Thought I’d give you an update on our truck’s mechanical issues. First of all, I haven’t went all Scarface on anybody, so that’s good.

At the time of my last post about this topic, we were expecting to get into our company shop by the next night. I’m happy to report that is precisely what happened. But when we got there, we found out that the shop was only open 8 to 5 Monday through Friday. Apparently the economy had struck again and our company had laid off 13 mechanics and cut the remaining staff’s hours. We had been expecting them to have all day Friday to work on our truck, and if they weren’t finished by then, at least we knew they could finish up the repairs on Saturday and send us on our merry way. Instead, we had to hope that they could get everything done by 5 pm. If not, we would be stuck at the yard until Monday morning. And that sounded about as appealing as a Weight Watchers bikini calendar.

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First, the good news. I’m happy to report that they got everything repaired by 5 pm. When I checked in at 8 am, they didn’t have an empty garage bay open, so they sent us a couple of blocks down the street to get a front end alignment. The Evil Overlord and I played co-op Lego Star Wars on our Nintendo DS’s while we waited. By the time we got back to our shop, they had cleared a bay and told us to pull right in. How’s that for some sweet timing?

They found a short in a wire that was causing our weird electrical issues. So it was nice to know that my wipers would actually work during the next blizzard. They replaced our cracked windshield and replaced a part on our a/c system. The mechanic said that he wasn’t even going to mess with the broken piece of plastic under our front bumper since I had already zip-tied it up off the ground. And best of all, they hooked up their computer to our truck and reprogrammed the entire system so that the hi-idle would work.

Now the bad news. Once we got out of the shop, we hi-idled our truck and everything seemed to be working perfectly. We ended up being there until Saturday evening, so the truck ran on hi-idle for a little over 24 hours. That’s way longer than it did before so we assumed the problem was fixed. But as is typical when you assume something, we were wrong.

We didn’t park again until the next night. When it we hit the hi-idle button, it did so for about 10 minutes before it crapped out again. It hasn’t worked right since. Not long after, our “check engine” light came back on and our truck started bucking like a cowboy on a pissed off bull. At least the bucking was a sporadic thing and really only occurred when pulling a heavy load up a hill. Our a/c had also decided to get squirrelly on us again.

Fast forward to this past weekend. We called our road maintenance department and arranged for our truck to be left at our local Freightliner dealer while we took our home time. They would have three days to perform the exorcism. I picked up the truck Monday and here’s the report I got. They found a problem with the a/c and fixed it. They found and fixed the bucking issue. As for the hi-idle problem, the shop manager said they left the truck running for 2 hours, but the hi-idle never kicked off. Wouldn’t you know it? He said that they had done a recall on part of the electrical system and he thought that could have been the problem, but he admitted that it was just a guess. With trepidation, I drive the truck home.

That night we hop in the truck, hit the hi-idle button, and start loading the truck. A whole 5 minutes goes by before my demon possessed truck decides it doesn’t much care for hi-idle, and promptly drops down to low-idle again. I hit the button again, and 5 minutes later it goes off again. Ugggggh! For the love of Pete! Why couldn’t that have happened for the guys at Freightliner?

Well, we’re back on the road again and our stubborn, high blood pressure inducing truck decides when it wants to hi-idle and when it doesn’t. Never fear though, I’ve figured out how to fix her. If I could just remember where I put that big ol’ sledge hammer. . .

About the Author
I'm a 22-year truck driver with an interest in tech stuff. I do the Trucker Dump podcast and blog, which is all about life as a trucker. I have also written two trucking books, "Trucking Life" and "How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job."
4 comments on “TD5: The High-Idle Saga Continues
  1. vernon george says:

    Something is always wrong with trucks. The one I’m driving now never sets the cruise at 65 but always drops it to 64 and i have to push the cruise lever up and hold it to get that 65. small problem but it iritates me.

    1. Todd McCann says:

      I’ve had the same problem with some of my trucks in the past. Who do think they’re fooling? They certainly can’t trick us into going slower with that little ploy.

  2. jennifer says:

    you would think that they would want to fix your truck if they are so anal about your loads. why can’t they just give you a new truck???? of course, they want to get all the miles they can get out of it before it gets buried, but it just sucks that its at your expense. see ya’ll!!

    1. Todd McCann says:

      Unfortunatley, it is a new truck. It’s a 2009 model with only 39,000 miles on it (practically new for a semi). Sometimes newer trucks are worse than older trucks because they don’t have the bugs worked out yet.

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