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  #41  
Old 07-14-2020, 02:11 AM
bagusjeep bagusjeep is offline
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Looks great, got to love a red J20!!!!!!!
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  #42  
Old 08-13-2020, 09:32 AM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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I love this truck. The white rims against your red paint? mmmmm....
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  #43  
Old 08-13-2020, 08:22 PM
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DarkMonohue DarkMonohue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rang-a-stang
I love this truck. The white rims against your red paint? mmmmm....
Thanks. I really don't love red, but I've had nothing but red vehicles for the past ... twenty years, almost. They just find me. Or maybe I like red more than I realize.

There's a little more red going on the truck pretty soon, weather and time permitting. Should be a fun addition.
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'85 J20 Old Man Truck, bought @ 65K miles - not great, but better than walking.
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High quality junk here: intro thread and slow build thread

Did you know? Willys is just Willis spelled differently, but pronounced the same. Neither Willy nor his apostrophe are involved.
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  #44  
Old 01-02-2021, 11:17 PM
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Little tiny update here. Hardly worth mentioning.

Somehow, somewhere, the battery clamp went missing. Not sure where it went, considering the bolt was still in its hole. I probably left it parked on the inner fender one day and it decided that wasn't a good place to spend the rest of its life. Rang-a-stang was kind enough to send a replacement, but it was a little rusty:




...so it got wire wheel treatment (too aggressive, as shown by the stripes in the surface) and a hasty coat of Krylon semi-flat black. At some point I will refinish it as well as the battery tray. This will serve for the time being.1




The truck has been running great, but not putting out a whole lot of BTU at the heater and defroster. The temperature gauge has also been reading low, the coolant level has been dropping slowly but steadily, and the coolant itself has taken on a distinctly brown color. A better man than me would have performed a little diagnosis, but that better man is not the one who gets to work on this thing. It seemed simpler just to replace the nearly 36-year-old original thermostat on principle and flush the cooling system.

The original thermostat, AMC part number and all, next to the new-old-stock Robertshaw replacement (scored two of them on the auction site), both in the factory 195 degree rating:






And the NOS stat in its new home:




While I was at it, I removed and superficially cleaned the overflow bottle and repositioned the hose clamps at the flushing tee to try to eliminate a persistent little leak there. I was starting to lose daylight and didn't stop to take any pics of either.

I also replaced one of the two alternator/AC compressor drive belts. Although I bought them both from the same store at the same time, one was considerably older than the other:




The two really aren't the same length, so it developed an occasional squeal. I replaced the older one with a new one that matched the part number of the newer of the two belts already on the truck.

After it all went back together I filled the rad with plain water, ran it for a moment, drained it again, filled with water, stuck the garden hose on the flushing tee, fired it up, and let 'er puke. It took a solid five or six minutes for the water coming out of the radiator neck to get almost clear. Almost clear is good enough for now. It's a whole lot better than the disgusting red-brown mess that came out of it on the first drain cycle. So it got another drain, a gallon and a half of green concentrate, and a roughly equal amount of water to top it off.

Took it for a little test drive and picked up some burgers and fries. The temp gauge now registers something, which is better than the near-zero it was reading, and there's enough heat available to actually warm the cab up.
And it still squeals with a heavy load on the alternator. I'll revisit belt tension tomorrow.

Also, I finally took an hour or two this morning and washed the truck. It's been a while, and the moss was getting aggressive. It's still ugly, but slightly less so now. Might try to snap some glamor shots if I get anywhere scenic tomorrow.

I also hoped to install the other red parts I mentioned previously. Unfortunately that may not happen right away. Time is in short supply.
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'85 J20 Old Man Truck, bought @ 65K miles - not great, but better than walking.
Member, FSJ Prissy Restoration Association
High quality junk here: intro thread and slow build thread

Did you know? Willys is just Willis spelled differently, but pronounced the same. Neither Willy nor his apostrophe are involved.

Last edited by DarkMonohue : 01-02-2021 at 11:25 PM.
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  #45  
Old 01-08-2021, 09:29 AM
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SOLSAKS SOLSAKS is offline
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love the old robertshaw box

glad you and the j truck are doing well

take care man
dave in NC
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  #46  
Old 01-08-2021, 02:14 PM
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SC/397 SC/397 is offline
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Man, I like your truck!
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  #47  
Old 01-27-2021, 09:09 PM
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Thanks Dave, thanks Rick! I always value your input here. And most people's, for that matter. Lots of good people around here.

Not much new here. I've been driving it to work most days lately and it seems pretty happy other than that dang squealing belt. I found someone selling a pair of NOS belts cheap on the flea bay and ordered them up, hoping they were purchased at the same time and will be the same length to hopefully put this issue to bed. Anyway, it's not exactly a Playboy centerfold, but here's a pic snapped at lunch in a very soggy, mossy parking lot.



More when more happens...
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'85 J20 Old Man Truck, bought @ 65K miles - not great, but better than walking.
Member, FSJ Prissy Restoration Association
High quality junk here: intro thread and slow build thread

Did you know? Willys is just Willis spelled differently, but pronounced the same. Neither Willy nor his apostrophe are involved.
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  #48  
Old 01-31-2021, 05:04 PM
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Steering has been less than precise since the lift springs went in. It just doesn't self-center the way it should, or the way it did with the stock springs, even after fiddling with steering box preload. So this morning I backed the truck into the driveway and got under it to check caster angle by sticking a magnetic angle finder on the flat bottom surface of the lower ball joint. According to the angle finder, the ball joint surface was pointing uphill at about 1-1/2 degrees, and the driveway is sloped at about 1-1/2 degrees downhill. So the truck only has about three degrees caster. That's not much. Spec is four to five degrees. So caster is at least one degree short of minimum spec, and it seems like a lot of people here run more than spec. Looks like some tapered shims are in order.
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'85 J20 Old Man Truck, bought @ 65K miles - not great, but better than walking.
Member, FSJ Prissy Restoration Association
High quality junk here: intro thread and slow build thread

Did you know? Willys is just Willis spelled differently, but pronounced the same. Neither Willy nor his apostrophe are involved.
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  #49  
Old 01-31-2021, 06:00 PM
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mrtazwrench mrtazwrench is offline
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How much lift is that? I'm using 2.5" springs that I got out of another J20 and trying to figure out what I might have to deal with when I swap springs on mine. Good to see you're still working on it I remember when you started this thread years ago I have not been on here much in the last few years.
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  #50  
Old 01-31-2021, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrtazwrench
How much lift is that? I'm using 2.5" springs that I got out of another J20 and trying to figure out what I might have to deal with when I swap springs on mine. Good to see you're still working on it I remember when you started this thread years ago I have not been on here much in the last few years.
I had to go get a tape measure to answer that! I bought these springs used, and the seller estimated about 4" of lift based on how they looked when previously installed in a GW. So we guessed 4". They appear to be Trailmaster JP25S, which was listed at 4". I took baseline measurements from axle centerline to fender lip with the stock springs, so comparing those numbers to where it sits today, it's a little over 4" higher in front and not quite 3" higher in the back, with 3/4" blocks and springs of unknown origin.

The horizontal portion of the framerail seems to be dead level with the road surface, so we can say it sits level, although that was never my intention. Actually I prefer it when the rear is a little higher than the front. Trucks carry loads sometimes...
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'85 J20 Old Man Truck, bought @ 65K miles - not great, but better than walking.
Member, FSJ Prissy Restoration Association
High quality junk here: intro thread and slow build thread

Did you know? Willys is just Willis spelled differently, but pronounced the same. Neither Willy nor his apostrophe are involved.
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  #51  
Old 02-11-2021, 01:59 AM
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Last Sunday I managed to get out in the driveway and pick at a few scabs, so here are a couple of little chickenpoop updates.

First off, no pics of the new alternator belts, because I didn't bother to install them. Turns out that, after breaking in, the one new belt I installed last month had about the same tension as the one that stayed on when the new one got installed. But they were loose enough to make all kinds of racket. So the alternator got a little tough love with a crowbar and everything seems happy again.

The cooling system had been leaking a little prior to the last round of work. Never found an obvious culprit, but it was sometimes almost damp around the flushing tee, so during that last thrash I cleaned up the seams on the plastic and repositioned the hose clamps. After adjusting the belts last Sunday I popped the radiator cap and it was full right to brim. Very satisfying. No pics. We all know what coolant looks like.

Starting has been goofy in that the shift lever wanted to be pulled up just past the Park position before the starter motor would turn. 727s don't have an external neutral safety switch to adjust or replace, so the fix is to adjust the linkage such that the shift lever on the transmission is really in Park when the shifter on the column says it is. Easy. Now we have one-hand starting again, no gymnastics required.

There were a couple of extra leaf spring clamps on the left-front spring. Not sure why they were there, but they got removed while I had the creeper out.

The last thing I messed with, primarily because it took forever to complete, was the heater control panel. The problem is that there has been a hissing sound (i.e. a vacuum leak) from under the dash whenever the Off button was selected. Heat and Defrost were fine. So I pulled the instrument cluster out for a closer look. It's an unpleasant task, but we do what has to be done.

Here's a look at the heater control unit from the left end prior to fully removing the instrument cluster. There are three vacuum lines. Here's how they were arranged when the unit came out of the truck.




And here is the unit on the healing bench, ready for diagnosis and disassembly.




The little gray unit is a disc valve of sorts that is rotated to one of three different positions according to which button is pushed. Here it is disassembled. Note that the flat spring shown on the spindle is shown installed incorrectly. It should be installed so that the center presses against the back half of the vacuum disc valve.




To help eliminate the possibility of a vacuum leak due to bad surface prep, the mating surfaces got lapped on 1500 grit sandpaper. They are smoother and flatter than they look in this photo.




Better verify the function of the heater control disc valve. There are three ports on it, numbered 3, 4, and 1 in order from vehicle front to rear (left to right when looking at the disc valve). There is also a vent in the center covered by a little round foam-like filter element so that parts of the system not in use can release their vacuum and return to their normal position. With a Mityvac (vacuum pump) I put vacuum to each port with the controls in each position to see where the vacuum went. Here's a table comparing control position to port communication. In this table, "filter" means the purge filter in the center of the disc valve:




Now for the hard part. Which one of these hoses goes where? The one with the white stripe goes to manifold vacuum; the one with the red stripe opens the air inlet door to let air into the heating system; and the one with the green stripe redirects air from floor heat to the defroster vents.

Close your eyes and picture me kicking my own butt. I had the hoses hooked up incorrectly. The correct hookup is manifold vacuum (white stripe) to 3, heater inlet door (red stripe) to 4, and defrost door (green stripe) to 1. I put it together connected in that order and it all works the way it should now. It's been hissing at me for eight years because I borked the hose connections the last time I had the cluster out, and manifold vacuum had been sucking through that little filter in the center. But it's fixed now.

And finally, here's a teaser for the next thrilling installment.




More when more is...
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'85 J20 Old Man Truck, bought @ 65K miles - not great, but better than walking.
Member, FSJ Prissy Restoration Association
High quality junk here: intro thread and slow build thread

Did you know? Willys is just Willis spelled differently, but pronounced the same. Neither Willy nor his apostrophe are involved.

Last edited by DarkMonohue : 02-13-2021 at 05:27 PM.
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  #52  
Old 02-11-2021, 08:35 AM
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SOLSAKS SOLSAKS is offline
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great update
great progress

dave in NC
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  #53  
Old 02-11-2021, 02:55 PM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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I have "Fix heater controls" on my short list of things to do. It's been unhooked and plugged for about 8 months. I just printed out the second half of your post.
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  #54  
Old 02-12-2021, 12:42 AM
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DarkMonohue DarkMonohue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rang-a-stang
I have "Fix heater controls" on my short list of things to do. It's been unhooked and plugged for about 8 months. I just printed out the second half of your post.
Cool, do it! When I bought the truck my heater controls were frozen solid. The disc valve was just stuck from years of sitting unused and the two halves just wouldn't rotate against each other. Easy enough to pop them gently with a wooden stick (hammer handle) or similar and get them moving again.

Lots of the parts in the control assembly are just raw steel. Next time I have this apart I will probably do some kind of plating or coating to protect them against rust. A simple DIY cad or zinc electroplating setup would work pretty well. Even a basic liquid gun blue would give some degree of protection.
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'85 J20 Old Man Truck, bought @ 65K miles - not great, but better than walking.
Member, FSJ Prissy Restoration Association
High quality junk here: intro thread and slow build thread

Did you know? Willys is just Willis spelled differently, but pronounced the same. Neither Willy nor his apostrophe are involved.
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  #55  
Old 02-13-2021, 03:30 PM
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DarkMonohue DarkMonohue is offline
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The heater control issue comes up every so often, so I made a dedicated thread in the General FSJ Tech section. Hopefully it helps someone!

http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=189621

I also made a better table and edited it into the post above to add some more info and make it all easier to understand.
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'85 J20 Old Man Truck, bought @ 65K miles - not great, but better than walking.
Member, FSJ Prissy Restoration Association
High quality junk here: intro thread and slow build thread

Did you know? Willys is just Willis spelled differently, but pronounced the same. Neither Willy nor his apostrophe are involved.
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  #56  
Old 02-14-2021, 09:21 AM
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bkilby bkilby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rang-a-stang
I have "Fix heater controls" on my short list of things to do. It's been unhooked and plugged for about 8 months. I just printed out the second half of your post.








Rang, I have a spare or two laying around if you want something to practice with. Or maybe rebuild, then swap into your rig.
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