Sunday, February 05, 2006

Another Fun Filled Weekend

Well, not too terribly fun filled, but nobody got killed anyway. Somebody said that there was a football game on TV, whoopie. I had a dog that could chase a ball, sports don't impress me. The Mrs. was going for Seattle, I wish they would have won, I like it when she's in a good mood. Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, get my drift?

I did manage to round up some parts for the biodiesel guinea pig. A friend bought a similar truck for parts and was about to haul it off to the boneyard. Since the only thing he'd wanted off of it was the engine and transmission he told me I was welcome to whatever was left. I got a heater fan, mine was shot. I got an air conditioner compressor, mine's seized up solid, I've never had a truck with AC, I need one, global warming you know. Snagged the dash pad, and both of the dash bezels, mine aren't that bad, but these are in better shape so on they'll go. Oh yeah, I got a complete new exhaust system, front to back, muffler and all, 3 inch pipe, brand new, so new that all the bolts came right off without breaking, I don't think they even drove it home from the muffler shop, it's that friggin new. Whoever it was that put a new engine and a $300 exhaust system on their truck and then wrecked it and sold it to my friend for parts, thanks.

There were a few other parts that I wanted, but time was limited so what I got is what I got. Better than nothing. The parts truck had a brand new windshield too, I would've liked to snag it but we didn't have one of those nifty cable tools to cut the glue with in order to get it out. When it's 100 degrees outside they'll come out with a putty knife sometimes, but when its 30 and the sun isn't shining, forget it. I also noticed that the passenger side window seals aren't the best on my truck, should have grabbed those too I guess, oops. All in all it was a pretty good haul, about $500+ worth of parts had I bought them new, at least a couple C-Notes at the wrecking yard where one is extremely unlikely to find a brand new exhaust system I might add, I got it all free. I'll install it all myself too. How much does your mechanic charge per hour? Sucks to be you.

Other than a few little things, the truck's actually in pretty good shape especially considering it's 22 years old. I'm not a big Ford fan, but I got this truck for an extremely friendly price. Normally I stay away from anything that isn't a GM product, but when it comes to older diesels I'll take a Ford over a GM any day. The older light duty GM diesels were just converted gas engines, notorious for being pieces of crap, not surprising when one considers that GM's heavy diesel engines weren't much more than glorified boat anchors back then either. Ask any old trucker about Detroit Diesel 6-71's or the 91 or 92 series 6v's and 8v's, or god forbid the 318. If you're offended by foul language be sure to plug your ears before they answer. GM's diesel division engineers finally got their crap together on the Series 60 that came out in the early 90's, and as far as light duty engines are concerned I hear the Duramax is a whole different ballgame as well. Only time will tell if they hold up over the long run, but the Duramax is an Isuzu design so I wouldn't be surprised if it was a heck of a motor. Isuzu has been making bulletproof small diesels for years, they're the Japanese equivalent of Cummins or Peterbilt, well known for their heavy trucks overseas. I know the new GM diesels have power, the Beasty got its ass handed to it by a mostly stock Duramax crewcab at the track last summer, and the Beasty is far from slow, and far from stock. I'd be willing to bet that he'd like to trade me payment books though, the Beasty's payed for, always has been, as long as I've had it anyway.

The Fords have an engine that was made by Navistar, as in International, formerly International Harvester, yep, it's a corn binder, most of a century of diesel fueled farm work as its heritage, we'll see if any of that legendary toughness rubbed off on this one. One look under the hood tells me that it's a far superior design to the GM 6.2's, or (cough, hack, gag) the notorious 5.7 remembered best for its constant propensity for cracking heads on a weekly basis as well as its utter lack of anything that could even remotely be construed as power. When comparing this to a GM the phrase "easier to work on" doesn't begin to explain the situation, and best of all it isn't even covered with a 3 inch thick coating of greasy slime like all of the GM 6.2s I've worked on. This one starts almost instantly, idles smoothly, accelerates excellently for a normally aspirated diesel, and it's got that nifty diesel sound that I love. Now if it only had a turbo. And a flatbed. And stacks, big loud chrome ones. I have nothing but time, we'll see what happens.

Mechanically, the only thing I've found wrong with this one is two leaking injectors, I haven't researched it yet but I imagine it's a matter of a few bucks worth of O-rings, and a half hour or so of my valuable time to install them. Other than that this thing is clean, really clean, it'll be better when I replace its rusty, leaky old exhaust system and get the heater and air conditioner working, but it's still really clean. Did I mention that it's clean? Oh yeah, the price. $FREEFIFTYFREE$ Thanks sis.

Not bad for a free truck is it?
How much are your car payments?
I don't have any.
Sucks to be you.

I've got the word out on the goodies I'm going to need for my biodiesel refinery but I haven't had much luck yet. Anybody got an old electric water heater laying around? A 100 lb. propane bottle or two or three or a couple upright 20 or 30 gallon air tanks perhaps? A couple 2 or 3 hundred gallon plastic tanks you're not using like maybe one of those caged in plastic bladder tanks that the oil distributors give away from time to time because they got holes in them or an old water tank? Maybe you own a restaurant in the Billings area and would like some of your used fryer oil hauled off for free? Leave me a comment and we will talk.

I still have to research the tax angle on the stuff. I was told that there's a certain amount of biodiesel that a person can make without having to pay road tax but I'm not sure how much it is yet since I've heard conflicting stories. The last thing I need is a big assed fine for running off road fuel so I'm gonna try to stay legit on this one if possible. If it isn't possible then . . . . .

Where will you be going on vacation after the big oil companies create a worse shortage than they already have in order to drive up the gas prices and there's two mile long lines at the pumps waiting to buy $5.00 a gallon gas?
I'll be making my own fuel for pennies a gallon.
Sucks to be you.

That's all for today kids, keep on living, life isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.


5 said...

Oh sure! Im scrambling for a truck and someone hands you one! Im dreaming of a Dream and someone hands you one!
Sucks to be me!
(at least my token Blog Babe is hotter than your token Blog Babe)....

Joe G said...

If you need to cut a windshield out in the winter, 3M makes a release agent to melt the glue. I've found carb cleaner or acetone works too. But only on a parts car, because it will attack paint!

Justin said...

Hey Ton . . . um . . . Truth, somebody gave you a boat, I had to pay a whopping $200 for mine! My blog babe is far hotter than yours, and younger, so she'll stay hotter longer, and she's a musician, and she rocks, na na na na! I found you a truck, and I'm still looking for a better one, give me time young grasshopper, good things come to those who wait. ;)

Thanks for the info Joe! I'll have to give my friend a call and see if he hauled the thing off yet, if it's still around I'll give that a try! I never even thought about using a chemical to melt it, we pounded on a putty knife for an hour before we decided that it would take weeks and gave up, we didn't have any way to warm it up, thought about a heat gun but figured that would take days as well. Thanks again!

a-fire-fly said...

Hey, the other half is a plumber and has access to all kinds of water heaters.
No payments on either outfit, but parts are needed for both. However, your in Billings *shudder* and I'm in Gt. Falls. Hmm......
P.S. you need a better heat gun. You can get one that would melt the plastic in about a minute. Break the glass in a minute ten. 3m makes some stuff that will gel any glue and give you a killer buzz all at the same time! However, if you lived in California it could also give you cancer.

Joe G said...

A great place to get "junkyard supplies" is their is no minumin purchase and they sell to any one. Ask them for their catalog, it's better then the web site.

Justin said...

Fire Fly, still looking for a Chevy door? Distance is merely a small obstacle, 1 - I work for a freight company, 2 - I have relatives in the GF area and go there from time to time. I've got an awesome heat gun, would probably melt the damn windshield, but we were at my friend's house and he doesn't have one, or at least he wasn't offering it up. We were in sort of a hurry and not feeling too ambitious since we'd both just gotten off from working the night before. If he hasn't hauled it off yet I'm going to try again this weekend, I haven't had time to go look for that release agent yet, but acetone I have and no one's too concerned with the paint on this thing so we'll see what happens. Get back to me on the door, if you want it I have to pick it up the next time I'm in Columbus, there's a whole stack of them behind my friend's shop. I need an excuse for a road trip anyway, need any other parts? I trade for water heaters. ;)

I'll check that out Joe, you're coming in rather handy lately! Thanks for the info.

Justin said...

PS fire fly - If you're talking about the stuff I think you're talking about, 3M Adhesive Cleaner, it's OK, even in California, it only causes cancer in rats. ;)

a-fire-fly said...

Yeah, we need a door. Only thing, it's power windows and locks. An extra motor for the window on the other side would be nice. Could use the original Silverado dealies, crappy body shop put on the wrong ones after the O.H. totaled the front end on a deer a couple years ago. And a tailgate.
She is going to need a new motor before long, we figure this one has about 140,000 on it but can't be sure, the odometer stopped working at 84 and no one can figure out why. (we even had real mechanics look at it!) Had the truck for about 10 years and she has NEVER left us sitting dead on the road. Even after the deer they limped her to a buddys house.

Justin said...

Power window motors and tailgates I don't have, but I'll keep my eyes open, I have my sources when it comes to old Chevy parts. As far as the power window parts, other than a junk yard or blind luck, the best place I know of to get that sort of thing is LMC Truck parts -, they have just about everything needed to build just about any old truck from the ground up, Acme Truck Parts is another good one. I do, however, have a complete '79 Chevy truck, with TWO doors, a really nice tailgate, and a shiny almost new engine with lots of go fast goodies and only about 10k on it, that I'm planning on selling. Only thing better than having an old Chevy truck is, HAVING 2 OLD CHEVY TRUCKS! I have 3 trucks, one needs to go.

As far as the odometer is concerned, does it have one of those little trip counters? If it's a Silverado with power windows I imagine that it does. My 88 GMC's odometer quit working one time after I tried to reset the trip counter which never worked quite right since I've had the truck. I'm sure that the darn reset mechanism just jammed up and it either busted some little plastic doodad inside it or it's stuck halfway so it has the whole odometer out of gear. Next time you've got it out on the road fiddle with the button on the trip counter if it has one and see if it kicks back in and starts working. It didn't work on mine but I didn't waste much time fiddling with it either. I haven't gotten around to tearing it apart yet to diagnose the exact cause but most "mechanics" I would imagine are probably terrified to tear into an odometer due to legal concerns. I'm not too worried about it, makes it a pain to know when it's due for an oil change, but I try to look on the bright side, no matter how much I drive it, it doesn't seem to ever get any more miles on it! Damn thing'll last forever this way! ;)

The Dixie Drifter said...

Hey Justin how's it going? (the Drifter Here)I feel right friendly today, don't know what has come over me, must have not taken my meds last night. That is sorta a nice looking truck, you know the kind you can have a gun rack in and a bunch of open containers in the back and not give a rats ass. I bought my first truck little over a year ago a Ford F-150 short bed, sure do like it wished I had bought one years ago. Got you hooked back over at the second blog, you know the one.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

02 08 06

DD and Justin: You remind me of the muppets on the muppet show who sat in the balcony and just ragged and bandied. ha ha haha ha. That truck is AWESOME!!! My husband and I rented an F150 to go to SoCal and it was smmmmmoooooooth with VERY LITTLE roll at all!!! It was about the smoothest riding truck I have ever been in. So does your truck have a conventional or a diesel engine? Have a nice day:)

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

02 08 06

OOOOPS, upon further inspection I saw that it was an F250Diesel engine COOOOOOOL! Do you think the F250 rides as smooth as the F150? Or is it rougher with more horsepower?

The Dixie Drifter said...

Disa me and Justin are buds right Justin?....I like pickup trucks old whiskey, fast horse's, and long legged women, or is that long legged pickup trucks, fast whiskey, and old women, I forget which one.

Justin said...

Well Drifter, I'm hoping that you're not going to go off the deep end on me again, whatever those meds are that you're taking, keep taking them, and send me some! I haven't got a gun rack in this truck yet, but you can be sure that it'll have one before long, I lost track of how many trucks I've owned, but they all had gun racks, hell, I'd have a gun rack in the wife's car if I could figure a place to mount it. Maybe one of those upright ones on the passenger side like the cops have for their shotguns . . . . hmmmmmm. And I do like the new blog Drifter, you've been cracking me up almost every day, glad to see you're in a better mood.

Hi Disa, I'm not sure about warranty concerns on a new truck, you'd just have to ask the dealer before you bought it, and then read the fine print. I'd imagine that most new truck warranties would cover biodiesel as long as it was commercial grade, in other words bought at a gas station. I don't know if one could get away with running homemade fuel in a new truck without voiding the warranty or at least raising a few eyebrows. If it was me I'd just do it and not tell anybody, but I know how to drain a fuel system before I take a truck in to the shop. ;)

This truck is far too old for warranty to be an issue, but there isn't any conversion necessary in order to run biodiesel, that's the beauty of it. Any diesel engine will run on biodiesel, they'll actually run better than they will on petroleum diesel since bio is cleaner and has a higher cetane rating and better lubricity, (it's more slippery, a better lubricant).

The only thing one has to watch for is rubber parts in the fuel system since biodiesel will attack rubber. Most diesel engine fuel systems don't have rubber parts in them, especially newer ones, but there are some out there that could have problems with it. I haven't figured out yet if mine is one of these, but if it is it's simply a matter of replacing a few hoses and seals with ones made of different materials such as nylon or viton. Also keep in mind that biodiesel gels at 40 degrees F. If you live in an area where the temperature gets below 40, you'll have to run a blend of bio and petro diesel or your fuel tank will be full of something resembling candle wax, it won't hurt anything, but your truck won't run until it gets warm enough to melt it, above 40 degrees in other words. There's ways around it by installing fuel heaters, and marginal results can be accomplished by using antigel additives especially formulated for biodiesel, but I'll get into more of that later after I experiment with it more myself. I do know a guy around here that's been running a 50/50 blend of his own homemade bio and winterized petroleum diesel in his Dodge Cummins, and he's been doing fine with it all winter, he dropped down to 20% bio during a cold snap we had a couple months ago. This winter hasn't been very cold so far however, and he parks it in a 35 degree garage at night. It's not foolproof, but if one's going to run a diesel there's a few rules that are different no matter if you're running regular diesel, or bio. Diesel is just more finicky with regards to temperature than gasoline, no way around it.

As far as the different trucks are concerned, the only real difference between an F150 and an F250 is the springs, same thing with the various other manufacturers as well, they just use different numbers to designate the payload rating of their trucks. There's more to it than that really, I'm oversimplifying the whole thing in order to keep a long story short, but an F150 is a half ton truck, an F250 a three quarter ton. 1/2 tons will most always ride better, but a 3/4 ton is rated to haul more weight, not necessarily more power since often the engine options are the same or similar and the truck itself is heavier, but stiffer springs, larger wheel bearings, bigger brakes, maybe a heavier duty frame, bigger shocks, you get the idea. A 3/4 ton will generally ride a bit rougher due to the heavier rated springs, and will get worse fuel economy due to the fact that the vehicle itself is heavier due to the larger components that make it capable of hauling a larger payload. The flipside is that a 3/4 ton will hold up better under hard use. If you're looking for a truck to mostly drive around town and on the highway, and you're not intending on hauling large loads or pulling a big trailer, I'd definitely stick with a half ton which is more than capable of pulling a small camper or utility trailer or hauling lumber home from the lumber yard. A 3/4 ton would just be overkill if you don't need it and you'll be forking out a lot of money for gas hauling around a heavy duty drivetrain that you don't need. If you're looking for a diesel, however, I'm not aware of anyone that makes a 1/2 ton diesel, if they do I haven't seen one. I did see a Jeep concept truck in a magazine a while back though that was supposed to come out next year. It's a mid size truck with a high tech 6 cylinder turbo diesel and it's supposed to get phenomenal fuel economy, might be worth looking into if you have the cash and don't need a huge truck. I think it was called a Jeep Gladiator.

Of course this is only my opinion, but years ago I worked in the automotive accessory business as an installer, I dealt with a lot of people that had been rooked by some salesman into buying a big honking 3/4 or even a 1 ton truck, when a 1/2 ton would have done everything they'd ever need for a lot less money, most of them probably would have been happier with a Ranger or an S10.

Another interresting little tidbit, and a few more observations,Ford and GM use fundamentally different front suspension systems on their trucks. Ford uses what's called a twin I beam front end, or at least they still did the last time I checked, I don't exactly buy a new truck every year. Tough but not very refined, not the best choice if smooth ride and superior road handling is your main concern, great if you're planning on beating the thing to death and don't mind slowing down for corners. The newer ones ride a lot better than they did back in the 70's, but the theory behind their operation is still the same.

GM uses a conventional double wishbone front suspension similar to that used on cars for years before front wheel drive and Macpherson strut became the norm. Traditionally, Ford front ends were a little tougher, and a fair bit cheaper to rebuild later down the road. GM front ends were normally tough enough, but rode a little nicer and handled a little more like a car. I could go into the reasons why but I think I've probably rambled on enough. It's all a matter of "how the rubber meets the road", which happens in different ways on the different trucks, sparing you a lengthy description of the particulars of suspension geometry, I'll leave it at that. I don't want the Drifter accusing me of being a know it all again, I might need his help rewiring my phone lines some day. ;)

Anyway, if you're going to buy a new truck, just drive a bunch and decide which one you like but don't let some slick talking salesmen talk you into something you don't need, unless of course you have loads of money, in that case buy a cheap truck and send the rest of the money to me. ;) I'm a GM fan so my opinions are rather skewed but there's certain years/models/engines where my preferences tend to shift to Ford products just because of certain traits that the trucks have become known for over the years, a perfect example is this diesel. The GM diesels sucked in the 80's, the Fords weren't half bad, and I can't afford a new enough GM truck to get past all of the lemons. The fact that I got this truck for free had a lot to do with it as well, normally I'd steer clear of any Ford newer than a 1980 unless it was in fact dirt cheap/free. I've owned a lot of trucks in my life, and worked on a whole lot more, and there aren't very many of them that I can't tell you at least something about. Unless it's a Dodge, I could tell you a few things about them but my mother told me to never cuss in the presence of a lady. Even they had their good points over the years, however. ;)

Justin said...

Now I know, I'm going to get a bunch of smack talk from the Dodge fans out there, let me have it, just remember, I said it was my "opinion", not necessarily fact. ;)

The Dixie Drifter said...

"Hey Drifter, I've got some pics that I think you'd be interrested in, as well as some video, I'd gladly send them your way, a peace offering if nothing else. I haven't figured out exactly how to work this new forum of yours yet or I'd put the pics up myself, I don't know if I even can post pics here and I haven't got time to figure it out right now. Anyway, if you're interrested let me know. Maybe I could e-mail them to you or something. I think you'd get a kick out of this stuff, I know you could use it on one of your sites anyway. Keep in touch."

Justin you sure can post pic in the new blog right underneath the message blog there is a tab that says additional options just click on it and find the pic and it will up load to the server, if it is to big it will let you know, the picture that is.

Justin said...

Thanks Drifter, I'll fiddle with it this weekend. These pictures were sent to me by a friend, I don't have the stories to go with them so I haven't used them here but I saved them just in case I found a place for them. I think you'll like them all by themselves however.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

02 11 06

Hello Justin: thanks for the very thorough response to my inquiries. I didn't realize the difference between the two automakers' designs. And I had heard that biodiesel freezes at about freezing or below. But I didn't realize its freezing temp was as high as 40 degreesF! Hmmm I also didn't know that the bigger trucks didn't have more power. I thought that the bigger the truck, the more power its engine generated, but that is because I am rather ignorant about auto functioning besides some basic thermo stuff. So thanks for your explanation. I will stop by again from time to time:) I think my husband will like this post!

Justin said...

Nope Disa, not always the case. Most trucks come with several different engines as options. You are partly right however, usually the larger the load rating of the truck, the larger that the biggest available engine will be, but not every truck has the largest available engine in its class, you can still order a 1 ton with a smaller engine if you want to. Generally only the 3/4 and 1 ton trucks will be available with the largest engines, but from time to time a truck will be put out in a 1/2 ton, high performance version. A perfect example is the Dodge "Little Red Express" that was made in the early '70's. At the time of its manufacture, it was the fastest production vehicle on the market, and it was a 1/2 ton, 2 wheel drive, short bed pickup truck! Faster than a Camaro, a Mustang, even a Corvette, of course we're only talking straight line acceleration. Another example is the Chevy 454 SS that was made in the late 80's/early 90's, another short box 2 wheel drive "street rod" pickup. The fast trucks these days, however, are the big turbo diesels that have become the modern day version of the American muscle car. The Dodge Cummins, Ford Powerstroke, and the Chevy Duramax. I'm not aware of any manufacturer that makes their big bore diesel engine available in a 1/2 ton, but if the current craze in diesel drag racing continues, you can bet that they will before long, or at least a stripped down 2 wheel drive 3/4 ton.