Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Wildersport Wagon is sick and needs attention STAT!

Okay so the truck we use to get out there for our own adventures has taken ill. After rebuilding the front end last year, upgrading to Moog Problem Solver lubeable ball joints, Rancho Suspension, PowerStop slotted / drilled rotors and heavy duty brake pads, installing new tires adding a winch and winch mount to get us out of trouble, keeping up with regular maintenance, and even adding a cold air intake to improve engine efficiency (hopefully translating to better MPG) and keeping the tune through the SCT Xcal tuner up to date, we are back into shop mode. It appears the transmission has caught a case of a fairly major leak. Thank God it happened after we came back from our vacation to the mountains around Hot Springs Arkansas (The subject of another blog entry by the way!).
The Rancho Quicklift Loaded lift strut assembly
I also replaced the ball joints with Moog Problem solvers.

Breathing better than stock! There is a K&N Filter
and SCT Tuner helping out here too!

Fresh tires, Pro Comp lights, winch mount,
and winch. Ready to go, I think...

Upon our return to Texas, the truck appeared to be running fine, although shifting was a bit, well... Odd?

For our wedding anniversary, we took the truck to Galveston Island to stroll the beach at Galveston Island State Park, and grab some Greek Food at Olympia Grill in Galveston on the Seawall. Upon our arrival to Galveston the truck was acting like the transmission was slipping. I managed to get into the Seawall Walmart parking lot and check it out. I was low on tranny fluid... So we bought as much compatible ATF as we could at Walmart, filled it back up and went on our merry way... By the time we got back home to League City though, the tranny was slipping again... And again, low on ATF. Filled it back up, drove home, and checked it out...

Bottom of the truck is covered in ATF. UGH... After pulling the inspection plate, it is without a doubt coming from within the bell housing. That can only mean either the main input oil seal and bushing, or the pump seals. Possibly the pump but not likely..

Not what I wanted to see!
I need to stop the bleeding!

So holidays happened, and we had to wait until after the new year to be able to come up with the funds. Mid January and the funds are there, we took a trip to Transtar Industries for transmission parts where I sourced up a transmission filter kit, pan gasket, pump seal, pump o ring, main oil seal and bushing, and just to be safe in case it is a slightly out of balance torque converter causing the problem, a new stock replacement (2850 stall) torque converter. I also decided this was a good time to add a drain plug to the transmission pan as like most modern automatics, this truck is not so equipped. I ordered the B&M plug kit from Amazon.

With those parts in hand, not to mention a stack of other service parts and fluids I have everything I need to fix the trnasmission, change the engine oil and filter, change the fuel filter, and change the fluids in the transfer case and both differentials...

Now the biggest problem. The facility to do it in... For that, I have family members with an auto repair shop that have volunteered the use of their lift, and some help with the process, once they get their truck off the lift... That has been a big hangup. If this remains unavailable, I will need to purchase a 3 ton service jack from Harbor Freight, and then source up a transmission cradle so that I can get this done. I also need 3+ ton jack stands. This truck is HEAVY... I am actually looking at the Harbor Freight 6 ton stands as they are substatinally larger / taller than the 3 ton models, meaning I can get the truck further up off the ground with these, giving me more room to work.

Once all of this work is done, I am sadly close enough to the 100K mark that I am going to do the 100K service on it to beat the rush. That means some ugly things.

#1. Spark Plug change on a 2004 Ford 5.4L 3V engine. The plugs on these engines are known to break off during removal. I have the procedure memorized, and don't expect a problem, but you never know...
#2. Change serpentine belt, idler and tensioner pulleys.
#3. Change hoses, flush out cooling system, refill with quality anti freeze.
#4. Change out brake fluid. Good thing this truck uses DOT3 fluid!
#5. Change out power steering fluid.
#6. Service my K&N drop in filter.

Once all of this is done, and I am hurrying to get this done before spring gets here, we will be able to get out and cover more of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas outdoors for you! Who knows? Maybe this year we can venture out further to the great American west and give you a report from Oregon or Washington!

But for now I have to work on the truck and get it ready so we too can do what we encourage you to do, which is...

Get out there, and find your own, road less traveled.