I was 25 miles from my destination, with a delivery appointment two hours away.
I hit the 4-ways, made a quick right turn back toward the repair shop, and revved the engine, hoping to keep enough air in the tanks to get the 100 yards back to the shop before the spring brakes locked up.
Short story, I made it, although I had to set the supply valve one time, halfway there, to build air back up.
I called my dispatch to alert them to a possible late delivery, called our shop to start a job order, and went into the service bay at Loves.
I described the problem to the service guy. He said "Sounds like a blown brake chamber."
Now, I've blown brake chambers before, and they didn't act, sound or feel like this, but I'm not a mechanic...
So I said: "Feels more like something in the dash to me"
He smiled, and replied, "Yeah, brake chambers do that, they blow all the time, and frankly, there's nothing in your dash that would do what you described."
Having watched while a mechanic replaced the brake valves in my dash before, I knew better, but after all, I'm not a mechanic.
I said, " My gut tells me it's not a brake chamber, now, my gut has been wrong before, but my gut has been driving trucks for 30 years, so..."
He said, as soon as he had a minute he'd take a look at it.
I relaxed. In about 30 minutes I got a call from our head maintenance guy.
"Just wanted to check in with you," he said "Sounds like a blown brake chamber."
" I don't know," I said, "I've had brake chambers blow before, this was different."
"Yeah," he said "They blow all the time. While you're waiting, why not take a walk around the truck and listen to see which one is leaking, it will save them time when they get you into the shop.
I did that.
No leaking sounds.
I waited, finally it was my turn.
The mechanic had me release the brakes, while he listened for a leak.
Then he had my apply the foot pedal, while he listened for a leak
He went around to each brake chamber and tested them individually.
He pinched each one off, in turn, to find the one that was leaking.
Finally he came back.
"I can't find a leak" he said, Next step is I'm going to have to take your dash apart and see if its something back there."
"I'm not a mechanic," I responded, "but thats what it seems like to me."
We went inside and sat in the air conditioning of Arbys and waited.
About 90 minutes later, the mechanic came in with a small metal and plastic truck part in his hand, and showed us where it had cracked.
He had to drive to Dallas for a part, would be back in an hour.
Sure enough, an hour later, he was back, the part was replaced, the problem was resolved, and the truck was fixed.
Now, I'm not a mechanic, I had no idea what was wrong with the truck, and Im still not quite sure what that part does.
I'm not sure I could have identified and fixed the problem.
But I knew what it wasn't.
It wasnt a brake chamber.
My gut told me that, and my gut has spent a lot of time, firmly packed behind the wheel of a truck.
Sometimes, you have to trust your gut.
Even if you aren't a mechanic.