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Tales of a Hay Hauler: The padiddle (perdiddle) quandrum

Brad Nelson for Progressive Forage Published on 01 February 2021

Google says “perdiddle” or “padiddle” are Canadian and North American terms that refer to a vehicle with one headlight or one taillight burned out.

As my generation used the term, the first person to spy a perdiddle was entitled to punch the one he or she was traveling with on the shoulder or to a “free” kiss, depending on the company one was riding with.

I remember eye-rolling discussions as well as heated-to-the-point-of-punches-thrown discussions regarding the proper perdiddle rules.

“You owe me a free kiss.” “Why?” “I called a perdiddle while I was on the way over.” (Eyeroll) “Yeah right. It had to be witnessed. By me!

Slight change of direction here. A mechanic pulls an over-the-road truck into the service bay and begins to diagnose why the low-beam headlights don’t work, per the write-up by its last driver.

He begins by confirming that they indeed don’t work. Then checks the appropriate fuses and relays. With great difficulty, he moves the multifunction switch from the steering column and puts testers on the wires to see if the switch is the cause of the problem – both low beams being out points to something other than the light bulbs. When the switch checks out and is re-installed, the wiring at the plugs is checked, and voilá. We have the appropriate electric current here also. First one bulb and then the other is removed and examined. The low-beam elements of both are visually non-functioning.

Two new headlight bulbs, and the truck once again has headlights that work on both low and high beam. The mechanic keeps the keys so the driver has to speak to him before he can leave with the truck.

“And just how many weeks have you been running your truck as a ticket-bait perdiddle before the second headlight burned out?” The driver is then admonished to make his pre-trip walk-around past the front of the truck twice, once high-beam and once low-beam. He leaves still not knowing what a perdiddle is. Hopefully, he will have caught enough of the mechanic’s tirade to realize that he drove with only one low beam long enough for the second to also burn out.

Another case of dwelling on the symptom rather than considering the cause: A young driver complained to his father about his car being unsafe on snowy roads because “to even turn it just a little, it wants to spin out.”

The temperature had been hovering between 28 and 33 degrees for several days following a wet snow. Most vehicles were picking up water from the slushy roads, heated to just above freezing by the sun, then freezing to the wheel wells of the cars and pickups as it landed there.

The car being complained about had a huge chunk of icy slush frozen inside the wheel well of the right front tire. It allowed the tire and wheel to rotate while the car was moving straight ahead, but to make a right turn the frozen mass would stop the tire from turning, rendering it a ski rather than a rotating tire capable of aiming the car. A size-13 boot planted at the edge of the frozen goop knocked it loose from the car.

“It’ll do better now.” The car was a four-wheel-drive AMC Eagle.

I once fought with the lights on a hay trailer. I finally gave up and purchased a new length of seven-strand cord to give the trailer fresh wiring front-to-back. The existing cord was cracked and had been spliced into numerous places, so I thought starting fresh would solve the problem. It was wired so the front half of the marker lights came from the front of the trailer, and those on the rear and rear sides came forward from the rear junction box.

I paid close attention to the color coding of the system and was 100% sure all the wiring was correct. I tested it. It was doing the exact thing as when I’d started. Side marker lights would dim with either turn signal on or, if they were off, they would flash with the turn signals.

Once the blue streak cleared, I started thinking rather than throwing things. Electricity goes in a circle. From the positive post on the battery to the various light switches, to the multiple lights and then, via the ground circuit, back to the negative post on the battery.

The lights on the irksome trailer all grounded to the frame of the trailer. At the front junction box on the trailer was a formidable ground bolt connecting the ground wire from the wiring to the chassis, or frame of the trailer. With much effort I removed it and noted that the rust and corrosion did not make for a good ground. I cleaned it good, cleaned the spot on the frame where it attached and greased all parts well, then reattached it. Everything worked like brand-new until the trailer said he needed to stop and get some new shoes. “These make my feet hurt on a trip.” New shoes didn’t help. Loosening the belt while driving did.

The symptom may not illuminate its cause. end mark

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