I’ve been trying to flush the differential fluid in my cars axle. It’s been more than six months since the car came off of the production line in 1976. I’ve been unable to do it without the proper tools to open the fill plug.
My Allen wrenches arrived today. I opened the drain plug and removed all of the differential fluid. After cleaning the plug, I tightened it back on and started pouring gear lubricant into the fill plugs hole. A quart was not enough. I put in an order for some more and filled the old bottle back up with the fluid that just came out.
75W-90, 1½ quarts Gear Lubricant
SIX MONTHS AFTER PURCHASE AND EVERY SIX MONTHS THEREAFTER
* Check differential fluid level. Use 90 weight Hypoid gear oil. Fill to top. In cold weather lighter weight fluid may be used. It is not advisable to mix different weights. When changing types of oil, flush system. Use no lighter than 30 weight oil.
Teddy and I hopped into the car with a destination of Gertrude Miller Community Park. I positioned the dash cam so that it had both Teddy and myself in full view, as well as the dashboard. I heard something wearing a bit along the way. I wasn’t sure if it was the rear driver breaks, the motor, or something to do with the differential.
We spent some time at the park and then headed to Advance Auto Parts to pickup the gear lube. I brought the old bottle back with the 45 year old oil that came out of the car. They had me follow them into the back of the store and dump it into a large metal bin with a mesh over the opening. They wouldn’t take the container itself.
With that, we headed over to the town square, only to find a large event with live music playing. It was the big summer season finale of the towns summer concert series. Vinyl Tracks was playing Beatles songs in the gazebo.
While looking for parking, I saw a big ICE truck parked at an EV Charging space. I got a little annoyed that this vehicle was ICEing an EV charging spot. Although the CitiCar that I was driving is an EV, I wouldn’t park there unless I was using the charger. No parking was available at the town square, so we went to another parking lot nearby and came back to enjoy the park.
The concert was enjoyable to listen to as we walked through the park. Everyone was spread out and practicing social distancing. A few people wore masks. We walked past someone enjoying the music from their car.
Teddy and I went across the street to get some ice cream at C & C Frozen Treats. The little shop was packed with people due to the concert across the street. We didn’t bother going inside.
On the way home, I saw an ice cream truck in my community. I stopped the CitiCar on the side of the street and waved the truck down. I purchased an ice cream sandwich that looked like a big Oreo cookie. I got my ice cream after all!
We arrived home at last. I checked the mileage, voltage, reset the kilowatt meter, and plugged in the battery chargers. The axle was a bit hot. I gave it some time to cool down. I came back and topped off the gear lubricant in the differential pan through the flow plug.
Advance Auto Parts
The motor bumper arrived today as well as a torque wrench.
I had made about 15% profit in my dividend portfolio that I started out late last year. I sold off everything I had invested in it, so that it only consists of profit now. I’m investing the majority of the money into my other portfolio consisting of disruptive tech and a couple EV companies that I follow almost daily.
I’ve been talking with a few people in CitiCar and Comuta-Car groups and to someone at D&D Motor Systems to replace the motor that I’ve got. The model numbers of the motor and axle that I have do not provide enough information alone.
For anyone going down the same route, here are the numbers that I see, that you can use for reference. The motor has some details on its plate, but some of the details are worn. I am unable to see the serial number at the moment:
5BC 49 JB 327 C
Motor plate information
Numbers 820178-4, 5, and 20 appear on the axle. Another number appears as 815107X, but it may also be 8/5/07X or 8/5107X or 8/5107X.
The number five appears in the center of a circle, tilted on its side, with eight dots around it in odd positions filling eight of ten spaces.
There is also a letter “D” with a letter “W” inside of it.
I need to pull the motor off of the Dana spider axle to see inside and identify the motor coupler, spline, or shaft it will need. I’m not at all a car guy, but that’s the lingo I keep hearing. I’ll just pull it off, snap a few pictures, count things, and make some measurements with my calipers. How hard can it be? After all, I’ve watched David Brunson install a motor on his Comuta Car, so I’m certain that I am an expert mechanic now.
I wasn’t sure if removing the motor involved axle oil spilling out. I was told no, but then a few people chimed in and started offering tips on how to replace the axle geese. I figured while I’m working in that area on a 40 year old car, what bad could come from fixing something that ain’t broke? It felt like general maintenance that should be done every X-thousand miles or X-years, whichever came first. Sure enough, the owners manual had something to say about it:
SIX MONTHS AFTER PURCHASE AND EVERY SIX MONTHS THEREAFTER
Check differential fluid level. Use 90 weight Hypoid gear oil. Fill to top. In cold weather lighter weight fluid may be used. It is not advisable to mix different weights. When changing types of oil, flush system. Use no lighter than 30 weight oil.
I’m under the impression that the “every six months” is just topping off what’s already there, but this thing is so old, I’m wondering what I’ll find inside. I think I can just drain the fluid and fill it back in. If I need to crack it open, I’ll have everything on hand, just in case.
Mobil 1 Synthetic Gear Lubricant LS 75W-90, 1 Quart
Permatex Ultra Black Maximum Oil Resistance RTV Silicone Gasket Maker (3.35 oz)
Performance Tool Multi Use Pump
CRC Brakleen® Break Parts Cleaner Non-Chlorinated (14 wt. oz.)
FloTool Standard Duty 7 Quart Drain Pan
TEQ Correct 2 Ton Hydraulic Trolley Jack
Order from Advance Auto Parts
DC to DC
The other night, I had a few supplies come in. One was a DC-DC Buck converter from 24/36/48v to 12v. I was hoping I could hook it up so that it would work in both the 48 and 24v mode that the car runs in.
I had two sets of wired 12v sockets. I cut one of them in half and spliced the buck converter into the middle. I ran down to the car, hooked everything up and saw/heard an unexpected spark as the wire made contact. Nothing blew up.
I also got one of the cheapest 12v car devices I could find that was still a little useful, but I wouldn’t mind having it blow up if something I did would destroy it. I found a volt meter with 2 usb ports. I plugged it in and it showed 12.7 volts. Everything worked in both the 24 and 48 volt configuration.
Given that I saw the spark, I knew this would always be on, even when nothing was plugged into it. I went ahead and placed an order for a fancy latching switch button that lights up when the power is on. It comes with a pre-wired socket, and I believe I can setup the LED to run off of the 12v supply while the 48v power only flows through the switch itself.
In the mean time, I installed the other socket onto my accessory battery.
Dual USB Car Charger 4.8A Output Cigarette Lighter Voltage Meter
19mm 3/4″ Metal Latching Pushbutton Switch 12V Power Symbol LED
I purchased a little T600 Universal GPS Smart HUD. This thing is more of a curiosity to play around with, but I got it because I needed a battery monitor, and I like some of the features it came with.
This thing feels and looks cheap. It simply gives you the bare bones of features it advertises. The most fancy display has a round swoosh below your current speed.
I had to configure it first to bring the speed adjustments down to 100% and offset to 0 mph. I also played around with the three colors that it shows text in.
The features I like of the T600 Universal GPS Smart HUD
Teddy and I started our trip to pickup some supplies to change the cars axle oil, and to pull the motor off to take a closer look at the spline for the shaft of a new motor. As we pulled into the parking lot, there was a police car strait in front of us. Sometimes I think they are going to make up an excuse to pull me over just so they can have a closer look.
We wern’t at the store for too long, as it was an online order for pickup. It started to rain a little when we took off. I took Teddy over to Gertrude Miller community park on the way home. It got really dark, windy, and rainy very quick. I started wondering if the wind was strong enough to blow the car over.
The trip home was… interesting. The roads were wet. The rain was pretty hard. I had the wiper running along with the lights. I saw my voltage on the accessory battery was down to 12.0v. I even tried the defroster to see if I could defog the window. When I turned on the fan, I didn’t feel any air coming through the window vents. The simple fix was to use my hand to wipe down the window. I’ll have to look into what I can do to defog the windows later.
Dead after arrival
As we pulled into the garage, I turned off the lights. Since I was playing with the GPS HUD, I flipped the switch for the lights back on and see how much they impact the accessory battery.
I suspected that a fuse had blown. I grabbed my multi-meter and tested all seven for continuity. I found the bad apple. When I matched the position up to the cover plate, it was labeled as a fuse for the break, turn signal, and horn. I turned on my turn signal and it worked. I pulled out the fuse… still works. I’ll need to re-label these fuses later. Even if I was reading the panel upside down, the other label indicated it would have been the controller.
Luckily for me, one of my first investments in the car was to purchase a variety of fuses and throw them in the back of my car. The cover plate indicated a 20 amp fuse would be adequate for the lights. I replaced the fuse, and all was well with the world.
I took a look at the burnt out fuse and noticed it was rated for 30 amps! My speculation is that the previous owner put that in there because they got tired of replacing 20 amp fuses. Since this happened at the tail end of the trip, I’m guessing that the wiper motor had too much trouble as I entered the garage. Since it wiped away all of the rain, there was a great deal of friction to continue.
In the meantime, I have a DC fuse block on order with sticky labels and LED’s that light up when a fuse is blown. I’ll add the lights and windshield motor to my list of things to upgrade later.
Regarding the GPS HUD, there were a few things enlightening about it. The speedometer on the car was reporting 4 miles faster than what I was actually traveling at. I was able to set my phone next to the GPS monitor and confirm its accuracy. I thought I was going amazingly fast the other day pushing the car to 33.5 mph, only to realize now that I was going under 30.
On a related note is that the distance I have driven on the odometer is much higher than this new gadget is reporting. There seems to be a large discrepancy in just a few short miles. When I punch my routes into Google Maps, It’s sitting in the middle of the other two.
Advanced Auto Parts
Gertrude Miller Park
With the battery voltage meter, I felt better to see how the lights and a wiper affected the voltage with a general idea of the batteries health. I would still prefer to see a capacity meter of some kind with a percent, colors of red/yellow/green, and a bar showing how much is left.
I used the altitude feature to get an idea about how high the hill is to get out of my little neighborhood. The top of the hill is at 648 feet above sea level, and the lowest point is at 508 feet. Every time I go on a little trip, I’m starting out with a 140 foot tall hill.
I know it’s super cheap, but here are some other things I wish it had
A separate set of leads to connect to your battery – monitor 48v battery voltage while connected to a dc-to-dc 12v converter
A switch to turn it on
Buttons on the front
Better sticky pad. It keeps pulling up from the dash