18 September 2013

Previously on Truck VS Plow, I had formed the mounting brackets and was getting ready to do some welding. The first thing I wanted to do was to add another plate to the inside of the mounting brackets to compensate for the changes in width. So, I cut some plate my friend Derrick gave me to size and, with a hole saw, enlarged the existing holes the plates had in them to 1”. Then, I cut some flat stock and set it up on the corner, to make a sort of half-open-box:

Then I broke out my 220v welder, with some .030 flux core wire (don’t have a gas setup yet) and burned some metal:

Then, it was time to attach that to the existing brackets. Looking back at this picture:

The point at which the additional ‘pin plate’ needed to be added was on top of the plate with the hole on it on the mounting plate on the left (the inside side, the way I have it mounted on the frame). The goal is to box out another plate so the pins supporting the plow still have a mounting plate on either side.

So, I duly welded the new plate onto the existing bracket:

Some of these inside welds were a real pain in the ass, but the outside welds turned out pretty nice.

I then, to add some additional strength, used the scrap offcuts from the plates I’d cut down earlier as bracing, to further tie the new bracket into the old:

Rinse and repeat for the other side…

Then I needed to weld up all the holes I’d cut in the frame mounts:

That was about all the welding I needed to do. It took longer than it looks, but I’m new to this welding game, so I had a lot of learning to do along the way.

Here’s the welded brackets all mounted to the truck:

You can see the 1” hitch pins I picked up at Tractor Supply for $10 each. Also note the bungee corded in radiator and battery.

At this point, things started to go a little off the rails (which is why this update is 20 days after the last one). I put enough of the truck back together that I could drive it. The goal was to drive it across the yard to where the plow was sitting so I could test-fit it. This did not go as planned.

First, after I backed up the truck about 5 feet, the ignition stopped cranking. I was able to short out the starter with a screwdriver, so it was something downstream (all the positive wiring comes off of battery via the starter). After much multimetering, I found that the fusible links (2 wires that come off the starter and then both split into 2 wires each) had corroded/burned out. I don’t know if that was due to the fact that I had not-regrounded the truck correctly before trying to drive it or if it was just coincidence.

After cutting and soldering (badly) the fusible links, the truck STILL wouldn’t start, or at least stay running. This time it turned out the needle valve in the carburator was acting up. After taking the carb apart a couple times, and generally fiddling with it, I got it working again (nose oil on the rubber needle tip was a protip I got from the internet). I had noticed, however, that the carb bowl, which I had cleaned not long before, was all crudded up with sediment again. I hadn’t had a fuel filter handy when I did the carb rebuild, so I hadn’t replaced it. I decided it was due, so I took the filter housing off and promptly lost the little teflon gasket that sits between the carb body and the filter housing. After visiting literally EVERY auto parts store in town, I finally found a fuel-safe o-ring that was the same size. So after replacing the filter and installing that o-ring, the truck actually ran again.

However, before messing any more with the plow, I decided to make sure the timing was right. After hooking up the timing light (harder than it sounds on a crappy side-post battery, stupid GM) and making sure the alternator wasn’t intefering with the signal wire, the truck turned out to be about 35 degrees BTDC, rather than the 12 it is supposed to be. After correcting THAT, things were looking a lot better, and I was able to get back to the plow. I did notice this little gem on the seatbelt during all these shenanigans, though:

Yesterday I mounted the lift arm. The secondary brackets on the back of the lift arm sit on some box-tubing the plow came with, and then bolt through the bracket mounted on the frame. The box tubing gives it a good height relative to the hood, and keeps the lift arm clear of the plow itself.

Then, this morning, I finally test-mounted the plow:

It fit, after some ‘adjustment’ with the 10lb sledge hammer, but it didn’t articulate on the pins. This afternoon I gave it another taste of the hammer as well as angle griding the surface that touches the frame brackets and greasing it up. Then I was able to lift the blade up, with my patented RatchetStrap lift system (and my little helper):

And a bigger shot, showing the whole truck:

I was even able to drive it around like that:

So, that’s the current state of progress. Next steps are figuring out a lift system (I’m currently leaning towards electric winch, but installing a second power steering pump is an option too, whatever I do has to be cheap) as well as beefing up the mounts (adding some more 1/2” bolts, maybe some more welding. I also need to reassemble the front of the truck, including new body mounts. Hopefully none of that ends up being too involved, winter is coming.