As you may have read, our first travel day of our new journey was plagued with traffic, rain, construction and engine noise. All but the latter was normal and expected going around — way around — Chicago. However, the knocking noise coming from the engine was very unnerving and raised a lot of questions, such as, What the hell is that noise?, and, Is it going to be expensive?, and, Would the Yukon get us through our trip? It was adding to the slowly compounding stress of the ongoing traffic, rain and construction.

If you did read about our travelling from Michigan to Wisconsin, you know how it all started. The plan upon arrival was to get settled in and check out our new destination over the weekend. On that Saturday, I took a trip to the store without event. I could barley hear the noise that I heard on travel day. Sunday was a different story. Liza took it on an early morning doughnut run with similar results. It wasn’t until she left to run to the farmer’s market later that day that she noticed it how loud the noise had become. She turned around right away.

Up went the hood for an unofficial inspection from someone — me — who knows very little about automobile engines. There was some fluid, grease and dirt in various parts of the engine, but no smoking gun. Time to call an original grease monkey for some Sunday Car Talk; I called my dad to talk it over. Maybe an on-air diagnosis could help determine our next step.

Even before calling, I expected that my call to my dad was going to be like when I get tech support calls for anything plugged into a wall socket: Folks assume that I can fix anything electronic because I work with computers. My father is a seasoned old school auto-mechanic with a degree to prove it, so he should be able to tell what the cause of the sound was over a mobile phone with an unstable connection, right? Sure.

After a few minutes of catching up and a light roasting of one another, I told him we were having an issue with our truck. I explained what I saw and described the sound as best I could and even put the phone near the engine. What a genius idea that was. Anyway, I proceeded to move the phone around, while Liza revved the engine, hoping that the sound waves from the engine would make their way through the air waves to the expert sitting on his Florida lanai, who would know just what was going on. This was more of a spectacle than a serious examination, I assure you. He shared some ideas on what it could be with a huge disclaimer about not being there to actually look at it properly. The best thing to come of it was a great talk with my Dad. So the next step was to take it to a shop first thing Monday morning.

As it was Monday morning and I had no appointment, I wanted to arrive really early at East-Side Automotive in Stoughton. That’s the shop Liza spotted sometime after we rolled into town. It’s a nice looking shop with a lot full of cars and trucks. I popped in to see if they could listen to the noise before letting them keep it to determine whether it would be a large or small job, a today or later-in-the-week kind of thing. Troy happily came out and brought a stethoscope-looking utility and plugged into multiple items within the engine compartment. After continued plugging here and there, while revving the throttle, he gave his initial diagnosis: “Sounds like the A/C belt assembly. That’s minor and we should have you fixed-up by the end of the afternoon for around $180.00.” That sounded good to me. We went inside and Eldon booked the Yukon for a day at the spa.

It had been raining since we arrived in Stoughton and today was no exception. They offered me a ride downtown to a local coffee shop so I could get some work done. Eldon was happy to chauffeur my talents to the Koffee Kup, a local diner. It ended up being packed and a lively little gem. I loved it and will return.

A confirmation call came in mid-afternoon about the work needing to be done. Eldon said it would be $160 to replace the A/C belt assembly and asked for my approval. I was happy to hear that and promptly agreed. They called back an hour later and let me know the Yukon was back in tip-top shape. I decided to walk the nine-tenths of a mile back to the shop, since the rain had let up. I grabbed a sandwich from across the street and hiked to the shop. We got it fixed and now we’re road ready again. Thank you, Troy and Eldon for your knowledge and friendly service.

This was an unexpected situation and I know it isn’t the last. It threw our schedule off a bit, and now our minds are more at ease after a minor A/C Belt Tensioner Assembly repair. Although finances are often a concern, it was not expensive. Furthermore, they guys at the shop felt that our vehicle is in great condition for our roadtrip. Thank goodness.


Scot Rumery

Pressing all the words from the WordCamper while traveling around North America with my wife and daughter. Founder of Rumspeed.

2 comments on “The Fix for the Strange Engine Noise

  1. Oh the things you will see and do! Loving the blogs from both of you. Would really enjoy Luna’s perspective!!
    Happy Trails….Bill & Judy✌️

  2. Thank you, Bill and Judy. We are on a wild ride for sure and we’re just getting started. We worked in a slideshow of photos Luna took on the Sheldon Marsh hike. Other than that, we have our Parting Shots section included on all destination posts, where each one has a quote from Luna. It’s not much yet but we feel we’re still catching up. We’re not exactly in the groove just yet but we’re getting there.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *