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1996 Chevy Silverado K1500 Pickup


Well this is a pretty unremarkable subject, but one which has been killing a lot of my time away from more interesting stuff. I wasn't going to write anything about it here at all, but I finally figured if I don't, then I have nothing else to say at present, and what good is that? So apologies in advance for a ....

Anyway, yup it's an old 4WD gas guzzler extended cab 3-door pickup that I used to drive around, and then moth-balled a couple years ago when I figured I wouldn't pass inspection without a fair amount of work that I was too uninspired to do on it. The repairs needed are purely the result of Vermont rust-belt road salt, as otherwise it was a pretty nice truck for its age.

Instead I took the lazy but expensive way out, and bought a used but pristine 2009 Subaru Outback which was really too nice a car for me, but yup it gets much better gas mileage, and has functioning everything, something I'm not used to. Even individual heated seats with controls, and a motorized glass sunroof! I mean it's a veritable luxury car, and scoots around great on snow and ice in our Vermont winters.

Unfortunately, it isn't a pickup truck, and I'm the type of hoarder who routinely needs to shift around salvaged sheets of sheetrock or plywood, loads of firewood, old steam engines, oxygen bottles, cinder blocks and Portland cement, not to mention move similar construction debris to the dump (assuming I can bear to part with it). And the Subaru is just not looking happy about it, with its handsome, formerly spotless, oatmeal colored interior.

So the plan is, give it to a more deserving person, my wife, in trade for her rusting 130,000 mile 2008 Honda Fit. I'll patch that up, and drive it summers and winters until it dissolves. And in summer, only, use the pickup truck. And only for individual missions needed for occasional hoarder guy stuff. And in that way sort of preserve it, since it's unlikely anything so simple and basic to work on will ever come my way again. It is a dinosaur. I've sort of grown fond of the old blue monster. I never thought I would, but lately I've come to realize that. No explanation.

Maybe it's because we're both outdated. Kind of spruce it up and baby it. The gas guzzling will be minimized, since for all normal everyday transportation purposes I'll use the Fit, and ease my environmental conscience that way. Just once in awhile hop into the monster and motor it down town to do some trucky non-Subaru kind of thing.

Anyway......where am I now? Oh yes, rebuilding the rear brakes. Well it was supposed to be just bleeding the rear brakes, but you know how that goes. I hunted through my selection of odd wrenches carefully tossed into a 75 pound bent metal toolbox, the oddest collection of metric and SAE wrenches outside of a museum, and even some neither size -- which I really can't explain, and NONE of them seemed to exactly fit the rusted bleeder nipple on the Silverado. But then it was probably no longer a known size itself any more.

The rest is probably familiar. Wrench slips, removing all of the faux corners on the screw head, which were actually composed of rust. Then break out the vice grips and twist off the bleeder screw altogether. That was when I realized I needed to replace the wheel cylinder,

Another familiar stanza....first you look for a jack that hasn't leaked all its fluid out. then you try to find the most level spot on the hill you live on, then you try to find a decent block of wood to put onto the soft spring muddy ground under the leaky jack. Oh, wait, you don't do things that way, you say? You pull your truck into your garage with concrete floors? You use a new floor jack on wheels? You have wheel chocks for the front wheels handily hanging from the wall. You don't just use cinder blocks to keep it from rolling off the jack? got the rear wheels lifted about 1/4" off the mud before the jack topped out. I did put a jack stand under the axle, as I knew the jack would probably auto-lower gradually by itself. Of course a jack stand on mud is more of a theoretical device than a practical one, but it's the thought that counts. I find that if I really hurry and get the wheel off, it's just do-able before it gets pinned on the ground with lug nuts off.

A shovel is handy in this situation because you can increase the time you have to get that wheel off when necessary by shoveling under it.

Maybe I should stop here. Maybe this was a bad idea. I don't know..... Do I really want to relive today? Tomorrow it's supposed to be sunny and mild and calm, and the Subaru has my little fishing boat on top, and my tackle aboard. Think about that. Not the three trips to the auto parts store today, and one due tomorrow. Go fishing. Life is short.

Went fishing. Caught a few fat perch. Saw a muskrat close by the boat, and a bald eagle flew overhead. Perfect spring day. Not another boat on the water all day.

When it was over, I loaded the boat back onto the car, and drove to the auto supply store and picked up the brake shoes I ordered. Things seemed more do-able.

Stay doing the fishing that you enjoy, sell the Perch and pay someone else to fix the vehicle!


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