Wednesday, June 17, 2015

one step forward, two steps back

Sunday was a discouraging day for truck work. I'm still frustrated and trying to figure out what I want to do I guess. But in short, I went from a fully functioning truck on Saturday to a giant lawn ornament by Sunday [insert WTF here]. I expected a 20-year-old truck to need work, but I wasn't expecting it to turn into what's shaping up to be a full-on restoration project. My excitement of getting the truck has definitely worn away and now I'm feeling more drained than excited. But, if I want a safe and running truck, I'll just have to keep pushing ahead.  

Yup, those should be connected. 
The day started out with kayaking plans, which would have been a 1.5 hour trip just to get there. I have to get rid of this bed liner so I have access to all the spots where I can hook straps into the bed to tie down the kayaks, so that was one problem. Living in an apartment doesn't really give you the freedom to leave a giant piece of plastic laying in your yard or driveway. Maybe the bed liner saved my ass from getting stranded on a highway. I'll just keep thinking that so I don't get mad at a missed kayaking trip and the current state of my truck.

What was supposed to be a quick look at the truck ended up with Ashley under the front end...where there's some loose connection related to the steering (it was the first of many "bad" things so the details are out of my head now). Then pointing out that one of the exhaust pipes had completely rusted off the muffler...which is also totally rusted. Then looking at the front brakes...which will need to be replaced for the truck to pass inspection (along with a new exhaust). But, you don't need to get a truck inspected if it doesn't even start, right? What had been a running truck 24 hours earlier now turns over but won't start.

So. What do you do with a giant hunk of metal that needs lots of new smaller pieces of metal that you don't have ready and waiting to be installed? Rip apart the insides for a deep clean and smaller/simpler repairs.

Seat, out. Carpet flooring, out. Side panels at the front of the cab, out. Panels at the back of the cab, out. Mismatched (I'm talking one new-ish and one random junkyard mismatched) oval speakers crammed in square stock speaker holes, out...and thrown in the trash. And a whole bunch of other little rubber and plastic parts that needed a good scrubbing, out.

I spent a lot of time with the carpet over the clothes line beating out all the dirt and then hosing it down, spraying it with carpet cleaner, scrubbing 20 years of grime out of it and then hosing it some more until the water finally ran clear. By the next night it was dry, spread out on my bedroom floor, covered in baking soda and being vacuumed. One clean shade of gray.

The rust in the cab was another project. The flaking rust was chipped out, and any rusty spots were scrubbed with a scouring pad or a wire brush. Then Ashley painted over all the rusted areas with POR-15 paint.

A bunch of bolts were sprayed for about the 100th time with WD-40, rusty parts were sprayed with POR-15 metal prep and by the time the sun was going down, the lawn ornament was put to bed for the night.

Tonight I scrubbed all the extra little parts from the interior and then read a bunch of Ford truck forums and watched a few YouTube videos to read about similar non-start situations, what the owners tried and what the problem ended up being. There are a lot of small things to try before groaning some more and sinking a little further under a big project. Let's hope one of the small things works.

So that's where I stand now with Blue. I hope this truck is seeing more adventurous terrain than its current parking space sooner than later.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Adventures of Blue

For a long time, I've wanted a truck. They're fun. They get you places cars can't. They haul things cars can't. They represent a lifestyle a car just doesn't.

I may be a city dweller for now, but my lifestyle certainly doesn't fit my location. You won't find me downtown at a trendy bar or restaurant, or going to the museums or big events. Instead, I'm probably shoveling horse manure at the stables a mile from my apartment, or riding at the horse farm out in the country, or fishing, or digging in the dirt or a number of other more rurally-focused activities.

My quest for a truck has been a long one, which started of course with saving money. New truck? Trade in my car? Old truck? Keep my car? I work...a lot. Two jobs, 6 days a week, volunteering on the 7th day. One full-time job, sometimes with overtime. One part-time job sometimes as many as 6 days a week. I didn't have to do that, but I wanted to. I was focused on that goal. When you work hard, you get to play hard too. I can't count the number of times I looked at ads or got in touch with a seller. I was close once, but the seller backed out the day I was supposed to go buy the truck. I swore it was the perfect truck. A friend told me it wasn't...a better one was out there that was meant for me. I said he was wrong, but of course he was right.

Enter, Blue.

Blue's more than just a truck. For the couple of weeks we were in communication before I went to see, drive and pay for Blue, I learned that she served as a living memorial of sorts for the girl I bought her from. She has a special story linked to special memories. Her last owner never intended on selling her, and because of that, didn't want the truck going to just anybody. We learned that we had some things in common, among them, both being horse girls. For both of us, Blue might represent a chance to spread our wings a little.

I'm starting to learn all kinds of things, thanks to owning a truck. Blue has good bones, but needs a little work here and there. YouTube taught me what a distributor cap is and how to replace it. I did that. I never expected to have any kind of mechanical interest or skill.

Pretty soon, Blue will be hauling kayaks and playing in the dirt and driving down to riverbanks to go fishing. I'm excited for the independence and the fun, and the hopefully years of adventure ahead.