Well, the weather waited until today. Yesterday was overcast, muggy with a few thunderstorms. I managed to sneak in a run to pick up a few tools... despite the jungle climate. The new compressor is a tidy 15g Dewalt. I also picked up a new rolling stainless steel tool box to get better organized.
I dropped the u-bolts on the WD hitch by simply cutting them with an air wheel. The corrosion under the spacer plates was ugly with serious pitting. So, I managed to wire wheel the tongue down to mostly bare metal between downpours.
The weather improved today, but I had to play "driver" for my wife and daughter. Everybody needed to be somewhere else. During a few "breaks," I popped off the access panel to look at the wiring. Note: On a 1967
anything, nothing is easy. I managed to get a good look at the wiring... not pretty. The thin wires to the tail lights (green) were bare in a number of places. Not much I can do now except patch what I can and put in a new 7-way connector. Of course, you can't put in a connector without getting the tongue shipshape so....
I degreased the tongue with MarineClean (that stuff works). I then did the Metal Ready step, rinsed, and used the air gun to "quick dry." So, it was time to shoot a couple of coats of the dreaded POR-15. Actually, the material went on reasonably well. I shot a coat, cleaned everything, waiting the appropriate time, and shot a second coat. The tongue is ready for primer and paint. Weather permitting, I'll hit the tongue with primer in the a.m. and then paint it in the afternoon. So, what to do about paint? Well, I was picking up a few other things at Tractor Supply and noticed that they had some high quality tractor and implement paint. The "Ford Gray" looks like it will work well enough. If not, there's always "John Deere green."
I'll use the hardener and probably shoot a couple of coats. This is the tongue, after all, and it's going to take some abuse. I've painted my share of farm and logging equipment. I figure the implement paint will probably hold up reasonably well.
Once the paint is dry and cures a bit, I'll toss in a seven-pin connector and lash up the wiring. There's some kind of black gunk they used as a sealer for the access panel. I'm leaning towards fabbing a new panel and using some kind of non-gooey seal. I wanted to paint the tongue because the rust was a bit depressing... and because I want to work my way "back" from the power to the lights. The connection plug and wiring harness looked OEM (with some mods). It was stiff and the connections within the access panel were "suboptimal." I figure with a new connection, I'll be getting good power to the first "splice." If I make all new connections with a bit of overkill solder, I should be able to pull lights and isolate problem either at the light (most likely grounding) or in the wiring (most likely a real pain in the rear).
The hitch jack is off (naturally) and I'm leaning towards a new one... though I think I'd be as happy with just manual rather than power. Call me sentimental (or judt dumb), but cranking a hitch reminds me of our horse trailers as a kid.
Other notes... the rain resulted in dampness inside the door. I guess ordering a door gasket is high priority... although Heaven knows if that's where the water is coming in. I'm still thinking about axles. I'm going to pull the hubs, repack the bearings and see if there is any hope for working brakes. Our current plan is to find a shop to do the frame and floor. We may have them do a bit more, depending on far the nickel goes. Of course, the tin girl has to be roadworthy because everything is somewhere else. Once she stripped out on the inside, I think I could ease her along on the current axles... or I could put in a pair myself and pay the shop to take them off and put them back on. Ah, well, sufficient unto each day....