Tag Archives: truck

Mission Accomplished: Truck fixed and Walmart saved.

My 2008 ford EscapeAs per my previous post, I have been having a small issue with my truck, a 2008 Ford Escape. I was experiencing a nasty vibration while accelerating that would shake the centre console and rear of the truck quite bad. Well, on the advice of a co-worker, I took the truck to a different repair shop than my usual place, having described the problem and letting them know what I suspected after deploying my ninja like Google skills and having a family member and friend both suggest the same thing…. bad U-Joints on the drive train.
I dropped the truck off at King Performance this morning, confirmed the issue and went to work.  I spent most of the day waiting for the “it’s done” phone call, and had to wait until 3:40pm to get it… All done! Stopped in after work and was not surprised to find out that they replaced both the front and rear U-Joints on the drive shaft… and guess what? Vibration gone. Now I just have a minor vibration at highway speed, but I suspect the tires are in need of re-balancing and rotation… but at least I can accelerate now and not feel like the truck will shake apart.

Walmart LogoOn to the next item. I had stopped at Walmart near work to pick up some soft cat food for the 3 Mouseketeers, and also wanted to grab some new dog treats for Longdog. As I was browsing through the treat selection, I noticed the O’l Roy brand, that I had previously purchased in a 3kg jar, was also available in smaller jars, and for smaller dogs, as the large jar was for medium to large dogs. I noticed something odd about the small jars… they said that they also contained 3kg’s of treats, so I picked it up… nope, didn’t feel like 3kg’s, so I compared to the big jar, and could feel the weight difference right away. I decided to take a closer look at the label and noticed that the label was exactly the same, including the UPC code. Luckily, one of the staff members was nearby stocking the shelves, so I called them over to ask them if they had noticed the incorrect label. The associate has surprised to see the wrong label on the small jar and figured that there must have been a mix up with the supplier, so she proceeded to remove the problematic jars from the shelve and thanked me for pointing it out. We both agreed that it was better to catch the problem now, as opposed to having an angry customer at the check out. I ended up getting a small jar of O’l Roy treats with gravy flavour and the correct label, for small and toy dogs.



More fun with the truck

My 2008 ford EscapeAs most of you who have visited my page before will know, I own a 2008 Ford Escape, the XLT package with all wheel drive. In the winter it performed like a champ, except for  minor little issue… filling up the gas tank in temperatures below 0’C was painful. I have since found out that Ford issued a TSB about filling up in cold temperatures… yeah, not that it does me any good. Over all, I still rate it a good little truck (yes, I call it my truck). By the way, here’s my updated Fuelly banner:

So, back to why I am discussing my truck, yet again. A few weeks ago, I started to notice a vibration while turning and accelerating at the same time. It wasn’t that bad at first, and definitely not as bad as when the ABS Tone Ring (This link will show you a bad ring, and how to replace it) went bad on me in March, which I don’t think I wrote about… anyway, the little metal ring cost $18, the labour almost $400… yeah, back to the new problem.

Over the next few weeks, the vibration has been getting worse, but I have been able to pin down some facts.

  • Vibration is noticeable while accelerating between 18 and 24 km/h. Accelerating really slowly makes it less noticeable.
  • Vibration is again noted between 43 and 48 km/h, but since the truck is moving faster it is at a higher frequency.
  • A slight vibration can be felt while decelerating through the above speed ranges.
  • Climbing my hill (Park Ave) at ~20km/h will cause the vibration to be so strong it shakes the crap out of the centre console.

Now, I took it into a repair shop and they diagnosed a bad from swat bar link, again a cheap part (though they quoted me $70, I can get them online for closer to $20) with a nice labour charge dumped on top. This did not fix the problem… So, being me, I went all Google ninja and have come to the conclusion that the problem lies in the drive train linkage from the front of the truck to the rear.
Today (maybe), I’ll be having my brother in-law drop the drive train down and look at the housing and u-joints, as we suspect they might be ceased. I will update the outcome later.

Gas, Why do you hate me so

Gas pump

In my previous post, I mentioned that I am having great fun with Esso pumps when it is cold out. Now that temperatures have been going up and down like a good roller-coaster around here last week, so of course when I need to fill up again, it’s just above freezing.
With the limited selection of stations I have on the way home from work, I decided to go against my better judgement and roll into an Irving. The prices were still pretty close to what I would pay without my SpeedPass, so it was’t too much of a hit to the wallet.

Now to jump a little from the main topic, I own a 2008 Ford Escape. Not the best on gas, and it has a surprisingly small gas tank for a vehicle it’s size. I like it, a lot, handles well in bad weather and a rather decent ride for my drive to work, which is close to 100km away… making my round trips daily almost 200km’s, leading me to have to fill up every other day (though I could get away with 2.5 trips, the gas is almost 10cents cheaper in Fredericton). I decided that to get an idea of my fuel consumption and how much I am spending, to track all my fill-ups using Fuelly, which allows you to input your odometer reading, the fuel amount and cost per litre to give you figures on your L/100km and M/Gallon, along with tracking your weekly, monthly and yearly costs. Below is a banner that represents my Escape since I bought it in August 2011.


It should link you to my profile, where you can see how far I have driven, how much I spend on gas (I really need to explore car pooling…) and some consumption analysis.

Now back to the gas bit, I stopped at the Irving and filled up self service, and even their pump stopped on me 4 times while I was filling up, but at least it let me squeeze the pump all the way, unlike the Esso pumps. To get better data, I will need to try the Irving again when it is minus 10 or so, just to see if the pump stops more frequently, and I need to try the Esso again with the temperatures at or just above freezing.

Now to go make some fun YouTube videos of my dog…

Why do Esso pumps hate me so?

Gas Station in the winterSo it seems when the temperature outside drops below freezing, that the gas pumps at any Esso gas station start acting really funny… Normally I can fill up my 2008 Ford Escape by just inserting the fuel nozzle and squeezing the handle all the way up, but not when it’s cold.

I’m going to back track a step here, so you understand why I prefer to fill up at Esso. I travel back and forth for work, close to 200km daily, and with the small fuel tank on the Escape, I end up having to fill up every 2 days, though I could do every 2 1/2, I don’t. I have found that filling up in Fredericton to be the first step in saving some money, as they have a Costco that has a gas bar that helps keep gas ~8-10 cents cheaper then the Saint John area, and I also have a SpeedPass, which at most stations will save me an additional 3.5 cents per litre.

Now back to the good part…  When it’s cold, if I squeeze the handle to full throttle, the pump will shut off, much like it does when it detects or thinks that your tank is almost full. So I will try again a few times and it will do it again, this does not make me a happy person when it’s minus 15 without the wind chill. I end up having to barely squeeze the handle, to the point that the gas is flowing so slowly that it takes almost 15 minutes to put 50 litres into my tank.

So, being the intelligent person that I am, I decided to do some experimenting.. I have filled up using 4 different pumps at the Smythe Street Esso in Fredericton, 1 pump at the Scholten’s in Grand Bay and 1 pump at the Esso just off the highway in Oromocto to see if I would get any varying results… nope. Next stop will be to try a different brand all together, as long as it is not Irving, I suspect that 10% ethanol isn’t the only crap they are adding to their fuel. Post that, I may have to consider the issue being the Escape.. but I’ll look at that pending more testing.