Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dodge, Salt and Spyders

 Earlier this week I snapped a pic from my truck while heading home from work. Hey, at least I wasn't texting.

It's not much of a pic because I just whipped the camera up and clicked the shutter without taking my eyes off the road. Anyway, this one boring pic actually says a lot if you read into it, like why am I in a truck when the weather supports bike riding?

 Also, no snow! We just had a small blast of the white stuff and everybody tried to use up their salt supply. This means the roads got hosed pretty good with salt and there is a lot of residue on them. The temps went up, the salt never fully dissolved and it's still laying everywhere. When this guy on the Spyder passed me you could see the salt dust flying as he crossed back over the center line. According to the locals in the restaurant the other day, we need three good rains to wash the salt off the roads. I don't think I can wait for three rains but I can wait for at least one. I trashed a bike once  by riding in the salt and have no plans to do that with the Ultra. The Rat Turd is almost completely painted with truck bedliner and that should be good for protecting the bike from salt. I'm thinking I'll roll that bike out of the living room this coming weekend. There is rumor the temps could rise to 70 degrees and I want to take advantage of that.

 In other news, yesterday after work I installed a rebuilt steering box in the old Dodge pickem up. This is the latest in a series of attempts to make this dang truck go straight down the road. Last year I upgraded all the steering tie rod ends to 1 ton pieces. I also replaced the wheel bearings. Oh and we can't forget about the exploding ball joint incident. That was when a stubborn ball joint had to be heated and pounded out. It hit the floor and laid there about a minute as the grease inside was expanding. It finally let loose with a loud bang and flew across the room, denting a steel door. Ya.
 The steering box install started like most projects when I realized I didn't buy enough parts. The existing power steering hoses needed replacement as well so I ran back down to the parts store. The next series of cuss words came when the pitman arm wouldn't come off. I decided to skip this step and move on with the removal of the old box which went ok. Reassembly sucked as most of the threaded holes had paint in them and I didn't clean them before trying to hang the box. I pulled it back out, cleaned things up and bolted it back to the frame. The new pressure hose was stubborn to get started but after a half hour of dinkin around, the threads finally meshed.
 Now that everything else was put together I just needed that pitman arm. I put the puller back on, fired up the torch and heated it up until it "popped". Simple.
 The test ride was what I was hoping for. Considering the "alignment" was nothing more than me using a tape measure to set toe in, it rolls pretty decent down the road. I'll pay for an actual alignment and it should steer like new. Some may think this is a waste of money to fix this old truck. I should just "run it till it dies". I don't want to spend the coin on a newer truck, at least not now, but I do want something I can trust rolling down the road so I'll keep tinkering with this old Dodge.


  1. What year is the Dodge? I've heard that some of the older models had a rubber coupling in the steering shaft, kind of a universal joint, that got really sloppy as they got old.

  2. The truck is a 2000 model. I don't think there is any such coupling in this one. In this disposable world we are living in, its easy to pass it off as "old". The reality is that if the body doesn't rot off the frame I should be able to put a lot more miles on it.