A True Story

By Staff

Originally published in the Branch 3 ‘News Letter’.
Submitted by Menno L. Kliewer, Nat’l. Secretary, EDGE&TA,
43138 Road 52, Reedley, California 93654, who clipped it from the
Spring 1989 issue of ‘The Hit & Miss’, Branch 8

The story you are about to read was told to me by Branch 3
member Dave Pryor, who is a professional diesel truck mechanic. I
will write it in his words:

Work was slow in Morgan Hill, California, where I live and work,
so when a friend of mine told me of a farmer in Firebaugh who
needed an engine rebuilt, I was ready to go. I headed south on
Monday morning in my service truck.

When we arrived on the ranch and met the farmer we were glad to
see the truck was inside a barn. It’s always much nicer to
rebuild an engine when you can work inside. The barn looked like
any other barn on the outside, but inside it looked like it had
recently been cleaned, making enough room for the truck and a
little extra floor space.

The first day was spent taking the engine completely apart and
ordering the parts needed for reassembly. By 3:00 p.m. this was
done, and we asked if we could look around the barn area for any
‘old iron’ that might be laying around. The farmer said he
didn’t mind but asked what kind of ‘old iron’ we were
looking for. WE told him of our engine club and the one lunger
engines. He said he didn’t know anything about one lungers but
did know about ‘hot heads’. Call ’em what you want,
they’re all the same.

As we talked, the farmer told us that about three weeks earlier
a man came by who heard that there were some engines here and
needed some parts for one of his engines. He found the parts needed
but when he was told he would have to take the whole engine, and
not just the needed parts, the man left. We asked if maybe he was
asking too much money for the engine and the farmer said,
‘Didn’t ask’em for no money, just wanted the engines
out of here.’

Engines-did he say engines? ‘Did you say engines? Are they
still here,’ I asked, with great expectations.

His answer came slowly: ‘Called the junkies. Figured they
weren’t worth much if you can’t give ’em away. They
came in last week with a semi-truck trailer and hauled ’em

‘Semi-truck trailer?’ I asked. ‘How many engines
were there?’

‘Forty engines,’ he said. ‘Twenty-five complete and
the other fifteen had small parts missing. They were here in the
barn. Had to make room for you to repair the truck. Some were too
big for my forklift to load, but they brought sledge hammers and
broke ’em up into smaller pieces.’

We asked for the phone number of these ‘Junkies’. He
said to come into the house and we could call them. When we called
we were told that the load of ‘junk’ was hauled to the Port
of Stockton and loaded on a ship for Japan. Tears came to my

Two days later the engine was repaired and we spent several
hours looking all over the ranch for any sign of an engine or even
a piece of one. NO luck. So, next time you see a Nissan or Honda,
just think of what that metal used to be.

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