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refuge

A crazy weekend from the perspective of Gambler 2 (Refuge/Butcher)

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I posted this up on facebook, so it's not written with the usual shortcuts I would take when talking to airsofters.
 
So let me tell you about my memorial day weekend.  Our airsoft team is generally centered around the use of vehicles.  In preparation for this, we had decided, several months in advance, to swap the motor on our group 1978 Dodge Powerwagon (named Miss Matched) from a carbureted Chrysler 318, to a modern Chrysler EFI Magnum 360 from a 1997 Dodge RAM.  we started work roughly 3 months before the event.  The event check-in for vehicles was Friday, starting at noon.  We planned to leave Thursday to get down there, and have all day friday to do whatever we needed.
 
Saturday and Sunday (A week before the event), we worked all day on the powerwagon, getting all of the electrical sorted out.  Though we had listened to the motor run, and watched it start with relative ease when we bought it, we had never had it run inside the actual truck up to this point.  Saturday we finally had everything to the point where we could at least test fire it (Motor mounted, and attached to transmission, wiring hooked up, exhaust.. mostly in place).  Finally, we hooked up the battery, and turned the key.  The requisite 'click' of the solenoid could be heard.... And nothing else.  The motor didn't even try to turn.  A quick diagnostic showed us the starter was toasted.  Solenoid wasn't extending the gear out properly. Fine. Sunday we hit the yards for a 'new' starter, as well as some O2 sensors and bungs to get the exhaust finalized.  head back to the truck, and get those things in place.  Attempt #2 to start.  Engine cranks, but won't run.  Diag 1 finds us no fuel.  testing of relays shows fuel pump works fine.  Diag 2 shows no spark also.  This leads us to believe the Crank Positioning Sensor may be bad.  Transmission bell housing had to be modified to fit the CPS previously.  As it turns out, we did not do this properly, and we crunched the sensor between the motor and transmission.  Do what we can for the night, and button up.  Monday we get a CPS sensor from the junkyard.  Good news is: cheap part, and this one works.  Bad news is, we have to remove the engine, and re-modify the transmission to take it.  We remove all transmission bolts, remove mounts, and hoist the motor out of the way.  We grind the spot for the sensor out, and test the fit of the sensor.  Get everything right, and button everything back up. (At this point, it still has open header only for exhaust).  a quick attempt at a test fire, and it turns over and fires up. We quickly shut it off before it truly starts to run, because it is now 1am.  We pack up everything, and head home.  Tuesday is spent buttoning every little thing we can, finishing exhaust, and verifying everything else.  running at idle shows a coolant leak from the cap.  New cap fixes the problem (Thankfully).  Miss Matched is as ready as she is going to get.  At this point, most of us are getting about 4 hours of sleep a night, myself included  
 
Wednesday, John (Shadow) goes to get the rental truck for towing the Powerwagon down to Wyandotte.  Gets a flat tire.  I spend most of the night working on getting my (Required for OP) CB radio and antenna installed in my truck.  
 
Thursday is spent running around, and getting as much stuff ready as I can.  Get to bed around 2am.  I get back up at 7am
 
Friday we get everything loaded in the AM, and head out.  About the time we hit Rolla, MO (A cursed place for us) my truck, Dante/The Warpig (1987 Toyota Pickup) decides it wants a nap.  Some quick troubleshooting on the side of the road, and we think it's an ignition problem.  Seems like the ignitor chip is potentially dead.  make a deal with a friend in STL to get me a 'new' one out to me in Rolla that night.  In the meantime, I try a $30 hack using a GM ignitor and coil.  No joy.  A little more diagnosis finds that the distributor isn't spinning at all. take off the valve cover, and the cams aren't turning either.   a quick pull on the chain shows why:  Timing chain has snapped.  Right at this moment, a random passerby in another Toyota Pickup drives by, and offers to help.  he's off to help a friend of his pull and swap a transmission, and offers up his driveway for some possible triage or weekend storage.  We take him up on the offer, and we remove the trailer from the rental truck, and use the tow strap to get me to his house.  I run to Autozone, and buy: Timing cover gasket, timing chain, water pump gasket, RTV, headgasket, head bolts, all new fluids, timing light, drain pan, oil catch pan.  At this point, it is 4pm.  I get back to the truck, drain oil, drain coolant, remove radiator, remove fan, remove water pump pulley, remove oil pan, remove power steering pump, remove alternator, remove all brackets, crank pulley, water pump, oil pump, timing cover, distributor.  Turns out, most of the timing chain guides bolts worked their way loose, and one bolt came completely out, hit the sprocket, and snapped the chain, causing my failure.  Found the chewed up bolt in the oil pan.  At least we know what the failure was.  I set the crank and cam to Top Dead Center, re-tighten all the guide bolts, and put on the chain. I spend the next several hours re-assembling the entire front end of the motor.  As I hit the end, it is nearly 3am in the morning.  a quick assembly and a test fire shows: we have ignition, and the engine runs.  Thank God!.  Spend another hour actually buttoning up everything up (getting timing correct, tuning carb, testing cooling) we roll back out at 4am, with a 4 hour drive still to go.  This means our arrival will be around 8am, whereas the last check in is at 7am.  we make time as best we can.  Truck is occassionally overheating, but this turns out to be a grounding problem, not actual overheating.  I roll in with my truck around 8:15am.  AMS staff, and our team command has made allowances for us to miss the meetings, and play anyways due to unforseen circumstances.  hot damn!  Something goes our way for a minute!  I'm wiped out, At this point I've not had 8 hours of sleep a night in 3 weeks, and have in fact not had more than 5 hours of sleep in the past ~48 hours.  Set up tent, unpack things from truck, prep truck to go out into the field, hand keys over to another potential driver, and crash out as best I can.  The heat and extreme humidity keeps me from getting any real rest, but it's better than nothing. Wake up about 2 hours later, get dressed, and take my place in the drivers seat of the warpig.  Bad ass day of airsofting ensues.  My PKM overheats the jumper cable, we fix it quickly and move on.  Eventually, the PKM goes down again, and it turns out there was a short in the wiring, and the motor has melted.  Swap it out with the M240B, and move on.  More bad-ass Airsoft continues.
 
Saturday night, just as I'm about to go to sleep, a huge storm comes through, and they pull everyone from the camp to the 'solid' buildings.  Turns out, the storm doesn't hit as they thought, and we all go back to camp.  Then the storm hits, and my paranoia of the rain collapsing my tent keeps me awake all night. Sleep comes in fits.  I get maybe 4 hours of sleep.  
 
Sunday comes around, and I am beat.  My heel is messed up (Has been for months), and I am still exhausted.  trucks are grounded due to mud, and smaller play area (A lot of people wussed out completely because of the storm, and left, causing them to shrink the play area.  I conclude they are weak).  Rest of team heads out on foot, I decided to stay back, and pack everything for our departure.  Just finished packing right before the team comes back from the field.  Team did awesome, sad I missed it, but do not regret it.  We do the raffle thing, finish packing up the rest of the camp, and head out.  
 
On the road, we get to about Stanton, MO, and I see a tire veer off from the trailer, and start following behind.  We hope this is one of the random tires we transported on the trailer, and not a trailer tire.  Our hopes are dashed.  we chase the tire into a field, and drag it back.  Every lug stud in the trailer hub has sheered off, and the wheel came bounding away at ~65 MPH.  Since the trailer can not handle the weight of the powerwagon with only one tire on the side, we have a dilemma: what do we do?  Do we abandon the Powerwagon on the side of the road for the night, and then drive back tomorrow after we can fix the trailer?  Do we drive the powerwagon to a 'safespot', and come back and get it?  abandon the trailer, and tow the powerwagon with the tow strap for 4 hours?  Do we drive the powerwagon from Stanton, MO to St Louis?.  we decided on the last option.  Mike saddles up into the truck, and we head out, hoping and praying that she holds out, or at least that the transmission/transfer case doesn't explode, nor that a tire blows out, as we no longer have a spare tire for it, and these tires are old.  We get on the highway, and everything seems okay.  We keep driving.  A couple stops at gas stations to fill up (no gas gauge for the Powerwagon), and to stretch our legs, and wake up some by walking around.  We hit Cuba, MO.  We are only about 45 miles out, and past out cursed area of Rolla, MO.  We might make it!  We're in the home stretch!  We're Almost there!
 
We're wrong.  
 
3 minutes past the rest stop in Cuba, The Warpig stops again.  Won't stay running.  Barely turns over.  Pull over on the side of the road.  he has no oil.  Oil plug came out of the oil pan some ways back, and I sprayed my truck's life-blood all over the highway (and the Powerwagon).  At this point, we no longer have an option.  we pull the most important things from the back of my truck, All of Sam's gear, my tent, my clothes, my airsoft guns, tools, etc, and load them into the Powerwagon.  I sadle up in the powerwagon, and we abandon my little toyota to the Gods of the highway.  Saddened and demoralized, we drive on.  At this point, Lady luck finally decides we've had enough, and gets us home with no more issues.  Even driving down highway 141 is uneventful as we hit every single stop signal at green, and are passed by a cop.  We pull into our place(s), unpack what we can, and die out.  it is 3am on Monday morning.
 
Monday, I get several phone calls, each waking me from the needed rest I desperately need.  Some from my bank verifying that I had spent random amounts of money in random locations across the state.  Some were spam calls, etc.  I drag out of bed around 10:30-11:00am.  fart around the house, and decide I will have at least one day of success.  Sam and I head out to V-Stock (an awesome geek store) and chesterfield mall, and also have 'breakfast'.  We get back to my place, and I crash out again about an hour, before getting woken up, and John's dad kicks my rear to go rescue the warpig.  (Still so very tempted to let it sit there).  grab the tow bar, and some tools.  Jump in the Tundra, and drive out to Cuba again.  hook up the tow bar, and tow it back home.  once again, it is 1am, and I work tomorrow.  On the side, it turns out that no one is open that has the lug studs for the trailer, as they are all closed for memorial day.  
 
Tuesday, John takes the day off to get the trailer fixed, and goes to a trailer store 3 times to get the studs.  They can't find them.  Finally he makes it to a place we've had work on that trailer before, and manages to get new studs for it, and even mount them in the hub for us. I get home, and buy yet another 5qts of oil, a new drain plug, some Lucas Stabilizer oil, and new spark plugs.  I pull the old sparkplugs out, squirt some Lucas oil into the plug holes, put the remainder in the engine, and then fill him back up with oil.  Then I remove the skid plate, and hand crank the engine over about 30 times.  Then I disconnect the coil, and crank the engine until it builds oil pressure.  I plug the coil back in, and crank him over.  It fights for a few minutes.  Runs for a couple seconds, and dies again.  It takes about 2-3 minutes of cranking, and he fires up and stays running.  Runs smooth, but has an occassional miss (Plugs are likely foiled at this point, and will be replaced).  This is the end of the adventure.  Everything is back home, where it belongs, and back to at least moving under their own power.
 
I have decided that I now understand why people schedule a vacation and just sit at home.

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Often times, I hear players on foot complain about how "over-powered" vehicles are in milsim and airsoft games. Over the years, that has lead to substantial restrictions and handicaps on their use at games. What most non-mechanized players don't realize is that for every minute or two of glory on the field with a vehicle, there is an hour spent covered in grease and dirt working on it, stranded on the side of the road or stuck in the mud, or just staring at the damn thing wondering why it won't work after I spent so much money. 

 

Appreciate the time that guys like this put into them and what they add to the support and welcome them as a challenge to be overcome on the field.

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Thanks Danarchy!  Always glad to hear a positive spin, and appreciation!

And yes, The vehicles definitely a new dynamic to the games, but when set up right, they are far from invincible.  Our team has -always- tried to make our vehicles fair, not just follow the rules.  This is why all of our turret armor has always been front facing only, and always 100% opaque.  We love utilizing the vehicles, but we don't want to be juggernauts, just a force to be reckoned with.  One that makes our team-members happy to see us, and the opposing team step up their game.

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What an harrowing experience... It may have led to a few new grey hairs on my noggin. I love and hate both of those trucks. Being a mechanic for 20+years I know how to do it all.. I just am tired of it all the time. 

When they run.. I smile and have a blast... when they don't Well after all that I still had to smile and laugh because it was like "What else could possibly go wrong?"  After the trailer lugs I was ready to get the welder out and weld the steel spare onto the hub on the side of the highway in the rain because at that point "F IT!"  We make it work and we never quit.

That's what makes me so proud of this team. No matter the odds we always overcome. 

 

I saw some amazing sportsmanship at BH4 and I am proud to have been involved in this game. AFIK not one single warcrime was passed out. Bravo to all. The game needs this level of players.

 

That right there is why I do it.. It's why I work from 4 pm to 1-3 am on these trucks and then 7 am to 3 pm dayjob. I do it because I love this game and I love the cheers we get when we roll in to give vital support to our brothers. Nothing feels more awesome than to get a call over the tacnet for the gamblers.

 

 
I have been playing for 10 years now I hit a low spot with all the cheating and poor sportsmanship that cause me to all but quit.. I would only attend bigger ops, never open play. And I hated that... I am so happy to see the game on an upswing. It helps that the COD kids are quitting and leaving it to the seasoned players and new players that are serious about the game and not chalking up a kill to death ratio.
 
 
I can't wait for copperhead! 
 
SQL Shadow out.

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