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  • Free to Fail: What’s Your Outlook on Truck Builds?

Free to Fail: What’s Your Outlook on Truck Builds?

Free to Fail

Aug 3, 2017
Photographers: Monica Gonderman
Circumventing the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts of chocolates, candies, flowers, and jewelry, my husband and I ventured up the coast and procured an ’02 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Duramax truck, thus beginning the “romantic” journey of bringing the aged beast back to life. In all honesty, it was supposed to be a quick project—an endeavor hardly even deserving such a designation. With a few months of tinkering and a couple of bucks to replace wear-and-tear items, it was supposed to be a reliable driver. As you can imagine, popping the hood revealed a different reality and, five months later, the truck still sits completely lifeless. Overly optimistic about the truck’s prognosis, the seller, whether knowing or unknowing, did not even come close to fully disclosing the heavy duty’s POS condition. He was just a middle man who, like the guy he bought it from, was in over his head. I can see why he wanted to stay far, far away from this truck.
Whoever tore apart this truck must have been in an angry, vengeful mood, having it out for the fool who would inherit the aftermath. Engine parts were torn off and stored here and there. Bolts—precious, specific, hard-to-replace bolts—were relegated to a general cardboard box of heterogeneous “truck stuff.” Even worse, things were taken apart and then put back together incorrectly or loose, giving the impression that it should be “fine” when really, someone wanted you to die by only hand-tightening instead of torqueing bolts.
Engines have many, many bolts, gaskets, fasteners, and gizmos—many (if not most) of which we have to replace because they’re gone, worn, or the evil past owner mutilated them specifically to ruin our day and make sure we never get to drive the truck. Some are easy to replace. Others are more elusive to even identify, referred to, as a toddler would call them: hey this thing. Engines and related systems have 10,000 parts that all have to work together to make a truck go. OK, I made that number up, but it’s a lot, and I’m always amazed any vehicle can stay on the road when one bad ground can halt the whole production. Disassembling an engine is the “easy” part—it’s putting it all back together, piece by piece, that’s the daunting part.
Photo 2/2   |   Free To Fail
Although I am encouraged that the reassembly side of rehabilitation has officially begun for our soon-to-be-stout Duramax, I still have pangs of doubt when I consider just how much still has to be done—how many harnesses, hoses, and hard parts still need homes. We’ve never done this before, and we’d be lying if we said we knew exactly what to do each step of the way.
This concerns me. I like to learn and then do—yes, I’m a little afraid of failure. Others, who are not afraid of failure, learn by doing. They do moderate research but know when to put down the book, close the Internet browser, and just get their hands dirty. If it goes wrong, they’ll regroup, fix it, and move on. No biggie. They’re not bothered by trial and error, by the unknown, or by consequences. They understand there is no substitute for hands-on experience and have no expectation of perfection the first go-round. They’re just determined to dig in and do something—even if that something turns into a teachable moment or a someday-it’ll-be-funny exercise in trial and error.
Fear of failure stifles creativity, bravery, and personal growth and can sure take the fun out of any garage project. The project truck challenges are always going to be there—the only thing that changes is your outlook.
-Monica
mgonderman@enthusiastnetwork.com
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