The van’s previous owner left me a trash bag of documents. An expired warranty for tires. A receipt for an oil change completed in 2013. An operator’s manual for a truck refrigeration unit.
I was about to chuck the refrigeration manual with the rest of the bag’s contents when I realized its importance: My van used to be refrigerated. Probably two owners ago. This explained everything. Why did the van have circular holes in its roof and undercarriage? For pipes leading to the refrigeration unit. Why did its floor have surface rust? Condensation, a result of temperature fluctuation. Why did the engine squeak? Someone had added a big compressor (what Kevin is holding up in the photo above) and three extra pulleys to the accessory belt system. They’d elongated the belt but kept Ford’s original belt tensioner, which wasn’t made to pull so much belt. So the tensioner wore out, leading me to a repair shop in rural Texas. Even with a new tensioner, the belt system continued to squeak, because Ford’s tensioner was never meant for such a big job. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Every time I started the van, a hamster on a fitness kick settled in behind my right temple, and that fucker made sure to bring his wheel. Continue reading “My Van Used To Be a Refrigerator”