Mission Creep on a D-150

I swear, if I wasn't going backwards on this project I'd be going in no direction at all. The new (and long-enough) alternator belt was installed but now for reasons I can't fathom, it is virtually in contact with the head. Clearance is maybe a 32nd of an inch. No Bueno.


Out comes the grinder, we whack off a bit of excess meat, and now it clears by about 3/16", good enough for me.


Next up is to change the rear end fluid. I've been all over this thing and for the life of me, can't find a drain plug or fill plug. I mean nowhere. It's an 8-1/4, first one I've had, and I can't figure out how to drain or add fluid.


After many, many trips above, beside, in front, below, you name it - no plugs. I'm thinking this is impossible. How could there be no way to do this other than to remove the axle, take off the cover, drain, refill, install the cover, and back in the truck. Then I see this little blip in the orange circle. Yep, sure enough, under all that scrunge is a plastic fill hole cover. So today I'm off to get a gasket so I can pull the cover, drain, fill, and put this deal to bed.


The one bit of good news is I got the stereo all wrapped up. The truck came with a pretty decent head unit from Sony and a pair of 6x9 Kenwoods. I added a dual voice-coil speaker for the dash and a subwoofer, it sounds very good. Progress!



What a difference a day makes. It's probably a bit premature to claim victory, but the PS pump is about to cry uncle. I've been fighting this POS for a week, trying to get the pulley to line up, messing with the brackets, and trying to get the hoses loose. Yay for Rock Auto, the new lines showed up and are correct for the truck. I keep working on the hose flare fittings on the steering box but they won't budge. Many applications of Kroil and PB Blaster later, and still............they won't budge. I can't seem to get a good grip on the fittings either, 11/16 is a hair tight, and 3/4 is a bit sloppy loose. I spend a while cleaning up the fitting thinking it's 11/16 and the 40 years of crud is keeping the wrench from seating right. And then, (drum roll please...) the light slowly goes on - if one standard size is a hair small and the other standard size is a hair too big, COULD IT POSSIBLY BE ******* METRIC?!? Yes indeed, my 1982 made in good old Detroit truck has a power steering pump that is all metric nuts and bolts. I dig into my metric stuff and the fittings are 18MM, all the rest are 14 and 15. I have to order a set of metric flare fitting wrenches as I don't have any. Amazon to the rescue, 25 bucks for the set and 30 seconds after arrival the fittings are loose and the pump is on the bench.


And just in case we needed a little help with this mystery while adding insult to injury, is this casting on the side of the pump.


I might point out that this metric info is on the side of the pump under the pulley, where nobody would ever see it to have a clue. Next up is getting the old pulley off the old pump, it's also rusted in place for the last 40 years. Once I get that off the pump can go back together and go back in the truck. Radiator, hoses, fan and shroud, and we should be able to fire this thing up for a trip to the muffler shop.

So how's it been going with the PS pump, Mr. Halfafish?

Let me describe it thusly...


My buddy (who is a pro mechanic) stops by for a beer and sees me starting to pull the pulley off the pump using a cheapo HF gear puller. He says he has the masterful tool for this if I can wait till tomorrow. Sounds good says I.

Tomorrow comes, and after setting up the tool he says the pulley will come off in less than 10 seconds using his Dewalt 20V 1/2" impact. Haha. Not to be. We hammered on that pulley for over 20 minutes before it came loose. His impact got too hot to touch. I fired up my Craftsman air impact and drained my 60 gallon tank twice. However, it did indeed come off. That's the good news. The bad news is, when we went to reverse the puller's center bolt it wouldn't budge. The threads are all chewed up (yellow arrow) and this is a Snap On puller. I think we welded the two pieces together or something.


So now the puller is captured in the pulley. You can't get it out, and there's no way in hell it will rotate ever again. Since the puller is now junk and there goes a Benjamin or so to replace it, I pull out the cutting wheel. Presto. Problem solved, sort of.


I go to install all the brackets on the pump, and find out it's not the same. Everything looks good except where one of the brackets seats. The old pump has a stud only (green arrow). The new pump has about a 5/16" collar on the stud, and there's no way the bracket will fit (red arrow). I order another one from NAPA and also one from Auto Zone, crossing my fingers one will be correct.


So today's progress was reduced to getting the brackets all cleaned and painted. I swear, there must be a voodoo doll of this truck somewhere with a fistful of pins sticking out of it.


More slow progress. I had to shell out $75 to get a custom pressure hose made for the PS pump. It fits fine, but now it appears the pump isn't pushing fluid? I cranked the engine over and no action getting the new fluid to purge the old stuff in the steering box. We will revisit this situation this afternoon.

The radiator is back in and hooked up. I had to get a spacer for the fan since I pushed the flange on the water pump back about a half inch to get the pulleys to line up.

I got the horns replaced (they were wimpy to say the least).


I tried to do a quick test fire to make sure the fuel pump was working OK with my gas tank, and while the pump is good, I found out I have no spark. The engine ran fine on the test stand, so it has to be something in my wiring. More investigation to be had after work today. I must be channeling @DentalDart. If I wasn't going backward on this project, I wouldn't be going any direction at all.