Author Topic: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles  (Read 158155 times)

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2013, 03:19:49 PM »
well, after doing some research it looks like putting disc brakes on the rear is pretty simple.

apparently 94-00 mustang disc brakes are what i need to make the swap, a little cutting, run some new lines and bleed them, and i'm good to go. from the basic research it appears i can buy everything new if i want or go to a yard... never been to a yard so i may go that way for the experience. i'll have to pull my bed again so if i do go this route. and from what others have said i won't even have to mess with the master cylinder.

and NC, i looked up my axle and it's actually an 'open 7.5'... i'm guessing 7.5 is the diameter around the differential and open refers to 2 wheel drive? gearing makes me woozy when i try to understand it, i just haven't taken enough time to really learn it yet.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2013, 03:35:50 PM »
The 7.5 refers to the diameter of the ring gear. Its 7.5" across. The bigger the number the stronger the gear. Open refers to the fact that there is no locking device inside the axle. That means when you get stuck in the mud one wheel will spin and the other one wont. I could give you the technical version but I figure you could relate to the mud senerio.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2013, 03:53:07 PM »
The 7.5 refers to the diameter of the ring gear. Its 7.5" across. The bigger the number the stronger the gear. Open refers to the fact that there is no locking device inside the axle. That means when you get stuck in the mud one wheel will spin and the other one wont. I could give you the technical version but I figure you could relate to the mud senerio.

gotcha, that's one of those things that is on my list to learn more about. i've been tossing the idea of changing the gearing/axle/tire size and they all seem to relate in some way. my truck sounds like it's about to die going faster than 65. i'd love to gear it so i can cruise around 75/80.

Offline oldcountryboy

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2013, 06:44:25 AM »
Wrong flasher or one going bad or a bad ground can cause the blinker bulbs to burn out fast.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2013, 06:13:12 PM »
The Ranger was due for an oil change. I was planning on doing it myself, but after thinking about it I decided to take it to the shop. For $30 they change the oil and rotate the tires. They also tell me what is wrong with it in hopes that I’ll tell them to fix it. I figured I’ve driven for about 5k and nothing is seriously wrong with it mechanically speaking, but I don’t know how to check a lot of the other things. I would pay $30 just to have them check everything out, as far as I’m concerned the oil change and tire rotation is icing on the cake.

So here’s the list they gave me of stuff that needs fixing:

Air filter - $10.99
Fuel Filter $59.99
Water Pump (starting to leak) - $281.00
Coolant Flush - $84.99
Rear Brakes - $109.00
Rear Wheel Cylinders - $149.00
Brake Fluid Flush - $49.99
Front and Rear Shocks - $380.00
Total Repair Cost - $1,124.96 (not including tax and supplies… ::))

I don’t think so. Just from doing a bit of price shopping I know I can cut that by over half, probably more like two thirds to three quarters of the price. A new water pump is $30, and I know if I had them do that then they would ‘have’ to do the coolant flush, because that’s the only way to get to the water pump. My thermostat is reading funny (my truck is always running cold, even when it’s 110F out) so when I do the water pump I’ll fix that and do the coolant flush.

I’ll detail the prices for everything as I do this, and I plan on doing the disc brake conversion on the rear because from what I hear, drums are for suckers.

Today I decided to tackle the simplest and easiest one on the list – the air filter. Picked one up for $5.99 and this is so simple it’s crazy to not do it. Easier than the taillight bulb I last posted about.

Here is the specimen we will be using:



Locate your air filter and take the cover off. Mine needed to screws removed, my car is even easier – I think it’s only clips or maybe one screw.



Take the cover off and you’ll see the air filter.



Pull the old filter out and slip in the new. Here’s a bonus picture with the filter removed, it’s really just a box, and these filters operate exactly like the air filters in your house… when’s the last time you changed those?



Here’s a side by side of the new and the old… I have no idea when this was last changed, I’ve never seen one this dirty.



Set the new filter in its place, reattach the cover and you’re good to go! First item on the list done and I saved 50% of the shop price. Eventually I want to put one of the reusable K&N filters in both cars, but for now I’ll stick with the cheapo Fram for another 5 - 10k.

Offline archer

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #35 on: September 10, 2013, 08:03:21 PM »
good job! i have a 96 ford ranger, good to know about the fuel filler leaking like that...

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2013, 08:04:35 PM »
Alot of AZ dust in there. :D

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2013, 10:44:04 PM »
good job! i have a 96 ford ranger, good to know about the fuel filler leaking like that...

yeah, i was freaking out when i saw the gas leaking. i thought it would be a huge ordeal but it was really simple to do. the hardest part was moving the bed. i have been using fordrangerforums.com a lot for learning about the truck, if you haven't gone over there yet i suggest you check it out. lot of great info and 'how to' threads over there.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2013, 10:46:44 PM »
Alot of AZ dust in there. :D

i know. i track my mileage with each fill up (when i'm not rotating gas) and i'll be interested to see if this makes a noticeable difference in mpg.

NC, you seem to know your way around vehicles, any thoughts on the K&N filters that you clean and reuse? are they good or a gimmick?

Offline bdhutier

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2013, 12:01:44 AM »
... any thoughts on the K&N filters that you clean and reuse? are they good or a gimmick?

They're good, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it for your environment.  K&N boosts performance by having a more porous filtering element (bigger holes), and they depend a lot on the oil you coat it with when you clean it; kind of like a modern version of an oil bath filter.  With the fine particulate dust I'd imagine you have in AZ, you may want to stick with a paper element.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2013, 12:03:30 AM »
yeah, if that's how they work then it's probably no bueno for me. i'd probably spend more time cleaning it than driving.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2013, 12:06:52 AM »
NC, you seem to know your way around vehicles, any thoughts on the K&N filters that you clean and reuse? are they good or a gimmick?
The K&N filters are good. Since you are in a dusty area that might be the way to go. Last time I bought one it was like 60 bucks and the recharging kit was another 15 or so. Basically what you do is when the filter gets good and dirty you take out the cleaner bottle from the kit and spray the filter down. Let it sit a minute or two and then hose off all the dirt and grime. Then take the smaller recharging bottle and oil down the filter with it and your done.

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #42 on: September 11, 2013, 12:22:49 AM »
I bought last year from a guy on ebay, the factory service manual for a 96 Ranger on cd for less the 20 bucks. It's a little wonky, you have to install some emulation software on your computer to launch the program but once running I have the whole thing to use. The electrical schematics were worth the price alone. I'll never buy Hayes/Chilton manual ever again.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #43 on: September 11, 2013, 09:34:47 AM »
I bought last year from a guy on ebay, the factory service manual for a 96 Ranger on cd for less the 20 bucks. It's a little wonky, you have to install some emulation software on your computer to launch the program but once running I have the whole thing to use. The electrical schematics were worth the price alone. I'll never buy Hayes/Chilton manual ever again.

yeah, i'm looking for a FSM on disc, but i don't foresee doing any big electrical stuff so i can probably get buy with youtube and google.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #44 on: September 11, 2013, 09:36:12 AM »
The K&N filters are good. Since you are in a dusty area that might be the way to go. Last time I bought one it was like 60 bucks and the recharging kit was another 15 or so. Basically what you do is when the filter gets good and dirty you take out the cleaner bottle from the kit and spray the filter down. Let it sit a minute or two and then hose off all the dirt and grime. Then take the smaller recharging bottle and oil down the filter with it and your done.

ok, so one for and one against. is the recharge kit a one time use only thing? if that's the case i'll stick with my $6 air filter, but if the costs will eventually balance out and be a saver then i would consider it. i'm only looking at doing it for the reusability and savings aspect.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #45 on: September 11, 2013, 11:32:09 AM »
The recharge kit is multi use and will last you for years.

Offline bsutter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #46 on: September 11, 2013, 12:31:13 PM »
thewarriorhunter

You are doing a great job here.   :popcorn:

I tip my hat to you.

+1

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #47 on: September 21, 2013, 09:11:53 PM »
So remember in one of my first posts in this thread how I said my dad kind of balked at me doing my own work on my vehicles? Well I’ve won him over to the dark side! Or is it light side… whatever it is, it’s the right side because it saves money, builds confidence, feels great, and teaches skills.

Today we are fixing this:



What’s wrong you say? His fuel gauge, that’s what. It hasn’t been reading correctly for a while. My dad’s been filling up based on miles traveled. The shop wanted $800 to fix this. We did it for $300 after parts and tools (he bought me a nice breaker bar, adapters, and drive extensions for my services).

The float was the problem, but to get to it we had to remove the whole fuel pump. He figured since it’s so old might as well just replace the whole thing.

Let’s get started! First things first, since we’re dealing with the fuel pump and we’re going to be disconnecting wires around gas, DISCONNECT THE BATTERY! If you blow yourself up, not my fault.

Now let’s disconnect everything from the bed of the truck so we can remove it. If you ready my filler neck tube replacement on my Ranger this is a pretty similar job in terms of getting to the problem. Speaking of the filler neck tube, we have to remove the screws holding that in, there are four on this truck:



Once that’s done we need to disconnect all of the lights. Each taillight has a harness, as well as the light in the tailgate and the license plate lights, so four in total. Brace yourselves ladies, you’re about to see a whole lot of sexy:














Now that the lights are disconnected and you’ve calmed down from seeing ‘white lightning’ let’s move on to the bed bolts. There are eight on this truck and the extension bars are a must. On each side two are between the wheel and cab, and the other two are between the wheel and bumper. They’re pretty easy to spot and with the breaker bar they were a breeze.



On this truck you have to remove the spare and the rod that operates the winch that lowers the spare. Here’s my dad working on that. Once the tire is out there is a pin that holds the rod in place. Remove that and the bar comes right out.



Now we can remove the bed, but first we had to get all passengers out of the vehicle. Not sure what he was working on but he was one happy camper helping out dad and grandpa.



Now that it’s safe to move the bed, we did… barely. This bed was much heavier than my Ranger, and most of the weight was near the back where we couldn’t really get a good grip. A third person on the tailgate would have been nice to have, but we managed, and laughed the whole time while we almost severed fingers and threw out our backs.



Here’s what we’ll be putting in:



But first we have to unhook all of this stuff and get the old pump out:



Not sure exactly what everything is, but I believe if we start at the top and go clockwise we have an overflow (it hooks directly into the filler neck tube), fuel line, power, some type of vent (nothing actually went down into the pump.



Here’s my dad disconnecting stuff. Everything came off pretty easy except for the vent, that was a huge pain both to get out and put back in.



Everything is off and we’re ready to unscrew the ring. I didn’t get a pic with the strap wrench, but you need a strap wrench that will wrap around the white ring, it was also a pain and really stuck on there, but I eventually got it off.



Be careful taking the old pump out as it will have gasoline in the bottom of it. We had a pan ready and transferred the pump via that so we didn’t fumigate the garage:



And we have a big hole…



That my dad decided to stick his hand in and act like he dropped something… he did this just for you fine folks because I told him about this thread:



There is a rubber ring that goes around the upper lip of the pump. The old one was removed and replaced with a new one.



And it’s in:



And I’m reconnecting stuff. Notice the chair I’m sitting on… at first I thought my dad was lazy, but after doing this I think he may be onto something. I see a market for patio chairs in auto shops opening up:



Everything is back on, battery is hooked back up, and we’re ready to test it out!



The moment of truth:



Success!



There you go! Put the bed back on the frame, reconnect all of the bolts and light harnesses and you’re good to go. A lot of posts I read on this talked about how much of a pain it was to get the bed lined up right. Not sure what those people were getting at as it went on smoothly. It was nice having a second person to nudge it around when lining up the bolts. Don’t forget to reconnect your filler neck tube!



Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2013, 10:11:48 PM »
 :popcorn: :popcorn:

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #49 on: September 22, 2013, 01:23:18 AM »
Good stuff boss. That's the reason I keep 5 gallon buckets around the garage, the perfect height for sitting.   

Offline bdhutier

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #50 on: September 22, 2013, 04:35:57 AM »
Excellent, bro!  Looks like I'm going to have to get busy!!!  ;D

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #51 on: September 22, 2013, 06:50:14 AM »
Note: never get under your vehicle with just a jack!!!! If I had been under there when my jack failed I would have been in a world of hurt, maybe dead. Use jack stands or something else to keep a vehicle up!
How much did those jack stands cost you? I'm also looking to get into the home vehicle repair thing as mine just hit 90,000 miles and I'm in for some costly repairs soon.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #52 on: September 22, 2013, 07:25:10 AM »
How much did those jack stands cost you? I'm also looking to get into the home vehicle repair thing as mine just hit 90,000 miles and I'm in for some costly repairs soon.

if there is a harbor freight around you i see coupons for 3 ton jack stands for $20. the set i bought, the jack and stands, was $50 or $60 i think. i am going to see if i can fix my old jack also, i've heard you can, i haven't looked into it yet.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #53 on: September 23, 2013, 12:30:31 AM »
You are seriously doing top quality photo play-by-play on your repairs.  I did a minor repair today for my daughter and would not even think of taking photos along the way.  I am just happy to get the darn thing done.  I applaud your patience and generosity in sharing these.  Keep this up and you'll have an easily marketable set of repair guides. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Now I know why they keep the repair manuals wrapped in plastic at the auto parts stores.  It isn't to keep them from getting oily smudges all over the pages from window shoppers.  It is so you can't see before you buy it the crummy super contrast smudgy photos they illustrate them with!

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #54 on: September 23, 2013, 07:56:11 AM »
You are seriously doing top quality photo play-by-play on your repairs.  I did a minor repair today for my daughter and would not even think of taking photos along the way.  I am just happy to get the darn thing done.  I applaud your patience and generosity in sharing these.  Keep this up and you'll have an easily marketable set of repair guides. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Now I know why they keep the repair manuals wrapped in plastic at the auto parts stores.  It isn't to keep them from getting oily smudges all over the pages from window shoppers.  It is so you can't see before you buy it the crummy super contrast smudgy photos they illustrate them with!


yeah, the photos in repair manuals are pretty bad, they look like they were taken with a camera from the 1800's where everyone had to hold still for several minutes.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #55 on: September 23, 2013, 08:34:08 AM »
one thing to note about this picture:



you see me reconnecting everything but i forgot to put the ring back on the pump to secure it to the gas tank. we had to disconnect everything again and put the ring on, then reconnect it all again... we got really good at that.

wanted to point that out as a note to make sure you put off the your parts back on the way they come off!

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #56 on: September 24, 2013, 07:17:36 AM »
if there is a harbor freight around you i see coupons for 3 ton jack stands for $20. the set i bought, the jack and stands, was $50 or $60 i think. i am going to see if i can fix my old jack also, i've heard you can, i haven't looked into it yet.
I know of 2 actually. I'll have to keep my eye out for coupons.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #57 on: September 24, 2013, 08:20:00 AM »
I know of 2 actually. I'll have to keep my eye out for coupons.

they're not a bad price without the coupons, but they are even better with them.

so i think i'll be doing my rear differential tomorrow, and certain people within our community gave me some cool artwork, so if all goes well i'll be putting a pretty sweet design on it :D i'm keeping it a secret for now and post the pictures when it's done.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #58 on: September 28, 2013, 11:20:11 PM »
Fair warning upfront that this one has quite a few more pictures than the other posts I’ve done. I have to stay ahead of bdhunter’s thread and I also have to pass ncjeeper’s older thread so… here we go!

Today I changed the fluid in my rear differential. It looked like an easy thing to do, I’m sure mine had never been done, and I wanted to paint my cover so I figured why not? I have also been wanting to check my spare to see if it will actually hold up. It’s the original spare that came with the truck… and still has the nubby things… and the original dealer PSI sticker (proof below). The rear differential is easier to get to with the spare out of the way so I figured this would be a good time to do this.

Just a note, different differentials take different types of oil. Make sure you get the right one for yours.

First things first, here’s what we’re looking at. The rear differential is the circular/hexagonal section in between the two axles. For those of you that don’t know (like me before I learned about this) this is the housing for your drive shaft that spins the tires. Without this you don’t go anywhere. As you can see the spare is in the way, so let’s get it down!



Now the spare is out and we have a lot more room to work with:



Here’s a close up of the rear cover:



When I read how to do this originally the guy said he didn’t jack the truck up. He must have been a twig because I could barely get around under there. Those jack stands I bought were great and really made the job a lot nicer:



Now that we’re set up it’s time to get started. There is a drain plug on the front driver side of the rear diff. Remove that and there will be some gear oil that drains out. Make sure whatever you’re using to catch the fluid is in place:





Once you have the plug out set it aside. Time to work on the cover. Go ahead and remove all of the bolts except the top center one. Loosen that bolt but don’t remove it. Then take a flat head screw driver and a hammer and gently tap the screwdriver. There is a seal around the cover that you need to break. Once to get through just wiggle the screwdriver around and out comes the fluid.





And now we can remove the last bolt and get the cover off:



And here are the guts of the differential. Let this sit for a while as the rest of the oil will slowly drain out:



Now it’s time to clean the cover up really well so I can paint it. The inside is coated with oil. Some paper towels will get a lot of the initial junk out, then I used some brake cleaner and rags to get the rest out:



The outside of the cover was really bad. I bought some wire brushes for my Dremel thinking they would get the job done:



Boy was I wrong. It was like moving a football field with a weed eater. I ended up using some sandpaper to get a lot of the initial junk off along with a stiff wire brush and copious amounts of brake cleaner. Then I went back with the Dremel to detail some areas and that worked out really well.

Also note that you really need to clean the inside of the cover where it sits against the rest of the rear diff. Make sure you get all of the old seal off of both the cover and the main housing. I ran some fine grit sandpaper over those sections to ensure a smooth fit and seal when I reassembled.

Here’s the cleaned up product, quite an improvement.

Inside:



Outside:



Now it’s time to set this bad boy up and get it painted. I had a simple stand I made for the kids’ couch tents, it worked nicely as a mount for the cover after a nail was added:



First/base coat done:



While that’s drying and you guys are wondering what the final product will look like, let’s clean up the bolts for the cover. I’m a huge fan of using gasoline as a cleaner… probably a little outdated but it’s how my dad and I used to clean stuff, so I do it.



After soaking and a good scrubbing here they are:



Now that those are clean it’s time to add some stencils to my cover and put the other coat on:



Aren’t those freaking sweet?!?! What’s that? How did I make those? Sorry, this is the vehicle repair thread, not the Martha Stewart thread.

For anyone about to say those designs look familiar and call foul on me let me say this: I got direct permission from Jack to use these designs since he owns them and Nicodemus was kind enough to send me the files. The TSP community is freaking awesome.

Stencils on and black paint applied:



Alright, time to let that dry and get the 20 year old spare tire checked out. My shop boss came in and showed me how it was done:



Nubbies:



These are dents in the sidewall from sitting in the rack for so long. I’m pretty sure this tire has never been removed:



Dealer PSI sticker:



OK, spare is on the truck now and I’ll test it out later. Let’s pull of the stencils and see if it worked. Left side:



Right side:





Can’t wait to see this on the truck! Ok, let’s get the cover back on. You can do this two ways, buy a gasket seal or use a product called RTV and make your own. I chose to use the RTV.



Put a bead around the cover the cover, making sure you go inside the holes:



Place the cover back on the differential and put all of the bolts back in. Don’t go super tight just yet. The RTV needs some time to set. Snug everything up and let it sit for about an hour, then come back and tighten things down.



Now things have been sitting for a couple hours. I grilled up some awesome burgers while waiting. Time to fill it up and finish the job… except… I didn’t think about the location of the drain hole and the size up the oil bottle… crap:



Looks like I have to make a quick run to the store and get a fluid transfer pump.



The pump worked great and was really simple. I was a little surprised though at the fact that I used two whole quarts of oil. Everything I read the people were saying they used just under. I looked at how much drained out and I was just over… I’m guessing I did a more thorough job than them.

I put the drain hole plug back in and took the truck out for a quick test drive to make sure it was working and also to test the spare. The wheels didn’t seize and the spare didn’t blow so it was a good day!

I’ll probably pick up some more gear oil next time I’m at the store so I can top off the diff, but for now I’m not too concerned about it.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #59 on: September 28, 2013, 11:36:59 PM »
Hey guys, need your help here. I was told by the shop that I need new drums and shoes. I know nothing about drum brakes (this is the learning thread, after all) and was hoping you guys could help me out. Also my truck comes with 9 or 10 inch drums. I’m pretty sure these are 9 but wanted to double check.

It looks like I still have material left on the shoes, but I don’t know how little is too little. I also don’t know how to tell how worn down the drum itself is. I have a bunch of pictures below of different angles that I thought might be helpful. If I still have time to drive that would be great as I need shocks and also want to do the water pump and coolant flush. But if these brakes are close to being done obviously that is a more important fix that needs to be done.

Pictures for confirming size. Like I said I’m pretty sure it is 9 inches based on the stamp on the drum and the inside measurement, but I want to make sure.





Pictures of the shoes:









And pictures of the drum. The one with the standard bit is for scale. I placed it where I believe the groove from the shoes gets cut into the drum.