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Prepping Diplomat for road trip

M Body General Discussion

  1. SlantSixSullivan

    SlantSixSullivan Well-Known Member

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    Hey all, I’m trying to prepare my Diplomat for a trip from Ohio to Georgia and back. 1200 miles each way. It made it there last time no problems, but this time it’s been through an Ohio winter, and I’m sure there are some things that need gone over to ensure it’s safe. I’m not too worried because I do drive it every day. What are some spare parts or supplies you guys take along for a “just in case” situation? Also, what do you check in and under the car before leaving? I’ve compiled a list of minor repairs to be made and some supplies to take, but I’m sure there are other good ideas I’m missing. Car is a slant six auto, by the way.
     
  2. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    If you do not have Lean Burn or do not have a computer hanging off the air cleaner, I would always carry a minor tool bog, a spare Ignition Module, ballast resistor and voltage regulator (get a soft bag and put it by your spare tire full time).
    Ignition Module.jpg
    Ignition Module
    Voltage Regulator.jpg
    Voltage Regulator
    Older Ballast Resistor.jpg
    Older Ballast Resistor
    Newer Ballast Resistor.png
    Newer Ballast Resistor

    If you have Lean Burn (or have a computer hanging off the air cleaner), I would always carry a minor tool bag, a spare ballast resistor and voltage regulator. Keep the tool bag someplace like by spare tire or the pockets by quarter panels.
    Note: many Lean Burns do not use a ballast resistor so look at the fire wall. If you don’t see a part like above, then you don’t need one).

    The (soft) tool bag needs to contain a few common end wrenches, sockets and screwdrivers, to replace any of the above-mentioned parts - or drive belts, hoses or other repairs of that nature on side of road.
    Also, in your tool bag, get a CHEAP volt gauge (like this one or one similar, https://www.ebay.com/itm/ANENE-A830L-Digital-Voltmeter-Ammeter-Ohmmeter-Multimeter-Volt-AC-DC-Tester-Mete/173287487566?hash=item2858bd384e:m:mLXIgQNpy9zkPzDUhFANJ6w . This one is only 1 dollar (plus tax)).
    Cheap Multimeter.jpg
    Harbor Freight also has cheap meters as well as others. This tool is one you hope you never need – but when you do, its there. I have a few quality multimeters in my garage, but in car, I use the cheap ones.
    Note: make sure battery is kept outside of meter until needed, then removed afterwards).
    Tool Bag.jpg
    Tool bag example. They come in many sizes and shapes.

    I have one in each - car plus when I go on long trips I also take my big tool box, but that is just me.

    For long trips, I would also take along your service manual.


    Some people recommend taking spare radiator hoses and drive belts.
    I recommend inspecting existing belts and hoses first (check hoses for leakage, for soft or hard spots and for cracks, etc. and check belts for missing pieces, for cracks, splits, etc.) and if fine, you “should be fine”.
    If a belt or hose looks questionable – replace it. Belts and hoses can go at any time, but my experience is if looked at before a long trip – you should be fine.
    Other people have different opinions – which is also fine.

    Sense our cars are 30-40 years old, having parts with you is a lot better than waiting for parts (on side of road somewhere) – sense most parts for our cars are ones that generally do not sit on store shelves that often. At one time they were very common to have on shelves, but not now.

    As far as other maintaince items to do, I would at least check your differential fluid level (changing it would be better). Sense your 7¼” differential (I assume you to have a 7¼”) only holds 2.5 pints (1.18 L) – a little fluid loss makes a big difference. The 8¼” differential holds 4.4 pints (2.08L) which is almost twice as much fluid.

    Also, when has the last time the front wheel bearings been repacked with grease? Not sure – then it has been too long. The maintaince books say to clean and repack the front wheel bearings every 30k miles (48 km) – which is generally about when a front brake job is due. The last thing you want is to have a front wheel bearing fail at highway speeds. You could be thinking everything is great (or really into the song on radio) when you see your tire pass you on the road . . .
    BudW
     
  3. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    A good spare tire with air installed.
     
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  4. lowbudget

    lowbudget Well-Known Member

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    I always carry a spare distributor in my slants. The nylon drive gear is cheesy
    and has be known to self destruct.
     
  5. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    Credit card or cards and a smart phone will take care of most everything.
     
  6. SlantSixSullivan

    SlantSixSullivan Well-Known Member

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    Funny, I have a tool bag with all that in it already. I learned the hard way when I was fifteen, to always carry a spare ballast resistor and ignition box. The voltmeter is a good idea too!
     
  7. SlantSixSullivan

    SlantSixSullivan Well-Known Member

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    I’ve done a few of those drive gears before. My dizzy needs replaced anyway. The shaft is worn so my rotor is chewing plastic off the inside of the cap. Not good.
     
  8. SlantSixSullivan

    SlantSixSullivan Well-Known Member

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    Do I need a jack and four way too?
     
  9. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    Not if you have to ask.
     
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  10. SlantSixSullivan

    SlantSixSullivan Well-Known Member

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    Good point ;)
     
  11. lowbudget

    lowbudget Well-Known Member

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    14-16 gauge wire, electrical tape, baling wire, duct tape........
     
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  12. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    Zip-tie assortment
     
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  13. JLN5thAve

    JLN5thAve Active Member

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    A non factory jack - aka not the scissor jack which came with the car, and a regular tire star... Also - depending on if you have ever changed your u-joints, you may want a couple with you... my rear went out while driving down the road... scared me to DEATH.

    And slightly off topic - I wonder if replacing the ballast and etc listed above might help my car project... hmmm

    EDIT - Just noticed the jack and tire star aka four way WAS mentioned already.. Needed? Nah... Recommended? Yeppers..
     
  14. SlantSixSullivan

    SlantSixSullivan Well-Known Member

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    I had some bad luck with a bumper jack on my old Valiant. Damn car came down almost on top of me. I love how light they are but not exactly safe.
     
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  15. JLN5thAve

    JLN5thAve Active Member

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    Agreed - it is not even 'for sure' that any tools or parts would be needed on this road trip.. I drove my '88 5th from New Mexico, to Kentucky, up to NY, and then BACK to New Mexico, and only had to screw my passenger side window together - motor went out :(

    The entire scenario is 'better safe than sorry' even with the jack situation.

    After Thought - This trip was made about 11 years ago..