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Friday, February 15, 2013

Finished the alignment

Well, I installed the ball joints. They are slightly smaller than stock, so the ball joint press I got from AutoZone didn't quite fit. When pressing a balljoint in, you are supposed to press on the outside rim; pressing on the top could, in theory, collapse the top of the socket. Unfortunately, I also couldn't find a pipe at Lowe's that fit it precisely either. I did find a couple of sockets that would fit, but I would have to cut them apart to get them over the threaded shaft. It would have been fine by me; 20 bucks to keep from having to tear the front end apart again later would have been fine. But my wife didn't want me spending the money, so I just pressed on the top. I couldn't see any issues, so I think I'm fine.

I took it back up to Firestone to complete the alignment. They are the only place in the area that has equipment that can handle a truck my size. It took them a while, and when they finally finished, they told me that they couldn't get the drag link loose. So to get the tires straight down the road, the steering wheel would be crooked. It was already after closing, they had soaked it with PB BLaster and the next step was to heat it up with a torch, which they didn't have time to do that day. I went back the next day, and they got it loose, but told me the steering box is leaking and needs to be replaced. Apparently it can't be rebuilt, at least not by them.

So, that's on the list. I'm fixing things in order of biggest puddle right now. This past weekend, I changed the oil, just to be safe. It was low, and I know I have an oil leak somewhere. I'm hoping it's something relatively simple. The high pressure oil pump (HPOP) is a typical culprit and is supposed to be fairly easy to fix (although I have to take off the turbo to get to it. I've also found that the turbo has an oil drain, and that it needs its o-rings replaced any time the turbo is removed. I know it was removed by the wholesaler I bought the truck from in order to install the EGR delete, so it may be that they just didn't replace the seals. I'm going to first try finding it with the inspection mirror. If not, I'll remove the turbo and see what I see. Even if it is the turbo drain, I may go ahead and proactively do any HPOP fixes I can.

Technically oil isn't leaving a big puddle, it's just all over the back of the engine. The biggest puddle was transmission fluid, so I fixed that today. I figured it was a bad gasket, so I changed it and the filters out yesterday. And then it was leaking even worse. I drained the fluid back out into the bottles and left it until today. I pulled the pan back off today and found that it had been overtightened at some point (probably before, and then I made it worse). Many of the bolt holes were domed up. I used a hammer and backed it with one of the bars from a flaring tool. That gave me a nice flat surface (I clamped it to the pan) that I could hammer down to. I got it all as flat as I could, installed the original gasket (it's reusable), and rented an inch/pound torque wrench from AutoZone to make sure I didn't overtighten them again. I got it all filled back up and drove it around the block, and it's still not leaking, so I think I'm good. Next I'll tackle that steering box. I think I'm going to remove it, tear it apart, and see if I can find enough parts to rebuild it myself.

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