29 November 2015

Under the Heading of "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"

lies this weekend's tune-up of my truck.

A couple weeks ago, Older Daughter and I replaced the battery, plugs, wires, and ignition coil on her pickup. I should point out that the battery was not part of the planned tune-up; it just died.

This weekend, we did the same thing to mine ... and yep, you guessed it: my battery died, too. My first, semi-educated guess was that the slightly-hotter ignition coil just put more demand on the battery than the older unit could handle.

That was before I pulled the Ford cover off of said battery, only to find it was the original factory unit. Sure-enough ten years old. Now I'm amazed the thing lasted this long.

We still haven't got the new plug wires on mine; the wire looms ... pardon: more properly, the retainers ... are after-market, and I'm going to have to order new ones from Amazon. The old ones snap closed, but don't appear to open without cutting them in two.

The plugs we installed today are on the passenger side of the engine, and can be seen - but not reached - from the top. To actually remove and install them, I had to jack the truck up and remove the right front wheel. There's a 4.5" gap in the splash shield/wheel well whereby a person may reach through. But we wound up using a socket wrench with a 12" extension attached to a 9" extension, with a universal joint and then the spark plug socket.

Oh, and mind you don't bang your knuckles on the disk brakes while you're cranking on the wrench.

We discovered that one plug was hanging onto the side of the engine by only two or three threads. Gee, no wonder it's been idling rough ...

So now the V-6 is running more quietly and smoothly, and getting 2 mpg more now than before. I can only imagine what'll happen once I get the new wires installed.

So, all in all, not a bad day. I'm just glad we don't have to all this again for another 100,000 miles!


Old NFO said...

Yep, it's always worth at least 'checking' the plugs a couple of times a year. And frankly I'm amazed that ANY battery lasted 10 years!

Rev. Paul said...

NFO, you're right. Just another item to add to my mental "to-do" list for when an engine isn't as smooth as it should be. Re: the battery, this truck lived in Fairbanks until the last 18 months, too!

ProudHillbilly said...

This is why I call Justin at AutoServ... Once upon a time I did some of the basic stuff on my vehicles. Now all I can or am inclined to do is open the hood and go "Yep. That's an engine."

Rev. Paul said...

I hear you, PH. I haven't given up completely, but there's less & less every year which the manufacturers let the average shade-tree mechanic do. At least, not without a great deal more expense & bother. Changing the oil & checking the fluid are about the only things one can still do, on many cars.

Cathy said...

I do admire and envy people who can open the hood of a car or truck an make sense of it.
Congratulaltion! Hope you got rested :

Rev. Paul said...

Cathy, I generally know what I'm looking at, in an engine compartment. I can't always do anything about, though. :) Thanks!