Cheap Work Truck Repairs

Last week I spent my time working at a summer camp, something I do every summer. I’ve done a little work on some of the camp vehicles in the past, but this year I got to do a couple full days of work on them.

Disclaimer: I do not recommend these repairs for vehicles driven on public roads. This truck is used only on private property at low speeds.

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The camp has two work trucks, both not legal for use on public roads, but for driving around the camp property they work great. One is a mid 90’s F-150, and the other is this ’99 Silverado 2500. A week or two before my time there this summer, the Chevy developed a gas leak. Because of my experience as a mechanic I was asked to take a look at it this week.

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I parked it up on some ramps and crawled under to find where it was leaking, and quickly found it. While pressurized you could see fuel spraying out, and it would drip for several minutes after shutting it off. It was leaking from the fuel feed line, near where it starts going up towards the engine.

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We decided that the easiest fix, to get it up and running again in the least amount of time, would be to simply replace the leaking line with hose. Over 10 feet of fuel hose, to be exact. Where the original hose connected at the engine I had to spent 20 minutes mangling the quick-connect fitting to get it to come off, and then another 20 minutes getting the hose to slide over the flare where the fitting held onto. Because the truck was up on ramps, it was too high to work on while standing, so I had to climb up a ladder and sit or kneel on the radiator support to work on the line on the top of the engine.

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I cut the fuel line several inches forward of the fuel filter, and as you can see the line had already been repaired once with a compression fitting. I routed the hose as nicely as I could and got it neatly zip-tied into place, and used two hose clamps at each end to make sure it doesn’t try to come off with the pressure. If this was a truck I was going to drive on public roads, I would do a proper repair with steel or copper line, but for just driving around the property, this hose should work just fine.

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Once I had the fuel leak fixed I went to take it on a victory lap and found that it wouldn’t shift into drive, a problem that had recently started happening, so that was what I dug into the next day. With the help of another mechanic helping out there that week, I found that the shifter cable was damaged, preventing proper operation. It was damaged in the same area where the floorboards were rusted out, so probably when people stepped there it would rub the cable against the remains of the floor, causing the damage.

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We repaired the floor with an old piece of metal roofing, simply screwing it into place on top of what was left of the original floor. After some consideration, we decided against trying to jury-rig the cable and just ordered a new aftermarket replacement.

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The cable originally went through a hole in the rusted-out floor, so a new hole was drilled. One problem, however, was that the original floor was shaped better to guide the cable in a curve that wouldn’t get in the way of the carpeting. After some hammering to lower where the grommet fit, I held the cable down using extra pieces of roofing metal. Cheap hack fixing at its finest.

If this job had been at my regular workplace, it would not have been very fun, but because it was at my summer camp, which is my favorite place on earth, and working on a camp truck in the barn with camp’s endless tools, it was really fun and satisfying to finish.


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-Dan

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