Then sometimes yer just damn lucky. That would be me.
I changed the oil in the ol' hot rod this weekend to run another 10k miles, and thought I was good to go. Holidays are generally verboten for oversize, so we didn't leave the yard until Tuesday. Several of us were headed to Michigan. About a hundred and fifty miles or so, it seemed the thing to do was pull over so we could all take care of business, if you know what I mean and I think that you do.
I stepped out of the cab and noticed oil. Lots of oil on my fuel tank, side of my cab, dripping from my front mud flap, and gradually spreading down the side of my truck into the rear wheels and just everywhere in general.
Uh oh. Popped the hood and it was what I'd feared. I had not replaced the oil fill cap. The oil fill caps are set up so when you tighten them, the rubber seal expands. They're supposed to be pretty tight. Factory new trucks generally have a small chain attached as well - so losing it is more difficult. Unless you're me, apparently. Not every NAPA Know How specialty store carries stuff like this for trucks. Your car? Probably. Class 8 trucks? Crapshoot.
But, all was not lost. Looking down at my steering gear found the wayward cap exactly where I'd put it to fill the engine with oil. It had ridden there undisturbed for quite some time.
So, now I've got an oily truck - the oil level wasn't lowered much. It doesn't take a whole lot of it to make one hell of a mess - especially when it's spread around by some high speed wind. Fast forward to this afternoon - in Michigan waiting on some escorts to catch us. One noticed the ol' sweet antifreeze smell coming from my truck. I couldn't smell it, but popped the hood anyways.
On the big trucks, radiator hoses are mostly long stretches of pipe with short sections of hose to attach the pipe to the block or radiator. Looking at my bottom hose hooked to the block - the clamp had just broken. The welds holding the screw housing had failed and the remains were dangling. It was the upper clamp (two per hose) fastening to the block, and the hose had even come loose. I happened to have an extra clamp, and my compadres fastened it in place. Oh, and by the way. Cast iron retains heat for some time, just so you know. Eight or ten gallons of antifreeze and water later, I was good to go.
Now, with all these electronics on the damn things, this was unpossible. There is a low coolant level sensor that should have gone off. It did not. I didn't run it out of coolant to the point that it started heating up, but had we pulled out from the truck stop, I'd have been lucky to make it a mile. Once the water temperature gets up so far, if you don't pull over and shut down, the control module will. Shut down, that is. Managing to steer the thing and get it over to the side of the road with no power is up to the driver after that - overcoming the power steering hydraulics plus the regular steering effort unmasked by the functioning hydraulics. Or, who knows? Maybe the ECM would have let the motor seize up and die a horrible death. That would have been popular with the powers that be back home.
So I was damn lucky. Thank you, God.