The Book - Bart Beck

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About Bart Beck

THE BAD "U" JOINT

On another occasion, several years ago, we had been visiting in Florida and had started home on New Years Day, when a Universal Joint in the Company car, failed. I stopped at a Standard Oil filling station and the attendant, after looking it over, said that he could fix it while we were having our dinner at the restaurant next door. He called the Ford dealer's parts manager, who left his dinner to deliver a new part and we were ready to go shortly after we had finished our meal.

Still another time that I could have been taken, in a big way, during the winter that we were spending in the KOA park at Benson, Arizona. We had put the Yellowstone trailer in storage, at the park, and had gone to California to spend some time with our son Skip and his family.

Soon after we had bought that 1977 Ford pick-up I had some trouble with some of the air pollution equipment but, other than that, it had performed perfectly until the very day that we started our return to Benson. We had just turned onto Highway 17 from Mountain Charley Road when the engine stopped dead. I tried the starter and it took right off and ran just like always. It didn't act up again until we reached the area of Tahachapi Summit, when it did the same thing again1.

Each time that the Pick-up motor would quit, I would wait just a minute and then would be able to start it up again. This went on until we reached Mojave, California, where we stopped to get our dinner. When we came out from eating, it wouldn't start at all. It was getting dark and there was a Motel right across the street so we spent the night in Mojave.

The following morning the truck started right off and didn't bother again until we got to Four Corners, California. That was enough because we were going out on to the desert where we could be a hundred miles from help. I stopped at a filling station on one of the corners of four corners and the attendant listened to my story, made two or three phone calls and told me that the consensus was that the problem was in the Module of the electronic ignition. The attendant also said that there was no way to check it, to be sure. A new one would cost in excess of $100.00 and he did not want to charge me a price like that, not knowing if that was really the culprit. He suggested that I try to get to the Ford Agency at Victorville, fifty or sixty south and see what they thought. When I tried to pay him, he refused to charge me anything.

We made it to the Ford Agency, with no difficulty, and one of their mechanics spent at least an hour listening to it and driving it around, but it wouldn't do it's little tricks for him. He agreed with the station, but he was not sure enough to charge me $100.00 and then have me find out that the trouble was somewhere else. That Ford Agency did not charge me anything either.

That thing never acted up again until, at least, six months later and when it did I was within a city block of the Ford Agency where I had bought it. They put on a new module, if that is what they are called, and charged me $109.00. I am sure that was the source of the trouble, because I never again had any problems. The point of all of these ramblings is that either one of those people, out there on the Mojove Desert, could have socked it to me and I would have been unable to have done anything about it.


1. When we were entering Bakersfield, from the West, in the midst of a roaring dust storm, also coming from the West, those great big Tumble Weeds were passing us, going in the same direction that we were. Some of those things were at least seven feet in diameter. I have no idead what one of them might weigh, but I would not want to meet one of them, head on.

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