Broken drive shaft
Around 8 p.m., my phone rang. It was Ginnie. “My car’s making a bad thumping noise,” she said. “I’m pulled over at the Hy-Vee parking lot. I’m afraid to drive it.”
“I’ll be right there,” I told her. I grabbed a flashlight, threw on a coat, and headed out. Sure enough, I could see Ginnie’s little Nissan Rogue sitting in the entrance to the Hy-Vee parking lot, like Little Red Riding Hood.
I pulled in behind her and turned on the four-way flashers. I checked under the hood of Ginnie’s car, but could see nothing wrong. So, I got in and started her up. There wasn’t any noise. I dropped it in gear, still nothing. As soon as I hit the gas, I heard an awful thumping noise.
“My guess,” I told Ginnie, “is you have a bad front drive shaft, or the CVC joint has gone out.”
I looked at the mileage on her car—122,000. “Yep, those front drives will go out on you. You get in my car, and follow. I’ll try to drive to Brad Holtkamp’s.”
It was about a mile to Brad’s. I limped along at five miles per hour. Any faster, and there was a terrible thumping and vibration. Nissan Rogues are all-wheel drive. I made it to Brad Holtkamp’s and attempted to park. All heck seemed to break loose.
It sounded like the car was dragging something. I shut the car off and looked under it with the flashlight. I could see nothing amiss. The front drive axles looked okay, and the rear drive shaft seemed to be in place. We left the key in Brad’s night-deposit and headed home. Ginnie could drive my car to work in Ottumwa the next morning. I would call Brad at 8 a.m.
Turns out, the rear drive shaft had broken. I’m not kidding. It was wedged up between the floorboard and the transmission. I had made it to Brad’s on the front-wheel drive. Rear drive shafts are not supposed to break. It’s an anomaly.
The long and short of it is that Brad found a used rear drive shaft and had Ginnie’s car back on the road in two days. He’d estimated a week.
Everything happens for a reason. Signs abound—you just have to be in-tune to them. Ginnie’s right hip is killing her. She probably needs a hip replacement. There are a lot of similarities between a hip joint and a universal joint—they both swivel. Both Ginnie and the Rogue have a lot of miles on them (smiley face). Add to that the fact that the hour commute to Ottumwa every day, in that sitting position, is probably not good for her hip, and the handwriting is on the wall. Ginnie needs to cut back on her hours at work, if not retire altogether. The Nissan Rogue may have been trying to tell us something.
If there’s a bright spot to any of this, the drive shaft didn’t break out on the highway at 70 miles per hour on Ginnie’s daily commute from Mt. Pleasant to Ottumwa. This could have been a lot worse. Plus, Brad let me keep the broken drive shaft. I use them for necks on sea monsters that I build. The u-joints make great swivels for oil-pan heads. Ginnie can point at this one as she drives by and say, “That drive shaft came out of my car.” A piece of art is only as good as its story.
I wonder if the surgeon will let Ginnie keep her old hip?
Have a good story? Call or text Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find him on Facebook. Swarm’s stories are read at 106.3 FM in Farmington.