Okay - latest update on Silver.
Little Sorrow (my little Civic) is in the shop getting a barefoot gas pedal installed - oh and the AC quit working. So I was going to be driving Silver for a little while. Normally when I do this I would start by driving it around on the weekend to make sure all was well. Especially since I hadn't driven Silver in a few weeks. But I had a Cub Scout leader training and campout this past weekend, so no go.
I start up ole' Silver Monday morning, head out and all seems well. Until I notice (kinda hard to miss actually) a VERY loud noise from the accessory belt area and voltage drops.
So I head right to the auto parts store. I can swap an alternator on this thing as quick as I can do anything else so why not? Aaaaanywhoooo - when I get to the store they have to get a number off the side of the alternator. About this time I notice the truck is low on coolant. I get the alternator - $200 by the way (they used to be something like $35) and head home. Get some coolant too. I open the hood, disconnect the battery, and set in. At this point I notice the truck is peeing all over the place. I take a look and see where it is coming from.
Water pump on this thing is about a 2 hour job if you're lucky.
Anyway, I decide to finish the alternator install (took about 20 minutes). Job done, works great.
But the truck is still down because it can't hold it's bladder. So wife comes by the house, leaves me her car, and borrows the neighbor's car. We're keeping an eye on the neighbor's house for a bit and she asked us to drive her car some. We checked and she is okay with us using it to go to work, but wife drives a lot shorter drive than I do so she drives it.
Fast forward to last night. I decide it's time to fix this pig.
Get all the crap out of the way. Then I remember what makes the water pump so darn hard. This truck has a cooling fan mounted to the water pump pully, activated by a thermal clutch. In the past you had four little bolts that mounted it. GM, in their infinite wisdom, decided that it was easier to make the fan thread onto the water pump pulley directly via a threaded stud sticking out the front. Which means that when you grab the pump mounting socket to remove it, there is no way to hold the pulley still to remove it. On two parts that thermally cycle several times a day and are effectively fused.
At least if you don't have a $70 tool.
BTW - I don't have this tool.
What I do have, however, is a blow torch. A pair of vice-grips on the pulley, a little heat, a little more heat, a little MORE heat, judicious application of my body weight (I told my wife that Chic-Fil-A milkshake was a good idea) and it finally cracked loose. Not sure how good of a idea it was to put a blowtorch to a thermal clutch assembly, but whatever. You gotta do what you gotta do.
So now the new pump is on. I still need to connect all the hoses and fill it with coolant and test drive this thing to make sure no water is leaking out (BTW one of GM's crappy spring hose clamps broke off an ear, meaning I had to cut that hose).