Tuesday, April 23, 2019

No longer a clunker

If you’ve been following the story of clunking noises from the Rolling Steel Tent’s front suspension, you might remember the replacement of the pitman and idler arms and the recent replacement of the tie rod ends. Those two fixes reduced the noise a little, but I still felt like my steering components might fly off at any moment.

I had gotten to the point where I was willing to have all the remaining front suspension parts replaced. I had money saved up. So I was ready for a worst-case situation when I went to Hilltop Service in Silver City.

The owner and two mechanics put it on the rack and started wiggling and prying in various diagnostic ways. They seemed perplexed. Then one of them shook the anti-sway bar. Rattle rattle rattle. It wasn’t supposed to make that noise. The four of us said simultaneously, “Worn bushings.”

I thought I would need to come back after the new bushings arrived. The owner asked, “Want me to replace these?”

“You mean right now?”

“Yeah.” He happened to have the needed parts.


One of the new bushings, in designer blue

I was out of there in fifteen minutes. Parts and labor, $75.00.

Best of all, NO. MORE. CLUNKING! The Rolling Steel Tent sounded like new.

I’ve really become a fan of small repair shops in small towns.


  1. Small town shops with reasonable prices are the best. I am lucky enough to have one of those right types located right near downtown Seattle. It is a real mom and pop place, not one mega chain molecule about it. Thank goodness for them.

  2. Ditto, sadly and regrettable the shop we frequented caught on fire. There's no ying without yang.

  3. I'm a fan of my local Ford dealer. He happens to have lots of farmers as customers and is located in an unincorporated area. Last year we bought a 20 year old Class C and have taken it to the dealership twice for routine service and an extra issue each of those occasions. Both times the extra came to $16 or $17. The service manager knows I'm not a farmer, but he treats me like I'm one when it comes to the bill. I hope I'm not jinxing the relationship by posting this.