Tired of pickup failing, owner seeks to stop Hamilton County's - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

3 On Your Side: Tired of pickup failing, owner seeks to stop Hamilton County's vehicle testing

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SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) -- She's a Signal Mountain mother of two, but Eva Milligan's baby is her Ford Ranger pickup .

The truck was bought brand-new in 1997.

"I own it free and clear," she says.

And even though the odometer broke last Fall, just shy of 130,000 miles?

"It works fine," she says. "But it just won't pass their standards, (Hamilton County's) Emissions Testing standards."

The Milligans began their paper trail with TDEC (Tennessee's Department of Environment & Conservation), the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau and testing contractor EnviroTest Systems Corporation, about six months ago.

But the struggle to stay street-legal in Hamilton County, goes back about four years.

"We've put in valves, air-flow sensors, only to fail," she says. "This year, we've spent more than $1000 in labor and parts; only to fail."

The Air Pollution Control Bureau kicked her questions to the testing site off of Bonnie Oaks Drive last Tuesday.

"But the mechanic there told me he wouldn't even look at it until I hired a mechanic to take a look at it first," Milligan says.

She emailed his higher-ups. She heard back Wednesday. Thursday morning, the testing-site mechanic phoned and asked her to bring in the Ranger.

The diagnosis was free. The fix, won't be.

"It is a solenoid in the transmission," she says. "It has nothing to do with emissions."

The testing contractors insist that it does.

"The error code indicates it is an emissions related issue," says Stuart Say, General Manager for EnviroTest Systems Corporation. "The manufacturer (Ford) has determined that if the transmission is not shifting at the RPM for which it was designed, it does affect what the pickup puts into the air."

Say has offered to help Milligan apply for a waiver to allow her another year to get the Ranger fixed, while still driving it.

"But I need receipts to show that the work is done, or being done," she says.

Auto Zone was able to provide duplicates for about $600 worth of parts purchased over the past three months, Milligan says. But her husband and uncle did much of the work themselves.

So Milligan is taking a different tack. She's launched a petition, on-line, via Facebook to Stop Vehicle Emissions Testing.

"I'm not against testing," she explains. "I agree with doing what you can to stop the pollution problem. But it's the hoops you have to go through to pass this test."

Milligan's registration expires in March. She likely will sell her 'baby,' to somebody outside of Hamilton County.

"There's no other county (in the immediate area) that has this testing. So I can sell it to them, and they can drive it through Hamilton County as much as they want."

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