George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

George Parker, Gremlin Slayer

We are decidedly a Freightliner family. This probably distresses Freightliner exceedingly, but we’ve come to love the product and, I think, unless someone offered us a free truck of a different brand, we’ll probably stick with Freightliner. Before we ever owned a Freightliner, we had a Mercedes as our personal car, and before we ever knew the connection between the two, we had already decided the Mercedes was the best car (mechanically) we’d ever owned. It costs a million dollars when anything breaks, but fortunately, things don’t break often, so it’s been a great little car. I have abused it fully, and we bought it knowing it had been wrecked — the only way the Parkers can afford to buy a Mercedes — but it still starts for me every single time.

(Side note: a million dollars is obviously a filthy lie, but $1,800 seems to be the number the Mercedes mechanic is fond of. Apparently, it costs $1,800 to do just about anything to a Mercedes, including an oil change. I had to sell a kidney to pay for an ECM a couple years ago. OK, that’s a filthy lie too. Papa Dirt loaned us the money, but it was stressful and I think I might have at least gotten a rash from it.)

Now that all the love has been expressed for Freightliner and Mercedes, it bears to be mentioned that both vehicles have gremlins that are completely unique to their brand. I know this, because I looked it up on the interwebs, and we all know everything on the interwebs is true fact.

George was driven to the interwebs by the Mercedes, because it has a little red light and “beep beep” indicator that sounds and flashes to let you know your retractable roof isn’t secure. When I first got the car, the alarm would sound randomly, like when I was traveling at high rates of speed down the highway, and scare me so bad I’d careen over to the side and check my top, to make sure it was secure. I thought it might be residual damage from the wreck, so George got online and tried to look up a way to disable it. He found the support thread, headlined “OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP,” with one search.

There is a gremlin in the SLK model and the gremlin makes your riding pleasure dry up immediately with a red flashing light and a “beep beep” that is so annoying it will make you scream obscenities at babies. One guy posted how he had spent $40K on a car his wife refused to drive, because of the beeping. And if you disable it, the ECM starts to act up and the whole engine runs bad. It’s an insidious plot by the gremlins to ruin my life. Anyway, I’ve gotten around it by riding with the top down as much as possible. It still alerts occasionally, but I know the top is secure and in the trunk when it beeps, so I laugh maniacally and crank the stereo up to 11 and continue to drive. Screw you, gremlins, I will enjoy my Mercedes.

"Ladies and gentleman, there will be no cruise control today."

“Ladies and gentleman, there will be no cruise control today.”

That being said, Freightliner trucks have a gremlin in the cruise control. We’re for sure the Cascadia and Coronado have it, at least ours did — and in the Coronado’s case, does. This gremlin picks and chooses the times it will allow the cruise to work. Seven times out of ten, you start the truck, get on the highway, get into rolling gear and it fires right up. Three of those times, it does not respond, at all, to anything other than shutting completely down and starting all over again, which is sometimes difficult on a busy highway. It’s also hard on the fuel efficiency.

I wait every morning to see if it’s going to be a good day or a bad day. Good days, George sets the cruise, lifts his foot off the pedal, and voila!, everything is candy and unicorns. Bad days, he gets us up to warp speed, reaches to the dash to set the cruise, and begins the dance to appease to gremlins. It starts with him stomping his clutch foot and waving his hand in front of the panel, while yelling.



A night at the movies

"Before I was able to extricate myself from the building, I was compelled to buy a $50 tub of popcorn."

“Uh oh. Is the cruise not working today?”

“No, dammit. C’mon, baby. Just catch.”

“You’re going to have to pull over and shut her down.”

“Nah. It’s going to work. Show it your boobs.”

“Wha? What the hell? I’m not going to show the truck my boobs. She’s a girl, that’s not going to help anything.”

“No, but it’ll make me feel better about having to find a spot on the highway this morning to shut down and start over.”

George Parker knows how to handle gremlins. Let me reiterate – screw you, gremlins, we will enjoy our Freightliner as well.

  • Heavy Metal

    Mine does the same thing

  • Heavy Metal

    Try turning the cruise switch off and then push on the brake pedal or clutch pedal a couple of times while your driving then try the cruise again, that’s works on my truck.

  • James

    Be sure to tell us if that works for your truck. Sometimes you just have to talk to the “right people” to find the work-arounds,and they’re rarely the egg-heads who designed the truck.

  • James

    I learned a long time ago that whenever I get a new-to-me vehicle,the first things I need to do is get a service manual for it,and get logged onto the owners group forum related to it. There’s invariably some old timers there that know ALL the little idiosyncracies and their easy fixes.

  • Gp

    You should watch “Scotty Kilmer” review of MB cars… He’s an auto tech that fixes all makes and models of cars..
    youtube has it
    He has a very direct approach about what he thinks of them….

  • Gadget

    I drive an 08 Century that has the exact problem with the cruise control as you describe. But, I think I have an answer for you…
    In my case I have determined that the brake switch is the culprit. Keep in mind that the cruise control system includes the clutch and brake switches. It’s easy to determine if one of these switches is the cause of your problem, when the cruise control drops out, tap on either the clutch or the brake pedal just enough to activate the switch then reactivate the cruise control. In my case it’s the brake switch.

    Hope this helps.

  • Greg Busch

    Still trying to figure out if showing your boobs is to make the truck or George feel better ?……. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.