2006 - Season of broken stuff

Dan Robinson

This season brought about a large amount of mechanical and technological failures in our chase vehicle. Reading through a few blogs and chase reports, it looks like we weren't the only ones. Laptops, cars, cameras - you name it, they all were breaking and failing left and right this year. Cars died. Laptops blue-screened. Cameras blew over in the wind and got totaled. Not that this doesn't happen every season, but does it seem that this year saw chasers' gear getting trashed more than usual?

Here is our non-comprehensive list of broken stuff since April:

1.) Vehicle fuel pump - stranded for four days, $650
2.) Power adapter failure on Matt's laptop, $120
3.) Iris flicker malfunction on my HDR-FX1, repair cost yet to be determined
4.) WxWorx receiver dies, repair cost yet to be determined
5.) 750-watt inverter croaks, $75 replacement
6.) USB port tabs on my laptop broken by me while trying to fix loose connectors, repair cost yet to be determined
I suspect the many marginal events on the edges of Tonrado Alley caused chasers to drive a lot farther than usual. I certainly did. I am sure this led to an increase in mechanical problems.

Bill Hark
Well, I got good news and bad news on my end..

Good news, only one HUGE thing crapped out on me...

Bad news, it was a $2000 crap out...

Blew the transmission in my van in Topeka; left me in a rental for about 5 days.. fortunately for me I was within a day's drive of home and could do so, and because of that, am in better position to chase tomorrow.

Other small drawbacks...

Lost a screw in my glasses and had to fix those.
Blew three fuses in WX Worx; less than $1 for a package of those and upped the fuse.
Left behind my wall charger for my cell phone at a hotel in South Dakota.
Semi-biggie; My canon A85 digital camera malfunctioned and opted to replace it with a $400 replacement Canon in McCook, NE.

Not sure it could've been much worse, but at least I was closer to home when the trannie went.
Oh so it was your fuel pump. Arrggg. Sorry about that. Thanks again for letting me ride with the convoy. I had not problems with computer, digital camera. But when I got home I did find , one of my external drives is caput as well as my printer. Indirect curse of chasing?

I will try to post some pics from our drive into ND and SD.
Go ahead and laugh at my stupidity...I fell victim to the "forgetting the video camera on the roof of the car" bit. Fortunately I had pretty much finished taping for the day and had a spare video camera. Still kicking myself though.

Also, I put $1000 into my car at the beginning of the season: new tires, new tie-rod end, new brakes.
My breakdown woes haven't been much better and I haven't driven NEAR as many miles as most of you!

Computer Crash at home required a replacement from my truck. That means no computer in the vehicle. That will be in the $500 range.
Wife's car required a "new" engine. $3200
Truck Transmission is "acting up" unknown repair cost there. No more than about $600 though.
750 watt Inverter in my Wife's car blew out, taking her laptop with it. $100 for the Inverter and $300 to repair the laptop.

Looks like I'm right up there with everyone on costs this year.
The whole season my laptop/ DeLorme had issues, so I chased only using the MTN mapping software. Only other pain was this week I had on 2 different occasions 2 nails in my tires........one of which went too far into the side wall and I had to replace the tire. 30 May in Erick, OK Joe Spencer was driving my truck and it just suddenly went DOA........right in the middle of the chase. Not sure WHAT that was about, but got it fired back up and continued on. I am probably getting a new vehicle and laptop before next season. Knock on wood, seems like all my problems have only ever been tire/nail issues for the most part since I started chasing. Although, I can't tell you how many profanities come flying out of my mouth when the DeLorme program caused my computer to crash while deciding which storm to go for.
Well I can certainly attest to the season of broken stuff.

My 2 year old knocked my laptop on the floor, motherboard failed $950
New coil packs for my truck. $700

That means the three tornadoes I saw this year came at a price of about $700 per tornado when you add in gas for my 6 chases.
Well I can certainly attest to the season of broken stuff.

My 2 year old knocked my laptop on the floor, motherboard failed $950
New coil packs for my truck. $700

That means the three tornadoes I saw this year came at a price of about $700 per tornado when you add in gas for my 6 chases.

just curious but what kind of truck.... Rarely does every coil pack fail at once. I hope your mechanic didnt tell you otherwise.
I didn't have any mechanical or equipment breakdowns, but I felt like breaking stuff alot this year. Actually, I thought that was the point of this thread until I read it.
After a windshield replacement in OKC on May 25th I noticed that two out of my three GPS’s had become “cable lessâ€￾. Overall not a big problem ~ it just meant that I could not run APRS or my smart TomTom PDA that helps me to drive on the right side of the road.

Laving my laptop bag (with charger and all the goodies) at the same hotel in OKC that day proved to be a bigger headache however..
Had to cancel my plains chasing plans for this year (other than local) due to mechanical probs with the vehicle just prior to my trip. Had to replace a bunch of front-end items (track bar, tie-rod end, steering damper, stab ends etc) and the cost ate up too much of my funds... serves me right for not picking up on those items earlier. Seems just as well since there wasn't much activity this season anyways.