Fuel and (Compression) Ignition

Fun fact: The time it takes to prime a fuel system is equal to the time you crank the engine over with cracked injector lines in to get fuel to the pump, plus the 2 seconds you spend sucking on the fuel line because you gave up and decided you needed a quick test to verify a plugged line. After these 2 seconds, you’ll conclude via a mouthful of fuel that you really only needed 2 more seconds of cranking the engine over to prime the system. This is wrong: no matter how much longer you cranked, you still would have needed that additional 2 seconds to poison yourself. And no matter where you open the line to check whether it’s plugged, the fuel will be lurking 2 centimeters from the point at which it would start dripping out before you check it.

Nonetheless, after the considerable exercise of bleeding all the air pockets out of the fuel system, the 4BT cackled to life once and for all, emitting no more than a faint wisp of smoke to signal its long dormancy. To get it moving required bleeding the newly installed (albeit highly used) clutch hydraulic system. After tiring of trying to do it properly using a 2×4 to wedge the pedal down while I crawled underneath and cracked the bleeder screw on the slave cylinder, I followed the recommendation of a poster on ford-trucks.com, who ventured to a chorus of catcalls that when stuck doing this alone, putting your foot on the pedal and shoving it at the firewall 150 or so times will produce the same result. The Dodge power steering pump, while leaky, eventually worked it’s own air problem out and the steering effort ceased to exist. Before I knew it, I was doing passes by the shop, giddy at the sudden clearing of problems and how well the drivetrain worked all of a sudden. The gearing seemed reasonable even without the overdrive hooked up, and the turbocharger, purchased after a less than diligent amount of research based on a sticky thread on 4btswaps.com, howled like a Pratt & Whitney with nowhere near the predicted lag.

To produce this scene, buy a brand new drum from Napa. Clean with brake cleaner, then coat it with some caliper paint and lovingly place it on your rebuilt rear brake assembly. Then let it languish in the driveway for 3 years.

Not a moment too soon, this turn of events produced a charge of energy. Gone was the chore of it all, and with a few more adjustments, I decided to limp the truck home so I could swap out the parking spot. It was then that that I was reminded of the one knock on these swaps, which is that it is a big, combustion ignition 4 cylinder, and anything that is not secure will fall off the truck from the rattling. About 5 miles in, the comfortably uneventful ride because an unnerving series of pings and pops of things falling out of the engine compartment. After so long, there were bound to be a few bolts left around, I thought. But the fallacy of this revealed itself with a quick check under the hood. Injector line hold down bolts were missing, and the pyrometer probe had worked its way out of the exhaust manifold. The following day I took note of the increasingly terrible body fitment, notably the huge gap between the cowl and the hood. After a smack of the forehead upon realizing just what this was, I opened the hood to inspect the bolts that held the front clip to the firewall.

Loctite it or lose it! Fortunately, these have held tight after retightening with Loctite on the threads.

Fortunately, as these things are addressed, they seem to remain resolved rather than keep popping up. But I began to wonder if that vast chasm between the time when the truck is torn apart and the drivetrain is on the floor in the corner, and the moment it runs, is not as large as the one that lies before me now, between a running and driving truck and a good one.

What stands between a runner and a good truck.

Next up, the last thing before The Avocado is a true driver: getting the front brakes to work properly.

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