UPDATE: After the steering column repair, we hooked up the boat trailer. At our first stop (the gas station) the truck wouldn’t come out of park. Long story short? It was the fuse for the brake lights. It blew when we hooked up the lights for the trailer. Unhooked the lights, changed the fuse. Back in business. So did we need a new steering column? Yes. Could it have lasted a little longer? Probably. would I have wanted to be driving it when the steering column finally gave out? Definitely not.
and three days.
In case you missed it, we had a little problem with our truck. To be a little more specific, here’s the voice mail message from our mechanic:
Hello Mr. and Mrs. Mills, this is HardWorkingMechanic. I just got off the phone with Mr. Mills, and told him that I had found a steering column for him in California, which I had, but by the time I called, it was sold. (pause) There are no others in the country that I know of. (pause) There are no others that I have been able to find at this time. (pause) I don’t really know what to say at this time. But I uh, cannot find a steering column for this vehicle and unless a miracle happens, we cannot fix this vehicle at this time. (long pause) So, call us back at . . .
FirstHusband was on travel, so I called back. HardWorkingMechanic went through even more details. It turns out there’s a nationwide network of junkyards. The first steering column he found was in Jacksonville, Florida, but when he called, it had sold 4 hours earlier. The second column, the one he was referring to in the voice mail, sold right out from under him. The next day, a new resource led him to a third column, located in Clearwater, Florida, and he jumped on it! Unfortunately, when they went to pull it from the vehicle (in a junkyard), they discovered it had been stolen.
So I asked, “Is there any other column that could be fitted or modified?” (the optimism stemming from incredulous disbelief at this situation)
Maybe. There were more than a few configurations of this steering column. Ours had no airbag, it had tilt and it had cruise control. Finding a steering column with an airbag was easy. Unfortunately, the airbag wouldn’t fit inside the steering column casing on our truck, so that was out. HardWorking Mechanic thought he might be able to find a non-airbag steering column without tilt or cruise control.
no cruise control? For me? I am 5 feet 4 inches tall and this is a Ford F250. My feet don’t touch the floor when I sit on the couch in my living room. So, no cruise control would be . . . inconvenient when I drive the truck. For FirstHusband? It’s about comfort and gas mileage. He gets better gas mileage when he uses the cruise control.
tilt? I don’t need no stinking tilt.
So, the searching begins again. I find three rebuilt steering columns (with no tilt) on ebay with a “Buy it Now” of $250. HardWorkingMechanic reminds me that if HE finds one and it doesn’t work, he can send it back. ebay? Not so much. We agree that he should exhaust his sources before we buy one of the ebay steering columns.
Wednesday passes. Thursday. At 4:30 the phone rings:
I say, “How ya doing?
HardWorkingMechanic: pretty good.
Me: “How are we doing?”
HardWorkingMechanic: “Do you want your truck back? It’s ready.”
Me: “NO WAY!”
HardWorkingMechanic: “Yep. We got a steering column with an airbag and used the parts from it to rebuild yours. It doesn’t have tilt, but it does have cruise.”
So, we don’t have to replace the truck. We don’t have to sell our boat to buy another vehicle and take on a payment. We picked up the truck this morning.
Not that we need it this weekend, mind you, because we are going boating. The truck’s last trip before “steering column death” was to take the boat to dry storage in the marina at Cape Canaveral. We call, they put it in the water for us by the time we get there, and we spend the day on the Banana River, getting to know our new boat.
Thanks to everyone who asked their husbands about this! Thanks for the good wishes, the sympathy and the prayers.
it is what it is and “it” isn’t so bad.