Sunday, October 23, 2011

Changing Spark Plugs and Making Truck Camper Plans

Hello. Welcome to my blog. Will be recording the experiences of a middle-aged woman who lives with a dying mother. I do most of the work around here, so if you enjoy reading about such things as engine tune ups, lawn mower repair, roof or ceiling work, occasional plumbing or wiring work, taking care of the dying elderly, running for your life from red wasps while cutting the hedge, hunting, fishing, cats, the neighbors, survivalist skills, plants as food and medicine, identifying mushrooms cause it's fun, hiking in the woods, fishing all night on the river, setting trotlines, you'll enjoy my little life here in Jackson, Mississippi.

As the economy tanks and the price of having a mechanic do simple work on your truck increases, it's a good idea to learn how to tune up the engine. You'll get better performance and the engine lasts longer, too.

Replaced the spark plugs and wires this week at 80,000 miles. The Haynes manual stated the engine should be cold when removing plugs, but the plugs weren't budging at all and I'm using the correct tools, too. I was concerned I would either break the old spark plug or damage the engine block. So, cranked the engine till it was a little warm. Enough for the engine metal to expand a little bit. A careful pull with the short cheater bar and the plugs loosened. You have to be very careful of not breaking the engine block around a spark plug or breaking a plug off into the block. That's a very expensive piece of work to repair unless you have the tools and talent to do the work.

I was quite pleased with the terminal end (sparking end) of the old spark plugs with it's dusty brownish gray color. The Shell gas I buy 99% of the time is burning as it should. My 12 year old Ford is now fully tuned up with an oil change, air filter change, gas filter change, antifreeze change, shocks change, and spark plug and wires changed. Keeping this up, I ought to get at least 200,000 miles out of old Boss, The Ford Pick'em Up Truck.

Upton Tire Pros here in Jackson was going to charge me $480 to change my spark plugs and wires. When the young feller told me the price, I was shocked. I expected $200 to maybe no more than $300 at the very most. I had to decline and drove home feeling like somebody took an ax and swung at me and barely missed. Bought all I needed at AutoZone for $75. With the help of a Haynes manual and making it a point to take my time, the six plugs and wires were changed :) Saved $405. (That pretty much paid for the shock absorber changing.) Prayers for help from God to do a good job was included, too. I always ask God for help before I do work on the truck. It's my only ride.

Old trucks have class.

Note: changing out plugs on these newer squshed together engines is a pain. I was use to changing plugs and wires in vehicles built back in the 70s and 80s. Lots of elbow room under the hood in those days.

Now what do I do? Trucks all tuned up. Getting the state required inspection sticker and tag next month. Maybe wash the truck next week. Looks like rain today and tomorrow.

Lawn mower needs repairs to the wheel height adjuster. Only two years old and the height adjuster lever has worn out. If it's not raining tomorrow, I'll turn the mower over and see what's wrong. Have it tied in place right now with a worn out extension cord. Hey, don't laugh. It's an ugly fix that works. The connections of the wheel height adjustment assembly might just need tightening. If more than that, I'll just bolt the lever arm into place at a 3" cutting height.

This old house I'm staying in is falling off it's foundation and is being eaten up alive by termites. Back in the 1950s I guess they didn't have treated wood like they do now. After Mom passes, I'm planning on tearing it down just as soon as I get my two campers built. One goes onto the bed of my truck and the other is going to be a bumper pull camper around 16' long or possibly shorter. Want to keep the dry weight to around 2500 pounds or less on the trailer's axles. It will be a plywood camper sturdily built to last at least 20 years without leaking. Lots of waterproofing to do.

Campers are notorious for leaking, so I'll have to do research on plywood campers on making them leak proof. The roof of the bumper pull will have to be sturdy enough to be walked on, so I can load my aluminium boat on top of it. If you own a "store-bought" camper, put it under a roof or place a tarp over the entire roof when it's not in use. All manufactured campers leak eventually and there's no getting around it except keeping the RV under a cover of some sort.

Well that's it for today. Did some laundry and cleaned up the house a bit as well as work on my truck. Cooking a couple of Marie Callendar's pot pies for Mom and me for supper. They are sooooo good. Mom turns 93 years old in less than two weeks. Wants a fried oyster dinner for her birthday present. That can be arranged. Think I'll get the sea food plate.


  1. I've been thinking of buying an older truck, but am concerned with finding parts for a twenty to thirty year old pick up. Will have to check with AutoZone on just how hard it is to get new parts for old trucks.

  2. Oh, Temptation. You are so good at what you do.

    Driving home from the grocery store and there sitting out at the edge of a driveway is a an old Ford pickup truck painted solid white. Like a pearl on four black wheels.

    Man, it was so pretty just sitting there all shiny and sparkling. I figure late 60s or early 70s. Owner probably wants a couple of grand for it at least.

    And who was thinking of getting an older truck as a second ride? Be careful what you wish for is so true. I had to pass it by. No real job, just a cash job that could end any day now. Gotta save what cash coming in for taxes, tags, and insurance premiums.

    Oh, my!! That white truck was so pretty just setting there in the sun winking at me with a little Ford grill grin.