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49 Dodge "Little" Hearse PDF Print E-mail
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49 Dodge "Little" Hearse
The Hearse Chronicles
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Last Ride

This is the JC Little Hearse I missed out on by a coupla bux on ebay about a year ago. Call it delayed gratification, but it's now mineminemine. I will accept envy, pity, and donations toward the cubic expense of getting this thing back on the road. Let me tell you about it...if this were a "Friends" episode, it would be called...


Before I get into the trip, I would like to say thanks for the support from those who extended it. What started as a really fun weekend turned into one from the pits of hades...got to the point I didn't want to answer the phone anymore for fear of "who went in now???" And, on a related note, quite possibly the worst task in the world is to have to write a letter of condolence for not one but two of the "good ones"....and somehow the pr!cks of the world survive and thrive.

Anyway. So, the RedHead and I left DC Friday evening (actually 11PM, but who's really keeping track?), driving the Queen Mary with BigYella behind. The Queen Mary is a 99 GMC CrewCab Dually 454 V-8, with a ginormous cap on the back, and BigYella is a 22'6" car trailer, that is, natch, bright yellow. The whole combination measures right under 50' nose to tailboard.

jillI had MapQuested directions, sticking to the interstates for reasons of vehicle size/weight, as well as hills. HOWEVER, the RedHead brought along her new Garmin GPS, so I followed its directions. What I failed to realize until about 2AM was that it took me the SHORTEST way....which happened to be secondary roads. O yea, did I happen to mention that this was in Western PA...where their hills are like 2000 ft? Mmm-hmmm. So, that was the first hiccup of the trip. Second hiccup, directly related to the first, was in the process of coming down one hellatious hill on Rt 153 into Penfield, the left  front trailer wheel started grabbing and seizing anytime I touched the truck brakes. Stopped in a gas station and waited about 1/2 hour for the brake to cool enough to actually mess with it, and found that the adjustment was WAY too tight. Backed em off a little, and turned the gain down on the truck controller. Press on, and "drive big", as a pirate friend used to say. Yea, sounded good at least. In the execution, not so much.

We make it to Lantz Corners, PA. By this time, I am so far off the interstates that I really have no choice BUT to continue on the secondary roads. Truck controller is turned down to 10% brakes, and the LF tire is ominously squeaking and locking up every time I *look* at the brake pedal, let alone stop. I pass a little garage, with a couple of heavy-duty wreckers out front. SCREECH, we turn into the lot (well, after making a U-turn in the State Police driveway up the road a bit). By this time, it's 8AM Saturday. Nobody around. I call the shop number on the sign, and talk to Mr Boylan himself, who is on his way in. He arrives, and says he is only there till noon and that he's booked up with a fuel pump job. Note that I had introduced myself as a fellow wrecker driver at this point. "OK", sez I, "how much to rent space in your lot and rent tools to fix the silly thing myself?" This seemed to be the proper way to go about it, as he told me to "park over there so you can unhook if ya haveta go fetch parts". Out comes the forklift and up goes the trailer (MUCH easier than a mere floor jack, if not quite so portable). He hands me a bunch of tools, and I go to work. Turns out the bearings have gotten so hot the grease has liquified.Oh yes, I also tore the retainer spring out of the grease seal pulling it off. Now, it's important to explain at this point, that this trailer was BUILT in April, 2007, and has maybe 250 miles on it at this point. The entire damned thing appears to have been built with Chinese sourced parts (bearings, seals, even the frelling tires!). NONE of which are, of course, available on a Saturday, in Lantz Corners PA. Hmmmmmmm.

bigass hillOK, bearings don't look bad, per se. Lemme just repack em (by hand, old school way. Involves grabbing a handful of bearing grease in one hand, and jamming it into the bearing which is held in the other. Quite messy, but effective.) Get the bearings repacked, back the #$@# brakes off on that wheel ALL the way, put the whole mess back together. Bout 11AM at this point.

Best part of this deal: Clean up the tools I'd borrowed, and hand 'em back to Mr Boylan, and ask him what I owe him for the grease, and the 2 cans of Brake-Clean, and the rental of tools etc. He sya "Oh, 8 dollars oughta cover it"!?!??????!??!!!!!!???

Needless to say, he got more than that. I said "BS, let me at least buy you lunch" and handed him 30 bucks. (Also got his card, and he'll be getting a Valley Towing T-shirt as well, but I digress) A "discussion" then ensued, him taking the position that I didn't have to give him extra, and me responding that he had helped me out of a bad spot and he danged sure didn't have to do that. End result, he took the money. God bless small town folks anyway!! And most especially one Mitch Boylan, proprietor of Boylan's Garage, Towing and Used Cars, one heckuva good person.

So, back in the Queen, north-bound and down....



Photos by the RedHead 

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