Getting back to making some progress

I haven’t been able to work on Dad’s truck in a while, life, injury, the pursuit of getting through every day stuff just got in the way of getting time to work in the garage.

When we left the truck last, I had removed the horn finally, but the starter was fighting me and the fender was next on the list of things to do.

I managed to get the starter out today, unfortunately it did come apart, something I had been warned to try to avoid.  Not the end of the world, but I think it will mean a minor rebuild job on it.  Like I said, not a real problem, it will benefit from getting cleaned up as even part of the rotor was rusted.

The starter is free at last

The starter is free at last

That was one more thing on the list.  Turns out the problem was a simple one, and should have been really obvious, like bang my head on a brick wall obvious.  There was a small angle bracket through the top bolt that was attached to the block.  Once I got it wiggling some, it became apparent there was a pivot point that was holding it.  A quick look around and there it was.  I removed the top bolt, which is probably why the starter came apart, then loosened the bracket bolt attached to the block and the starter literally fell out into my hands.

The bell housing

The bell housing

Next on my list was the fender.  Dad and I had talked and decided that taking the fender off was going to make it way easier to get the engine out since the amount of room in front of the truck was limited and getting the hoist in from the front would have been difficult.

Some obstacles are bigger than others

Some obstacles are bigger than others

I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to go, there is an inside fender (engine side) and then the outer fender, and not all of the bolts were easily accessible.  The steering gear blocks some of the access to the inside of the frame channel, so I wasn’t sure if it would be easier to take the outer fender off  of the inner fender and running board, then tackle the inner fender or just to take it off as a single unit.

Examining the fender

Examining the fender

First I had to get the headlight wiring separated, then I decided to just take it one bolt at a time.  I got each one to work loose until I hit the last one holding the fender to the frame and then I got stuck.  The head of that last bolt was inside the frame channel inside a cross member and behind the steering gear.

So I decided to see if the bolts holding the outer fender to the inner fender would come along easily, nope, that wasn’t happening without some destruction, so I crawled under the truck again and figured out that if I put a wrench on the bolt from the rear through the frame I was able to get that last stubborn bolt free.

Houston, we have separation

Houston, we have separation

So another obstacle is out of the way.

Making progress

Making progress

And now we have access to continue.  I think the next step will be deciding if I am going to pull the engine with the transmission still attached, or try to separate them and only pull the engine block first.  I suspect it will be both combined after looking at it from underneath again, separating them may be difficult, there is not much clearance.

So another round of research is in order, but we have made another step on the journey.

Making progress

Another step on the journey

Beep Beep…

Today I did battle with the knee offending horn…

The bolts holding the horn on the frame are carriage bolts with square inserts keeping the bolt from turning, unfortunately the one on the left had rounded out and was free spinning.  because of being smooth on top and so rusty, I couldn’t get hold of it in any way to continue spinning the nut off…

Horn Bolt "Heads"

Horn Bolt “Heads”

I ended up going for an all out assault.

The remains after the assault

The remains after the assault

I drilled out the head of the bolt from above to break it free, then the rest of the bolt dropped free, and so did the horn.

Drilled out

Drilled out

Catching up

Things around here are busy as ever, after looking at the new toys (see my previous post about Dad and my trip to Harbor Freight), I decided I definitely needed to do some rearranging and make some progress.

We have a two car garage, and I have a small woodworking shop in one half, which I had compressed to make some room for the tools and knowing that I would be working on the truck.  Unfortunately, my compressing the woodworking section, was not quite enough on it’s own.  So I decided I would have to do some more rearranging.

I have to keep a somewhat functioning woodworking shop, so just packing it all up was not an option, but with some tactical rearranging, and turning the table I had set aside for the truck parts, I have made enough floor space for what comes next I think, well I hope…

Making floor space

Making floor space

I also put the engine stand and hoist together today.  I had hoped to do that last weekend, but time just got away from me.

The hoist and engine stand

The hoist and engine stand

And fortunately, the engine stand fit under the parts table, so I can work around it and the hoist folds up so I can tuck it into a corner, so neither it really intrusive in the work space.  Once the stand has the block on it, it will certainly stick out, but that’s ok because I will be working on the block then.

The Hoist folded up

The Hoist folded up

The world keeps moving on, next steps

I’ve been tied up, had some issues with my shoulder that made working on the truck difficult at best, so I didn’t.  I did keep doing some reading, so we are still prepping for the next steps.

Along those lines, Dad and I went out last week and got some more tools, some big tools… 🙂  We got another floor jack and some jack stands, an engine stand and a shop crane/engine hoist to get the block out and onto the stand.  Of course that also meant I had to clear some additional space.  I was already planning on making the space for the engine stand, just meant it was time to make it happen.

Toys

Toys

I also decided to remove the horn, note it is in the perfect position to catch every knee that happens to come by…  I know, because I keep clipping it and I don’t want to either hurt myself or break it off.  LOL

Dangerous horn

Dangerous horn

I have also started loosening the bolts holding the driver’s side fender on.  Removing the fender before removing the block makes sense, it would be so much harder to take out the block with it in place.

The fender is coming off

The fender is coming off

Hopefully this week/weekend I can get back into making some progress, I’m hoping to get the block out maybe as soon as this coming weekend, Labor Day, although realistically it probably won’t be for a couple more weekends as I still have a bunch of things to do.

Removing the fender requires removing the headlight or at least the wiring, hopefully in a nondestructive fashion…  I’m not worried about breaking the headlight, but I may end up cutting the wiring harness and I’m not sure, that may mean committing to an all new wiring harness.

But we will see…

Where do we go from here…

Today for lunch I decided I needed some me time, well me and the truck 🙂

I did some light reading on the starter on the truck after struggling with it last weekend.

The starter

The starter

So it turns out that the bendix gear on this starter model is behind the flywheel and the starter is in front of flywheel, and the bendix is pulled forward towards the starter motor to engage the flywheel.  Also that the bolts that hold the starter to the bell housing also hold the starter together.  So removing the starter, while keeping it in one piece is just one of the challenges.  But being forewarned with that knowledge will certainly make removing it easier, so that is on my list for this weekend.

We are coming down to removing the block, so now I’m making lists in my head of what next.  I decided taking the fender off the driver’s side at least will make removing the engine much easier, and safer, so that will almost certainly be the next item for the weekend.

That fender has got to go

That fender has got to go

I also did some cleaning and discovered that the brake line running across the front cross member was corroded through.  Replacing that is not a major issue, I have the tools to bend brake lines, but I’m glad I found it now, I would have found it sooner or later, but sooner is always better than later.  So planning for it will fall into the grand scheme of things.

Bad brake line

Bad brake line

But, where do we go from here…  I think the next step is going to be blocking up the transmission and removing it from the block, then it will be time to pull the block…

Getting close to coming out

Getting close to coming out

Back to work

Life has been hectic, that isn’t abnormal around here, but I haven’t been able to get out and play in the garage for a couple weeks, and that sucks…  But I was able to get out there today and get some things done.

Dad was over the other day and we talked about the brakes.  We both agree that even though I could rebuild the existing brake cylinders and the master cylinder, buying a new set makes sense.  They have them on several of the parts sites I use, and they aren’t expensive, and when it comes to brakes, well being able to stop when you put your foot down is one of those critical safety items…

I’ll probably still rebuild the existing brake and master cylinders and have them on a shelf in case we need to replace one in the future, but going with new makes sense to both of us.

When we last left the truck, I had sheared off the studs that hold the exhaust pipe to the exhaust manifold on the passenger side, not something I was totally happy about, but it happens.

Today I got my wife to give me a hand, you try lining up a socket on 16 inches of extension on a driver from the underside by yourself when you can’t see the nut you are trying to break free…

And as amazing as it was, both of the nuts came free on the drivers side exhaust manifold.  I credit the guy who had the brains to soak them in oil, several times over the last couple weeks, but I’m not tooting my own horn you understand. 😛

The exhaust crossover is free on the driver's side

The exhaust crossover is free on the driver’s side

I also decided to remove the tin can patch on the exhaust on the passenger side to see how the pipe actually looked.  If you have been following along here, that is the one that shows I have proof my Dad taught me the tin can exhaust repair trick long before the Internet became the number one source for how-to…  It was quite the leak.

Now that's an exhaust leak...

Now that’s an exhaust leak…

Once I had the exhaust clear of the manifolds, I decided to unbolt the clamps holding it together both at the cross piece and the tail pipe going back.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, the pipe was so far gone at the patch that it came out in a couple pieces, but it did come out.  I found another hole in the exhaust underneath the passenger side manifold so it looks like there were break through’s both where the y-pipe comes together and where the exhaust out of the manifold both hit.

Exhaust out

Exhaust out

We’ll have to see how the fix for that goes, new piping for sure, but depending on the manifold or if we need to go to headers we may have it done at a local shop.  I’m sure the muffler is rusted through, although I haven’t pulled it yet.

I also wanted to pull the starter, well I started to pull the starter.  I found the bolts holding it on.  On this model they are long bolts that run the length of the starter, they actually hold the starter together in addition to bolting it to the bell housing.  When the bolts were free, but still holding the starter I started wrestling with the starter itself to get it free, but it really wanted to fight me.  So I decided to call it a day and do some further research to make sure I didn’t pull something off and have things go sproing… and parts go flying…

I did some digging and it turns out the starter motor gear actually sits behind the flywheel, the bendix pulls the gearing forward to mesh with the flywheel and engage the starter.  So sometimes a little finagling may be required to clear the flywheel when pulling the starter out.  So I will work on that next as time permits…

Starter

Starter

So once again, we are getting there, one step at a time.

Braking into the brakes, and other breaks…

We had a mixed day today.

I spent a couple hours finishing moving my woodworking tools to the front of the garage to clear space for the engine when it comes out.  I still have a ways to go, I need to replace the garage door on that side so I can roll things in and out.

I started the day by trying to remove the exhaust manifold since we are going to pull the block in the not too distant future.  Unfortunately, the first bolt on the passenger side sheared off, and I am not able to get the breaker bar on the second bolt so I am working on it with heat and a wrench, and soaking it in oil overnight.

Broken exhaust manifold stud

Broken exhaust manifold stud

Once I decided it was time for the oil to have a chance to work, as a backup I moved on to the exhaust manifold bolts themselves.  While turning the first one, I heard a small “crack”, I thought it was the bolt breaking free, but after a quick examination, it turns out there must have been an existing crack, or at least weak spot in the manifold…

Cracked Manifold

Cracked Manifold

I broke a few more of the bolts free, then I decided I should brake, I mean switch to, something else…  SO I decided it was time to pull the drums for the front brakes.

The drivers side wheel hub spun easily, the cotter pin and castle nut came off nice and easy, and the grease was still fluid and not dried/caked.  The outer bearings pulled out easily and still had grease packed in them and look like they are moving freely, the drum slid right off the spindle, it could not have come off any smoother.

Bearing coming out

Bearing coming out

The inside of the drum looked pretty good, minimal corrosion and there wasn’t grease everywhere around the housing.

Inside the drivers side front brake

Inside the drivers side front brake

Then I moved to the passenger side.  On this side the drum didn’t turn by hand, it spun when we got it on the trailer and off and into the garage, but it was pretty tight.  I removed the cotter pin and the castle nut spun off easily and was still well greased, some of the grease had broken down and liquefied it looked like, but the outer bearings looked to be in good shape still.

The drum on the other hand, was held pretty tightly by the brake shoes I suspected.  With some persuasion, the drum came off and things looked fairly good inside.  The was some sign the cylinder may have leaked, there was some corrosion around the cylinder, but all in all things were in fairly good shape structurally.

Into the passenger front brake

Into the passenger front brake

The best part about getting into the brakes today was finding the shoes look to be in good shape.  Each side has at least a quarter inch of pad and looks to be in good shape.

As for the rest, we’ll get it, it just may take some more persuasion…

The first unveiling

Dad has not seen the truck since it was in his garage.  He has seen the blog and we’ve talked a little about things as I found them, until this last week because he was traveling.  So he basically knows what is going on, but I have to admit I’m a little anxious with him seeing it for the first time in pieces…

When the discussion about me working on the truck first came up I was going to put in a new battery, change the oil, probably drain the transmission and differential and make sure the brakes were safe and working fine.  The goal was to do the things he could not easily do to get it to where he could play/tinker with it and drive it, then go from there.

Each time I started something, starting with draining the oil, it just seemed to lead to one more thing.  So in some respects a simple oil change has lead us to the block is almost stripped down and needs to be rebuilt.  Going this far would have to have been done whether I started working on it, or he did it.  But I feel kind of like the little kid showing his Dad something he accomplished, or at least was working on, and wondering how he was going to react…  I’m not sure I thought that at 50+ years old I would have felt that feeling again… LOL  🙂

But for me, this project is a labor of love and I wouldn’t give it up willingly for anything else in the world (assuming of course my wife doesn’t get too jealous)…

Getting down to the bare block

Getting down to the block

The next step is going to be a little work on my garage I think, I need to open up the other side of the garage and move the woodworking shop to the front.  My wife has lined up some photo jobs that will require some custom frames.  I make reclaimed wood frames for her photography, so I have to keep the wood shop in shape.  But also so I can get an engine hoist into the garage and have room to pull the block and transmission I think. 🙂

 

Worshiping the heads God…

The last couple days I have snuck out to the garage at lunch and after work to work on the truck.  The main focus has been the head on the driver side.

First I removed the oil filter canister from the head and disconnected the line to it.  I had to be careful as there was a small amount of oil in the bottom of the canister still and the last thing I wanted was that to go flying…

Oil Filter Canister

Oil Filter Canister

I made a mistake on Thursday and was wearing a nice t-shirt when I went out at lunchtime.  When I went back in, I realized I had a couple small grease spots, so I immediately sprayed it with some magic elixir from some magic blue bottle in the laundry room so it won’t stain, I hope…

That night I removed the temperature sending probe, or I tried to…  The nut came free, but the probe would not come out of the head no matter what I tried, so I sprayed it with some oil and moved on to removing the nuts from the studs.

Temp Probe

Temp Probe

Once all the nuts were removed it came time to soak the studs in oil, and let them sit.  I came back the next day and added more oil, gave it a couple whacks to see if it would loosen up, but no go yet and I didn’t have more time to really get into it.

The driver's side head

The driver’s side head

Friday I decided that removing the grill and towbar from the front was going to make working on the truck easier, and given I think I’ve made the commitment to pull the block and rebuild it from the bottom up, removing the nose was going to make that much easier.  Of course, now I’ve decided I’m going to re-engineer my workshop to make room for rebuilding the block out of the truck.  I removed the bolts holding the grill/nose on, only to realize I needed to remove the towbar first so the nose would clear the horn… it’s always something else.  So I soaked the bolts holding the towbar to the frame in oil to make removing them easier the next day.

Saturday morning I went out determined to get the head off.

I started by removing the towbar and the nose/grill piece and the towbar.  Dad’s truck has this beautiful nose, the grill is oval and bows out, and I think one of the most distinctive parts to the look and feel of the truck.  Getting the grill/nose loose took some oil and elbow grease, the bolts for it are not all in the most convenient locations, but the towbar came off so easy I wondered if I was having a dream and I was going to wake up and realize I hadn’t started yet…

Nose and towbar

Nose and towbar

Then I started working on the head by adding some more oil to the studs,  I cleared all around where the head and block met, then I started tapping around the head using a 2X4 and rubber mallet, then moved to a little heavier hammer. 🙂  Once the head broker free it was just a matter of working it slowly from all sides.  I used the trick with the plastic floor space/wedges again and once I had it loose I worked it off the studs.  I had one stud that was obviously causing a problem, but eventually it gave up the fight.  I set the head on some 2X4’s on the top of the block to continue to work on removing the temperature sending probe.

The head laying on top of the block

The head laying on top of the block

I did stop to do some research, my new books came in handy, and of course consulting the Great Google…  Unfortunately nothing magic appeared, so I decided to try using a little heat to loosen the temp prob, after all it’s the head, it gets hot.  I’m not sure I actually got all of the probe out, the wire broke during some part of the struggle, I think the probe may have separated and left the casing in the head, that may take some more work, but it will get fixed if so.  I’ll do some more research and get something ordered.  I feel bad, this is the first thing that has “broken” and it looks like that is not a cheap part. 🙁

Temperature sending unit

Temperature sending unit

I also decided to take the front tires off, I already know I’m going to need to rebuild the brake system.  Something was dragging when we moved the truck over here, hopefully all it is  is the brake shoes and not something internal, axle, something…

But I won’t know until I get the drums off, so the first step is take off the tires.  Since the truck is on jack stands already the hard work was done.  Once I had the tires removed, I loosened the caps covering the castle nuts, but I decided these are probably different enough from the drum brakes I am used to that I was going to do a little light reading before I keep going.

The first Tire is off

The first Tire is off

An additional blood sacrifice was required…

So for lunch yesterday, I decided to head out to the garage and see what else I could do.  The truck did demand an additional blood sacrifice, but it turned out to be worth it. 🙂

I have been working my way towards getting the heads and intake off the block so that we can see what is going on inside the engine.  I decided to see what was left to do on the intake.

Getting bare...

Getting bare…

I remove what I think is an oil line (actually it is a vacuum line I found out) from the intake to the distributor, the wiring harness from anything on or around the intake; the oil pressure sending unit wire (I think) and the wiring to the distributor, as well as an oil (vacuum) line on the top of the intake to the firewall.

Then came the fuel pump stand, push rod and the bushing and cup at the back of the intake.  That was a terror, it was very badly rusted, so I had a hard time getting things apart but I did finally get them removed.

Fuel pump stand and push rod

Fuel pump stand and push rod

My hard work and those few drops of blood came into play as the intake came off nice and smoothly at that point.

The intake is off

The intake is off

The good news is, it is not as bad as it could have been in the block, the bad news is it is not as good as it could have been in the block.  But it could definitely have been worse, so I’m happy to get this opened up.

Into the valley

Into the valley

I’m pretty sure at this point we are committed to rebuilding the top of the engine at least, it just makes no sense not to.  Once both heads come off and we can see the valves and we’ll know if we need new sleeves and pistons.

After work last night, my walking buddy was tied up, so I went back down to the garage to continue the battle with the head.  I had soaked the studs on the both sides after I removed the nuts, three studs came free from the block when I was taking them off the other day.

Head nuts removed and a few studs came out as well

Head nuts removed and a few studs came out as well

I started with some gentle taps around the head.  I began to see an opening between the head and the block, so I started rocking the head.  Then I got the idea of using some plastic wedges, normally used for spacing laminate flooring and tapping them in from all four sides.  They did great, I used them from the sides and top and bottom, knowing they wouldn’t scratch or scar the surface of the heads or the block.

Note to self, soak the studs on the other side, then soak them again, then soak them again and try wire brushing them clean before trying to remove the head.  It took me 20+ minutes of rocking the heads back and forth to get them to come off of the studs.

The block today

The block today

But no matter what, we have made more good progress.