Friday, December 11, 2009

"It's ALIVE!"



Well the Land Cruiser is back on the road!
I bought this puppy several years ago and it needed (ha! it still needs) a lot of work. I’m trying to teach myself about vehicle maintenance/repair by doing all of my own work.

We all make mistakes as parents and I think my dad made one with me. See, he would not let me buy a car. Not with my own money and certainly not with his. As freshmen in college, we were not allowed to have cars on campus. So it was not until the next summer that I finally bought a car. A ’74 Ford Pinto. I changed the oil and checked the air pressure I the tires but that’s about it. See, as a college student, I didn’t have time to work on cars – so when something went wrong, I’d turn it into a shop and pay to have it fixed. Honestly though, that was a pretty good car and not much went wrong with it.

Time progressed, I got a job and a new car and then I definitely didn’t have time to learn how to work on cars. Now if my dad had let me buy a car as a teenager – not paid for it himself – make ME pay for it; and if he had not paid to have it fixed, I could only have afforded a junker and I would have had to spend my Saturdays learning how to fix it with my buddies who had and worked on cars. But noooooooo. That’s okay – other than that, I had (and have) a great dad – he did teach me a lot.

Well I resolved to go and not do likewise so I let my son buy a car just as soon as he could. I paid for half of his first vehicle. I paid nothing else. He learned to work on cars. As a pre-med student in college he had owned and sold about 5 cars and built two from hulks up. He now owns two and works on both of them as a hobby.

So now I’m trying to learn. I bought this project vehicle – it ran but only barely.
I put narrower tires on it.
Changed out the steering stabilizer and lubed the steering and tie rod ends.
I fixed the throttle.
I changed out the master cylinder.
I added some lights.
Temporarily stopped some rust.
And then it just quit on me. It would drive fine for about 20 minutes and then just chug along at 5 miles an hour.



I thought it was a choke problem – so I fiddled with that.
I thought it was fuel filter problem – so I changed that.
I sprayed carb cleaner in the carburetor.
No joy.

When I bought it, it came with spare parts, old parts and what not. In the box of stuff was a carb rebuild kit. A bit beyond my time constraints to learn how to fix so there it sat. And sat. And sat. Until a buddy who thought he owed me a favor (he didn’t) said, “Hey, why don’t you let me take that home and mess with the carb?”

He fixed it. In fact, he totally rebuilt it. Said it was so bad he couldn’t understand how it drove at all before. Then he taught me how to check the oil in the front and rear differentials (it was low) and the transfer case. Then he taught me how to lube a vehicle. Then we tightened up some belts and added some air to the tires. Then he taught me how to check the u-joints.

I have on order now, two front end u-joints and four new shocks – we will put them in together.

So it has taken 30 years but I am now spending part of my weekends with my buddies learning how to wrench on a vehicle.

My goal is to get it mechanically in tip top shape then work on the body and exterior. I’ll paint it a normal color – when I got it, it was the original green with some bluish grey bondo and some gray primer. As I noticed rust, I would wire wheel it and splash it with a different colored grey primer. Then I learned about this black rust-eating paint so I started using that. The thing looked like it had measles. So I started “connecting the dots” and lo, a camo pattern emerged. But I’ll probably end up painting it grey or tan. Next I’ll work on the interior – it’s a mess.

Some day it will be nice.

Right now it’s a project for me to learn on.
And it works well in the snow.
And it has a fairly high “cool factor” too, don’tcha think?

See ya out there.

And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: - Exodus 14:6
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

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Prepared Americans for a Strong America

3 Comments:

At 12/12/09 04:30, Blogger PJ said...

Excellent post!

Yeah, that's how it happened with me as well. I remember wrenching on the family cars with my dad way back in the day. But, over time, I started "paying the man" to fix everthing and I lost what little skills I had gained.

Now, I drive a '92 Jeep Cherokee. I've already started working on it myself.

BTW...LOVE the old Land Cruisers. LOVE'EM!

 
At 13/12/09 07:11, Blogger Mayberry said...

Sweet Cruiser. Fortunately, I cut my teeth on a 1964 Chevy II (this in 1989). It had a six banger with "three on the tree". Hot Rod Magazine being about the only thing I would read willingly at the time, the six and 3 speed gave way to a V8 (complete with chrome and headers) and a Saginaw close ratio 4 speed tranny. Did all the work myself, with help from Dad. Since then I've rebuilt dozens of engines and transmissions, and no, I'm not a professional car mechanic. I sure am grateful I had that old Chevy II!

 
At 16/12/09 09:59, Blogger The Hermit said...

My first vehicle was a 74 pinto. I drove it all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Quantico, Virginia and for several years thereafter. Good ride.

I like your vehicle. I drive Jeeps now but that's a beauty you have there.

 

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