Lessons from the Road, Double Check the Fuel and Hitch Pins.

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Lessons from the Road: By MrTruck.

Lessons from the Road, Double Check the Fuel and Hitch Pins.

I don’t usually humiliate myself in an article but this lesson may help someone. I tow doubles (two trailers) across the country to horse expo’s. I stopped at Popup Hitch in Kansas to load more displays on the way to Kentucky, and had to unhook the rear trailer. Back on the road a couple miles, a pin on my coupler came out and dropped trailer #2 on the pavement at 70 mph. Glad I had the tongue jack all the way up, as using the trailer brake controller kept the flatbed inline behind the horse trailer until I could get stopped. I cross the safety chains so they cradle the trailer coupler if it comes off. Used a bolt this time in the coupler instead the quick pin. Only lost 15 minutes with little damage. This is where it’s important in an emergency to know how to grab the trailer brake controller first and not the foot brake. Using the trailer brake independently keeps the trailer behind you instead of hitting your truck or swaying out of control.

From what I’m seen there are only a handful of states that have green pumps for diesel and gas. In 2006 when Ultra Low Diesel first came out, I saw yellow pumps and handles in the Midwest for awhile. Now everything is Ultra Low Diesel with mostly green handles at the pump. I generally buy diesel at truck stops on the Interstates. Not at the semi-truck fuel islands, but the auto and RV pumps. For some reason the majority of truck stop franchises charge truckers cash fuel price what they charge credit card fuel prices for us small guys.

Had a great show at NATDA Convention, in the 3 years I’ve been on tour at expo’s around the country, never ran my truck battery down until this year. I guess we ran the gadgets a day too long. The truck batteries were too low to boost so we had to switch the truck batteries with the deep cell batteries on the trailers. Back on the road two hours late and low on fuel because of fire marshal rules inside expo buildings, 100 miles into Indiana, with fuel light on I pulled in at Corydon. First station didn’t have diesel, they directed me to their second station.

Glad to get there as I have glided into fuel stations a couple of times on fumes. Saw a diesel truck fueling up, pulled in swinging my two trailers around to the last pump, left the truck running to charge the batteries and grabbed the green handle. I thought the nozzle was small, but it didn’t set off the warning as that side of my brain fell asleep replaying the events of the week.

You can figure it out from there, knocking noise, smoke and no power. I babied it to the Ford store next door, still not know exactly what the problem was. Next day the Ford tech asked if I put gas in it. Surprised and forgetting to grab my receipt the night before, I went to the station and got that sick felling when I saw “regular gas” on the pump I used. I asked the station clerk about it and she said it happens 3 or 4 times a year. This was a common theme as the Ford service tech told me they get trucks with my problem 3 or 4 times a year.

When I sold trucks, I worried about the lot tech’s putting gas in the new diesel trucks I sold. Never done did this before. With all the trips I do across the country, usually I look at the pump a couple of times before fueling.

I guess I’m still human. All it takes is a distraction, like being tired. Another blessing was, my auto insurance paid for the repair including my hotel. I just paid the deductible for being stupid. Yes I’m happy with Esurance, besides my wife and daughters annual accidents. The gas took out 4 injectors, fuel filters were due anyway, all told $2450. But an important lesson with minimal damage.

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