So it’s been a month since the last post, when I was excited about the new possibilities. And quite a month it has been!
The truck died… I took the carburetor off to rebuild it since the engine sounded lousy and I figured that would be a good place to start since it did start and run, and nothing was particularly wrong with it. The carb rebuild was pretty interesting. I had no idea how these things worked. I’d been thinking of making a venturi pump to clean out the bottom of the pond, so it was nice to see that the venturi effect had a place in car mechanics. Seriously I had no idea how complicated a carburetor was, and I still don’t really know what a lot of the parts actually do, or at least why they’re needed or what affect they have.
Turns out that whoever played with the carb on the truck last put one of the gaskets in backwards. Here’s a pic… the thin metal grill with two holes on it should line up perfectly with the holes on the engine block, rather than make the weird crescent shape they do here.
There’s a whole thread of helpful people on this Ford-Trucks.com forum here, which I started, where people pointed out all the things that are wrong with my truck’s setup. But a carb rebuild was the quickest, easiest thing to do, so that’s what I did! $50 in parts, counting a gallon of carb-cleaning-dip, and a week of taking things apart and putting them back together, and the truck started right up! Twice!
And then it stopped turning over altogether. So that sucked.
So I tried that again over a few days, and got nothing… Battery was dead, so i jumped it, then replaced it, still nothing. A week ago I replaced the starter solenoid… still nothing (although testing a new solenoid when you improperly ground the battery on the third or fourth time, since you were concerned you’d messed up the ground the first time when you really hadn’t, is weird… doesn’t seem to hurt anything, but be careful). So no go. So today i replaced the starter itself — the part with the motor that kicks the flywheel on.
Starters suck. They’re heavy, which I guess makes sense since they have to turn an entire engine on in a little electric motor, but even then more than I’d have expected. And that’s precarious when you’re under a truck and have to reach a part that is really hard to get to. So difficult, in fact, that whoever messed with it last (that’s a trend here) only put two of the three bolts back in. This is delightful because, once you take two bolts out and expect a heavy piece right over your head to stay on because there’s a third bolt that isn’t there, then it comes crashing down. I deflected it and it landed on the safety 2-ton hold-the-truck-up thing that made my heart skip a few beats because I’m pretty sure I’d have been squished if that had fallen on me. But those things are made well and that’s why you use them, so no chipsquash, as someone said today.
YAY! It starts right up! And it purrrrs now, which is I’m sure due to the carb rebuild and the fixed gasket. Starts were ridiculously difficult a couple of months ago, taking a few minutes of nuanced ignitions, choke, and throttle machinations. Now, you turn the key and it runs like a charm. I’m quite pleased.
I’ve learned a lot, but nothing anyone can’t learn off of YouTube. The internet is a wonderful thing.