I know I should have posted this last week, but our internet is SOOOOOO unreliable here in the Bay Islands...but that's another (long) story.
If you look closely at the above picture, you can see a plume of light blue smoke coming from the exhaust stack of our front-end loader. That's a Catepillar mechanic in the driver's seat, and the machine is running. Success at last! But it was not easy.
I have changed engine control computers ("ECM's") in cars numerous times. I've even gone to junkyards (excuse me, "auto salvage facilities"), yanked the computer out of a crashed car, then plugged it into another car and driven away. No. Big. Deal.
Not so with Catepillar equipment.
First, we had to have the mechanic come up to Guanaja from San Pedro Sula on the mainland. That alone was $750. He spent the day and in the end confirmed what I suspected: The computer was bad.
So we ordered a computer from Cat in the States. It was $2,500. Brought it down on Friday, December 1st. The Catepillar guy here in Honduras said he'd have to come back to "adjust" it to our machine. "Bullshit!" I said. "I can put the computer in and get the thing running." (Silly boy...why do I say such things?) On Saturday, December 2nd I get the computer installed and the loader will not run no matter how much we crank and crank and crank. Not even a puff of smoke. I admit defeat. I don't like it, but I admit it.
So on Monday we call Catepillar, and they said to send BOTH computers to them in San Pedro Sula. They would download the information from our old one, and upload it to the new one! I was dumbfounded. We spent $2,500 on a BRAND NEW COMPUTER that cannot be used until we pay another $750.
But that's just what happened. Fortunately, our company airplane just happened to be going to San Pedro on Tuesday, December 5th (an amazing coincidence, really). So down the computers went. Only...and you knew this was coming...the Cat place in SPS didn't have the correct updated software to download/upload the data. God in heaven..
Our airplane left on Friday. We went through the weekend. Monday, the weather was very bad - no airline flights in or out. Tuesday, same thing. The rest of the week was like that. Just miserable.
Monday, December 11th. FINALLY, the Cat mechanic arrives on the last flight in. He makes it up to our job site on Tuesday morning. I was elsewhere on the property just before lunch when I heard a familiar diesel rumble. Halleluja! I ran over with my camera in hand, just in case it was a fluke. Thankfully, it wasn't.
So we're back in the earth-moving business. You have no idea how good it feels to have that machine back in action. And to think it only took one full month and $4000 bucks!
It's tough getting things done here in Guanaja, Honduras, CA. Everything is a hassle.