Friday, August 5, 2011

The work gets easier

Doing work on my van has become an absolute joy. I love it. I know what I'm doing now, and that makes it fun.

I finally got my cooling system squared away. I did a bunch of research and realized I'd been misreading the test strips. Turns out I desperately need to replenish my SCA's, so I'm in the process of calculating exactly how much I need to add and will add it.

I think my heater core is pluggged up and possibly leaking too, but getting to it requires dismantling the entire dashboard, steering column, and ignition lock, so I just bypassed the heater. Bent the supply hose around double into a U and connected it to the return. Done. On this vehicle, the heater core is ALWAYS live, no matter whether the blend door is in the hot or cold position! So by disconnecting it, it'll probably stay a little cooler in here on the hot drive south.

My coolant was in what looked to me like perfect condition. I also checked the flow of my transmission cooler and it is excellent. I did find a bit of sand (yes, sand) in the coolant, but it wasn't magnetic, so I'm not worried about it. A friend said that it might be sand leftover from the cast iron block stamping! Imagine that.

The squeaking/parping sound may have been caused by transmission fluid dripping onto my drive belt and more or less ruining it. I cleaned it off good with rubbing alcohol and the squeak stopped. But I also did the transmission cooler line check, so perhaps the noise was coming from the trans after all. No matter; it's gone now either way.

Well that's it, I'm ready to drive. I might replace two balding rear tires first before this trip, depending on whether I can afford it. I'd like to bleed my brakes but that's easy, and top up my differential which is seeping. I probably should do an oil change, but I'm not really due for one until AFTER the trip, so I'll probably wait on that. I'm sure by then my air filter will be toast. This turbo breathes a lot of air, and riving around on dirt roads is rough on my air filters.

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