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Day 11 - Back from Hiatus

05/27/06 - I've been out of action on the Scout front for quite a while due to finals at NYIT, miscellaneous electronics work, needing to finish my third book (it's finished, by the way!) and all kinds of other horror. However, this weekend and last weekend I squeezed in a little time working on the beast; since my extra-curricular workload is kind of easing up now, I'm hoping to spend a lot more time on this project.

In these two half-days, I've noticed and (in some cases) fixed a bunch of very miscellaneous things. First, the most irritating deficiency so far: there's a leak in the custom headers you see in the engine pics above. This is a big contributor to noise on the beast (however, not the only thing; see later!). If you look at the underside of the headers you can see very clearly where the gases are leaking out. Also while we're looking under the car, let's examine the oil filter - the small bolt is the drain plug, the large bolt holds the bowl on. I can't shift the drain plug, so to empty the bowl I have to crack the main seal:

On the exhaust issue, I have bought some factory manifolds and plan to get a shop to reinstall the stock exhaust manifold and - at the same time - replace all the exhaust plumbing and the muffler. In the meantime, I'm going to try some J-B Weld on the old headers, just to see what happens.

Next, I changed the oil and filter. The web sites where I bought replacement filters recommended either Fram CH333PL or CH335PL, so I bought some of both types, assuming that they were both compatible and one was simply better than the other in some way. FALSE! The CH333PL filter is the correct part (the picture over the drain pan shows the original filter sitting in the pan and the CH333PL in my hand). Note that this filter is relatively hard to come by; there is a _possible_ replacement part CH33APL (A = Aftermarket OEM) but I haven't tested this yet. Incidentally, Fram's web site is one of the worst ever built by the hand of man. I am guessing that it is developed and maintained by HSTL India. Ridiculous Flash cartoons, background sounds that can't be turned off, slow loading, overloaded with eye candy - utter garbage. The designer should have been failed out of Web Site Design 101.

This filter includes three replacement gaskets for different applications; two appear to be identical. The oil was absolutely filthy. However, after replacing oil and filter, and running for a few miles, I see almost no contaminants. This leads me to wonder if perhaps the filter hadn't been changed for a while. You can see how it looked as it was coming out (the sludgy bits are included at no extra cost).

While I was under the engine, I noticed a dangling wire that goes to the oil pressure sender - the spade connector was spread out and not gripping properly. So I squeezed this and reconnected it. No more flickering OIL idiot light on the dash; yay! (Mystery - How is it that the aftermarket oil pressure gauge was working without this connection?). Since I was in the wire-repairing mood, I also traced and reconnected the aftermarket tach on the steering column. At last I have a working tach, although it doesn't currently have illumination.

I also wanted to check the spark plugs. Actually I had intended to replace them - the same online store that told me about the filters told me to buy Autolite #85 spark plugs. Well, I get the first old plug out and what do you know - it does NOT match the Autolite 85. It's a Champion RJ12YC, which is still sold (apparently mainly in marine applications), and I've ordered some.

That's not the interesting part, though. As it turns out, the plugs that were in there are fine (a little dirty maybe) and the gap was .026", which is in spec for the 152. However, all of the plugs were loose! Not even finger tight!! After the fresh oil, cleaned and tightened spark plugs, and a new air filter element, the truck is running VERY happily. I don't even need to use the choke as much. Better yet, an intermittent banging I'd been hearing has totally gone away; the engine seems overall quieter too.

All the weatherstripping on the hard top has shrunk over time, so I have significant water leaks at the gaps. (There are other leaks, too - I need to go over the entire hardtop with a caulking gun and get aggressive with it). But for the time being I decided to plug the shrink-holes with black silicone RTV, which looks OK from a distance. Here are the steps, in chronological order from left to right:

This is, of course, just a Band-Aid. By the way, I find myself wondering if silicone is really a great thing to be using here. The curing process generates a weak acid (acetic acid) that attacks metal parts. Observe in the center picture above where I'd removed the old silicone; the rust is more fierce where the silicone used to be.

In other news, I've:

  • decided what color I'm going to paint this beast (jungle camo - that keeps it "green" per the registration, but still allows me to make a total balls-up of color matching without that being too evident).
  • ordered some more oil filters, headlamp bulbs and other consumables,
  • ordered a bunch of gaskets; I'm going to try and replace the oil pan gasket next time I change the oil.
  • had a bunch of good advice about redoing the wiring throughout the vehicle, especially relevant to an upgrade to halogen headlamps, and
  • observed that the transmission is leaking from the bell housing.

Go on to Day 12...


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