I did something stupid a couple of weeks ago (and won’t get into it here). Today, I had to make the necessary repairs. Here area two tips that may help you if/when you need to work on a project in a tight space and working in awkward positions.
Tip 1 – working with screws or nuts which are recessed inside a case or chassis: If you are removing a small screw, apply a little grease to the end of the screw driver to make the screw stick so you can remove it without it falling down inside the case. If you are working with a larger screw, apply a little rubber cement for the same purpose. If you are working with a nut or a bolt head, put some putty in the end of the socket.
Tip 2 – snaking a wire through a hidden space: This trick works when you are replacing a broken item with a new part and there is a wiring harness involved. Tie a string to the end of the old wire when you first disconnect it. Then, when you remove the part, the string will thread through any hidden places as it gets extracted. When you install the replacement part tie the string to the end of the wire and slowly pull it back into place as you fit the new part back in.
Two years ago, I retired the Volvo 240 wagon. It was still young with only a quarter million miles but it failed the Massachusetts emissions test by 0.1 <bummer>. I really liked that car. So, it headed off to charity (out of state) so it could live on. In it’s place, I got a truck … because that is pretty much how I used the Volvo anyway. I wanted a Ford F350 extended cab. Unfortunately, those were not on the year end sale. In retrospect, the F250 would have been just as good for my needs. The dealer must have seen a n00b coming a mile away. He convinced me that there would be no significant difference going to the dually from the single-rear-wheel model. He may have been right in some part of the universe but it definitely didn’t turn out that way for me.
It’s two years later and I’ve had enough. I asked the local dealership what options I had. It came down to two choices; (1) swap out nearly the entire drive train – all wheels, axles, hubs, and probably brakes, or (2) just run with one set of the dually wheels in back. Once I was convinced there was no safety issue with the wheel reduction, I started the change.
The dually fenders came off last week. The truck now has a few visible holes down both sides of the truck bed but those are clean and finished so they should not be a rust issue. Next, the rear wheels don’t track in line with the front wheels. It turns out the centerline of the front wheels passed between the dual wheels in the back. The resolution is to add wheel adapter/spacers between the hub and single wheel. Those should get installed this weekend.
The last step will be to add fender flares. These are only needed because the truck bed had an unfinished wheel well edge under the dually fender. I have found a supplier for the fenders. Unfortunately their ‘mechanic’ is not available to do the installation.