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Goodbye to an old friend

  1. Mar 30, 2009 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    JB Weld prevents the fuel line from dripping gasoline onto the exhaust manifold, which has a metal bandaid attached with pipe tape that seals a crack. The carburator has been leaking gas through the throttle shaft seal for years. Number eight cylinder is passing oil; the valves are clacking on number seven. The brake booster is covered with rust and the master cyclinder leaks brake fluid. The heater fan runs ever so slowly, but not as slowly as the windshield wipers which can barely complete a stroke. Belts, hoses, and plug wires are cracked and rotting. Insulation from the main wiring harness turns to dust if I grab it. The brake lights no longer work and can't be repaired without replacing the wiring harness.

    The doors are sticky and difficult to open at times [have to watch for the wasp nests in the door jams, in the warm weather]. The windows can barely be opened without stripping the gears in the door. A small tornado put a tree branch through the top of the canopy which now sports a rather large hole. The wood slats comprising the floor of the bed look like driftwood found at the beach. The mufflers have had holes in them for years. She has three fuel tanks that can hold a total of 50 gallons, but the three-way selector valve is plugged. The engine thermostat went bad about ten years ago so it was removed...never did replace it. Walmart value seat covers are the only thing hiding the discolored foam that pushes up through the tears in the vinyl seats. Surpringly little rust is found on the body... except for the spot that hit the tree when I slid down the hill sideways. And of course, as happens every spring, grass is sprouting on the rear bumper.

    My Harvest Gold, 3/4 ton Chevy truck with a 396 cu. inch engine, is 41 years old, and I think it is time to let her go. :cry: We bought it twenty years ago for $2500 and used it to move to Oregon. Since then it has been used to do everything from pulling tree stumps and grading the driveway, to making our biannual runs to the dump, to offering a last-ditch mode of transport to town when the snow runs deep. I bought it instead of renting a one-way U-Haul, which was going to cost about $2500 dollars. I'd say I got my money's worth!

    She was sweet in her day. It came with a heavy-duty tow package - an oversized radiator, aux oil cooler, RV cams, air suspension - and that roaring monster of an engine that as far as I could tell got ten miles to the gallon whether going downhill empty, or up the gravevine out of Los Angeles while stacked 14 feet high and towing a fully loaded trailer. The heavy-duty air suspension has never needed air to be added.

    Almost died in that truck three times.

    The pulley on the power-steering pump has been wobbling since the day I bought it. Always meant to do something about that..
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
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  3. Mar 30, 2009 #2

    wolram

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    Keep her for a flower bed or veg growing.
     
  4. Mar 30, 2009 #3

    Evo

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    RIP old truck.

    Are you having a full funeral service?
     
  5. Mar 30, 2009 #4
    We need pics!
     
  6. Mar 30, 2009 #5

    turbo

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    You're a year late, Ivan! Last spring that old beast could have brought good money at the salvage yard. Scrap iron was at record highs a year ago. Now, it's so bad that you have to pay to have junkers hauled away.
     
  7. Mar 30, 2009 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    Heh, I'm not sure what will happen. The engine is apparently infinitely rebuildable and has caught the eye of the racing crowd before. I am told it is very desirable, so I would expect that as a best case the engine will find a new life in some hot rod. As for the body, there is no hope. It would be foolish to put another dime into it.
     
  8. Mar 30, 2009 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Mar 30, 2009 #8
    Your truck looks like it should be in a movie where a volcano is erupting in the state of washington with pearce brozman as a siesmologist.
     
  10. Mar 30, 2009 #9
    Awww its a lovely truck, and served you proudly. And to be reborn as a race car! How perfect is that?
     
  11. Mar 30, 2009 #10

    turbo

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    The 396 is a pretty hot mill. If it is the same configuration that was in my uncle's 4-spd Chevel, it can be dropped into a lightweight modified-class dragster with impressive results. If not, a little head-work and steeper cams would probably perk it right up with little other modification. My dopey cousin wrecked that car before it ever had a chance to get old. About 10 years later, he wrecked a new Dodge "Little Red Express" pickup, and he let the insurance company total it out and ended up still owing money on the loan. My Duster-racing buddy (National NHRA champion in his class) would have paid him big bucks for the W2 heads off that engine, but the truck was gone before he got the chance.
     
  12. Mar 30, 2009 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    Btw, if anyone is interested, I have a really great truck for sale.
     
  13. Mar 30, 2009 #12
    NO MOSS??? what?
     
  14. Mar 30, 2009 #13

    turbo

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    I can't pay much, and you'll have to deliver. Maine is lovely in the summer...
     
  15. Mar 30, 2009 #14

    Tsu

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    Oh, no. There's PLENTY of moss and algae - along with some grass and weeds growing on the bumpers and on the (rotting wooden) truck bed. Hey. She's GREAT!! She a rust test in progress!! :biggrin:
     
  16. Mar 30, 2009 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Tsu, when we bought that, Bob W. and I were standing there looking at the engine when I noticed the power steering pulley wobbling. I mentioned to Bob that I had better do something about that. Bob looked at me and something like "Don't worry about it, It will probably run that way for another twenty years". Little did I know that we would prove him right!
     
  17. Mar 30, 2009 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    We bought the truck from Tsu's dad. I called him recently and told him that I don't like the truck and I would like to return it.
     
  18. Mar 30, 2009 #17
    My aunt at the home place on NE Morning Street in Corvallis has a very similar truck, in a similar state.
     
  19. Mar 31, 2009 #18
    I have an old 1972 International Harvester pickup. (binder) Every thing still works. It has been used for just about anything and everything imaginable.

    The doors open just fine but they are really loud when closed unless I remember to close them gently. I parked it beside a Lexus at the Home Depot last week. When I got out I slung the door shut. It was so loud it set off the alarm in the Lexus.
     
  20. Apr 1, 2009 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    I always wanted to go through that engine, but I never got back into engines for fun. Having the property takes so much time and money that, until recent years, I couldn't really justify such an expensive hobby. But, still, it makes my mouth water a bit just thinking about doing a precision rework on that engine; put in some hotter cams. In fact, it would be fun to go all out - machine the heads, oversized valves, turbo, high rise, all high-precision machining, etc - but I just don't have the facilities for that kind of work. Years ago I did and never imagined that the day would come when I wouldn't. :frown:

    Then again, maybe I've turned enough wrenches in my life. There is nothing worse than racking the knuckles at 30 degrees F. I swear that's got to be as bad as childbirth.

    Just thinking back a bit.... I rebuilt my first engine for pay at age 12. I dont' remember the actual mnfctr, but it sold as a Sears SST minibike; I think it was 90cc. I remember that it used a rotating plate with a slot as an intake valve [on a two-stroke!], which seems funny now because I've never seen anything like it since!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  21. Apr 1, 2009 #20

    turbo

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    I've never had the facilities for machining, etc, so I would have had to pay to have that done. I've done a lot of less-demanding stuff on Harleys though. It's pretty easy to change out cams, lifters, push-rods, etc, and carb-rebuilts/mods are a snap. There is a lot of aftermarket stuff available to do-it-yourselfers. For a time after his first marriage my buddy Steve was living alone in a house-trailer. I dropped in to see him from time to time, and he was always building his "next" 340 engine for his Duster. He'd be working at the kitchen table. After having someone grind off most of the piston skirts, he'd be using my heavy-duty rotary tool to smooth the edges and once that was done, he would use a digital scale to make sure they all weighed the same. He'd grind the flashing off the rods and smooth them all over, and again, he'd balance them for total weight and end-to-end using a second digital scale. When he was satisfied with that, he'd take them to a local metal-shop to get them shot-peened to re-harden the surfaces and prevent cracks. It was surprising how much precision work he could pull off in his kitchen.
     
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