The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #51 in VA,MD,DE & PA 8/22/00
320 miles this trip, odometer now 67,056 total, miles this year 14,602.
From, Delmar, MD, Hi Everyone!
After my experience with the lights going out and the engine going dead at 4:00 a.m. in a construction zone in WV because the alternator belt was slipping, I have wanted a better belt system on the alternator. The alternator is carrying a heavy load because of the modifications I have made on my coach. That one belt had to be tighter than a fiddle string all the time or it would slip. My choices were, 1) leave it with one belt and worry about it slipping. 2) get the serpentine belt kit from Leigh Harrison. 3) put a two belt pulley on the alternator. I decided to go with the two belt pulley and to make it work I would have to make a three belt pulley for the power steering pump. I got a junk yard power steering pump pulley, cut the second groove off of it and welded it onto my power steering pump pulley as a third groove. I now have my two belt alternator. The only double pulley I could find for the alternator is the one used for diesel engines that run at a lower RPM and the pulley is smaller in diameter than I want but it will have to do till I find a larger one, or make a larger one.
I also had an adventure with Jenny’s old car when I put the new front brake pads on it. The right side went well, in just a few minutes I was done. The left side was a different story, when I was taking the wheel off I noticed that one nut was only finger tight. On closer inspection I found that two of the nuts had the threads stripped on them. I knew there were two in bad shape from being over tightened with a pneumatic impact tool. I couldn’t be running around with only two bolts holding the left front wheel on, so I went in and got two new bolts and nuts. That’s when the fun began. This is a front wheel drive and to change the bolts, the brake rotor has to come off. I have the tools to do this on my GMC but they would do me no good on this little car. I ended up with a long crowbar a heavy hammer and a long string of cuss words. I got the job done, but not before acquiring several Pratt & Whitney shankers. That’s the name I gave to the skinned knuckles I got in my younger days when working on Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines. The name still fits no matter what I’m working on, and they still hurt. When I finished it, I took it down to VA and had it inspected, now it’s good for another year. While at Jenny’s I got my haircut by my new barber (my great-granddaughter Madison) she cuts it just enough to make it last a long time, and the price is right. She even did my nails.
Another adventure with the rear brake pads on Alexis’ car. My first time with rear disk brakes with a parking brake. Had to go to the library to find out how to push the calipers back in. They would have lasted longer if the Mr. Goodwrench who did them the last time had lubricated them correctly.
Jeff’s old 1984 Mazda pickup was another adventure I’d prefer not to repeat. He said he was returning from taking the trash to the landfill when it lost power and made a lot of noise. We checked the compression on it and found the two front cylinders each had only 30 psi. I figured it could be a blown head gasket and wouldn’t be hard to fix, that was a lie. I had never worked on an overhead cam engine with a timing chain made in Japan. It was a nightmare taking it apart and it was worse putting it back together. If we could get it to run again, his brother Mark wanted it. He’s the one born in Texas and is a trumpet playing guitar picking musician starting to get a beer belly. I told him if he wanted it, he would have to help fix it. He showed up with a new torque wrench that we needed, and the fixin’s for dinner. I put him to work torqueing the head bolts and adjusting the valves. He was wearing rubber gloves to keep from getting Pratt & Whitney Shankers on his guitar picking fingers. Jeff and I put things back that had been taken off. After we got the distributor timed correctly, it runs like a new one.
8/19/00, I made a trip to Gettysburg, PA to attend the GMC Tidewater Crabs club rally. I filled up with $1.34 fuel here in Salisbury, MD. Yes the price of fuel is coming down, it was $1.37 the day before and when I pulled up to the pump I was glad to see $1.34. I knew it would be higher going north and if I filled up I could make the round trip and fill up again for $1.34 here in Salisbury, MD. Prices varied from $1.49 to $1.59 all the way up and back, so it looks like Salisbury is treating us OK. We had a few sprinkles on the trip north and in the afternoon but the weather Saturday and Sunday was perfect. The Rally was great, I had a lot of nice visits with old and new friends. As usual, I ate too much good chow and again, La Jo Stiteler was there with the homemade ice cream that I just can’t turn down. Thanks again La Jo.
There was also a big Motorcycle rally in Gettysburg that weekend and there were a whole bunch of them camping in the campground among the GMCs and SOBs. I didn’t see the one that was pulling a casket behind to sleep in on the way to FL a while back. Many of them were in tents but some had RVs and hauled the Motorcycles in trailers.
On the trip north I was in the center lane in heavy traffic when all at once there was a truck tire tread on the road in front of me. I had no choice but to run over it, I heard it and felt it go under the coach. I checked my instruments and watched the road behind me expecting trouble but saw none. It was then I noticed the exhaust was a little too noisy, after I returned to Jeff’s I jacked it up and I could see no damage from the truck tire tread but found the right header gasket leaking. I had bought a set of gaskets last year in Rayne, LA when I noticed the left side leaking.
I soon had the new gasket installed. I had installed the headers several years ago. Different gaskets were installed when the engine was rebuilt about 70,000 miles ago. If they had used the old gaskets when they rebuilt the engine they would have still been going. I figured I would have trouble as the boss at the shop that took the engine out and reinstalled it did not believe in headers and he let me know it. I told him I would never go back to manifolds. If you drive a GMC with headers and need to have work done on the engine, try to have it done by someone who believes in headers, it could save you from having problems.
I will soon be heading west and hope to find the fuel cost not too high.

Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.


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