Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Column Swap, part 1

On Christmas eve I spent several hours out in the garage. I was hoping to get the entire steering column removed, so that I could have a head start when I bring the new column home tomorrow. I probably won't get the new one put in right away, but at least I am ready when I get to it.

This is the turn signal switch that started all of my troubles.
I wanted to swap it out with a $25 part from Auto Zone. So much for this budget repair...

The bunged up threads at the tip of this steering rod are the source of all of my column problems. I can't mount the steering wheel with them like that. So the swap was in order.

Is that what your dash looks like after you rip the column out of your truck? There is a method to my madness, but it would take too long to explain...

Some where in that picture is my nice pretty steering wheel that I spent hours cleaning and now I won't be using. Can you say garage wall art?

There should be a steering shaft and transmission linkages in that picture,
but they are attached to the now missing column.

Where do you keep your column? I keep mine beside the driver's side front wheel.
Thanks for asking.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Parts ordered

I found a complete steering column from a 1968 truck for sale online. I don't really need the whole thing, but it is complete and looks to be in great shape. Plus it is costing me $7 more to have this nice looking part shipped to my door than the only other one I found. That column was pretty junky looking and I would need to make a 4 hour round trip drive to pick it up.

$7 well spent, I think.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Turn signal success - Ultimate failure

I wanted to pull the steering wheel off this morning, to get ready for a swap of the turn signal/hazard signal switch. I assumed that I would have to order the switch, but my local Auto Zone had one in stock.

I picked up the switch and got everything disassembled and cleaned up fairly quickly. It took a while to get the switch positioned properly and to get the wiring run properly through the steering column, but those were the biggest hassles. Up to that point.

When I was ready to reinstall the steering wheel, I noticed that the threads on the column were totally wrecked. I don't know if I trashed them with the wheel puller, or as I was removing the retaining nut. Either way, there is no repairing them, now.

So in the end, I replaced the turn signal switch. but now I can't install the steering wheel until I swap out the steering shaft.

Have I ever told you how much I love working on 40 year old metal?

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Rebirth of Marge, Post 1

Since parking the truck and suspending the insurance coverage, I have not spent any real time out in the garage until tonight. Even that was more planning for the coming work than anything.

I am trying to decide if I should put Marge up on jack stands to get the tires off of the ground. I don't want the tires to get flat-spotted while she is just sitting in the garage, but I want to make things as safe as possible out there, too. As of tonight she still sits on her tires.

I started pulling the steering wheel off tonight. Then I remembered that I do not own a wheel pulling tool. Racecar Man has one and I have borrowed it several times. Guess once more won't hurt. The wheel has to come off so I can install a new turn signal/ hazard signal set-up. While I am in there I want to get everything cleaned up really well, too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The first stoppage is the hardest

I suspended Marge's insurance a few days back. Which means she can no longer venture out onto the streets. I know it is going to take me a few months to get everything fixed properly, (front and rear brakes, emergency brake system, front steering, windshield wiper motor, turn signals and hazard flashers, door windows - all need attention). Most of this stuff is original equipment and simply worn out. After all of this, she will still look like hell, but should be safer to drive around town.

Now we are not spending the money to keep her insured. But of course, the insurance company has figured out a way to keep a little of the $ for themselves. Instead of a couple of hundred bucks a year to keep liability insurance on the truck in case I hit someone, the company is making me keep a theft and fire policy on Marge, since she will be stored in our attached garage. $18 a year for worthless coverage with a 1K deductible. Of course, if the house burns down, Marge will be the last thing I am worrying about.

I could have canceled the insurance outright. But when I signed up the truck originally the company had a hard time getting all of the paperwork correct. Because I am sure you want to know, modern cars and trucks have a standardized format for ID numbers. Cars and trucks this old were not standardized, each manufacturer set up their own format. Our insurance company's computer REALLY wanted the truck's ID number to match up to the current standard.

Now that the truck is listed properly, I really don't want to hassle with that again. I guess it is worth $18 a year to skip that fun. Anyways, I am hoping that Marge is back up to speed by Spring Break, but $$$ may keep it from happening until summer. My rough estimate shows that I need about $1000 in parts to get all of this done.

The first stoppage is the hardest

I suspended Marge's insurance a few days back. Which means she can no longer venture out onto the streets. I put it off for a few days, but I know it is going to take me a few months to get everything fixed properly, (front and rear brakes, emergency brake system, front steering, windshield wiper motor, turn signals and hazard flashers, door windows - all need attention). Most of this equipment is original equipment. So after all of this, she will still look like hell, but should be safer to drive around town.

Now we are not spending the money to keep her insured. But of course, the insurance company has figured out a way to keep a little of the $ for themselves. Instead of a couple of hundred bucks a year to keep liability insurance on the truck in case I hit someone, the company is making me keep a theft and fire policy on Marge, since she will be stored in the garage. $18 a year for worthless coverage with a 1K deductible.

Of course, if the house burns down, Marge will sadly be the last thing I am worrying about.

I could have canceled the insurance outright. But when I signed up the truck originally the company had a hard time getting all of the paperwork correct. Because I am sure you want to know, modern cars and trucks have a standardized format for ID numbers. Cars and trucks this old did not have a standard format or number of digits in the ID number, each manufacturer set up their own format. And our company's computer REALLY wanted the truck's ID number to match up to the current standard.

Now that the truck is listed properly, I really don't want to hassle with that again. I guess it is worth $18 a year to skip that fun. Anyways, I am hoping that Marge is back up to speed by Spring Break, but $$$ may keep it from happening until summer. My rough estimate shows that I need about $1000 in parts to get all of this done.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Her time has come

Thursday I used Marge to haul a bunch of tools and my tiller to The Talker's school for a Gardening Committee re-do of the front flower beds. On the way over I realized that I can no longer put off the brake system.

Some jerk cut in front of me to pull into the post office. He almost ended up with Marge's 40 year old grill in his rear bumper. I did not stop in time, it just really lucky that he was carrying enough speed to get the heck outta the way before impact. Instead, Marge slid on through the impact zone.

So with 46011 miles on her, Marge is going off the road for a while. New brakes all around and front steering/suspension are all on the list for this round of repairs. No body work this time. Can't afford to make a pretty lady out of her yet.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Princess rides again

The Princess and I drove Marge out to the north side of town this morning to pick up some barrels to build our rainwater collection system. While we were on the road Marge hit 46,000 miles. Good job, old lady.

39 years and 1 month / 46005 miles = 98.1 miles a month or 1177.2 miles a year on average. But she manages to do a lot less than that now a days.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Yesterday I excavated my garage and found a 1968 Chevrolet truck underneath a pile of toys and camping gear.

It seems like I had almost forgotten about Marge. So she and I have been bonding for the past 2 days. After giving the once over and checking fluids, we cruised the neighborhood for a while on Saturday morning. Another few miles Saturday evening and a run to church this morning have topped off the weekend.

I am sure there are things I NEED to be doing, but none of them make me smile like riding around the 'hood in my beat up old Chevy.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Origin of Marge

This is the dealership where my grandfather bought Marge back on September 30, 1968. I stopped right across the street to gas up The VW last week.

I can just imagine her sitting right there out front, where that $16K white work truck sits now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I should not have blogged that

I guess the VW did not like being mentioned in the truck blog. She overheated yesterday. Right after we spent $180 to get the windows tinted. This morning I was able to drive the VW to the shop. I'll let them figure out if it is a thermostat problem, a water pump issue or something else.

The shop service writer ran us home after dropping off the VW. Then The Princess and I pulled out the truck to go for the all important Krispy Kreme run. Boo for broken cars, but Yeah! for a day off and a chance to cruise in the truck.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

No truckin', but lots of repair time

Lately I have been spending my tool-time on the wife's VW Beetle. Last week I installed rear shocks. Turned out to take me almost a week to get it done, since I had to wait for parts. But that just gave me more time to try to plan out the repair.

Thanks to the old truck, I was not intimidated by the repair at all. After all, I have replaced all of the shocks on it, and it still rolls down the street smooth enough.

Thanks to lots of info from the 'net and Racecar Man's tools, which I still have in my garage, the repair went easy enough. Tonight the VW started overheating. Once I read up on the internet, it looks to be a bad water pump. But I think I am leaving this repair to the pros.

That maybe the most useful part of working on the 68 Chevy. I have started learning when it is OK to be intimidated by a repair and to let someone else handle it.

Next up for the truck, new front steering/suspension components and brakes. I want to replace all of the ball joints and such ASAP to try to quiet the creaking and groaning coming from the front end with every left turn.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Just because

Took the truck out for a ride tonight.

No place to go. No route planned. Nothing but a 3/4 tank of gas and me cruising my old truck.

We hit the hills around the neighborhood and had a nice cruise. Not too long, though. Marge does only get 10-12 mpg. Anyways, good times!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Putting the truck to use

I have not posted here all month. I have not needed to do any work to the truck in that time, so nothing interesting hap been going on with Marge.

Except that she was worked harder in July than in any month during her last 15 years. I ran to Lowes a few times to pick up a clothes dryer. first trip it wasn't in stock, so I had to return later.

We also made a few trips to the vet. I love having a truck to haul the dog. He has really long hair that is impossible to get out of my car's carpet. So I set up his crate, strapped everything down tight and hauled him back and forth in the bed of the truck. No hair in my new car!

Somewhere around here is a picture of me hauling our treadmill off to the Salvation Army. The treadmill hadn't bee used in at least a year. Once again, nice to have a truck. I could never have hauled that thing in my car.

The truck made a couple of passes around the neighborhood for junkin' season, but I never picked anything up while I was out in it. With all the rain we have gotten lately, most of my junkin' was done in the Saturn.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Her first night out

I have been wanting to drive the truck up to Car Night, an informal gathering of cars, but it just never seems to work out. This afternoon I cleaned her up a little and Marge finally made a trip to Car Night.

I had the only 67-72 Chevy or GMC Truck there, but I did not have the oldest truck in attendance, a couple had brought their 1920s Ford truck. Lots of cool rides tonight.

Marge sat at the end of Chevy row. A 1970 z28, a 70s 'Vette and a 69 Camaro were lucky enough to hang out with us.

This 1939 Chevy was the coolest car out tonight. The guy's son did all of the paint and most of the bodywork at home in his garage. Pretty good for his first car project. There is some hope for me, still.

Sitting next to the 39 was an '06 Viper. Somehow he snuck onto Chevy Row. Just jealous, I guess. And here are is a 32 Ford that was driven in from California last winter.

Now that the dry hot days of summer are here, hopefully Marge and I will be out there again next weekend.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Taking one for the team

I hoped to get the yard mowed and edged tonight, so I had to hide the new Saturn from flying debris. Marge had to make a quick trip out of the garage and onto the street, so that the brand new ride could rest in the garage.

I was hoping to get the Saturn washed after I finished in the yard, but thanks to a pain in the butt weed-eater, I ran out of day light. Since it will likely rain tonight, I swapped the Saturn and the truck out once again before I finished up. No sense in getting dings in the new car, but since the windows still don't close on the truck, she gets to spend the rainy night in the garage.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Gimme a brake

Back when I swapped out the brake drums, everything seemed to go fairly straight forward. But I kept hearing a nasty grind once in a while when I was braking and turning left at the same time. So I put the truck away for a while.

I opened up the front drums this afternoon and everything looks fine. I put the original drums back on, just in case one of the replacements is warped or something. I'll take them to get them turned eventually.

Now I have no squeal, at least not yet, and the truck seems to be driving and stopping fine. Next I need to tackle the emergency brake. I never have gotten it to work at all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Truckin' the hood

The kids and I had the truck out several days last week. We drove to the park during the week and to soccer and Sunday night church last weekend.

And the biggest trip of all, one that I cannot believe I had never made in the truck, Marge and ran over to Harbor Freight tool store. 10 mpg to go get rechargeable batteries and patio umbrellas!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thus, we never left the garage

The problem with having a truck in the garage that does not have to move on a daily basis, is that you can stack a bunch of crap in the bed of the truck between rides. This weekend I just did not want to hassle with all of the crap in the bed of the truck, so she and I stayed put.

Maybe next weekend.

For the record, there is an ice chest, a bunk bed foundation, several scooters, a wagon, a blow up trampoline, a load of fishing gear and a mess of other stuff in the truck bed right now.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Truckin' Afternoon

The truck has not been out of the garage since I installed the new seat belt and glove box. The weather has just been too crappy to cruise without windows.

Anyways, this afternoon I am going for a little cruise. The weather is great and the truck is running well. No plans for a destination, we shall see where we end up.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Installation Day

This afternoon I swapped out my treasures from this weekend's swap meet. The glove box and cab light went in easily enough. The seat belt was not much hassle either, once I got the seat out of the way.

The new belt is simply bolted to the floor of the cab. I wasn't sure about this design until I read over the entire installation process. I was worried that the bolt could pull back through the hole in the floor. But to prevent that the company included a 4 inch round washer. It spreads the load out to more of the floor panel. My only hassle was finding a spot under the truck that was flat enough and large enough for the washer to ride flush against the underside of the floor.

Once I got everything back in place I cruised the neighborhood for a while.

Good times.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pate Swap Meet treasures

I drove up to the Pate Swap Meet this weekend in Ft. Worth. I always enjoy roaming the miles and miles of old cars and car parts. I went several times with a cousin when I was in high school. And I have gone the last three years as a car-guy in training.

The deals were not as great as the last couple of years, but I saw tons of 67-72 Chevy trucks and oodles of parts. In years parts have been a little hard to scrounge up. Also, I think I am getting better at spotting parts or my truck from a distance, which saves some time. If you can check out what the guy across the aisle is selling you can move along quickly if he isn't selling what you need.

This year I found a replacement glove box brand new for $5. They usually sell for $10 but the $5 I saved almost paid for my lunch!

I also bought a center seat belt brand new. It is not an exact match, but it will be surely safer than having the kids share a belt. The truck only had two belts originally. The belts that are now in there are at least the third set that have been installed. Which is odd, because I can't imagine that my grandpa actually ever wore a seat belt. When I got the truck it had mismatched blue and brown belts. I found the complete blue set that are now installed, because I could not stand the mismatched belts. Marge deserves to be dressed up nice!

I also bought a light for the inside of the cab. The original one is broken and the lens is missing, so Marge got a brand new reproduction for $10.

I already installed the light and the glove box liner. Maybe Sunday I'll remove the seat and install the new seat belt. I'll have to drill a couple of holes in the floorboard first, though.

My 2006 recap

My 2005 recap

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Now we both (don't) know

To the person who emailed about getting brake fluid stains off vinyl seats...

I've got no idea. Do you know how to get the smell of 40 years of funk out of my truck, short of taking a match to Marge?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Car Night prep part 1

This afternoon The Talker and I started getting Marge ready for her car night debut on next Saturday night. We finished up adjusting the front brakes and got the old brake fluid drained and new fluid put into the system.

While I was working on the brakes, The Talker would help me by holding down the brake pedal while I got the air out of the hydraulic system. It was a small thing but he was a big help. With the bleeders that are on the truck now, and the equipment I have, I usually have to get one of my friends to hold down the pedal while I bleed the brakes. It was awesome to get it done today with The Talker's help.

After we finished up I washed Marge and got her nice and shiny. Well, as nice and shiny as I can get her, anyways. Since she sleeps in the garage, I should not have to wash Marge again before Saturday night.

I need to get a few more things done before Marge's debut. And hopefully The Talker will help me out with those things, too. My plan right now is to take him with me to Car Night on Saturday evening.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Car Night hunt

In the past there have been several different locations where old dudes hang out to show off their cool old cars and trucks. I used to go several times a month during the spring and summer, back when the old dudes met in a Home Depot Parking lot. But the crowds got too large so HD asked the guys to move on.

Of course, if you ask the old guys they will say it did not work because the teenagers showed up in their "ricer cars" and started showing off in the HD parking lot. There was some of that, for sure. But there were also lots of dudes with race ready Chevys and Mustangs that sat and gunned their 1000 horsepower engines for all the world to hear and smell. I imagine Home Depot got plenty of complaints about both of those groups.

The last I heard there were two places where the car guys were hanging out on Saturday nights. So I went searching for them tonight. The first place is an auto parts store that fancies itself as a speed shop/hot rod shop. But the parking lot was empty. Stop two was the parking lot of an abandoned grocery store. No dice there either.

On my was home I saw a couple of cars lined up the parking lot of another shuttered grocery store. Viola! I found the mysterious roaming car night. Of course, I was in the Saturn, so I parked well off to the side of the lot.

There were a couple of mini trucks, four or 5 corvettes, a 34 Ford Hot Rod and a handful of Subarus. (Would that be Subari?) The highlight of the night was one gorgeous 72 Chevy SWB. Solid red with the cleanest stock 350 I have ever seen. I have seen this truck once or twice around town at other car night events, but by the lack of scratches on the bed, I don't think anyone will ever see it hauling bags of cow manure home from Home Depot.

Anyways, the weather was too cool tonight for anyone to hang out very long. I was in out of there in less than 15 minutes. Next week, spring should actually be here. And I am already planning to take the truck to her first Car Night. I better hurry before they leave me behind again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We might make a car guy out of him yet

Tonight I pulled the truck out of the garage for the first time in a couple of weeks. While The talker was taking his bath, The Princess and I rode around the neighborhood. Then they switched.

While I was cruising with the The Talker, Marge let out a hellacious squeal When we were turning around on a cul-du-sac. When we got home The Talker told me "OK, now let's find out what that noise was all about."

He was really disappointed when I told him we did not have time to find out tonight. It was too close to bed time and too late to start a major overhaul of the brake system tonight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Learn CPR.
You might save your daughter's life.

I am taking a quick break from the usual silliness and whining that inhabits my blog. Also, this is going up on all the blogs. Sorry for the repition, but it is the only important thing I've had to say in a long time.

Tonight we went to our first AAA minor league baseball game of the season. We were having a great time, hanging out on the left field berm. The kids were going crazy. And they cheered when an 8 or 10 year old girl near us caught a foul ball that the left fielder flipped up to the crowd.

Less than 5 minutes later that girl was unconscious and not breathing. We have no idea what happened. EMTs made it around pretty quickly. But not before the girl's dad had to start rescue breathing. She was out for several looooong minutes. Not just passed out from excitement, mind you. This was blue all over, motionless on the ground not breathing.

How scary is that? Your kid is having a great time and then a couple of minutes later she stops breathing.

When we left the park the girl was sitting upright with loads of attention coming at her from the Fire Fighters and Paramedics that had responded. Looks like she was lucky, She has a hero for a dad. Here's hoping I never have to be my daughter's breath.

So anyways, here is a quick online CPR reference. Please review it in case it has been a while since you took a class. Then please, please, PLEASE take a class to get more familiar with CPR procedures. Go here or go here to get help finding a class in your area. I'll be looking for a refresher course in the morning.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Brake check

Last weekend I spent some time under the front end of the truck. I am starting to realize that the front suspension ans steering systems are in serious need of attention. The ball joints and tie rod ends all look to be shot, but I'll wait for a little more experienced advice before I start replacing anything.

Anyways, I way pretty sure that the front brakes had never been opened up. After I got the wheels off, I found some rivets that held everything in place during factory assembly. So it looked like they had never been serviced.

I ground off the rivet heads and pulled the drums off. No big surprises inside, except for a huge number of wasps nests that fell out of the passenger side brake drum. I tried to clean everything up and look for any obvious damage. Once I was satisfied that everything was still in place and the brake shoes looked OK, I installed a better set of drums that I had and closed everything up.

I still need to work on the adjustment a little bit. The brakes are pulling to the left a little bit now. But I'll save that for another weekend. Like this one.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Truck run

This weekend turned out to be great for trucking. I cruised the neighborhood on Friday. Sort of a shakedown run, to see if there were any problems looming. Everything was fine on my short drive.

Saturday I drove the truck over to The Talker's first soccer game. marge is the perfect vehicle for a soccer coach. Especially if your team wears the same color of blue as Marge. The Talker and I rode home together after the game. We managed to take the long way home, so that our ride would take a little longer. More bonding time for the boy, his dad and their truck.

Saturday afternoon I drove out to Costco to pick up some potting soil for my container gardening. After that I hit the highway for a few miles. This is only the second time I have cruised on the highway in Marge. And the first time was only because I forgot there was no service road available.

After a stop at the garden center, marge and I headed home to finish up this year's veggie gardens. She headed back into the garage after a quick unload. Just in time, too. It started to rain a little while after I finished up.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ride done

No breakdown, no walking. Just me, driving a 39 year old truck.

Good times!

Get outta my way

I am de-junking the bed and going for a truck ride. Be back later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sitting in the garage

I had the truck out last week to deliver an onion to a neighbor. Since then, nothing.

We have been busy getting everything planned out for vacation, so Marge has been lonely. But she makes a nice staging area. As things are packed for good, we have been loading them into the bed of the truck. And when it comes time to actually pack the Saturn, we will be able to work right off of the truck.

Soccer season starts March 24th and I plan to drive Marge all the time to The Talker's games.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Took the truck out on Saturday, to go fishing. No worries on thedrive, but by the time the boy and I got to the water, the winds were so strong, we only rode in our boat for a few minutes.

I did notice that the truck cranked Saturday morning without me touching the choke. That is the first time I think it ever fired up without the choke at least being partially cklosed.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

There once was a man with a truck

who parked it in the garage.

And it was still there a week later.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Hood Letters

Thanks to a member of, I have finally replaced the letters on the nose of the hood. They are in rough shape, so they look right at home on my truck.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

'Cause she wanted to trash it herself a few months later

I found a file disk today that had a bunch of short videos from my first drive of the truck.

There are a few more over on my YouTube page.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

8.4177376798025363860754106732488 mpg

It's better than last time, but I think I'll just stick with "almost 15" when the wife asks.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Lube job

I went over to Harbor Freight yesterday, looking for a couple of cheap tool boxes. I am really bad about finishing (or stopping work on...) a task and then letting the tools pile up on the workbench. Or the dryer. Or on top of the deep freeze, in the back of the truck and when things get really bad, in stacks right on the garage floor.

I thought if I divided up my tools, I would be able to get stuff put away easier. Plus, I wanted to divide I wanted to find something small enough to slide under the seat of the truck, so that I would have the necessary tools with me when I am out in it.

I had no luck finding what I wanted, but I picked up a few more tools, including the much delayed purchase of a grease gun. I borrowed Racecar Man's 6 months ago and it is still here. But it is loaded with grease for wheel bearings and I have no idea how to clean it our well enough to run some chassis grease through it.

HF had one on sale and they had chassis grease on sale, too. Once I got home I started hitting any grease fitting I could reach under the truck. Actually, I only got to the driver's side. The truck was in the garage and I did not feel like moving it into the driveway to work on it.

Saturday I hope to finish up the passenger's side. Then I'll report back if it makes a difference in all of the squeaks and groans on the old truck.

After I finished up with the truck, I picked up AND put away every tool I could find. I am sure there a few more. In fact I saw a pair of bull nosed pliers in the bathrooms drawer a couple of days ago. And I have no idea how or when they made it in there?

Monday, February 05, 2007

He thought we would be driving a Hot Wheel

My college buddy reworked a picture of my truck. He took it from this:

to this:

When I showed the picture to my five year old son, he asked when we could take it for a ride. I think he was a little sad when he peeked into the garage and saw blue old Marge sitting there.

Thanks for the chop, Redneck Mother!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

As close to a convertible as I'll ever get

The passenger's window has been stuck in a fully closed position for a while. Recently the driver's side window hung up when I rolled it down. Now it is stuck fully open. This afternoon I decided to tackle the windows. My hope was to have two working windows in short order.

After messing around with the passenger's side window internal components for a while, I decided to see if I could at least get it to roll down. After some urging and encouragement with a pair of vise grips, I got the window to roll down. Now it matches the driver's side. Both are stuck fully open.

Since the truck lives in the garage, and I don't have to drive it in bad weather, I decided it was OK like this for a while. Heck, I already took off the windshield wipers, when the wiper motor quit working last year. So we don't go anywhere in the rain in this thing. Besides, summer is coming and it will be too hot to roll up the windows soon, anyways.

And here are a few pictures of our redneck convertible

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I hope I never forget that number. What's it mean? It is the AutoZone parts number for the rear pinion oil seal. I searched all over this morning for a replacement for my leaking one. After striking out at three parts stores, I gave up.

I had wanted to have the part on hand so that I could pull the old one and install the new one at the same time. Instead I came home, hammered the old one out and took it with me to match up.

Finally found one at an AutoZone about 15 miles from where I started.

Once I got home the install was pretty easy and straight forward. At least until I dropped one of the u-joint retainer nuts into oil drain pan I had in place to catch differential fluid drips. Then I got to spend a few minutes funneling oil into another pan, and hoping I would catch the nut when it oozed by.

I did indeed and I finished up the install in short order. The Talker and I have taken the truck out for a test drive and the rear differential does not seem to be leaking. Hopefully they are right when they say "third times a charm".

Edit: 2/4/07 5:00pm
After another test drive and another twenty four hours, still no leaks...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I guess it could be worse...

I rolled down the driver's window a few days ago. When it was going down it felt odd. Plus, it made a clunk that it usually doesn't. Now it won't roll back up.

The passenger's side won't roll down. It is stuck in the closed position. Guess I have a matched set, now.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oil Change

Finished up an oil change this evening. For some reason I have a knack for overfilling the truck when I do oil changes. For the third time after a change, I had to drain some of the new oil off this evening.

Now it is sitting pretty, right at the full mark. I don't know why I can't keep from over filling the thing. Seems like 5 quarts would be easy enough to add, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Odometer Update

It has been a while since I updated The Odometer on the sidebar. We are closing in on 500 miles driven, at a cost of less than $4.50 per mile.

Now if I can get that per mile cost down around what a rental truck cost, I'll be really happy!

And you might notice the entry that shows the truck has been driven on the highway, now. It wasn't on purpose. I was going fishing and I went the wrong way. My choice was to go about 5 miles out of my way to stay off of the freeway or to drive on the highway for about a mile. I chose the freeway, but I still only got up to about 50 miles an hour. Luckily I only had to take the very next exit.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rick's Pics

Sorry they are blurry, but it is too cold to go back out in the garage. I also have the complete set of lenses on the truck, but it is raining and I don't want to get the camera wet...

These are the spares and take offs from the step side bed.

This is the bucket I keep them in. And the shelf that I keep the bucket on. Notice the original red heater hose on the top shelf. Still looks pretty good for 38 years old.

This is the lens that I broke when I knocked the bucket off of the shelf when I was taking that picture. So much for being a smart ass.

And a few more shots because I was still feeling like an ass...

Four in one shot

The rear passenger side reflector

The rear driver's side reflector

The front driver's side reflector

The front turn signal (original to the truck)

Passenger's front turn signal (original to the truck)

The front passenger's side reflector

Driver's side headlamp (upgraded to halogen)

Passenger's side headlamp (upgraded to halogen)

The only missing lens on the truck. But the whole assembly is going to have to be replaced, so I'll buy both pieces as a set.
For now, I'll just go with no interior cab light.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lens collection grows

A while back I bought a set of used lenses for the truck. When they arrived, I saw that I had two reverse lenses for the passenger side, none for the driver's side and three brake light lenses to cover the two lights.

Two weeks ago I bought another set of used reverse light lens covers. After several days without mail, Thanks to MLK Jr and about two inches of ice on the roads, they arrived today. Now I have three brake light lenses, eight side marker lenses (for the four side reflectors), and five reverse light lenses.

I think I finally have all the lights covered, now.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fouling plugs

I have been reading up on Seafoam Motor Treatment and decided to run some through the engine yesterday. But the plugs that I cleaned a couple of days ago were already too dirty to get my motor runnin'.

So I cleaned them once more, warmed up the engine and then I soaked it with Seafoam through the carb. The amount of smoke was much less than I imagined. So possibly the engine wasn't as dirty as I assumed. Or maybe I did not let the Seafoam soak in long enough.

After that, I installed ANOTHER set of new spark plugs, this time AC Delco R43S. We shall see soon if they work any better than the Bosch plugs I had installed.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

One step backward, three steps forward

I bribed the kids today. If they took naps, we would cruise to the park in the truck later in the day. They lived up to their end of the bargain. I almost did not make good on my end.

Marge ran great last night. I cruised her halfway to downtown and back with no problems (except the whole Ford Taurus thing...). A round trip of 20 miles or more.

This afternoon she started for crap and idled like hell. Luckily, Racecar Man's kids were playing outside, so we only had to drive a two block round trip.

Sure enough the spark plugs were dirty again. and #4 plug was wet and oily. I pulled the plugs, wire brushed them, checked the gaps and reinstalled. She fired right up. Don't know what makes her trash plugs so quickly.

The steering has always been loose. Today on one of the guys asked about tightening his manual steering box. I followed the process some of the guys recommended and it seems to drive a lot nicer.

The Talker went for a ride this evening with me. While we were out we ran the truck backwards up the street several times to see if the self-adjusters would help with the brakes. I can feel a definite difference now, so I guess my mom's advice all those years ago in her Bel-Aire wagon was right.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Marge KO's the bull

I drove Marge, in her new blue dress, to a stay at home dad's group night out this evening. On the way a woman hit Marge on the rear corner of the driver's side quarter panel, right beside the tail light.

No damage, except a little scrape on the new paint. But you shoulda seen the other car.Marge is large and in charge. She knocked that Ford Taurus to the mat.

The lady drove away without stopping. So I took a lot of joy in the moment that she said, "Well it did not do any damage to your truck".

"Yeah, you are right, but you ought to see the passenger's side of your car. You have a nice blue racing stripe over there, now!"

Way to go Margie.

Spray Bomb Paint Job

OK. She ain't pretty, but it is finished.

I think it looks better now than when I drug her home out of the pasture. More time and effort will go into the body and paint when I can afford it. Like when the kids are grown and I am dead...

So now a word to other morons contemplating a spray can job on an old truck.


It does look better than when I started, but I spent a lot more on it than I expected. I could have bought a simple spray rig for much less and probably gotten better results.

If I had it to do over, I would have left the paint alone and waited until I could afford real body and paint work.

Still, I'll drive it like this. Maybe I just have no pride, but I'm pretty dang proud when I drive Marge around town. She and I have come a long way from back when we started this project.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

6.564919762091796656 miles per gallon

But if I round up, it is 7 mpg. And that is close enough to 10 mpg to tell the wife that it gets almost 15, right?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fired up

I spent a couple of hours trying to get the truck started this evening. Since it would not turn over at all, I checked the carb to make sure it was getting fuel. Then I pulled the spark plugs to clean them and to check the gap on them all. They were wet but did not look too bad.

While the plugs were out, I hooked up the compression gauge. The results were probably not very accurate, since the engine was not warmed up first, but it will give me a set of numbers to compare, when I can do a compression test on a warm engine.

Cylinder 1, 130 PSI
Cylinder 3, 135 PSI
Cylinder 5, 125 PSI
Cylinder 7, 120 PSI

Cylinder 2, 120 PSI
Cylinder 4, 135 PSI
Cylinder 6, 130 PSI
Cylinder 8, 130 PSI

The last time I ran a compression test, the measurements were all over the board. I had a much higher percentage of variance from the lowest to the highest cylinder and from one side to the other. Now I am interested to see how it does once it is warmed up.

After I cleaned the plugs and reinstalled them, the truck started like a champ. I did not run it for long though, since I knew I was not going to run another comp test tonight. Dinner was calling.