The fun, it burns. And it never stops, either.
In the last few days the Ford's had new batteries and some cable soldering work done, eliminating two of the four lead terminals and replacing them with the stamped steel lead-free style. The Mercedes, meanwhile, has had an '83 (or was it '84?) W123 300D turbo rebuilt and installed, along with a manual boost controller, W123 air filter housing which I still need to modify to take the W126 cold air intake, and VDO boost and voltage gauges. The voltage gauge is just something I had around, and it's taking up space until I get a VDO pyrometer to go in there; it's never a good idea to turn your turbo up without a pyro.
The Ford has been slower and slower to start for some time now, and I finally replaced the batteries with two new Wal-Mart specials. I called around to look at other batteries, but they had far and away the best deal; Five bucks cheaper to get 850 CCA than what the next competitor wanted for 650. I have the Nippon Denso starter so I figure I could start fine on 650s, especially here in California, but I'm planning to add a winch so the additional power is more than welcome. Only one of my batteries seems to be shot, but I also have a group 65 lying around which has finally given up the ghost, probably due to sporadic charging and general disuse. I'll take the bad battery from the truck and the loose group 65 in to get my core charge back.
The Mercedes has been both burning and leaking oil, so it was time to address the turbocharger. I pulled an apparently previously-rebuilt unit from a W123 down at Kelseyville Auto Dismantling, and rebuilt it again using a $40 kit from eBay. My tentative plan is to rebuild my original turbocharger using a $100 kit from MercedesSource.com, which is a much nicer rebuild kit in general, and remount that along with a new set of filter housing isolators. I enjoy the relative quiet of the stock intake arrangement. I installed the new gauges in the small storage cubby underneath the stereo, which does render that space even less useful, but that's not a big change as it was never very useful to begin with.
The extra-cheap manual boost controller I installed on the Mercedes came with a tee which is used to connect the boost controller itself remotely. This tee contains a check valve which never opened, causing overboost during testing, though I kept it below 1 bar via foot control, observing both the boost pressure with the boost gauge and the control line pressure with a pressure/vac gauge I picked up at Kragen some time ago. The control line pressure never went anywhere, so I knew there was something amiss with either the turbocharger or the boost tee, and it did turn out to be the tee. I drilled the hole out a little larger and substituted a heavier spring, which I cut down. If you blow through it very hard it's possible to make it chatter, so I suspect I'll be looking at still other options. I think the idea is to prevent vacuum from being drawn on the boost controller, but that seems unnecessary on a diesel, and I could probably just install a simple tee. Unless the air filter is very dirty, it's hard to pull very much vacuum on a diesel, especially with a turbocharger.