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  • Writer's pictureKelsey

Tonto Rockford: Part II

I am happy to report we have officially passed the "incubation time" for hantavirus without any symptoms. (Woo!) After the last post on Tonto Tim commuted in him for the next week or so and we decided, instead of parking in the garage, to quarantine him in the backyard and make sure no mice decided to move next door to the Porsche. I also contemplated getting a cat, sadly turned out we didn’t need one and all the mice are officially gone. He even got some new shoes.

I have to say I was a little jealous that Tim got to daily drive the 40 but I also knew he had much more knowledge and we wanted to vet out the little guy as best we could. He had the expected creaks and groans, but nothing detrimental that would render him out of service. So we continued to be amazed with every start and then it fateful morning like a hurt dog he finally had trouble starting, he wanted so badly to please us but just didn’t have it in him.

That night in the backyard (we seriously need more garage space) under a threateningly dark sky we pulled off the valve cover and immediately saw the problem, one of the push-rods was broken, after digging deeper and taking off the side cover to recover the broken push-rod we were faced with the decision of whether we pull the head...something which was a bit beyond our experience. I (being the assistant mechanic with no knowledge) confidently reminded Tim, we took this on as a project, it’s not needed as a daily driver, we have the opportunity to learn so let’s take it! (Sounds good right?) we will take our time and if we screw it up then learned how not to do it, (I said feigning confidence).

The next night we convened at our injured little buddy…(to pull off his head! - and we told him we were just going for walk). Once we got all the bolts out we were ready to pull. I am sure we were quite a sight both of us standing contorted awkwardly under the hood of our shabby old truck. After a lot more contortion and heavy lifting we had the head off, everything neatly packaged in plastic and labeled, off to the machine shop the head went, this was an area we knew not to attempt.

Another week went by with Tonto resting in the backyard (I would say hello when I went out to water the plants and ask if he still wanted a cat). We got the head back looking all shiny and new and again contorted ourselves under the hood to put everything back together (we hoped correctly) all the while crossing our fingers this would solve our problems and Tonto would be back in action.

As I nervously turned the key for the first time with strict instructions to turn it off quickly if need be. I was ready for everything to just explode but nothing did...he ran. (we did it! Tim will always say he is not mechanical but don’t listen to him, he is) we moved on to adjusting the valves, I would read off which valve to adjust next as Tim made the adjustments. There was still something that didn’t sound perfect, a slight tick. So we (Tim) proceeded to google what that might be. We (again Tim) came to the conclusion we needed to pull the bottom of the block this time and take a look at the cylinders from the underside.

Many curse words and lots of banging later (I can only imagine what our neighbors must think of us) We had managed to removed the oil pan (sounds easy, it’s not). Now we had access from below....AND that my friends is when we knew we needed help. Tim can insert all the technical mumbo jumbo here all I know is we could feel some significant gouges in the 6th cylinder wall and that was not good. So we decided it was time to call in the big guns. Remember the friend who had told us about Tonto? Well he is a highly esteemed Toyota mechanic and had even rebuilt Tonto about 15 years previous. So we knew without a doubt he was the man for the job. Bad news? He was a state away in New Mexico so we asked Tonto if he wanted to go for ride?

Off to New Mexico he went...


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