Just got back from "the proving run" which is about a 25 mile lap I take from our house up into New Hampshire and back. The reason for tonight's proving run was today's replacement of the radiator and last week's brake job.
The brake job was required because of a failed caliper. Actually the caliper locked up last fall (disengaged fortunately) and since it was a rear I made a note to fix in the spring and ignored it. Interestingly a couple weeks ago the bugger started working again. This was a problem only because of the amount of noise it made grinding the rust off the rotor.
Rear disc brakes are pretty easy to replace, especially when you go all the way, rotors, calipers, pads and hoses. Other than the parking shoes theres nothing else to do back there. The first one took me awhile as I had to remember how to get the hoses off the car and to loosen the parking brake adjuster but after that it was a snap. Except I couldn't get the air bled out. Angie came home and I put a pint of fluid in the master cylinder and on the rear right didn't get anything out...
On the advice of one of the guys on the OkieBenz list I bought a pump oil can and another pint of fluid and tried pushing fluid up from the bottom. I again used a pint of fluid to no avail. Tail between my legs I went back to the parts store (Car Quest in town, great shop!) and ordered a master cylinder figuring it was hosed.
I brought the issue up again on the OkieBenz list and was told I still had air in the system, Fred, who is about the greatest guy in the world, offered the use of his Speedy Bleeder which I accepted and picked up Sunday. Sunday afternoon I gave it a shot and 5 minutes later the brakes were done.
Seriously, I'd dinked around for 2 hours and the Speedy Bleeder got it done in 5 minutes. A bunch of that time was just spent figuring out how to use the thing. Fred's is great because it connects to your tire and the air pressure forces brake fluid through the master cylinder to wherever you've opened a bleed valve. I'm going to use it again this weekend to flush the system on the Ranger. Who knows how long that stuff has been in there?
Today's job was to replace the leaking radiator. I'd had this done once in the past but its clearly leaking again. Fortunately its not a big job, unfortunately it POURED rain the whole time. When it first started raining I put up our EZ Up tent which was better than nothing, better still would be a big garage I can work inside of. Anyway I got that replacement done with relatively little fuss other than messing up the transmission cooler lines. The guys on PeachParts helped with that, I was just having trouble figuring where the lines were supposed to go is all.
After doing the radiator I finally took some advice I'd gotten to fill the cooling system through the upper radiator hose. I'd tried it once and couldn't remember why I didn't like doing it that way. Today I discovered the trick is to be patient. The hose fills up and you need to wait a sec while it runs into the engine. You keep filling until coolant runs out the upper hose fitting on the radiator at which point you connect said hose, add a bit more to the expansion tank (on cars that have such things) and you're done. This is a big improvement on the old fill and burp and wait and fill and burp and wait method...