Several moons ago I bought a used truck. It is diesel because I’m an adherent to the church of diesel. Diesel is a PITA but it’s also vastly superior to the more common gasoline engines. Analogous to how my computer runs Linux. It seems to suck until I compare it to Windblows (which is so appalling I can’t believe people still use it) or a Mac (which is as far as I can tell are sold through Stockholm syndrome). In my eyes I’ve got the best type engine and the handiest OS in the county. (Admittedly there are very few people in my county and probably none of them use Linux but all farmer and loggers prefers diesel so score one out of two.) The key point is that it is a diesel truck.
I bought the truck a couple thousand miles away and it didn’t come with an oil pan heater. Research indicated that all engines of my type have a heater but some were shipped without the cord. WTF? At any rate it was a serious issue for me. Folks who live in a “normal” climate have no idea how much engineering is required to survive up here… much less coax a diesel to life in the cold. Clearly I’d need to install that cord before it got cold.
So of course I ignored the issue through many warm pleasant months until it was Christmas Eve and 0 degrees out. Yeah, I’m that smart. (I’d been carrying the cord, ready for installation, for several weeks.)
I’d been hauling firewood and doing farm chores in the bone chilling cold for several hours when I decided I’d better face the cord install. It should be stupid simple. Wrong! Nothing, even taking a leak, is stupid simple when it’s well below freezing! Also the daylight was waining. I’d have to hurry.
I crawled under the truck and started poking around. I had no clue where the cord should be installed but I had a basic idea of how to look. Because physics is physics it should be on the bottom and not the top. Because oil is oil it should be on the oil pan (which is like ten acres of surface area on this truck!). There should be a simple receptacle which would receive the cord. No tools needed (probably).
I experienced (not for the first time) awe. A modern diesel engine is a technological marvel with complexity far surpassing anything an ape like me should ever touch. Plus everything is huge. This engine is like a Formula 1 race car had sex with a steamshovel. I was lost.
Meanwhile the cold ground conducted temperatures into my spine which are banned by Geneva convention. I think there was a serious wind chill too. I couldn’t actually tell over the sound of my teeth chattering.
Finally I found a receptacle which looked right. Except some chowderhead had already plugged a sensor or something into it. A suspicious looking cable left the receptacle and dove into the depths of the engine where a mouse wouldn’t fit. Who knows what it did or why? The light was fading and I couldn’t feel… well anything. It would take a miracle to get this handled before sunset and another -10 degree evening. I was well and truly screwed.
As a last ditch effort I tried tracing the cable. After a couple twists and turns it wound up at the front of the truck, tucked behind the bumper like it had never been used. It was the AC plug end to my already installed block heater!
Merry Christmas to me!
I decided that Saint Nick dropped off mechanically inclined elves which fixed my truck for me. (I have been good all year!) It’s as good an explanation as any. Also it’s uncanny how perfect it is. I can’t imagine a better Christmas present (except maybe a cannon or a submarine). Within the realm of reasonable this is pretty much the greatest Christmas surprise ever.
P.S. I tested it and it works. Which is a good thing because I haven’t seen the positive side of the Fahrenheit scale for a few days now.
Next year, ask santa for a submarine-mounted cannon. Go for the whole enchilada (which would be pretty good steaming hot after lying on the frozen ground).
Submarine mounted cannon. Brilliant! “Hold my beer while I launch this…”
I have this dream, generally after eating pizza way too late at night, of having one of these on the Missouri river. Submerged, I slowly approach a river boat casino, blow the ballast tanks, and standing atop the flying bridge yell “Avast ye scurvy swabs, hand over ye gold or prepared to be boarded!” Some times the dream involves pleasure craft on Lake Oahe, whereupon beer is liberated via similar tactics.
I’m pretty sure this has much to do with indigestion and exposure as a youth to a television show called “No Soap, Radio.” Those Norwegian genes I inherited probably didn’t help.
Allow me to suggest a hot water tank timer! Set it an hour before you usually start your truck. As long as it’s still heating when you turn the key, it’ll start like you had it going all night! Saves a ton of money for electricity.