It's on its second transmission, third transfer case, second set of leaf springs, I had to replace the front drive shaft after I wore it out, it's had three sets of front hubs, four exhaust systems, three carburetors, and unknown numbers of alternators, starters, and fuel pumps. I put a lift kit on it years ago along with a set of mud tires so that it both looked COOL and wouldn't get it stuck in the mud (which was very important when I was younger) . Because of all the different sources of parts, and a few scars and dents in the sheetmetal, it's nicknamed Frank (short for Frankenstein).
I drove it all the time up until about 10 years ago, then about six years ago it was retired to the farm to be used as a farm truck. I had to reluctantly park it about four years ago when I had trouble keeping it running (mainly engine troubles). For four years, I've been meaning to get it running again because it's perfect for driving around the farm and all over pastures looking for cows, it doesn't have anything like computers or sensors on it, it's almost indestructible, and it's awful fun to drive.
After four years of procrastinating, I finally got around to fixing it and I started out by replacing the spark plugs, spark plug wires, cap and rotor, and battery. Then, I sprayed a can of carb cleaner all over the outside and inside of the carburetor (no fiddly carb rebuilds except as a last resort for this guy), replaced an oil gauge line (no use getting it running if it's squirting oil all over the place), poured a can of Sea-Foam in the engine oil (not sure if that was worth the effort), and topped off all the fluids.
After a trip to town to get a new air cleaner after a backfire caught the old one on fire (who's the idiot that sprayed all that carb cleaner on the carburetor??), it eventually roared back to life. So much thick smoke from burning oil was pouring out of the tailpipes that I almost chickened out and shut it off so I could do the proper thing and carefully determine why it was burning so much oil. But I figured that if it was really that bad I was going to need to pull the engine and spend a big pile of money anyway, so I revved her even more, hoping it was just a stuck ring or something from sitting so long.
The next thing on my checklist was checking the brakes, so I did my patented quick and dirty brake test by first trying to do a burnout, then roaring down the driveway and locking up the brakes. After a handful of burnouts and roaring down the driveway so I could lock up the brakes (don't skip this very important step, you need to make sure your brakes are working), the smoking had slackened off and was a whole lot less worrying (engine rebuilds, smengine rebuilds, just gun the engine and it'll fix itself). By this time, I figured I'd done enough work for the day, so I parked in a nice open area so I wouldn't burn anything down except for the pickup if something happened to catch fire under the hood.
The next day, the truck had survived the night without burning to the ground, so I fired her up, and miracles of miracles, there wasn't as much smoke coming out of the tailpipes (I told you it was just a stuck ring!) and the engine had that nice loping sound it had years ago.
I really had a burning desire to road-test this beast, so I jumped back in the truck, floored it, and flew down the road to check some cows.
|Essential Suspension Flexing Testing|
I never would have guessed that driving that old beat-up pickup around again would be so much fun, and I might even wash some of the mud off of it for old-time's sake (but then again it would just get dirty again, so what would be the point of that?)
Now that you know what to look for, if you happen to see a guy flying down a dirt road or out in a pasture checking some cattle in a blue pickup that looks kind of similar, make sure you yell out nice and loud, "Hey, are you that Rich guy?"
If it's actually me, then I'll give you a thumbs up and shake your hand.