Letters, I get letters. Emails actually. A few people have written to ask what's happened to me and Hal. We've both been kind of busy. Here's a recap to bring this thread up to date.
So back in May I climbed in Hal to go somewhere and the engine wouldn't turn over. I could hear the starter engage and move then stop. Figured it must be time for a new starter. If you've not done one of these before on the van it's dead simple. Didn't even bother taking pictures.
Took the old one off and went to Advance with it. Got a new one for around $100. Put the new one on the van and went to start it up. The new starter worked like a champ. The van started right up then there was a loud BANG
and massive vibration. Instantly shut the engine off and climbed out and looked under the van. Oil was gushing from under the engine like I was Jed Clampett.
Quickly found my drain pan and slide it under the van but not before a goodly volume of oil had already escaped. One advantage of having cats is cat litter. Threw a bunch of that under the van. Managed to stop the oil before it ran out onto the street and down the hill.
Well no doubt about it at this point. I'm intercoursed but good. Time for some heavy thinking. Two choices. Another van or fix Hal. Start looking around to see what's available in the used van line. In this area all I can find are new to one year old vans or older than 10 year old vans. Nothing in what I would consider the sweet spot where the price has dropped off but the van's not to well used yet. That's not to say if I didn't wait around long enough one would show up but who wants to leave a large immobile vehicle directly in front of their house for however long and also camping season is starting.
Then of course there is all the work I've put into Hal. A good many of the modifications I've made can be moved over to another van but that in itself would take a lot of time. I've been working on Hal for going on five years now. A lot of that effort would have be lost with another van. So fixing Hal would seem to be the best option.
Next up find a garage that would do the work. That turned out to be easier than I thought. My favorite mechanic changed locations and a new group had moved into his old location which is within easy walking distance. I talked it over with them and they had experience with Ford van engines replacements. Their usual method was to remove the body but with all the inside work I'd done they wouldn't be able to access the bolts. So they would have to take it out the front.
Next to get the van to the shop. The van is kind of wedged in front of my house with the hill in front and a telephone pole behind. Here's how the tow truck driver got it out.
Then up on the tow bar. I was pleased to see that the van's "basement" didn't interfere with the towbar.
Here's something the driver did to the steering wheel to help hold it in place while towing.
By the way the pile of gravel has nothing to do with the van. It's for this which is going on at the same time.
I'll come back to that.
So here's what the pavement looked like after the van was dragged over.
And here's the trail it left behind.
The trail ran for three blocks.
Hal at the service center. They weren't ready to work on it yet so it sat outside.
. What's worse is this is over the Memorial Day Weekend and the weather was perfect. Would have been a great time to go camping.