Forty Tons of Trouble

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Forty Tons of Trouble
Episode # 410
Air Date January 11, 1981
Briefing Ring of thieves stealing construction equipment.
Title screen

Brief Plot

The gang from Central are running a drag car. When some of their parts get stolen, Grossie investigates in the hope of joining the team. Meanwhile, large construction equipment is being stolen.


Everyone working on the CHP Dragster.
Burglar stealing the front end loader.

Harlan and several of the officers from Central are at the drag strip with their own drag car. Ponch complains that Harlan hasn't fitted the new parts they paid for, but Harlan says he's having to make do with the old ones because the new parts haven't come in yet.

At a construction site, three men in a van check it out. One of them tries to steal a loader, but jumps off when the brakes get damaged. While the thief escapes in the van, the loader heads out into traffic and is soon behind Grossie. Jon and Ponch arrive, and Jon jumps aboard the runaway, but finds the brakes are out. To avoid a crash with a broken down tanker, Jon stops the loader by Plowing into a building.

Back at the drag strip, one of the other drivers blows his engine. He and his buddies decide to steal the parts they need to fix it. Grossie joins his colleagues at the drag strip, and we learn he wants to be a part of the drag racing group, even though he declined the invitation when they started. Ponch goes to visit the construction site owner, Paula, but finds Jon has beaten him to it.

Ponch staking out the construction site.
Ponch's Firebird lifted up in the air after being damaged by a forklift.

The parts thieves get worried when they realize that their haul included some of CHP team's parts. Harlan tells everyone of their misfortune at the briefing. The next time at the drag strip, the thieves blow a tire, so again decide to steal what they need. Off-duty, Grossie follows up the auto parts thefts.

Ponch and Jon approach Getraer about a plan to catch the construction thieves with Paula's help. Ponch takes Paula out to dinner, but fails to persuade her to join his scheme. After dropping her off at the construction site following the date, Ponch spots the van that was used by the thieves to escape. He follows it to another site and takes note of the license plates. The next day, the thieves are at Paula's construction site again. Ponch and Jon arrive undercover in Ponch's car, and handcuff the thief in the van. Before he's caught, he honks his horn to warn the other thief who steals a forklift to make his getaway. Ponch jumps in his car and gives chase. He ends up being rammed by the forklift and hoisted into the air. Jon catches the fleeing thief, and Ponch is lowered to ground, revealing his wrecked car.

Both the CHP and the thieves' cars qualify for the finals. Grossie tells his colleagues that he tracked the stolen parts and that they should check the pit of the other car. Jon and Getraer chase two of the thieves while Ponch (in the "CHiPs" dragster) chases the driver in the other dragster. Ponch manages to stop him by opening his parachute in front of the guy. The Central crew win the race by default, and Paula throws them a party in one of her newly finished homes. Getraer tells Ponch that the department will pay for his car to be repaired as they were on official business. Grossie is allowed to join the drag racing team, but Getraer presents him with a bill for parts he organized.

Guest Stars




Fun Facts

  • This episode was recorded four years before Robert Englund's most famous role as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street.
  • Brotherhood Raceway Park was located on Terminal Island. It opened in 1974 and closed in the mid-90s to make way for a coal dock and container storage. No traces remain today. View in Google Maps
  • The Princess Louise was built in 1921 and became a floating restaurant in 1966, hosting up to 2,000 guests per day. She was originally berthed on Terminal Island, but moved to San Pedro in 1979. She closed in January 1989 and capsized in suspicious circumstances later that year.
  • The houses that Paula's building are now part of Ponderosa West on South Vermont Avenue. Some of the background houses between 204th Street and West Del Amo Boulevard were demolished around 1995. View in Google Maps
  • Ponch's car is now a 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. It's fitted with 1972 grille for the scenes filmed at the construction during the night-time, and a 1973 grille for the chase scenes filmed during the daytime.
  • Ponch's mags are American Racing Hot Rod VN69 Ansen Sprint which are missing the center caps.


  • The first piece of construction equipment the thieves try to steal is a loader (as called out by Paula), but Grossman calls it a grader when he spots it in his rearview mirror. A grader has a long blade underneath and no bucket.
  • When the engine of the Bonanza AMX blows, it leaves debris on the track, but the track is clear when the pickup pulls up immediately afterwards.

Preceded by:
"Crash Course"
Forty Tons of Trouble
Followed by:
"11-99: Officer Needs Help"