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Rocky Mountain Oysters - - - Working on a cowboy's car with some balls.


Gonzo

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Had to bring this story back out of moth balls. I'm cleaning up old stories this week and this story still makes me laugh. Thought I'd share it with ya again.

 

 

 

Rocky Mountain Oysters

At my shop I tend to do more electrical repairs than anything else. It’s what I’m known for, and sometimes I get my share of odd ball electrical problems. Sometimes it’s a factory defect where a harness has rubbed into a bracket behind the dash and shorted things out. But, a lot of times it’s some add-on that causes the problems. Usually some sort of flashy-testosterone filled bling that the owner is using to show off his macho self to all who pass by.

Seldom do I see these “manly” things on a girl’s car… it’s mostly the guy’s… sorry dudes… it’s true. You guys can’t leave them alone. Ya gotta show your manhood somewhere on that Detroit steel.

I had this cowboy’s truck in the shop; it’s was a late 80’s Chevy pickup, jacked up to the sky and loud. His only problem was his parking lights would blow a fuse. My usual first question is, “When did ya put in the stereo?” (Over the years I would say it’s probably the no#1 problem I find in the park light systems on these GM cars and trucks of that era.) It never fails; some goof ball is going to use the gray wire as the radio ground. I can usually tell these types of guys because they’ll “always” tell me how they used an ohm meter to check the wiring. (More testosterone showing... gotta make like they've got some "cojones"... at least, more than the mechanic who's going to fix the mess they created, you know.)

The gray wire will show continuity to ground because the dash light filaments will send the meter signal to the next bulb and the next until it reaches another ground source. It’s really not a ground at all; it’s actually the positive voltage lead for the dash light circuit that is part of the factory radio. However when you turn the park lights on (Which they won’t check until the next time they drive at night.) the fuse to the park lights will blow. Happens all the time.

But in this case this hombre was safe… it wasn’t the radio. Now I have to look elsewhere. One of my many “tricks” to test a short circuit on these older trucks is with 2 fuses. No meters, no high tech equipment, just a couple of fuses. First stick one in the fuse box and turn on the park lights. (It came in blown, and I doubt you’re going to make it any worse) … Keep your eye on the fuse, did it blow quickly? … Or did it take a bit? When I say a bit… I don’t mean like… a second….I mean not immediately, let’s just call it a quick blink. If the fuse takes a bit to blow that tells me the short is farther away from the fuse box than closer. (Learning the difference may take some practice.)

In this case this saddle sore owner’s problem was not immediate, but an ever slight delay. I’m going to look around the outside of the vehicle and see if it reveals any clues. It could be in the back or the front of this herd chasing cattleman’s Cadillac. I climbed out of the cab and headed to the south end of this northbound rig to check for any trailer wiring. (It’s my 2nd usual place to look for faulty wiring on this type of truck.) Any time you get the handy-dandy farmhand with his fence pliers working his magic on the horse trailer wiring, you’re bound to have problems.

Well, how about that… it was professionally done… and in fact the wiring looked great! But there was this other foreign object dangling on the receiver hitch. Oh, man … is this necessary? Bull testicles? There’s a pair of fake plastic bovine male parts rocking back and forth with every sway of this pasture cavorting vehicle. Now, I don’t know who this cowboy is trying to impress… ‘cause if I was a cow… I’d think there something wrong with this bull. And, if I was some gal in a car behind this boot wearin’, skoal chewin’, cattle jockey… I don’t think I’d be impressed either… or at all.

But then something else caught my eye… and it wasn’t the swinging genitals. There’s a small wire connected to them, and the wire is connected to the brown wire of the trailer connector… which, is the park light wiring. OMG… no way…these rocky mountain oysters light up and glow with the evening sky. I don’t remember animal husbandry being a part of my job requirements. And I don’t think glow in the dark dangling beef ta-tas was covered in any of my training classes.

You mean to tell me, if I disconnect the wire from this cowboy’s dangling plastic bull parts that the park lights might work? This is nuts! I can’t believe this … … this is definitely not going well today. Well, I’ve gotta try, it could be the end of my search of why the park lights are blowing the fuse … here goes… … with one hand, I grabbed this pasture-prowlers-artificial-cattle-creators and held on with an almighty firm grip. With the other hand, I took steady aim with my trusty cutters--- “Snip” ---the deed is done.

Back to the fuse box and change the fuse, and then flip on the park lights. Well what do ya know, we have lights! Tell all the Angus and Holsteins on the farm – the park lights are working perfectly! ! Ya Hoo!

I’ll have to admit, it’s the first time I have ever had to castrate a truck to get the park lights to work… Well, I guess, there’s a first time for everything, might as well start up my new career. You’ll find me on one of those late night infomercials or in the business yellow pages under; --- “Bull Castrator/Mechanic”--- .


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Classic, chuckle, chuckle... makes it sound like I've been writing stories likes this for a long time. LOL... wait a minute... I have. Glad I was able to put a smile on your face. Thanks for the comments.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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