Saturday, January 26, 2013

2003 Silverado 1500 HD gearbox fluid change

This week I finished the snow blower that has been in the shop for a month. There actually wasn't much time involved with working on it. The snow blower spent all its time sitting on the work bench waiting for parts. It had bad gas in it and needed the carb to be rebuilt. That's an easy job if you can get the rebuild kit. I had ordered it on New Years Eve and I finally got it on Tuesday. I rebuilt the carb and everything looked good except the needle valve. It was different and would not work so I took another trip to the parts guy and luckily he had the one I needed at his shop. I put it together and it fired right up. I delivered it and got ready for the next job. It was fluid changes for the front and rear differentials, the transfer case and the transmission along with a filter change for the transmission on a 2003 Silverado HD. It wasn't a bad job even with the bad weather and snow melting on me. Here it is in the shop. I was worried I might have to leave the door open because it wouldn't fit in the garage but it fit, just barely. I cranked up the heater and the music and went to it.

 I drained all the fluids first while everything was warm to get as much stuff out as i could.
The rear differential has a drain plug on it which makes it nice. The drain plug has a magnet on it and this one was really clean. There wasn't even any sludge on it like there normally is. I didn't remove the cover because the magnet and fluid looked so good. If it looked bad I would of pulled the cover and checked out the gears.    One thing you should always do when dealing with anything with a drain and fill plug is to always remove the FILL plug first. It would be pretty crappy to remove the drain plug and then not be able to remove the fill plug. Makes it hard to fill it up when all the fluid is drained.
 This truck takes full synthetic fluid in the rear differential. Some limited slip differentials require an additive to be put in but this on just requires synthetic gear lube. I like Mobil 1 fluid and that's what I put in this one. Royal Purple is really good also but it's double the price. Not sure if its worth that. This rear end has plenty of room to fill up the differential using the bottles of gear lube themselves.
 The front differential has drain and fill plugs also. The magnet on the drain plug was pretty fuzzy. I flushed a little fluid through it to get it cleaner. There is no cover that can be pulled on the front like the rear so that's the only way to do it. I suspect the fluid hadn't been changed before on this differential. It surprised me because all the other fluids looked really good.
 The front takes regular gear lube but a different weight. I picked up Valvoline because it was a good price and I like Valvoline also. This isn't the funnest to fill. It looks pretty accessible but there's not enough room to lift the bottle up so it will drain into the housing. I have a Matco tool that works good. It is basically a huge syringe that you can suck up fluids and then push them out where you want them. I should of taken a picture but I didn't. It filled it up pretty quickly which is a good thing when your dealing with gear lube. Gear lube smells horrible and the smell doesn't go away when you get it on you. Ellie came out in the garage and said it was stinky. I suppose it was.
Here is my Matco suction gun that I used to get the fluids in. It works awesome.

 The transfer case was next and so I removed the plugs and let it drain out. Be very careful and use the proper torques on the transfer case plugs. The case is made out of magnesium and if you over torque the plugs they will strip.
Make sure you get the right fluid also. If you have insta trac it requires this fluid. Get it from the dealer. It's a specialised fluid that wont corrode the magnesium and will work with the push button 4 wheel drive. Always check that you get the right fluids or it may cause some expensive damage.
I also did the transmission and filter but I forgot to get pictures, It takes a little more work then just pulling the plugs and filling it. This pan has a drain plug so I drained it and then removed the pan. To remove the pan you must unbolt the shift linkage bracket on the passenger side of the trans and remove the transmission support (cross member). It only takes 6 bolts and 2 nuts to get the support off. Just make sure you support the transmission with a floor jack before you remove it all the way. Once those are out of the way you can remove the pan  This pan was very clean. There was the usual sludge buildup on the magnet but it was very minor and the inside of the pan was clean. The filter just pulls out and I decided to leave the original seal in and just replace the filter. There is some debate on this but the seal looked to be in very good condition and it just isn't worth the risk of gouging the housing if you don't need to. Sorry theres no pictures but it's pretty self explanatory. Install everything in the reverse order of taking it off and then fill up the trans through the dipstick tube with Dexron VI transmission fluid and your good to go. So that was the project for this weekend. Next weekend I will be changing the transmission fluid and the hidden filter that Honda doesn't tell you about in Dixie's Honda Odyssey along with the cabin air filter. That is if the parts show up this week. See you then.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1st project at Olson's Speed Shop done!

This week we finished up the Honda Pilot that had taken up residence in Olson's Speed Shop. We spent a couple of hours this week getting the engine all ready to put in. That entailed putting the valve covers on and mating the new transmission to the engine, then putting the whole assembly onto the subframe. We planned on getting it put in on Friday and Saturday. I had to get a couple of my teeth fixed at the dentist Friday so we got a late start on  it. Here it is ready to go into the car. We decided to put the whole assembly on the hoist legs and then jack up the car some more so we could wheel it under it with it on the lift. We then hooked up the hoist and lifted it into place.

 Here's another shot of it. We couldn't get the car high enough so we ended up pushing it in through the side but it still worked out good using the hoists legs as a dolly. It went real easy and actually fit a lot better then I thought it was going to.
This is before we jacked it up some more. It looks pretty bare with the whole front end missing out of it.
We have slid in the engine and are now hooking up the hoist to pull it up and in the car. It's at this point that the task looks very daunting. I have always found that during the installation process when your hooking everything back up again, things go so slick and seem to fit right where they belong. It works out great and usually takes less time then you think they will.
 Here is the assembly going up and into the car. I have done a few engine changes by myself without much problem but this is one where 2 people are much better then 1. The whole assembly with the engine, trans, and subframe is definitely VERY HEAVY. I was surprised by how easy all the subframe bolts went in. Everything just seemed to line up perfectly.
 The bolts are in and the hoist is now being removed. Just have to put all the bottom stuff on, remove the car off the jack stands and then install all the upper stuff. I got busy here and forgot to take any photos.
 We got it to this point and decided it was time to see if it would run and drive. We installed a used transmission so there is always a little bit of apprehension when your just not sure if it's going to work. It was Friday at about 9 PM when we fired it up and took it for a test drive. Everything worked perfectly. We decided to put the hood on and finish everything up Saturday morning because it was getting late.
 Saturday morning we buttoned everything up and cleaned the garage. I was planning on all day Saturday so it was nice to be done early. Dixie is very happy to be back in the garage. I always seem to kick her out on the coldest week of the year. Maybe the ice that is covering the van will melt off now that its in the garage.
 I was finished with enough time to help the boys with their science projects for school and then we headed up to Logan for some colder weather and so the kids could do some sledding. It was -4 degrees up there but the kids had a good time. This is just a little hill in front of my parents house. They have a park right by them with some huge sledding hills that they went to a little bit later.

All in all it was a great weekend. The carb kit I am waiting for is suppose to be here tomorrow so I can finish up the snow blower I started last year. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it comes in. Then I can finish another project and get it out of the garage. The owner will be happy about that. Maybe we will get more snow this year so he can try it out.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Honda Pilot exploded in the garage!

So this weekend was full of fun times. If you walked into my garage you would think a Honda exploded. There are literally parts in all corners of the garage. This is what we started with. It's a 2003 Honda Pilot that had a bad transmission. The weather was snowing like crazy and then it held firm at 7 degrees the rest of the time so we figured there was no better time to tackle this project. With Heaters on at full blast we went to work.
 Not very far into the project my friend saw what he thought was a piece of paper. He picked it up and it ended up being a bat. It had been dead for awhile and we figured it had been hit by the car sometime in the past. We quickly disposed of it and went back to work.
 The engine and transmission in a pilot comes out the bottom. We removed everything we needed to on the topside and then jacked up the car and moved to the bottom. The whole subframe comes out with the engine, transmission, lower a arms, and steering rack attached to it. It takes a lot of finagling to drop it all out without a hoist. It took us an engine hoist; some 4x4 pieces of wood, some jackstands and 3 floor jacks to finally get it out and off the hoists legs. We managed to get it though. This picture is just after we hooked up the hoist but before we removed the last remaining bolts of the subframe.
 So this picture turned out really fuzzy because of my crappy picture taking or my crappy camera, but we just dropped the whole assembly all the way out of the car. We then had to literally push and pull (we had to do both) the mass of metal out the passenger side wheel well after we took off the intake manifold for clearance. We are now trying to get it lifted back up so we can get the hoist back under it so it is at least moveable. This thing is amazingly heavy.
 Here's another crappy fuzzy photo but we have it lifted now and the subframe is sitting on jackstands. We then removed all the motor mount bolts and lifted the engine and transmission from off the subframe and got rid of the subframe. We then separated the transmission from the engine and put the engine on an engine stand.
 We did remove the drive plate from the back of the engine and changed the rear main seal while we were there. It looked like it was leaking a little. The timing belt had 80,000 miles on it so we changed it out also because we had such good access. Here is the new belt on ready for the covers to be installed.
You can see the subframe under the pilot and the old transmission on the ground. The bugs roof rack has even been utilized for parts storage.  
 Here is the front of the garage with Ian in the picture. This is the 2nd time he has made the blog. The first time he came over to help me put an engine in a corvette. It looks messier than it is.
So a month ago I bought this old laptop from a guy I work with so I could use it in the garage. This has been the best tool I have bought. It's great to have right on my toolbox. I save time being able to look up parts and  procedures from service manuals and I save Dixie's carpet by not tromping through the house looking stuff up on the house computer.
Honda recommends adjusting the valves on the pilot every 105,000 miles. The dealer dings you for a lot of money to do it because it's a pain to get to while it's in the car. We took advantage of the easy access and adjusted them while the engine was on the stand. It's really easy to do. I was surprised, we ended up adjusting all the intake valves and most of the exhaust valves. I guess that puts another thing on my to do list for Dixie's car. Here it is with the valve covers off just after we finished adjusting them.
That's where it's sitting after this weekend. Hopefully with the limited time we have this week we can get the engine buttoned up and get the new transmission attached to it. If we are really lucky we will have everything on the subframe ready to be installed for Friday. If we can we should be able to get it installed this weekend and it should be ready to rock and roll.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Olson's Speed Shop!

I decided a couple months ago to start a part time business out of my garage. It's taken me awhile to get geared up and going with it and I think it's finally ready to go. It is called Olson's Speed Shop. I am  focusing on automobiles primarily but I will also work on lawn mowers, snow blowers, tillers, bikes, etc....(Pretty much anything mechanical)  It will be everything from oil changes, tune ups, brakes, suspension work, and even engine and/or transmission changes. I have done quite a bit of work out of my garage already but I figured I would make it official. I plan on just doing it by word of mouth for now which has kept me fairly busy so far and if you bring something for me to work on you should plan on it showing up in this blog. Here are my hourly rates.
Ha Ha just kidding. I am actually very reasonable on prices and they will be determined by the job, not an hourly rate. If you have some work that needs to be done, just contact me and let me know. I will probably only offer full synthetic oil changes because there is no way I can compete with the big chain stores for conventional motor oil. I will be cheaper then them on full synthetic oil changes though. (synthetic is better anyways!) I already have 2 projects in the garage right now. the first one is an easy job rebuilding a carburetor on a snow blower, It should of been done already but I have been held up by parts. It seems like there is not a carb rebuild kit available anywhere for this particular snow blower until the end of next week. I was really hoping to of had it going for this last snow storm we had. It's only a 20 minute job from here but I cant get it done until I get the parts. Here it is:
 The 2nd job is a bit more involved. I am actually helping a friend out who is helping a relative. It's starting tomorrow in the garage and may take a couple weekends. It will be a good test run for the garage though. We are changing the transmission on a 2003 Honda Pilot. We are going to remove the engine and transmission together as 1 unit. While we have the engine out, we are going to change the timing belt, water pump, rear main seal, idler pulley, spark plugs, and adjust the valves. It should be an interesting project. Hopefully it will go smoothly. Here is the car all nice and warm in my garage. Hopefully it will be all dried off by the morning so we aren't laying in a puddle of water.
 Here is the transmission we are going to put in it. It came from a wrecked pilot that only had 50,000 miles on it and is guaranteed to work. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a good one. This pilot is all wheel drive so that adds some fun to the project. The engine and trans comes out from the bottom on the pilots. You remove the sub frame and then drop it out. I will blog the progress along the way.
So I guess this makes it as official, Olson's Speed Shop is open for business. If you need some work done, feel free to call me or come by the garage. I have to warn you though, my schedule is getting full already and I hadn't even announced that I was going to open for business. I have an engine change, strut change, spark plugs and cam phasers, lined up for sometime in the future and Dixie says that I need to pencil in some time to change the struts on her van. Keep checking out the blog and you'll see whats happening in Olson's Speed Shop. You never know, it may just be your stuff.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A little piece of history!

I went on the Snap On truck yesterday and found something I just couldn't leave on the truck. Dixie will say that happens way too often but I really don't buy much anymore from the truck. I do get some stuff warrantied when need it but I try not to go on very often. Snap On has become super expensive and their quality has been going down. That's a rant for another day. I am going to rant at the end of this post about something else. Ha Ha. Anyways I was on the truck and I heard someone talking about some used tools. I ended up going to the back of the truck and found this set of wrenches. I looked at them and knew they were pretty old by the finish on them and I thought they were pretty cool. There are 6 wrenches all together. They go from 11/16 up to 1 inch in size. I also was digging the homemade wrench holder they were in. Here they are:
 They are made by PLOMB and all in the USA. I did some research on them and found out that PLOMB eventually turned into PROTO. Five of my wrenches are PLOMB and one is a PROTO which makes sense. The one wrench probably got warrantied out at a later date for the proto.
 In my research I found out the dates they were made. Three were made between 1939 to 1944 and the other 3 were made from 1945 to 1948. I couldn't believe they were made during WWII. That made me even more excited about them.
 I wish these wrenches could talk. I bet they have wrenched on some awesome things in their time. I actually wish I could of talked to the original owner.  The wrenches are cool and the finish is different because of how they were manufactured during the war.
The other thing that caught my eye was the holder that was made for them. It is obviously homemade but is really well made. The wrenches fit nice and tight in it and it functions perfectly. I wonder how long ago it was made?
The sides of the wrench holder are brazed on. I think its cool as heck.
Here are the wrenches in their holder. They are easy to grab and take to where your working. I can see how they would be easy to store in your tool box until you need to grab them to go work on something.
Those are my new wrenches. I'm not sure if I will ever use them or not but I couldn't let them go. They aren't nice and smooth like my Snap On wrenches and they are very well used. I had a few guys at work tell me they are worn out and too old, some told me to see if I could turn them in for new ones under warranty. I think they are all crazy. I wouldn't turn them in for warranty. I am going to keep them for the history they have and they make a good conversation piece. Here is the kicker of it and the reason of my rant. I bought these for 10 dollars. 10 dollars!!!!! I couldn't believe it.  I asked the snap on guy who had traded them in. He told me a guy from across the airport. His Grandpa had died and gave them to him and he traded them in. I payed 10 bucks for them and so that means the snap on dealer didn't give him any more than that for his trade in. I couldn't do it. These wrenches were obviously used a lot by the owner and he most likely made the wrench holder to boot. I guess maybe I am a sentimental fool. I don't think I could ever sale the tools I have gotten from my Dad, especially for 10 bucks! Anyways I will quit ranting about that. I love my new wrenches even though when all is said and done they aren't worth a ton of money, they don't look fantastic and I may not use them much but at least I have some cool history that will remind me of those from the greatest generation. That's priceless in my book.