...so I'm going to pay someone to replace it, just on general principles, since I already have the sensor and it probably needs to be replaced anyway. No matter what I tried I could not get any reading at all on the multimeter, and when I came inside to double-check what I was doing I found some information stating that you can't really tell anything about a marginal crank position sensor from the multimeter readings anyway unless pins 2 and 3 are obviously shorted.
And my crate's behavior, "runs fine when cold", may indicate a thermal problem that I simply cannot test for. This sensor may be a humdinger when it's cold, but after the engine gets hot, it may be failing. To test this I could--IF I COULD GET THE THING OFF THE TRUCK--hold the heat gun on the sensor for ten or fifteen minutes and I bet it would fail then!
There are two basic problems with me doing the work. The first is that I am so woefully out of shape, mowing the grass behind a self-propelled push mower is a good first step in getting into shape. The second is that even with the front end up on jack stands I don't have any room under the thing to work.
Dropping the driveshaft was deceptively easy. Just removed it at the front yoke, got it tied out of the way, and had excellent access to the plug. Got it loose, freed it from the thing it's secured to, and then was able to test it with the multimeter. As I said above, no matter what I tried it showed "open circuit". That means it's good...theoretically. In fact what it means is not obviously bad, which is not the same thing. I checked that on-line to make sure, found the caveats about the limits of the resistance tests, and resolved to go ahead and replace it.
Went and got the part, got back, tried to get the recommended 10mm socket on the bolt, and couldn't. Turns out that they're 11mm...or at least one is. Got the 11mm socket and tried that; got the thing over the bolt and then tried to apply torque. It wouldn't turn. Given the location of the thing--way up near the top of the bellhousing--and my position under the truck, I could put plenty of torque on it, but couldn't get leverage to make it turn.
Stopped there, and thought about it. That was pretty much the point of no return. What if the bolt broke off? That'd be a nightmare and a half! At that point then you're probably dropping the transmission to fix that shit.
That's when I realized: what will it cost to have the part installed? $120? $150? For something that I've decided needs to be done, even if it doesn't fix my idle problem?
Anything else on the truck I could do. If it were either O2 sensor, it would be a piece of cake. If it were the cam sensor, the starter, the intake temp sensor...hell, I could replace the timing set if I needed to. I've done u-joints and worked on the exhaust and suspension and brakes and.... And I rebuilt the Escort engine and replaced it all by myself.
But all of those things can be reached without me having a lift. This one thing is placed in such a bad location--I could do it if I had room under the truck, but I don't, and even up on jack stands I was still struggling to get both hands and the tool and the light where I needed it all, working in a space about four inches wide, everything trying to fall into my eyes and my glasses kept slipping off my face and TURN YOU DAMNED BITCH.
And then, if I got it out? I was probably looking at two hours to get the new one in. Assuming nothing broke or got dropped into the bellhousing or-or-or.
So, screw it. I realize they're probably going to revoke my "shadtree mechanic" card but I'm too out of shape to do this job and I need to be able to move tomorrow. Shit.
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And of course after reassembling what I'd taken apart, I fixed the pusher and cut the front, sides, and immediate back yard with it. Pusher needs a new drive belt, is all, and it came off the pulley. A new drive belt will fix that, but I got it going well enough today to cut the grass. And yes, it was good exercise. I need more of that.
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Anyway, with chores attended to, now I need to think about dinner....