The Struggle Can Be Real

When a person decides to live in a vehicle life can be turned upside down in an instant. There are so many things that can derail the sweet harmonic balance that life has when it’s simple. Like a mechanical failure. It’s nice that things are typically cheaper living on the road. If you choose the right vehicle. A breakdown will ultimately handicap you though. I am working in Los Angles California and my van has become ill. Sprinter owners listen up this article is for you. CHANGE THE HARMONIC BALLANCER PULLEY BEFORE 100,000 miles. My rig has 111,000 and I hear a little vibration under the hood. Now I’m a pretty crappy mechanic but I can and will turn wrenches a lot more than I want to admit. So I decide since my serpentine belt is wearing a bit I will change it and and check the pulleys to find which is vibrating. My guess is the idler pulley. I open the hood and it’s as tight as I remember. I can’t really see in well enough to figure out how to use the tensioner pulley. I know it’s a lot of pulling going on right now. If your not getting it bare with me. So after about an hour of talking with a complete stranger. Offering advise for no reason. I decide I gotta go. So I close the hood and leave the O’rileys auto parts store. New belt in the back instead of spinning in delight under my hood. In LA it’s illegal to live in your vehicle. Ya you can pitch a tent on the sidewalk but can’t live in your car, go figure. So I’m staying at a Camping World parking lot under my Good Sam membership about 18 miles (1 hour) from the job site. When I arrive at my pavement paradise I open the hood again and get some chain lube that I keep on hand for my Motorcycle chain. I was missing the bike pretty bad but glad to have the lube. I crawl under the motor and start spraying. The noise goes away WHALA. It’s a pulley for sure. Ok, good, easy fix. So I create an amazing meal and find some sleep hidden in the bed I keep inside the van. I get up in the morning, drive to work. No noise, awesome. I watch some You Tube and find out I need a tool (torques wrench) for the tensioner pulley. So after work back to O’rileys I go, buy the tool and as easy as landing on the moon the belt is off. Whew now for the squeaky wheel. As I say “the squeaky wheel gets… replaced!” But they are all great. I can’t check the Harmonic pulley though because it’s attached directly to the motor. So I wiggle and turn but the pulley doesn’t. So without the belt on I start the motor. To my surprise the rattle is still there CRAP! So it may not be a pulley. Now I’m thinking to my self am I going crazy? Has it always sounded like this? Am I just now noticing it? I climb under again and spray a real lubricating penetration spray on the harmonic pulley. It goes quite. Ok I flip the new belt on and ya baby back in business. Off to the parking lot of campers I go. Luckily that sleep was still hiding under my pillow. I woke, drove to work and the rattle was back. So Google I go. To read horror story after horror story of $6,000-$10,000 repair bills if this noisy pulley falls off. I guess it’s a for sure thing too. As well as a pretty good story about a guy that knew a lot more then me trying to change it himself on the road. Well needless to say I didn’t leave work that night. In fact I stayed for 3 more days working and trying to find a shop, $387 labor, the part $243, a tow $587 for 13 miles. WHAT! No way. So I looked into options. AAA wanted around $200 for 2 tows a year at 200 miles. My insurance doesn’t provide towing on the RV policy. Good to know now. Neither does the Verizon roadside assistance I have. So I called my Good Sam peeps. They told me that if I pay $89 for a new member deal I could get unlimited tows for unlimited miles to the nearest shop plus lockout, gas, tire, and road side mechanic. And it would be active in 24hrs from payment. Well cool I said while I busted out the crowbar and went to town on my wallet slipping my debit card out again. I had to find sleep two more nights anyway (my day job was not done). I was hoping that sleep was still hiding in my covers. As laid my self down to rest I found it in plenty. So now I get to leave my humble home to some strangers in a wild city while they muck around her inner workings. I hope they treat her with respect as she is a wonderful home. Luckily I get the opportunity to fly off to my vacation home and see my loving family while my home is being repaired. If I was a man living in his van at all times I can’t imagine where else this story would go from here. I hope it’s the end of this one so I bid you farewell and sleep tight. 


4 thoughts on “The Struggle Can Be Real

  1. It’s scary when your livelyhood relys on having a cooperative vehicle. I am glad you are taking this seriously. I know plenty of people who would ignore this issue because it’s easier than getting it fixed.

    I’m not surprised at all that someone tried to help in the parking lot. I do that any time I see someone struggling. I may not be able to help much, but I can help them feel better about whatever they are dealing with.

    Best of luck getting your vehicle fixed. I wish you a speedy and inexpensive repair. You might google some articles about haggling with mechanics you can often save a chunk of change that way.

    Now for my unsolicited advice. It’s really hard to read stories online that aren’t broken up into manageable paragraphs.

    I work in the newspaper industry. I’m a reporter. The rule we always tell to interns coming in is hit enter after every sentence. I sentence per paragraph, maybe two or three if they are closely connected or really short.

    I really like your blog, so I hope you don’t mind my criticism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very constructive! Thank you! I welcome advise as I am a novice writer.
      My story is unique so I thought I should write it down. Even if it’s for no other reason then to come up with great tails for the great grandchildren of the next century.


      1. What ever your reason is for writing, I am glad that you do. The world is a big place and the internet connects us. So there is always someone out there who will be interested. I look forward to your next story.

        Liked by 1 person

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