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.