About three weeks ago I went to pick up a bucket of chicken and on the way home I blew a rear brake cylinder. After hauling tons of soil, manure, rock, and leaves, it was a bucket of chicken that broke my truck.
The truck has a floating axle, so you have to pull the axles out to pull the brake drums. I have no indoor place to work that allows three feet on each side to pull the axles, so I had to do it in my driveway. , Also, I don't have the proper tool for the nuts on the axle, so I have to do that old farmer thing with a punch and a hammer. I did try to buy the proper tool while I was buying parts but apparently nobody sells them anymore. I got the bad side apart, saw that somebody had replaced the shoes and turned the drum not too long ago, since both are in good shape, and went and ordered two brake cylinders and picked up new brake lines.
My thinking is that you might as well fix it all while it's apart. I didn't finish taking it all apart though, thinking I'd leave everything until the parts came.
So the parts showed up and it started to rain. And rain. And rain. When it wasn't raining, the space under the truck was a puddle. There was nothing I could do but tie garbage bags over the axles to keep everything dry. Ten days passed and finally I could do the work.
I tried to remove the cylinders. The bolts were rusted solid.
Now, you think you have a ton of room to work under there, right? Just hoist the box up, put a steel bar in so it can't fall and kill you, put a can of beer on the truck frame and get to work. Except the springs are right there so you can't get anything in to grab the bolts, and you can't get a grinder in. I really didn't want to damage the backing plate either, so I had to be careful. So it was hours of chiseling and grinding with a Dremel. Those are hard bolts. Through all this, my arthritis started acting up, so I had to keep stopping and walking around so my knees wouldn't seize up.
I finally got them out though and put in the new cylinders and brake line.
While I was putting in the brake line, I noticed the plate that holds the u-bolts to the axles looked cracked. I tapped it with a 3/8 wrench and the crack widened. "This is bad," I said to myself. I pulled the u-bolts and looked at the plate. By the rust and corrosion, it had been cracked for a while. Likely a long while.
I had the next day off, so I spent a morning touring the spring places and auto-parts stores. Nobody had a plate and nobody was willing to order one. There must be something about suspension work that makes people apathetic and rude. I tried one last spring place, way down in the stabbiest part of town, and they knew what it was and where to get it. And they were polite and helpful. If you need suspension work in Winnipeg, go to Standard on the corner of Higgins and King.
So I ordered two plates and new u-bolts. Might as well do both sides while I have everything apart right?
The parts aren't in yet, so I'm waiting for them. Maybe Monday or Tuesday.
After I ordered the parts I came home and looked at the tires. You know how it is, you're just walking by and suddenly your staring at them. They are weather checked and worn out. They are 16" bias ply's that somebody shoehorned onto 16-1/2" inch split rims. They are dangerous.
I've been thinking about replacing them since I bought the truck, but I've been letting it slide, since the fronts are okay. I went and toured the junkyards. No eight bolt chevy rims that aren't already beat to death or rusted away.
So I went and ordered two new tires on new rims. Thought I might get a break on the price since we get all of our work tires fixed/replaced there and use their mobile service at least once a week. I was right. He gave me 10% off. I gave him about half a paycheque.
Today, I guess I'll paint the hubcaps back to white. The previous owner painted them green, and it just grates on me.