Sick Kid and Truck


Sort of a random week. We were hustling to leave Corpus by Thursday. Our new awning came in and was installed on Monday, but they ran into problems, so we had to bring it back out again on Tuesday. Not a big deal, but a bit of a pain in the butt when you have to load up your home and haul it 20 miles so it can get worked on two days in a row. Then go find something to do all day without your home.

Over the weekend the gas tank began to leak. I was bummed, until I figured out that the leak was coming from directly behind the tank strap. I loosened it up, cleaned it up a bit, got some rubber tape suitable for contact with gasoline, stuck some behind the strap, tightened it back up, and problem was solved. Not another drip. I was quite pleased with that one.

The next day the clutch began to whine and grind. Crap. I brought it to the guys who had helped me out with the slipping clutch a couple weeks ago and they said they’d drop the transmission and replace the clutch by Friday. So, I brought it in Wednesday morning resigned to the fact that we wouldn’t be in Mexico by the weekend. As they tore it down they found that the clutch looked good, but the throw-out bearing was shot. The clutch would have had to be ordered, but they had a throw-out bearing right there. I told them to toss it in and zip it all back up. A full day’s work, but I was back on the road with the weekend still in sight. Normally, you just replace everything in there when you go to the trouble of dropping a transmission, but we had grown tired of Corpus Christi, and have plans coming up in Mazatlan very soon. Sometimes you just have to slap it together and go.

So, in two weeks here, we fixed the slipping clutch, replaced the brake master cylinder, fixed a leaky gas tank, replaced the clutch throw-out bearing, and got an awning installed. It’s been a busy couple of weeks as far as the truck and Airstream go.

Just some random pictures:

I love this fuse box. They should all be so easy to access.

One of these days I’m going to switch the wiper and the throttle switches around. The wipers are kind of a pain to reach when you’re driving, and the throttle rarely gets used.

Cleaning off the salt and mud.

Bathroom heat, in case you’re planning a nice bath when it is 20 degrees outside.

Someone asked the other day where all our stuff, like toothbrushes, are at. There you have it.

Ouest was telling us that her stomach hurt all morning. As a parent the only thing that comes to mind when you hear that is, “Did you go poop yet?”

A while later, Ali was off running errands and Ouest was inside just taking it easy. Lowe and I were outside playing when Ouest came to the door with tears in her eyes and said her stomach was still hurting. I looked over at her and she suddenly turned her head back inside the house and vomited everywhere. In a split second I had her out the door, but the damage was done. Well, no damage, but the mess had definitely been done. And here’s me, with no Ali around. I grabbed for the paper towels. There was one left. Ali was at Target buying more. Uggh.

Oh, what about Ouest? She was fine after that. Took it easy the rest of the day, and by the next morning was running 100%. Kids, man.

Lowe spent the day without his sidekick. He built a fence using wrenches, screwdrivers, and string. And checked it all with a level. After enduring months of the kids constantly digging through my tool bag, I finally got smart and dropped the money to buy them their own. Ali wasn’t thrilled with me getting them a wire cutter. I judged them to be old enough and wise enough. I may end up regretting that one.

And that’s it. Though, I should point out that I’m writing this in Saltillo, Mexico.


37 Comments on “Sick Kid and Truck”

  1. Saltillo is one of our favorite places in Mexico – as we have many friendly relatives there.

  2. “Gas tank leak”? If I am reading your description correctly your tank is likely rusting from the inside out, & will continue to
    do that. “Been there, done that” on several older Detroit Iron vehicles. “Rust never rests”. I see a new gas tank in your future.

    Best of luck finding one in Mexico. enjoy your site, Paul T

    1. And what happens to the rust in the tank? Maybe it gets sucked up in the flow to the engine, clogs the fuel filter and the engine shuts down at the most inappropriate time.

      1. I had tanks rust through on a 55 Willys pickup & 66 & 69 Ford passenger cars. I can’t recall having any filter problems
        although I used to change them often. No doubt there is loose rust hanging around inside the tank, just waiting to be sucked up. Unless the vehicle is stored inside it probably won’t blow up, just eat away any asphalt it is leaking on.

        The Willys actually had a drain plug in the bottom of the tank, perhaps to be able to drain the water out?

        Many years ago we used to use this stuff on motorcycle tanks:

        IIRC, it worked. However I think you would have to remove the tank to get all the gas out. So, once the tank is out,
        a new one, if you can find one, would likely be better.

        Paul T

        Paul T

      2. Maybe the rust gets sucked up, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe the world ends today, maybe it doesn’t. Somehow it all ends up all right in the end. This is a fifty year old truck bought by us to be used and abused, not to be restored to factory condition.

    2. Yes, I’m sure it is. And yes, I’m sure in a few weeks, a few months, or a few years, a new tank will be needed. But right now, it’s not leaking, and we’re traveling. And conveniently, this truck has two tanks.

  3. So guys, if you have one, what is your ultimate goal for this time in Mexico? Are you going to go somewhere new, head for a coastal/beach town, or something else?

  4. Some days are like that on the road. You just have to roll with it – as you all seem to do with penache.

    Steady on!

  5. I love how Ouest stuck her head out of the camper but then went back in to throw up (instead of running outside)…ha 😉 Glad she is feeling better!

    1. Seriously, she was standing right there looking outside! You don’t turn your head back inside. Maybe you don’t learn these lessons until college.

      1. A lot of life’s lessons are learned in college… lessons that have nothing to do with books. 🙂

        I’m glad you and your family are back in Mexico safe and warm. Keep us updated and have a fun time.

        About the gas tank issue, keep an eye out for a suitable replacement you can use because these rust issue will cause problems later on. But for now your problem is solved and the wheels of life roll on…

      2. I think you don’t learn these lessons until you have to clean it up yourself so college sounds about right! I’m sure every one of us has tried to catch our kid’s barf in our hands rather than have to clean it off the sofa or carpet. Too much fun, lol.

  6. I gotta agree with Paul T above. The gas tank issue isn’t going away with a patch. If the tank and strap are different metals, you know what can happen. Personally, I would era change the tank in Texas than loose it in Mexico. Good Luck.

    1. I don’t think you can simply go and buy an odd-sized 50 year-old International gas tank. Maybe you can, but I’ll take my chances and let this one go until it gives up.

      1. Could be hard to find, perhaps restoration shops might be a source? Or, you could probably have a tank or radiator
        shop fabricate one. As long as the vehicle isn’t stored inside about the only downside is some lost fuel & melted asphalt. No way to know the condition of the other tank, but if one rusted through, the other one may not be far behind it.

        I guess stuff like that just goes with the territory of driving old iron. We bought our 55 Willys pickup new & drove it for over 30 years before selling it. Did a lot of 4 wheeling in it, one tough truck.

  7. Glad to hear you guys are heading down to Mazatlan. Carnaval is just a couple weeks away. I was here last year too, like you guys. I’m living in Mazatlan now.

    1. We know! We’ve been watching the calendar for weeks trying to make it. We’ll be there. Stop by and see us sometime at Mar Rosa RV Park on the beach.

  8. Ha — I was the person who asked about your toothbrushes! Glad to see you’re all human, after all. Just better at hiding things away than most of us. 🙂 Glad you made it back to Mexico, and I look forward to hearing your adventures there going forward!

  9. Pat. Dont sweat the hole in the tank, I went 5 yrs on my old ’65 Ford van with a big self tapper type screw bunged in the tank for an on the road emergency fix. If it works run with it till it breaks then fix it again. After all, what would you do if you didn’t have anything to fix?

    1. We took a little different approach with our 55 Willys pickup, being cheap, we put a large fiberglass patch on the outside of the tank. It held, for a while. Not wanting to blow up the house, with us in it, we put in a new tank. A lot depends on the shape of the tank, it may be paper thin in other areas. As Dirty Harry said: “Do you feel lucky?”

  10. After raising 4 kids, having grand kids, and being a teacher for the past 40+ years, when a kid says their stomach hurts I get them a plastic garbage can or large bowl (I keep an old large plastic bowl we call the barf bowl) and a towel and wait for the inevitable 🙂 It sounds like you are happy to be back in Mexico. Have fun and adventure on!

    1. Thanks, Rykie. We think you may be going a bit too far with your praise, but we’ll take it anyway. 🙂 Only advice, take a lot of pictures. Like anything that you practice a lot, you’ll get better. I’ve never taken any courses, but I can’t see how it could hurt any.

  11. I did the same thing with my 74 Scout II. Temporary self tapping screw to stop a leak that was still there years later when i sold it.

  12. Your gas tank is rusting from the outside. You said the leak was under one of the straps. That is common for older vehicles. Moisture and gunk get trapped between the tank and strap and start the rusting action. I doubt anyone makes replacement tanks for this vehicle (but you never know for sure). I’m guessing you could find someone in your Mexican travels that could fix this one. It will involve taking it off, cleaning all the gas and fumes out of it and welding in a patch. Fels Naptha Soap also works as a gas tank sealer. Buy a bar and rub it on over the leak.

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