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Schneider's World: The old guy in the office

Friday, July 6, 2012 - 08:35
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It seemed straightforward enough: a late model, relatively high mileage Toyota truck with a significant shudder on steady, light acceleration, generally at speed.

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Sure, it could be any one of a number of problems complicated by the fact the shudder was often preceded by a lighter, higher frequency buzz or vibration that felt almost like driving over gravel, but I’ll bet you were already well on your way to working your way through a mental list of all the usual suspects. I know our service writer was, and so was the tech assigned to the truck.

It could have been a misfire, but it wasn’t. No Check Engine/Service Engine Soon MIL.

It could have been the back of the extension housing grounding against the cross member as described in Technical Service Bulletin T-SB-0132-08, but sadly we knew for certain it wasn’t, because replacing the mount didn’t change a thing.

(This may be a bit out of context, but am I the only one who finds it a bit ironic that the one time you finally succeed in getting your technician to look at the technical service literature before they begin a repair and then act on what they’ve found, it’s the one time that what they’ve found fails to fix the problem, as opposed to the dozens of times they fail to check, and the fix would have been right there in front of them saving countless hours of anxiety and aggravation if only they had looked.)

Well, that’s what happened to our line guy, and he passed the Toyota truck over to our drivability guy. But not before they both drove the vehicle with one monitoring the scan data and the other forcing the vehicle to symptomize.

Unfortunately, they were only partially successful. They managed to duplicate the symptoms on an almost reliable basis, but couldn’t get a handle on what was causing the problem. Having run out of alternatives, my drivability guy did the only thing that seemed reasonable at the time: he went and dragged the “old guy” (read: me) in the office out of the office to ride with him.

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