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Little Things, But Major Annoyances

August 19th, 2009

I knocked out several of the little things that annoy me in the truck this week.

1) Ignition – It stuck.  Badly.  Like to where I had to really twist the crap out of it to get it to disengage the starter.  So, I went to O’Reilly’s and got a new ignition cylinder.  Got it back home, cracked the Haynes manual open and started the dis-assembly.  But none of the pictures in the book looked like what I was seeing.  The description didn’t match either.  It talked about an “ignition cylinder retaining screw”, which my column most certainly lacked.  Nor did it have a tell-tale hole where one might have been.  Only when I looked back to the “earlier models” section did I find instructions that worked on mine.  Needless to say, the cylinder I bought didn’t work, so i had to run and exchange it for a new one (turns out my column is from a ’76).  The old one had bits of spring jutting out all over the place.  Looked very broken.  But the new one slid back in and I got everything back together and it works great now.  Bonus: I had to fashion a tool to complete this job.  There is a plate that sits between the steering wheel and the rest of the steering column.  It is called the “lock plate” apparently.  That plate has to be removed to get to the release for the ignition cylinder.  That plat, however, has a very large spring behind it.  There is a little lock ring on the shaft that hold the plate back.  So to remove it, you first have to press that plate down FURTHER so that you can get at the small, slippery, stubborn lock ring.  So I create a U shaped bracket.  It had a hole in the center large enough to pass over the shaft.  Then I tightened down the nut on the shaft, which then pushed the bracket, which then depressed the lock plate, which then allowed me to get the lock ring off.  This took about 5 hours to figure out.  And I now have a tool I’m likely never to use again, but that worked PERFECTLY this once.  That makes me happy.

2) Vent Window – Brian helped me with the vent window.   Took about 30 minutes to find the perfect set of movements to wrench it out of the  door.  Good news: the interior of the door looks fantastic.  Very little rust.  Plus, the new vent window from pull-a-part went in perfectly.  I now have airflow!

3) Door Hinge Pins and Striker – This took a looooong time.  I had to do it by myself.  I ratcheted off the hinge bolts and came to the panicked discovery that the door weighs forty million pounds, or there abouts.  So I had to hold it up with one arm while I took the rest of the bolts off and then catch the thing.  Some lower back damage later, I had it safely on the grass.  I then had to cut the old hinge pins out, clean everything up and re-grease, then put the new pins and bushings in.  Then I had to build a scaffold to set the door up while I bolted it back into place.  Then I installed the new striker.  It closes like new now!  No more slamming it shut!

The fuel thing is really bugging me.  It only seems to have a problem RIGHT when you start it, and after you’ve been driving it a good while.  But good news –  a new tank is only $100, so that is on the list now.  Bad news: my fuel needle sits on half a tank now no matter what.  I have no idea why.

I also got a good look under the carpet on the driver side.  And saw the ground.  Hopefully the new floor pans get here soon, cause I’m wanting to get that done.

EDIT 2014 Update:
I’ve ended up completely rebuilding the vent windows. It is pretty much required on these trucks, but it wasn’t horribly complicated. I have brand new door shells and new hinges, so all of that will be getting fixed. I never could get the old ones to work right anyway.

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