Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Running like junk

I drove the truck down the street a couple of times Christmas Day and the day after. It was running like crap, so I neverr ventured further than I could push it home.

I wanted to drive it to work on Thursday, but I think I'll wait until sometime when it is running better. I don't think I could push it home 15 miles.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fishing Truck!

One of my main goals for the 68 is to have a decent fishing truck when I am done. I want to have it set up so that I can have all of my fishing gear stowed away and ready to use for quick fishing trips at the quarry lake a couple of miles away.

Sunday afternoon we made our first voyage in the fishing rig. The Talker and I loaded up the row boat and a couple of fishing poles and we went out for a little while and we caught a nice smallmouth bass. Good times.

The truck ran like a champ and we got lots of attention cruising through the neighborhood with our boat hanging out the back of the bed. Just like I have imagined for a couple of years.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pops Rules!

The Father in law is in town today. So I put him to work for a little while this afternoon.

He helped me use the vacuum gauge to get the carburetor dialed in. Now the truck is running much better.

I did it by myself a couple of different times, but each time I left the vacuum advance connected. He had me disconnect it and then tune the carb. Made all the difference.

I am out for a drive!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Drove the truck up to the YMCA yesterday to work out. I can't tell what hurts worse, working out my lazy body or driving the truck home after that.

You get a pretty good workout just by not having power steering or power brakes...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cruising the neighborhod, Part 144

All morning Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon, I tried to find a useful reason to drive the truck. The only thing I came up with all weekend involved driving to the far end of the street to pick up the family from a neighbor's house.

Total trip miles, .5. Total number of problems on this trip, two kids, one wife.

Besides that, nothing useful ever came to mind so the truck and I sat at home all weekend.

I'll leave you with my favorite truck picture ever, taken the day Marge came home.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Longest trip yet.

This evening I drove the truck downtown. It is about 15 minutes and 10 miles if you head down the freeway. I am not ready to try highway speeds in the truck yet, so we drove through neighborhoods and on surface streets. It took over an hour and I think it was almost a 15 mile trip. I chose the route based on it being not too busy and a lack of major hills to climb.

The truck never missed a beat. Ran like a charm the whole way. Maybe it was my expert navigation skills.

If you want way too much detail about the trip, go over to AtHomeDaddy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More paint!

Still lots to be done, but I am pretty happy with this look for now.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I was gonna

pull the truck out of the garage this afternoon and cruise it around the neighborhood. Then I realized that I would have to move the junk that always accumulates in the bed of the truck when it is parked in the garage.

It looked to be too much junk to mess with, so I threw some junk out of The Boss Lady's car into the pile and called it an afternoon.

The junk laden truck will be sitting in the garage for at least the next week. I am leaving Wednesday on a week long solo road trip.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Big truckin day

On Tuesday I backed the truck out of the driveway so that I could repair the retaining wall. While it was sitting in the street, I power washed the driveway. Then, I drove the truck into the garage.

Round trip distance, less than 300 feet.

No breakdowns, no new mechanical issues.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wiring blues

I have heard about a couple of times lately where people are getting pulled over for having a burned out license plate light. Seems to be a convenient way to stop a car to see if it is subject to other, more expensive moving violations.

The truck does not have a rear bumper, the license plate is just bolted on below the tail gate. And there is no license plate light at all. I don't want to give the police a free shot at seeing everything that is wrong with this truck, so last night I picked up a small lamp at the auto parts store. It should work fine for a license plate light.

I got the lamp installed, but I did not get it wired up. The wiring under the bed is really brittle, and I could not decide exactly where I want to splice the new wires in. But I did manage to break a wire leading to the driver's side tail lamp. So now the cops can pull me over for that, too.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Broken bolt blues

Saturday afternoon The Princess wanted to help work on the truck. So we installed the fan shroud that I left off on Friday. I just had to remove the fan and slide the shroud in place. For some reason that seemed smart then, but no so much now, I loosened the alternator to remove the tension from the fan belt.

Everything bolted up just fine. Except the alternator adjustment bolt. I sheared it off with a box end wrench. Sometimes I don't know my own strength OR the weakness of my 40 year old bolts...

Luckily this bolt is designed to pass through the alternator housing so I was able to bring the broken stud on through the back side. I haven't tried a new bolt yet, to see if I trashed the threads on the alternator. If I did, I'll likely just replace the alternator. It is one of the few electrical parts that is evidently original to the truck.

I am such a good pack rat... I found a bolt that seems to match the broken one, thread pitch and all. So I was able to re-install everything this morning. Cool!

Also while in the driveway on Saturday, I noticed that the rear differential is leaking again. I'll have to look into that more this week. For now I just stuck an oil pan under it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cruise night

The truck has been sitting in the garage, in pieces, for a week. This afternoon I picked up a water pump and a set of gaskets for the valve covers. In and out of the auto parts store for less than $36.

it only took about an hour to get all of this stuff bolted back on. It would have taken a lot longer, but I have gotten in the habit of taking lots of digital photos when I disassemble something on this truck. That way I can go back and see how it was installed before I touched it.

This afternoon I had to refer to my pictures several times, to make sure I installed the pump with the correct bolts and to figure out how to reinstall the alternator brackets. Luckily everything I had doubts about was in the photos. Except for one washer. I could not for the life of me figure out where one last flat washer should go.

When I was finishing up bolting the fan and pulley back on, I remembered that the fan shroud must be installed before the fan is installed. So for tonight, no fan shroud.

I also had the seat out of the truck so that I could replace the fuel sender. It works, but my fuel gauge was not reading properly. When I checked it, the connections were a little loose. Once tightened, problem solved.

After I put the seat back in I drove the truck to a carnival at our church tonight. It ran great.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Water pump plus

After talking to Racecar Man on Saturday afternoon, I realized that the water pump is ready to die a horrible death. It started creaking and groaning a while back and may have been the source of the mystery noise back when I thought something was wrong with the drivetrain.

To get the water pump off, I had to pull the cooling fan and belt pulley off. To get the fan off, I had to remove the fan shroud. The alternator and it's mounting brackets had to come off so that the pump could be unbolted. Hopefully, all of this stuff will line up again in the near future.

I am always trying to learn something more about the truck, so after I got the water pump removed, I took it apart, to see how it works. It is really just an enclosed impeller that keeps the coolant moving through the block and back to the radiator. I think. It only took me 6 bolts to see that, so no real time or effort lost.

Since I was this far into the engine, I decided to pull the valve covers and clean them up and to get new gaskets installed to stop the slow oil leak coming from both sides. And on Racecar Man's advice, I researched how to tighten the valves, while the covers are off.

I needed to turn the engine by hand, so I pulled the spark plugs to make it a lot easier. The valve tightening was a pretty easy task, after all of that, thanks to a website I found. The site kind of dumbed down the process in my shop manuals, making it possible for me to follow.

Before I reinstall all of this stuff, I am cleaning up as much as I can. I scraped mud off of the frame that I had not been able to get to yet, and yesterday I blasted the fan shroud with the power washer and it cleaned up nicely. This afternoon I am going to run the spark plugs through the spark plug sand blaster. They are not oily, but they have a lot of carbon on them.

I am thinking about cleaning up and painting the fan, valve covers and pulley before I install them. If I do, I want to get them really clean first, so that they hopefully won't need another paint job in a year or two.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

We love our truck

The kids and I took the truck on a box run before nap. The kids love making club houses out of big boxes from appliances and furniture. On our way out of the neighborhood, we spotted a huge box that would have made an awesome club.

Before nap, we got the truck out and cruised past the big box. Today's treasure box was full of junk and the trash guys had already come by, so we left it on the curb. Maybe next week we will cruise over to the appliance store and check the box pile outback.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Too much rain for trucking

It is raining again. And that is great, since we are in serious need of lots of steady rain. A drought that lasted all summer is still lingering.

But the truck has no working wipers and with the holes in the floorboard, it gets a little too messy to cruise in the rain. So Marge sat in the garage all weekend and likely most of this week.

In fact, if it means we get decent rain, I HOPE that she stays in the garage all week.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

New headlamps

A neighbor stopped me last week to tell me that one of my headlights was burned out. Saturday I went to a brand new auto parts store to pick a set up. I would not have been surprised if they told me that they didn't stock them, but when they tried to find something on the computer, nothing showed up for trucks older than 1970.

I joked that likely the only round sealed beam headlamps on the shelf would work. Turns out I was right. We checked on a 1970 Chevrolet and the number matched. Before I installed them I double checked on the internet.

Now the new lamps are installed but I am still a dim bulb.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cruise Night

Tonight I am cruising the truck over to a nearby bar to hang out with some of my SAHD buddies. Several of these guys have cool old cars that they usually bring to our once a month night away from the wife and kids. Especially the kids.
So we shall see how excited by the truck these guys are. Maybe I'll print out a couple of pictures of the truck from when I started with it, then it looks a little more impressive.

Like this one:

Or this one:

After all, I may be rolling with 5 colors of paint, but at least I got the bathroom sink and the 30 gallons of paint and cattle feed outta there, right?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Home Depot run

This afternoon The Talker and I made our first drive in the truck over to Home Depot. On the way home with several hundred pounds of mulch in the bed, the truck rode REAL nice and smooth.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Soccer Run

This morning The Talker and I are driving the truck to his soccer game. I promised several weeks ago, so the time has come. Last night I spent some time making sure everything was as good as could be for the drive.

I hooked up the vac gauge again, to check the carburetor. Last time I had not warmed up the engine for very long. But it looks good.

I hooked up the dwell meter and the points look fine. The timing light showed that the engine is right on time, at 2 degrees BTDC.

Tires. Check. Toolbox packed. Jack stuffed under the seat. Fire extinguisher. Double check.

Yep we are good to go on our soccer adventure. Should be a great 5 mile drive.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Oh, THAT fill plug...

This evening I got the rear differential all closed up and refilled with gear oil. Last time I did this I added the oil through the vent hose at the top of the differential housing, since there isn't a fill plug on the differential or on the cover. But I could not really tell how much was fluid was in the housing, so I ended up over filling it.

Per instructions I found somewhere on the 'net, I looked all over the differential this afternoon and I FINALLY found it. Yep, there is a fill plug on the differential. Right where it is supposed to be, on the top corner of the passenger's side facing the engine in a forged, recessed area.

So I figured I might as well use it to fill the differential back up. And even though the bed is installed it is a lot easier this was than the last time I did it. Best of all, the gasket was the only part I needed to buy. Gotta love a $4 repair.

Once I got everything buttoned up, I went for a short cruise to the gas station to buy some fuel for the lawn mower. While I was driving I heard the nasty grating noise again. I still can't tell if it is engine, clutch or driveshaft noise, though.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We got there a lot quicker than planned.

When we bought the Saturn Vue, I hoped we would put 10-12 thousand miles per year on it. Now that we have had it for just over 6 months, I realize that I seriously underestimated how much use this car would get. We used up my low end mileage estimate right after we pulled out of the State Fair parking lot.

Glad we are not leasing.

Maybe we will take our next trip to Dallas in the truck. That way we can save some mileage on the Vue.

And yes, I did take a picture while I was driving 29 miles an hour. What of it?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Prepping the rear differential

I rolled the truck into the driveway this afternoon to clean up the differential a little bit. I want to get everything back in place some time next week.

I won't have time to work on the truck this weekend, but hopefully The Talker and I can cruise the truck to soccer a week from Saturday.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Disaster delayed

It looks like there is a simple explanation for the gear oil all over my truck. I overfilled it when I replaced the oil seal. And evidently the excess backed up the vent hose. It dumps right above the driveshaft, which slung the oil everywhere.

Sounds plausible. So that is the story I am sticking with.

I opened the rear differential and everything looks fine inside so that leads me to believe the vent theory.

Thanks to Racecar Man for enlightening me.

Vac Gauge Check

Before I cruised the truck yesterday, I hooked up my new vacuum gauge to the intake manifold. Pops has talked me through tuning the carburetor using the vac gauge a couple of times. I have been tweaking the carb a little at a time just based on the way the engine sounds at idle and the way the exhaust smells.

Anyways, I picked up a gauge at Harbor Freight and I got a pleasent surprise. The vacuum gauge shows that the carburetor is adjusted properly. Cool!

Too bad I only got to drive it about 10 miles.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

That did not sound good

The weather today was awesome so I took the truck out for a cruise this afternoon. Just a few miles near the house. No real destination.

I was headed back to the house and I noticed a grating sound when the truck was idling at a stop light.

When I got home I found part of the problem. The rear end fluid is no longer safely contained in the rear end. It is mostly sliming up the bottom side of the bed and frame. Gear oil is everywhere. I don't know what caused the leak. And I bet it isn't pretty inside there.

I'll save that for another day.

Edit: From taking a quick peek under the truck this morning, I am guessing the rear oil seal went out. The gear oil looks like it was slung everywhere under the truck, from the muffler back. The driveshaft looks OK and the carrier bearing looks OK.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

It's all good and round here

I walked out to the garage a few minutes ago to make sure Marge was still locked safely inside. She is.

While there I checked to see if all four tires are still holding air. They are.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rick jinxed me again.

Rick, keep your tire problems to yourself. Guess that is what I get for being a wise guy about his flat.

I headed out this afternoon to take Marge out for a drive. And what did I find in the garage? Marge had a flat.

Unless your short term memory is as bad as mine, or you are new here, you'll remember that I just put new tires on the old girl three days ago. The 15 year old tires were still holding air, but I figured a blowout was imminent.

The tire shop had a hard time getting one tire to seat properly on the rim. So I was not really surprised by the flat tire. Seems that the old tires had inner tubes in them and the tubes allow water to get trapped next to the inside wall of the wheel. The wheel rusted out next to the valve stem, so it would not hold air for long.

They swapped my new tire onto my spare rim and all is good with Marge again. Once I got the tire installed she and I went for our cruise around the neighborhood. Just because we could.

After all this, I am not really in love with the new tires. They ride nice and all, but they look too small for the truck. The guys at the shop assured me that if I went with wider tires I would have wear problems quickly. Now that I have no spare wheel, I may have to look for some wider wheels and tires when these need to be replaced.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I bet I would like this guy

A guy who enters his primered Gremlin in a car show is my kind of guy. Especially when he is cruising that sweet ride on Antique Vehicle tags!

By the way, did you know that you could get a factory built V8 Gremlin?
Well, at least you could until mid- year 1976.

Babys gots new shoes

I have only been putting it off for a year and a couple of months. This is the first mention I could find of my tire woes, from back in July of '05.

But I finally got some new rubber for the truck this afternoon. $40 a tire installed. Heck of a deal for a set of whitewall 215 35 R15's. Whitewalls out, of course. Surely not the best tires ever made, but now they make up almost 25% of the value of the truck.

Best of all, when I was asking the sales guy about sizes and such, he assured me that they would have no problems with the old truck because "we are all up to date on our tetanus shots."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Zoom-Zoom Live

In a couple of weeks I am heading up to Zoom-Zoom Live. I registered several weeks ago, but I forgot to mention it here.

More about Zoom-Zoom Live over here.

Racecar Man went last year and had a blast. He and some of his other buddies are going up again and I am tagging along. I wonder how hard it is to roll-over a Miata?

Just FYI, Atlanta Z-ZL is on September 30 and October 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Family ride night

The kids and I took the truck to the YMCA this evening. The furthest trip yet. I played it safe and The Boss Lady followed behind in her car. The boy rode over there with me and little sis got to ride back home.

Big fun and a good time. It was a pretty good payoff for the work we have done so far to our cool old ride.

Before taking the truck out this evening I checked everything over and got the carb working a little better. It has been running really rich for a long time. Today I think I got it pretty close to dialed in.

Pops wants me to put a vacuum gauge on the engine to really get the carb working properly. Before he comes back to town I'll pick up a gauge and have him help me out.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My first car show?

I was planning to enter the truck in the Texas Classic Car Show this weekend, as a "Work in Progress". But with this week's schedule and the hassles of having the Mazda in the shop, I am going pass on taking the truck this year. I'll probably go for a few hours and check out the rides. I'll post some pictures if I remember the camera.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Truck Run

I pulled the truck out of the garage Tuesday evening and went for a spin around the block. I was going to cruise a little more, but she was idling for crap and I don't know what is up with that. Haven't taken the time to look yet.

Yesterday the kids and I were driving to dinner in The Boss Lady's 626. While we were still in the neighborhood, the clutch pedal dropped to the floor and stayed there. I could not get the car back into gear.

I pulled over and was able to bring the clutch pedal back into position by hand. Seemed like it still had decent hydraulic pressure after that, but it has since done it several more times. The clutch shares fluid with the brake system and the reservoir is still full. So I don't think it is leaking fluid.

Assuming that the slave cylinder or the clutch master cylinder are going out. Either looks to be a reasonable repair. Hopefully it is just the slave cylinder. I ordered a replacement for $40. The master cylinder was $80, but I went ahead and ordered one in case.

Either way, I sure as heck hope that one or both of these solve the problem. I sure don't want to be dealing with transmission problems in this car for long.

A friend loaned us her car for a couple of days while she is out of town. Which is awesome, because we have several errands to run today and The Boss Lady would have taken the truck to work this morning. And no one really wanted that, especially the truck.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It may not be any better with one less color

I got outside this morning and put more paint on the truck. The front end is now blue. No more red primer showing. It now looks like a blue/gold/white/grey primer truck that someone half painted in their driveway with spray cans from Lowes.

But at least it doesn't look like a blue/gold/white/grey primer/red primer truck that someone half painted in their driveway with spray cans from Lowes. 'Cause that would just look silly.

But even if it does not look like a great paint job, the truck is a long way from where I started.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tire run around

I drove to a couple of tire shops yesterday to get an idea of the cost to re-shoe the truck. Looks like the cheapest I could get would be at Wal-Mart for about $175. A set of 40K Douglas'

High quality rubber, I am sure.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The meeting will come to order

The fist meeting of TruckinDaddies Truck Club was held this afternoon. Dad and I drove the truck up to Schlotzsky's Deli for some sammiches and sodas with some wannabe club members. The Talker rode home with Dad and I from lunch.

Mom, The Princess and The Boss Lady decided to ride home in the Saturn, with the air conditioning on high, instead of in the back of the truck on a 100 degree day.

Total legal round trip miles, 6. Total mechanical issues, 1. The turn signals are currently not working.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The down side

So that every guy with an old truck doesn't work the system like I do, the state gives out the world's ugliest license plate to antique vehicles. The ugly design alone would keep me from putting it on a car that was really nice.

For a little extra cash, could use original 1968 truck plates. And someday I will. But I have to find a nice set first.

For now, this plate says that my truck is old AND I am cheap. As if someone could not tell that just by looking at the truck... But it is still a good message for tailgaters, I think.

Street Legal at last

Well I took a shortcut on the way to getting the truck road ready. I was going to wait until I was sure that the truck would pass inspection before licensing it. But now we are now licensed and insured. The Antique Vehicle plate is on the truck. Since it does not need an annual inspection with antique plates, we are good to go.

Hopefully this will make it a lot easier to get some more work finished up on the truck. Now I can drive it to the tire shop 5 miles away. Without the Antique tags, I would have to remove the wheels and haul them to the shop to get new tires mounted. Then I would have to mount the new tires and wheels myself. But the tire shops around here aren't going to do it any cheaper that way. Just more hassle for me.

I still don't plan on driving the truck a ton of miles. But it will be nice to be able to haul my antique self over to Home Depot in my antique truck. Right after I get some decent tires on this thing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


The truck now has insurance. We are mostly legal now. One more stop at the county license plate office in the morning and we will be rolling in multi-colored and rusty style without having to hide from the cops.

Truck Registration

I have decided that I am going to get the truck registered as an 'Antique Vehicle'. That means that I can legally use the truck for "exhibition, club activities, parades and other functions of public interest... a vehicle in route to and from a location for routine maintenance is allowed" but I can't use the truck for "regular transportation".

So I am also using this chance to announce the formation of a new truck club. The TruckinDaddies Truck Club (TDTC) will collect no dues and hold no regularly scheduled meetings. And we will use my garage as our clubhouse for now. That way I can justify driving the truck up to Home Depot. Have to keep the clubhouse running properly and looking good, you know. Membership requirements will be decided later. But if you are checking out TruckinDaddy's blog, then you surely will qualify.

Besides, there are a lot of bugs to still work out on this old truck. So I figure that every trip I make will likely start or end at a parts store. As long as I hit Auto Zone on my way home, the truck is legal. But I still think I'll depend on our newer cars for my "regular transportation", whatever that means.

The real upside to antique registrations, no yearly inspections and $10 a year in registration fees! I bet you can't find a better deal in state government.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I gave up on the wipers and decided to lube every lubrication point I could find on the truck this afternoon. And after the outside temps cooled off enough for me to lay on the driveway, I swapped out the old Sears front shocks for some new Gabriel Guardian Shocks, $15 each + tax from Auto Zone.

I made a quick stop at the hardware store for some bolts, $5, to mount the new shocks and everything went back together easily.

I love this old truck. Swapping out shocks for $40 a set is my kind of deal. Especially since it took less than an hour and a half, including drive time to get parts!

Afterwards I took the truck for the obligatory post-repair drive. And believe me it is driving much smoother now!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I hate electrical problems!

My windshield wipers haven't worked since I got the truck. A while back I traded for some used parts and ended up with a wiper motor to swap with the original one in the truck.

So this morning I removed the cowl and dug into the wiper system. I got the old wiper motor out without any problems. I hooked the other motor up, but it is not turning either. Likely I have an electrical issue before the motor. But it is entirely possible that I have a bad second motor, too.

So I am stopping for the day. Hopefully soon I can get a buddy to help me test the motor to see if either are working.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Rear Lights

I spent a couple of minutes on the truck today. I received some lenses for the rear brake lights that I bought online. So I got them installed. Still need one reverse light cover, though.

When I opened the box there were 5 lenses. Three for brake lights and two reverse light lenses but both fit the passenger's side. That is what I get for spending $10 on used lenses instead of $40 on new ones.

I went back and check my original emails to the guy who sent the lenses. Sure enough, he told me about the reverse lights and even showed me a picture of all of the lenses. But I am a goof and I missed those pieces of info. I only remembered that he told me he was sending an extra brake lens since two of them had small cracks.

Still, I saved $30 and I can get a reverse lenses cover for a lot cheaper than that I bet.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Update - SInce it has been almost a week...

I got nothin, except driving up and down the street a few times.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Slow progress

Since getting the bed bolted back onto the truck frame, I haven't done much else to it. I have been tinkering with the old boat and outboard instead. But now that I have sufficiently broken the outboard, I now can get back to breaking stuff on my truck.

I replaced the hood hinge bolts a couple of weeks ago, hoping that a new complete set of bolts would pull the back edge of the hood back into proper alignment. I got them put in with The Boss Lady's help, but the hood was still too high by the windshield. Check out the area inside the red box on the picture below.

Last weekend I got it closer, but I gave up after about 45 minutes of alternately loosening and tightening the same bolts. Today I tinkered with the bolts and hinges for about an hour. It is almost lined up properly now. The driver's side is still a little bit high, but only about 1/4 of an inch or so. Close enough for an old farm truck.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Now hear this

You might wonder what that is in the photo above.

But if you are Rick, you surely know that it is speaker wire. Good for tying windows back onto Chevettes or in this case, I found it strapping the license plate bracket to the bed of a 1968 Chevy.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Re: Feeling Strong or Stupid?

That was the subject line of an email I sent out to the guys in the neighborhood. At least the ones that I thought might be willing to help me lift the fleetside truckbed onto the truck frame.

Waiting to meet her rear end transplant

The view from the backyard

After some discussion and measuring to see if the truck would fit back out of the gate with the bed mounted, after one of the guys reminded me that we brought the bed into the back yard on it's end panel, not flat, like I remembered, I backed the truck into the yard with 6 inches to spare. But because of the mirrors, that was only about an inch on each side when I backed up far enough to get out of the truck.

It took me several tries to get lined up on the narrow gate.

It only took us about 15 minutes with 4 guys. I backed the truck right under the bed while the other guys held it up. About 10 minutes later we were done bolting it down and ready for a quick ride to the front yard.

There was one other guy around, but he is a lawyer and for legal reasons, I don't want his picture on my blog.

By the way, The Talker skipped out on the work, but he was sure ready for the ride...

The bed floor. Not perfect, but much better than the old.

I think this is her best looking side, now.

Front Half, meet Back Half

In a couple of hours a few buddies are stopping by to help heave the fleetside bed onto the truck frame. The cost? A few beers per man. This bed has really gone through a lot of beer since I got it.

Pictures later.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Progress pictures

I am getting really close to installing the replacement bed. The driveshaft is back in. The shop even painted it black for me.

And I am wanted the cab to look a little better before I install the bed, so I pulled out the paint last night and covered a little more sheetmetal and rust with a decent looking Pacific Blue. I know it is a short term solution, but if the crappy paint job can buy me a few years without having to fork over $$$ for body work, then it is fine with me.

I still have some painting to do on the cab. But I don't really consider the replacement to be a permanent fix for the bed. One day I would like to put another stepside longbed on the truck. The replacement bed is still mainly in the original gold and white paint, but one outer bedside is primer grey. And it may stay that way while it is on my truck.

All of this is OK, since I am trying to fix this truck up to use around town, not to have a show truck. A lot of guys build good trucks that look awesome from 10 feet away, a "10 Footer". Lots old trucks look really good from further away, they might be "20 Footers". I am hoping my truck at least turns out to be a decent looking "20 Yarder"

An aside: After all of the work yesterday, I could not resist taking the truck for a spin around the block. No bed, no tail lights of any sort. But you know I was laughing all the way.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

One step closer

The driveshaft is back from the shop and already installed. After I finished the install, I got the transmission filled back up with gear oil. Is there any stinkier stuff in the whole world?

I checked all of my fluids and topped off the tires. In the next couple of days I hope to drive the truck into the backyard and not come out until there is a bed attached to the back half of the frame.

Next up, a new battery and rear brakes.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The worst $19.90 I ever did not spend

This afternoon I am picking up my driveshaft. When I called originally, they wanted $185 to tear down and rebuild the entire thing. But I decided to do it myself. After a dozen hours or so of pounding, I finally got the old universal joints out. Then I spent another few hours trying to get the carrier bearing off. After all of that, I gave up.

When they called to tell me it was finished, I found out that I had saved $19.90 by taking the u-joints out. But considering the time spent and that I still have a thumbnail that hasn't healed from hitting it with a hammer while trying to push one of the joints out, I now wish I had spent that money and saved my thumb instead.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

When I want something done right,

I hire the job out.

For the first time since I started messing around with my old truck, I am paying someone to work on it. Which is surely breaking the number one rule I set for myself when this all started. Back then I wanted to learn how to do everything to get the truck back on the road.

Now, I just want all of the pieces and parts that once made up my driveshaft to be put back together. And I gave up a while back on getting that job done myself. Technically, the shop is working on PART of the truck, not the truck itself.

I dropped the driveshaft and extra parts off today, hoping they would be back sometime before the truck or I turn 50 years old. And it SHOULD be back tomorrow afternoon. A nice surprise for my 36th birthday.

Now I can tell everyone that I really got the shaft on my birthday!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Driveway Dreaming

I hopped in the truck the other day and started it up just for grins. And it worked. Every time I hear this truck start up, usually on the first try, I just crack a huge smile.

I don't know if it is wise to run the engine without the driveshaft in place, so I kept it running for just a few minutes. Now that I have had my fix, maybe I can wait a few more months to actually leave the driveway.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Better frame pictures

In these shots you can better see the progress I made on the frame last weekend.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I recently have gotten tired of looking at the rusty truck frame in the driveway. So today I rednecked a frame paint job. Thanks to a half dozen cans of primer for rusty metal and a bunch of Rustoleum flat black spay paint, I got a half-assed paint job on the truck frame. I'll throw another can or two at it before I declare it DONE.

Does it look great? No. Does it look better? Yep. Does it look like it was done with a $20 budget in one afternoon? Indubitably.

But I think it looks better. And this was never planned to be a big budget restoration, just an effort at slowing down any further rot and deterioration.

Will it work? Don't know. Ask me in another 40 years and we will know for sure.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Easiest repair ever?

I have given up on the driveshaft. It is going to a driveshaft shop or a machine shop to get a new carrier bearing and universal joints. I took back the parts I bought, minus one u-joint that I think I damaged, and got a refund.

This week my self imposed deadline will pass. I wanted to have the truck road worthy to drive in the neighborhood July 4th parade. Maybe next year.

I am still trying to make some progress on the truck this summer, so I picked up a set of rear shocks and new mounting hardware this afternoon. Within 20 minutes of getting home with the parts I was putting tools away. Hopefully I installed them right, 'cause I know I installed them quick.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Drive shaft work

I finally got the old universal joints out of the drive shaft. Yesterday I bought the new joints and a new carrier bearing, but now I just have to figure out how the heck all of this stuff goes back together.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Tractor Trading

The tractor is on it's way to it's new home. It was hot out there and getting everything loaded took a lot longer than I thought it would. Luckily, the kids were not with me, or it would have taken even longer.

A neighbor offered to watch the kids while Uncle Lemon, Pops and I went out to load the tractor. They played themselves stupid with the neighbor's kids while I was out having a heatstroke and getting Pops a good deal.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tractor Rescue

I haven't taken any time to work on the truck in the last couple of weeks. Instead I have been trying to clean up my garage and get everything reorganized out there.

Today I get to do a little bit of wrenching, but not on the truck. Instead I am heading out to start the rescue of a 30 year old tractor. Pops is buying a 1976 Kubota L225 from my Uncle Lemon. So today I am going out to get the battery installed and I am going to remove the front wheels so that we can replace the dry rotted tires.

Sometime next week Pops, Lemon and I will be out there hopefully driving the tractor onto a trailer for it's 200 mile trip to the coast.

The best part of this deal, I get to play with the old thing and don't have to spend any money on it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Finished the rear differential

Yesterday afternoon I got a new rear pinion oil seal in place. This morning I noticed no leaks on the driveway. Hopefully that trend will continue once the driveshaft is in place and the truck moves under it's own power again.

The kids and I are off this morning to dump the oil that I drained from the transmission and rear differential. Since the drain pan got rained on, the oil has to go across town to the hazardous waste drop off site.

Since this place is across town and only open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I am gathering every unused chemical I can find in the house. So far we are still short of the 30 gallon limit individuals can drop off.

If the steel scraps from the stepside bed will fit in the trunk, we will stop on the way and drop them off at a recycling center

Friday, May 26, 2006

Not much truck time

Between dealing with insurance adjusters and contractors to get our new roof installed and dealing with insurance to get the wife's car totaled out, I have not touched the truck this week.

I am hoping to clean up a little bit more of the rear frame on Saturday. And today I have called around to find a deal on having the u joints replaced in the driveshaft. Best I have found is $185 for all new joints, the carrier bearing replaced and the whole thing balanced. A lot more than I expected.

So I may go back to the original plan and try to remove them myself.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Or so I thought

Not Done.

This morning, while waiting for the insurance guy to give The Boss Lady's car the once over, I noticed the rear differential oil seal is leaking again. I removed everything and noticed that I dented it when I was installing it yesterday. Now it is not sealing the oil.

One of these days I'll install another oil seal. Hopefully for the last time in a long time.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


The new rear oil seal is installed, after a neighbor took pity on me and brought out his impact wrench. I tried for half an hour to get the pinion nut off by hand, so that I could get to the oil seal.

5 minutes with the impact wrench, and I was ready to install the new seal that I bought at AutoZone a while back. Too bad it was the wrong part. Since I had to run over anyways, I picked up the rear differential gasket, so that I could close everything up on the rear end.

I may tackle the tranny oil seal this afternoon. Then I have to remove and reinstall the u-joints in the driveshaft and install a new carrier bearing. After getting the driveshaft back in place, I'll need to refill the transmission fluid and reattach the speedometer cable.

If I can get these leaks stopped, then I'll only have the oil pan dripping on the driveway.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Disassembly day

I don't really know why, but I decided to start removing parts from the truck this afternoon.

The driveshaft needed to come out so that I could replace oil seals in the rear differential and the transmission. So I drained the tranny and the rear end. By the way, gear oil stinks to high hell and 38 year old gear oil will make you lose your lunch.

The driveshaft came out easily. The retainers for the u-joints came out with a little effort, but the u-joints won't budge. Time to make friends with someone who owns a hydraulic press.

Before I replace the driveshaft, I want to replace the oil seals and all of the u-joints and the carrier bearing that supports the joint between the two sections. But I can't remove the old carrier bearing from the driveshaft until I get the u-joints out.

I also decided to try to remove the rear shocks, since everything is easily accessible with the bed off. With a lot of force, some kicking of the socket handle for added leverage and a little bit cussing, the bolts finally broke free and I got the old shocks removed.

Turns out the shocks are one of the few non original mechanical pieces I have found on the truck. I guess grandpa had a set of shocks put on at Sears at some point many years ago. They are so rusty that I just assumed they were original to the truck.

After several hours in the driveway, I had an impressive pile of parts removed from the truck. Now I just have to get it all back together before I forget where this stuff goes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Not bad for a couple of hours

The wood slats from the bed are in the neighbor's trash, thanks to a bitter divorce that has left the house uninhabited and the trash can unguarded. The strips that held down the wood floor, the end that held the tailgate, the bedsides and lots of little scraps are destined for the metal recycler and the tailgate, steps, the behemoth of a bumper, the front bed panel and the support bars underneath the bed are all stored nicely in the shed.

I think the bedsides are really trashed, so I am just going to cut the fenders off of them. Once I get that done, the stepside bed will be gone like a six pack on prom night.

Actually, all of the sheet metal would probably head to the recycler, but I just can't toss it yet. When I rebuild the step bed, maybe I'll be able to reuse something. The pack rat in me is strong.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What is this?

The completion of modern art sculpture? Or the beginning of a great classic truck parts collection?

Whatever it is, The Boss Lady loves having it in her side yard...

Can a guy really

remove a truck bed from the frame without help?  And without a lift or shop crane?

A Stay at Home Dad can, IF the kids will play in the driveway for a couple of hours.  And he has enough 2x4s to pry that bad boy off.

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Now I just have to drag the bed carcass into the backyard before the neighbors think I am opening a neighborhood junk yard.

Hanging on by a thread

There is only one @#*(&@ bolt holding the truck bed on. I circled it on the picture. I thought I had them all broken off, but when I tried to raise the bed off of the frame, I found the bonus bolt. Guess I'll try to tackle it later today.

Once I get that bolt off, I have a plan. I am going to park the truck at the front of the driveway, on a steep hill. Then I'll get a nice long 4x4 post under the bed to use as a lever. Hopefully then the hill will help me get the old bed right off of the frame. The good news is that the stepside bed weighs a lot less than the other one.

Which is not a big surprise, since almost all of the wood is gone and a lot of the steel is now dust in the street.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Why do you want to swap the truck bed out?

One of my buddies asked me that yesterday. And here is my answer.

Here is the first picture of the new bed. Sorry it is upside down, but that thing is heavy and I am not touching it again until it is ready to install on the truck.

After church, and before the rain started, I got three of the eight bolts off that hold the stepside bed to the frame. Only three of the bolts are actually holding anything, but I still have to remove them all to get the bed off.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Upside down and sideways

Sitting on the top rail of the trailer.

No pictures, because by the time we got that big bitch home, it was 95 degrees and we were worn out from wrestling the 400 pound box.

Turns out the new bed is much better shape than I imagined. It is the complete bed from a 1968 longbed, fleetside anniversary edition truck. I felt a little guilty taking fairly rare pieces off of a cool old truck until I remembered that I was getting it for the cost of the rental trailer and three cases of beer.

Pictures tomorrow.

The question of the day...

How well do you think a truck bed that is a tad over 8 feet long will ride in a trailer that is a tad under eight feet long?

Should be a fun ride. Glad I won't be in the car behind the trailer.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A family affair

The entire family got some truck time this afternoon. The Boss Lady finished painting the rear bumper lettering for me while the kids played in the truck. Later this evening we were playing at the neighbor's house and the kids hung out at the truck, checking out everything under the hood. I removed the air filter so they could look into the carburetor and see the butterfly valve open. Then they got to watch the steering linkage and shifting linkages while I sat in the cab and moved everything around.

Good times.

We made it home before another storm hit this evening. Just made it into the garage with the new car before it started pouring again.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fuel Pump #3

I swapped out the fuel pump this afternoon. This is the third one in a year. Pretty bad, since the truck has moved only 250 miles in that year. AND that counts the 50 miles it rode on a trailer to get here!

Not a huge deal, since the pump has a lifetime warranty. And with the practice, I can now install a fuel pump in less than 15 minutes. But now that I think about it, I might have been swapping out the wrong parts. But since the pump was off and it is under warranty, I switched it for a new one.

There was gas in the oil pan. I noticed that the level on the dipstick was really high this morning and sure enough, I could smell gas in the oil. Both signs of a bad fuel pump. But the truck was running fine before the swap. So I am thinking that maybe the fuel is getting to the oil pan another way. But that is where my mechanical knowledge ends.

I don't know what other ways it could be getting into the oil. Do you?

Or have I just gotten really unlucky with the fuel pumps from Auto Zone. I am sure they are not the greatest parts, but who can pass on a $15 part with a lifetime warranty?

Anyways, after swapping the pump and changing the oil and filter, we were back on the road this afternoon. Until I ran out of gas. But again, I was lucky. It happened at the end of the driveway.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Installation day

Almost everything I bought at the swap meet is installed. The mirrors will have to wait until I have time to bust the rusty screws loose on the doors. Almost everything else is in place, but the headlight switch and windshield wiper switches did not correct the problems with those systems. I have a spare motor for the wipers that I might try to install sometime soon. The headlight/dashlights are likely a wiring issue that I'll deal with later.

The door handles and window cranks went on easily after I cleaned them up a bit. While I was working on them I pulled the door panels to install the escutcheons. My doors are looking quiet spiffy now. And the side marker reflectors really look great, too.

I'll have to find some time to install the fuel filler grommet. I am not sure if I have to remove the gas tank or not.

After all that I installed a new coil and new spark plugs. The truck is running like a champ now. After a neighborhood cruise, I washed the truck so that everyone will notice the spiffy new parts.

Swap Meet, The Final Chapter

While I was at The Pate Swap Meet this weekend, trying to score some good deals for the truck, I ended up getting a better deal than I even imagined. But it did not happen at the swap meet.

Friday night I checked the 67-72 Chevy truck forums and found a guy here in town who had a complete longbed to get rid of. I thought about it until this afternoon and decided to email him when we got home. No one else wanted the bed, so I'll be going to pick it up this coming weekend.

I'll have to do some work on the truck to make this bed work, since it is a fleetside and my truck is a stepside. But from what I have read, it is not too hard to swap the two out.

The fleetside is probably not a permanent solution for my truck. I really like the original look of the truck. But this will let me decide what I want to do about the long/step bed. I either need to replace it with new reproduction parts at a cost of about 2 grand or I need to find a decent longbed stepside that would not need too much repair. Once in a while they come up for sell for around $500. The most likely option though is that I'll start gathering the parts at swap meets and junkyards to build another long/step bed. I can probably do this a lot cheaper, but it will take a lot more time and effort.

So the long/fleetside will buy me some time either way. Best of all, it has a decent floor, so I'll actually be able to use the truck once I get the other bed installed.

And double best of all, the price is right, 2 cases of Shiner Bock Beer.

Now THAT is a swap.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Swap Meet, Day 2

Dad and I hit the swap meet this morning until we finally got fed up with the rain and headed home by way of Cabela's. While at the swap, I found inner door handles, window cranks and door mirrors all for $25, bargained down from $30. I also got a free GMC horn button for a 69-72 style black steering wheel in the deal.

I don't have a GMC or a 69-72 style steering wheel and my wheel is blue anyways. But I think Rick might have a black steering wheel that needs a horn cap. And if he doesn't I'll just save it to sell at the swap next year.

Maybe I can get my $25 back on it.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Swap Meet, Day 1

I made it to the Pate swap meet this morning. The rainy weather followed pretty quickly, so I left before 2pm. While I was there I found a few good deals.

I hit a couple of commercial vendors for some electrical stuff. Fist, I bought a replacement for the gas tank filler grommet that I trashed when I pulled the gas tank out to clean it. $5. I bought a windshield wiper switch to replace the one I busted when trying to decide if it could be disassembled and cleaned up. It couldn't. $35.

I also picked up a headlight switch. $15. Mine works, but the dash lights quit a while ago. I am hoping a new switch will fix that. I bought a set of door escutcheons for less than $10. They go behind the door handles and replace some I broke a while back.

All of that stuff was new, but I still saved some $$$, since I did not have to pay for shipping. The only really good deal I found was a set of side marker lights, complete and in great shape off of a 1969 Blazer. They will be replacing the ones on the truck that are chipped and broken. $10.

I'll be heading back out Saturday, to look for a used fuel sender and some other small stuff. Saturday I'll take more Dr Peppers, too. They only sell Cokes out there. 20 ounce bottles, $3. Ouch.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Road Trip!

I haven't had any real time to work on the truck in the last couple of weeks. I drove it down to the far end of the street and back Saturday morning. Nothing else in a long time.

I am getting my shopping list together for the Pate Swap Meet. Hopefully I'll get to spend a couple of days looking for some body panels and lots of little stuff for the truck. If someone happens to make me a good deal on a cab, then my weekend will be made!

10 days to go...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Brakes are for suckers

I spent most of Sunday afternoon trying to get the truck closer to passing the state inspection. The current list is very short:

Parking brake
Windshield wipers
Insurance and license plates

The parking brake and wipers should be functional for the truck to pass. Neither work right now. And I'm waiting until I get everything close enough before I start the insurance and get the plates. I could probably find some one to pass the truck right now, but I'll hold off for a while longer.

Anyways, the truck is running great now. After not finding any better spark plugs than the ones I already have installed, I cleaned them again and got the timing reset. I tried to tweak the carb a little bit. It is idling smoother than ever and it sounds good, too. The truck smells better when it is running and it does not need the choke closed off to get started now. I think it has been running really rich. Now the carb is finally right on.

I tried to get the parking brake to engage, but I think the cables must be too stretched out. I tightened the cables compeletely and no dice. I tightened the rear shoes and it helped a little. So I tightened the shoes a lot. Now they are too tight and the parking brake isn't catching at all.

When I get a chance I'll take the rear wheels off again (for the fourth time this week) and loosen the rear shoes a little bit. Maybe I'll get lucky with the emergency brake, too.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Everybody needs to rest, sometime

Since getting the truck brakes functional, I guess the truck has decided it likes being stopped.

I have not bee able to get her running for more than a couple of minutes in the past week. I managed to get it out of the street and back into the driveway. After that, no dice.

I have not had time to even peek under the hood, so no idea what is wrong.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Brake work

I finally bought the neccesary hoses to bleed the brakes. $5 for a one man brake bleeding kit at Harbor Freight. What could go wrong? Actually, everything went fine. I got the brakes bled within 15 minutes. And now I can stop on a quarter.

Which is pretty good for a 3500 pound truck without power brakes.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

One year later

The truck has been at our house for one year. My goal was to have it legal by this time. We still have a few things to do to get there, but all in all, it has been a good year.

Here is a post from one year ago:

Our's is the 5th house on the left, with the cool old Chevy truck in the driveway

Lots of changes since then. Most notably, only one child is in diapers now.

I would go snap a picture, but it is butt cold and windy out there, so just use your imagination.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Non-truck week

The Boss Lady was off work this week, so I haven't played with my truck in a while.

Last Sunday I did a little more painting. In the center of the grill there are two black bars. They are not real noticeable, but I ground off as much surface rust as I could and painted them black again. I took some photos, but the difference does not really show up. Believe me, it looks good on the truck.

After that, I only moved the truck out of the garage to make room for our new Saturn Vue, a long awaited replacement for the 2000 Ford Windstar.

Hopefully we can limit the miles we put on the Vue and since the kids and I don't often drive as much as the wife, I get to drive the new car.

Feeling a little guilty about getting a new car without having a job, I washed and waxed The Boss Lady's 11 year old car this afternoon. Tonight the boy and I took it to the carwash to get it vacuumed out. Monday the wife and I will both be cruising clean cars.

Mine is just a lot prettier.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Truck day

We are having a party here for fifteen couples and their kids this evening. So I am avoiding the house and playing trucks.

This morning I ground as much rust off of the front bumper as I could. I did not deal with the big dent on the driver's side. Or any of the other dings. That will have to wait for some real body work. Once sanded, I hit it with a couple of coats of red primer and followed that with a few coats of white industrial enamel. After this stuff dries, it should be pretty tough.

While I was at it, I threw a coat of paint on the rear bumper, too. It is in pretty rough shape, so I did not spend much time prepping it for paint. It got a couple of coats of the same cheap silver spay paint that is on the wheels. I am going to dress it up a little bit, though. I am going to get some red paint and paint in the name of the dealership that is stamped into the bumper.

All in all, I think it looks pretty good. If the white looks OK when it dries, I'll probably use this same paint on the white parts of the grill.

By the way, this is not the mod I blogged about in the last entry. That is a replacement oil pan that I will install sometime later, since the truck has quit leaking oil. For now.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A practice in plagarism

This morning I received the next truck mod. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Not bad for $11

UPS dropped off my tachometer this morning along with the new satellite receiver. Of course, TV won out, and I waited until the wife got home to work on the truck. I bought the tach for $11 through Ebay.

It took me about an hour to hook up the tach. The hardest part was running a wire through the firewall to the ignition coil. I ran it through the same grommet where the oil pressure tubing runs. Hopefully that won't cause a problem.

My gauge cluster lights are not working right now. I suspect that the dimmer switch is bad. The tach has a light that should be tied to the gauge lights. Instead I ran the tach power and light power to an ignition switched tab on the fuse box. All this really means is that for now, if the truck is running, the tach is lit up. Someday I'll change that.

All in all I think it looks dandy. By the way, My truck is idling at 900 RPMs. It sounds good, but I think that might be a little fast.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Seven concerned citizens

I am up to seven people asking me where the truck has gone, now that it is parked in the garage. One is a neighbor from our block. He drove by and asked while we were riding bikes in our gravel free driveway this morning. Another neighbor stopped and asked while on her morning walk a few minutes later. A few days ago one of our friends asked The Boss Lady about it.

And finally, this morning, while they were making their rounds, the recycling truck drivers stopped and asked. An hour later the yard waste truck driver stopped at the curb and yelled his inquiry. "Where that cool old truck go?"

Sure is nice to have neighbors who care!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Doing what trucks do

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I used the truck to pull a trailer with a couple of wheelbarrows full of gravel to a neighbor's house a couple of blocks away. This is the first real work this truck has done in 13 years.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tachometer deal

I have wanted to put a tachometer on the truck since getting it running. The stock tachs are evidently not very accurate and they are pricey to add. Since my truck is a rusty beater, I could not see dropping $400 on a new dash cluster to add a stock tach.

I started shopping for after market tachs last week. This one was the one I came closest to buying. But I started wondering if I could get it cheaper than $30 at Auto Zone. Yesterday I bought a used one on Ebay for $5 plus $6 shipping. We will see how good it is. I figure if it is too beat up to install, not bloody likely, then I can rig it up to use as a diagnostic tool for tune ups.

I was feeling good about the truck and getting the leaks mostly stopped, so I moved it into the garage this weekend. I am pretty sure last night was the first time in 38 years that the truck stayed in a garage.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A blast and a goof

I got brave this weekend. I cleaned out enough of the garage to pull the truck in, so that I could keep working through the cold rainy weather. I got a new tool this weekend, a pneumatic spark plug cleaner. Since It was cheaper than a new set of plugs, and my dirty plugs only have a hundred miles or so on them, it was worth the try.

I had the plugs out to run a compression test, so it should have been easily done. But I almost killed the battery while cranking the engine, so I had to reinstall the plugs to get the truck out of the garage. After that, I pulled them once again and ran the spark plugs through the cleaner. I am impressed. The nice clean plugs were installed while I stood out in the cold drizzle.

When I first pulled the truck into the garage, I decided to check the oil. It showed a little low on the dipstick, so I added some. Still low. Add more. Then it hits me. Since the truck is half outside the garage, it is sitting at a pretty steep angle. Sure enough, when I back out into the almost level driveway, I am way too full.

The way the engine is designed, I was able to remove the oil filter and drain some of the oil out of it. I did this a couple of times, until the dipstick showed the proper level. Crisis averted.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Almost road ready

After my last post, I started wondering what else I need to get done before getting the truck inspected. My list is growing very short. And a lot cheaper than when I started.

Of all the items on the state list, I still need to get the windshield wipers working and I need to get the parking brake adjusted properly. I think the wipers need a new switch that costs about $30 and the brakes need to be bled again and re adjusted

There will still be a lot of work to do after these things are done, but I'll at least be able to take my hard work out on the road.

Friday, February 17, 2006

One step closer to legal

This afternoon I finally got around to installing a lamp for the rear license plate. Before the truck can pass inspection, this had to be done. Good easy repair, too. I bought a replacement light assembly for about $7 at Autozone. There was only one wire to hook up.

The rear wiring is already hacked up pretty bad from when a trailer light connection was added years ago. The hardest part was figuring out which wire to connect to. There is a brown wire, a dark green wire and a black wire (which is the one I needed) along with a couple of other wires back there. Of course the wires were hard to tell apart because they were all covered in lots of red dirt, like everything else under the truck once was.

It only took me a few minutes to get everything installed and working properly. Ain't success sweet?

By the way, 30 hours since last oil leak!

Truck Ride!

Adapted from an email I sent last night...

I found a solution (for now) to the oil leak. I ended up putting the original plug back in with a little bit of RTV super black for valve covers around the drain hole. It is not dripping oil, for now. Of course it is losing tranny fluid and rear diff fluid still, but we will deal with one drip at a time.

I got the plugs back in after I cleaned them a little more. They were really oil fouled. Several months ago I forgot about changing the oil after the fuel pump went bad. So I had a lot of gas in the oil. Hopefully that is why the plugs were so gunky. Yesterday I finally got that oil change finished up. I checked out the points, cap and rotor and all looked fine. After I reset the timing, she is running well. The son even got to take a truck ride late last night.

The next sunny day that I have some free time, I will pull the plugs and do compression test. Or maybe I'll get brave and clear out some garage space while the weather in nasty this weekend. Yeah, right.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

No run, no fun

Last weekend I promised to take The Talker for a ride in the truck. We did not make it out of the driveway. The truck started OK, but it was idling like crap.

It died and I could not get it restarted. Finally killed the battery, cranking away on it. Took the batter to get charged and tested and the starter to get tested, too. Both checked out fine.

The points look OK. The cap and rotor and plug wires all look fine. I tweaked the timing a little, but no dice. Today I pulled the plugs and cleaned them. They were all really oily and wet. After I reinstalled the plugs and messed with the timing a little more, we were able to start the truck and back it further into the driveway. I think this means that oil is seeping into parts of the engine where it should not be.

Anyways, not much of a ride for the boy, but he liked it, since he got to ride the whole way in the bed of the truck! By himself. All 15 feet.

Now I am seriously thinking that the engine needs a rebuild before I hassle with getting the truck registered.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Oil dump

Last week it rained. And when it rained I had two partially full oil change pans sitting under the truck. But of them filled up with rainwater. And then I had a huge mess to clean up.

I ended up with about 30 quarts of water and oil mixed together. And you can't dump that mess at the local oil recycling center. So the kids and I went down to the hazardous waste drop off site yesterday.

I poured the oily mess into two 5 gallon buckets, hoping that it would not slosh out while we were driving. Just in case, I set the buckets in big plastic bins and wrapped the whole mess in big trash bags. After I threw in a couple of rags, just in case, we were off.

What a pain to haul a mess like this in a minivan. I can't wait to have a truck to carry junk like this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sitting still

I have not seen any evidence of fuel leaking in the past week. I have left the seat out of the truck, so that I could keep a close eye on my repair job. Hopefully this weekend I'll have some time to play trucks.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Fuel issues

The gas tank was leaking a little bit since I filled it up. I thought it was a slow leak. Which might not be a huge deal, if the gas tank were not right behind the seat, in the cab. I finally got around to taking the seat out and getting a closer look. And I was surprised to find A LOT of gas on the floor. Turns out there was a pretty good leak at the connection to the fuel sender. After I tried reinstalling the fuel lines at the sender, the leak went away.

Until I killed the ignition. Then the flood started again. I found a crack in the brass connector on the fuel sender. I'll be needing another sender, soon.

But for now I removed the fitting and used a couple of inches of rubber hose to make the connection. No more leak, but I won't feel too safe with it like this for long.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Stalled Out

I could not get the truck to fire up yesterday. It was parked for a few days, out on the street, and I just wanted to move it to the driveway.

I changed the fuel filter and it still did not want to start. Once it did, it installed and idled really rough for a long time. But once I finally got it back in the driveway, it seems to be starting fine.

I broke open the fuel filter to see how dirty it really was, and it did not seem to be too clogged. The only other thought I had is that the truck was parked on a hill for several days. And it sits pretty level in the driveway. I don't know if the incline affected the fuel flow or not.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A close call

Last night I moved the truck back into the driveway. Good thing, because I saw the neighborhood parking control officer, cruising the street this morning. He tagged a neighbor's car, which means that someone complained about that car being parked too long on the street. Which I bet means that they complained about the truck, too.

But the cop did not come into our driveway to tag my truck. Good for him. He really did not want that much hassle out of me.

But the big problem is that we obviously have a neighbor who is calling in complaints if someone parks for more than a day or two. I assume it is either Wonder Woman or a guy who lives up the hill, but he has a back gate onto our street.