Earlier today I got an email from my bank telling me that the USPS had returned my rent check as undeliverable. Now, this is the same USPS that's been delivering my rent check for over half a year without a problem, so I'm mystified. The bank tells me they tried to call the leasing office to confirm the address, but they couldn't reach anyone at the 1-800 number. Sadly, the leasing office doesn't have a 1-800 number, and the bank couldn't provide an explanation for where they came up with the one they were calling, as it wasn't the number I provided for the leasing office when I setup the automatic payments.
So now I'm officially "in arrears" with the leasing agency. My father was a collections attorney, so if there's one thing in this world that strikes mortal fear into me, it's being in arrears to someone. Shortly after I got the bank's email I walked over to the leasing office with a copy of the email and my checkbook in hand. "No, we're very sorry, but you're in arrears, sir. We cannot accept a personal check from you, and we cannot waive the late fee. You must now pay by money order or cashier's check, and there's a $30 late fee. But, you should check with your bank because they may cover the late fee if it turns out to be a banking error."
So now I have to go to Walmart and buy a money order. But, since I'm out and about, I decide to swing by Summit Racing to pick up some Redline differential fluid for my truck. See, a few months ago I had the dealer replace the diff covers with stiffer, oversized aluminum ones from Nitro Gear & Axle. The extra rigidity and capacity are always nice, but most importantly they have easy to access drain and fill ports which the OEM covers lacked entirely. The ports make fluid changes a snap1, and with the amount of offroading I like to do I need to change the fluid every year or two. ("Lifetime" fluids are for suckers!)
When the dealer did the work, they called me to confirm that they should add Ford's friction modifier to the rear for my limited slip diff. Without really thinking about it, I said "yes." It turns out that Redline is slippery enough by itself that it usually doesn't need any additional friction modifier. I later emailed Redline about it, and they said it wouldn't do any harm to have the additional friction modifier in there, but that the rear end might not lock up like it should. I decided to play it by ear and see how it performed.
Fast forward to last weekend when California had one of its first good rains of the winter season. I was in Sacramento for the NCPPRC's monthly rifle rifle shoot, and every time I'd try to start from a dead stop I was spinning the rear wheel on that wet pavement like a hooligan. Now, it was some enjoyable (albeit juvenile) fun for a bit, but it simply wouldn't do long term—especially since I plan to spend a good amount of time in the snowing/icy mountains around Lake Tahoe this winter. So, I needed to dump $60 worth of virtually new fluid and replace it, this time without adding any friction modifier.
The folks at the Big O Tires a couple blocks from me have been great at servicing my truck, so after I left Summit Racing I headed there to have them change the rear diff fluid. This Big O is owned by a guy who's competed (and won!) multiple times in the Baja 1000, and they guys that work there are pretty cool and knowledgeable, so even though I hate having someone else do work on my truck that I could do myself, these guys have been great so far. (The drawback of living in an apartment is that I can't work on my truck very easily.)
I tell the guys what I need done, and they say no problem. After I get comfortable in the waiting area the tech comes out and asks me to follow him into the service bay. He points out where the RTV on the rear diff cover is leaking, and asks if I want to do anything about it now. Heck yeah! So I ask them to pull the cover and create a new gasket.
An hour goes by, and the front desk guy comes back to the waiting area to tell my my truck's ready to go. I pay, and as I start walking out the front where they've pulled the truck around to, another employee asks if there's a reset procedure that needs to be done after the truck is put up on a lift. Huh?
It turns out that the truck is throwing a "hill descent control" error, an "AdvanceTrac" error, and an ABS error. Gah! No, sorry, that's not normal. They hook my truck up to a scanner and get an error code from the passenger rear ABS sensor. It turns out that the cable from that sensor routes up and over the rear diff, and the tech accidentally pinched that cable when re-installing the diff cover. Now the truck needs a new ABS sensor at that corner.
They order a new one from the local parts store and have it couriered over. That takes about an hour, so I sit and watch Fox News some more in the waiting room. Unfortunately, the part that is sent over is the wrong part and it doesn't fit. It turns out the parts store doesn't have the right part in stock, but they can have it by Tuesday morning. So, I'm stuck without ABS (and dealing with multiple flashing warnings on the dash) until Tuesday morning when I'll take my truck back in to get the new sensor installed.
I'm not mad at the guys at Big O. Sometimes mistakes happen, and they're doing a reasonable job of fixing their fuck-up. They've been very apologetic, so I'm being understanding. But, damn! What a day.
(1) Without those drain and fill ports you have to remove the entire diff cover to change the fluid. When you do that you break the seal of the RTV gasket, so you have to scrape the mating surfaces clean of all the old RTV and apply new RTV to create a new gasket. Then you have to wait a while for the RTV to setup before you refill the diff. It's a PITA for folks who actually maintain their trucks so that they'll last longer than the warranty, which is why aftermarket diff covers with drain and fill ports are pretty popular accessories.