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Old 08-04-2010, 06:03 PM   #1
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Crossed the Bridge

Well, I did it. Proud owner of a '91 Ford Thomas with the 7.8L Brazilian mated to a 5 speed with a split axle rear end. 177K on the clock, and paid a whopping $1026 US dollars for it. No blow by, no leaks, clutch is a little soft, so will need a master/slave rebuild. I finally took the plunge and got a diesel. It will be a while before I do any conversion other than ripping out seats.
I'm floating on a cloud.
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

Sweet score!
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:15 AM   #3
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

Grats! Got a floorplan yet?
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:31 AM   #4
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

Thanks M1031, Smitty. Timmy- will do, ASAP. Seeria, the only floorplan I have for it in the immediate isn't really a floorplan.
It's going to be a moving van, and I'm going to place a class V tow hitch receiver, so I can tow shorty, who weighs 13,550.
After I get to where I'm going, I'm sure I won't be able to resist the long, intricate process of making it a rolling home. It has to serve me well as a moving van first, though. Years ago, all of my possessions would have easily fit into my shorty, but that's not the case anymore. They're mainly tools, though, so I'm not too hard on myself for it.
Good day, ya'll.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:56 PM   #5
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

Well, 848 mile maiden voyage was a success. No major catastrophes. The only glitch was one very expensive fuel filter springing a leak, which was remedied by replacing it with a different type. I'll share what I did, because it might save someone else a similar hassle...
The filter that was on it when I purchased it leaked, and was replaced with an identical one. It's the type with a clear plastic bowl on the bottom with a sensor to tell you through an idiot light/buzzer if you've got water in your fuel. When I discovered it sprung a leak about 600 miles into the trip, a diesel mech. suggested I just replace it with a regular filter, so I tossed the almost $90 piece of junk and replaced it with a $38 plain jane, no nonsense filter. 250+ miles after, and no leak.
A pic of the expensive, crappy filter... and wasted fuel


I guess the most exciting part of the trip was when a mouse crawled out of the crack between the dash and windshield, and in the process of tying to swat it out the window, I nearly killed us by almost running off the road. It could have been a serious wreck, but somehow (almost miraculously) wasn't.

I guess my last thought is on fuel mileage. If I'm doing the math right, I barely got over 8mpg. I was hoping to top 10 per. It does seem that the bus is sluggish in first through third gears, which puzzles me a bit- seems transmission related to me, though I'm not quite sure. It starts getting some real kick from the turbo in fourth, though, and was cruising at 63- 65 in 5th gear, at about 23-2450 rpms. That was with me burying it, then setting the high idle thingamajig as a cruise control. It sounded fine- I don't think I was pushing it too hard. Oil pressure was nice, and temp never went higher than mid -range. Was it just the 'high' speeds causing me to get such poor mileage? Anyone shed some light? I've got a lot to learn about diesel power.
I'll post more pics soon. She's no beauty queen, but she's pretty tough. So far I like her just fine. And look at that engine- almost showroom clean! Overall, I'm pleased as pie. I feel like I got a good deal. The only thing I'm dreading is brake work when it will need it(Lucas-Girling). Out of curiosity, I priced the backer plate assembly... around $500 per. -yikes!
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:07 PM   #6
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

Sounds like you were running at the maximum governor speed--can be a bit rough on the engine. Seems to be geared low for a 5-speed with a spilt rear, but what would I know.
It would be nice to have a turbo boost pressure gauge installed (to see if the turbo is pumping air to its rated pressure), and I do hope you have an exhaust gas pyrometer.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:21 PM   #7
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

rofl A mouse! Reminds me of my class A, damn near killed us trying to step on it (drivers side). Bad mice!
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:27 PM   #8
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

Look around your final drive ( rear axle ) for an info plate and see who made it Eton - Rockwell - and what ratio - rpm could be a little lower 2000 to 2200
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:43 AM   #9
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

Well, it's feeling like I'm in over my head as far as diesel engines go. I guess the reason it's sluggish in 1st - 3rd is turbo related.
I need to research it more thorough before I go paying $65/hr. for a mech. to do it for me. Fun, Fun. I'm not regretting my choice just yet, but so far diesels seem more expensive to service, and that's just doing the simple basics. If my turbo's shot, which it likely is, that will just suck.
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:21 AM   #10
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Re: Crossed the Bridge

One simple thing to check on your turbo is the compressor outlet (air discharge) hoses and clamps, and also check for exhaust leaks before the turbine, if you've got leaks you loose boost and power.

The simple way to check your turbine is to pull the air inlet stuff from the compressor side. Reach in, if you can, and see if the wheel turns without binds (and inspect compressor wheel for damge). You can also try to pull wheel in & out (axial play), it should move just a smidge.

On a diesel, when in doubt change your fuel filters (like when she's a dog). Also, make sure your air filter and inlet ducting is clean/clear. Sometimes a wasp nest or other crap can clog the prefilter ductwork.
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