'74 Chevy

Chevy Pickup, 1974

When I got stuck in a snowdrift in my Camaro one winter I decided that I had to have a four-wheel drive pickup truck instead of the two-wheel drive Dodge that I had at the time. This truck turned out to be it. Heavy 1/2-ton model, 4-speed manual, 350 cid engine, manual hubs, dual gas tanks, big off-road tires.

My brother found it in a cow pasture. It had holes drilled for a fifth-wheel mount in it. It also had carried a dog kennel, so I'm told. This truck had been around! They were starting to part it out, but my brother (the mechanic) thought it was too good for that and that it would be better to restore it to life for me, on the cheap. After a drawn-out ordeal getting the title, he did some work on it to get it driveable. This included a replacement windshield (unfortunately cracked on installation), dashboard, and instrument panel from a neighbor's cache. Then it was brought to me.

It was driveable, yes, but man was it nasty. A lot of body cancer here and there (this, at least, was acceptable). The interior was rotten, Fred Flintstone brakes, and it had that nice kept-in-a-cow-pasture old pickup truck aroma. And it leaked in the rain.

I had lots of free time at that point in my life, but no money. Not only was this to be a utility vehicle, it was also to be my backup vehicle and my bad-weather vehicle. There was a distinct chance that I might have to take a date in this thing, so I ripped out the interior of the truck and had at it. The floorboards I wire-brushed and fiberglassed. I built new doorframe lips out of oak strips with fiberglass over them. I was going to rattle-can the interior, but my brother talked me into buying a real spray gun (I already had air) and using automotive paint. I painted the interior, more than once, as I learned how to do this acceptably well. I also painted all the plastic trim bits, the sunvisors, and the seat belts in black using a flexible rattle-can paint. I carpeted it using a JC Whitney molded carpet, and installed new door seals. I also had the seat recovered.

Some PO had butchered the dash and doors trying to put a stereo in there, and I had to do some fabrication to get a factory radio back in. I mounted cheap stereo speakers in the dash, and another pair in the corners behind the seat. A door carpet kit from JC Whitney masked the can-opener holes in the doors. I also mounted one of those clock/temperature modules in the cubby in the dash, and I added Hadley air horns (since moved to the new Dodge pickup). There was no tailgate, so I procured one from a junkyard, in an approximately-matching white. A garage sale yielded the Warn brush guard and winch mount. I never did end up getting a winch, though. I rebuilt the windshield wiper so that the washer pump worked. Is that thing ever a Rube Goldberg contraption! I used a piece of shell casing to rebuild the cam follower.

It leaked oil pretty bad, and I fought that for awhile. I put in a couple of oil pan seals. Finally I gave up and took it to a shop. They charged a lot, but fixed the problem. Some brainiac had cut part of the timing cover off, presumably so that it could be removed and reinstalled without dropping the oil pan. But they cut off too much, and it never would seal up. The new timing cover fixed that.

This all looked and worked pretty good, but it still got wet inside. Much sealing of the windshield did no good. It turns out the problem was the radio antenna wire, which had lost its grommet and had rusted a pretty good rain highway into the cabin. Some Black Jack roofing tar fixed that. It's been more than five years, and it's still dry inside.

I had a set of Hadley "Bully" air horns on it (JC Whitney), but they've since been moved to the big Dodge. Great fun!

One time at work I went to start it to go to lunch, and it ker-chunked once, and then nothing. I found the starter motor hanging from its wire underneath. It had broken a bolt, and the other one had backed out under vibration. This one wasn't too bad to have fixed at the shop that was in the same parking lot! It was ready by the time I had to go home after work. It also needed some brake work done about then, which I also farmed out. (The income was picking up a bit by then.)

It ran OK, but it did oil-foul plugs. This got progressively worse, until I couldn't even use a tank of gas without losing the plugs, which I used to sandblast and reuse. So I had the engine rebuilt by a striking Kaiser Aluminum worker, at a modest price. He built race engines as a hobby, and needed some income. He was a little disappointed that I didn't want a race engine, just a good basic rebuild. I had him do the clutch too, while he was there.

It's been fine since this, but has not had all that much use. I use it to haul firewood out of our woods, and to help people move, etc. It's a good loaner vehicle too, if you kill all the bees living in and on it first. All the body cancer is still there, and probably some new outbreaks. I plan to sell it once the Unimog is deployed. I doubt I'll get even half what I've got into it, which is par for the course.

More pictures:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

...Well, we've still got this truck. It's been aging poorly, the body cancer is progressing nicely and I can be rather hard on it in the woods. Looks like we'll be keeping it indefinitely, for a few reasons:
  1. It's worth so little now that there's really no point in selling it.
  2. My wife used it to learn to drive a stickshift, and actually likes the thing, probably because it reminds her of her dad's truck from when she was young.
  3. Its bed is relatively low to the ground, unlike the Unimog's. Very handy when harvesting firewood. Also, I find I need a second in-the-woods vehicle, mostly to yank the winch cable back out of the Unimog.
  4. As a gasser, it'll start in the deep winter when the diesel trucks won't.
I used it and the Unimog this year to gather firewood, and it was a rough year for the truck: The sidehill damage picture is the repaired version! The bumper was actually pretty easy to put back as it was. (I'd always thought it was poorly attached and I'd once tried to get a welding shop to reinforce the hitch attachment, but they refused and wanted to sell me an entire new hitch system. No thanks!) Memo to self: next time tie off to the frame, not the oh-so-accessible hitch receiver!

I find that the engine is again fouling plugs, but not so bad as before. I wonder what's up with that, could it be that very rich running is washing the oil off the cylinder walls? I did rebuild the carburetor last year (or was it the year before?), which the engine rebuild guy had recommended I do immediately. (I didn't.) Perhaps I waited too late? I have this perennial thought of putting in a throttle-body injection system from the junkyard, to improve its fuel economy and improve cold-startability. Probably never happen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yesterday I used the truck to pick up our new 30-ton Harbor Freight wood splitter. While taking the tailgate off the pin that holds one of the two support straps in place fell inside the tailgate. Crap!

Anyway, I used PB Blaster to get the handle assembly loose and pulled it out to release the rods for the latches. (While there I used a crowbar to reopen the handle's access hole, it had gotten bent in somewhere along the line.) Then I could pull out the latch on the offending side, whereupon I could then reach the loose pin. It had been staked into position, and what with rust and bending over the years it had come loose. I rotated it into position and then welded it down. Ratty welding, since I couldn't see well and I didn't clean it, but I don't care. It won't come loose again! Then I put the tailgate back together. It runs a lot smoother now that the PB is serving as a lubricant. I should squirt some oil in there when the PB abates a bit.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I finally found a good windshield at the U-Pull. $22. Not easy to get out without breaking! I wonder if I can install it without breaking it? I already have another (used) rubber gasket, there's no way to remove both it and the glass without destroying one or the other. This windshield has a rock chip in the middle, but it's that or nothing.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

At the U-Pull for some other stuff, I spotted another Chevy truck with a good windshield, so if the first one cracks I have perhaps another shot at it if I don't wait too long.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I brought the windshield seal I'd gotten from the U-Pull some time ago into the house to warm up. It looks to be in very good condition.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I decided to install the windshield, in part because it has needed it for years (since I got it, really), in part because my wife has been complaining about it, and in part because it'll serve as training for the Chicken Wagon's windshield, which my wife is also complaining about. (The weather's getting colder, if it's going to be done this year it has to be done soon.) Mistake! When I cut the old window out I found an extreme amount of rust under the rubber. Many holes, some stretches six or more inches in length. Disgusted, I began welding new sheet metal over the holes and grinding it down to something like its original profile. It won't be the same, let's hope it'll work anyway. I used the old windshield to protect the interior of the truck from welding and grinding spatter. After a couple of hours I was maybe halfway through the welding and decided to call it quits for the day. When the welding was done in an area and brushed off again I rattle-canned some gray primer on there to protect it.

When I came inside I scrubbed the rubber seal in the laundry tub, where it had been soaking in hot water to soften up for installation. (I'm an optimist.) That got it fairly clean, this seal is really in pretty good shape.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Not much time this morning, but I did manage to get in a bit of welding. A few inches covered, at least, but I didn't get to grind it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's raining, but I needed to get onto the welding again so I got out the patio umbrella to shelter the work area, and I used compressed air to dry off the area. I managed to complete the welding of the bottom channel and started to turn the corner upwards on the driver's side. That's all that's left, but it's entirely rotted away. I may run out of shielding gas before I finish, we'll see.

Friday, November 9, 2007

More welding. Got about a foot and a half repaired, perhaps one more session will be needed to finish repairing the window channel. There are some other holes in the area I want to address, too.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It was rainy and nasty all morning, so I waited. Then it cleared up all right, but the wind came up. Y'know, I'd rather deal with the rain than the wind, an umbrella suffices for the rain. (Except that it was windy with the rain this morning.) Anyway, I finished the welding. I think. It's a terrible job, but I bet it will work. The more I look at it, the more done it looks to me! I still have to put on some paint, and then the glass can go in. Unfortunately, I have no paint.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Give me a medal, I finally bought a rattle-can of white today. Whee.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Though near freezing and windy today, I cleaned off the channel with a wet rag. It was caked with mud and grinding residue. I used a heat gun to dry it, then I sprayed on some white. Nothing like spray-painting in windy freezing conditions! I used a paper plate to try to contain the worst of the overspray. Let's hope this stuff dries. I left the glass out, so let's also hope that the rain is done for a few days.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Even colder today, but not windy. The heat gun didn't make much progress in the morning, so I came home at lunch to put on the other coat of paint. (The heat gun could do the job, then.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I got the 'new' windshield cleaned off using a razor blade to remove the leftover stuck-on rubber bits from the old seal.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Moment of truth time! I got the rubber on the window, the secret there is to put on the little molding strip first, then put it all over the glass. I then soaped up the edges and took it to the (very wet now) truck.

I had a sudden panic attack, as sitting over the hole it didn't even look like the right glass! It seemed too large. Anyway, I wrapped the heavy plastic twine around the channel in the rubber and set the whole thing into place. With enough pushing and shoving I got the bottom channel seated and the corners started. I used a screwdriver to tuck the rubber over the lip of the window frame, alternating both sides. It's not actually too hard to get it most of the way up to the upper corners, but after that it gets hard.

What followed was a very tedious and frustrating session of using the screwdriver like an old-fashioned can opener to pull the rubber over the metal lip. The twine idea is a good one, but I think two or more wraps would be better, and you'd still need to use the screwdriver. As I worked near the passenger corner I heard a sharp SNAP!, and yes, the glass had broken. Way over there it was not going to be an issue, but it wasn't a good sign.

I got my wife to help by prying on the rubber inside while I pushed down from above. That seemed to help. It got jammed, so she went inside while I worked on it some myself, sans pressure. SNAP!

Oh, that's not so good. A crack from top to bottom, right through the rock pip, to the left of center. I think the lack of pressure from above contributed to this, the sides of the glass were in place yet the center was still bowed out, tending to want to break the glass. With pressure from above, even though it actually makes doing the rubber harder, I think the net stress on the glass would be reduced.

Once the rubber was over the lip the rubber could be pressed into place, leaving the glass to float to where it needs to with time.

In the end, the glass is not that much better than what I started with, though the channel rust is patched and I did learn a few things. Chiefly that this job sucks big-time. That and that pressure at the top center of the glass is required to relieve some of the stress that wants to crack it as you get to the end of the installation.

I then cleaned up, and used the mallet to hammer the wiper arms back into place. I cracked the windows a bit to help it dry out, that should take quite awhile.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

With the truck finally back in service (not that I couldn't use it for some things like this as-is) I used it to shift the boat and wood splitter to their winter homes. I also emptied out the bed and got it ready for general use. I left the windows cracked to encourage drying, it got really wet this last very rainy week while I worked on the windshield.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I went back to the junkyard, but there were no good windshields left. Somebody'd taken the one I noticed last time. Skunked! I did learn something, perhaps. It looks like our successful windshield scavenger is able to remove the glass without cutting the rubber seal. Perhaps the technique is to pry the lock strip out of the seal and then somehow coax the glass out the front. It's definitely not as reliable as cutting the seal, but it looks like it could work if you knew what you were doing. I may look into that next time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Miserably deep snow around here, the last few days we've been reduced to one vehicle, the Dodge, so I decided to try to dig this one out. After using the snow shovel to chip off the thick layer of icy snow I found both doors frozen shut, so I had to trek off and find the propane radiant heater and a tank. Got that on the door, and ten minutes later I could open it. The truck, miraculously enough, started right up, and the tires were not flat. It took about a dozen runs at the hill before I could claw my way up to the top. No way this would have worked if the trees hadn't sheltered some of the snow from the hill. (And just one drift on the hill would have ended the experiment early.) There was a lot of miserable claw-hopping required to get through the drifts on top to the flattened driveway. Sheesh! At least we can both go to town now.

After work I had a very low RR tire, so I stopped by Les Schwab. They fixed it, there was a nail. No charge, these are their tires. (They've been on it since I got it, maybe 15 years ago.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tire flat again, had to pump it up. The battery is nearly dead. I suppose I've gotten my money's worth out of it. The windshield obviously leaks now, whereas it didn't before. Some improvement. Anyway, I used the truck to get the boat back onto its trailer and parked so I could work on it. (This truck has better visibility and maneuverability than the Dodge.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I needed to move the boat, and the camper's tying up the Dodge. Well, there were wasp nests, the usual flat tire, and a dead battery to deal with. Got it all done, including borrowing a battery from the big genset, and moved the boat. Sheesh, it's always something! I put the battery on charge, I'm not sure the solar charger was doing its thing. The battery has a 2003 date on it, it's not as old as I'd thought.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The battery drew a charge for quite awhile yesterday, it was still dribbling when I got home from work. When I checked this morning, the solar panel indeed wasn't making good contact somewhere along the way and had not been doing its job. So I cleaned it up and got it charging again and swapped the batteries back. (I much prefer the original battery anyway, the one from the generator has reversed terminals and the positive was in peril of contacting the fender on a heavy bounce. Neither of them fits very well, however.) We'll see how it goes. There were also some residual wasps to deal with.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I used the truck to drag the wood splitter up to its winter home behind the camper, after I pumped up its tires. (I used those magnetic parking aid balls on telescoping sticks so that I could see which way the thing was pointed; they work great for that because the splitter is too short and low to see behind the tailgate, and its tongue is too short to leave the gate down. I tarped it with some discarded lumber wrap from the lumber yard once it was in place.) The truck didn't want to run well, it's really unhappy these days. I left it up top in case we need 4WD, as the snow has started.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's been forever, but duty called! I got out this truck and the car trailer, and went to work where they were discarding a very large and solid shipping crate, about 4'×5'×8', a most excellent playhouse or lawn mower parking zone. While I was out I put in $20 of fuel; at $1.50/gallon $20 sure goes further right now than it has in quite awhile! Getting the trailer hooked up and out of its hole was difficult due to the snow that is still here.

In the afternoon I backed up to the loading dock at work and several guys helped tip the crate onto the trailer. The snow still on the trailer added to the fun. A hand truck was useful to lift its downward corner out of the snow to get it scooted into place. The crate was surprisingly heavy.

When I got home it was dark, and rather than park it and deal with it the next day I 'went for it', and ran down the hill behind the house. The snow almost stopped me. Also, the Cat that did the excavation for the new living room left quite a choppy mess down at the North end of my route but I managed to put the car trailer where I'd intended anyway. Whether or not I can get the crate unloaded and the truck and trailer back up top remains to be seen. And I've managed to get wedged up against the big tree that was uprooted, so getting loose without breaking anything could be fun. No Fear, that's my motto! I think I'll wait for the weekend before trying anything, there's too little time in the morning and it's dark before I can get home.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I noticed when unloading the crate that I'd really bashed in the rear of the trailer's fender while backing it into place Thursday night, and I bent the taillight bracket too. (Stupid tree.) Great, more work.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I finally got the car trailer pulled up from below, I was surprised but the truck was able to drag it up the snowy/icy hill. Perhaps the Cat tracks in the ice helped? Or the fact that it was pretty cold? Or that I hit the hill going pretty fast? Regardless, I got it parked up in front of the garage at the welding site. I managed to bash in the front of the trailer's fender (to match the back) getting it pulled out from behind the tree's root ball. More work! I wanted to get the truck back up top because more snow is due. I also want to fix the trailer promptly: no need to add to the unfinished projects pile, it's big enough as it is!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I got the trailer jacked up and the wheels removed on the bent side. The taillight popped out of its hole easily and I bent its mount back, that was no problem. I used a BFH (several, actually), vise-grips, and a crowbar to bend the front of the fender back to rough shape. I got out the 3-ton chain fall (chain-driven hoist) and a tow chain and yoked the bent fender mounting angle iron to the tongue, then pulled it back into position using the BFH for final adjustments. It actually worked pretty well. That bend was in the trailer when I got it, so it was nice to make it go away. I was out of time to do fine adjustments on the fender profile, there are some creases that can be hammered out then the curved profile can be restored. It'll never look good, but it'll look good enough, better than it did when I got it, and will be strong enough to stand on again once the tears are welded.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More pounding. I got the fender profile set right, then I wire-brushed off the rust and welded up the tears.

I used the 'new' wire-feed welder. Its story (since it isn't recorded anywhere else):

Thursday, January 8, I bought a Hobart Handler 120 (with their Piecemaker 14A gun) that had been dropped, for $50. The guy I bought it from (via Craigslist) had bought it from a rental place in Yakima in that condition, I think for $90. He'd replaced the broken fan blade on the trans(former-)motor and said that while it would weld, it would only put out low power. He could use it for tacking, but not much more. (He replaced it with a Lincoln 140, with which he was very happy.) This Hobart, by the way, is old-school, with a big transformer, two big diodes, and a reactor, as well as a big capacitor with a bleed resistor. (Not inverter based, in other words. Not much to go wrong, the four-position heat switch just feeds different primary taps on the transformer.) I went through it, even going so far as to remove the diode pack and test (sort of) each one of the six. I could find nothing wrong. The open-circuit voltage out of the transformer changed with each of the four settings, and was up to 40 V side-to-side. (About 20 V center-tap to either side.) The DC output is only 26–27 V at maximum, rather than the 29 V specified, though the two lowest settings are pretty close to their ratings. Voltage on the large capacitor (with bleeder) rose and fell as one might expect. Current is balanced in the two transformer sides, according to my clampmeter. Using jumper cables I hooked up a load wire to the welder (the load wire was the interior spring from an old radiator hose!), I could make it glow red hot on each of the four heat settings, and the time it took to do so was proportionate to the heat setting. The output current (variable) was about the same on each setting, but the voltage was different. I guess it appears to be working right, but I haven't tried actually welding with it yet.

One thing I did notice was that the + terminal post in the wire feed chamber was melted, it looks like it might been put on loose and then heated up, or perhaps it got corroded with the same result. I suppose it's possible that this was its only problem, I'll certainly look into that before I actually try to weld with it.

My idea was to have a second welder, one that was set up for either flux-core wire or aluminum. For $50 I couldn't pass it up, I think I could part it out for that if I had to. The gun's in good shape and the feed mechanism works. (The case, of course, was not—the back cover was badly broken and it was missing the feed chamber side plate.) This certainly will not be replacing my Millermatic 175, which I bought brand new, but it's always nice to have a spare! I'm not sure it'll be up to running aluminum, that takes more heat and wire speed than steel, and this is a lightweight 110 V unit after all.

It's also the 'loaner'. Nobody borrows 220 V equipment, but a 110 V welder could easily be loaned out. And at $50 I'm not too worried about it, either! (The Miller was 10× that price. More, with the bottle.) This could also run off of a generator, I suppose, for portable welding of my own.

I then tackled the melted feedthrough. It was seriously corroded and messed up. A mongo session with various wire brushes cleaned up the metal parts. The plastic, though heavily melted, seems to be still usable.

I'm guessing that the feedthrough was loose and the resulting poor contact started to heat some. (It was possibly loosened in the drop.) Once it melted the plastic enough this released clamping tension between the metal parts and it loosened up even more, compounding the problem. Cleaned and tightened, it should be OK again.

I put it back together and fed in the crap HF fluxless wire I'd bought earlier. It fed fine. I welded onto a piece of scrap sheet metal (the cut-out section of Unimog fuel tank) and it seemed to work fine. The four heat settings are different, and it's easy to punch holes in the sheet metal except on the lowest setting.

The replacement fan blade kept walking off the end of the transmotor's shaft, making a tremendous racket as it whacked into the chassis of the welder. While working on the welder I left it off as it was sufficiently cold that no fan was necessary at that time anyway. When I looked into the problem I could see that the shaft was grooved near the end, so I found an E-clip that could be pressed into service. That should hold the fan blade onto the shaft.

I'm going to call it fixed. Now to put it all back together. Shoe Goo is going to feature prominently on the broken plastic end-caps!

A $50 name-brand wire-feed welder? Not too shabby! A photocopy of the manual (from on-line) came with it, complete with schematics and technical specifications. Nice.

I then Shoe-Gooed the rear plastic endcap of the welder, the one that took the brunt of the drop. An entire corner was missing, so I cut a piece of 2×4 and glued it into the corner to take its place. This also serves as one of the four 'feet' on the bottom of the unit. I clamped the endcap to a table while the Goo set up, since there was a twist in the tortured plastic. I also glued the splits and cracks in the endcap. The general approach was to use a dot of cyanoacrylate glue and accelerant to tack things into place, then smear with Goo for strength.

Once the glue was partially dry I painted the wood black. The next day the thing was fully dry so I put the welder all back together. I had to use some new screws I'd bought at the hardware store to replace the missing ones. It's actually quite solid now, after the repairs and being put together correctly.

The wire chamber needed a cover, otherwise welding, weather, or grinding spatter could damage the guts or the wire on the spool, or the unused loose pieces of the feed mechanism could get lost, or it could even get kicked and broken. Not good to have it all exposed, anyway. I got out the old microwave oven that I've been using for sheet metal. I ground off all the little rivets that held the back on, since it was the only piece left that was big enough to serve. I hammered over the flanges along the two starting edges (bottom and rear) to make the piece stiffer. With that done, and with the big raised section that's stamped into it, the piece is actually quite stiff even though it is fairly thin sheet metal. I used the Sawzall to cut off the excess along the forward edge, leaving enough extra to form another flange. I bent this over and hammered it flat. I then got out a scrap concrete form 'nail' and ground and shaped its end. I welded it onto the forward edge of the cover such that it acted as a hinge pin for the one side, fitting into the socket in the plastic endcap, then I cut off the excess and reshaped the remainder to be the second, sliding pin. I cut a piece of sheet metal to form a channel for the pin, then I welded it to the cover at the bottom edge by the other hinge site. With that in place I hammered it over the sliding pin, then welded down the other edge. The pin then slid (with a hammer) in its new channel, pinning into the end cap's hinge socket. The cover then could flip up and down. Because the top corners need to be chamfered I marked them where they needed to be cut, then I cut them off and cleaned up the roughness with the grinder. I was going to cut off the excess top and make a hammered-over flange there too, and then come up with some sort of a latch, but the existing flange was at exactly the right height to form a decent friction fit with the top of the welder. It's good enough as it sits, it doesn't really need a latch, so I left it that way. I then primed and painted the messed-up parts of the new cover. It's not at all 'factory', but it will do just fine.

Ship it!

I then went over to the other fender and repaired its tears too. It got a minor version of the hammer job, then the brushing and welding trick. I didn't need to take the wheels off because I didn't need to use the big hammer or take big swings, I was just fixing the edge cracks, putting strength back into the fender.

With that all done, I primed and painted the repairs. I then put the light and the wheels back on, and parked the trailer back in its hole. Then I put everything away. Done!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The poor truck has been neglected all Summer, filled with wasps and tires flat. I needed to move the boat around, so I got it going again. (Fall's coming anyway, and there's lots of wood to haul.) There were signs of mouse activity in the cab, but the cats/dogs must have dispatched the culprit before it really got going. I finally put some leak seal in that one pesky front tire. (The right front.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lately we've been gathering up firewood, and this truck has barely been running. I pulled the plugs today and they were extremely fouled. I sandblasted them and put them back in, it runs like a new truck. (Well, newer!)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I wanted to move the boat into the yard for cleaning and another session on the engine but the Dodge was off getting painted, so I dug this truck out of the woods, got it started, and dragged it up for a thorough cleaning. The truck basically hasn't been used the last few years, and it was nasty, inside and out. Heaps of pine needles, mouse nest under the seat, etc. Ugh. Managed to get a nice sunburn while scrubbing it, Daniel helped. I hosed it out inside, mopped out the puddles, and parked it in the sun with the windows open.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I checked today, and the truck was thoroughly dry. Still smelled a bit mousy, though, so I closed it up and put the ozone generator in for a day or three. We'll see if that helps.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Definitely smelling better now, but I think I'll leave the ozone on for a little while longer.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Got it started a few days ago, the ozone did the trick and there's been no mousey smell left, but it ran at high idle only for awhile, charging, and then died. Today I got it started again, I think it had run out of gas even though the left tank reads non-empty. (I checked the fuel flow at the carburetor, and it seemed OK.) After putting about five gallons in the left, and about half that on the right, it would start and stay running. I seem to recall that it doesn't like to run without some fuel in both tanks.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It's been running bad lately, so today I removed and sandblasted the spark plugs, every one of them was uniformly oily and black. While the plugs were out I put a bunch of PB Blaster in the cylinders, cranked it a bit, then put in some more. Just in case the oil rings are gummy. After that it ran pretty well, so I ran it up top (to warm it up) and gave it a "Bon Ami Ring Job", but without the Bon Ami:
  1. Take one 12–16 oz. small-neck bottle,
  2. add 2 tablespoons of Bon Ami (no substitutes!),
  3. a splash of ATF (any kind),
  4. fill container to 2" from top with water, and SHAKE!
  5. Engine hot, air filter off.
  6. Rev engine to 2,000+RPM, HOLD IT THERE! Open throttle more if engine stumbles.
  7. Slowly pour solution down one carb—as fast as possible without stalling the engine.
  8. The more the better, it turns to steam and will not hydro-lock the engine.
  9. Repeat on other carb.
  10. Smoke and/or oil consumption should stop immediately.
It seemed to take it pretty well, and was running well enough afterwards. All this took about an hour and a half. I pulled a couple of the plugs, though, and both were starting to get oily again. Suggestions from Steve:
  1. Change the oil, it might be breaking down and oozing through.
  2. Check the PCV valve, if clogged it could be sucking oil fumes.
  3. Check the intake manifold fasteners for tightness.
  4. Put some gas in and ride it hard for awhile on the road.
  5. New plugs, but only after the other stuff is done. Make sure gap is 0.045", not smaller.

Anyway, after the plug cleaning and steam bath I was able to use the truck to haul a load of firewood rounds out of the woods.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Unfortunately during all the bouncing around while gathering firewood the solar panel fell off the dash and shattered. Too bad, it was a nice large one.

Monday, May 21, 2018

This truck hasn't been used in years, and it runs like crap. I'm thinking about offing it, getting something else. To that end I pulled the dead battery, and pumped up the tires.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I bought a used battery yesterday, $36 at the U-Pull, and installed it today. The truck won't crank, but the battery and connections are good. Need to do some digging, I guess.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A small hammer on the aftermarket Ford starter solenoid cured the no-crank issue. There was no spark, though. A session with the old dwell meter showed that the points weren't doing their thing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The no-start issue was dirty points. I pulled and filed them, and used a Heathkit dwell meter to get it running again. Badly. But, it's progress anyway.

The RF tire is flat again, I think it's toast.

Friday, June 1, 2018

I pumped up the tire again, got it started, and brought it up top for a little photo session.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

I paid Daniel $10 to vacuum and wipe out the interior, make it nice. When we were out I spent $3 for 2 gallons of used coolant, and $1.50 for a can of Bon Ami.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The radiator took 1 gallon of the used coolant. I put the ozone generators in the now-clean cab to help tame some of the staleness. I removed the PCV valve and cleaned it out, it didn't really look clogged.

Later I put a couple of gallons of fresh gas in, got it started and left it on high idle to warm up while I mixed up some actual Bon Ami Ring Job treatment in a beer bottle. I got Daniel to keep the revs up while I fed it to the engine. Scary! I gave it a couple of bottles of water to wash it down, then shut it off. I then changed out all the plugs for the new set I'd bought four years ago, dumped the oil, and gave it fresh Delo oil and a filter. It started easily after that. I Slimed the bad tire and took it for a spin. It drove well, I put a couple of miles on it and parked it.

Ready for sale, I'd say.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Got a nibble on the truck today. Guy offered $800, but could not take it today. I'm thinking about it. [I never heard back from him.]

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Life got in the way, and the listing lapsed while I wasn't looking. After prompting by Jill, I re-listed the truck on the 28th, and got a nibble today. Prospective buyer would want to drive it to Colbert. Use it as a daily driver, with some occasional horse trailer hauling. Cons: Deeply snowed in, and tires Not Good. Will probably take some serious effort to actually get the truck to where it could drive off.

I spent a couple hours snowblowing a track to the trucks so they could drive up out of the hole. A fair amount of effort, but having a prospective buyer to take this albatross off my hands makes it seem worth it.

The prospective buyer arranged to come tomorrow to see the truck.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Daniel and I dug out the trucks, we started at 9AM. (The Chevy was blocked in by the V10.) The V10 came up and out of the hole easily, reversing all the way, but the Chevy simply did not want to start. A lot of coughing, puking, and backfiring. I think the gas was bad, possibly wet. I used the torpedo heater (which itself didn't want to stay running) pointed underneath the engine to warm things. The truck eventually started and puked/ran, but threw the very old fan belt when I revved it up. Daniel and I drove to town and bought a jerry can full of gas, a belt, and some Heet. ($35 for all this.) Back home we installed the belt and fluids, and then it started. Before too long it was idling nicely, so we finished digging it out, pumped up the bad tire, and I ran it up and out of the hole.

The interior was very wet/icy from condensation, so after a long idle while it heated up we mopped it out, then I put in a space heater with the windows slightly cracked to help dry it out in the sun. (22°F today, not exactly warm!) I really must not leave a foot of snow on top of any vehicles, it's just killer for inducing condensation problems.

We were done prepping the truck for sale by about 1PM, the prospective buyer's due at 2-ish.

...And the truck sold, for $1250 (I had asked $1500). We used the WA value form, the buyer was not familiar with the State's piss-ant tax grab tactics.

I'm both sad and relieved to see it go. I've had it a long time, since perhaps 1995, and it's provided good service and a lot of memories, but I simply don't have the time or interest in keeping it up any longer.

Because Daniel had been of material help this morning, working with me for a substantial time without whining and being useless, and because it's possible I might not have had the truck ready for sale in time without him, I threw him the $50 bill. He's dating now, he's going to need it!

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