Nicholas Fluhart

October 3, 2012

2002 F-150 4.2L Intake Manifold Gaskets

Filed under: Daily Driver,Day to Day — Nicholas Fluhart @ 3:36 pm
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Well, after ten years of trouble free service, my check engine light came on. I ran the codes and found that the intake manifold gaskets were apparently sucking air and causing a lean condition. The truck ran fine, but the problem was enough to trip the light. After doing some research, I learned that this is a common problem with the 4.2L engine. Alldata had a technical service bulletin on it. Fortunately, the problem is not the lower manifold gaskets between the manifold and the heads. However, it’s the upper manifold gaskets and the two-piece plenum gaskets along with the isolator bolts. In and of itself, that’s not too bad to fix, but the engine is partially under the firewall of the cab which makes access to the upper manifold very limited.

I was able to use a series of universal joints and a range of extensions and remove the upper plenum half without too much hassle, but it wasn’t easy getting to the rear bolts. Once removed, I saw no sign of leaks…yet.

So then I ventured lower. Once the upper half is off it gets pretty easy. I removed the isolator bolts and the bottom half comes off easy enough.

BINGO! You can see where the old gaskets were leaking. Also, the rubber (or what once was rubber) seals on the isolator bolts were as hard as concrete. No one had the isolator seals in stock, but Ford had the entire bolts which were expensive, but I was able to get them the day of the repair so I went with it. In the photo below you can see the difference in material in the seals on the bolts.

Now it’s just a matter of cleaning up the manifold parts and installing the new o-ring gaskets. Then it goes back together the same way it came apart.

Now is also a good time to clean the throttle body and idle air control assembly, and if it needs it, it would be easy to route plug wires at this time. However, I’ve only got about 20K miles on this set of wires, so I’ll let ’em ride. And back together it goes…

That’s pretty much it. It was challenging to start the engine, mainly due to all the carburetor cleaner I had sprayed into the ports had partially fouled the plugs I think, but once it cranked she cleared up and ran great. Now it’s ready to go…and no more check engine light!

Until next time…

August 25, 2011

Retreiving More Old Iron: F-700 Winch Truck

Filed under: Day to Day,Trucks & Equipment — Nicholas Fluhart @ 6:40 pm
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Shortly after purchasing the Ditch Witch, I ran across a deal on two old Ford trucks. One is a 1974 F-700 oil field winch truck. It has a Tulsa winch mounted behind the cab, and the traditional winch bed with the rolling tail board and provisions for a fifth wheel. The transmission is missing, but the engine, two-speed rear end, and PTO provisions are still there. The truck itself is too far gone for me to want to restore, but I bought it for the winch and bed. I’d like to transplant the bed onto an all-wheel-drive truck, such as a military 6×6 or perhaps an old Ford F-600 or F-700 4×4. Here’s a couple pics where I found it in the bushes:

The second truck in the lot is a 1979 F-600 which used to be a U-Haul truck, converted and extended to be used as an oil field pump truck. I got it as a cab and chassis, no bed. The engine, transmission, and PTO are in it. It also has a nice pipe bumper on the front. I have no use for it as is, but it will be a great parts truck.


Once purchased, I decided to haul the F-700 first for logistics reasons. They were stacked back in a corner and we needed to move the F-600 over a few feet to have room to load the 700 which was in the bushes ahead of the 600. Below you’ll see a video clip of us moving the 600. My friend came out with his 1979 F-600 4×4 with PTO winch and 25′ goose neck trailer to help me. The first order of business was to get the trucks moved out and lined up for loading. For this, we used the PTO winch on the front of the F-600 4×4.

Then it was time to drag out the 700. We backed the trailer up to it, tied on with a chain, and pulled it out in the open to level ground.

After resolving a slight debacle with the winch cable on the F-600 4×4, it began to get dark so I pulled my truck up to supply lights for the loading procedure. We used a 10,000 lb electric winch on the neck of the trailer to winch the F-700 up the dove tail and onto the bed.


We got it back to the in-town yard that night and decided to reconvene the following morning to haul the truck out to the country where I will store it. The next morning… I took several pictures of it up on the trailer.

We set out to the country…

We found a nice shady place for it out of the way and fired up the Cat D3 dozer to unload and move it…

Below you see it in its final resting place, at least until it is robbed of all usable parts at which time it will likely be hauled for scrap….but that probably won’t be anytime soon. At least for a few years it will likely remain as a monument of industrial history to be enjoyed only by unusual people like me.

These aren’t the only trucks I’ve recently acquired. I’ve gotten bigger and better trucks, machines, and equipment to be posted soon. Until then….

July 31, 2011

Another Addition: Ditch Witch 2300

Filed under: Day to Day,Trucks & Equipment — Nicholas Fluhart @ 8:11 pm

So I ran across a deal on an old Ditch Witch the other day. I was looking at an Allis-Chalmers AD4 motor grader when this little unit caught my eye.¬† This is one piece of equipment I never thought I’d own, but they are handy when you need one. The coolest thing about it, to me, is the four-way push blade on the front. Even if I rarely have need for a trencher, I could always use a compact machine with a blade for driveway maintenance, etc. The owner told me it ran the last time they used it, but it had been setting up for a year. They tried to tell me it would still run, but I knew better than to take someone’s word for item condition. I took a close look for myself, and I’m glad I did. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the top of the muffler had a hole from rust. I then pulled the dip stick, and sure enough, the engine had water in it and was stuck. The price became right (it was actually a steal) so I scooped it up.

Winched onto the trailer.

Without running, it is difficult to get the implements up which makes it a challenge to load and unload. We used a winch and some planks to skid it up on the trailer. When I got it home, I used my Allis lift to drag it off the trailer and set it down.

Getting it Home

Unloading with Forklift

Once I got it unloaded, I pulled the spark plugs and filled the cylinders with transmission fluid and let them soak for three weeks. Then I pulled the starter and used a pry-bar on the flywheel ring gear, and after much leveraging, I got the engine to turn over. I flushed the engine with diesel and then tried to get it running. Unfortunately, the rings took a beating from all the rain water and it no longer had enough compression to run. So, the plan is to pull the cylinders and ring the old gal and hopefully she’ll live. The rest of the machine appears to be in good enough condition to justify fixing the engine, so maybe one day soon you’ll see the project posted. Until then…

July 23, 2011

Big Score: Hydraulic Oil

Filed under: Day to Day — Nicholas Fluhart @ 10:36 pm

I have accumulated a substantial equipment collection, much of which has not made it onto this blog yet. Nevertheless, when dealing with old equipment, you need a good supply of hydraulic oil. And given the cost of oil today, it’s a valued commodity. My friend Brad, having heard that I just purchased an Austin-Western road grader (a fully hydraulic machine), hooked me up with a great deal on some lightly used hydraulic oil…250 gallons of it!

Brad works for an industrial lubricants company that specializes is lubricant filtration. He travels around the country with his specialized machines and equipment to refineries, power plants, steel mills, offshore rigs, or anywhere there are turbines in use. They’ll flush the turbines, run the oil through an advanced filtration unit that restores the oil, and replace it in the turbine.

In the case of the oil I received, it was removed from a steam turbine after very little use because they decided to use a different weight of oil. Brad ran it through his machine and to my shop it came.

This is the most hydraulic fluid I’ve owned at one time. Given the amount of time it will take me to use it all, I placed it in one of my fallout shelters to keep the sun from deteriorating the plastic container.

Until next time…

July 22, 2011

Recent Purchase: Clark Forklift

Filed under: Day to Day,Trucks & Equipment — Nicholas Fluhart @ 10:33 pm

I found myself needing a small, versatile forklift for my business. Often there are items or machines stored behind my building  that we need to retrieve and bring around front.  The back yard is grass and relatively soft, so my Allis lift has no chance as it is extremely heavy and would sink in short order. Thus the need for some type of smaller, lighter, all-terrain unit.

A friend had this nice little 1971 Clark for sale, and the moment I saw it, I knew I had to have it. $1500 later, it was delivered to my shop.

It’s a compact machine powered by a 4-cylinder Red Seal engine. It has pneumatic tires, a 3-stage mast, and 2,000 lbs lift capacity. It does great in grass as seen below:

With the amount of back-tilt it has, I can easily lift and carry ATVs from the side, as seen above, or from an end, as seen below…

…and if I need to place it on the roof, I can do that too…LOL…thanks to the 3-stage mast:

I love forklifts!

Before long, we’ll pull it up in the shop and slick it up with a new paint job. I’ll post the results as well as more detailed specs, and I’ll put together some pro’s and con’s after I’ve used it a bit more.

Until next time…

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