So the other day, my buddy called me up. “How’re the tires on your truck?” he asks.
“Fair to poor, why?” I reply.
“I need you to come pull me out of a ditch.” Without a second thought, I say “OK.”
He says his truck is about 2 block from his property, and he thinks he lost a tie-rod end. When we get there, we find that he’s high-centered his front axle on a downed tree trunk, and that he’s busted his steering box. That means no matter what he does to the steering wheel, the front end will not comply, as it is not hooked up to anything. The truck still runs, 4 wheel drive still works, brakes work, just no steering. And it is full on stuck.
Now the logical amongst us will ask “Why didn’t you just get a tow truck?” Because fuck you, that’s why.
I position my rusty-ass truck to pull his tow hitch with mine (heavy tow chain), and proceed to “hammer attack” the Excursion off of the log. This scared the shit out of his dog, but eventually got the job done. We took the dog home and met his brother, who we drafted into service.
For the entire 4 block trip back to the truck, all I hear from the negative brothers is “How are we gonna do this?” “Fuck, I don’t know, we’ll figure it out as we go” is all I reply, and I’m fairly confident my stupidity will win the day. My first idea was to have the brother ride on the running engine, manipulating the broken pitman arm with his bare hands. That’s really not a good idea, so I didn’t even bring it up. If we pull from the front, his steer tires will grab and pull me off the road, so that won’t work. The only available solution that has any possibility of working is to pull from behind. For the first part of the trip, I tell him to leave it in neutral. My thinking was that if we are traveling in the other direction, the force would pull the tires straight and we would just go the direction of the truck. I was wrong; we went from one ditch to the other, each time having to back up a little, put his truck in drive, and the forward motion put the wheels back straight. This took forever. Then we came to the intersection, and I accidentally pulled him farther along than I had anticipated.
Then I had a thought; Why don’t we just tog’owar the fuckin thing straight? Sure, that Excursion is heavier than my truck, and has better tires, but if I apply enough force in one direction while his tires are slipping, that would pull the truck the way I want it to go, right?
It seemed fucked up, and we had a way to go yet. I thought we’d be at it for hours, and I didn’t think even this would work. Then it did.
Ok, not as cool as pulling it with a riding lawn mower, but still.