When you're driving in the city

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Minimor

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do you stop to see if it really is YOU that is smoking???
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Or do you assume (and HOPE!) that it's someone else, and there is no reason for you to stop??

I tend to take the latter approach, assuming of course that I don't see any smoke coming from my vehicle & no one is making frantic arm motions at me...I guess that is wrong of me.

Tonight after work I went to the grocery store, bought my groceries & packed them all into the cab with me, and headed home. A mile down the road, just on the edge of town I smelled something burning. Truck is running fine, there's lots of other traffic, so I assume it's not me. Headed out on the highway. All is good. I'm driving along, then 3 miles down the road...I smell that same burning smell. This time there's no other vehicles around to blame it on. Any smoke in the city wouldn't be noticeable 3 miles away. I look at my gauges. Oil is good. Temperature is good. uh oh. Alternator is showing the battery has no charge. That is NOT normal. SHOOT, I figure my alternator has seized up & the burning smell is from that. As I get out to check I call my mechanic...open the hood and yep, the alternator is smoking, and there's a glow in the back. I go back, shut off the motor & go to look again. Once the motor is off the flames are shooting out the side of the alternator. I don't carry a fire extinguisher unless I'm towing the trailer....and my so helpful mechanic tells me to just stand back and watch it burn. Maybe I should have?

I cut him off & started scooping up gravel & sand off the shoulder of the road & throw it on the alternator. Doesn't work. I had to get back in the truck to unlock the passenger door then started carrying my groceries down the ditch...steep ditch...the last few bags I just threw down. I forgot my parking pass and the posts I had in the back...went back, the fire wasn't quite so big so I threw another handful of gravel on it & the flames went out. Lots of smoke though, and now things look very black & melted in there...oh joy. I'm 8 miles from home, all my groceries are down in the ditch...at least the rain has quit by then... and then I am wishing that I had never minded the gravel & just got all my stuff out & well away from the truck...anyone got a blowtorch to restart that fire???

I called my mom to come & pick me up. It's amazing how many people DON'T stop to offer assistance... Two different ladies did finally stop to ask if I needed help or a ride, then just before my mom arrived a neighbor pulled up behind me. He'd come from town a different way but saw my truck from the intersection up ahead of me, and he came back to check. He helped reload my groceries and moved my posts to the other truck. I called my mechanic back & I think he was surprised the fire was out--he said the fuel line is right there & an alternator fire usually ignites the gas line. Oh, nice, I could have went POOF.

The tow truck should have my truck out here very soon now...then I'll find out what the damage is. May still need that blowtorch...
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Now I can tell you I'm going to be paranoid...

And how was your day???
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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OH MY!!!! I think you should have listened to your mechanic
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If your insurance in Manitoba is anything like ours out here in BC you will probably never get paid what it takes to get a decent repair done. Of course if you don't have fire and theft on your vehicle that won't be an issue either. Good thing it didn't burn into that fuel line you could have been seriously injured. Must be time to sit down with a glass of wine ( or what ever you use to unwind after a scare like that) and hope tomorrow is better.
 

Magic

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Where there's smoke, there *IS* fire? Yikes!! Glad to hear that you are ok and didn't go up in a ball of flames! How scary that must have been!! Will be interested to see how your truck is....
 

Minimor

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Let's say that I was paranoid today--I drove our other (older) truck and had to pick up a load of 16' fence rails after work. I had visions of something happening to this truck too, and there would be me stuck on the road with a load of rails...and we'd be out of trucks so my mom couldn't come & get me this time.
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But, i got home with no trouble...

I paid "only" $63 to have my truck towed out here to the garage, just a mile down the road from us, and my mechanic tells me that the only damage is to the alternator and the wiring harness, about $250 in parts plus whatever labor, probably $400 to $500 in all. Not bad, but still an expense I don't need. Then it was suggested by someone else that I should phone the insurance company & see if they would fix it and sure enough, a fire is something they cover for whatever damage is over my deductible, a mere $100. I have to find out for sure about this--I'm not going to tow it back into town only to be told that it's just an alternator problem & not covered! The person I talked to, though, indicated that a fire is a fire and therefore covered...and I did have fire!

I should have found out before I had it towed last night--I could have had it taken to the Autopac yard & then insurance would have paid for the tow, or most of it, and they'd have fixed it, and all I'd have paid is my $100 plus maybe a bit of the tow. Darn it--now if they will fix it they'll pay part of the tow and I'll have to pay the rest, so I'll be out my $100 plus the $63 plus whatever portion of the tow back to town. Still, I guess if it saves me $300 or $400 it's still worth it. Will have to see--

What am I most thankful for? My cell phone!! How did I ever cope without that phone?? It's sure comforting to be able to call for help without having to flag down a vehicle and beg a ride to the nearest phone!
 

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