Water pumps, steering and wires

Our new water pumps arrived Saturday. Unfortunately, though we received boxes properly labeled for a left-hand and right-hand 1946 Ford water pumps, inside one of the boxes was a 1953 water pump. Oh, joy. The dealer says the replacement should be here next Monday.

We--Phil, Paul and Ben--replaced the right-hand pump without any particular trouble; with luck we'll be able to replace the left-hand pump next Tuesday.

With our remaining time we took a collective deep breath and removed our worn steering gearbox. This was necessary because there was about 120 degrees of play in the steering--you'd have to run the steering wheel a third of a turn before the front wheels found out about your intentions.

Removing the steering box involves disconnecting the ignition wiring, removing the steering wheel, unclamping and unbolting the steering tube and pulling it out the top. Then we got to unbolt the steering box from the frame and pull the pitman arm from the sector gear shaft. Then we had to jack up the vehicle about a foot and pull the assembly out the bottom. What could be simpler?

The first steps were relatively straightforward and trouble-free. Then we put a gear puller on the pitman arm and cranked it and cranked it and sprayed it with penetrating oil and hit it with a sledge hammer and put a two-foot extension on it and cranked it some more and whacked it with the sledge some more.

We were getting really discouraged when the arm on its own went BANG! and flew off the shaft. As if it had been going to do it anyway--and we needn't have bothered with all the cranking and oiling and whacking.

We then disassembled the steering gearbox, and the internal wear became more than apparent. A repair kit ($200) with new gears, bearings and seals is on its way--theoretically. If it arrives and turns out to be the correct parts, it's looking like it should be a fairly simple repair. In retrospect.

While all this was going on Mike Trump continued to do yeoman work on the wiring. Currently he's working on the spotlights and red warning light. The metal contacts are old and tired and corroded; he's taken some of the lights home to ponder them. No rest for the fire engine electrician.

If you haven't visited the fire engine yet, we work on it every Tuesday at least 11-1:00 (and sporadically and unpredictably on other days). You can find us at 3263 Biddle Road, Medford, in the back. We'll let you run the siren!

Ben Truwe

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