Monday, August 16, 2010

'69 Van is showing wear

Drained differential fluid with a siphon after seeing how dirty it was all over my brake shoes. While it was slowly dripping I thought I'd investigate the rust colored tailpipe. That was the last time that tail pipe will be on the van. It crumbled into my hands. Ok. Now I gotta go all the back until it stops crumbling. That turned to be almost to the muffler. And the only remaining part was pointing the exhaust exactly at the fuel tank. Only BP execs would think that was a good idea so I rerouted it with aluminum cans and the remains of a hard drive I've got stashed in my van since finding it on the beach clean up crew in Baja.

The wheel bearing, for those who care, is lubricated by the differential fluid through vent holes. I suspect the fluid was so dirty that it stopped lubricating anything. I'm still mystified by when I went to check the fluid level, expecting it to be low, it was overfilled. How do you overfill the differential with a fill hole on the side. There's only one level it can ever reach but it was way over that level even after it leaked out the wheel. I'm running through scenarios in my head as to how the fluid would be higher than the fill hole. Did they tip the van on one side and then fill it through the axle shaft? That would do it? Or was it jacked way up on one side when they filled it through the fill hole? That would allow you to add extra. I'm confused. Any Click & Clack wannabes out there? How could there be a cup or two extra fluid in a side fill hole differential. The point of the side hole is that you can't overfill it. You fill until it reached the bottom of the hole and that's it. You can't add anymore because it will just pour out. But someone managed to do just that.

OR something has blocked one side of the axle and pushed all the fluid into the bell housing. But there is an oil seal that prevents anything from getting in there and what I pulled out was all attached to the axleshaft.

Any ideas?

Now the fluid is clean and filled to the fill hole. 2 quarts of clean 90W gear oil.

The genius tire guys at the second place torqued the bolts to 150 pounds.
"Yep, you got a big van there."
"I'll never get them off."
"You can if you stand on the tire iron."
"Are you blind? I weigh 150 with my belt buckle on. No chance is my weight going to move those nuts."
"It'll be fine."

I should've told them to give me a break and loosen them because today I wanted to inspect the other side bearing and of course could not budge the lug nuts without breaking my spine. I had a torque wrench up to 140 and it didn't move. No breaker bars in the shop unfortunately. Thanks, Tires For Less!

I have to say that I had the music on and was under the van and doing all kinds of maintenance. One thing that working with my hands all day does is give me lightning fast operation manuevers like taking two bolts off at once or visualizing actuator rods for the rear door latch that has given me problems from day one and in 5 minutes fixing it like a pro. I will be the last remaining 1969 Econoline expert in the world.

The whole process is like Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. I'm like Pirsig and take it too far into the whole "What caused this in the metaphysical sense?" zone that leads into a wonderland of philosophical adventures. My element is on my knees with a wrench in my hand fishing in a dark cavity of the van door for a hidden thread. Everywhere else I am a slave in an assembly line. The van is my universe and I am learning it back and forth. If that van gets to Labrador from Cabo San Lucas I'm telling you it will be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. Maybe one of the greatest Gyspy journeys I've ever heard of. The Hippie equivalent of going to the moon. The van was in pieces in La Paz. I've already passed the one year mark that I've been trying to get there. But the only test is if it makes it one day. Snow season begins next week in Labrador so I'm out of time. I need a new tailpipe section and maybe new front brake shoes. And some kind of awning for the windows that leak badly.

On the job front I blazed through multiple semiconductor wafer cutting equipment cables like I was born to do it. Nothing fazes me now. The highest compliment they give assemblers is calling them "A Machine". Think about that.

I just wish semiconductor wafers were not an environmental abomination. I can hear the wolf howl in pain every time I crimp a male mate 'n lock pin on the end of ribbon cable. All of this labor will be cursed by some future generation. I guarantee it. These are smart people I work for but they aren't smart enough to see the big picture. That's what being an expert in electronics engineering does; it puts blinders on your personal philosophy. It takes a big man to critically examine what you are doing and take some moral inventory. There's not much of that going on at work. It's a rat race with no concern for consequences. I won't last much longer there. A friend told me I don't belong in population centers. I guess I'm still thinking of Portsmouth as a small town but it really is jam packed with traffic and people and $900 one bedroom apartments. It's too high class for my whiffle ball soul.


Anonymous said...

hey next time your'e at the shop, don't lock the handle, the gear drive is working as it is steady locked without manually locking it, as a result I sheared it off, I have never used it...........................................................

Anonymous said...

The Differential fluid was never overfilled. Like you said it is really not possible to do it. I suspect it just accumulated so much crap in it since 1969 that it increased its volume by 1 or 2 cups. Small bits of metal and what have you.

Oggy Bleacher said...

ok. no more double locking the door. I'm going to stock the fridge soon. Any requests? Also, if you want my piano then help me put it in your truck. I'll reassemble it at your place for free. I know it has sticky keys and your hot dog fingers will probably wear it out faster than my 70s light pop digits but it's better than it collecting dust in a basement. Gotta be gone Thursday.

I actually believe someone filled the fluid through the axle hub which would allow for a lot more fluid. They figured that if they weren't going to change the fluid then at least there would be a bunch more dirty fluid. That's my theory. I myself went the ghetto fluid change route and didn't loosen the ten bell housing bolts. But it was too much extra fluid to be caused by metal and dirt in my opinion.
hard to say until I personally change the differential fluid in ten years knowing that I leveled it off the last time.

Anonymous said...

I will meet you tomorrow, tell the flourescent lights to save some of your soul as your soles will need strength.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.