Why is it always me?
Something as simple as swapping out a starter in an 83 Chevy product with a V-6 just turned into a shit show.
First off, I must have had to drag out fifteen different sockets/extensions and two Flex Head ratchets to do the job because shortly after crawling under the fucker I discovered every single bolt I encountered on that bastard was metric.
On an 83!
I couldn’t fucking believe it.
Had to pull down the cover under the torque converter to get a socket on the mounting bolts and very quickly also discovered that the drivers side exhaust pipe snakes in back behind the oil pan to meet up with the other side and is right in the way.
Of course the two metal cooler lines for the transmission are under the starter too.
After getting the two mounting bolts out the real fun started. Trying to get up on top of the starter to get the wires off.
That took a while and I had one hand snuck up in between that exhaust pipe and the starter and the other looped over the frame behind the upper control arm basically doing it by Braille.
I finally got the greasy damn thing out and set it on my little portable work bench I put the metal top on Friday.
I found out what it’s major malfunction was when I tried wiping off a half inch of greasy crud.
The two bolts that go through the electric motor were loose and the whole motor housing was flopping around.
I grabbed the box with the new one in it, opened it up and bigger than shit it wasn’t the same.
This one looked like it came out of some piece of industrial equipment or something.
It was way bigger around and a bit longer too where the bearing cap on the end plate stuck out for the armature shaft.
It was … fairly close and it being a Chevy I figure it should fit.
Oh Hell No.
I fought that heavy bastard for about five minutes but that extra length was a little too much and I couldn’t get it up past that exhaust pipe.
Back to the fucking parts house again.
The kid looked it up again and said that’s the one it called for. I told him it wouldn’t be the first time his fucking computer was wrong.
Here’s the deal with this damn Caballero.
Apparently they had three engines you could get in those that year.
Two V-6’s or a 307 V-8.
The V-6’s were both 3.8 liter engines but the similarities stop there. One was a 229 CID engine with the distributor mounted in the back, which is what I have, or a 331 CID engine with the distributor mounted in the front. Everything between them was different. The heads, the manifolds, even the valve covers and water pump. Starters too apparently.
Why in the hell they did that is beyond my ability to comprehend stone cold stupidity.
Of course they didn’t have the other one in stock and of course I am talking to a very young man. This is why I go to this particular parts house exclusively though, he didn’t just give me a blank look and tell me he could order one.
He cleaned the crud off the old one looking for any numbers but no luck. Not a single number or letter stamped into that damn thing anywhere. All the identifying info had been on a sticker that faded out years ago.
Then he gets on the computer again. Then he grabs the old one, goes in the back and a few minutes later we have a contender.
Same year, same model, 307 V-8 engine.
Since I bought the first one without a core, I even walked out with some money in my pocket.
Then I get home and try to put the thing in. What a clusterfuck.
It took me well over an hour to get that fucker back in there and finished up, laying under the thing in the driveway.
Every time I would set a socket down it would take off rolling down hill until I went and grabbed a tin drip tray and threw under it to catch them.
I will tell you one thing right now, you will get my Snap On swivel sockets when you pry them out of my cold, dead, busted up, arthritic fucking fingers and not a minute sooner.
The amount of money I paid for those thirty years ago would make your eyes water today but they are worth their weight in Gold to me.
I did get lucky in that even though the new starter came with a couple of shims and an Allen wrench, I wound up not having to dick with that at least.
It was that damn exhaust pipe that kept giving me all the grief.
I did take the time when I was finished finally and saw that it actually worked to call up there and thank the kid and to let him know it worked. I figure letting him know I appreciated the extra effort was the right thing to do.
So that took most of the afternoon yesterday. I didn’t bother taking any pictures, everyone that comes here must know what a joy putting starters in is by now.
So one down.
Now I get to do the Bronco….
Stay tuned for that one.
You gotta know it’s going to be just as much fun because it’s a four wheel drive and it’s a FORD.