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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,281

    Default Quick report on a speed run over Thanksgiving

    My husband and I just got back yesterday evening from a quick trip to Denver suburbs and back. The purpose was a visit to our daughter and her family. When we were deciding about whether to go and how to get there, we did the Math and decided that driving was the better option. Bear in mind we are seasoned, experienced road trippers, share the driving (and the passenger seat look-out), and choose our stops beforehand.

    DAY 1 - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23 - Home to Gallup, NM - 666 miles, 12 hours (plus an extra clock hour for that time zone change)

    We were up long before dawn (something we are used to), loaded our truck, and off we went heading east. Our route of choice for the outbound was I-8 to AZ-85 to I-10 east to Loop 303/Phoenix to I-17 north to I-40 east. We ate breakfast in Yuma, stopped for windshield wiper fluid that doesn't freeze in Gila Bend, got fuel in Buckeye, and went all the way into Gallup on that tank of fuel. We'd decided on Gallup as an overnight because the halfway point didn't have a motel available. Our choice was to go a little further on the first day.

    As an aside, much of California will not allow the sale, or the shipment into the state, of windshield wiper fluid that will not freeze. So we went around that law by buying a gallon in Gila Bend, then another gallon when we got to our furthest destination.

    Biggest issue on that leg of the trip was the construction going on at the AZ/NM state line. It slowed us down so much that we lost between 20 and 30 minutes. It was also frustrating since we were ready to get in for the night!

    Our overnight in Gallup was a simple Econo Lodge. We also ate dinner there in Gallup, and got fuel for the next day's journey.

    DAY 2 - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24 - Gallup NM to Aurora, CO - 591 miles, 9-3/4 hours

    We were a bit nervous about the truck that morning. It's a diesel, and it's a well-known fact that diesels don't like cold. It hesitated, but finally fired up. Temperatures were in the teens! No snow or ice was anywhere near, but it was cold. We'd already found out where there was an electrical receptacle for plugging in the engine block heater (just in case), and parked the truck accordingly. But we were much relieved when we were not delayed by cold.

    Stopped for breakfast in Grants (motel breakfasts are never interesting to us), then headed further east. Same hill in ABQ gave us the same reaction it did back in summer 2018: the truck does not like antennae in great amounts so close to the freeway. When we turned north on I-25, we talked at length about rerouting ourselves for the way home.

    Arrived at our daughter's place and were greeted enthusiastically by her and both grandboys.

    DAY 3 to DAY 7 - JUST VISITING

    I have to add that it snowed while we were there. We helped shovel, we borrowed a long-handled snow brush to get 8" of snow off the truck (we only had a short handled one), we scraped windshields. Yes, we do have jackets and gear good for wearing, except boots. Our hiking boots were good, except that the snow came up and into the boots at the ankles -- too short for snow.

    DAY 8 - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 - Aurora CO to Deming NM - 679 miles, 11 hrs 19 min

    This was a LONG day, longest we've done in years, and one I don't recommend unless you cannot help it. We went straight down I-25 to NM-26, which lets you off on I-10 at Deming. We stopped for breakfast in Pueblo, and fuel in Las Vegas, NM. We battled a wind from the west most of the day, sometimes (in the prairie areas of southern CO) gusty ones. We saw a guy whose trailer had flipped on its side. The highway had warnings on it for high profile and lightweight vehicles. Fortunately ours didn't qualify under either, but we did feel that wind. Snow? Only on the fields and sides of the hills, mostly not on the road. Occasionally some would blow across, but nothing major. Even at the top of Raton Pass, the snow was elsewhere.

    We chose to go this route because of the antennae issue, but also the weather forecast. After feeling that wind all day, we were so glad that we weren't going to battle it as a headwind by aiming west on I-40.

    We got to Deming and had reservations at the Comfort Inn there -- complete with a pool and hot tub. We ate dinner then took a good soak in that hot tub. It was still cold down there, though not like up in CO.

    DAY 9 - SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1 - Deming NM to Home - 630 miles, 10-1/2 hours

    Easiest drive of the 4 days! Took off in the morning, had breakfast elsewhere and not at the motel, had already fueled up the night before. Next fuel up was in Yuma, believe it or not!

    The worst traffic of the four days was this one, though. Traffic started to get heavy after Yuma with all the "sand fleas" going home from the Imperial Sand Dunes after the long week/end. Going up into the mountains we were actually on the brakes as one RV'er tried to overtake a truck while going uphill. After the Border Patrol checkpoint, traffic was thick and we started the stop-and-go at Alpine. We crawled from Alpine to Lake Jennings exit in Lakeside -- ordinarily a 10 minute drive, took about 30 minutes. Even getting off there wasn't easy, as folks wanted to make a right at the end of the off-ramp into the left-turn lane, which was constantly blocked. Took us an hour and 15 minutes to make a 45 minute trip from Alpine, home.

    It was good to see home.



    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 12-02-2019 at 09:22 PM. Reason: corrected punctuation

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    363

    Default What's up with the antennas?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    the truck does not like antennae in great amounts so close to the freeway.
    Hi, Donna

    Kudos for a smooth trip and a nice report! But you've piqued my curiosity: what exactly happens to your truck when you pass by large clusters of antennas? And what sort of antennas? Cell towers? Microwave relays? You probably explained the issue in a previous post, but I must have missed it.

    Rick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,316

    Default Curious Minds Want the Details!

    Yes, I don't remember this reference either.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,793

    Default

    They get RF interference somewhere in the truck's electronics that nobody has been able to pin down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,281

    Default

    GLC is correct. We discovered this back in 2014 when we were in Bismarck, ND, and at a hotel which was right underneath an array of antennae, mostly of the radio variety. The truck will buck and snort, acting like it can't get enough fuel. This happened again in Albuquerque, where there is the same type of array, and on another occasion near Black Eagle, MT where there was a big array, and has happened in a couple of other places where there was only one or two. The guys in Bismarck couldn't get a reading on what was being bothered. We have tried taking it past all sorts of antennae in California, but none will bother it, so we can't take our regular mechanic around with a computer, or a Ford specialist, to figure it out.

    I've been on a couple of Ford Diesel forums and this is a puzzlement to all of them, too. We don't know what else to do except to try to avoid driving past those.

    Cell towers don't usually bother it. Once in a while, a cell tower might be doing double duty and we'll get a little bit of shaking. But usually, we pass by cell towers with no issues.

    I don't know if this Google Map link will work, but it shows the towers that gave us issues. One tower was a cell tower -- we didn't blame it -- another one or two were the prime suspects:
    Try this link to the Albuquerque array.

    This one bothered us in Black Eagle, MT.

    A different angle of the ones in Black Eagle, MT. (Thank heavens for Google Maps Street Views. I never think to snap a photo when this happens, because it happens so fast!)

    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 12-03-2019 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Added a link to a hopeful photo or two

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,316

    Default an internal LAN and it is disrupting that.

    Hmmm, that is interesting. Those are not cell phone towers, there is microwave and shortwave and looks like police bands in the 154.000 range.

    Years ago, I had a problem with a police band/repeater on NV-160 -- it would turn on our CB radio when the dial was set to off.

    So the electronic brain in your vehicle must have an internal LAN and it is disrupting that.

    Very interesting.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,281

    Default

    We got to wondering why we never have this problem anywhere near home. We purposely drove the truck down to Clairemont Mesa, where there are ground-level antennae out the ying-yang, to see if any of those would be an issue. One set was by the police station, others by radio stations and one near a car dealer. NOTHING happened, truck behaved. It may be that California regulations prohibit certain amounts of frequency or something.

    Thanks for clarifying the types of antennae. That's why I went on a Google Maps search.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    363

    Default Remember the Wolfman?

    The towers in Albuquerque look to be radio broadcast antennas (IMHO). I wonder if sparsely populated states like New Mexico and Montana allow higher wattage radio transmissions--which would increase their range? Most of us old timers remember Wolfman Jack, who used to broadcast on radio station XERB out of Del Rio, Texas. That station put out a whopping 50,000 watt signal that could be picked up in about half of the continental US (especially at night). That was entirely contrary to FCC regulations, so their huge antenna was in Ciudad Acuna, just over the border in Mexico. That enormously powerful radio signal (long-since outlawed even in Mexico) caused all sorts of unintended things to happen. Folks in Del Rio didn't even need a radio to listen to the Wolfman. You could put your ear up close to a barbed wire fence and you'd hear the music, so just imagine what it would do to modern electronics!

    Anyway, I wonder if a radio signal, just a bit more powerful than the modern-day norm, could be affecting the electronics in your truck?

    Rick

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,793

    Default

    I think it's defective shielding somewhere in the truck. Trying to nail that down is very difficult.

    A 20 yer old diesel has a lot less electronics than a modern gas engine, but after 20 years, deterioration is very possible. I do remember way back in the 80's, I had a car that I installed an aftermarket cruise control in. I also had a CB radio, and when I keyed the radio up, the cruise would kick off.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    344

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    I think it's defective shielding somewhere in the truck. Trying to nail that down is very difficult.

    I also had a CB radio, and when I keyed the radio up, the cruise would kick off.
    My wife had a company car (Ford I think) about 1978. If it was in cruise control when I transmitted on my 2 meter ham radio the cruise control would go to maximum accelerate.

    RF interference can be tricky but I'd expect that the problem doesn't happen in CA because the towers you are near are not transmitting on the same frequencies as the ones that give you trouble. If the trouble is continuous I'd look at AM or FM broadcast or whether there is a trunked public service radio on the tower. Trunked systems have a continuously transmitting "control channel" Older public service (and many other) systems that only transmit intermittently wouldn't give you a continous problem.

    An electronics guy with a signal generator might be able to duplicate the issue once all the freqs in the trouble zone and the engine bus frequencies were figured out.

    Asking the manufacturer *might* discover some kind of cure since you likely aren't the only ones having this issue. But you'd have to specify engineering help since dealership mechanics don't the the time or skills to figure it out. (They'll just blame you)

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