Archive for July, 2017

The Melting v-Belts Mystery: SOLVED

July 20th, 2017 Comments off

One of the major events of the past couple of years is that I FINALLY learned the primary source of my v-belt woes. The backstory is that for the last 9 or so years, I had a recurring issue: my alternator would eat v-belts. Also, I was burning up alternators. This problem persisted even when I swapped out all my pulleys, tried different alternator brackets, redid a bunch of the primary wiring for the electrical system, purchased actual belt tension tools, and went through about 5 different alternators. All in pursuit of keeping the belts from squealing and from melting belts (seriously – like throwing molten rubber onto the underside of the hood.)

I finally ended up taking it to a GM mechanic that was recommended to me and they discovered the problem:


The issue was that I was over tightening the post bolt for the alternator (this is the long bolt that serves as the pivot mount for the alternator). When you over-tighten the bolt, it distorts the alternator housing and causes the bearing to bind. This of course prevents the alternator from spinning freely, creates a TON of heat, and destroys the belt. I was torquing the HECK out of that bolt. The pulleys still have some alignment issues and so I still get a little bit of belt dust, but nothing like I used to.

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2017 Update

July 20th, 2017 Comments off

Long overdue update! I’m 5 days away from the 9th anniversary of getting the truck and about 3 years from the last time I posted any updates. So way to stay on top of things right?

I’m going to start trying to post updates of what has transpired in the last few years, but in short it comes down to this:

  • I had a son (who is awesome) and that of course has impacted the time I have to work on the truck.
  • I have pretty much everything I had planned to tackle on the truck “addressed” in one way or another with varying degrees of success.
  • I’ve learned a lot.

I’m going to be doing a lot of this from memory, so it won’t be perfect but I’m going to document it as best I can (some of it will be out of chronological order). I’ll just start with where I left off:

The Interior

The interior came out great. Couldn’t be happier – I still need to get new door cards because my repairs on my old ones didn’t hold up long term, but other than that everything is looking great. Here’s a list of the completed work:

  • Installed sound deadening, heat shield, and new carpet.
  • Repainted everything that needed repainting.
  • New dash.
  • Restomod on the gauge cluster.
  • Amp, speakers and custom sub enclosure and a nice head unit.
  • New seatbelts.
  • Made a shift boot for the Lokar shifter for the 700r4 (cause that isn’t an off the shelf kind of part)
  • Also made a arduino-based shift indicator system for said shifter.

I bit of info on the shift indicator: this was a fun one! The issue was that when I put in the 700r4 (used to be a th350) I *thought* the column shifter wouldn’t work anymore. (I have since learned that I totally could have used it). So I sprang for a pricey Lokar shifter. It is fantastic and well built and I have no real complaints, except that it was difficult to tell which gear I had selected. At the time, Lokar didn’t have what I would call an “affordable” option for an electronic shift indicator (it was like $250). So instead what I did was make a little bracket that hooked onto the shifter body and used a pushrod (similar to a cable for bike breaks or something) to move a linear potentiometer. The potentiometer then feeds into an arduino microcontroller which in turn controls a little led display that I worked into the gauge cluster. Then I wrote a bit of code that reads where the potentiometer is and outputs the selected gear to the display. It works surprisingly well! I will post some pics and a more detailed write up in the future because I want to clean up the wiring and enclosure. I eventually want to package it up and make it a lot more dynamic and flexible for other people who might need the same thing.

Actually now that I think about it, there were a ton of things I did in the interior that really deserve their own write-up, so I think I’ll tackle those one at a time in their own posts. Also there are scads of other things to cover for the other items on the truck I’ve finished up.

First, I have to go get all the pictures I’ve accumulated over the last 3 years and get them organized. Then I’ll start plowing through the updates!

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