Where Have All the Mechanics Gone? – A BoldRide Rant
Full disclosure: I’m the one guy on the BoldRide editorial team that couldn’t give a rat’s patoot about the latest iteration of some multimillion–dollar supercar. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the old, the orphaned, the obsolete, the broken down, and the pedestrian. What I’m finding particularly frustrating now is the inability of anybody to work on anything that you can’t plug a scan tool into.
My latest acquisition is a 1979 Chevrolet Blazer with just 56,000 miles. It belonged to Glenn Gould, an auto-writer friend of mine. In fact, about 15 years ago, I visited Glenn’s shop and saw this very truck and fell in love with it on the spot. It’s been a long time coming, and over the last 15 years, it’s accumulated its share of issues, mostly from non-use.
I’ve always had a thing for 1973 to 1987 Chevy Blazers. When I was growing up, my next-door neighbor bought one in 1974 – blue and white, two-wheel drive (!) – and replaced it with a succession of newer Blazers every few years until the late 1980s. I always thought they were the coolest trucks. That 1973 to 1987 Chevy truck bodystyle is the perfect American truck. Not too fancy, but not too agricultural, either. They’re really a pleasure to drive.
I ended up buying Glenn’s Blazer, and I’ve spent the last few months taking care of some things it needed to be roadworthy. The radiator had a slight leak, the tires were dry-rotted, the starter needed to be replaced. This past week, I spent a few days rebuilding the braking system, with a new master cylinder, new wheel cylinders, new stainless brake lines, drums and shoes. I even took the annoying squeak out of the gigantic tent-spring that holds the clutch pedal up.
One thing that’s been nagging me, though, is the oil leak. Like all older Chevy 350s that have been left to sit for a bit, the valve cover gaskets leak. That’s no big deal, and it gives me an opportunity to repaint what I can with that odd, transitional Corporate Blue that Chevy painted its engines with between 1977 and 1982.
The issue is the oil pan. It’s not a Jed Clampett gusher by any stretch, so I assume the rear main seal is fine, but the oil pan gasket is leaking enough that I have to put a foil turkey pan under it to avoid a slick on my garage floor.