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46 Power Wagon Restoration pt. 2

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  • A couple of months ago the wife wanted to go look at a used dining room set for sale, so we hopped in the PW and started off. I typically don't like driving it on the interstate as 60 is about where it's happy and around here that's usually slow for interstate traffic, but there was no other good way out where we were going, so just got up to speed on the on-ramp when I heard a bang and a vibration started. Heart sinking and mind racing with all the bad things that could be we pulled off the road quickly, a quick look didn't show anything exploded or not where it should be, so I creeped it forward on the shoulder to a wider spot I was a little safer to take a closer look, it moved but vibrated badly when coasting. A closer inspection showed I lost a U-joint cap on the transfer case end of the rear driveshaft. Not sure how the c-clip broke or came loose but it was gone. I limped it off the highway, but like an idiot didn't have any spares in the truck so a quick lift back to the house for a spare I swapped in a new cap and got it home. All the others look fine, and I'll keep a closer eye on them in the future, but I'm chalking it up to a fluke.

    Last weekend she had a co-worker getting rid of some furniture that she was interested in re-purposing, I had taken the truck to work earlier in the week and noticed it seemed to be idling a little rough at times on the way home, so I went out before we were to go pick up the furniture to check over the truck (including those caps), I had installed a fuel pressure gauge on the side of the filter housing after the winter fueling issues, so I hit the fuel pump primer and nothing, no pressure. We picked up the furniture with a rented box truck, which worked out better as it would have been multiple trips in the PW, but that still left it dead in my driveway. Between the winter fueling issues and my troubleshooting I was leaning toward the fuel pump as it moved fuel but seemed weak, so a new pump was procured and installed. The inlet screen of the old one had quite a bit of what looked like some sealer from the tank in it, which may have been the problem, but I went ahead and installed the new one anyway, twice. I was putting tools away when I noticed the pump gasket laying on the ground under the truck, I was not pleased.

    While fuel flow was definitely better, I still had no pressure, which pointed toward the regulator on the return line, which strangely enough is not readily available from the normal parts places even though it seems to be a common p-pump problem. Luckily Amazon to the rescue, had a new style one two days later (on a Sunday) and all is good again. On the downside the real problem was the $27 regulator not the $127 pump, but I was suspect of the pump anyway.

    I also managed to open up the driver's door and fix the sticking lock issue, but now the inside door handle sticks, so that was a bit of a wash, but the weather here has gone full on summer and bigger home projects beckon so it will probably wait for a cooler, quieter time, but I did at least give it a chance to give it a bath so it looks pretty again!

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    • Seen where you lost a u-joint cap. Just wondered if other 4BT repowered trucks were using the same u-joint and yoke. In my struggles getting my PTO driveshaft mated to a Chelsea 352 PTO and after the 2nd u-joint purchase the clips didn't have enough clearance to fit. I put a tack weld in place of the clip. I didn't realize a lot of 4 Wheelers and Rock Climbers tack weld the caps in place to prevent the clips from coming out. Not saying I recommend this for you but wonder if the additional torque is what popped out the clip. Just wonder if Charles Talbert or Paul in NY have an opinion on this or exactly what their set up was. Appreciate your article and in depth coverage of the rebuild process. Alan

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      • Desoto61
        Desoto61 commented
        Editing a comment
        I think part of it may be installer error. I think I put the C-clip in with the gap facing forward. My thinking being that it would be captured by the U-joint, but not sure there's really a landing space for it there, so it could have easily created a stress point in the clip which the torque and speed of the driveshaft spinning eventually managed to flex the clip such that it snapped as they're not very flexible. The clip pieces can then be rattled/spun out of their groove and you end up with a cap missing.

        The rest of the clips are there and look fine so far. I really don't think the extra power has much to do with it as honestly while the small Detroit joints aren't very wide, they are very thick compared to the Spicer joints commonly used, so they should be plenty strong, and in the end the 4BT doesn't drastically more power than the factory motor, and typically less than most of the V8 conversions out there, and as this is the rear axle it's essentially all factory, so while some may be using a different transfer case end if they used a different T-case, anyone using the stock axles is probably using the same joints at the axle end.

        That PTO connection is one of my next tasks.
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