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.
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.
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 “you 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.
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
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.
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.
I’ve taped up and dropped the first coat on the main door panel for now.
It is 11:34, and now I wait.
That door is done.
And now, on to the other door.
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.
During my project today, I’ve realized something. That grime and dirt you see in the armrest of a work truck has a name. That’s #elbowgrease. I have finished one door, so I might as well move on to the other. #thisoldtruck
So this morning I picked up a 1999 Ford Ranger, technically an antique (but I guess so am I).
Straight stick (as God intended) V-6, basic little single cab truck. It’s pretty much all original but I love to mod on the inside and a little outside.
I’m really wanting to flat black the whole thing, headlights to taillights, tint the windows, etc.
Right now I’m sitting in the Best Buy bay waiting for the stereo to be installed.
This is what I’m starting with:
Old school. With a cassette player.
Im having a Pioneer touchscreen with CD/DVD, Apple/Android CarPlay installed in place of the stock stereo. I don’t have any cassettes anymore and rarely use a CD or even the radio even. Nope I stream podcasts and music.
I love having my maps on a large screen. The latest iOS update gives me even more options with music and messages plus the phone screen remains in an independent mode where, if needed, it can be used without disturbing anything on the stereo screen.
I’m also having a backup camera installed (because I can).
I spent a good deal of time here today. More than I wanted but I’m not complaining. It’s an older truck and the wiring is coded a bit different than what the tech was used to.
We kind of worked together on it and in the end I got what I wanted so all’s we’ll that ends well.
Jay the Geek Squad Tech that worked on my truck (I have a truck again!) was fantastic. He did a beautiful job.
Jay working on the backup camera.
I certainly can’t complain. He didn’t cut any corners and did his very best to install what I wanted where I wanted.
So if you’re in Columbia, SC and you need a backup camera or a stereo installed go to Best Buy on Two Notch and ask for Jay.
Beginning to end.
Start to finish it was an experience and Jay let me see stuff I didn’t know was in the truck for future installs and such. So the time I spent today was well spent.
Time to drop a review and nice email to the manager. I have to tell them that I was impressed.
This is just the start of this project. I’ll be writing more about it soon.
(Special thanks to Mags for letting this happen. She’s too good to me.)