Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It looks like shit but it works

When I wrote last about how simple it is to change hubs on a Superduty Ford that was the voice of inexperience speaking.  In theory its simple.  In practice there was a gotcha.  That gotcha is a serious snap ring, or more properly a circlip.

IMG_9283 That’s the famous circlip to the left of the two pairs of snap ring pliers.  Or maybe “one pair of snap ring pliers and a homemade abomination”.  That is a very solid snap ring.  Its size belies how difficult it was to remove.  It doesn’t help that its buried deep in the hub.  I raised a couple of blood blisters on my palms trying to get it with my 7” pliers.  There was no hope for 2 screwdrivers.  Monte’s pliers were no better than mine, although in fairness to Monte he couldn’t find his big set.  I finally ordered a 14” set of pliers from Princess Auto online but then I couldn’t sit still so I built Version 1 of my pliers.  They were so fugly they made the truck cap look attractive.  And they didn’t even come close to working.  But I learned enough from building them to try again. 

I built Version 2 last night and actually they didn’t work either.  This morning I went to work on Version 2 with the angle grinder and after I got them trimmed down I finally got the passenger side circlip free.  You can see in the photo how long the nose on the “pliers” needs to be to reach in to the recess where the circlip sits.  The problem is that there isn’t much room to expand it – initially the prongs on my pliers were fat enough to prevent them from spreading wide enough.  The challenge was to grind off enough metal to let the pliers work without grinding off so much that they would just bend under the strain.  By some freak I got it right and, once the first circlip was free, I knew it was only a matter of time until the second one had to admit defeat as well. 

I was by no means certain that I could put the new ones back on but I had my Princess Auto set (which still haven’t arrived) as a backup plan.  As it turned out getting them back on was much easier than getting them off.  Late this afternoon I got the wheels torqued up and took the truck for a spin around town.  I was pretty sure the 4WD was locking up when I left the alley – I thought I could feel it fighting the steering but just to be sure I went over to the little house and deliberately got stuck in 2WD.  Sure enough the auto hubs locked as soon as I turned the little button in the cab and I walked right out again.  That auto lockup hasn’t worked for at least a year now.  I’ve been running with them manually locked whenever I thought I needed 4WD so my repairs have been a success. 

Fixing the 4WD evidently isn’t the end for the Ford repairs.  On my way to the little house I noticed that the battery icon on the dash was lit up.  When I got back to the shop I confirmed that the genuine piece of shit NAPA rebuilt alternator that I put on 2 summers ago in Shaunavon has quit.  Bastards.  The NAPA rebuilders were so ashamed of their work that they didn’t bother to put any identifying marks on the alternator. None. Nothing. Nada. Zip.  I took it off  before I phoned my terrorist friends at Karam Automotive thinking that I could give them a part number but there are no identifying marks of any kind on the alternator I bought from NAPA in Swift Current.  Not even a casting number.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, SWMBO has been busy.  Last week she was particularly busy as her art group got ready for their show and sale last weekend.  In between baking things that I wouldn’t get to eat and setting up art that I had never seen she got the tile finished up in the bathroom and started work on the counter by the freezer.

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Marilyn bought that little tile saw at the Re-Store in Regina while she was doing the tile in the bus.  She bought a new blade for it this week because its got a lot of tile cutting ahead of it.  This little project on the bathroom and hallway is just a prelude to a much bigger flooring project next fall.  She intends to lay ceramic tile in the kitchen, part of the dining room and in the bathroom.  The rest of the upstairs will get redone with laminate flooring.  Getting rid of the disgusting carpets can’t happen soon enough as far as we are concerned but we need to work from the ceiling down to the floor.

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IMG_9281 I haven’t posted any pictures of the outside of the shop for a while.  I got it wrapped with building paper before it got really cold outside.  I never had any intention of getting the tin on the walls this fall – I need to finish up the electrical before I do that.  I’m still not 100% sure but I think I will tin the outside and inside next fall.  The advantage of tin on the inside is that it is finished but its not cheap.


That’s what $2200 worth of Ford front end parts looks like – not much to look at is it?  2 hubs and 2 lockers.  I kept them all but – unlike my dear buddy George – I did not repack them in the new boxes and seal them up so that from the outside they look like new parts.  I still occasionally get fooled on the boat by some derelict part that he carefully boxed up in the box that the new part arrived in.

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