So this morning we didn’t get an early start out of Shaunavon. Despite our best intentions it was close to 8:30 by the time we got the mighty Ford harnessed up and headed north. When we turned right on #1 at Gull Lake I opened it up a bit and we had every expectation that we would hit Regina around noon, Buchanan tonight. The turbo was pumping out 20 to 45 pounds of boost, the AC was blasting cold air, CBC’s “The Current” was on the air – life was good.
BANG WHOOOOOOOSSSSHHH. “What the fuck was that?”
We rolled to a stop on the next approach where everything once again seemed normal. The engine wasn’t missing or running rough. It would rev up just fine. I was certain that the gawdawful noise we had just heard had in fact come from under the hood but when I popped the hood I could see nothing amiss. Marilyn was convinced it was a flat tire but I never seriously considered that possibility. The only other option was the transmission which I considered a seriously long shot. Aside from the fact that the engine appeared to be running normally when we got stopped, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a stray piston under the hood when I opened it. It was really that loud and that alarming a noise. But there didn’t seem to be much else to do except continue continuing on. So we did. For a few minutes anyway.
As soon as we pulled off the approach and put my foot in it I knew what the problem was. I could hear the turbo whistle from under the hood and see the soot rolling out of the exhaust. My first thought was that a hose had ruptured somewhere and that was where our boost was going so once again I pulled onto the next approach. This time when I opened the hood I could see where the hose coming out of the turbo had popped loose and was sitting so close to the turbo that it wasn’t immediately evident that it had moved. But of course it wouldn’t build any boost with the hose completely loose.
I thought “That’s weird – why the hell would it come off?”. I got out the tools – of course everything around the turbo was piping hot – but I managed to get the hose back on. The clamp was lying in the valley between the heads so I put it back on and tightened everything up. Maybe a total of 15 minutes from the first loud noise and we were pulling back onto the highway with me feeling pretty smug because everything seemed to be working again. We only went maybe half a mile and history repeated. It wasn’t quite as alarming the second time but it was still a very bad noise. That time I started looking for a farmyard and we ended up pulling off the highway on a sideroad and into the first yard we came to. The very large dog in the yard aroused the very nice lady who told us it was OK to park “over there” so we did.
With the empty truck and a light foot we made the final 10 miles into Swift Current without calling on the turbo. NAPA was completely useless so I went to the stealership. $180 later I walked out with a 6 inch long piece of 2-1/2” silicon hose and 2 t-bolt clamps. They were all nicely embossed with FoMoCo so it didn’t hurt nearly as bad. The partsman assured me that this was a very common problem. No doubt it is because the design of the turbo housing is just stupid. The neck that is engages this hose has no mechanical advantage to keep the hose in place. The other end of the hose is actually keyed into the aluminum downpipe running the intercooler but on the turbo only friction keeps everything together. Every problem in this world can be traced back to either an engineer or a lawyer – this one belongs squarely to the engineers at Ford.
Back we went to the nice lady’s farmyard, up with the hood, out with the old hose and in with the new, I got barked at severely, then I took the truck for a test run and finally we hooked up and were off and running again. We probably lost a total of 2 hours for the entire adventure. I discovered that I can build turbo boost by brake torquing – haven’t done that for years – in fact the last time I remember doing it was with my 1962 Olds Starfire. Ken & I plus 2 women in the backseat and we still managed to lay parallel strips of rubber on 103rd street in Sutherland. This morning I dug a pair of divots in the gravel lane which I subsequently went back and filled in – and got severely barked at while I was doing it.
Despite all our adventures, we could easily have made it home tonight but when I stopped to see my master at Assiniboia Farmland he said he wanted me to stick around tomorrow. They’re going to teach me to fly a drone!!! How cool is that? I’m not sure why I will ever need to fly a drone but just having the opportunity to learn seemed like a great reason to spend the night in Regina so that is exactly what we are doing.
It looks more or less like this one – maybe I’ll get some pictures of it tomorrow