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Jungle Repairs

Frank Clark and Gary were headed to the village of Santa Crux. It is about 2 and ½ miles off the highway down a track with holes deep enough that the truck has to creep along in low range in places. The road is treacherous during good weather and cannot be traveled at all in poor. They were headed there to set a hand pump for the village. The dedication for the well was planned for tomorrow so there was a need to get this pump in place. The mayor would be there and everyone needed to be able to see and drink the water from the well. They were driving our donated well service truck. It is a good vehicle and indispensible for the lifting and lowering of pumps and other things.

They were about 1/3 the way down the track when Gary saw in the mirror that the body on the driver’s side in the rear was right down against the tire and a bolt in the body was cutting the tire. He stopped immediately and discovered that the longest leaf of the rear spring was broken about 2 inches from it’s attachment to the chassis. The whole stack of springs was useless and the frame was resting on the rear axel. They realized they weren’t going to go anywhere without repair. There is no AAA road service to call.

Gary and Frank took stock of their situation. They had a welder, and they had the outriggers for jacks. They had tools and wrenches. Perhaps they could make a repair that would get them back. At first they were going to just use the outriggers to jack up the truck and wedge a piece of green wood into the gap between axel and frame, but as the got the thing up into the air on the outriggers, Frank suggested that they might as well try to weld it. He had found 3 welding rods. It was easy to get to the parts with the truck up on the outriggers.

They did not have a welding hood, but Frank looked around and found a dark glass that had been in an old hood. With a grin, Frank asked Gary if he had any duct tape. No duct tape but there was heavy vinyl tape. Frank taped the glass to his head to cover one eye and started to weld by closing the unprotected eye. Spring steel is tough to weld and keep from getting brittle, but using the sophisticated tools at hand, Frank got it done.

They crept along, into and out of the holes to Santa Crux, set the pump, and then back out the 2 ½ miles. The weld did not fail. There were able to get back to the shop and get a replacement spring in 3 days. The dedication was a real happy event.

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