You can see here how the old one was damaged.
|Split just to the left of the headlight|
|The whole piece to the right of the headlight is gone and it's cracked underneath|
After replacing the grille I didn't do a lot with it for a few weeks. Then I decided to finally get after installing that winch bumper. You can see one of the brackets installed (on the driver's side) on the picture above. The tow hook was stuck on the other side. I tried cutting the bolt with a dremel but it was just taking too long. A local body shop cut the bolt for me for free :) After having the bolt cut off I got both brackets installed.
However, it seems that this bumper was made for a different front end than what my truck has. The side pieces wouldn't fit and didn't even remotely line up. I called up Louis (my buddy that helped with some other parts of this project last year) to ask his advice. Being an engineer and familiar with a welder I figured he was the right guy to ask. He was :)
I showed him what I had to work with and he looked it over for a while, then we took to the grinder.
For the side pieces, we had to cut the bumper mount off and remove a fair bit of material to get them to fit around the bumper properly. Then the brackets themselves had to be split and bent a bit to get the proper angle. We filled the split in with weld and grinded it smooth. By the end of the day I was pretty dang good with a grinder and cut off wheel.
We had to weld a tab on the bottom of the side pieces to allow them to be supported enough. As you can see the factory holes didn't line up (other than the first one) due to the bend and the adjustment we had to make in the mounting angle.
Some of the paint was damaged and there was a fair bit of freshly ground metal exposed so we primed and painted them. The paint took 5-7 hours to dry according to the can, so we waited a few days until we were both free then got back to work.
|Louis handled all the welding|
We got it all test fitted and then made some custom mounts to attach it to the bumper support, since we had cut the ones that it came with off. I bought some flat iron which we bent with a torch and sledge, then welded some supports on them, painted and installed.
|You can see the bumper support just to the left of the lower driver's side flasher|
I had noticed an odd noise coming from the passenger side wheel, so while working on some of this I pulled the wheel to check out the brakes. One of the pads was defective and had broken apart. This resulted in part of the pad cutting into the rotor and hub :(
The damage wasn't terrible but I wasn't pleased. I got a free set of pads from Advance Auto, tightened all the bolts on the rotor, and it's been fine since.
I drove the truck for a few months on and off while doing things on my car or just for fun. It's a good little truck. I began doing a projector retrofit on my car and due to a series of unfortunate circumstances it still sits in the garage in pieces waiting on some parts to arrive. Last Thursday I was driving the truck to lunch and noticed it start running oddly and the steering being stiff. I checked after I got to the restaurant and there was fluid everywhere in the engine bay. I called my mom (she was off) and let her know I was having truck problems, so she met me there. I had her crank the engine and try turning the wheels, which resulted in a large spray of power steering fluid out of the high pressure line.
|It doesn't show up well in the picture, but everything that has a pinkish/reddish tinge to it has PS fluid sprayed on it|
|This is the line that burst, you can see moisture on the left side of it.|
This is something I'd been meaning to do for a while. It was nice having that thing out of the way.
The hose finally arrived, but by the time I got back in town it was dark and I was tired. Friday I drove my dad's truck to work since he is out of town.
|Shiny new $62 hose :/|
|You can see the two power steering hard lines between the condenser and the fan|
I thought about replacing the radiator, but it was surprisingly still in good shape. The vents weren't clogged and it didn't have much damage. I installed the new hose, reinstalled the radiator, filled them both with fluids, and then tested. Surprisingly, no leaks! I was pretty stoked about this, normally any time I fiddle with fluid lines I have to chase problems with leaks afterwards. All of this sounds a lot easier than it was, getting those brackets off and all that jazz eventually took me all weekend, plus I was slowed by some family problems that came up. I got the truck running Sunday evening around 7pm. It was immediately thrown to the fire when I went to work Monday and had about 100 miles to drive. Old girl made it just fine and is still leak free. Steering works better than it ever has, so I suspect it may have been low on fluid for a while.
So that's how it sits now. I still haven't been able to install my map lights or new lighted visors, but that will come eventually. My primary concern right now is going to be getting my car driveable again...