Some of you will recall the troubles we’ve had with my truck during 2016-

transmissions exploding repeatedly. Suffice to say, that wasn’t much fun. Thankfully, most of it was under warranty so it was “only” $1700 out of pocket for the first rebuild; the subsequent rebuilds (two of them) were covered. Even with the warranty work, it was money we really didn’t want to spend that way. And certainly we didn’t enjoy having my main form of transportation, and the farm’s main work vehicle, in the shop for three weeks at a time, repeatedly through the year. Schlepping tons of feed and hay in the back of a Ford Escort loaner car isn’t much fun.

So when my truck’s cold idle started coughing and sputtering, and my starting exhaust was thick gray, and the idle speed would start to race to unbelievably high levels as engine temps came up, and my fuel efficiency went to heck in a handbasket, you can imagine how pleased we were. Those issues started in mid-November, but finally reached a head about a week ago when the old girl stalled on the road at 35mph, while I was shifting between gears. Yes, expletives were muttered. We had another repair bill staring us in the face.

But I recalled some conversation here about shade tree mechanics, and that most car repairs can be DIY, armed with sufficient explanation, the right parts, some spare time, the right tools, and a generous dollop of patience. Sharon in particular amazed me with stories of what she’s repaired in the past. Stuff I never would have dared touch. So when this particular issue started to rear its smoggy head, I knew that the Dave Ramsey gauntlet had been tossed down. Rather than take it to the shop and slap this on a credit card, or even take it out of the emergency fund, by golly we could do this ourselves and save at least some of the price.

So today, while the rest of the world looks forward to another long holiday weekend, yours truly is going to march into the auto parts store, get the carburetor rebuild kit, a new choke thermostat, a few assorted-and-related shop materials, and get to it. I imagine this project will easily chew up the rest of this weekend, and a few more expletives will be uttered along the way. But with any luck 2017 will dawn on my truck with a newly rebuilt carburetor. That should make a nice 30th birthday present to my ’83 Ranger.