My Truck and Diane’s DVR

The new turn signal switch for my truck arrived a couple of days ago and I was really looking forward to getting it installed. Mainly that’s because it meant I wouldn’t have to use the old hand signals for turning, something no one in this area remembers which makes it hazardous to drive without the blinky kind.

Yesterday I was all poised to get it done. I got up at a reasonable time, got some tools I felt would be essential for the task, bundled up, and headed across the street to get it done. Little did I know what an exciting experience I was in for.

First, I had to get the steering wheel off. That proved to be really easy because it’s only held in place by a large nut, friction, and a 1/4 inch screw. It the screw is removed, and the nut isn’t snugged down, the steering wheel just spins on the column, making it relatively useless. I discovered this once while driving down the road. Needless to say, it was exciting.

Once the steering wheel was off I could see the old switch, but the fixture, to which the steering wheel was attached, is fluted, and pressed into place. So, I still need a steering wheel puller for that. I actually had one, too, but the bolts were all too large, and mine only had two bolt slots and the one I needed to remove had three.

Off to ACE I go to get one. They had one for $34 but I thought that was a little steep, so I went to NAPA. They had exactly what I needed for $13, or so. With the military discount it moved into the $11 range. Much better. Still, the bolts weren’t small enough to fit the fixture.

This proved to me the value of keeping every nut and bolt I’ve ever touched because I was able to find what I needed in an Avon box lid, tucked away in one of the cubby holes in my shop which, you may remember, is in total turmoil since I deconstructed half of the work bench. Still, I found what I needed, and the bolts worked just great.

After the mount was removed, I removed the three screws that held the old turn signal switch in place, and set about removing it. But, it didn’t seem to want to budge much. That’s because the wiring harness for the switch goes through a tiny little hold  of the cowling that covers the gear shift lever,  then under a nifty little cover on the bottom of the steering column, through another tiny little hold between the steering wheel column bracket, then up behind the dash gauges where it connects with the wiring harness. Seemed simple enough, so I started taking screws out of what I considered to be the parts that needed to be moved in order to allow me to pull the old one out and put the new one in.

Since I already had the screws out of the dash-board array, I decided to remove it so I could access the windshield wiper motor that doesn’t work. That took more work than I really wanted to expend, but it had to be done so I can, at some point in time, drive the truck in the dark, when it’s raining. If I have to.

Back to the turn signal switch, I had to pretty much disassemble the upper part of the steering wheel area to remove the switch and extract the wire.

Then I took out the wiper motor and took it to a newly charged battery to see if it worked.

It didn’t, so I tore it apart and discovered that the back bearing was frozen. It’s a sleeve bearing, and I may be able to free it up. We’ll see about that.

Behind the instrument cluster is an amazing array of wires that seem to be randomly connected to each other and various parts that reside in that area. For this reason, I had disconnected the battery to ensure I didn’t suffer from the surprisingly painful buzz caused by a 12V circuit.

Now, here I am, contemplating my next step. I knew I wouldn’t be able to work on it today because Comcast techs were paying me a visit this afternoon to resolve a DVR issue we’re having. Diane had an appointment with her eye doctor in Portland which lasted all afternoon, and beyond. It’s currently 1819 and she’s still not home. She stopped to visit her Mom before coming home.

So, dismantling the truck parts, then leaving them alone for an entire day, creates a very challenging situation for me because I just put all the parts I removed into a box, went a day without looking at it, and won’t be able to do anything on it tomorrow because I have to play golf, so Saturday I’ll have to remember where everything goes. That is, of course, if I can resurrect the wiper motor, which seems unlikely. If I have to buy a replacement, it will be more days I’ll have to forget how I took it all apart. Still, I’m confident I can do it.

Here’s how I left it yesterday …

DSC_8377You can see that the new turn signal switch is hanging around the steering column in the approximately position it will ultimately reside. Other than that, it’s turmoil. The instrument cluster is dangling from the wires attached to the tach, which doesn’t work, although the wires are connected properly to the distributor.

Oh, and I had to remove the cowl cover to access the bolt holding the wiper actuator arms to the motor. That, and I dropped one of my prized wrenched in there and couldn’t get it out. It had to be done.

DSC_8387Pulling the motor out, of course, left a large hole into the dash area that would be perfect for allowing water into the cab had I not thought outside the box a bit and stuffed a yellow cap from a large bottle of 7-Up. It fit perfectly.

The Comcast techs showed up right on time and spent almost 3 hours with me, troubleshooting the entire system. We got a new X1 DVR, which was known to be bad, but the other big problem was a bad amplifier in the attic. Since I had a lot of free time, waiting for Diane, I went through the guide, selecting TV shows at random, setting the DVR to record the entire series. I think I got most of the ones Diane likes, but I know I missed a lot of them because I can’t ever remember which channel is HGTV. There’s the “Property Brothers”, “Bathroom Magic”, “Hell in Hawaii”, “Flip That Abode”, and “House People Don’t Really Live In”.

Yes, I made some of those up, but not all.

Now I must stop because, although the dogs haven’t yet barked, I sense Diane will be here shortly and I don’t want to be caught red-handed.


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