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glitchwrks

1990 Mack Midliner MS200P Project

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As mentioned in this thread I bought a 1990 MS200P Midliner recently. Drove it home, no issues. Could probably run it as-is but I typically go through new-to-me vehicles since you never know what the maintenance history is like.

Removed a real heap of trash from the cab -- probably 2 or 3 grocery bags full! Never understood why people fill their trucks with garbage. Did find a nice Overnite pen between the dash and the windshield. Judging from the coat of yellow paint under the white and the instructions on the driver's sun visor, this is an ex-Penske truck.

Fixed the dash indicator for the turn signals: one of the contact fingers in the socket was broken off. As luck would have it, the two dummy indicator positions on either end of the lamp row on the dash actually have bulb holders inside! So, I stole one of those. Works fine now. Annoyingly, the covers over the dummy indicators are black plastic, so if you want to use them for something you'll have to find a non-opaque cover.

Figured out the horn switch :) Stupid thing just about made me fall off the step-up when switching on the high beams to check my lights. Good to know the electric horn works, will probably add an air horn as well.

Unscrewed the leaking switch on the air system, it's a 70 PSI normally closed switch presumably for the low air lamp. Leaks like crazy and I suspect it doesn't work anyway. I suspect that's why the air system is slow to build pressure at idle. Removed and cleaned the two drain valves, one was extremely stiff and didn't drain well. I also unscrewed a fitting from the bottom of the wet tank -- there's no air dryer on this system, and I suspect this is either a safety valve or some attempt at an automatic purge valve. It was in the bottom of the tank, and had about a 3 inch plastic tube on top, with a screen-filtered section at the bottom. Completely caked in greasy crud. About 1.5-2 cups of water in the wet tank, so something isn't doing its job.

Figured out the compressor side of things: Knorr compressor driven off a little jackshaft that runs on V-belts. The power steering pump bolts to the back of the compressor. There's a Wabco combination regulator/unloader/check valve unit right before the wet tank.

Inspected more of the air/brake system: foot valve is indeed a much newer Wabco unit (seller said it had been replaced recentish). Air servo for the air-over-hydraulic front brakes was low on fluid, topped up with DOT 4, plan on switching over to synthetic. Passenger side caliper has been recently rebuilt and the lines replaced -- lines date stamped 2015. The hard line was replaced with a heavy duty looking braided stainless line all the way back to the tee by the air servo. Front pads look good, rear shoes are excellent.

Looked over the cooling system, contains The Green Stuff. Very slight seep/leak in the bottom passenger side of the radiator, I think. There's at least one coolant filter, a spin-on type on the passenger side, and there may be a second on the driver's side, under the injection pump. Some of the hoses are getting pretty worn looking, some look new (probably replaced). I'll probably replace most of the older looking ones when I flush the coolant system and refill with something that won't eat my liners!

It has air conditioning! The compressor isn't belted to the engine. Pretty sure it's aftermarket. The condenser coil is mounted to the back of the cab, pretty nice looking install job. The compressor's idler bearings sound like they're toast. Sure would be nice to have AC here in central VA!

Speaking of belts, some of the ones on there still say Mack on them. Planning on replacing all of them :)

Have an intermittent front turn/marker lamp socket. Need to replace a couple of marker lights on the box (one's out, one's missing a cover). Reverse lights don't work. Couldn't locate a backup beeper.

Front bumper's a bit bent. I don't think it can be straightened out easily, so I'll probably look for a replacement.

Dash is beat. Fortunately the panel with the indicators, gauges and switches is mostly fine, but the center and passenger side are totally smashed. I bet someone tilted the cab with something heavy on the passenger seat. Probably work up something custom anyhow. Driver's seat is spring suspension, passenger/middle is just a bench. Will definitely find something better for the driver's seat (air ride), possibly remove the bench and put in a single passenger air ride seat. Front shocks look original, bet they're not doing much for the ride!

Lubed the stupid cab latch, no longer requires a cheater bar.

Edited by glitchwrks

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Turn/Marker pedestal lights on the corners of the cab are beat and one has an intermittent connection in the socket. I removed one on Friday to find out that the insert nuts had detached from the cab -- one had apparently died the last time the lights were replaced, as there was a self-tapping sheet metal screw ran through the cab next to it. I think I'm going to ditch the pedestal lights and move the turn signals. I'm not 100% sure where yet, but if I end up with a custom bumper, I may just mount 4" round grommet lights in the bumper for turn/marker. I'm going to drill out the three holes for each pedestal lamp and put 3/4" amber grommet lights in the holes. Figure pedestal lights are more likely to get knocked off anyway!

No one locally has a low air switch with 1/8" NPT male threads, so I ordered two Tramec Sloan 38035 60 PSI cut-out switches from these guys:

https://www.anythingtruck.com/product/785-38035.html

Haven't ordered from them before, so we'll see how that goes. I'll have to add a ground wire and change from ring terminals to spade terminals, but the wiring that's there has been hacked up a little to start with. I can't imagine the switches get a solid ground through the mounting straps for the air tanks, anyway.

Edited by glitchwrks

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I deal with them a lot and they are good people. My place is just down the road from the home office so use their store rather than internet.

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Excellent, I didn't find any "Danger! Keep away!" type reviews, but it's good to hear from someone who deals with them regularly! I went ahead and ordered two low air switches even though the one is still presumably operational (at least not leaking).

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That is the online division of Mutual Wheel Co. based out of E. Moline, IL. They have been in business since horse drawn wagons and wooden wheels were the means of moving commerce in this country. They actually hired a young guy to set up "anythingtruck.com" several years ago to be dedicated to the task of the online ordering. 

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Finally had some time to wrench today!

Parts from anythingtruck.com/Mutual Wheel arrived promptly, perfect fit, worked exactly as it should. LED lights came in. VERY HAPPY with the TecNiq 3/4" grommet lights and interior dome lights, I've always bought TruckLite for the quality on LED stuff, but the TecNiq is much cheaper and actually may be heavier duty construction. Everything is potted in epoxy, it looks like it's probably vacuum potted as there's no air bubbles.

I'll post pictures tomorrow, but this is what I did with the corner marker/turn lamps on the front: I removed the old pedestal lights, and enlarged the holes to 3/4" with a step bit. That's three holes per side, so there's three 3/4" amber grommet lights in the holes in a vertical line. I made up a little harness so that the center light is the running light, and the upper and lower lights are the signal lights. I like the look, and they are quite bright -- much brighter than the old pedestal lights. Visibility from the side isn't as good as I'd like it to be, so I'm going to replace the door reflectors with combo reflector/LED 2.5" grommet lights. Already pulled the driver's side door card and made sure I won't drill into the window regulator :)

Slight SNAFU with the light replacement, after I got the new LED lights in, left OR right signal would cause both front marker/turn lamp sets to flash, like I had the hazard switch on! The rear was fine though. Turned out to be about a 25 ohm short between the two, I'm guessing they run together in the dash harness and got pinched or something. So I cut the wire off of relay #3 that runs to the left turn signal, insulated/stored the stub, and ran a new wire. It was only a few feet of wire, and problem solved. The cab wiring is pretty traceable given how much of it there is behind the dash, adequate variety of color codes.

Drilled out the stuck/stripped fasteners on the front of the truck in the grille/lights area. Fun job...NOT. Chased all of the rivnuts that weren't stripped. It'll be getting stainless hardware to prevent rusted mess problems in the future. And lots of C4A copper anti-seize.

Squared out the holes in the bumper and mounted the license plate (it had been sitting in the dash). I need to either find a replacement bumper or have a new one fabricated, the bent one that's on there looks like crap. Mounted a new cheapo license plate light on the back, it's pretty dim but it'll do for now, planning on replacing the whole light assembly back there anyway as it looks like someone caught it on a loading dock...more than once.

Reverse lights seem to be an issue of the switch on the transmission not getting power. Switch on the transmission is good at least. Factory wiring has the full current for the reverse lights going through the transmission switch, since I want to add a backup alarm and extend the life of the switch I'll be relaying it up in the cab. This must've been a persistent problem, it looks like the switch was replaced at least twice from the poor splice jobs down at the transmission. Wiring back to the lamps is fine. Seems like Renault bucked the trend and used heavier-than-minimum wire for pretty much everything, that's a nice change!

Tackled some interior problems. Freed up the adjustments on the driver's seat. I'm wanting to replace it with air ride but the old suspension seat will have to work for now. Dash sure comes apart easy in these things! Four screws for each panel. I junked the center and passenger sections as they were busted beyond repair. I'm not sure if I will just make custom replacement panels or do a more involved wraparound style dash for it. Driver's wing window crank problem solved, someone busted the backing plate out of it, probably tried to force it. I took it apart, degreased, and relubed, so now open works but close requires manual assistance or the worm drive gear just pulls itself out the back. I'll make a new backing plate for it. Fixed the window and door gasket seals, looks like they weren't put in properly after the truck was repainted from Penske yellow to the current white.

New low air sender screwed in and tested, not fully wired in yet. It now builds air much faster! Now that it's not leaking profusely I can tell that the park valve leaks when in the park position :) Not bad but enough that you have no air after it sits for an hour. Oh well, I wanted to get rid of the goofy toggle type (European?) park valve and go to the standard yellow square pop-out type. Unloader does in fact unload. Still think it could use a real air dryer.

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Fixed the reverse lights, new 3-wire cable down to the transmission area, two wires from the switch terminals, one to the line that runs to the rear of the truck. Cube relay in the dash. Works fine, and should have plenty of power for a backup alarm. Installed new wiper blades and got a state inspection. Alignment shop was busy all day at the truck stop so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

I stomped the brakes hard on the way up to the driveway  and suddenly got the low air light and the spring brakes came on. Couldn't build over 30 PSI at idle, it was losing air through the exhaust on the foot valve. Checked chambers, no leaks from spring to service. Still leaked with park brakes set anyway. I was able to overcome the leak and get it into the driveway. A few additional hard applications with the wheels chocked and park brakes released and it stopped leaking. I'm guessing it's moisture or crud in the air system, there was a lot of water in there when I bought the truck. Thinking I may have the shop just replace all air lines, check valves, and the tanks. No idea what that'll cost me, but probably a lot less than having to get it towed and then having the service done! Don't have time to knock it out myself before our first planned trip.

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Filter numbers:

LF531 - Hastings # for oil filter

FF981 - Hastings # for primary fuel filter

FF980 - Hastings # for secondary fuel filter

Just got back from the Lee Hi service center, two hour job took all day 😛 Couldn't do an alignment due to the kingpins being too sloppy, mechanic said they're not dangerous, just too worn for alignment. Tie rod has been bent and attempted to straighten out at some point. Parts guy called the local Mack parts place who told them, "kingpins for a Midliner? Your truck's totaled! If we had it, it would be $600 a side." Fortunately they gave us the Mack part number for the rebuild kit. There must just be a lot of hate for these old frog-dogs, we found a half-dozen parts suppliers who at least show the rebuild kit in stock. So much for unobtainium!

Had them change the oil, fill the grease fittings, and check the transmission/rear end oil. Went to air up the tires and got a bulge in one. Kinda wondering now if the previous owner had deflated a little to hide dry rot, and I'm certainly surprised that the inspection place didn't mention it, being as how it was inspected yesterday morning. Oh well. Bought 6x used virgin tires as the steers were the least bad but also not great. Figure it's better to pay now than to have to pay sitting on the side of the road, or worse yet, cause an accident.

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160 mile trip down to Blacksburg for some stuff from the surplus auction. No problems, even did fine on the grade on I-81 south up to the Christiansburg exit. Glad we got started early, it's getting hot out there!

Amy had to run over to Our Daily Bread and grab a bottle of Evian and a chocolate croissant -- she said it seemed appropriate in a French truck 😛

The fan clutch seems to kick in around 180 *F and cut out at 160 *F. It cycles maybe every 5 minutes on the highway, more on hills. Anyone know if this is normal for Midliners with the Renault 5.5L diesel? The fan tried to eat the radiator at some point in this truck's life, wondering if it's just reduced cooling efficiency due to the loss of some tubes. Truck never gets over 180 *F.

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Up to Poughkeepsie, NY (I-81 to I-84) and back for work, no problems, 14 MPG on one segment of the trip! Picked up a piece of equipment at the old IBM facility up there, we loaded it at a dock and when we went to unload it, we found out it was too long to fit on the liftgate, so we ended up calling a rollback truck and getting it off that way.

Remembered to add body plugs and M6 stainless bolts and washers to my last McMaster-Carr order. Front grille and trimwork will get pulled off, cleaned, and repaired, then the whole thing painted. Figured I'd switch to stainless hardware for securing it since it'll look nice against the black trimwork and won't rust so bad. Didn't enjoy drilling out those fasteners when I redid the corner marker lights.

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Typesetting equipment?  You do have a range of interests!

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It's old typesetting control systems, but the computers inside are applicable to my day-job, which is repairing factory line control systems! Like old trucks, you find parts wherever you can get them :)

Put new west coast and round mirrors on yesterday, finally replaced the grille bolts with stainless from McMaster. Stuck a new antenna mount on the driver's mirror frame, waiting on a spring to come in. Getting ready to open the dash again and figure out where my instrumentation lights have failed. At least with the old frog dog, you don't really need speedometer lights at night -- it's still just, "keep foot on floor!" I'll try and get some pictures tomorrow.

I had to order a bigger tap wrench, apparently a Starrett 91C won't hold a 1/4" NPT tap. Went with a Wells Brothers #7 (same thing as a Greenfield #7). Needed a new bracket for the CB, ended up buying an entire CB 😛

After I'm done wrenching, it'll be going off to Lee Hi for new belts, hoses, a block heater, and a state inspection. Might see if they want to do the exhaust work to turn it up and out the top instead of the current ground level configuration. Both were factory options apparently. It'd be nice to have it out the top for those cold mornings when you end up having to do a walk-around while also fogging for mosquitoes!

Anyone have a recommendation for a place to get a custom bumper fabricated in central Virginia? I'm not having a ton of luck finding a replacement. The Mack dealer in Harrisonburg laughs every time we call up for parts :D

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Message  Steelman (Carey Leitch)  on here he's in Fredricksberg Va and might be able to fabricate one for you.

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Posted (edited)

Message sent, thanks for the suggestion!

Here's pictures, as promised:

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Here's a closeup of what I did to replace the messed up pedestal  marker lights on the front corners. The green dots above are body plugs where I removed those goofy black plastic things that were on the corners. Still not sure what they were supposed to be.

qyc0Mych.jpg

You can see they just masked off the old pedestal lights :) These little TeqNiq 3/4" grommet lights worked out excellent here, even though they're tiny and single LED they are *much* brighter than the pedestal lights ever would've been. I have two 2.5" combo amber LED/reflector grommet lights coming for the door skins, since the little rolled lip on the front of the cab does make the 3/4" markers hard to see from the side.

Needs a bath! Parking under a tree will do that for you. Anyone know offhand if there's a standard Alcoa wheel that will fit these trucks? I haven't measured stud spacing yet. Not a really high priority.

Edited by glitchwrks
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Mystery solved on the plastic tube. I saw it had 315 016 001 stamped on it. Turns out it's a Haldex automatic drain valve. You can still get them, looks like they're common in Europe and cost around $35. I like my fix better :D

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Drove the truck to the farm on Thursday, came through a massive downpour and thunderstorm around Covington on I-64. Came up Sandstone mountain in 3rd gear doing about 30 MPH. Offloaded the metal lathe and some other stuff, reorganized inside.

I took the opportunity, since it was hot and dry, to fix up some of the goofs on the box. I cut off the two bolts they'd used to presumably secure a sign to the side over some old damage, drove them into the box framing and caulked around them. Then I filled all of the rough spots where the box had been scraped and damaged over the years with clear silicone caulk, then squeegied it flat with a putty knife. Not as pretty a fix as Bondo + sanding, but it's very waterproof. Then I spray painted over the caulk. It really helped the look of the truck! I used up the last of the can of paint to touch up some spots on the cab, and spray the white-and-rust air conditioner condenser on the back of the cab.

Tomorrow I make a 400 mile trip to Michigan to pick up some typesetting gear.

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Back from Michigan with a truck totally full of typesetting control systems! Little truck did great, the only problems were in Ohio -- the roads are so rough, I lost both by speedometer and CB radio! I was able to fix the speedometer, the cable had completely backed out. I'll post some pictures later on.

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Nice that you had a good trip to collect your treasure except for the roads!

The Eisenhower System of Highways does have a "few" rough spots these days.

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That's for sure! It appears I had just the right preload on the rear leaf springs though, the load traveled very nicely. We'd apparently forgotten a 3-ring binder with manuals on top of one piece of equipment, it's still sitting where we left it.

Here's the repair I did on the driver's side of the box:

JILrGh0h.jpg

I put some clear silicone caulk in there and then squeegied it flat with a putty knife, and rattle canned over it. The driver's side had the bigger, uglier damage spots. The passenger's side had less visible damage, but one was a leaker and I'd filled it with silicone caulk some time ago. I tried to scrape the original patch job off, and couldn't do anything with it! It holds on really good to the box material, apparently.

Here's a look inside the box:

At4TtIfh.jpg

Pretty full! None of this stuff can really be stacked, it's too heavy and we didn't have a dock/forklift anyway. Had to manhandle everything with the liftgate. The pallet jack wasn't very useful inside the truck, so we mostly muscled the equipment racks around by hand. I'm glad there were four of us!

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