Sunday, October 31, 2004


Just Plain Fuelish...

Well, I thought it would be a cinch. I mean, how hard can it be to fix a tiny fuel leak? What could possibly go wrong?! (You'd think I'd know better than to ask that.) Let's start with my pre-repair part of the day. I didn't start working until 2:30pm because, after coming back from a late breakfast with my parents, the Rusty Dogger escaped from the backyard. An hour of running, wheezing, cursing (not to mention an attemped dog-icide) later I managed to corner her in a backyard half-way across town. Add another 45 minutes of hoofing it home and I'm in a fine temper. So it's 2:30pm and I'm just starting to dig into the truck. The First problem was that the clamps on the fuel supply lines were apparently original equipment. The clamps' latches were face down! (BTW - I'm referring to the short rubber length of hose that ties the hardlines on the framerail to the fuel pump on the tank.) This simply can't be resolved with the tank on the truck! Solution? SNIP SNIP! Buh-bye fuel lines. Now I'm committed as I can't get the *&)$! truck out of the garage and back into the driveway until I'm done. As an added bonus, it's too large to fit completely inside the garage. Grrr... Problem #2: the fuel filler hose/vent line clamps are rusted shut. This took me an hour of hacksawing to resolve as I didn't have the right size to replace either hose (snipping was *not* an option.) GRRR! Problem #3? My siphon couldn't reach the last five gallons of fuel which, at 7.1lbs per gallon) made balancing the tank on the floor jack a fun and exciting process. I was absolutely delighted.... NOT!

I don't know if I managed to set the date right on this post but these events occur on Halloween, the importance of which will become apparent.

I'm in the third hour and I've got the tank down. The sun has dropped and with the darkness has come the pitter-patter of candy-obsessed feet, with whiny children attached. My wife is hiding inside the house with the lights off, but with my garage door up and the 1000-watt owl roasters illuminating my legs, protruding from underneath the truck as though I've been run over, I attract a lot of attention. I can't begin to count the number of times idiot children asked me, as I sit there soaked in diesel and oil, if I had any candy. They have no idea how lucky they were that I had already shut off the garage's water for the winter.

Fortunately, I had the correct ID fuel line and was able to quickly re-install the tank and all but *one* of the bolts that hold it up. Which sounds a lot more successful then it was given that there were only *TWO* bastard bolts holding the whole shebang together (via metal straps.) Screw "witching hour" this was the "BITCHING" hour. Some how, in the process of repair that damn bolt shrank 1/4" as it would not reach for love nor money. Applied brute force, on the other hand, worked wonderfully. Hell, it's only a plastic tank, it compresses. :)

So now, the moment of truth. I turned over the engine and relocated the truck to its resting place. Well pleased with myself on a job well done I began cleaning up, only to hear the tell tale drip-drip-drip of diesel on cardboard.... F**K!!!!!!! *ahem* Well, as it turns out, the old rotten rubber lines weren't the cause after all. I discovered a pinhole leak in the hardline attached to the return side of the pump thanks to all the nice shiny new hardware I put in. For this weekend's repair (part deux) I'll be putting a philosophy of mine into practice --

If at first you don't succeed, cheat!

- AD

Tuesday, October 26, 2004



Those weasels at the RIV sent me my letter. Now I can get the truck certified and insured. The downside is that I have to get the final repairs (fuel tank, maybe brakes) and the certification completed by Novemeber 25 so the race is on. Hopefully this warm snap continues.

Friday, October 22, 2004


Things Accomplished So Far

Things accomplished so far:

- Cleaned the interior of the remains of its rodent residents, including their nest in the air vent (#1)
- Replaced old stereo with the one from my wrecked GMC. (Don't ask)
- Replaced old speakers in the doors with functional ones from my wrecked Ford. (*Really* don't ask. Removed mouse nest #2 from RH door.)
- Got the recall clearance letter from Dodge
- Removed the horrible tint from the side windows. Used 87 octane unleaded glue remover.
- Replaced the bald tires with some nice discount mudders
- Removed the steel running boards that almost tore up said mud tires with my cousin's help.
- Replaced the air filter (Removed mouse nest #3 from air-box.)
- Changed oil & filter (No mice? Slackers!)
- Priced daytime running light (DRL) module from Dodge, $100, not bad.
- Discovered I needed additional Canadian wiring harness, $500. ARGH!
- Returned module and installed fog lamps that are always on, priceless (well, free at least.)
- Replaced the 12 interior trim screws that rattled out after 13 years. Interior *much* quieter.
- Replaced old chrome Cobra 19+ CB with the black plastic Cobra 19XIII my cousin gave me. Exact same size/buttons/functions.
- Discovered CB still didn't work.
- Discovered wiring to the overhead console, and thus the CB, was cut. Swore. Soldered. Fixed.
- Discovered wiring to the tachometer had been cut. Swore. Soldered. Fixed. Again.


Getting to Canada

Getting the truck into Canada was a bit tricky as the relevant information was hard to find. The Minsitry of Revenue and Canada Customs keep
changing their names and areas of responsibility each week (it seems.) Even when you find the information, the legalese is such a pain to
deal with that you want to scream! With the aid of several websites, I was able to put together the package I needed to get The Beast up here.
(From now on, in deference to my CTS, I will refer to it as TB for short. My wife refers to it as the "boob-killer" due to the rather solid
suspension and its unfortunate consequences on the female form so that name may also appear.) For future reference, you need two notarized
copies of the title and the registration and the bill of sale. You will need to fax the US Customs people 3 days in advance of bringing it
across the border and you will have to present it to them along with the confirmation slip from your fax machine on the day. This is important!
I saw several people turned away because they did not do this. On the Canadian side, you have to tell the person in the booth that you
need a Form 1 Vehicle Import. Then you pay $182 for the import process plus 7% GST on the Fair Market Value of the vehicle. Ten days after,
you should receive a letter from the RIV (Registrar of Imported Vehicles) that details what is necessary to bring the vehicle up to Canadian
standards. In the case of pickup trucks, they are taken at face value as long as they met US Federal Safety Standards for their year of
manufacture. Typically, you need to add French stickers for the airbags (doesn't apply to my '91) and daytime running lights. After that, it
the standard road-worthyness test at Canadian Tire and registration at the Ministry of Transportation for plates.

Unfortunately for me those lazy b**tards haven't even sent me my letter so I can't get it registered yet. On the plus side, this gives me time
to get all the repairs done that I think it needs.


The Beginning

First a little history. This ol' Dodge is a 1991 Power Ram W250 HD. It started life plowing snow in Wisconsin for three years by a man
who likes his trucks. Then he sold it to my father-in-law. The truck then spent the next 13 years hauling a trailer that weighed between
17,000 and 21,000 pounds. After all those years, someone in a blue suit noticed. Turns out that exceeding your vehicles rated tow capacity
by 7,000 pounds is considered illegal. D'oh! So, it was left parked. When my F-I-L decided to get rid of it he remembered me asking him
to pass it my way instead of the dump. My reason? I like off-roading but haven't had the money for a third vehicle and was tired of wrecking
my daily driver. This was my solution. The specs of this ram make it an excellent off-road candidate even if it is a little too large for
Jeep sized trails. It has the Cummins I6 5.9L Intercooled Turbo Diesel engine (160 HP, 400 lb-ft), a Dana 70 full floating rear axle and a
Dana 60 semi-float front. A TorqueFlite 727 OD tranny and NP241 transfer case make up the rest of the drive train. Even if I scrap the truck
later, I will keep those parts and stuff them under a Jeep. For now, follow along and watch as I try to bring the tired beast back to life.
(By my count, 0 of 13 TSB's were resolved on this truck in its lifetime.)


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Jus' fiddlin'...

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