F-350 work

I vacuumed the air conditioning system and added ~37 oz. of R134a. The air conditioning now works great, and I’ve verified with a meat thermometer that it’s blowing about 40 degrees F — right where it should be.

The brake pedal no longer sinks to the floor when holding the pedal down. Flushing and bleeding seem to have done the trick. I still have not inspected the pads or rotors, however.

I sanded and painted with truck bed liner (this stuff from Harbor Freight) the tailgate and the camper shell. I replaced the shell’s window pistons. I also silicone-sealed the camper shell’s windows. Kevin and I applied some Frost King camper seal tape and installed six proper camper shell clamps.

I replaced the passenger side headlight, which was a more involved project than I had thought it would be. If you need to replace one of these in the future, there are two 10mm nuts behind the headlight that hold it in place. They aren’t easy to see, but they are there.

I’ve made considerable progress toward getting the grease system working. I plumbed the grease tank to the engine compartment and installed the filter/heat exchanger (bolted to the side of the alternator bracket). I discovered that I am missing the fitting that lets me connect the top of the filter/heat exchanger to the coolant return line to the water pump, but I ordered a replacement for $9 from GreaseCar. Upon further investigation, however, it appears they use a different fitting if you’re going to use a temperature sensor with the Co-Pilot computer (which isn’t even made anymore) — so maybe that fitting is in the box with the Co-Pilot. I need to look.

I ordered a coolant filter kit and installed it. Since installing it and installing the Greasecar kit both require coolant to be drained from the engine — and since I wanted a coolant filter — I decided to do both projects at the same time. I’m replacing the coolant with some pink Fleet Charge I got at Tractor Supply. I also installed a flush tee and flushed the cooling system with three quarts of Evap-O-Rust Thermocure. That stuff seems to work well, but be sure to wear gloves; it caused the skin to peel off both my hands.

I drained the transmission (so nice to have a drain plug!) but was surprised to only get about two gallons of ATF out of it, when I was expecting a little more than twice that much. Then I remembered that the torque converter holds about half the fluid, so I’m going to have to rotate the TC drain plug into view and drain it, too. This transmission takes plain old Dex/Merc, so that’s easy and cheap.

I drained the transfer case; it also takes Dex/Merc.

Upcoming:

  • install some canoe rails I ordered
  • Replace the camper shell glass locks with these so I have keys that work
  • drain the torque converter
  • take the transmission pan off, clean it, and replace the filter and pan gasket, and then refill the transmission
  • refill the transfer case
  • Finish plumbing the coolant lines to the grease system so I can refill the coolant system

And there’s more: I ordered five BFGoodrich LT285/75R-16 All-Terrain T/A KO2 E tires from Tire Rack ( a non-stock size, but according to my research, they’ll fit with minimal rubbing, probably only at full lock) and five Black Rock 942 Type D steel 16×8 rims. Tire Rack is mounting and balancing the tires and shipping them to me, so all I have to do is put them on.

Longer-term, I want to rebuild the turbocharger with a kit I bought on eBay (an SP TurBoost 813-1001-001, 817-1004-002F), and I want to replace the exhaust system from the turbo to the rear of the truck. Those two kind of go hand-in-hand, since I will have to remove the turbo to rebuild it, and that’s a good time to R&R the exhaust system.

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