test. I had thought to replace it when I bought the truck, but the load test results were okay, so I didn’t. This time, I went ahead and got a new one, plus a new post.

– My tires needed to be rotated. I had them rotated.

I picked up Moya this afternoon and was advised to take her for a long test drive, at least 50KM round trip, over a variety of roads, and at a variety of speeds to test all my gears. If I got any red flags, I was to either drive back to the garage immediately, or, worst case scenario, call them for a tow.

Of course, my truck performed perfectly on said test drive and I had such a lovely drive through the rural Montrégie under crystal blue skies and coloured trees. 🙂

I took route 112 east all the way to Rougemont, known for its apple orchards. There, I turned around and cut through Marieville to go circle Mont St-Grégoire, site of a lot of érablières/cabanes à sucres (sugar shacks). This mont is one of several that give the otherwise prairie-flat Montérégie its name.

Needless to say, I hadn’t planned on playing tourist today, so I didn’t have my camera. So these shots from my phone will have to do. I’m including a bonus one from an excursion into Montreal yesterday.

I’m going to make it a point to take the truck out more often in the next few weeks at times when the garage is open in case the noise comes back so that I can drive straight there and have the mechanic listen to it.

Ah, used vehicles are always fun. 🙂 So far, I haven’t had to put anything into this truck that feels excessive, and, even with the cost of purchase, I’m still at well less than what my car would have cost in payments alone for the last year of the loan. All is good!

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  • Rae – one of the best things you can do for your e-brake, is to use it! By that I mean, after parking engage your e-brake once a week. This will keep the mechanism and brake wire flexed (not rusted or seized). As to the smell/electrical problem, does your mechanic have a diagnostic machine (it plugs directly into your truck)? Worth a try….


  • Mike, I ALWAYS apply my e-brake when I park since I have a manual transmission and have nightmares of my vehicle rolling away. 🙂

    The mechanic does have a diagnostic machine but said that it would cost me $$$ and that based on how the truck behaved for him, he felt that was highway robbery and unnecessary. We’ll try that only if the noise comes back.

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