Half way up a long steep grade, with my camp trailer behind me, 100 F, with the sun beating down and it’s my 1997 F—350’s 1st trip with the new axles... and I hear what sounds like a bomb going off under the hood of my truck. Followed by a huge burst of air shooting out from under the driver’s side of the hood.... Well we almost made it back in one piece...
The fishing was great, spending time with my Dad and a couple brothers and nephew is always a great time... until Sunday morning. I swear one thing lead to another that day. First, we decided to sleep in an extra hour, then when we got to the boat launch my Dad’s driver side window of his boat was blown out. We spent the next hour cleaning up all the glass. Finally we got out on the water for our last day of fishing for the weekend.
That was after catching this funny photo of my 6 year old nephew fast asleep on the tail gate of the truck.
We must have missed the morning rush, there was only a couple people at the launch this morning. I guess it is an absolute madness around 4:30 am so I guess being a little late was a good thing. The previous day we fished on a friends boat which was already in the water.
The day before the fishing was awesome!! We all caught our limits of Sockeye Salmon by noon and were off the water at 1pm. Sorry the picture quality isn’t too good I think my brother’s camera lens on his phone was a little dirty or something.
Don’t mind that fire that just started in the background
Maybe it was the late start and broken window had something to do with the fishing being horrible. I caught the only Sockeye Salmon of the day. It was hot and getting a little miserable. We packed it up and headed in around noon because we had about a 3-1/2 to 4 hour drive home. First we had to clean the only fish of the day and take a look at the color of that meat...
Now this is where the whole explosion comes into play... or rather make the trip home a little more, let’s just say interesting. So far I have been loving how my truck drives and handles with these 2005 axles, the turning radius makes a huge difference when parking the camp trailer. But the incident that happened had nothing to do with the axles.
I was pulling a long grade outside of Cresent Bar, WA and about half way up I pushed the skinny pedal down a little farther. This increased the turbo boost psi to around 22psi of boost and the truck started increasing speed. Not even 3/4 throttle... nice. So I let off and kept cruising up the hill at around 12-15psi boost. Then I decided to do it again and see what my Exhaust Gas Temperatures were reaching when I was increasing the boost. That is when this happened...
That explosion was my intercooler pipe breaking in half at the weld. When it first happened I thought maybe one of these boots popped off and I thought no big deal. I am half way up this long steep grade, I will pull off the side of the road and put it back together and hit the road.
Then when I popped the hood, I was sadly mistaken. Following the sight of an intercooler pipe broken in half, I honestly started to panic a bit.”How in the F am I going to get my truck and trailer home?!?!?” You see without the turbo system together diesels have a huge loss in power and a huge increase in exhaust temps. This can destroy the engine if you are not careful. Ideas began rolling though my head faster than I could actually think about them.
Then it just so happened that I had phone service. My Dad and Brother just so happened to be stopped 20 minutes ahead of us and at the top of the hill was a rest area. Also a parts store 1/2 hour behind us had just what I needed to fix this and get me home. I just need to get my truck and trailer to the rest stop so I can fix this thing. Mind you I have my my brother and 6 year old nephew in the truck and it’s 100 F outside.
I pull out the generator and get the A/C going on the trailer and grab the duct tape. Yes... duct tape!! I just need to get this pipe connected so I can crawl the truck and trailer up the hill. After 20 layers of strategically placed duct tape, I fired up the truck and pulled the trailer up the hill in first gear. Sorry no photos, this was some serious $#!+ we had going on.
My Dad was at the rest area with his boat unhooked ready to head back to the parts store. I picked up 2 intercooler boots and some baleen wire. My plan was to put the boot over the break and double clamp it on each side, then use the baleen wire as a support to keep the 2 pieces of pipe together. You see without some sort of barb or ridge on the pipe, the boot would just push off under the pressure, even with 2 clamps. I also noticed the weld on the lower part of the pipe had pinholes in it... so.... more duct tape to reinforce that. Check out this beauty of a Mcguyver job...
Don’t forget the duct tape
It ain’t pretty but I am pretty confident it will get me home. I just have to take it easy, which is kind of tough when I am towing a trailer. As long as this can hold up to 10 psi of boost I believe I can make it no problem.
We took a route that has less steep grade and guess what, it’s actually a shorter distance... one downfall is there are not very many towns or places to stop besides little farming communities. So not much access to any sort of parts store. The direction we came took about 30 - 45 minutes longer but there are a few bigger towns on the way. Plus you drive along the Columbia River for a while. It’s a nicer drive.
It was a bit nerve wrecking at the start but after about 1 hour of driving I knew this truck and camp trailer would make it home with my sweet Mcguyver job. A little later than I wanted to get home but I was home non the less.
I have a new 90 degree bend on order and I know a couple people that weld aluminum really well. So my plan to go over all the existing welds on both pipes with a nice wide bead and leave it. My brother said the guy who built those pipes should have never ground those welds smooth. With the extreme heat and pressure inside the pipes, pin holes were bound to happen. Aluminum is soft. When you grind the welds down on thinner/softer metals you have no idea if you created any weak spots. Those thin spots eventually led to a full on come-apart. So it looks like I have a little more work to do before the next camping trip. On a good note, the axles are still under the truck so that has to stand for something right??