Thursday, June 12, 2014

Truck Repairs, Improvised Tools and Slick Lil' Gadgets

Been busy for a lazy guy. Not sure where I left off... bein' sick as a mutt for four or five days kinda scrambled my perception of when stuff happened. :)

First thing I can think of is that I split my time between tryin' to mow the grass around this farm... and sittin' in the shade wheezin' and dizzy from bein' beat up with that flu bug.

So then I'd go work for a bit on wiring and such on the bike getting her all finished up.

Well... one afternoon I was wobblin' past the front of the truck... and saw one of those green puddles you really don't want to see. Took me some little time to figure out for sure and for certain it was the water pump. Now everything I've ever replaced or fixed on this Ol' Dodge Cummins seems to always tally up in the hundreds; so I might could say I was not looking forward to another repair.

I've heard tales that you've got to pull the entire radiator to get to the damned thing, so I came razor close to just droppin' it into a local shop for somebody else to fix it... but... that threatened to tally up to dollars in the excessive digits range...

... and since my budget no longer contains anything that can include excessive digits... I concluded that doin' the job myself was the order of the day.

A lil' online scouting revealed that while a dealership might charge you $300 bucks for the pump... you can get 'em at NAPA for a lot less... The one I bought cost me $52 and less than an hour of wrenching to replace.

$52 bucks for a lifetime warranty brand new pump at NAPA... and a whole lot more from a dealer... hmmmm... NEVER buy parts at the dealers!!!

I don't know who came up with the radiator story either... but that fool was lyin'.

I pulled the truck up into Evin's shop and set to work...

*Gettin' ready to put a fresh water pump on a cummins*

There's only two bolts to deal with... nice lil' short ones... but before you can really wrench on them you need to get the serpentine belt out of the way...

To torque that tensioner pulley over to release the belt you need a tool...

Now... there's a handy dandy special tool you can buy that costs something north of a hundred bucks the last time I checked... or... you can do it the cowboy way...

*Serpentine belt Tensioner tool*
In that tensioner is a 3/8 square hole. That fancy tool plugs right in there... and of course your wallet is a whole lot lighter.

or... just pick up a length of pipe at Home Depot or Loews that's long enough to reach up above the radiator...

Stick the drive of your 3/8 drive ratchet or breaker bar in the hole, slip the pipe over the ratchet handle and wa la!

A $6 or maybe $8 handy dandy tensioner pulley tool!

Of course you need to drain out a bunch of the coolant before you break that pump loose...

And they don't set that to drain out nice either... so you're likely to have coolant on the floor of where ever you're swappin' your pump... so don't have the pups around when you're workin'.

That stuff is deadly to 'em.

I drained what I could catch into a five gallon pail. Planned on putting it right back in, and then running the truck 'bout 7 miles to another shop to do an oil change and coolant system flush.

Had the pump out in no time... was nice and clean for 203,000 miles.

It was just leakin' out it's weep hole for whatever reason...

There's another lil gizmo in this pic of interest too... See that lil' blue light above the new pump?

I got my first one as a gift from a reader of this blog! I just picked up a couple more for use as camp lights when I'm on the bike. Found 'em at Harbor Freight for like $4.

An LED light that has a hook and a magnet (for multiple ways of stickin' it where you need it)... for a sweet lil' trouble light that'll give a goodly amount of light where you need it.

working in the dim light of that garage that lil' light let me see down in the engine compartment so I could see what in the hell I was tryin' so hard to screw up! :)

It was actually a lot darker in there than the camera flash and the light from the light shows in this pic!

Now... a competent mechanic could probably have the bad pump out, the good one in and be done up and sittin' in the shade in under a half hour.

I... am NOT a competent mechanic... I just get the job done... eventually... I was done before lunch!

I took quite a while with a scrubbing pad and even some 320 grit paper making sure the mating surface where the new pump's O-ring would seal was as clean and proper as I could make it. Didn't want to have to redo things 'cause I got in a hurry.

But bottom line is anybody with a bit of common sense and some ambition can swap the water pump on his old diesel truck and save himself (or herself) a goodly number of dollars in the process.

With the truck repair done... I've been tinkering the past couple of days getting the bike ready for a run... Got invited to a "mini" rally down in Flagstaff... Can't say I've the dinero to get there and back... but what the hell...

... I've been setting here in this place for nigh on two months and that's too long... Time to roll somehow... some way... some where!

So... next week... I'm straddlin' the saddle of that polished up Yamaha Raider and rolling South West for Northern Arizona for a few days...



Jack said...

I wonder why men have DNA to do what you did. I have a Dodge 2003 Diesel 3500--I wouldn't have had a clue as to what that green puddle was.

The last time I had mine in for service it was $1500. When the A/C quit, that was $1500 and it still doesn't work. They said it cost so much because they had to pull the whole dash apart to get at it. I want some male DNA. :)

Sounds like you're getting back on your feet. I hope you can go to Flagstaff and have a great time.

Janna and Mike said...

Good job Brian!! Mike is refusing to buy any more new trucks since having to remove the ENTIRE engine to replace injectors in the 2004 Ford we no longer own. He wants older trucks he can still work on. Thanks for the Facebook comment--if I go to one more dinner party where people are trying to shove politics down my throat there may be war!

acheapguy said...

Yep love those little lights. Water pump on the inline 6 in your Dodge might be easy to change, but not so the newer Fords. 6 hrs to change plugs on my 1997 gas Expedition. Some Ford dealers lift the entire body off the frame for major service. How about 4 hrs flat rate plus parts sound for h2o pump on ford diesels.? That old Dodge looks better every day.
I am looking for and older Dodge for our first puller for a fifth wheel.Mike and Janna have it right :)

Brian said...

Dang you guys are making me feel less impotent for driving this 203,000 mile old dodge! :) I think maybe I should shoot for 500,000 miles on her! :)

Brian said...

jack nimble; I believe it is more a conditioning of the way a person thinks, as they're raised, than DNA... :) I taught my daughter to reach out and think out whatever she wanted to do... that she'd not done before. I never did anything until the first time... and neither had she! :)

Jack said...

Good point, Brian. As far as conditioning, I guess having my husband for so many years--I missed that boat. Then again, he probably would have starved to death in the kitchen.

You did your daughter a favor. :)

I only have 89K on my 2003/4 Dodge. I bought it in pristine condition--it still is except for dog hair inside. The miles are almost all highway miles. It's been in for service (oil change, etc.) every 3000 miles. Gone are the days when men would lust for me--they now lust for my truck. LOL I guess it's my last vehicle as long as I can climb up into it (which isn't getting any easier--then it goes to my kids.

Unknown said...

"I think maybe I should shoot for 500,000 miles on her!"

Why not? If you recall, I put approximately 550,000 on the 92 Dodge diesel work truck before the company sold it. It was still running fine too, just needed something bigger.