Posts Tagged ‘chevy’

Day 12 – New Tires

Posted: April 29, 2011 in Logs
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My right front tire was getting a little too bare to pass inspection so I went by the used tire place to get a tire and I was greeted with “Loads of Laughter”.  It’s not crazy for me to go there, since that is where I bought my last one and it was fantastic.  Now that I needed another, I was reassured just how difficult it is to come by one of these second hand.  I had already checked a few of the local new tire places and a  16.5 x 9.5 tire runs around $250+ – which is 1/6 the price of the truck.  Nope, don’t see it.

They suggested I come back when the manager was there (he is who I dealt with the first time) and sure enough when I did, he had one.  It was $70.  I was about to sign on the dotted line when I asked what would happen in 6 months if I needed another tire and he said I’d probably go through the same ordeal.  I’m not into “ordeals” so much (which makes you wonder why I picked this truck – but I picked this truck to avoid the ordeals associated with computers, air monitors, and automatic transmissions).  I asked him if there were any other options and he suggested I swap out the rims, and he had two with tires.

So I took off the two 16.5 x 9.5 rims/tires on the front and replaced them with 16 x 8.5 tires and rims.  What’s cool is that I went to the Walmart tire site and there was many nice choices in this new size.  I honestly don’t see a difference on the truck – it appears to be the same in all ways just that the nice rim I’d painted is sitting in the garage now.  I’m thinking about selling it because the two tires with rims only cost $140 (total), so I could maybe sell these and buy two more for the back.

The back has 16.5 x 12.5 – which actually makes the truck look like some hot rod and I actually like it enough that I haven’t jumped on swapping those out – plus the tread is in terrific shape.


Day 11

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Logs
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Hi Everyone!  I’m still here.  Once the truck passed inspection, I just started driving it everyday and haven’t worked on it as much.  Maybe now that it’s getting cold, I can start parking it in the garage again and get back to business.

I finally replaced my CD player.  I know CD player sounds funny to some people – especially based on the age of the truck, and then again still some of you probably have one in yours.

The truck came with one, which was funny to me.  Probably not original equipment.  It never worked right.  The radio would work, but it would not play CD’s and the reception was all screwed up.

One day during lunch I went out to the garage and I knew I had an old CD player out of another car.   To my surprise, it was the same brand as the one in there so changing it was actually a snap.  I did it right during lunch.

First I removed the wiring harness from the back – it just unplugs.  Next, I loosened a bolt on the back and this released the radio.  I was able to lift a clip and slide it right out of the dash.

Dash area for Radio

I then slid the new one into position.

Radio part-way in

I reattached the wiring harness and antenna, then hooked the bracket back up and tightened the bolt.

All I had left was snapping it back in place.


Sounds great!  I’m glad I saved it.  It actually sat out in the garage for about 6 years so I’m glad it was still functioning.


Day 10

Posted: July 23, 2010 in Logs
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The next item to tackle on my list is the driver side front wheel brake.  The inspection station said it was sticking.  I removed the wheel and verified that the disc brake was not releasing.   He said it was a hose.

I went to NAPA and asked for a hose for it, where I found that a 1965 Chevy C20 does not have disc brakes.

Hmm – really?  Because I have them.  Obviously they are off of something else.

I pulled the caliper loose and took the number up to them to get a new hose.  He said it is off of a 1973 C10.  He, of course, doesn’t have one.  He can order it.  Now, I’d already been to AutoZone and they didn’t have any idea what the GM part number cross referenced to.   I was impressed that NAPA immediately looked it up.

Two days later, the hose arrived and I took mine up there, but it wasn’t the same.  Their hose was a right hose that someone had put in a left box.  He had to reorder.

The next day I went back and now the hose was a left hose, but it doesn’t fit my caliper.  The bolt is a different size.  The guy typed for a while and came up with a 1975 C10 hose that fit just right.  Terrific.  I went home and put it all back together, but I was unable to remove the bleed fitting on my caliper.  Even with vise grips, all I managed to do was destroy the fitting.  So I went back to get a caliper.  I priced it earlier and it was only $17, which is well within my tolerance for pain vs. throughput.  He took out his caliper and it didn’t match mine.  Same GM#, but it was different.  The 3/8″ brake line was too big.  This one looked like a 1/4.  Everything else was exactly the same.  I didn’t want to buy another hose, so he typed more and found the right caliper.  I think it was off of a 1973 C10.  I’m starting to feel like I’m in a Johnny Cash song.  He had to order it.

NAPA is obviously a geographical oddity – two days from everywhere, but at least they get results

Two days later I picked up the new caliper, put it all back together and bled the brakes.

I’m a little disturbed because even after all of this, the wheel still drags a bit.  I’m not sure why.  The caliper properly extends and retracts but you can hear the wheel pressing against the brake pads.  The pads are also practically new, so I’m hoping they just need to wear in a bit.  Maybe it’s a combination of surface rust on the rotor and new pads.

Yeah, that’s it.  We’ll see.

So that’s 2 of 3 tasks.

The next task to tackle is the gaping “Fred Flintstone” hole in my floor pan.

I called Brother’s trucks yesterday and ordered a replacement pan and rocker for the drivers side.  Looks like learning how to weld is in my near future.

From Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:

Cop: “Do you feel this vehicle is safe for highway travel?”
Del: “Yes I do. Yes I really do. I believe that. I know it’s not pretty to look at, but it’ll get you where you want to go.”

Day 9

Posted: July 23, 2010 in Logs
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I finished the trailing arm replacement.  What a workout!  I think a friend of mine put a hex on the whole process when he said “I’ll bet it’s all rusted together!”

He was right, even though I thought surely he would not be.  I had to cut here and there with the angle grinder and finally got the old U-Bolt off.  That took a few days because I only have an hour or so that I can put towards the project in a day.

At the same time this was going on, I had to find a u-bolt to replace the one I was cutting up.  This was difficult also as none of the auto stores in my area have anything like this.   I lucked out and found a local company that MAKES any size u-bolt you could imagine.  They are also cheap – only about $10 per u-bolt.  I know this because I had to buy three of them.

[Note to self – if you go back in time and return to your first visit to the u-bolt place, ask for a 3/4″ and not a 5/8″.  This will save you some frustration.  The u-bolt is 3/4″ by 9″ by 3 1/2″.  Remember that.   Getting the first bolt the wrong size is just going to upset you.]

[Note to self(2) – When you go back the second time to the u-bolt store to get the 3/4″ u-bolt, make sure you ask for 3 1/2″ bend and not 3″.  If you ask for 3″ bend, you are going to go back.]

Yes, this REALLY happened.   I suspect because I am a moron, but between traffic and talking to people at auto parts stores who said repeatedly, “Surely, it’s 5/8″ and not 3/4″ – that’s just crazy talk!”  The 3 1/2″ to 3″ last minute goof up is just me trying to rush between work and this place and not paying attention.

Anyway – I finally got the trailing arm loose, then removed the emergency brake line and had to cut the bolt off of the spring and then use an air chisel to get the spring loose from the arm.

FINALLY – it came off.  The front bolt under the cab was a lot easier and then I was done.  Next, I just had to reverse the process and put the new one back with all new bolts and my 3 versions of ubolts.   Done!  It looks great.  We drove it around the yard a bit and it didn’t fall off, so I’m confident that part 1 of 3 of my “Inspection Challenge” is complete.

Day 8

Posted: June 30, 2010 in Logs
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“The show so far”

Well, the inspection went well – at least, it went “weller” than I thought.  It failed, but it failed for reasons I didn’t expect.

First, the left trailing arm has a crack in it.  I knew this, but I didn’t realize that was an inspection requirement.  I’m lucky because the person I bought it from had two extra ones he just picked up and they are in great shape.   So I think that will go well.

Second, the left front brake is sticking a little.  I would have thought the pads would fail, but they are fine, it’s the opposite – it doesn’t release well.

Third, and worst in my opinion, is a hole in the floorboard.  They are worried about those pesky exhaust fumes.  I need to get some metal welded into place to fix that.  I know a little about a lot of stuff, but not welding.  So that’s last on my list.

I have fifteen days to fix everything, but it’s not horrible if I don’t finish – I just have to get a complete re-inspection if I don’t finish in that time frame.

So, I started right in on the trailing arm.  I used a tool on the drill to take it just about down to bare metal and then I primed it and added two coats of black rust resistant paint.  This is unusual for me – I usually do everything H.A., but Jamie usually does everything 110% and she is wearing off on me so I am doing it right all along the way.  The new one looks excellent and it’s ready to go.  I just need to get the old one off – sounds easy, right?  Just take off the two nuts and drop the old one.  Oh, wait – no, it’s not that easy.  I slapped the impact wrench on the nut but to absolutely NO movement whatsoever.  I then tried a 3/4″ socket wrench with a 1 1/16″ socket – nope.  Then I tried a 10′ pipe on the wrench with two of us – nope, pipe bent.  Then I tried a chisel – nope.  Then I tried my saws-all – nope.  Then I bought new blades and tried again – nope.  The u-bolt is obviously made of some hardened material from outer space.

Finally, tonight, I checked with my next door neighbor and he had a cut-off saw/grinder and it really did the job.  I can’t believe I don’t own one of those yet.  I cut the u-bolt in two places and even though it’s loose, I still can’t get the arm to drop yet.  It was already almost 9pm, so I called it a night but I am definitely making progress.

Tomorrow I’ll get it loose and then work on breaking the truck fitting away from the arm and I can prime it all and put it back together.  What fun!  (no, really – I love this stuff).

I’ll post some pictures of the “show so far” tomorrow.

Day 7

Posted: June 23, 2010 in Logs
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Today I fixed rigged the passenger side wiper arm and then put both arms/wipers back on the truck.  I was missing that tiny tab at the end of the arm so I cobbled one from a piece of tin.  I’m not “thrilled” with it, but it appears to work and I don’t think it’s going to fly off of the truck anytime soon.

After that, I removed the bad headlight dimmer switch and headed back to Advance Auto to pick up a replacement – only about $8.50.  I was going to wait until tomorrow to put it in, but I had to close the garage anyway so I went ahead and put it in.  It works and even the dash high beam light came on.

I think this about does it for the inspection – I mean, as far as I can tell.  If they don’t count off for rust, I’m practically set.  Hopefully I can get it by there tomorrow and see what horrors await.

Day 6

Posted: June 22, 2010 in Logs
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(Sorry, no pics today, but if we keep waiting on me to get the pics out of the camera I’ll get too far behind)

I removed the steering wheel (okay, I’ll post pics later).  I tried to do it without a steering wheel puller.  I tried this for an hour, maybe an hour and a half.  I was using a bearing puller – which was close, but no cigar.  I ended up going to Autozone and using their tool-loan program, loaned myself a steering wheel puller and had it off in about 5 minutes.

The goal, of course, was to get to the signal switch and see what was wrong with it.  What a bunch of built in obsolescence.  A piece of plastic that pushes against several different copper springs.  I toyed with it a bit until nothing worked and then toyed more until it was all working.  Hooray – now I have signals that all work.

Next was to replace the steering wheel – no problem.  The horn doesn’t work right.  The previous owner added a button on the dash, and I’ll leave it like that for now.

Finally, I found some wiper blades that fit.  I tried a couple of auto places and returned to Advance Auto because they said the other night that if I bring in my wiper arm, they might have a fit, and they did.   I bought two wipers and I have to rebuild one of the arms because the metal clip broke (the previous owner used miracle putty I think to fix it).  As soon as I get that, I’ll have both wipers.  Next will be the headlight dimmer replacement and I’m going to try for an inspection by Thursday or Friday.

(wish me luck)

Day 5

Posted: June 18, 2010 in Logs
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Today I pulled the wiper arms off to replace the blades.  The blades just unsnap and slide out.  I looked them up on the Napa site and it showed two of them for about $3.50.  Napa isn’t as close as Advance Auto, so I went there instead.  They didn’t have anything like the blade.  They said they might have the whole wiper if I had brought it, which I didn’t.  I don’t “hate” the wipers that I have, but one is held together with something like putty and neither one comes apart despite putting a wrench on there to attempt to loosen the bolt.  I’ll try again tomorrow.  I don’t want to put a lot into it yet because I just need to pass inspection so I can drive it.

I bought a “new” tire today.  It’s new to me.  I bought it used for $76, which is much better than the $150 (and even $200 at another place) the local Firestone wants to charge me.  It looks great and they mounted it and balanced it.

While we had the wheel off, we checked out the front brakes a little closer and honestly, they don’t look horrible so I’ll send them to inspection like that and see what they have to say about it.  I mean, the truck seems to stop just fine and there aren’t any grinding noises or leaks.

Here are pics of the brakes:

Those aren’t “deep grooves”, just a little rust.

We also took a closer look at the left signal light and it’s not as simple as I originally thought.  While I was tinkering with the bulb, my son jiggled the turn signal lever and it came on, so it’s more of a loose connection.  Guess I’ll be pulling the steering wheel after all.  That’s not a bad thing since I can go ahead and look into fixing the horn right.

Day 4

Posted: June 16, 2010 in Logs
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[Disclaimer – I should explain that when I say “day”, it’s not really a day.  I mean, I won’t say “Day 428 – Did Nothing” or similar that might bore you to tears.  Instead, a “day” is any day I do work, and it’s not always 8 or 12 hours, it’s just however long it took.  So “Day 4” means the fourth day I actually did anything.  Heck, I might have gone fishing for a couple of days in between…]

Today I replaced the turn signal lever.  The previous owner had it, luckily, but I had to install it.  I was almost sure I’d have to pull the steering wheel to get to it and I honestly was about to do that when I noticed that they were smart enough to put a hole in the steering wheel for the express purpose of tightening the screw. 

I looked aorund for info on removing a horn button and of course I always read things like “Just pull on it with all your might” or “Pry it off with a screwdriver – it just comes right off”.  I need to be careful what I read on “The Internets”.  It turns out that my particular steering wheel doesn’t just “pull off” (with all my might), but actually has two screws in the back.  Once I removed those the button came right off and I could get to the hole for the screw.  The screw that was with the lever was already stripped out, so I found a similar sheet metal screw and used that.   It worked perfectly and I was happy to see that the signals worked except for the left front which is a bulb issue.

Here is the steering wheel with the horn button removed:

Here is the access hole for the turn signal lever screw:

Here is the “expanded” view of the steering wheel with the horn button so you can see the attachment screws:

And here is the completed task:

The horn is currently controlled with a dash button installed by one of the previous owners.  I will move this functionality to the steering wheel at some point, but first-things-first.

Day 3

Posted: June 15, 2010 in Logs
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Not a lot happened today on the mechanical side.  I went to DMV for the title and registration work and then we took a quick spin around the block just to see how it drives.  The truck feels okay.  Now I need to get cracking on the inspection requirements.  I was glad to feel that the brakes worked well, so that’s promising.  We’ve decided that we only need one tire at this point, so I’ll see about that on Friday.  We’ll worry about “pretty” tires later.

I added some new pages to the blog.  I really like WordPress.