Share Your Best Diesel/MacGyver Story!

Weblog - Duramax Diesel

safety-pinA couple of years ago I was called out by a friend who was using his father's 2005 Duramax to move. It had gone into limp mode on the side of the road. They were towing a small covered trailer at the time. They had many miles to go and were feeling a little let down by an otherwise strong running Duramax. It happened to be close to the end of the work day, so I went out to meet them. I already had a pretty good idea of the problem: the truck could barely make 15 MPH and clattered and rattled like a Cummins (the Cummins faithful love noisy diesels). That symptom typically indicates a terminal fretting problem on either the #7 or #2 cylinder. In my rush to get out the door, I completely forgot all the tools that I might use to nurse the Duramax back home for a complete repair.

Father and son had managed to pull the truck into a side-of-the-road gas station. We fired it up, and sure enough, it clattered and rattled on four cylinders. So I disconnected the #2 and #7 injector wires, revealing the tell-tale signs of fretting on the #2 connector. But how was I going to temporarily fix it without tools? MacGyver would always come up with something using whatever he had available to him at the time. In my best MacGyver imitation I asked for a safety-pin and some WD-40. They looked at me funny, but set about searching hard to oblige. The WD-40 would help to clean off the fretting/arcing residue on the connector terminals and was easy to find - the service station had plenty of it. The safety pin was a little more difficult to find, but necessary because I needed to disturb the terminals so that they exerted more tension on the fuel injector pins. Only a safety pin would be small enough and hard enough to accomplish the task. My friend's mother was the one to come up with a safety pin. After working with the connector, I plugged it back in and started the truck. It ran perfectly. I knew that this was only a temporary fix, the connector would have to be replaced for a more permanent repair. I didn't know exactly how long the repair would hold out, but we could only try.

Turns out that they made it home just fine. In fact, the truck ran fine for several days until we could get it down to the dealer to install a new connector. Just two days after that side-of-the-road MacGyver fix, my friend's father came up to me with a bewildered expression. "How in the world did you fix my truck with a safety pin and WD-40?" I laughed. What made MacGyver so fictionally successful was his broad knowledge base and his ability to improvise tools and materials. A little knowledge can go a long way to get you down the road when you are in a bind. I think most of us have channeled a little MacGyver at least once in a while.

So here's the challenge: send us your best MacGyver moments to get a GM Diesel out of a bind! You can use the comments form below the MacGyver theme video...

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