By on January 26, 2017

1994 Ford F-150 XLT Regular Cab, Image: Ford

“You two boys come back now, you hear,” the Waffle House waitress said with a smile, putting one check in front of me and one in front of Rodney. “Especially you, hon,” she stage-whispered in my colleague’s direction. As she walked away, I gave the lady a critical look-over. At least 45 — a solid decade and a half older than Rodney, 20 years older than I was — and something told me if she and I both sat on a teeter-totter, I’d be keeping my head to the sky like Maurice White. One of the moles on her linebacker’s neck had sprouted a neat trifecta of thick, dark hairs. I turned back and put my head in my hands.

“When?” I asked.

“Three nights ago,” Rodney replied, “during her break, in the men’s room. And don’t give me your bullshit,” he preemptively snapped, “that woman is a treasure. Some day you’ll appreciate a little meat on the bone, once you get over being an adolescent who is just older. Or maybe you don’t have the requisite equipment to visit all of the territory, and I truly think that I don’t have to be any more explicit than that in a family restaurant.”

“Close your eyes,” I slowly exhaled, “and tell me her first name.” After affecting a chin-on-knuckles pose oddly and perhaps deliberately reminiscent of an African take on Rodin’s infamous sculpture, Rodney threw up his hands.

“Quiet is kept,” he admitted, “it’s temporarily escaped me for now. But you have bigger problems than whether I can or cannot remember the exact details of my many conquests. Don’t you have that idiot kid coming back in with his father on the XLT regular cab? Uh-huh. I thought so. We need to head back. And since I reminded you of your job, of which no grown man should have to be reminded,” Rodney declaimed, his midnight-blue Ralph Lauren overcoat already in his hand as he headed towards the door, “you can pick up this breakfast for me.”

This deal on the metallic-green-and-light-gray XLT regular cab was, in the words of Rodney’s role model Lando Calrissian, getting worse all the time. Start with the truck itself; it was lot poison. The order for it had been born out of some Byzantine negotiation between Droopy, the son of the dealership owner, and the model-slash-barracuda deployed by Ford as our dealer rep du jour. We didn’t sell regular cabs out of our quiet university-suburb dealership, and when we did sell ’em, they were work trucks for the local tradesmen who in turn expected us to call them when something sprang a leak or needed re-glazing.

Fully loaded in all the wrong ways, this two-tone, 5.8-liter, 2WD, luxury-cloth-seat-trim ’96 had sat all the way through the winter. And with the all-change ’97 truck already in production, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend how we’d move it before the turn of the century.

Imagine my relief when a teenager in a construction-worker’s worn canvas-duck onesie strutted through the door and asked — no, demanded — to take it for a test drive. He was pleased to see that it only had eleven miles on it; I didn’t bother to tell him that the F-150 had never left the lot and that all five of the extra miles on the clock were from being driven between parking spaces in our ever-changing inventory schemes. He had a trade, but it was the best kind of trade possible: a late-Eighties F-150 XL with no frame damage and no lien on the title, a gift from his father on his sixteenth birthday that no longer suited what he felt to be his station in life.

Out of pity and a determination not to push my luck, I offered him the XLT at $500 over invoice, a deal he happily accepted without so much as a counter-offer. Could he afford it? Why yes he could; he was earning $600 or more a week on various construction job sites. He had a year’s worth of pay stubs on his person. Truth be told, he seemed oddly prepared, at least by the standards of nineteen-year-old manual laborers.

The mystery was revealed when we pulled his TRW bureau. Oof. He didn’t have much credit, but the credit that he did have was all bad. “Do you have a co-signer?” I asked. “If so, we can make this happen.”

“I could ask Dad,” he said, considerably subdued by the bad news.

“You do that,” I suggested, and forgot about him the moment he left the lot. But three days later, he called me and said that he, and his father, would be in on Saturday morning. By the time Rodney and I got back from our impromptu breakfast, they were sitting in our “customer lounge”, which was basically two old airport couches and a 13″ color television that got two and a half of our city’s three channels.

“Fred Jones,” the father said, squeezing my hand with manly authority. He was a thick-set, imposing-looking man in denim overalls and work boots. Next to him, the son looked like thin squeezings. I’ve always felt sorry for men who don’t cast as much shadow as their fathers do, and perhaps that explains why I found myself apologizing on behalf of the dealership, Ford Credit, and the TRW Corporation before we had so much as arrived at my desk.

“Not to worry, son,” the old farmer boomed, settling into a chair with all the arrogance of the Sun King on his throne. “Billy here is a good kid. Working hard, finally. Took him a while to settle down and forget some stupid shit he was trying to do.” Billy looked down at his hands and I tried to think of what the “stupid shit” might have been. College? A woman? The armed forces? The wrong construction firm?

“Well, Mr. Jones,” I replied, “he’s lucky to have you.”

“You’re right about that,” he allowed in response. “Now, you and I both know that the crooked Jews who run these banks —” I coughed involuntarily and he looked at me like he’d caught me putting on a yarmulke “— they’ll sell any stupid kid the truck of his wet dreams. But when he can’t pay, well…” and here he gave me a little conspiratorial nod, “you know who they’ll be coming after. Mister Deep Pockets, right here.” Next to him, his son appeared humiliated and terrified all at once. “Show me the paper, son. I’ll sign it.”

“Mister Deep Pockets? Mister Deep Pockets?” In the finance office, Rodney was holding both hands over his mouth in an effort not to laugh as our F&I guy went through the formality of checking out Fred’s TRW. “That hillbilly out there in the shit-stained coveralls? That’s Mister Deep Pockets? I swear to God, you people can just do and say whatever the hell you want.”

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘you people’. I’m not some Ohio hick. My grandfather,” I snarled, “was on the Social Register.” Then Dale, the F&I mastermind, coughed delicately to catch our attention.

“Papa,” he said, holding a ripped-off sheet of thermal printer paper that looked like the roll of casualties from the Somme, “is a rollin’ stone.” I surveyed the damage. It was double bad news. The father’s beacon was low. Not credit-criminal low, but not easy-peasy for a co-signer on a $26,000-plus regular-cab truck. And his verified income? Forty-five grand a year. Barely enough to pay the notes he already had out there.

“Five grand,” Dale said, to my unspoken question. “Five grand down, plus the trade. I’ll roll him today and we’ll plead our case on Monday.” As a former Ford Credit employee, I knew that this sort of thing was often done. You’d “spot” questionable deals on a Saturday, sending them home in the truck without any actual credit approval. Then you’d plead and beg your Ford Credit rep on Monday: “He’s already put four hundred miles on the truck! We can’t take it back now! You gotta do something!” And the next time a doctor or lawyer with a 775 beacon wanted to lease an Explorer Limited, we’d make sure they went through Ford Credit even though the rate was high compared to our partner banks.

I walked out to my desk determined to make this truck go away. “Mr. Jones, may I borrow you for a moment?”

“Anything for my boy,” the man replied, before standing and following me to the JBL “Science Of Sound” display that Rodney had recently used to deflower the right-side mirror of the only ’96 Taurus LX we had in stock during an absent-minded showroom-parking maneuver.

“Listen, Mr. Jones, the bankers want to give us some hassle on this.” I tried desperately to remember if my wedding photo, which included a rabbi, was visible from where he’d been sitting. “They want cold, hard cash to make this happen. You know how they are.”

“Sons of bitches,” he spat. “How much?”

“Five thousand dollars. I’ll take a check.”

“When,” Mr. Jones asked, cocking his head at me in the universal body language of men who are conspiring to conspire, “will that check be deposited?”

That evening, long after my boss had congratulated me for getting rid of “that cowboy Cadillac,” I nonchalantly wandered into the F&I office and tore a fingernail’s width of paper off the check where the MICR account number was located.

Nine days later, Mr. Jones managed to take some time off from his busy schedule to bring us a replacement check. “You did me right, boy,” he laughed as we stood in the rain-slick parking lot. “You’d make a hell of a farmer. Get some dirt under those fingernails. Some shit, too. Show you how the world operates. You call me if you ever need work.”

“Actually,” I responded, jerking a thumb over my shoulder, “there’s a fellow in there you might want to talk to. From what I’ve seen, he can work with just about any kind of stock you can imagine.”

[Image: By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

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106 Comments on “Tales From The Dealership: Mister Deep Pockets...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Sometimes I still miss my ’95 F-150, with the Alcoas. Stone cold reliable until it crossed over 200,000 miles, then the EEC-IV system started flaking out, with weird occasional hard start/no start issues.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Cute story. Remind me to tell you of the time an oil-change specialist ended up getting ALL the commission off of a new car sale.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    You’re a better (or less Jewish) man than I am, Jack…at minimum I’d have excused myself and found someone else to work with the bozo. After all, telling a customer to f**k himself is usually not conducive to continued employment. Anti-semitism is the reason my dad’s side of the family all ended up as ashes floating out of a chimney sometime after June, 1941. Zero tolerance.

    But…anyway…

    Reminds me of a guy I worked with when I was selling Chevys in 1995. He looked exactly like Mr. Greenjeans, and was looking at a Cavalier with his daughter. Introduced myself, all that. I began asking him the basics (who’s it for, what other cars are you looking at, etc) and he said nothing. Literally nothing. Okay, then. Told him to look the car over and that I’d be back in a couple of minutes to check on him. I graciously gave him 15 minutes. Went back, and asked him how his kid liked the Cavalier. Again, he said nothing. Not one word. So, I figured, what the f**k, and said, “well, looks like you’re ready to take this home today, so let’s go in and write it up.”

    And that’s exactly what he did. Paid by check. The F&I guy said he uttered about three words during the entire process: yes, no, and OK. Kind of like a Pennsylvania version of Groot.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      I am not a Jew and I probably would have had to excuse myself. This idea, if you can call it that, that Jews are some mysterious cabal that controls the world while making us dance like marionettes is one brand of stupidity that I have absolutely no patience for. And this goes equally for theories about Mexicans, Gypsies, Slavs, Hmong, Smurfs, or any other group that people see fit to blame for the ills in their lives.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      Probably someone told him that was some sort of secret to negotiation – anything you say is leverage a salesman can use against you. So just keep your mouth shut, and sign anything that’s put in front of you, apparently. Hey, I didn’t say it was good advice.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I may bait or antagonize the Baruth boy(s) from time to time but despite himself, Jack can sure write.

    Of course few have more net worth or better credit than those owning ‘farmland’ in the GTA area. A local farm in York Region sold a few years ago for over $200 million.

    • 0 avatar
      Whittaker

      “Jack can sure write.”

      Seconded.

      I have a cousin that can’t write stories but he can sure tell them.
      He is often surrounded by 3-5 slack-jawed & enraptured friends, staring at him while he tells his 5-20 minute stories.
      I’ve often thought that if I could record him and reproduce even 70% of of his inflections and nuances in printed version, it would be salable.

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    Unnecessary sex story? Check.

    Talking about the vehicle making a loud clunk when driven over a bump?
    Oops, must’ve forgotten this time. Maybe next time.

  • avatar

    This is great story…sometimes I miss selling cars, just for the craziness.

    Not because of the long hours and getting the BS from every angle. LOL

  • avatar
    ajla

    FWIW, $45K in 1996 is the equivalent of like $68K in 2016, which would put him in the 60th percentile of income and by today’s lending standards allow him to finance a F-350 Lariat PSD for 84 months at $99 down.

  • avatar
    cpu

    This generation F150 (’92-’96) are some of the best looking pickups ever made.

    I looked for a year trying to find a 4×4, manual, long box, reg cab with the 300 six recently. No luck. The ones I found had 200k+ miles, were jacked up or had been beat to hell.

    I had to settle for a ’97 auto 4.6.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Agree, the truck was a value. Only not to a 19-year-old laborer who didn’t have a need to work it. And who already HAD a truck, lest he entertain ideas of actually hauling stuff.

      Used to be, of course, trucks were sold to utility buyers. That was a steady market but small. Today’s high volumes mostly go to image-buyers; and occasionally a dealer who isn’t immersed in that particular demographic, takes a flyer on a single unit, often ordered in an unattractive way. Because, of course, the dealer doesn’t know how to sell or order them, not having those sorts of customers in his midst.

      Ford factory reps with long legs and short skirts, no doubt aggravated the situation somewhat. Especially if those gals knew of the Carrot-and-Stick approach.

      That truck probably had a long, useful life. Kid sold it once he tired of the payment; and someone out there got a low-mileage work truck for CHEAP. It’s win/win; the kid got what he wanted when he wanted it, he wised up; and someone else saved money.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      “This generation F150 (’92-’96) are some of the best looking pickups ever made.”-cpu

      Agreed. The GMC/Silverado (99-98) were also great looking trucks. It’s funny how these trucks have all evolved into the road monsters they are today. The dimensions on those 90’s trucks were just right in my opinion. At least I could reach into the bed while still standing on the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      I had one.. 96 work truck heavy half ton.. Three speed automatic long bed dual tanks towing package.. I miss her every day

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoomfan

        Those dual fuel tanks were a source of constant fascination for me as a child. We had a mid-’80s regular cab long bed light blue Ford with the dual fuel tank setup (my mom, as a successful single mother, decided she wanted a car AND a truck since we had horses on a neighbor’s farm).

        • 0 avatar
          55_wrench

          @zoomzoom,
          Things get really fascinating with those dual tanks when the switching valve fails.

          On my ’85 Bricknose, the failure mode went like:

          1. Spool valve got something caught in it.
          2. Fuel from return line off the injectors began pressurizing the forward tank.
          3. Engine died from fuel starvation.
          4. Opening the forward tank cap resulted in a diesel fuel bath, shot 2 feet out of the filler.

          I ended up deleting the valve and plugging the rear tank, just running off the front. Replacement valves are 350 bucks, when they are available.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I had a recall on my 1990 F250 over similar issues. I never had a problem. I loved the fuel capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoomfan

            Damn. Don’t recall that happening to ours, unless that’s why my mom mysteriously sold it rather quickly when I was still young.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what I’ve been looking for lately. Maybe a 87-92, two-tone 4×4 300 with dual tanks.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Very nice I was looking a few years ago for the same thing. What I found was the 300 very frequently was sold with 2WD (I assume for towing or basic work truck duties). I could not find a period F-150 4×4 in 300 I6, just 5.0.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          The last I-6 4×4 F150 I saw was owned by a farmer who used it for towing grain wagons and farm equipment around his acreage.

          I’m pretty sure it was an XL with manual transmission.

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          From what I was told the 4×4 I6 with the auto was a special order only. For whatever reason with the auto and 4×4 and I6 only came with the three speed auto….every single one I’ve ever seen has been fleet green with long bed dual tank towing package and the heavy half ton payload.. Stout trucks.. But at 65 mpg on the freeway you can watch the gas gauge drop

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for that bit of info, that makes sense given what I have seen.

          • 0 avatar
            jim brewer

            The 300 CI six is the most overrated engine ever. Gutless and a gas hog. Like a 302 V-8 isn’t durable enough.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “.every single one I’ve ever seen has been fleet green with long bed dual tank towing package and the heavy half ton payload.”

            That was my demo! Loved that truck.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Sounded like a nice truck until you said “2WD.”

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      All depends on what you want it for.

      If you want to pose, you need 4wd. If you really want to go off-road, you need a 2wd truck to haul your four-wheeler in back.

      If you are worried about snow, you need to try FWD, and if that’s not enough, consider your driving habits. 4wd does not enable high-speed travel on slippery surfaces – it’s braking, not traction, that is your limitation.

      For those who don’t like that answer, there’s Subaru. Most of the same image and a more-liveable package.

      There are a lot of reasons for 4wd. Most of them are emotional, illogical, and cost a lot to indulge.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Show me the FWD vehicle you can throw 3000lbs of cargo in the back and still have traction. Those that have attempted to use the ProMaster for construction work have found out that their old RWD E-series has much better traction at the construction site.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Show me the buyer who does that; and I’ll show you someone who does need a truck.

          Show me the owner who has sewer-pipe stacks punched through the truck bed, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t work his truck, CAN’T work his truck, has no interest in working his truck, and will be REAL disappointed when he finds out what he did to his truck’s used-market value.

          That is, once he tires of paying $650-plus every month to pretend he’s a tractor-trailer driver.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            There is a dealership locally, that I’m sure dal has heard the ads for that specializes in brodozers and sells them like hot cakes for top dollar. Sure the original owner isn’t getting all the money back that he put into lift kits and chrome but those trucks do sell for a big premium over an otherwise stock example. Also that 4wd premium is recouped on resale and also means that it will sell quickly while the guy with the 2wd truck will find that some dealers will go no sorry not going to take your 2wd truck in trade as they don’t want to be stuck with it.

            My last truck was 2wd and this time I went 4wd and in the 2 1/2 months I’ve owned it I’ve turned that dial to 4wd more times than I can count. We had a lot of icy days and the piece of mind of being able to turn that dial and get up the hill out of my neighborhood is priceless. I can’t imagine going back to a 2wd pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            Again, it comes down to practicality-versus-fad-and-fashion.

            When you’re talking bellbottom slacks, fashion changes are of minimal consequence. When it’s the huge price of one of these trucks, it bears consideration.

            I remember when the Rabbit/Golf hatch was the hot car. I remember when the minivan makers had waiting lists.

            I remember when Japanese cars and trucks were considered cheap junk.

            Someday, these jacked sewer-pipe-stack bro-dozers are going to be as kewel as the full-size Bronco was in its final years – and the young men with small penii will find themselves grossly upside-down on their truck notes.

            And insurance-adjuster lots will fill with RAMs that somehow managed to get stolen and set afire, without even having the lock cylinder punched.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “some dealers will go no sorry not going to take your 2wd truck in trade as they don’t want to be stuck with it.”

            What dealer anywhere would blow up a deal by refusing to take a trade? If it’s undesirable they send it to the auction. You might get a lower value than you wanted but I’ve never seen a dealer say they won’t take something.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Okay…….

            4×2 in many environments especially as a work truck is useless. You load the back up for traction and all that means is that there is more weight you have to move up a hill.
            My dad started out commercial trucking with single axle gas powered trucks. Unless the roads were good, you were always stuck.
            I prefer to stay in 4×2 and use 4×4 as a backup but there are multiple times where I have had no choice but use 4×4.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        You must live in the Sun Belt. Here in the land of steep hills, mud, and slick roads nine months of the year, 4WD is just about the most essential feature for any work truck, unless you enjoy spending a lot of time putting boards or sand under your rear wheels.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          No, I live in the real world. I come from the past – where people used to need to understand how to drive, before everyone wanted 4wd. And get angry that they can’t drive 70 on the Interstates in snow.

          There’s a market for 4wd trucks. A small market. The question to be asked, is, is the convenience of not having to clear and plan routes to a jobsite, worth the extra $6000-plus and higher bed height that 4wd adds to a trucK

          I can put a lot of sand and boards down in the mud for $6000. I can even put a winch on the bumper or in the bed, for a lot less, to get out of mudholes.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            $6000? The premium for Fords is $3-4000 depending on model. Just short of $4000 for Chevies. And, around here, everyone pays it. You won’t find a single 2WD truck on the lot, unless it’s a white, rubber-floor work truck.

          • 0 avatar
            srh

            Your time must not be worth much!

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            Emotional customer DEMAND is another issue.

            I haven’t priced out comparative models and I won’t. I’m not a customer for those things.

            But purchase price is just the entry cost. Then there’s the additional maintenance…twice the driveline means twice the cost when universal-joints go. Twice the expense when steering components wear.

            A 30-percent drop in fuel mileage…hear that, all you we’re-killing-Mother-Earth types? For the SAME AMOUNT of transportation, these things use THIRTY PERCENT MORE FUEL.

            You buy what you want. I’ll laugh at fools who buy what they want, for silly reasons they cannot rationally appraise.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            30 percent drop in fuel mileage? Truck makers’ rating suggest more like 10 percent.

            You’re not just pointing out disadvantages of 4WD, you’re cartoonishly exaggerating them.

            Did a 4×4 pickup run over your dog?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Knowing how to drive 2WD on snow and ice will usually get you around better than the people who think 4×4 plus POWER equals Go Anywhere, Go Anywhen.

            You, JPT would not be surprised that some years back on my very first day at a new job, we had a blizzard hit that put over a foot of snow down by the time work let out. The funny thing is that I was driving a relatively new Chevy Camaro and had to drive over 30 miles on Pennsylvania county roads in that storm to get home and I made it with absolutely no issues, while several of my workmates who drove big 4×4 trucks were stuck in the ditches on either side and had to be pulled out. Next day when I drove in, they asked, “Is that YOUR Camaro?” They couldn’t believe I got all the way home without once sliding off the road.

            However, a number of those co-workers who knew how to drive 4×4 and were the ones pulling their friends out of the ditches. I, myself, have owned a 4×4 (Jeep Wrangler) and again, I never had any issues keeping the road under even the worst conditions.

            It’s all in knowing how the systems work and driving within their capability.

          • 0 avatar
            jim brewer

            There are people who deer and duck hunt. There are farmers who are constantly navigating muddy roads. There are people who live in very high latitudes. For them it’s worth the extra $4500.

            I go skiing every weekend in a 4×2 and a set of Blizzaks.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @dal20402 – tire chains help but I’d much rather pull a lever or turn a dial. No fun putting on chains in -25C weather.
          @justpassinthru
          “The question to be asked, is, is the convenience of not having to clear and plan routes to a jobsite, worth the extra $6000-plus and higher bed height that 4wd adds to a trucK
          I can put a lot of sand and boards down in the mud for $6000. I can even put a winch on the bumper or in the bed, for a lot less, to get out of mudhole”

          Wow – really?

          Answer is…… YES

          Have you ever actually spent any time on a construction site, logging show, oil lease or any place where the ground gets soft?

      • 0 avatar
        SirRaoulDuke

        Your snow answer is all good until you factor in hills. I had a place that was on a mountaintop. A Subaru would get you there, but I needed the extra hauling room of a SUV (when they were real SUV’s) and a truck. And low gears were a friend when the snow started turning icy.

        I no longer live there, and FWD suits me fine. Still, I think my next vehicle will be a Jeep Wrangler, just because I like doing some light off-roading.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        In the Canadian prairies, 4WD and studded winter tires make winter driving enjoyable for a truck owner. You’d have to be quite poor to consider it worth the savings to suffer through four months straight every year of driving something barely capable of forward progress. Those people are typically not buying new trucks.

        Besides, most of the truck owners I know would be fired from their lucrative jobs if they used their vehicle compensation on something that can’t even get them to the rig on time on a muddy or snowy day.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        4×4 DOES work for slowing on slippery surfaces, especially with lockers, as you can control the speed of every wheel instead of relying on an iffy anti-lock system. You just have to learn to avoid sudden braking, which means you have to drive more slowly.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          “4×4 DOES work for slowing on slippery surfaces, especially with lockers, as you can control the speed of every wheel”

          ABSOLUTELY! Anyone that says 4WD doesn’t help you stop better has never driven a 4WD on snowy/icy roads.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      2WD pickups are absolutely useless in winter. No traction on ice, even with winter tires.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        On ice, you have no more traction no matter how many wheels are driven. On ice, you need tire chains. Which eliminate the need for 4wd.

        On slippery roads, you can increase traction with 200 pounds of tubesand in the back. A little cheaper than a base Bro-Dozer upgrade.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No on the type of ice we get around here chains are no help at all while 4wd does get the job done. My son is away at college and he lives in our vacation house that is at the bottom of a hill. One morning on his way to a final he tried to make it up the hill with his rwd vehicle wearing brand new winter tires and traction control. That didn’t work so he backed down and into the driveway where he installed the chains. Second attempt he got to the exact same spot.

          Luckily his roommate has an Audi and it with its all season tires was able to get up the hill.

          Now he has one of our AWDs also wearing winter tires sitting in the extra vehicle parking spot and when it is icy or snowy he takes that instead.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            I cannot conceive of the type of ice that chains don’t help and four-wheel-drive does.

            A slick surface that lets the rear wheel (singular) slip, or both if the owner has a differential locker…that surface will also easily let all four wheels slip.

            Tire chains are a PITA, no question. But there’s no substitute for them. Back forty years ago, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, I owned a Chevette. At the time, everyone was marveling about the traction of the Honda Civic and the Rabbit.

            A set of inexpensive tire chains, enabled me to go where even the few Jeep and IH and Ford 4×4 trucks of the time couldn’t make it. Our city was built on a series of hills…and even after freezing rain, those tire chains did it.

            I learned to buy extra rims, worn tires, with the chains already mounted. I can change a tire with a floor jack in about three minutes. Tire-chain installation, is quite-a-bit harder…but they were worth every penny.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The type of ice we get around here very frequently in my neighborhood is just the rain from the previous night frozen on the road. Pretty much like black ice. Chains don’t help on ice unless it thick enough to actually bite into it. Sure they may scrape the little bit of ice off the asphalt, but the steel gets lousy traction on asphalt or concrete.

            More than once this winter I’ve gone to take my pickup in the morning and started up the hill to be stuck there with both rear wheels spinning. Turn the knob and get up the hill no problem. Then once out of the valley where all the cold air sits overnight turn the switch back to 2wd and good for the rest of the day. No way in hell would I want to throw chains to go 1/4 of a mile.

            I did have to throw chains to get home one night but that was because of idiots. A Tesla and LS were stuck part way up the snow covered hill such that there was just enough room for me to squeeze through. I was almost through and an idiot walked out in front of me. So there I was with a Tesla about 12″ from my right side and a LS about 8″ from the left and I was off to the side of the crown of the road. So rather than risk damaging one of those vehicles I threw on the chains and then said hook this to your car and pulled the LS to the top of the hill and then went back and retrieved the Tesla so that others could make it through safely.

        • 0 avatar
          srh

          That’s an awesome theory.

          Now, in reality, last week I had three contractors in my driveway (well, one constractor and two subcontractors). At 9AM the snow started falling. When they left none of them were able to get out until they put their trucks in 4WD, at which point they all got out just fine. They’ve all got plenty of weight in their beds.

          Anybody who pretends not to understand the benefits of 4WD is either trolling, or oblivious. I’m not sure which is the case here.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I have a lot of experience with the use of tire chains. At this point “JustPassinThru” is trolling.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            Obviously you’ve never seen a rig stuck with one wheel on each axle, spinning.

            I have.

            I worked for a little town in New York State, with the DPW. We had a 4×4 IH truck, a 1973; and we had a Chevy C-60 dump truck. Rear-axle drive only.

            With chains on the duals, it did MOST of the snow removal work. Never got stuck. It was a long-chassis model and couldn’t get through some of our alleys.

            It wasn’t hard to bury the International.

            Since then, I’ve owned a couple of Jeeps, a YJ and TJ. And yes, I have gotten stuck in mud. Without limited-slip or lockers, you’re not much better off than with RWD.

            Buy what you want. I hold that for 95 of 100 users, 4wd is a waste.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @JPT Yes with 4wd you can end up sitting there spinning one wheel on each axle. Personally that is why I hold out for one with the limited slip. Thankfully the take rate on the limited slip was high so all my 4×4 IH’s and the 2wd Travel All have them as well as my F250 and our SUV. The wife’s Escape is the only one that doesn’t have it as it was never offered.

            There certainly are a lot of people who don’t need 4wd on their pickup and never use it, there are also a lot of people who don’t absolutely need it but it is way easier than chains.

            All three western states have mountain passes with traction tire/chain requirements.

            The normal progression is

            Approved traction tires recomended
            Approved traction tires or chains required 2wd vehicles. 4wd/awd exempt.
            Chains required 2wd vehicles 4wd/awd exempt.
            Roads closed.

            In all vehicles you are required to carry chains in the winter months. They can fine you if you come to a check point w/o chains in your vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            JustPassinThru – did you miss the part where I said,
            ” My dad started out commercial trucking with single axle gas powered trucks. Unless the roads were good, you were always stuck.”

            Snow plowing in a city?

            My town uses tandem axle sanding/plow trucks. They also use 4×4 backhoes and graders. Large loaders as well. They do have an F550 with a plow and dump body. It is a 4×4. They use that for small parking lots.

            “Buy what you want. I hold that for 95 of 100 users, 4wd is a waste.”

            Thanks for the alternative facts.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            “Snow plowing in a city?

            My town uses tandem axle sanding/plow trucks. They also use 4×4 backhoes and graders. Large loaders as well. They do have an F550 with a plow and dump body. It is a 4×4. They use that for small parking lots.

            “Buy what you want. I hold that for 95 of 100 users, 4wd is a waste.”

            Thanks for the alternative facts.”

            Nope. Sorry you cannot conceive of anything outside of those television commercials showing Blazers dodging falling boulders and driving 100KpM in blizzards.

            This was not a city I worked for. It was a resort town, with 10,000 summer residents and about 500 year-round souls. We were pretty meager on equipment.

            This was also the 1970s. There WERE no AWD vehicles; the Subaru was two years from release. We had two, and ONLY two, four-wheel-drive or all-axle drive rigs. Our 1973 International pickup, and a 1958 Oshkosh with a vee plow. Also a right-angled plow, but on our city streets it was all but useless.

            The local state highway was cared for by NYDOT. So we just had our city streets to clean. And the C60 and a front-end loader to clean up intersection corners, was all we needed.

            Buy what you want – it’s no sweat off my brow. My experience, and it’s real experience, is that 4wd is a waste in most cases. Twenty years after my DPW work, I found myself working weekends on a second job in Denver for a company called Vans-To-Vail. A ski-resort shuttle company. Again, no 4wd and this time no chains, either. Studded tires; a shovel, and tubesand in the back. Occasionally a driver would get stuck, usually at our gas depot in Silver Plume, a ghost town.

            We made it okay, those of us who could bother to learn to drive. Not so much the flatlanders who’d rent SUVs at the Avis counter at DIA, and then hurl up the mountain. Every night, we’d see at least one such scene…flares, blue gumballs, and at the end a newish Blazer or Expedition, half-crushed and on a flatbed.

            Those are facts. I don’t know where your facts are coming from.

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          I live in Canada and I’ve had trucks in the past, all 4×4. I don’t own chains and have never used them. Never been stuck in a place 4×4 couldn’t get me out of either.

          In 2wd I once was stuck on a lawn where I had to park on a slight incline with the front of the truck pointing downhill. The grass was wet and I just spun in 2wd trying to back out. Dropped it into 4 low and I crept out without doing anymore damage to the lawn. Are you seriously suggesting that I should have laid chains instead? I would have to have driven further downhill to put them on, and the slope got steeper. How much are chains going to tear up the grass?

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          4 wheels driven out of 4 will always be better than 2 out of 4 on a low friction surface, it’s just physics.

          Lets suppose it takes 100lb of force to move a vehicle. In RWD, just to be generous I’ll put in a locking rear end, so each driven tire has to transmit 50lb to move the vehicle. The amount of force that can be transmitted is a function of the weight on it, contact area and coefficient of friction. If the tire can only transmit 30lbs, you don’t go anywhere. Put it in 4wd, and each tire only need to transmit 25 lbs, so you can move.

          If you have chains on RWD, you still need to transmit 50 lbs per wheel. So you must increase the coeffecient of friction, but the chain also has a smaller contact area with the road than a tire, so you’re actually at a disadvantage using chains over 4wd.

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoomfan

        I will have to agree with this, Jagboi.

        My beater ’95 S10’s 4WD went out on me early January 2016 (it ended up being a simple fix – a crusty old vacuum line developed a leak) and the truck was helpless. It was literally stranded in my work parking lot (flat, new asphalt) with 5 inches of snow on the ground. And that was with decent tires and 300 pounds of sandbags in the back. I got a ride home and drove my Mazda6 (with 19 inch wheels and low profile tires) just fine later that day. Of course, the car is front wheel drive, but I figured it wouldn’t be good, either, with its rubber band tires. I was pleasantly surprised.

        Rear wheel drive just sucks in a pickup in the snow.

        Not saying I’d buy a brand new truck with 4WD. Negative. I’d just have a FWD something or other to drive along with it when it snows. Hell, my wife’s CX-5 is FWD and its damn near unstoppable in the snow (with good tires, of course).

        My S10 was bought by me right around its 20th birthday and is the definition of beater truck, so it having 4WD was just a little bonus.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “2WD pickups are absolutely useless in winter. No traction on ice, even with winter tires.”

        And try and pull a snowmobile trailer safely with one. Good luck on that! I’m heading up to the UP of Michigan from Minneapolis next week. We’ll have 3-4 snowmobiles in a 29′ enclosed tandem axle V-nose trailer. 2WD PU’s need not apply for towing duty.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Carlson Fan – Agreed. I used to pull a small 14 ft trailer. I carried my dirt bikes and quad in it. In the winter I’d go ice racing. There where plenty of times when I was in 4×2, I’d start to spin out on the highway on some of the 6% grades.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Pulling a trailer on slippery roads is a crapshoot in any event. You can prevent fishtailing with 4wd…when pulling. And yes, you can even prevent rear-axle wheel-lockup and having the end slide out. What you will NOT prevent, is loss of traction at both ends that’ll turn your bro-dozer into a 5000-pound luge, without brakes or control.

          With that added weight behind, just as likely to break free. No…I think I’d either find a place to store the machine up there or rent one locally.

          But that’s me. A couple of serious auto wrecks, and I don’t have any stomach for another one.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            ‘Pulling a trailer on slippery roads is a crapshoot in any event. You can prevent fishtailing with 4wd…when pulling. And yes, you can even prevent rear-axle wheel-lockup and having the end slide out. What you will NOT prevent, is loss of traction at both ends that’ll turn your bro-dozer into a 5000-pound luge, without brakes or control”

            Pulling a trailer on slippery roads is only a crapshoot if you don’t know how to drive. Throw it in 4H and drive accordingly. You’ll make it home every time without a scratch. My 4WD Sierra HD weighs closer to 7000 pounds. That’s before I put 4 guys and all their riding gear in it. That’s the other beauty of 4WD. The extra weight (especially over the front wheels) makes them inherently better tow vehicles than their 2WD counter parts.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I want to pose, but I have so little need for 4WD that I’d get 2WD and spend the savings on additional posing materials like contrast-stitching seat and smoked chrome polish.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    I’ll never understand this negative attitude of those who gripe about whether someone really ‘needs’ a truck or not. It’s like they’re personally offended that someone who has little intention of fully exercising said truck would have the nerve to buy one. Well, no one ‘needs’ a luxury car either but people buy them because they want them, for their own personal reasons. Same goes for trucks.

    For the record my wife traded her spotless 2013 F-150 FX4 for a new Macan so she could pose in an entirely different way.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      You can buy what you want.

      Just as I can laugh at fools with more money than sense, all I want.

      I do, however, take real offense at the NOISE those miserable POSs make…that, and the real cretins who put crap on those trucks to “roll coal.” That last ought to be a crime warranting arrest.

      Over-reaction? Not to someone on a motorcycle, caught in that filthy slip-stream…

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Robbie,
        Maybe the people who are offended by those who purchase a 15 mpg truck to haul 8.500 pounds of air lost a child serving in Iraq to guarantee the oil supply?

      • 0 avatar
        55_wrench

        JPT,
        Agreed, nothing sounds worse than a Cummins with straight pipes. There’s a bunch of them around here.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Now we are whining about rollin’coal Bro-dozers. The original conversation was about 4×4 versus 4×2.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “Just as I can laugh at fools with more money than sense, all I want.’

        Reading through your comments I think it’s obvious who the fool is. But that’s OK, you just keep telling yourself how much smarter you are than everyone else if that helps you get through your day!…..LOL

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Yeah, I know. What’s 40 years of driving in snow, with and without 4wd but mostly without…what’s that against the manly-man bull sessions with your bro-dozer buddies?

          Seen that bumper sticker?

          “NICE TRUCK. Sorry about your penis.”

          If you need to compensate, that’s fine. I’ve seen what jag-offs do when they overdrive SUVs on the road to the Eisenhower Tunnel; and I’ve seen what a lowly rear-axle-drive dump truck, with two tons of gravel in the back, can do pushing snow.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Yeah, I know. What’s 40 years of driving in snow, with and without 4wd but mostly without…what’s that against the manly-man bull sessions with your bro-dozer buddies?”

            I got close to 40 years of driving in the snow too with both 2WD and 4WD vehicles. I’ll bet I have 10X the miles you do driving on crappy winter roads pulling a trailer. As soon as you made the BS comment that a 4WD vehicle uses 30% more fuel than a 2WD you lost all credibility with me.

            Your happy with your 2WD truck, good for you! Don’t call other people fools because their choices don’t align or aren’t the same as yours. Life’s too short to spend it being jealous about what other people can afford to drive. You sound old enough, you should have figured that out by now.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Although JPT and I have different opinions on what to spend money on he’s right with this one.

      I’ll buy my Mojave Sand Ram Rebel, he’ll laugh at me, I won’t care, and life goes on for both of us.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    How much oil do we get from Iraq, slick?

    Maybe you ought to stick to cars here…and leave politics to the grownups. You can have your SJW strategy sessions in your Safe Space…it’s so much easier to think when you’re doodling with coloring books that’re kept there…

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Ha, that closer.

    Like a fellow Jew famously rapped,

    “I like my [women] BBW”

    Don’t we all, Aubrey.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    Haha good story. I think everyone has someone in the family like this kid.

    For me it was my cousin who just could not turn away from that 2003 civic si…i still shake my head thinking about the drama of him doing anything it took to get that car.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    Can we go back to the waitress please?

    I thought we almost had a Penthouse Forum letter going on.

  • avatar
    Paul Alexander

    Jack, this was fucking incredible. I honestly don’t believe there’s a better American writer out there at the moment.

  • avatar

    ““When,” Mr. Jones asked, cocking his head at me in the universal body language of men who are conspiring to conspire, “will that check be deposited?””

    To say that’s great writing doesn’t do the insightful commentary on human nature justice.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    The story was great and well told .
    .
    the comments kinda wandered off the map .
    .
    More Dealer/Shop Stories please…..
    .
    -Nate
    (who lives in the Sun Belt and loves his cheap and tiny 2WD 1969 Chevy shortie stepper W/ i6 & TH350 slushbox just fine thankyouverymuch)

  • avatar
    USAFMech

    I think Jack saved some his best stuff for after Bark left just to show Mark there’s not another writer on TTAC worthy to lick the tip of his Bic.

    Give ’em Hell, Baruths. Or, just give them the truth and they’ll think it’s Hell.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Really ;
    .
    Snow driving methinks should be an entirely separate thread/article .
    .
    I grew up in New England so plenty of snow .
    .
    We never had any problems with a wide variety of 2WD vehicles from a 1937 Bentley St. James Coupe to Mom’s Toyotas and Capris, no one *ever* crashed/slid into the ditch and this amazed me as I made a point of not driving in it and left in the fall of 1970 when Bias-Ply tires were still the norm .
    .
    Those who actually _KNOW_ how to drive in it (all my Family members and Friends Down East) zip right along and don’t have any troubles stopping when they reach the toll booth or the Dairy with a fresh pickup truck load of Milk .
    .
    Me, I tried snow diving off and on after moving to California and I SUCK at it so I’m one of those asshole plodders in the far right lane going 15 ~ 20 MPH on the rare occasion I get caught in it or am forced to drive in it .
    .
    Instead of mindless braggadocio I bet many here (me anyway) could gain some useful lessons/knowledge from those who drive in it regularly, esp. those who don’t have garages and the $ to have a spare set of winter wheels/tires set aside….
    .
    Just a thought .
    .
    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Old V8-powered RWD cars and trucks on poor tires were a common form of transportation for students when I was in high school. You can certainly get around and have a lot of fun doing so in those, and I think they make good teachers for the dynamics of winter driving. But once you get used to having 4WD/AWD or even just FWD and winter tires it becomes frustrating trying to function in traffic as the slowest vehicle on the road. I’ve simply driven around RWD pickups on a couple of occasions when they were barely able to move from the stop line after the light turned green. I was already well past them before even clearing the intersection, with nothing more than FWD and good tires.

      I learned how to drive on a Wagoneer so I always had the options of sideways RWD fun or fast and efficient acceleration at my command. In a time when 4WD/AWD was rare, that thing was like a sports car during winter. Even RWD got you along pretty good because it had much better balance than most cars and trucks.

      My buddy had a transmission swap done on his ’99 Pathfinder this winter. When he dropped it off at the end of the day, one of the mechanics gave him a ride home. The guy had recently moved here to Saskatchewan from Ontario and had a RWD pickup on mediocre tires. It was barely capable of acceleration and the guy was clearly embarrassed because he was getting quite angry, swearing and ranting about how our roads aren’t cleared and salted. That stuff just doesn’t work at these temperatures. My buddy told him to take the studded winter tire equipped Pathfinder for a drive in 4WD after the swap and see how much fun these roads can be with the right equipment.

      The only winter driving advice I can offer is to be cautious around other vehicles and to play and experiment with the limits as much as possible when the roads are clear. That second part comes a lot more naturally to a teenager!

      I did one write-up on deep snow driving, but that’s mostly about avoiding being stuck. Snow itself is easy because it wants to slow you down. The ice is the part that can get dangerous in a hurry if you don’t have appropriate tires and/or judgement.

      http://www.skstuds.ca/2015/10/14/how-to-drive-in-deep-snow/

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I forgot to include a Dealer story so here’s a flip to the ‘deep pockets’ angle :
    .
    Milne Bros. Jeep in about 1976 .
    .
    Some cocaine cowboy brought in his big dick Corvette with all manner of up grades a freshly done souped up V8 engine, talked to the owner and took him for a wild ride, got top Dollar trade value and chose a sparkling new Jeep, signed the documents and said ‘ I’ll be back first thing to – morrow morning ‘, hands shaken, smiles all ’round from suit wearing assholes on both sides…..
    .
    The next morning the ‘Vette was there bright and shiny but when they went to fire it up it chugged and smoked .
    .
    They’d swapped in some old POC worn out engine and skipped, laughing all the way no doubt .
    .
    Over the years I’ve seen many crooked engine swaps from both sides and the thing that always gets me is : NO EFFORT is -ever- made to tune it to run properly nor fill it with fresh oil etc….
    .
    Stupid is as stupid does .
    .
    When I was building used cars for re sale, almost every one had the engine yanked and re sealed then cleaned and painted , re installed with a fresh LOF and tuned up to the Nth degree .
    .
    I’d have Customers ask me ” ? is this a rebuilt engine ?” .
    .
    ‘No, it’s just an old used car please have your mechanic check it out before buying’ .
    .
    Not only did I never get one back, I had people thanking me five ~ ten years later .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    What… that check tactic doesn’t make any sense. Why did you need a replacement check?

    It sounds like you damaged the MICR line enough to keep it from being read by the scanner at the bank. And then 9 days later he brought a replacement check.

    Back in mid 1990’s that damaged check would have been manually processed later that day, or worse case, the next day. The bank would have placed the bad check in an envelope and printed a replacement MICR line on the envelope so that the check would find its way home. Or a replacement strip would be glued to the bottom of the check.

    Since the late 1990’s, the MICR line is obsolete. Checks are now photographed, OCR scanner, and destroyed. The OCR converts the printed check in an electronic transaction that is processed the same day.

    That delay tactic may have worked back in the 70’s, perhaps the 80’s. But I would think that for a big ticket item like this it would have gotten a lot of attention.

    Any why would the dealership even have accepted a personal check from someone with lousy credit and let them drive off the lot with inventory? Wouldn’t they have demanded a bank check, or money order? Something that he would have had to purchase prior to presenting it to the dealership?

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