1985 359 Peterbilt


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By BareMetalFab - Last Year
I bought an 85 359. It seems to have had a rough life. To no suprise she is worn out. Its got a 525hp n14 swapped into it, which runs beautifully. I bought it for 8k, and am looking to build it into a mobile welding truck. Turn some heads, and create some smiles. I know its not practical for a welding rig, but I'm more interested in the Cool factor and smiles per gallon. Hoping to get some insight, and learn as much as I can. I'm 22yo and run my own company, (Bare Metal Fabrication) I do have a little experience in the diesel world, but not much when it comes to an 85 359. Any help is appreciated! It does have an aluminum frame, (too bad it was hacked) but my custom weld bed will cover all that. So far the major things it needs are- syncros, clutch brake adjustment/replacement, new fuel lines, new tires, lugs and studs, axle seals, brakes, fix a few air leaks, it needs all new guages and switches, and lighting fixed. The wiring on this truck is a mess. Despite all thats wrong with it, she does run and drive well. Anyway its a neat truck and I think with a little love she will be a beauty.
By Brocky - Last Year
BMF, looks like you have a great base... When you say syncros, what transmission do you have?? Have you tried double clutching each shift, both up and down?? With a little learning / practice it will become an automatic maneuver for your left foot...The clutch brake is ONLY used to stop the transmission from turning when placing it in gear from a dead stop.. Do NOT use it for shifting while under motion..
By BareMetalFab - Last Year
It has a 10 speed. Reason I say it needs a clutch brake is getting her into gear, even with the clutch all the way to the floor you still can't slide it into gear. You have to give it a quick jerk to get it in gear. If you try it slow and smooth it grinds. And I say syncros because when shifting from high to low range, 6th to 5th, I pre select my low range before the shift, and no matter how smooth I do it I still get an awful grinding noise in the neutral position.
By Brocky - Last Year
Somebody that knows more about transmissions will probably chime in here and help, I hope??
Your clutch brake may have some adjustment?? That new a truck, it should be the 2 piece one which snaps over the input shaft housing so it can be changed thru the bottom bell housing cover?? As far as the grinding when going from the low to high side, or back, I have driven some trucks that have done it occasionally for over a million miles with no problems. Possibly the air shift servo may need a good cleaning to speed it up???
By BareMetalFab - Last Year
Thanks for the reply Brocky. I had my mechanic come look at it. Says its healthy, but a long way from being DOT approved lol.
By Junkmandan - Last Year
Basic clutch adjustment, by rotating the ring within the pressure plate, also resets the distance on the brake disc washers to give it more squeeze. .  Possibly 4-6 notches  clockwise on that ring might bring everything back  in proper adjustment .
By BareMetalFab - Last Year
Thanks for the reply Junkman. I was able to work a trade with one of my mechanic buddies to fix a few things for some powdercoating/welding work! I'm excited to get this project going.
By Aaron - Last Year
Most likely a clutch adjustment, should not be a big deal, the transmission if your trying to pre select before you have it out of the hole thats your problem don't do that, select when the stick is in neutral heading for 5th.
By BareMetalFab - Last Year
Why would pre selecting be a problem? That's how I learned to drive. Also I pre select on the way up and she is smooth as butter
By Stretch - Last Year
I never preselected when downshifting either.
Upshifting yes, downshifting no.
Just what I was taught.
By Aaron - Last Year
Many gear box instructions tell you not to pre select, the problem your having is because of that.
By Brocky - Last Year
BMF.
Here are a couple of pictures of a Pete similar to yours, with a sleeper, set up to pull a gooseneck hitch flatbed with cars on it that was at a local South Carolina show yesterday.
http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/88ff2679-040c-4084-9cfe-fc52.jpg
http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/e4e68a83-e060-423c-965d-c97f.jpg
By BareMetalFab - Last Year
I will try not preselecting on the way down and see what she does. Also an update for you guys! Found out why I was losing prime. Whoever went through the fuel system last put the wrong I ring on the check valve. The oring was way too big and just jammed in there. Also because of that the fitting worked itself loose and was sucking air. All new fuel lines and filter on it tomorrow!
By BareMetalFab - Last Year
Update for you guys. New fuel lines on, and replaced the oring on the check valve. Transmission "problem" was indeed just my driving. I'm not ashamed to admit that I dont know much about it. But I'm learning everyday. My clutch brake is a completely broken the ears that hold it from free spinning were snapped off. I picked up a new one and plan to put that on soon. Also the air leak I had in my park valve, turned out to be a cracked hose feeding the old windshield wiper switch. I'm switching those to electric anyway. So far most of the problems seem to be turning out minor. Does anyone have suggestions on best place for new guages? Id like to get everything working and updated to new style. Thanks.
By Aaron - Last Year
If you just need a couple gauges to replace mismatched that are there search e bay for what you need, most of the ga co's don't have all the ga's matched for what is needed.
By Junkmandan - Last Year
Stewart Warner used to be an industry standard for many makes and models .
By John Woge - Last Year
Aaron (3/16/2019)
Many gear box instructions tell you not to pre select, the problem your having is because of that.

Aaron, which boxes say to NOT pre select ? All the Roadrangers I've run since back into the 70s.....the drivers instructions say to pre select all range shifts and NEVER change the range selector while the stick is in neutral and the truck is in motion. I'm not a transmission mechanic at all, so never understood why. It never seemed to make a difference in the shifts though. I ran an SST-11 for a short time and don't remember the instructions on that....maybe never knew ? 
 
By Stretch - Last Year
We need to distinguish between range and splits.
By John Woge - Last Year
Stretch (3/28/2019)
We need to distinguish between range and splits.

We're talking about 10 speeds, so no splitter shifts.....but the old driver instruction manuals for 18s, one a '90, one a '97, in front of me....say pre select the splitter too. When I was taught 46 years ago, on a RTO-913, Dad taught me to shift the main first and bring the splitter back to direct as I was completing the shift on upshifts and pre select the splitter into over as you start to move the lever on a down shift. I shifted them this way for years. I wish I had a RTO-913 manual to see what it said.
The manual for my RTO-14615  ( '83) also says never move range or deep reduction levers while the main is in neutral and truck is moving 
By BareMetalFab - Last Year
Mad a few minutes to get under the truck and pull the old clutch brake out. Got a new one from napa for 30 bucks. Put that in and she glides into gear while stopped very nicely. Also I havent had any issues with shifting since I select low range in the neutral position, at a very low speed. I realized that I can idle along in 6th at a fairly slow pace, and downshifting further is rarely necessary. But I believe my speed was too high when I was trying to shift from 6th to 5th. I'm learning! (I'm 22yo and believe it or not I dont know everything lol)

By Stretch - Last Year
[b]John Woge
 Dad taught me to shift the main first and bring the splitter back to direct as I was completing the shift on upshifts and pre select the splitter into over as you start to move the lever on a down shift. I shifted them this way for years. I wish I had a RTO-913 manual to see what it said.
The manual for my RTO-14615  ( '83) also says never move range or deep reduction levers while the main is in neutral and truck is moving 

John,
To my mind, you are shifting the range or the splitter while you are in neutral because the lever is in motion while you are doing it. With a pre-select, as in up shifting,
it could be seconds or even minutes before you move the lever, push it the clutch, or ease up on the throttle to complete the shift. 
Now I'm confused. :(
By John Woge - Last Year
Stretch (3/29/2019)
[b]John Woge
 Dad taught me to shift the main first and bring the splitter back to direct as I was completing the shift on upshifts and pre select the splitter into over as you start to move the lever on a down shift. I shifted them this way for years. I wish I had a RTO-913 manual to see what it said.
The manual for my RTO-14615  ( '83) also says never move range or deep reduction levers while the main is in neutral and truck is moving 

John,
To my mind, you are shifting the range or the splitter while you are in neutral because the lever is in motion while you are doing it. With a pre-select, as in up shifting,
it could be seconds or even minutes before you move the lever, push it the clutch, or ease up on the throttle to complete the shift. 
Now I'm confused. :(

Stretch.....people think of pre selection differently. I personally think it doesn't matter on the range....but the splitter should be changed and the shift made immediately. I always wondered why Fuller keeps warning not to change in neutral ? When I get home tonight I'll scan some of these manuals
By Stretch - Last Year
[b]John Woge (3/29/2019)
Stretch.....people think of pre selection differently. I personally think it doesn't matter on the range....but the splitter should be changed and the shift made immediately. I always wondered why Fuller keeps warning not to change in neutral ? When I get home tonight I'll scan some of these manuals


John, 
I agree.
After shifting the same transmission for years, my body just does it automatically.
I had to sit and think for awhile to figure out what I was actually doing.