As much as I dislike social (or antisocial) media at times, it does have its uses, especially when it comes to old pickup trucks.
I theoretically own a 26-year-old compact pickup. I say theoretically because the day I bought it, I made the mistake of telling someone my youngest, Adam, probably would drive it more than I would. Since that day, I’ve driven my truck maybe a dozen times. Adam uses it as his daily driver for work, school and school bus hunting.
A few weeks ago, Adam noticed that the fuel pump was acting up and the fuel filler neck needed to be replaced, so he ordered new ones.
The fun part would be accessing those old parts by removing the truck bed. Adam got on YouTube and found videos on how to remove the bed of our truck and how to replace the fuel pump. After watching them, he removed the taillight assemblies and loosened the bolts holding the bed to the frame. Together we lifted the bed off the frame despite neither of us being blessed with exceptional upper-body strength. Then came the annoying tasks involved with removing the fuel pump. After all those years, some of those parts decided they didn’t want to come off. However, we prevailed.
Despite neither of us having much formal training in mechanics, somehow we managed to replace the fuel pump and the filler neck, which had cracks that allowed gasoline to spill out when the tank was full. After that, we had to lift the bed over the wheels and align everything so Adam could tighten the bolts and have a functional truck again.
It was a great experience for us to solve problems together, with him buying the tools he thought we needed and me digging around in my basement for a couple of tools we didn’t think we would need.
The work wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. There was something satisfying in two guys confronting a problem, figuring out what was necessary to solve and get it done. We couldn’t have done it without internet videos.
Actually, we got it done twice. The next morning Adam went to move the truck, but it wouldn’t run for more than a few seconds. So we took the bed off again, found what we did wrong the day before and put the whole thing back together. It was a lot easier the second time — mentally, but not physically.
During all this, Adam found another problem and got on Facebook to ask a mechanic and fellow school bus enthusiast in Texas about what the solution might be.
From some people’s perspective, the down side of this is that there is a mechanic out there who didn’t get paid to replace a fuel pump. There were, however, a couple of stores that sold us the tools we needed to do this job, so it wasn’t a total loss to the economy.
Adam and I have used social media to solve problems like this, whether it’s replacing the tail lights on a car or cleaning dust from a camera sensor.
We do have our limits, however. Neither of us is ready to work on our brakes solely based on YouTube videos.
Social media does have its good side. I can still do without the antisocial part, though.