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March 23, 2007

Somebody get this freakin' duck away from me!!

newest dragon head
The Elusive Duckapus Rex

March 22, 2007

Mean old Cougar

I drove the Cougar today... with no front brakes, as it turns out. It sounds awful mean, though. Watch this movie and listen:

March 19, 2007


"all i know, is that i know nothing"

Finally the van has power!!!

jump for many wordy.

Carburetors are still somewhat of a mystery to me. It's been said that the word is derived from a french phrase for "don't mess with it". I doubt that's true, but it sounds good. I prefer computerized fuel injection.

So we have this van, 1980 E350, 1ton.... "Our Lady Of Perpetual Motion".
It's had a history of issues with the carburetor. The original carb was angry. At one time I assume it ran exceedingly well... probably about two years before i purchased her back in 2001. She ran pretty darn well then.

About 2002 we tried a new/better "remanufactured/rebuilt" carb after an emissions failure. The first "new/better" unit I sent back right away because it had a screw stripped in and not seated. The second I installed, but couldn't get the idle vacuum high, or the idle screws set well, and i never drove it... Sean got an emissions test done, passed, came home and, to my best recollection, said "put the old/crappy angry carb back on!". The new/better unit ran too crappy, and the old/crappy unit ran too better. The angry one passed emissions the next year. The new/better sat on a shelf and got shuffled to a Jeep, then almost tossed... apparently it was crappy. I caught it from the junk pile just last month.

So anyway, the angry carb died last year or so, quit running... black smoke, fire, the works.... Sean "rebuilt" it. I didn't want to do it because I like to feel a sense of accomplishment sometimes. It ran OK afterwords ...in comparison, so there was a bit of accomplishment. I was impressed. It had a dead spot when accelerating, and the choke quit working, but it started and ran. We were pretty happy.

Recently it quit. Well, it still ran, sort of. It wouldn't start unless you manually dumped fuel down the intake (Sean claimed that 10 or so minutes of cranking and pumping might start it eventually). And it would not accelerate hardly at all. One would have to baby the throttle, so to speak (different from throttle the baby).

I put the "new/better" carb back on it. Sean reminded me of how crappy it ran, so I took it back off and put the Cougar's old 2bbl carb on it. This one leaked fuel from the power valve diaphragm. Leak... more like a pressurized external spray of combustible fluid onto a hot surface. I fixed that. I pretty much only like fire if it's under control. Fire's cool, heh.

Then it ran pretty well... actually pretty great in comparison, but there was nowhere to hook up the PCV, and nowhere to hook up the tranmission kickdown rod (not that it was hooked up before). It also had a significant "dead spot" when accelerating. I decided i would try my hand at figuring out the problems with the "new/crappy" vs. the broken "angry/better".

New/crappy had 2 different size main jets. Big problem. Bad rebuilder. Very bad. No donut.
Main jets are a screw-in brass orifice to let fuel through, and the orifice is a different diameter for different applications. There are two, and they should be the same size as each other. Tuning a carb to a specific application involves, among other things, changing both jets to a larger or smaller (same) size. There are other brass fuel orifices too. I compared all to the original carb. All were different.

I put all the original size orifices in the "new" including the entire 'cover plate', and some other main stuff from the "angry".

Hooray for working suddenly stuff!!!
And i hooked up the transmission kickdown.
Double Hooray for stuff!!!

Our Lady runs 90% like a champ! I'm not messing with the remaining 10% chump. It has a slight hesitation off idle at low speed. meh (remember our french lesson). I keep the Cougar's carb in the van JIC. I have no confidence in this carb yet, but it does give the van the power it hasn't had in more than 6yrs.

So now that i have power to the engine and a shift kickdown, I can tell that the transmission might be dying... Hooray?
I'll change the fluid. It's been a tow vehicle, and the fluid is a bit brown and bubbly since the last time i checked it (s'posed to be red and, ummm, not bubbly).

edit: Trans flush did the trick. I did the old school flush... cooling line style. I disconnected a cooling line (to the radiator from the trans), ran it with a hose to a bukkit, and ran the van to flush the fluid. I got out about 4qt per run, and repeated until red.... still cheaper than a jiffylube flush.

March 18, 2007

car stool

I made a stool out of car parts... and a home made cushion. Dreya helped alot with the cushion.
All car parts are worn and useless for road use, but make a pretty good stool.
It's a mix of mustang, jeep, and mini-mopar parts, and it rotates smooth enough to turn your stomach. It's ~30" high, the cushion is 14", and the base is about 25.5" with the tire.
I'm still debating adding a foot rest. Pics after jump.

March 15, 2007


transmission came in. Lewis and i worked on the truck all day Wednesday, and now it's done.
done-d-d-done-d-d-done-done-done (think William Tell Overture).

March 13, 2007


this is not sean's mazda, just a similar one.

I guess I've neglected posting on this car for a while. I've been driving it alot while waiting for my Firebird parts. It's a great car. My sis and her hubby raced it a couple times. The speedometer is broken though. It has a digital speedometer, but still uses a cable.

It had been making an occasional strange whirring noise behind the dash, and then the speedo and odo meters quit working. I thought the cable snapped. nope. worse. Sean was driving it when it broke so it's not my fault ;-)

I took the gauge cluster out tonight to disassemble and inspect it... very interesting setup. It has the cable coming in and running the odometer in the old conventional way (the odo is an old style counter), but it also runs a tiny propellor through a hall effects switch. This switch works the digital speedometer. The assembly seized up. At least we don't need a cable... sigh.

I doubt a new speedometer head is available, and if it is, it's probably very expensive. A used one might work for a while. Unfortunately, since this seized, and the cable is fine, the plastic gear(s) inside the transmission probably shattered too. That's probably pretty cheap... but if the drive gear shattered I have to drop the trans (again)... Oh, BTW the shifting problem is sorted. Shifts fine.

So I judge speed off the tachometer.
According to the posted gear ratios, 65mph is just over 3000RPM in 5th gear. That seems about right for this car. 80mph is just under 4K RPM in 5th, not that i'd break the law. It'd also be nice to keep track of the mileage. No odo. I figure there's about 65K on the car now... reads about 062K.


It was really bugging me that I didn't know why the master cylinder on the C10 was acting abnormally. I wanted to know why.

I put a tie-rod end and sleeve on the truck, and then did an inspection on the master cylinder. I found the problem.
continue to find a representative image of what I found on this new/rebuilt master cylinder. click for bigger.

The primary piston was effectively lengthened by not being put together all the way. This pushed the secondary piston pressure seal past its compensating port so it could not fully release front brake pressure. I guess it didn't defy physics after all ;-)

March 12, 2007

frisky dingo

More work on the C10. I replaced the LF wheel bearings. They looked a little burnt and felt a little rough. Right ones are worse. They're next.
I replaced the LF brake hose because it appeared to be holding pressure to the brake. Well, there was still some residual pressure. I thought maybe defective hose (it happens). After waayyy too much time trying to decide that the master cylinder actually was defying physical laws, I stuck a known good one on there I had laying around.

Son of a pink bottomed monkey.
Defective master cylinder in a way i've never seen.
20,000 brake inspections and this is the first one I found holding pressure like this.
(no residual valve, push-rod adjustment fine... for those in the know)

So there's still a few hours of light. Enough time to tackle the RF bearings, brake hose, and RF upper ball joint. I took pics of the ball joint. after jump.

It's riveted.
Heat rivet head with Indiana socket set, chisel off head with air hammer, repeat.
Use bolts provided with new ball joint to install. Ta-daa!
I used to have to do this alot. I'm out of practice though.
click pic for flickr and before/after


"MASTER CYLINDER!!" -Xander Crews

March 11, 2007

end transmission

Actually, we haven't even begun Lewis' truck's transmission. It didn't get delivered.

Instead we looked at his Volvo yesterday. It's been running badly... misfire. It has many miles. like over 200K. I was afraid the valve timing was off, and that the timing belt had slipped. But it turned out the timing marks were just misleading me. The 2-piece crankshaft pulley had separated, allowing the two parts to spin independently of each other, so it appeared to me that the timing was way off. He's ordering a new pulley. It will ensure his timing marks are set correctly, his accessories spin at the correct speed, and since this pulley also doubles as a dampener for engine harmonic vibrations, we will assume the new one will compensate nearly as well as the original used to.

So the timing and the pulley were not the cause of the misfire. He had replaced ignition parts... plugs/wires/cap/rotor. We checked engine compression. It was more than fine. Lewis pointed out that it sounded like it had a vacuum leak. That turned out to be the problem. We installed a new intake manifold gasket and it runs much better. In fact it runs comparatively magnificently. Whoo-hoo!

Hopefully the truck trans will be in soon. In the meantime he picked up some other parts for the truck which i will install maybe today or soon. It has a loose upper ball joint and some other bad parts.

March 9, 2007

diesel madness

Lewis left me with his red C10 diesel pickup. We installed a used transmission some months ago. It failed... lost overdrive i think. He's supposed to have a remanufactured trans w/ warranty delivered today.

In the meantime, he asked me to check out the front suspension and fix a leaking freeze plug. It has the aftermarket expandable plugs, which are fine except one needs tightened up... it happens to be located behind a motor mount bracket. I got to use the engine hoist. pics after the jump.

I noticed that his steering belt was also loose.... and it was missing a bolt... and a brace. WTF? I'll have to recheck Geneva's truck to make sure she isn't missing the lower brace too. But I don't remember it not being there ;) Apparently this P/S system is prone to losing parts... or having parts lost. I know 3 people with these 6.2 diesel chevys, and all 3 have/had P/S issues with missing or wrong bolts, and at least two missing the same brace.




Tomorrow i get to do the transmission.
The suspension inspection revealed some things i'll be bringing to Lewis' attention too.

March 5, 2007


I've been reminded that people name their vehicles. Sean still names his. I just worked on Sparky. And of course there is Mr. Hankey. I grew up with named vehicles. I guess being a mechanic has bittered me. My bird was once named. I s'pose it still is... firechicken, chickencoupe, fireturd... the Pontiac.... The "it's not a camaro"...

So Brian's truck is
...also saturday

or maybe only Brian's day off...

So anyhowl, I got all the P/S fixed. Sort of. I put a rebuilt pump on it and fixed or replaced all the missing/broken fragments.
It has a hydroboost brake booster which runs off the power steering... typical deisel stuff. The pressure defers to it and it's s'posed to have a reserve. The reserve don't work too good. It needs a new brake booster.
It also has transmission shifting abnormalities.
This may be delt with in later posts.
For now, Truckasaurus' basic power steering broken parts are no longer broken.

BTW, I'm getting the final replacement pieces for the OHChickencoupe's 'performance cam' this week I'm told. I might post about it if it dosn't break this time. The seat-in procedure is revised... @ more $$$$ for every oil change forever. Crap. It's a zinc thing. i guess EPA frowns on zinc now.

March 4, 2007



I got to work on Dreya's car "Sparky" today. Pics are uploaded to flickr. Click on this one and you'll find'm. Click 'all sizes' on the spindle pic if you want to see the scarred spindle. Scarred hub pics didn't turn out well.