A little over a year ago, a friend died and his sister gave me his 1963 Ford Falcon Club Wagon van:
It’s in nice shape, bodywise…but it needed a LOT of love mechanically.
I had it hauled over to my sisters back yard for storage while I figured out what to do next. First thing I did was replace the fuel tank and sending unit – the old tank had a couple quarts of fuel that had oxidized and turned into a black, stinky, lumpy liquid. Fortunately, the tank was easy to find (expensive, though) on eBay and arrived fast.
I tried to start the (170 six cylinder) engine, and while it turned over, it wouldn’t start. I pulled the cylinder head and discovered a stuck intake valve caused by water in the intake, so I took the van to work and removed the engine and transmission. I pondered rebuilding the engine, but it was bored -0.040″ and I decided against it.
After much searching, I found a replacement engine in a local wrecking yard. I’ts a 200 CID engine out of a 1978 Ford Fairmont. I washed it off (it was FILTHY) and installed a new clutch, carb kit, water pump, and a Ford 3G alternator in place of the generator.
I’ve since got it running pretty well, and I’ve driven it a couple tanks of fuel to shake it down. I still need to connect the heater and get the windshield wipers to work, and install king pins and brakes all the way around.
Last Monday I took the dash apart on the Buick (1998 LeSabre) to remove the radio and to replace the instrument panel bulb for the seat belt light. I tried (and failed, so far) to figure out where the amplifier input solder pads were so I can install and auxillary input for the phone.
Today I removed the rest of the dash including the instrument cluster, drove over to the parts store, and bought 8 new bulbs – I figured that since I was in there, I’d replace them all. Naturally, when I got home, I counted 10 bulbs to change. Bother.
I explain the removal and reinstallation in the shaky phone video below.
The next step was to reinstall the instrument cluster and the transmission indicator cable. It was easier than I originally thought, and I posted the next video to serve as a guide for those who haven’t done it before – I couldn’t find a video on YouTube, so I made one. Again, with a cell phone, and shaky, but you can get the idea.
I left the house around ten yesterday morning and drove out to a camping spot off Trapper’s Route Road.
In about a half hour, I had my Chameleon MPAS installed on the front bumper and was making contacts with people all over – Ontario, Alberta, Illinois, Texas, and others. I used my Yaesu 897D and an autotuner on 100 watts.
The MPAS is excellent – it breaks down into a small package and deploys quickly. Please check out the link, if you’d like – I’m a happy customer, I’m not paid to promote it.
The wind was HOWLING, so I spooled everything up and drove over to Bessamer Bend Interpretive site and spent the night there. I woke to snow as expected, but not enough to stick to the ground. I stopped at G-Ma’s cafe for breakfast and had the best corned beef hash I’ve ever had.
I’ve wanted to find the source of Horse Creek Springs for fifteen or twenty years, and failed. After looking at Google Maps/Earth, I decided to give it another try.
So I drove out to the Dry Creek Road and followed the dirt road to the place where I couldn’t go any further (in the Nissan, anyway) and unloaded the Rokon. I rode the Rokon to a spot that LOOKED like HCS, but wasn’t. I’d have to look at Google Earth to figure it out, later that night.
I drove out Dry Creek Road west and came upon BLM road 2401-Beaver Rim Road, which piqued my interest. Nevertheless, I continued out Dry Creek, and returned to Casper via CR 211 and Powder River. The temperature had been pretty pleasant, but the moment I got to Powder River, it was very hot. It was fine so long as I kept the pickup moving.
The next weekend I tried again: this time I succeeded.
After visiting the spring (which is listed as a warm spring in one of the WGS pamphlets), I drove down the road to BLM 2401/Beaver Rim Road. It heads generally northwest and eventually connects with BLM 2404/Agate Flat Road. I turned North to connect with Beaver Rim Road again, and drove along the rim until I came to a road that bailed off into the Gas Hills. I drove west from there and couldn’t find a two track to Ore Road, and turned around, this time returning to Casper via CR 212 and Waltman.
The bottom of the Nissan was polished clean by the sagebrush I’d run over during the trip.
I skipped a couple weekends to attend a meeting of the Bighorn Basin Amateur Radio Club in Kirby which was excellent), and to meet a colleague for a camping trip (ugh-don’t even ask), but the next weekend I drove out to Gas Hills via Buck Camp Road (which turned into a two track, just my luck), then to the Gas Hills, up the road to the rim, and back onto Beaver Rim Road. I drove the twenty? miles to Ore Road, driving to Riverton to fuel up and have a chicken fried steak at the Trailhead restaurant, then Back home.
The next weekend, I drove to Castle Gardens, walked along the trail and took pictures
On the discussion about celibacy, reader Deti had the following to say:
The love of a woman is one of the sweetest, most sublime experiences a man can know. It is integral, if not essential, to the human condition. Men and women are intended to be together. We are not intended to be isolated or alone. We are intended to be fruitful and multiply; and that requires social and sexual intercourse.
I have a difficult time telling men who have never known the love of a woman to just forget about it. It’s real easy for me to say that, having experienced all of the above.
I’m not going to mince my words here; this is what is known as putting the pussy on the pedestal.
Last summer, I bought a used engine vie a ebay seller. When it arrived, I cleaned cleaned it inside and out and pulled off everything until I had a long block. I also pulled the cam/lifters and ordered a new cam from Schneider (great people, BTW). I changed out the cam/lifters, cam gear set, main and rod bearings, oil pump, pickup tube, fuel and water pumps, all the gaskets and seals except the head gasket, and clutch assembly. I took my time, completing the work on evenings and weekends.
In October, I removed the old engine, and installed it over a weekend. After the obligatory camshaft break in, I took it for a drive and it runs great.
It was a but of a long process, but the truck runs much better.
Went out to the Buick at lunch yesterday to a flat tire, and put the spare on. Tonight I used a plugging tool to repair the tire, aired it up and installed it in place of the spare. The spare was a bit low so I aired it up and Bob’s your Auntie.
Not much to report. I spent Friday night on Beaver Rim:
It was a beautiful night. Naturally, I was alone because the Fifth Wheel Tribe can’t get their rigs in.
I used my little Yaesu FT-60R to call a friend in Riverton (26 miles SW of Beaver Rim) and was able to get him through the GMRS repeater, and via simplex, although he was unable to contact me via simplex.
Saturday morning I had breakfast with some friends, attended the Memorial Day Weekend gun show put on by the Wyoming Weapons Collectors, and headed towards Worland, and to the Blue Bank Road. I drove south, took a side trip to Castle Gardens (the one close to Tensleep), took another side trip to Cedar Ridge to scout out a campsite (fail), and turned off on the Nowater Trail.
Took Mud Creek Road to Black Mountain Road
and drove to (nearly) the top of Black Mountain.
Black Mountain is just a bit over 6,00 feet in elevation, but what a view!
It looks like you can see a hundred miles in any direction. I apologize for not taking photos, but I was hoping not to get harassed by an oilfield worker, and left in a rush.
I drove home via Lysite road and Waltman, arriving in Casper pretty late.
A couple folks have asked why I haven’t updated the blog.
Short answer is lack of interest and sloth – I won’t bother offering any false reasons.
So here’s a little update.
First, the Buick. In March 2010 bought a 1998 LeSabre from a guy the next town over, with a seized engine but in otherwise good condition. Bought a JY engine with 92K on it from Wade at Low Mileage Engines, but had little time or motivation to deal with it due to Covid restrictions and workload. By July I had the “new” engine resealed with all new gaskets and seals, except the head gaskets. I removed the old engine…
New engine in and running around 30 August 2010…
And it runs pretty well.
It’s been a really great car – great fuel mileage, starts good in bitter cold weather, and it’s really comfortable.
Today I installed power wire for my amateur radio equipment.
It looks like I’ll need a new engine in the Ford F-150. More on that soon.