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Let's set the mood and start off the story with a little backstory. Meet me, a high schooler down on his luck looking for a good 4WD for the disgusting New York winters. Then I meet Samuel, the 2005 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab, with a 5 speed manual. Oh the excitement. I get to truck my friends, school stuff, hobby stuff, and so much more all with a 5 speed and fuel-sipping 4 cylinder engine.
I knew Samuel was gonna need a little work, he had new power window regulators installed, on top of a thermostat (needed for these harsh sub-zero temps), and a little more unexpected behavior. But that's another story.
I spend the night before cleaning and scrounging this truck. It's been so bittersweet in the weeks I have had him, and I'm hoping we have finally reached a warm conclusion. I not only vacuumed and spot cleaned, I even wired up my Sony. I was really excited to show Sammy off to my friends for the first time.
DATE: Feb 15 2021
CHARACTERS: Boyfriend, mutual friend, and I
PURPOSE: Eat our Taco Bell in the parking lot of a college campus.
Here we are. Us three vibing in the Colorado, idling, "Sweater Weather" by The Neighborhood playing softly out of the back speakers whilst we nibble on Quesaritos, Chalupas, and other ding-dong delicacies. Banging Sony CarPlay deck and white gear-trimmed gauges illuminating the interior, heat carefully purring from the defroster to keep us warm from the 5º exterior. We had chosen to eat our food at a nearby college campus, which much like the Taco Bell from which we came, was closed and empty due the dining room at the fancy establishment we had ordered from was closed.
We're warm and feeding, until a nasty shudder comes from the front end of the truck, the ambient idling turning into a grotesque metal-plastic noise machine until reaching silence a second later. The warning chime sounds rapidly, the vent turns from comforting heat to bitter cold. The gauge cluster display, reading just over 128,000 miles, flashes two words. "REDUCED" and then "POWER"
Turn the key, nothing. Turn the key again, nothing. Panic sets in.
I turn the key to OFF and open the door to shut off the stereo. I remove the key for a few seconds, play with the power locks in hopes it was a glitch with the security system, before closing the door and reintroducing the key to its cylinder.
Turning the key to start, pushing the clutch in, the little Vortec 2800 roars to life underneath the forest green hood. The heat returns, the Sony connects to my iPhone. Life is swell again.
Until this time, it gets worse. The dinging returns, the cluster illuminates a new red light in the shape of an oil canister, along with the word "OIL" on the digital display. A quick rev after this sudden "REDUCED POWER" shock was my first thought. Nothing. Panic sets in again. I shut it off and restart again. No issue. That is until the dreaded happens once more.
Reduced... a moment passed between screens.... Power.
The truck dies again. The day has gone totally now with a quick sunset and we are now in a large, barely lit parking lot, the automatic headlamps the most light we have. The irony is real, as the words "Is it still me that makes you sweat" presses through the speakers. "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off", by far one of the longest song titles I believe has ever been published, is pouring through the speakers. We are now Panic! at the Community College.
After a few moments with key off, door open, negative terminal detached in the cold, I reverse all my doings and get in again. Samuel roars to live again, all 4 cylinders firing smoothly. I let the clutch out in first gear and the truck moves with the same grace as it had before. The RPMS reach about 3,000 and the accelerator dies. The dashboard chimes, the display taunting me with the same message, and we're coasting at about 5 miles per hour, foot to the floor, nothing, before coming to an abrupt stop, courtesy of me refusing to push in the clutch out of spite to my inanimate vehicle.
A call to the mother unit in hopes of reaching AAA leaves us in the parking lot for an hour and a half, heat quickly receding. To pass the time waiting for our friend's mother to pull up to make sure we don't freeze, we begin to take advantage of this now cold, immobile truck. We drop the tailgate, turn up the Indie-Alternative Rock music, and jam out in this empty parking lot.
A little over two hours after the final stall out, and about half an hour in the mom-truck, AAA arrives, where I go and my song and dance about the night.
I tell him "drop it at the drop-off address and just leave it. I'll be by to deal with it". He does so. I finish my night out with my friends and get dropped off, where I pull the truck into the garage to have a look the next day.
I was told to take a look at the throttle body and it's sensor. Brand new. Along with spark plugs and other problem sensors. Distressed, I am trying a new PCM. Will update when the new PCM comes in.
- Chayse G.,
Dexter, NY, US