Archive for February, 2011

Lessons on Battery Cables and the Benefits of Diligent Research

February 4th, 2011 Comments off

Well it HAS been a while hasn’t it?  A lot has changed!  I finally found an excellent trustworthy mechanic.  As a result, some major problems have been fixed: primarily, the oil pan has been replaced with a proper gasket and no longer leaks, and the steering box has been replaced.  Also, he tuned it up.  And holy crap.  It is a different truck entirely now – it runs GREAT.  He also gave me the good news that my engine is (and these are his words here) “really a hot rod”.  I had always HOPED as much, but never knew for sure since I have little to compare it to.  And since the new steering box makes the thing actually drivable, I’ve really had a lot of fun.

When I first got it back a few days ago I immediately addressed some concerns.  First, the mechanic spotted a hole in my power steering reservoir so I went ahead and replaced that.  It was the least I could do seeing as how I put that hole there myself with a crowbar.  My bad.  I also replaced the starter as the old oil leak had really ruined it.  By the way: if you ever want to melt the terminal clamps on your battery cables and see your battery boil over,  just be careless and forget to re-route that starter cable properly.  That was an exciting time.

After some new cables and connectors, everything was running again (oddly, that boiled-over battery seems to be hanging in there).  I also took the chance to chase down the battery drain that has killed so many batteries of mine in the past.  It was the aftermarket tach, as it turns out.  So I will have to snag a new one and perform some dash cluster surgery.  I also replaced the fuel filter (man, I GOTTA replace that fuel tank).

I drove it to work today and it did great on the way there – but when I drove it at lunch time it suddenly developed a really loud knock-ish sort of sound.  I am 99% sure it is an exhaust leak brought on by either the freaking exhaust manifold gasket again, or more likely, I have disintegrated yet another set of manifold-to-exhaust donut thingies.  not sure why they keep burning up, but they do.  I’ll have to do some research.

Excellent segue.  Research is good.  While I was under there looking at my exhaust I notice a little drop of oil.  No where NEAR as much oil as I used to see under there – but definitely “freshly leaked” oil.  Now, before I could never tell where the oil was coming from because, well, everything leaked.  But now that the pan no longer leaks, and I replaced the valve cover gaskets a while back and they no longer leak.  So where is this oil coming from?  And it oil mind you – not ATF.  Not that it doesn’t leak ATF (it does) but this is way up front and also oil-colored.  After snooping around I notice that the seal around the fuel pump is soaked with oil.  Rats!  I was the one who replaced that.  But upon closer inspection I realized that there are two bolt holes right next to the fuel pump.  The bottom one appeared to have a lot of oil around it.  Then my little brain began to churn because AGES ago when I was researching engine numbers I remembered reading about a bolt hole down there that leaks during high RPMs.  And sure enough.  THERE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A BOLT IN IT!

I’m still going to replace the fuel pump gasket just for due diligence, but I will also be plugging that hole.  When I die, two things will be said about me: 1) “He wasn’t all that smart” and 2) “That engine never leaked oil again”.

Oh!  Also I installed a rear-view mirror.  Those things are really handy!  They should come standard.  Next on the list are new windshield, gas tank, transmission leak and doors.  Not necessarily in that order.

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