About 3 weeks ago my brother stopped by and asked if I would be available the following Saturday. When Sam asks a question of this nature it usually means there is some Roadkill style stuff going on. Turns out he’d gone and bought an F600 dump truck, after a brief viewing in the dark, for something like $200 while he was out and about with some friends. The owner claimed it ran and drove fine not that long ago, and all I’d need to do is drive Sams truck back. Not a bad deal all things considered. So how did it go? Read on, or for those of you that prefer your media to be in video form:
On the way up I learned some details, the dump truck is a flat back 1962 Ford F600. The engine is a small V8, likely a 292CI Y-Block with a 4 speed manual and 2 speed rear end. The owner had rebuilt the carb a year or so ago and said it ran and drove fine at that point. Naturally that meant we figured we could just fire it up and drive it on home. Here’s what we saw when we arrived, about an hour North of Sams land. It had started to rain, and you know what they say about buying cars in the rain (or the dark for that matter).
First order of business: figure out how to pop the hood and throw in a battery Sam had brought along. We arrived just before 12 and were greeted by a cloud of hungry mosquitoes. Exactly the way any “old start cold start” operation should begin.
After figuring out how to get the hood open and tossing the battery in, Sam turned it over a few times. There’s always the possibility that it will fire right up, however small, but this time we didn’t get that lucky. We poured some gas in the tank and a bit in the carburetor and tried again. We succeeded in getting the F600 to fire up and run, but only as long as we had fuel in the carb. Time to make some modifications!
The first thing Sam did was add an inline fuel filter to the tank behind the bench seat, it turns out the line hadn’t actually been connected to the tank. This allowed us to see if we were getting any fuel in the filter going forward which can help rule out a bad fuel pump. It never hurts to have some form of filtering for the fuel either. More fuel in the carb and a few more rounds of firing it up and having it run dry led us to doubt the fuel pump. We were getting some fuel in the filter, but not as much as we guessed we should be getting.
We pulled the fuel line directly off the pump leading to the carb and again fired the F600 up. I could feel the pump working but we still didn’t have any fuel. Until we did. Let me tell you, it may not sound like much but a few PSI behind fuel can have it flying far enough to reach the raised hood! We had confirmed the pump was good, but we also found that it was leaking when we re-attached the hose. We considered flat towing, but I didn’t feel like pulling the thing for 2 hours back and Sam wasn’t super keen on the idea either.
In the end, we ran to the nearest Weavers and picked up what’s referred to as a “click clack” fuel pump. I found out it’s called that because of the sound it made as soon as we hooked it up.
We’d also managed to lose the plug that goes in the side of the carburetor float bowl, so we plugged that with a vacuum cap stuck in backwards. The F600 fired right up! Operating the pump was a bit sketchy though, we just ran the power to the battery and the ground wire through the fire wall and to the steering column where Sam could easily ground it or kill the pump if it started to flood. Imagine working the pump while you’re trying to work your way through the 4 speed.
Even better, the thing moved under it’s own power. Braking was a bit sketchy but that’s what those aforementioned gears are for. We got the F600 moved to the end of the driveway, managing to smoke out all the mosquitoes along the way. Sam checked the exhaust and PTO shaft, the later was making a heck of a noise. The bracket for the PTO had rotted off the underside and was making it’s own kind of music, but things seemed to be holding together otherwise so we hit the road. We didn’t make it far.
I think we made it maybe 5 very, very slow miles down the road before Sam pulled over. The PTO was still engaged and thus the tires weren’t getting as much power as they should. It’s also just generally not suggested to drive around with the PTO running. Sam thought maybe there was a lever that wasn’t hooked up so he busted out the tool kit and crawled underneath to see what we’d have to break to get the F600 home. He found the issue almost immediately, it was just a lever that hadn’t been fully disengaged. The F600 was much happier on the road after that.
The drive back took a while, Sam kept the truck under 50 and I can’t say I blame him. Shortly before we got back I started to smell rubber and a hint of coolant. Sam didn’t seem concerned and there is no way he’d be able to hear me if I called him, I briefly considered flashing the high/low until it caught his eye but since we were close I wasn’t too worried. We found the source of the smells immediately after arriving back.
We got lucky, Sam had noticed the smell and wasn’t too bothered since we were close to his place and other than waiting for it to cool down there wasn’t a whole lot we’d be able to do. The fan belt decided it was done with it’s job and as a result the water pump was no longer running. Things got warm, coolant made it’s best escape attempt, that sort of thing. In the end though, we got the F600 home with about $350 total invested in fuel and parts.
The plan now is to replace the very worn tires and then built a box for the back to make it a dump truck capable of doing some stuff hauling. I’d say Sam didn’t do too bad on this one! As for me, I’ve broken the Mercedes, kind of fixed it and I now have some fine tuning to do with the timing. That or the optical ignition really will be getting replaced in the near future. The Laser has stopped leaking brake fluid and has clutch fluid now. I’ve bled the clutch but not the brakes, though the clutch cables might need some adjusting and the pedal has a good inch of travel before engagement. I should probably look in to that. I’ve also fixed one boost leak and will be hunting for others when I get a chance. You’ll see all of this covered in other posts, until next time!