Truck Love (and break-in…)

The vehicle of choice anywhere in S America is a pickup, and the cream of the crop for S American pickup is the Toyota HiLux pickup, what we in the US would know as a Toyota Tacoma, a compact pickup truck. This is a great truck, extremely reliable and rugged, but for US customers rather on the small side. In the US we are used to full-sized, 1500 series trucks, such the Ford F150, a much bigger truck, being the norm. And for those who need an even bigger truck – need being used loosely – Ford, Dodge and GMC/Chevrolet, all make 2500 and 3500 series trucks. Ours is a GMC Sierra 2500 heavy duty truck. Anywhere but in the US, our Sierra is a very, very large personal vehicle.

Gotta love the truck.

Before we bought our GMC, we did some research on the service network in S America. Our GMC pickup is virtually identical to a Chevrolet pickup, and Chevrolet has an extensive network of dealers all over S America. We were also promised that the GMC warranty, and related breakdown service, would apply in S America. So far, so good.

Now while our truck / camper combo gets a lot of attention, I can say definitively that most men LOVE the truck. It is very rare to see a 1500 series truck in S America, and extremely rare to see a 2500 series truck. We have seen a handful of F250s and Dodge 2500s, but have yet to see a GMC 2500, or its sister vehicle the Chevy Silverado 2500. So anytime we are in an area where the pickup guys hang out, the conversation goes somewhat like this, my responses in red:

Que tipo de pickup?
GMC
Ooooooo. Muy linda. Muy pesada. (Very good. Very “heavy”).

Diesel o Nafta? (diesel or gas?)
Nafta (very unusual in S America…)
Oooooooooooo.

Typo de motor?
V-ocho (V8)

Ooooooooooooooooo.  

Quanto litros?
Seis litros (six liters)
Ooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Quanto cabballo de furze? Dos Cientos? (How many horse power? 200?)
Treis cientos sesenta. (360 horsepower).
Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The Oooooooooooo’s are typically said in a very manly, yet coveting, way. We shall return to the conversation above in a few paragraphs.

Karen and I were in Trelew, Argentina, and unfortunately our truck was broken into. We were parked in the parking lot of a world famous dinosaur museum, the MEF. Through a friend we had been introduced, via email, to Pablo, the head of the research lab at MEF, and we were looking forward to meeting him. When we arrived, Pablo was unavailable, so we parked the truck, and Karen and I walked roughly 600 m downtown to have some lunch.

As we were sitting enjoying a sandwich and a beer, a police woman came jogging towards us. After some confusion, we finally figured out that she was trying to tell us that someone had broken into our truck. We ran back, together with the policewoman, and we did now meet Pablo – although the circumstances could have been better – who was standing next to the truck. Someone had smashed the rear passenger window in the extended cab portion, and reached in and grabbed a small daypack.

Shattered glass all over the truck.

This is the first time we have experienced any crime in S America, and quite frankly this could have happened – and has – in the US. What would not happen in the US though, is that a police woman would see that a truck was broken into, she would then jog down town looking for some unknown gringos that were the likely owners of the truck in order to notify them. Nor am I sure that in the US, the police woman would be hugely apologetic that such a crime had happened in her town, and offer to help in any way she could.

We eventually met Pablo and received a private tour of the MEF museum.

But, moving on. There is a Chevrolet dealership in Trelew, so this is where we headed. As we pulled in in front of the dealership, the first conversation went somewhat like this:

Que tipo de pickup?
GMC
Ooooooo. Muy linda. Muy pesada. (Very good. Very “heavy”).

Diesel o Nafta? (diesel or gas?)
Nafta 
Oooooooooooo.

Typo de motor?
V-ocho (V8)
Ooooooooooooooooo.

Quanto litros?
Seis litros (six liters)
Ooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Quanto cabballo de furze? Dos Cientos? (How many horse power? 200?)
Treis cientos sesenta. (360 horsepower).
Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The truck is gorgeous though. Muy hermosa.

GIven that this was a Chevy dealership, and our truck is a rebadged Chevy, this was not an encouraging start…

As it turns out, yes Chevy has an extensive network of dealers throughout Argentina, but nowhere in Argentina do they sell the Chevy 1500 pickup, much less our 2500 series pickup. However, they could get us a new window, albeit it would take 60 days! Back to the drawing board. The Chevy guys went through all the spare windows that they had in stock for other vehicles and we found one that looked as if it may fit ours: it had roughly the right curvature, and if cut to size could be made to fit. We took the window to a nearby auto glass repair place – old crappy cars with broken windows parked in the street waiting to be fixed made it easy to find. However, the owner, Alfredo, promptly informed us that you can’t cut this kind of glass to size, it will just shatter.

Before we could even turn back to the drawing board, Aflredo mentioned that he could make a new window from scratch from plexiglass. Sweet. He jumped in his car, went to “plexiglass street” (see other posts), and returned shortly. He then measured, cut the plexiglass, dis-assembled the door, inserted the new window, re-assembled everything, and cleaned up the shards of glass that were all over, in less than 30 minutes. And charged us US$70.

Afredo doing his thing.

Lesson learned is: next time spend a little more time understanding what is meant by “yes, they service Chevy’s”. And the S American art of improvisation, especially when it comes to repairing cars, can be a beautiful thing.

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4 thoughts on “Truck Love (and break-in…)

  1. Vehicle of choice for the Kimberley (Australia) police is a Toyota Land Cruiser, suitably adapted with snorkle (for dust more than for high water). See any such there?

    –Rex

    • There are some Land Cruisers around, but they are truly luxury vehicles – even in the US they are very expensive – owning one is more on the order of driving a convertible Porsche in the US.

  2. Pingback: Gotta love the camper as well « lifes2shortnot2

  3. Pingback: ufyt Systems | lifes2shortnot2

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