I ate my wafer...


Silli-Rescue 2005

Trip snippets:

Lee: WTF is that?!? The big thing up there with lights all over it?!?
Bob: They call them "Snowplows".here in the north.
Lee: It looks like a damn carnival ride.A clownmobile.

Lee: Hurry up and pass it, I'm afraid of the carnies.

Oh, and a large, jolly black man, with latex surgical gloves took our toll money at the PA border...ir was...creepy at 2am in a nasty storm.

Got the call from Silliman Monday afternoon, probably a blown head gasket, stranded in Dubois, PA, and he was debating whether sell the corpse of his truck to get a bus ticket to Hillsdale, or just chuck the whole return to college thing and go back to Philly. As discussed elsewhere, after several hours of slapping together arrangements (thanks to danielle miller for the use of her car, scott for his tools, and to everyone else for random logistical and moral support) , Lee Nunn and I drove through the night and a nasty winter storm to Dubois, found Silliman and tried to get a bit of sleep.

With only a towel for a blanket, and further from the heater than Lee, I probably only managed an hour of sleep. Starting as close to the 8am opening time as possible, we worked very, very hard to disassemble the engine. Unfortunately for Lee and Daniel, I worked them like slaves basically keeping them continually busy with various unbolting tasks. Not only was I abusing my own ability/curse to focus this type of mechanical problem, I was basically forcing them to work at the same pace for nearly seven hours straight. (Not to mention that I was low on sleep, and working as fast as I could myself, so I was more curt and blunt with them than they deserved, sorry guys.).

In any case, for those interested in the technical details, the passenger side cylinder head was warped, only around the middle cylinder sealing area, 0.008” out of plane. Not only was the warpage way over the GMC manual’s max of 0.0025”, it was substantially over the more practical Chilton’s 0.004” limit. (A piece of high quality copier paper is ~0.003” thick) It was possible that we could have had the head machined flat, but at the cost of $60 and several hours, best case, of our time. Unfortunately, besides the $60, there would also be $150 worth of gaskets and sealants involved, plus the original towing and repair charges from the day before. I will admit that I was tempted to slide the head around on a flat piece of concrete until the warpage was out, then lap it smooth with wet or dry sandpaper on a piece of plate glass, but in the end I could not justify the price of materials involved on such a contrived repair. Not to mention the risk of future failure on some other long trip. So, after some ten minutes of staring at the straightedge, micrometer, and feeler gauges, I made the call and explained it to Daniel and Lee. (In many ways the most difficult part of the whole trip for me, as they had worked like gallery slaves for 7 hours only to tell them that we should abandon the truck). After we cut our losses, the drive back to Hillsdale (and in my case Lansing) went smoothly, even if I kept interrupting my companion’s well deserved slumber so that they would keep talking and keep me alert.

Was it worth it? Yes, without a doubt. I don't give a damn if people think it was a Silly-quest, or whatever. Why? because Silliman is in Hillsdale, and his possible return to college was not aborted prematurely. Besides, I'd never done that before. Not to mention that it was sort of fun and I can think of worse ways to spend time.


  • If you could have handled talking on the phone ... I would chave chatted with you to keep you awake ... as I told Lee (and said on my 'Blog) I think you did the right thing and I would have doubted your moral fiber and questioned your priorities had you not gone on the Sillirescue. Bob, you done good.

    By Blogger TheAmber, at 5:11 PM  

  • Thanks for the compliment about our moral fibre. There was no way I could have talked on the phone, the majority of the driving where I was sleepy, in both directions required both hands (manual transmission, and a fair bit of shifting). I didn't even open my own cans of Coke.

    By Blogger Bob, at 6:32 PM  

  • I think you guys are great, and I think this is the kinda stuff life is made of. Three cheers.

    By Blogger Krupa, at 1:19 PM  

  • Thanks. Thanks man.

    By Blogger Valerie, at 3:35 AM  

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