The Truck Is In Pieces – Part II

October 3rd, 2010

Well the passenger side is done. We knew there was something wrong with it but really had no idea exactly what it was until we pulled it all apart. It appears that the axle seal failed. Dirt was then able to get inside of the bearing assembly. Once things in there were no longer smooth and flush, the axle had some play. That play caused the metal part of the busted axle seal to eat into the steering knuckle. So, after a new steering knuckle, a new Timken 515025 hub bearing assembly, a new vacuum hose, and some new ball joints (we had already bought them), the passenger side noises are all gone.

Rain and our new 515025 Timken hub assembly

We would have the driver’s side done as well, but instead of paying $60 for a tool, we are relying on a local mechanic to install our axle seals and not a single auto repair place is open on the weekends in this town. We hope to be done with the front end work tomorrow. All that we could find wrong with the driver’s side was a bad upper ball joint, a disintegrating vacuum hose, and a “drier than I would like” auto locking hub. Thankfully, unlike the passenger’s side, we only need buy one more part, an o-ring.

Lots more work to do. Come Monday, I imagine that we will get the front end back together, drain and refill both differentials, and do some triage on the turbo.

Enclosed is a picture of Rain next to our new hub bearing assembly. =)

Home On The Plateau

September 8th, 2010

We are currently in middle Tennessee visiting my parents. We hadn’t seen them since we met up in Alaska last summer. Their house is about as close to a home base as it gets for us. It’s nice to be “home”. While we are here, we are going to do some work on our truck (F350 7.3 4×4 Dually).

tn_cv-rain02
Rain (14wks old) herding her food bowl

Here’s the to do list so far:
1. New front tires
2. An alignment
3. New ball joints
4. New U-joints
5. New front wheel bearings assembly
6. Rebuild the turbo
7. Rebuild the the fuel filter housing
8. Get a new transmission

1,2, and 8 will be done by a mechanic. We will attempt to do the rest ourselves.

The new tires are needed because of improper tire wear which is most likely due to 3 and 5. Since we are going to pay over $300 for two tires, might as well get an alignment to help prevent future uneven wear.

We have known about the turbo for a long time, but haven’t really been anywhere we felt comfortable tackling it. Hopefully, once it’s done, we will have more power and better fuel mileage.

Speaking of power… we don’t have any in reverse. Hopefully, we wont actually need a whole new tranny, but that’s what I am anticipating.

* Why is there a picture of a dog in a post that has nothing to do with dogs? Well, our readers love pictures and I love my dog!

Scavenging the Slabs

January 8th, 2010

It’s amazing the difference the mountains make. We were literally driving through rain all day until we finally crossed through the mountains into the California desert. Minutes later, it was dry and I was considering whether or not to turn on the air conditioner. Once again, we arrived at Slab City in the dark and were unable to find the primo campsite. So, we just settled for the same site we had last year, pulled in (checking for nails) and staked our claim.

Unlike last year, we had two bikes and didn’t need to get the scooter out right away. At least, we had two bikes for a couple of hours until Jenn’s pedal came off because it had been put on the wrong side. Back to one bike and two riders, it was time to get the scooter running again.

Just like last year, it had another fuel leak. This time, however, nearly the entire fuel line was dry rotted and I wasn’t able to clip enough from somewhere else to fix the problem. But, like Leonard Knight says, ‘If you go eight miles out in the desert, you can find anything you need.’

By way of introducing myself to our neighbors, I wandered over, dodging a vicious puppy, and said, ‘Hey, you know where I can find a piece of fuel line?’ Now, if you’ve ever been looking for some random part in the middle of nowhere, you realize I didn’t really expect anything from this except, just maybe, directions to the nearest auto parts store. Instead, I got directions to the Slab City mechanic.

Sure enough, when I found him, he was able to scrounge up a bit of vacuum line that was the right size to replace the fuel line on our moped. Sure, it probably won’t last too long, but neither did the cheap rubber on our Chinese moped. The vacuum line, had already survived a car fire, which is more than I can say for the original fuel line.

We have a few other scavenger hunt projects going on. I hope they all work out half as well as the moped. But either way, it’s an interesting way to meet folks when you get tired of scrounging around the desert and decide to ask directions.