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6 comments

Open Differential – Roadside Emergencies

Posted December 27, 2016 10:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: emergency open diff

We were south of Chicago on I-80, in triple-digit temperatures and bumper-to-bumper traffic, when my fuel-injected 1977 Volkswagen Scirocco sputtered, coughed, and then died in the center lane. The woman driving the big rig behind us rebuffed my request for a push to the shoulder, or at least assistance in blocking the right lane to get me there in one piece, with language that would have made a Paris Parris Island drill instructor blush. Halfway between our starting point in Colorado and our destination in New Jersey, we were stuck with a suddenly dead car by the side of the Interstate.

As I’d soon learn, fuel-injected Sciroccos with high mileage had a nasty habit of breaking down in high temps, thanks to a sticky mechanical air mass sensor plate. After a side trip through Gary, Indiana (a tale worthy of a short novella), we made our way to a VW dealer in Merrillville, thanks to the help of a local tow truck driver (who also got us the “family rate” at a local motel). I may not have been prepared for that breakdown, but it taught me a valuable lesson: never be unprepared for such an event again.

That was 1984. Things are different today...

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#1

Re: Open Differential – Roadside Emergencies

12/27/2016 1:34 PM

What??? Where is the reference to an open differential??

I remember as teens we had an old Riley 1.5 that cracked a diff cog in two; we periodically lost drive momentarily on bends, but managed to limp home. We got a Morris Minor diff from a scrap yard and fitted that, job done.
Now that's a story about diff's, not air mass sensors

Del

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#2
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Re: Open Differential – Roadside Emergencies

12/28/2016 2:13 AM

I dunno, maybe on Sciroccos it's a differential (adj) air-mass sensor. Not sure what an 'open differential' is. The post's title does seem a bit incongruous, though.

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Re: Open Differential – Roadside Emergencies

12/28/2016 4:08 AM

That's a very generous interpretation... you are obviously full of festive spirit!
Del

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Re: Open Differential – Roadside Emergencies

12/28/2016 4:12 AM

Full of sh!t more like. I'm not a 'car person' by any stretch.

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Re: Open Differential – Roadside Emergencies

12/28/2016 4:28 AM

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#6

Re: Open Differential – Roadside Emergencies

12/31/2016 4:16 PM

I don't know what an "open differential" is, but that looks more like a flat tire!

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