Home 2013, The Third Season Colorado and Woodland Park Truck Systems Testing and Installations
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There were a number of items that needed to be addressed with the new truck:

  • Rear View Camera functionality
  • The driver side rear inner dually was not reading on the pressure monitor
  • My tools needed to be repacked for relocation to the truck storage
  • Outfitting and testing the new air chuck
  • Stop the RV camera monitor from switching to Channel 2 (right side camera) when the brake pedal was depressed
  • Leak in auxiliary fuel tank
  • Install the Tire Pressure Monitoring System and CB radio that I had removed the from F450

You can see riveting photos of the truck at smugmug.

Transferring Tools from the RV Basement to Truck

Between visits to the store that shall not be named, in both Junction City and Manhattan, I managed to buy enough of the needed size of Rubbermaid containers, to hold all most all of my tools from my 2 tool boxes. Once we get back to Retama, the tool boxes will go on sale at the annual street sale. They are a nice size, with top and side opening storage, but they take up a lot of room and are also heavy in their own right. This transfers weight from the basement (hence off of the king pin and rear axle) to the truck (split evenly between the front and rear axles), thus removing some weight from the rear axle.

Rear View Camera

Utility Bodywerks installed a backup camera on the light column and connected it to the dashboard monitor. Well it turns out that Ford in their infinite wisdom, has dictated that any auxiliary input (dashboard input) to the dashboard monitor (i.e. something they didn’t install) could not display while the truck was in motion, saying something about Federal regulations. The rule of course was meant to pertain to DVD’s and entertainment, since their backup cameras display when the vehicle is in motion. In any event, the backup camera display would cut out once I started moving in reverse.

The first task to prepare for a new rear view camera monitor was to find the camera cable end under the dash. I managed to trace back the cable from the dashboard top (The initial installation had the camera feed plugged into the auxiliary input to the dashboard monitor, which was situated in a compartment on the top of the dashboard) to underneath the steering wheel. Once done, I was ready for the new monitor to arrive, which was to fit over the rear view mirror.

Auxiliary Fuel Tank

The Aux Fuel Tank was leaking, as shown by diesel residue on the tank top and also down the left and right hand sides of bed floor. The top of the tank had a round plate held by 6 screw through which various tubes and electrical connections were made for the fuel pump and controls. A cork gasket with caulking on both sides was supposed to seal the plate to the tank. The caulking around the edges of the plate was dissolving due to the fuel leak. When I took the plate off, there was diesel on both sides of the gasket. The caulking was very easy to remove, not bonding to the cork or aluminum at all.

I disassembled the assembly on top of tank, cleaning off the old caulking and diesel residue. I found some special gasket sealant at the auto store that was specifically resistant to oils and fuels (including diesel). When I starting to reattach the plate, starting each screw in turn and then bringing to various stages of tension, one of the 6 screw holes that held the plate in place was stripped and would not tighten, which may have been part of the cause of fuel leak. Luckily I had a self tapping screw the next size up in stock. The other problem was that the caulking used was being dissolved by the diesel, also contributing to the problem. This did not completely solve the problem, as there was still some seepage from around the screw heads. Some rubber washers solved that problem quick enough. Each time I thought that the problem was fixed, I would fill up the auxiliary tank and drive around, or in some cases, park on the really step slope between the upper and lower sections of the park to force the fuel against the section being tested.

After I fixed the first leak, there was still diesel residue showing up around the fill spout and bed floor. Turned out there was a second leak, hidden by the spill from the first. The filler pipe comes up from the top of the tank through the crossover tool box. Fuel was leaking from around the filler pipe as it entered the tank top. I removed the filler tube from the tank and cleaned it up as well as I could, removing the old putty, scrapping the threads clean, including the threads on the tank. The main cause of the leak may have been that the old putty did not seem to form a continuous seal around the filler tube.

I then put on 3-4 layers of teflon tape about an inch wide in total.  Then starting about 3 threads from the end, I started first with a thin layer Permatex Permashield (the same stuff as on the top plate) on top of the teflon tape and then, a thicker layer a few threads higher. The thinner layer to seal the deepest threads and the thicker layer to seal the top threads and also form a bead around the join of the filler tube and the tank top. As you can see from the picture, it seems to have worked, with a nice bead of sealant around the join. I finally thought that I had solved the tank problem. I wish!

It seems that as I found each leak and fixed it, it then allowed the next serious leak to become self evident. The same with the filler tube. When testing the filler tube fix, this time parking facing uphill, I noticed just a bit of wetness on the tank top close to the filler tube. After laying down on my stomach and watching the tank top, I noticed tiny drips of fuel forming on the multi layer top of the tank where the filler tube joins the tank. It appeared that there was one, maybe two, faults in the welding that allowed fuel to seep through a hair thin hole. After doing this several times to confirm the location of the pin holes, I bought some epoxy resin that specifically would bound to aluminum and covered the section of welding that had the leak. After filling the tank again, there was again diesel leaking from somewhere, but I could not see from where. After all that, UB decided that it will be replaced when we go back to have an air compressor installed.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

All of the 6 tires of the F550 were reading correctly on the TPMS monitor, except one, the Drivers Side rear inner tire. Of course it would be an inner tire, something you can’t get to. I tried swapping every thing that I could think of, with one that I knew worked. I even bought some 1 ” straight extenders, hoping they would help make the connection. The one thing I couldn’t swap was the long valve extender. So I bought a new set of 6” valve extenders from Pacific Dualies. I also needed to get all the tire lugs re-torqued (forged aluminum rims need to be re-torqued after 500 or so miles) and since I don’t have a torque wrench, I decided to kill two problems with one visit to a local garage. They re-torqued the lugs and swapped out the valve extender on the drivers side. Turns out the malfunctioning valve extender was not pushing down the inner valve spring, so their was no pressure available to be monitored. The last task for the TPMS was to mount it on the dashboard and hardwire the electrical connection. If I don’t get that done, it can wait, as for the moment, it is plugging into the 12v accessory outlet on the dash.


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  Intro to Colorado and Woodland Park  
  Robbie’s Trauma  
  Air Force Academy and the Class of 2013 Graduation  
  Garden of the Gods  
  Manitou Springs  
  Truck Systems Testing and Installations  
  Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway  
  Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center  
  Rough Plans  
  Goliad TX Spring 2013  
  Kerrville TX and NHOG 2013  
  Fredericksburg TX  
  Sanger TX Spring  
  Guthrie OK, Spring  
  Junction City KS, Spring 2013  
  Colorado and Woodland Park  
  Early Summer 2013  
  Yellowstone 2013  
  Late Summer 2013  
  Fall 2013  
  From Research to Leaving Home  
  2011, The First Season  
  2012, The Second Season  
  Our Triple D Adventures  
  Natashas Excellent Adventure  
  2013, The Third Season  
  2014, The Fourth Season