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unusual noise when switching into the second gear - other gears are fine
I think if they're not producing noise at this time they could still be working, remember using the truck on a city would result using 1st and 2nd gears all the time, so these will wear the most.
how can I measure the amount of fuel injected into a diesel engine in real time in a purely mechanic pre-OBD vehicle?
Diesel engines do not need electricity to work at all, in fact (as wikipedia states here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_engine) it's called compression-ignition because the fuel ignition is started when compressing air+fuel gets to the point of making the mixture explode. After starting the engine you may disconnect all electric devices, battery and alternator included and the engine will continue working unless you obstruct air inlet.