Category Archives: 1999Project

Truck Stuff: Baby It’s Cold Outside

Well, it ain’t too cold yet, but the mornings are a bit chilly. Riding along in a truck with no heat, fogging up the windows until you get a balance between cracked window air and inside air, is a challenge.

I’m going to give 1A Auto a shout out tonight because I will always go to them first when I’m looking to do something mechanical or otherwise with Bruce.

This is a basic heater core flush and isn’t even the correct video for my truck but I have done this before and needed to refresh my memory.

DIY Pro Tip: If you’re gonna go to YouTube looking for answers, watch a couple of different content providers and see what works and what doesn’t.

Start with something simple. Believe me; even the pros won’t have all the answers you’re looking for online.

Just because they say this is what your vehicle should have, it may not. Keep looking.

Find someone that you’re comfortable with following their instructions.


I called around before doing this, and I got some prices that were outrageous to me on something so simple.

As I’ve mentioned before I also have the best shade tree mechanic in three counties for a father, and sometimes you gotta let the old man help to make him feel useful.

He thought there was a problem with the heater control valve.

He thought it wasn’t working, so he learned something today. That valve opens when the fan control is turned on, closes when turned off.

Heater Control Valve

Not all cars, even from the same manufacturer, are made the same. But you’d be amazed how much crossover there is in a lot of parts and interior/exterior body parts and pieces.

Mazda B-2000/Older Ford Rangers for example. This is a pretty good article explaining a lot of that.


Bruce is a pretty basic truck mechanically. I know where my limit is, and I keep pushing it every time.

Sooner or later, I’ll have a completely rebuilt engine if I keep going like this.

Heater core flushes are pretty basic affairs. I have heat. I had to write tonight, and this is what happened today.

You guys and gals that want to DIY you can do it. You are going to mess up. You are going to buy the wrong part. You may even screw up a major part. But don’t let that stop you.

I still remember almost crapping my pants when I didn’t really know about the firing sequence when I did a tune-up. Things happen.

Learn from your mistakes and pass the knowledge and the errors onβ€”everything you do wrong is a learning experience.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Truck Stuff: 1999 Project

This whole refurbishment of this truck is an ongoing thing.

I have a lot of cosmetic stuff to do. Chips in the paint for the most part. I’m actually thinking of a light spray over the major scratches and a dot here and there for the chips. Then a good buffing.

Not a lot of structural damage, amazingly, and not a lot of rust at all for a twenty plus year old truck.

It has been hot, and I didn’t want to do it. Today was a nicer day, and when it’s cooler, I spend a good deal of time in the garage.

Today I went with the fender flares that have been sitting in the garage for at least two months. (She may or may not have been eyeballing them at that time.) They’re a nice stainless steel and black rubber set that should last a long while with care.

I also did a bit of painting on the lowers under the doors and the front part of the bed with bed liner paint. It improved the looks and may provide some protection.

The plastic bumper covers are in surprisingly good shape but faded from their original gray. I went with black this time around. It suits the color scheme.

It’s nice to get out and improve and create. To do it myself. To get dirty again. Although, the shower did feel excellent.


I’m glad the weather is starting to change. It means more time for me in the garage/shop. I guess I may as well start getting things together.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Parts And Praises: Truck Stuff

I listen to a lot of podcasts and I hear a lot of Rock Auto commercials.

I’m sure they have plenty of deals, and that’s great. I needed a part today and searched it while I took a break.

The part was a radiator hose.

This part is roughly $20 less than what I ended up paying at O’Reilly’s ($38 +tax) and would be a significant saving.

But…

It is Thursday the 16th. I work for a living; it’s still sweltering in the South, and I need my truck running with A/C. The savings I would have had would not make up for the lost time.

I do have the choice of driving my other car, which does not have A/C at the moment. It’s great to have that choice. But an afternoon on the highway home would be torture.

I was out the door at O’Reilly’s in five minutes after first having called them to make sure they had the part. No standing around, no wasted time, which is also mentioned in the ads I hear.

Honestly, sometimes I stop at auto parts stores just to look around. I enjoy it. Which is a point the ads try to push. Lots of guys actually enjoy the auto parts store.

I had the part in hand, on the truck, and was back on the road in an hour.

I also hear a lot of β€œyou have to know what kind of car you have, what type of engine,” etc.

How do you not know this sort of thing?

Right there, I know, these guys have never worked on their own vehicles. And probably shouldn’t be pushing ads to people who do.

I didn’t write this to knock Rock Auto at all. It’s great to be able to get parts at such a discount. I didn’t write this to criticize anyone. It seems snobby, I guess, to write and read copy on something you more than likely know nothing about.

If you’re a man and do not understand the appeal of working on and fixing your vehicle and the satisfaction that goes with it, I don’t understand you. Which I suppose sounds a bit snobby as well.

I have had the advantage of a father who is one of the best shade tree mechanics I’ve ever known.

For those without that advantage, there is a world of information on the internet. YouTube will walk you through so many small and large repairs.

I thoroughly enjoy working on mine. I love my truck. Yes, there’s a song about that.

For the hobbyist and the person that has the time I can see online parts ordering and possible savings.

For a man trying to get to work, I’ll go local parts store every time.


Again, not knocking Rock Auto but I will sing the praises of O’Reilly’s.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

SAK And A Zip Tie

𝙸 𝚐𝚎𝚝 πš–πš’ πš πš›πš’πšπš’πš—πš πš™πš›πš˜πš–πš™πšπšœ πšπš›πš˜πš– πš πš‘πšŠπš πš‘πšŠπš™πš™πšŽπš—πšœ 𝚝𝚘 πš–πšŽ πšπšŠπš’πš•πš’. πš‚πš˜πš–πšŽ πšŠπš›πšŽ 𝚐𝚘𝚘𝚍 πšœπš˜πš–πšŽ πšŠπš›πšŽ πš˜πš”πšŠπš’. π™Έπš πš’πšœ πš πš‘πšŠπš πš’πš πš’πšœ.


I had a rough start this morning just getting out of bed. My back has been bothering me, and my shoulder started giving me trouble this afternoon. I’m sitting here with coffee and my old friend the TENS unit right now.

I left the house at 7:00 and was on my way to being right on time to work when I took my second major turn, and the truck started shuddering. It didn’t want to pull, and my stomach just sank.

I left on time to be on time. And now, I was late.

We’re getting ready to go on our anniversary weekend trip soon. I do not need to put more money into Bruce right now.

Bruce is my truck. He’s green and temperamental. Marvel fans will get this.

Sometimes you need the right tools to fix a problem. But first, you need to define the problem.

My tool of choice for this situation is the OBDLink MX+. I have had it for a couple of years.

If you ever go to an auto parts store and have them figure out what’s making your check engine light come on, they are using a piece of equipment that does the same thing. This is a simplified version of that equipment that connects to my phone through Bluetooth.

I’ve deciphered more than a few problems with Bruce because of this piece of equipment. Today it was saying that the ignition coil had gone bad. But the ignition coil is only a couple of months old!

It turns out that wasn’t the problem.

It was too early in the morning for something complicated, so we always K.I.S.S.

KISS is an acronym; the letters stand for “Keep it simple, stupid.”.

And simple it was. On the ignition coil is a plug that carries the power to the ignition coil and allows God only knows what to happen in the engine. I can fix stuff on a simple level. I don’t even pretend to understand how the magic happens.

The plug has a small retention clip. This being a twenty-two-year-old truck, that clip had broken. This kept the magic from transferring to the ignition coil, which transforms the magic into something else. I know, pretty technical.


Now, I’m a terrible half mechanic. I don’t always have the right tools with me. My toolbox has work stuff in it. I don’t half mechanic for a living.

What I do, quite effectively, is troubleshoot at life. You can fix most anything just by getting your head to a place where you can think through the problem calmly.

Two fictitious characters from the 80s brought me to this, Hannibal Smith and MacGyver.

Troubleshooting is all about imagination. You have to be able to, and I actually hate this saying, think outside the box.

“Imagination is the most important thing the human mind has.” – MacGyver

I always have three things with me.

1. Duct Tape. Most of life’s problems can be solved by a liberal application of duct tape.

2. A Swiss Army Knife. (Thanks, MacGyver). Incredibly versatile tools that can be found in almost any configuration you want.

3. Zip Ties. I use these a lot at work. Fast and easy to secure a wide variety of things.

The simple fix was to use a zip tie to secure the plug to the ignition coil. Problem solved.

I had called Mags, and Dad had told her he’d come to me when she was dropping off the kids at his house for the day. I told her to have him call our guy with the flatbed before I got my head straight and figured what needed doing.

By the time he’d shown up, I was getting ready to fix it, but since he came, I let him get under the hood. And this was all about respect.

I’ve spent no small part of my life holding the flashlight, getting yelled at while he turned the wrench. But I’ve learned a lot from him. At 72, he’s still a formidable man. Arms like tree trunks and one of the best shade tree mechanics I know. He has forgotten more than I’ll ever learn about an engine.

All of this went down within forty-five minutes. And just like that, I was back on the road.


And that was this morning. It wasn’t the plan, but it was what happened.

A twenty-five-cent zip tie saved me a 150 dollar bill on a flatbed ride.

And at that point, Hannibal Smith steps in.

There’s a plan in everything, kid. And I love it when a plan comes together. – H. Smith

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Today on This Old Truck

I’m refurbishing the interior door panels today.

Well, maybe I’ll get one done. The deeper you get into something the more problems you can find.

I went to YouTube last night to figure out how to remove the spool handle for the window, and despite the guy knowing that every spool handle came off the same, he was wrong. Instead of a clip to remove said handle, it was a Torx head bolt. Luckily, I have an abundance of tools.

The other problem I’ve run into is a bit of upholstery that has given up over the years, probably to heat. Things wear down. There’s no helping it.

Separation Anxiety

And so I have an armrest sitting in front of the wife’s bread box with Gorilla Glue (not a sponsor) setting up and a couple of paper/chip clips bag holding it all together.

This is a high dollar operation.

I’ve taped up and dropped the first coat on the main door panel for now.

It is 11:34, and now I wait.


13:14

That door is done.

It came out loads better than I thought it would.

And now, on to the other door.

Before and after.

Because you’ve seen the first one, the other is pretty much the same, so I won’t bore ya.

Yep. I was able to get both doors done and still have some time this afternoon.

There’s a lot to be said for doing things yourself. It’s not just saving money. You try new things and learn new things. Believe me; I mess up often enough, but there’s a lot of knowledge in mistakes.

It might be the paint fumes talking, but it’s been a pretty good day.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Distinctive: Another Truck Post

I’m looking at fender flares for the Ranger. Fender flares are expensive. Not completely out of the question, but I’m looking for something a bit thinner. Not some big, bulky thing hanging off the side of the truck.

I think I saw some at the junkyard I mentioned the other week. If all four are in good shape, I may bargain for them when I return for the additional parts.

The other thing I’m working on is the rocker panels. I’m considering painting them with bed liner material. I’m just trying to figure how far I’m willing to go.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Not Too Shabby

If you haven’t figured it out yet I like to do it myself.

I have an old truck I’ve been finding parts here and there for and it ain’t easy.

Ever since Cash For Clunkers the pickins are slim, so I work with what I can find.

Sometimes that means refurbishing a part and bringing it back to life.

It ain’t perfect, but it suits me just fine.

I find that the more I do of this the more little tricks I find. Practice makes perfect.

This was a quick job today to test some paint that I’ve just started working with. I also needed to gauge the space on this piece so that I can install some switches for cut offs on my power to my dash cam and stand alone GPS point. I’m doing that so as not to put any drain to the battery when I’m parked and in store at work. Not that either of those are big battery drainers.

It’s not just the finding and refurbishing, this is fun for me.

It’s satisfying.

It’s a thing that I can sit back from and say, that’s done.

And I have something at the end of it.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

One Mans Junk

I woke up at 5:15 this morning.

Not because of an alarm.

Not because I was excited about today.

Nope. It was back pain. Sciatica. Intense horrible pain.

Anyway, I got up and made the coffee, stretched a little and got ready for work. Not much to do for except suffer through it and wait for whatever I’ve tweaked to get better.

Getting old ain’t comfortable. But it beats the alternative.


On the way to work I’m keeping an eye out for the right junked Ranger. I’m driving past a car lot that’s going out of business and he has seats, consoles, dashboards and all kinds of other stuff piled outside for different cars. I stopped to take a look because you never know.

No one is there so I decided I’ll stop back by on the way home.


Work was uneventful, one of those days I like so much. Low drama, everyone working. Knocking it out.

I got to hang with Kevin and Riv a bit which is always a treat. We work and cut up and it makes for good days.


I stopped by the place I mentioned and the owner was there. I asked about the possibility of any Ranger parts but that was a negative. He waited around to see if I could possibly use any of the other parts he had. Sadly, no. I didn’t see anything I could mod for the applications I want.

And then he told me about Kenny. β€œIf you go down 102 and cross the three bridges and take the road at the top of…”.

Well, you can’t beat country directions. And I found Mr. Kenny easily.

Do you see what I see? Ain’t she purdy? With a lot of elbow grease and love she could be a jewel.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kenny had only square bodies. Older than what I need. But he started talking junkyards and car guys with me and gave me a lead on another spot. A friend of his.

So off I go on another country direction adventure after filling up my tank (you never know).

As luck would have it this is sorta on my way home with a minor detour.

And then I meet Tim.

And Tim has a goldmine in his back yard.

You may see junked cars. I see possibilities.

I walked in an introduced myself and we talked and shortly he gave me the run of the yard.

This is my kind of place. You go out, find what you need, and pay the man after the haggle. If there’s a haggle. Kenny says Tim is a fair price kinda guy.

I’ll find out next week. I didn’t have the cash with me today and he was getting ready to leave in the morning with his family for a vacation weekend. And that’s cool. I wish I’d known or I wouldn’t have held him up at all.

I probably spent an hour out in the yard and I was lucky. I found several pieces that I can use. I’ll be back next Wednesday.

The time out in the heat with the sun on my back seems to have had a therapeutic effect, that and the stretching in and out of junked cars probably helped as well.

I’m a little stoked about my new gold mine. I love a good junkyard. There’s nothing like it if you love cars or trucks and working on them.

Today was long. Today was good. I profited.

I made three new contacts that may become friends but at the least are friendly.

That’s always a good thing.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

1999 Project: Update

I got the last of the worth of those ball joints. As in every red cent that went into them I used up. They were trashed.

Now, with the brand new ball joints the truck sounds so much better. No squeal, no shrill noises.

From squeaky to stealthy.

While I had the truck in I had him look over anything he might need to do that I can’t.

The bushings in the sway bar were shot, so he fixed those as well.

I also had him go ahead and do my oil change and rotate the tires.

And here comes the bill…

All that for less than the original quote.

Rides like a new truck.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Three Days After

I wrote about fixing my truck Sunday. As a part of this ongoing project (and yes, there’s a lot to do) I’m going to be posting here and there about it. This blog is my daily outlet. This is why I’m here.

🎼Some days are better than others…

Today was great!

I’ve been using OBDLink (Apple) with my OBD scanner. It’s a nifty little tool that can drop all kinds of info on ya while you’re on the move. My primary concerns this week are engine coolant temp and the voltage on the battery. I replaced the thermostat several months ago. The battery was dead Sunday. So worth watching over. The MPG was a plus today.

I drove home with the A/C on this afternoon. I also fueled up at a station that may have had okay fuel. But as far as gas mileage I’m pretty happy with either number.

Before I figured out the problem with the plugs it was getting 22/23 mpg. This is a huge improvement.

For a twenty two year old truck this is pretty phenomenal I think.

I have a little bit more mechanical to work on. I have some plans for the exterior and a few more improvements to the interior look and functionality.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

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