Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Travelog Day 6; Shade Tree Mechanic

Bright and early, I headed to the auto parts store to get my new injectors.
Turns out NAPA is next door to the Ford dealership where Bilbo Baggins works.
I parked in the meager shade of a skimpy acasia tree in a vacant parking lot just outside the Ford dealer's back gate.

In truth, this was to be withing walking distance of NAPA in case I needed a tool or additional parts.

It was an added bonus to let the Ford mechanics watch as I installed MY OWN injectors.

After watching my hobbitlike mechanic take two hours to remove one fuel line, and nearly break my air cleaner housing in the process, there wasn't a chance in hell I'd trust them with my injectors. (Or pay $75/hr labor to someone working slower and sloppier than me)

By 9 AM, I got out my tools, opened my trusty Haynes manual, and got to work.

First I used duct tape to label all eight fuel lines with the cylinder number. Then I set about removing them.
I loosened the connections to the injectors, then had to remove the lines from the injector pump, which is an octopus lookin' thing mounted to the front of the engine block.

Now I understand why people say vans are hard to work on. Most of the time I was sitting on my center console with my legs spread to either side of the engine compartment. This position is really only comfortable for about an hour.

Why didn't I keep up with doing yoga????

In the same amount of time it took Bilbo to remove one fuel line, I had them all out.
The next step was to remove the fuel return lines, but that was easy, they just wiggle-pulled off.
Then the injectors were unscrewed out of the block, and the new ones installed. Seating new O rings on the new injectors was probably the trickiest part of this whole operation.

I got them in and torqued down, then reinstalled the fuel supply and return lines.

There was a moment of panic when I couldn't find all eight of the little rubber caps covering the tips of the new injectors. If I installed an injector without taking the cap off I was gonna be REALLY pissed.

But I found it in a crack under the seat.

I was going to change my fuel filter at this time, but my hands were shaking and I was getting angry at the filter wrench.
About this time I realized it was 5PM and I hadn't eaten anything all day. No wonder I was exhausted.

The van took forever to crank since I'd drained the fuel lines and it had vapor lock.

Rrrr, Rrrrr, Rrrrr.....
My starting batteries were dying.
Rrrrr, Rrrr, Rrrrr.....
I jumped them off my house batteries.
Rrrrr, Rrrrrr, Rrrrrr....COUGH!

"Come on baby, you can do it!"

Rrrrr...Cough, choke


I was at the end of my rope. Too exhausted to put the engine cover back on, I tossed it in the passenger seat and drove back to my shady parking spot.

Noting I had a couple fuel leaks, I collapsed into bed and slept through the night.

In the morning I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I was sore EVERYWHERE.
I tightened the leaking fittings, replaced the engine cover and took the Beast for a spin around town.

The noise was gone.

I fixed it.

It kicked my ass, but I changed my own injectors in about 8 hours.

I fueled up and hit the road, glad to be on my way once again.


  1. Ya know, you could make this into a nice little book! You write well enough to make it a very good one. Just my opinion!

    You ought to think about it...seriously!

  2. I have begun to hate fords of any type and variety...
    I fervently pray they go out of business...wait, ford has a better idea...You need a special tool to change the fan. Not to mention the pulleys...They need shimmed...they don't need shimmed....Wonder why Bilbo was so smart? Well, intelligent folks don't work for what the dealer pays.... The death knell of America, Hecho Un Mehico...
    But really, I'm glad you were able to fix yer vehicle so easily. My current head ache makes me want to have my dangely bits chewed on by piranhas instead of work on it anymore....

  3. Yup, yer body aches, yer busted knuckles blees, ya got perma-crud in yer fingerprints, and any little crack or line in your skin, but yer smilin' inside a mile wide, 'cuz you did it yerself.... I know you are..... I do!