Thursday, December 22, 2011


Because of the unique smells associated with trapping, my family has dubbed the pick-up truck I use on my trap line the Skunk Truck  It's barely old enough to drink, but reliable as a 10 year old Labrador.

I've had a few things go wrong with it over the years. More than a few, actually, but I've always made it home.

Once, halfway through a day of trapping it would only go forward - no reverse.  "Odd," I thought. But how often do you need reverse compared to forward gears anyway - and how many of those back-ups could be avoided with a bit of advanced planning?

I solved that problem by finding a Ranger of similar vintage at a salvage yard and swapping out my no-reverse tranny with the shifter from the junker.  I salvaged the tail gate from the junkyard pick-up as well. Two upgrades for the price of one.

I thought I was in big trouble yesterday when out on my trapline. First, I tried to drive up a sandy hill and the truck wouldn't go. Engine revved, no wheels turning. Could the clutch be slipping? I backed down the slope and drove around it. A bit later, I turned into a muddy spot and was stuck. The Skunk Truck wouldn't go forward or back out and there was no mud flying from the churning wheels. They weren't turning. Had to be the clutch. So I set there pondering what next to do.

Then I remembered, I'd disengaged the front wheel hubs so when I put the truck in 4-wheel-drive, it was still in 2-wheel-drive and since these old trucks didn't have limited-slip differentials, it was really one wheel drive.

I hopped out, engaged the locks on the front hubs and backed on out of the quagmire.  Onward!

I normally just leave the front hubs in the locked position but doing so cuts mileage and puts additional wear and tear on the front wheel drive train. I'd driven the truck to town for a meeting earlier in the day so I'd unlocked the hubs. After the meeting I headed straight for the trap line - without a thought of locking the front hubs.

So the Skunk Truck keeps on running great. It's my short term memory that's questionable.

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