Power Steering Cooler Replacement

Wun Tunn Zoop

Wun Tunn Zoop

Wun Tunn Zoop gets a replacement power steering cooler assembly

I finally got around to replacing the bad cooler assembly

The power steering cooler was bad when I acquired the van and I just jumped around it way back when. I’m talking  about totally rotting to the touch. The brackets were so gone you could bend them by hand. It has been that way and I had actually went and bought a replacement  GM unit but I never put it in. It’s importance is that the diesel is a Hydro Boost braking system that uses the PS system for its’ power.Lots more fluid and stress on it.


Since I had a free morning I decided to give it a go. After a bit of scouting it was not a bad job.  The cooler is bolted to the frame under the radiator support with the lines going up  to the steering box and power steering pump. The first thing to go was the air cleaner box. It sits right in the the way of all the good stuff. With it out of the way it was an easy go to undo the line to the steering box and the return line to the pump.

The Right Tools For The Job

But … It turns  out this hard line is an 18MM. Of all my line wrenches I did not posses an 18MM. So I went to O’Reilly’s and got one. Easy enough. Then the disassembly began.  With that the line came off with a small bit of effort. Then the return line was a quick clamp removal and a pull. I was smart enough to put a drip pan under the area to catch the PS fluid.

Hair Conditioning

This is where I got a small dose of “what did I just do?” After releasing the lines and the excess fluid was drained into the the catch pan I slid it out of the way. So I thought. As I was undoing the bolts holding the damaged cooler assembly from the radiator support I shifted around a bit to get a better angle and that’s when I  dunked the whole back of my head into the fluid! Oh! Yeah! Nice! But since I was already on it I just went ahead and finished the cooler removal. Then I went inside and decontaminated with a hot shower with 3 shampoos.  Then it was back out to the job.

Hookin It All Up

It was a simple job to embed the new cooler and plumb in the lines. All connected and tight. I topped off the PS system with what I had in the shop. I may need more but that can wait till tomorrow.




Re-purposing a Dodge truck jump seat


Today’s project is to modify a Dodge truck center console / middle seat

The Subject

This was a brainstorm idea that appeared during my hunting expedition to find the Express seat hinge. It  happened during my browsing through Ryan’s and Parts Galore. I have a habit of checking out conversion vans for miscellaneous goodies. This time I perused a couple of late model Dodge 2500 Extra cab pickups. The front seat has a very wide center fold-down console that folds up to become the middle seat of the bench. After a further look it was actually a whole separate unit base and seat. On first glance it appeared to be about the right size to fit between the front seats in Wun Tun Zoop. I managed to snag a nice unit for $20 and got it home.

The disassembly

After a full inspection I determined that it really was about the right size to fit between the front seats in the Express. After a test fit it was just as I suspected. Then I came the re purposing part. Since I didn’t need the seat feature I removed all of the upholstery and all the molded foam sections. What was left was a raw skeleton with a folding console top. Since it was built to be a seat it had all sorts of support features which were way overkill for my needs. So I figured out what could go and made that happen.

But will it fit?

At that point it was another fit check to work out some logistics for mounting it and getting it to the right height. No biggie. Then after checking for any interference with the existing glove box it came down to eliminating some of the heavy framing intended to support the seat function. It now was down to a fighting weight with no extra baggage. Just the console top with storage and a lower frame.

The next step will be to bracket it to be stable. More than likely it will be bracketed between the seat mount bolts. With a small hiker to bring it up. Another project for another day. But fro now it is ready for installation. And the console top opens up to reveal a  rather large storage area which includes room for a clipboard. Nice.

Once again I will pause to give my hands a break and tackle the rest later. Stay Tuned.

Just pull the lever and lay back


I fixed the broken passenger recline handle in Wun Tun Zoop

The problem

After a bit of procrastination I finally got ambitious enough to replace the damaged / annoying recline handle. It appears to have been broken for some time [ years ] and the solution as it arrived to me was a pair if vice-grips as the lever. That was ghetto but functional and totally not me.

The Solution

The unfortunate part of this fix was that you have to replace the whole seat-back hinge assembly to cure it. After some quick research in my factory manual I got the inside poop and decided to do it.  Then a quick online search revealed that this hinge assembly was over $100. Ow! That was rash. And a discontinued part. So out parts hunting I went!

The trophy

I hadn’t been parts scrounging lately so I decided to cruise through the local yards to see what was “new”. On my pass through Parts Galore and Ryans Auto, our two local U-Pull-It yards. I cane across a couple of vans that were doner candidates. Getting the hinge plate off was super simple since damaging the upholstery was not an issue. And when I got to the check out they charged me, drum roll please!,l $2. Yep $2! I headed back to the shop / garage with my new trophy. Now the hard part started.

The Fix

Like I said before the doner seat upholstery was already toast. Mine was primo. so in order to do it right I had to remove the seat and flip it over to get to all the upholstery tabs. Not an easy task but necessary. Once i got all that loose and out of the way I was able to get 3 of the 4 screw out. And after a bit of wresting trying to get the seat back upholstery up high enough to get to the upper screw I made the unilateral decision to make a single access cut to get to it. Done! It all bolted back together and got reassembled. Once I installed the new CORRECT lever and bolt it worked as it was supposed to! Excellent!

Wun Tunn Zoop

Wun Tunn Zoop

But when it was all done I must say that my hands paid a heavy price for the install and hurt like hell. But a nice long hot bathtub soak helped my knees and my hands. So all is well for now. On to the next project! Maybe I will tackle the passenger door handle next. We shall see




Diesel van + repairs = $$$


Wun Tunn Zoop is back and doing way better

Two major repairs are done.

These two items were problematic and with a great repair facility that knows what they are doing it was done with confidence. My hat is off again to the techs at Curt’s Service in Oak Park. Another job well done. Unfortunately there is a price to pay for this kind of service but it was worth it.

The crankshaft dampener

A damaged crankshaft pulley / dampener has been replaced. It turns out a whole lot of the noise that we had been getting when the van was started up, excessive clattering , was actually a bad crankshaft dampener. And it turns out that this is all to common on the 6.5.With the new one installed it is a whole lot quieter on start-up. The tech at Curt’s caught that right away just from the sound.


The injector module has been replaced with the upgraded version and relocated to the front radiator core support from its original location on top of the motor, under the intake, bolted to the injector pump. Hot! Hot! Hot! It’s new home is in front of the radiator. Cool! Cool! Cool! Excellent! Another know issue that is now cured.

It now runs nice, starts nice and quietly. So for now all is good with Wun Tunn Zoop and I can work on the roof rack system.

Another project for another day. Stay tuned


Please don’t splash me


Installing GM splash guards on Wun Tunn Zoop

My new GM 12496340 / 41 Guard Packages

GM Splash Guards

GM Splash Guards

Last week I had a chance to install a new set of splash guards on the Express. Not that it is a really big deal to most people but it is to me. I have a fetish for installing factory mud / splash guards on my vehicles. While being more expensive they pay for themselves here in Michigan. And the factory units fit way better than the aftermarket tack-ons. They are usually way sturdier too.

These guards are longer than the aftermarkets and go on with a minimum of effort. My time was just over an hour for installation of all four. And they pick up holes that are already on the fender wells. There were a couple of additional holes to be drilled but it was a piece of cake. Just another reason to use factory units. Overall I am awesomely pleased with them. I think they will do an admirable job.

That’s it for now Another upgrade project done. Bring on the rain!

I may have solved at least part of the Start / Run issue with Wun Tunn Zoop


Forums are a great resource! Use them!

Thanks to the guys on the Duramax Forum and the DieselPlace Forum I believe I may have gotten a grip on the goofy start / run problem. After reading up on some fuel filter related issues with the Duramax diesels I finally got some good info from a couple of VAN owners.The systems are different for the PU than the VAN. Some of the logistics and parts locations are way different!

But with the info I gleaned off the forum I went out and got the van up and running easily.I will give it a go again tomorrow and see how it works out. It is a simple procedure for a vehicle that has sat for a while. Which mine does. But if it gets up and runs like I expect it to we will be in a good situation. On with the show!

Duramax Forum DieselPlace Forum

Tomorrow will be the tattle tale! Cross your fingers!