Things to get

Pure sine wave inverter >= 600W (Samlex is good)

Inverter hookups

Two 6v deep cycle batteries. Lowes has the Deka GC15 6v, 230Ah battery for $144 with free shipping to the store — an excellent deal.

Solenoid battery isolator

Wiring to connect alternator to isolator and isolator to battery bank

PowerPole connectors for running 12v accessories directly from battery bank

Greasecar system plumbed to cooling

I located the fitting I thought was missing — it was in the box with the CoPilot computer. So I finished the hookup of the Greasecar system to the coolant system last night and refilled the truck with pink coolant.

I dropped the transmission pan, replaced the filter, cleaned the pan, and replaced it (reusing the factory gasket, which the pan says is reusable). There was a lot of metal gunk on the magnet in the pan, but that’s pretty typical. I didn’t see anything unusual. The ATF was dark but clear and didn’t seem to contain metal particles, so I think the transmission is in good shape.

I refilled the transfer case with ATF. It takes an amazing amount to fill to the bottom of the drain plug. Something like 6-7 quarts.

I fired the truck up and found no leaks. Everything was normal and the heating coils in the grease tank and around the grease filter are both getting hot, as is the new coolant filter.

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.

Brake flush and bleed; AC work

Kevin helped me flush the front brakes last weekend, and I did the rears last night. It improved the brake feel slightly, but the pedal still slowly sinks to the floor. Need to figure out why. Also, I need to inspect the pads and rotors.

I jumpered the low pressure side switch (on the dryer cylinder) and that made the air conditioning compressor come on. It appears the system is undercharged. I didn’t have enough refrigerant to fix it, but I’ve got more on order from Amazon.

~370,500 miles

97 truck to-dos

Maintenance

Change brake fluid and bleed brakes

Inspect brake pads and rotors

Change transmission oil and filter

Change front and rear diff oil

Change transfer case oil

Change power steering fluid

Flush coolant system and replace with pink: research Evapo-Rust Thermocure versus the standard Prestone flush
— this ties into the grease project because it requires tying into the coolant lines, so that’s the best time to do the coolant drain/flush procedure

 

 

Projects

Get camper shell

Better fuel filtration solution (add electric pump?)

Replace exhaust system or add a tip

Replace tires and rims; get a spare tire and rim

Replace or paint tailgate

Replace rear passenger side window regulator

Install some sort of kill switch solution — perhaps a 6-position chip

Hook up front LED lights

Replace dash pad

Replace headlight

Replace reverse bulbs with brighter ones

Install grease system

Fix air conditioning

Rebuild turbo

Rebuild front end

– What all do I need?

Inspect driveline U-joints; R&R front driveshaft U-joint if necessary; reinstall front driveshaft

97 truck update

I had all eight injectors (which were AA code, and apparently one was definitely bad) replaced with some 5000ish-mile AB code injectors. The guy who did the work is Uriah Baldonado, who also lives in Los Lunas. I traded him the three dirt bikes for the injectors and the work, and kept the existing AA code injectors.

The truck has considerably more power now. It still smokes on a cold startup, but at least part of that has to be one bad glow plug. It makes noticeably more boost, too — it tops out at about 11 psi now, whereas before I could only get about 5 psi out of it.

Uriah advised me that the turbo does need to be rebuilt; he said the compressor wheel is really chewed up. Also, one of the hood hinges needs to be adjusted or replaced.

Uriah did say my under valve cover harnesses (UVCH) are new or nearly so.

Also, Uriah replaced all the injector o-rings with new ones prior to installation. That really made a difference; the truck no longer smells like it’s burning oil.

1997 F-350 no start condition

I found last night that the F-350 has a bad glow plug relay, as well as three bad glow plugs.

Left/passenger side, from rear of truck to front: bad (also had a bent pin in the connector, which was contributing to the problem); good; good; bad (so the two outers bad, two inners good)

Right / driver side, from rear of truck to front: good; good; bad; good.

 

I found eight supposedly genuine new Motorcraft ZD-11 glow plugs on eBay for $25 (if they are genuine, that’s a third of the cost) and a new Motorcraft DY861 glow plug relay on Amazon for $50. They’re on the way.