EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 1, 2014

Mechanic goes above, beyond

After receiving many thousand letters and messages, I hoped it might be appropriate to republish my all-time favorite column from almost 20 years back. It’s nice to think that there are some great folks out there to help when you’re in need:

Question: While vacationing this year in my 1982 Tioga motor home, the belt that drives the smog pump, alternator and water pump failed. The engine overheated, causing one of the cylinder heads to crack. About 9 p.m., I was towed to Larry Keesler’s Auto Service in Hot Springs, S.D.

Mr. Keesler said there was nothing he could do until morning, so he hooked me up to his 110 volt power supply and water for the night. Because neither my wife nor I had eaten dinner, Mr. Keesler lent us his 1973 low-mileage Corvette to drive the three miles into town to a restaurant for dinner.

The next day he ordered a used cylinder head from a local salvage yard. Unfortunately, the head that was delivered was the wrong one. Sooo, he called Rapid City, S.D., and tracked down the correct head. The next day his wife went to pick it up (60 miles each way). Because it was taking so long for the repairs (now the first day), he lent us the Corvette again for the duration. While he had the Tioga, we toured Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park and Rapid City in the Corvette.

On the third day, he finished the repairs. But, leaving town that evening, while going uphill, the motor home lost power, so we took it back. The problem turned out to be a broken spring deep in the bowels of the carburetor. So while his son and daughter-in-law fed us a chicken dinner, he rebuilt the carburetor — at no extra charge.

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