Part 19: Thor Maintenance Actions in La Junta, CO


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The Trip

There were a host of maintenance actions pending on Thor.  In general, the truck has been quite reliable, but it is a 1988 model.  While it has not had many miles (indeed the odometer was 30,000 km when I bought it in 2010 and only 81K now) what happens with older trucks is that everything rubber has issues.  Rubber in this case means tires, hoses, belts and seals.  The tires are new, installed just before this trip.  Belts were recently replaced.  But, seals are an issue.  We had previously experienced some issues with the clutch in 2011 and 2012.  Rebuild kits were installed in the master cylinder.  But, the issues went away and then came back.  So, in anticipation of this maintenance cycle, I purchased replacements for master cylinder, slave cylinder and flex hose.  Additionally, I purchased a rebuild kit for the brake master cylinder and replacements for each of the wheel cylinders as well as new flex lines for the front and rear.  Generally stated, all the critical rubber parts were going to be replaced irrespective of whether they were CURRENTLY producing issues.  In addition, all of the "normal" maintenance actions like oil change, fuel filter change, gear oil changes and adjustments were planned.  Finally, our air conditioning compressor had failed shortly after it was installed in 2012 so it was to be addressed as well.

All of these actions were to be performed at Rob Pickering's shop in La Junta, CO.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

When I arrived at Rob's on Sunday, I shot photos of some of the trucks that he had for sale on his lot.  This is a very-clean 1550 DOKA.

This 2450 DOKA came with us to the Grand Staircase.

This is another 2450L, but a single cab.  This would make an outstanding camper platform.

This is a U400.

Another DOKA.

A very late model U500.

Yet another 2450L but this one is configured as a fire truck with a dozer blade on front.

A snowplow configured 1450.

A 406 with snow plow.

Rob also sells used Hagglund all-terrain vehicles.

I am not sure of the model number of this unit.

On Monday, we started on the maintenance actions.  First up was the clutch flex line.  Rob and Edwin attack the line and it was, of course, in a hard to reach area.

The slave cylinder for the clutch was removed.

We opened the clutch slave cylinder and found rust pits inside.  The pits would account for the symptoms that I have been observing.  This component was replaced in full.

The RPM limiter on the motor was relaxed to 2950 RPM.  The fuel filter was changed during the process.

The valve cover was removed and the clearances on each of the valves was checked and adjusted.  A number were out of specification which would have resulted in the hard, smoky starts.

One of our cargo baskets was removed to provide access to the battery compartment and the brake master cylinder.

A big chunk of the service was performed on Rob's heavy-duty lift.  Note the dual jacks built into the lift.  The rear tires were removed to allow access to the brake drums and wheel cylinders.

None of the wheel cylinders were leaking, but they would be replaced anyway.  The shoes are ok as are the drums.

During lunch break, we inspected Rob's Lamborghini Diablo.

A fast V12 motor.

Dirty inside but that is because there is still body work underway.

Back to the grind.  A new wheel cylinder before installation.

The brake master cylinder is hiding under those reservoirs.  The wire looms above are for the camper, tire crane, tire winch and other necessities of life.

The rear wheels were completed and they moved on to the front axle.

The master cylinder out on the bench for an inspection and rebuild.

Generally, the innards looked ok.  And that was good because the rebuild kit I had was the wrong size.  Close, but no cigars.

We were able to assemble enough components for a master cylinder rebuild from my unit and those from another 1017A that had recently been serviced by Rob.

The air-boosted actuator rod for the brake is the large pin on the left.

While we were looking around Rob found 2 mounting bolts for my propane rack that were sheared off.  The nuts were gone, but the bolts remained.  These were replaced with Grade-8 bolts with nylatch nuts.

The truck was raised on the lift to allow access for fluid changes and adjustments to the engine timing advance.

The air conditioning compressor was removed and inspected.  The magnetic clutch bearings had seized and roasted the clutch.

The compressor was LIKELY undamaged, but there was no way to tell.  In the end, we decided to replace the whole unit.

The clutch bearings were toast.  Rob surmised that when the unit was ordered as a 24V unit, that a 12V compressor was included, thus causing the early failure.

The compressor was ordered with a rush delivery.  Hopefully, tomorrow the item will arrive and we can get it installed.

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