The Ramp Truck Journey: Day 2

Update by Tim Suddard to the Ford F-350 Ramp Truck project car
Oct 12, 2015

Back at Cobra Automotive, Ed helps Rennie find our electrical problem.
When cleaning out the side compartments we found a lot of chain and a lot of junk. We were hoping for some magic beans.
Ah, the joy of road trips in old cars… removing the very hot thermostat at midnight in a gas station in southern Connecticut.

After the first day of our ramp truck journey we were pretty pleased, and perhaps a bit cocky. When day two dawned bright and sunny, all we had to do was get our compartments cleaned out and decide what tools and supplies to take with us on our journey to Florida.

With this work done, Cobra Automotive’s ever-prepared owner, Curt Vogt, suggested a good long test drive after we went through the cooling system.

Instead of listening to him, we decided it would be more fun to take our rental back to Harbor Freight to return a few items we knew we wouldn’t need, and then pay a visit to Chasing Classic Cars star Wayne Carini to see what his latest project was.

Afterwards, we ran back to our ramp truck and told Curt we would either see him at the Classic Motorsports Mitty next year, or in about 15 minutes if our highway test went poorly.

Five minutes later we were back in his office. The truck wouldn’t start. We had noticed the night before that the starter was getting a bit weak. We assumed that we had just worn down the battery a bit after having the cab light on all day and constantly starting and shutting down the engine.

Nope, a quick test showed that the charging system was not working. Before we just started swapping parts, we got Cobra Automotive’s best electrical guy, Ed, to take a look. He quickly found the problem. The main wire to the alternator had been rerouted through an inverter that had been added. Bypassing the inverter solved the problem and we were on the road within a few minutes.

Our first stop would be Vintage Racing Services, which was less than an hour from our starting point. There we would look everything over on the truck and load up the Triumph Spitfire that we were taking home to Florida.

When we arrived we realized we had antifreeze leaking out of the top radiator hose. One of the old clamps had actually rusted through and split, allowing coolant to escape.

While it didn’t take us long to fix, we were starting to realize the folly of our ways. The next leg of the trip would take us through New York City, and we did not want to be working on the side of the road there.

Sure enough, less than an hour later, the ramp truck started to intermittently run hot. The water pump wasn’t slipping and the coolant level was still full. Could the old thermostat be sticking occasionally?

Since we hadn’t replaced the thermostat, we bought a new one and looked for a good place to work. Our only option turned out to be a gas station parking lot at midnight. We had to remove it and hope we didn’t destroy the old gasket or break a bolt. After a relatively successful surgery, our problem seemed to be solved. Off into the night we drove.

We cleared all of New York City’s traffic by 2:30 a.m. and stopped for a very short night to get some much needed rest.

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View comments on the GRM forums
mazdeuce PowerDork
10/12/15 4:01 p.m.

On the edge of my seat here. More!

Curmudgeon MegaDork
10/13/15 7:26 a.m.

When (if?) you make it to South Cackalackey, get hold of me if you need anything. Eight 0 three seven six seven niner 5 five 6.

10/13/15 9:47 a.m.

Should be home by now, no?

Maybe they stopped somewhere to do a "field engine swap" a-la-Roadkill when they did the parking lot swap with he El Camino.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Associate Editor
10/13/15 9:50 a.m.

Yep, they're home. Much calamity ensued, though. Stay tuned.

10/13/15 11:24 a.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: Yep, they're home. Much calamity ensued, though. Stay tuned.

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