Thursday, November 16, 2006

 

The Steering (rod) Strikes Back

Well, it's been a while. After successfully removing the ball hitch from the bed (courtesy of my cousin, a sledge hammer and a can of WD40) I had thought things would run smoothly. And it did. Briefly.

Two days ago whilst I was driving home from work I crested a hill and the steering rod seperated from the control arm. D'oh! Fortunately, after a brief sojourn in the rhubarb I landed in some soft mud and tall grass. It could have been *much* worse had the truck decided to go left into oncoming traffic instead of to the right. Let's hear it for crowned roads! ;) Other than a hairy moment when I thought it would roll from the landing I wasn't that scared. A tow truck driver on the way home from work stopped and called in a wrecker to get me out. Poor guy. His tow truck was barely heavy enough to lift the old girl out but a larger truck would not have fit on the road. Two hours later I was out and had the truck at Canadian Tire for repair. Of course, this is a *different* CT than the ones who "repaired" this the first time. I will also move the hydraulic ram steering upgrade from the "nice to have" list to the "necessity of life" list.

Sometimes I think this truck is out to get me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

 

Shaft II - Shaft in Africa

Well, I broke down and ordered the replacement steering shaft from Borgeson. While not as easy to install as they made it seem, my Dad and I managed to get it done. We also tightened the mounting bracket bolts and fashioned a re-inforcement for the steering gear that has all but eliminated the wander it caused. It still has a bit of a wander but it is contained in the steering gear itself so outside of replacing it there isn't much I can do about it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

 

Yeah, I'm talkin' 'bout shaft baby...

Another brief update: The steering slop worsened after I re-assembled the coupler. The shoes were worn and the spring hadn't responded well to my re-assembly. So now the crap steering shaft will be replaced with a much better unit. As usual, removing the old shaft went swimmingly. Not. The twelve-point bolts became zero-point after a brief introduction to my breaker bar, despite using an Exxon Valdez's worth of oil. Naturally you can't use heat without wrecking the rag joint -- not that my propane torch can get hot enough to do any good. Even grinding the heads off failed to allow the rag joint to separate. After much sweat, swearing and sparks I finally lost my temper and got out the cutting wheel. Thirty seconds later the shaft was out. Next up, grinding out the old roll pins which are seized beyond recovery.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

I'm not dead (yet!)

It has been some time since my last post but never fear... the Rusty Dodger has struck and now I, the Artful Dodger himself, must perform another freakin' repair. Things had been running smoothly for a while, that's why there wasn't much in the way of fresh material. The dreaded steering curse of Dodges' Past have come to haunt me. Straight axles have never been known for their accuracy in steering and with the big tires it only gets worse. As you may remember from my moving Odyssey I had replaced the drag link, which had severed at the clinch nut. Well, as with any old vehicle, as soon as one part is back in spec, everything attached to it suffers. In this case, my steering gear mounting bracket cracked, as many have done in the past. I hope to have pictures as it isn't every day you see a quarter-inch thick plate tear. It certainly explains why my Dodge was steering itself all over the road the past little while. I had thought the steering damper had frozen and was causing the problem, but no such luck. Needless to say, I have yet to discover just how much this baby will cost. I know getting at it will be a bear, not too mention re-inforcing the area to prevent a re-occurence. A hydraulic assist for the steering may be necessary.

Monday, October 24, 2005

 

Sploosh...

We'll, I've got the tank back in (or should that be under) the truck. I spent all Saturday last weekend installing brand new fuel lines. I started at the back of the truck and rolled towards the front looking for clean steel to place my patch-in. I was almost underneath the engine when I decided to skip the splice routine and just run new from front to back. I borrowed the necessary flare-tool from a friend at work so it wasn't as hard as it could've been. After 7 hours it was all fresh steel and rubber hose from front to back. I propped the tank into place and turned over the engine. Success! It ran without a hitch so I let it idle to clear out a months dust. As I climbed underneath to bolt the tank into place, something happened.

* Sploosh *

Fuel was still leaking! It was slow, mind you but after careful examination the source appeared to be the plastic fitting. It seeped fuel but I couldn't pinpoint it. This Saturday past (Oct. 22 if you need know) I dropped the tank and ran the truck while staring at the stupid thing to see where the problem lay. I never did find the exact spot, but I wasn't prepared to shell out the $400 bucks for a new sending unit (next year, maybe) so I said "screw it" and slathered liquid gasket all around the area I suspected was leaking. This stuff never sets and is fuel proof so I have high hopes. It's been two days so far and I haven't seen a drop so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

 

This'n'that

Not much going on -- just finished tearing up the backyard with the wife. Hot work and hell on my allergies too. Found some time to fix my tachometer -- the ground strap had somehow worked loose when I tore^H^H^H^H gently removed the dashboard when fixing my A/C. Oh well, no harm done. I removed the old spare tire from between the frame rails. I don't know what git of a engineer thought that was a good storage spot. The bolts were so rusty from disuse I had to introduce them to Mr. Hacksaw. Did the trick and I discovered that the tire was bald and the wheel rusty. Apparently my father-in-law never replaced the one that was there! :) Doesn't matter really, it is not the correct size any more. On the downside, there is insufficient space to hang a fuel tank there, at least one with greater capacity than what I currently have. So now I'm looking at a steel replacement in the stock location. Next up, getting the ball for the gooseneck to drop so I can actually have full use of the bed. Judging by the amount of rust on the release (which is seized) it will be a significant project. I've already begun soaking it with liquid wrench so it is only a matter of time. I bought some steel today so hopefully by next weekend I'll have welded in some patches on the drivers side chassis/fender where the rust is running away with the truck.

Friday, September 16, 2005

 

It ain't easy, bringin' a Dodge back to life.

I must have crossed a wire when re-installing the dashboard after replacing the broken temperature control linkage because now when I turn on my headlights, the power to my tachometer goes out, unless I dim the dash lights completely and then it turns back on! Grrr! Guess the dash will be pulled ... again.

Oh, more fun, the gas tank that I paid to have fixed is leaking fuel again. Guess I didn't need a 150 dollar seal change eh? Guess it is the @(*$)@ vent tube like I told them, eh!? So screw it, I'm yanking the plastic piece of crap off, ditto for the spare, and mounting a large steel aftermarket tank between the frame rails instead! Won't be cheap, but I'll double my cruising range and be able to repair the stained section of driveway without fear of it being leaked on again. Soon, too, as the stain is oozing towards my neighbours' side of the asphalt.

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