The most important part about this announcement is that I've finally got my truck back. Yea! We've lived without our truck for almost exactly 6 months. I started having trouble with it overheating about a year ago. I took it into the shop 2-3 times. They messed with the radiator, did some other stuff, and sent me on my way each time just telling me to keep checking the coolant. The reservoir was filled with coolant, but the radiator was bone dry, the day the truck finally gave up the ghost.
Numerous people informed us after the fact that the trouble we were having was a blown head gasket. Why the shop couldn't diagnose that before Stable Boy was stranded last October an hour from home with 3 horses and my neighbor's four-horse trailer, is one of life's little mysteries.
Rather than taking out a $20K loan to replace the truck, we decided instead to let the BYUI Automotive Program take a crack at it. They offer a semester-long engine rebuild class. The professor was really excited about giving his students the opportunity to work on a big, heavy duty F250 engine.
The fall semester was already in full swing, so we had to wait for the winter semester to start in January before they could start working on the truck. Not being able to go anywhere with the horses all winter was kind of a bummer, but what was really a pain was when we were trying to finish up stuff with the barn last fall. We had to rent a pickup every time we needed to haul equipment or supplies.
Not having a truck all this time was a hassle, but it was smarter financially. We saved a lot of money on gas (since I couldn't take the horses anywhere!) and the final repair bill, including a total engine rebuild, replacing the radiator and numerous hoses, etc. plus labor, came to less than $2100. Lots better than $20,000!
The funniest part of all this? We haul our own trash to the transfer station dump. Stable Boy absolutely refused to put trash into our "nice" van, so every Saturday, he piled a week's worth of garbage into White Lightning and off he went. Sometimes, if things were really busy, he'd miss a week. Then he'd have double the fun!