Fantasti-Ford Takes (Dry) Lickin’ Keeps Purrin’ Like a Lion

Last week we had a serious emergency in our automotive lives, and we didn’t want to alarm anybody, but our age-old, time tested, tried and true Ford van died on us. It’s tragic, I know. We couldn’t go to school and we had a hard time getting our groceries, but it was all dad’s fault, he didn’t keep the oil and maintenance up to speed… but the old girl has life in her yet.

Bundled as we are, this is me and Patrick standing firm before our unbeatable wagon de la transport.
Bundled as we are, this is me and Patrick standing firm before our unbeatable wagon de la transport.

It was sad, really. Daddy-O bought her over a year ago and hasn’t been too kind to her. He’s made her drive us to the Washington coast, up to Canada, and every-which-where in betwixt, but he’s never so much as given her a doggy treat. Sure, he’s fed her antifreeze and gasoline (two things you should never do to a dog) but his schedule for oil changes has been anything but diligent. When the old girl lay down and died on us last week, we weren’t exactly surprised.

No matter how good our old Ford was to us, Daddy-O took her for granted and neglected her. When she refused to crank, he knew it was the end of the line.

We had her dragged out to a shop* where our suspicions were confirmed. The radiator was bone dry and the engine well was just as bad. It took four quarts of oil just to get a reading on the rusty dipstick. I don’t know from motors, but everything I do know tells me that’s a bad owner who is due his come-downance… but it turns out it wasn’t so.

So the motor is dry as the desert in each of the most critical areas, so surely she’s a goner, right? Nope, this Detroit forged son of a cannon wasn’t dead by a mile. Turns out it was just the starter that went bad.

So in these days of Honda and Toyota trying to sell you on bulletproof reliability, I ask you to consider what it will mean when your engine runs dry. Will it spell the end of your motor to the tune of many thousands of dollars? Will it mean it’s time to crush that tin can and recycle it like just so much scrap metal? Or will it be time for you to be American, buy American and put an ounce of faith in the odd ton of American steel that could have been your ride.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the imports. Heck, in today’s global market you just never know where your car is conceived, designed or built. What I am saying is that our old girl was forged in the heart of America’s heartland, and when we needed her most she came through for us with a level of dependability no manufacturer would ever admit to, not even the engineers who built her.

And if you think it’s okay that America’s car manufacturers are facing a downhill slide just because healthcare costs in America are escalating out of control, I ask you to think about how much it will cost you to replace a headlight on your fancy-pants Hyundai when a pebble jumps up and takes it to town. Sure, it’s cheap when you buy it, but the money has to come from somewhere you know.

Oh, and if you’re wondering if our wheels were greased to write this article, no they weren’t. Our wheels weren’t greased, and neither were our bearings, ball joints, CV axii, nor lifters or crank cases. Like the headline said, we’re pretty dry around here.

* J&M Automotive. They ain’t pretty, but they’ve been honest enough to turn our business away when we didn’t really need them, so they have to be pretty good.

Above - Here you can see the severe body damage (from before we ever bought it, thank you very much) and the garbage in the window, but this girl is as near to bulletproof as you might hope to find... not that she's been shot, but still.
Above – Here you can see the severe body damage (from before we ever bought it, thank you very much) and the garbage in the window, but this girl is as near to bulletproof as you might hope to find… not that she’s been shot, but still.

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