So, now I have a floor jack, jack stands, and serviceable tires on 2 rims that will fit the old 8-bolt lug pattern and replace the split rim wheels on the back end. Here is an account of the first actual work done on the Green Truck, which has to get done before he moves into his new accommodations.
The jack put the rear end into the air effortlessly. Jack stands keep things stable and reduce the risk to weekend mechanics underneath (me). The two tires on the left side of the truck were in the sun most of the time and needed to be replaced immediately. The two on the right still hold air fairly well, so I decided to replace both on the left with the two tires and rims I have. Soon I’ll get the present front-left wheel dismounted (remember it is an Accuride replacement) and the tire replaced, and put that one in place of the remaining split-rim wheel on the rear right.
Lacking a pneumatic impact wrench, I figured I was in for a workout with lug nuts that I know for certain have been in place and outdoors for at least four decades. Surprisingly, the nuts on both wheels had not seized with rust and were no more difficult to get off than a typical wheel on the family van. A little effort with the lug wrench and they were soon laying on the ground beside me.
Tip: always easier to loosen the nuts before jacking up a vehicle and while the tire is still on the ground; keeps the wheel from turning as you put pressure on the wrench to break the nut’s grip on the stud.
The hubs of both tires were filled with critters and grass from the thirty-some years Green sat in the Smithfield barnyard. A stiff brushing with a steel-wire brush cleaned up the odd bug houses, cobwebs, and grass stems. A little more work with an old flat screwdriver chipped off the coating of axel grease and dirt. I’ll do work on the rear-end later; this is just a clean-up job. The wheel went right on.
The front wheel was even easier.
In the process I made an interesting discovery: despite 34 years of absolute barnyard stasis, without the benefit of protective hubcaps, the front axle was still as smooth-running as if it had just been greased. I pulled off the cap and found that the grease was essentially new. The little smear of rust visible across the flat of the crown nut is my own fault, a careless finger before I took the picture.
A bit of work with the steel brush and the cap was de-gunked. Slid back neatly into place.
So with two new wheels and properly inflated tires, he’s ready to move into the garage–hopefully before more snow gets here. Still have to clean up the wheels on the other side, but that can be done later.