I’ve always imagined that weekends and holidays were mainly there to give the masses something to look forward to. I used to say if it weren’t FOR weekends and holiday we could get something done! Having a life scare makes you sometimes rethink those priorities.
This is the first holiday after getting fixed up but to me, Memorial day is really why and how we are all here today. I’m not looking at It like another stop….. It would have been catastrophic to humanity if the Nazis took over this planet………..and since then every time some freak who thinks he needs to run things pops his head up the Men and Women who defended the world from that fate who gave their lives doing that are recognized. Beats New Years and Presidents day all to Heck! This one I think needs to make us stop, lift up our heads from our daily grind and see there really is a reason for all of this and we got this freedom from others.I’m sitting out back of the shop between all the GMC’s talking quietly among themselves….Eleganza sitting at the gate on duty protecting our compound…..a dry 90′ s degree day starting to fire up and I’m so appreciative to those who gave their everything for me to sit in a reclining chair out back of a shop 22 years in the making with a group of guys far smarter than me………..thank you.
So yesterday Jared has once again outdone himself with wild projects…..swears it won’t interfere with our labor flow……actually projects like this are catalysts to creativity and just downright fun…….Meet “Das Jeep”well, most of its there….Jared said this one is in the best shape of any Jeeps he’d started with! Why add a German prefix? Cause this 4 wheel drive critter has been fitted with a 5 cylinder Mercedes diesel motorsame motor as Phillips soon to be Rat Mercedes diesel….stack thru the hood dropped sedan grocery getteryep….looks like the guys were in need of a little inspiration. See those things are important at a shop like this. There has to be more from working on some of the worn out monsters the guys take on every day! There’s a good economic reason most shops will not get involved in these things. And it’s not like they’re bad people……they fulfill the financial needs of their business plan by “in-and-out” business. All labor is NOT created equal. I tell the guys all the time this is PLO duty…….a few have never heard of “permanent latrene orderly” but that’s about what it is.
Everything we touch is all old…I mean the half life of materials old!
OH, I’M NOT BLURYING THIS OUT FOR ANY PITY……..WE ALL HERE THOUGHT HARD BEFORE BOBBING FOR APPLES IN THIS BARROL
Second its all rusted, grease covered, dirty, worn out with 45 years of good intentions all is thrown together in that old box……none of THAT is “in-and-out” so really, those guys CAN’T work on your coach…….they would loose money! The ones who will take them on as a side project because they know the project will not be “profitable” to them.
This is one of the issues that really effects our financial picture ads well. What we do can cost alote of money but its because there was a pile more labor put into the repairs thatwe need to do. A complete brake job will cost 50% more than any brake work you have ever had. There are 6 brakes not 4! A modestly built motor …..may work perfect in a car………..will fly apart hauling around 12,000 pounds……..tires over 5 years old will do extensive damage to the plastic body of your GMC if they come apart…….. You have to prepare yourself with contingency plans on key systems…….this thing is too big to push and a flat bed tow bill will surely melt your wallet! You must be prepared as the now Scouts motto proclaims.
All of that are very different considerations than we are used to with our new designed cars and trucks. The GMC was designed in a day when reliability was due to constant observation and maintenance. We can make one of these work as well as it did new……..in the 70’s. It will not perform and be as reliable as a new car. Sorry, anyone tells you they can that’s like having a quill pen work as well on the run as a BIC pen! Both write well but one was made before those technologies were available.
All this may be a little boring to some but it’s really important to understand the importance of being thorough when bringing these machines to the road AND the role you must be willing to have a hand in to keep it moving.
A brake spring breaks and the guy struggles all the way to New York because a well meaning shop said they could fix it. A guy drives over from Tampa for me to do an inspection on a really good looking coach he’s interested to buy……pulls into the shop sounding like a hay bailer….used 5 quarts of oil to get to me from Tampa…..There was more but that was the hilight of that project ending up with a coach that has performed for its new owners for 18th years…..hey Jim G., did I leave anything out?
All of this is what the crazy guys willing to do this have signed on to do. So you nay sayers are out there….. …pushaw…….you say…..go to a reputable Firestone dealer and ask for work…you say…….I’m retired …my time is worth nothing…..brother I have JUST learned my time is VERY valuable indeed and yours is too!…….you have to be a special kinda crazy with a way out of the box financial plan to work on these things………..I’ll need to get back to you on that but for sure we are having fun and doing things most mechanics run from……..does that make us special or maybe just stupid!
Either way have a great Memorial day and remember what a its about……. Funny thing, while I’m ending this, Eleganza rolling on the pavement in the sun I can hear the muffled shooting coming from Oakridge Gun Range………pretty neat……….
Lemme leave you with this one…….a 78 Ford F250 we restored a year or so ago……..after a pile of Ford design replacement alternators it’s now sporting a single wire GM alternator with another one going home with the truck!