Monday, May 23, 2016

4 Runner Rebuild PART 2

Average 4:30 Minute Read 


     I left off in the Summer of 2015 in the last post where I had done all the engine work and some suspension. Well since I got back from a recent trip to Australia for a month I had the fire to get sheila ready for anything this upcoming summer 2016. I Finally felt like I was ready and have the time to do my dream trip, an epic surf trip driving to Panama, the end of the North American Continent!

     First thing is first I had been really really wanting to get some new paint on the truck for sometime now and I had a vision of what I had wanted. Since black is hot and just nasty I really wanted to go with a tan or desert sand as its called. Heard from a friend and after some research I found some reasonably priced military grade paint off a jeep restoration website called Gillespie. The other paint I used was just from Home Depot called Truck bed liner coating about $8 a can. Took me a solid day to prep the truck, between sanding, bondo, sanding, and more bondo. But once I got here all washed off and dried, I then acetond the whole car free of dust. Step two of the new paint job was lot's of
Moments after I finished painting!
taping and prep. The taping off took another few hours as well, For the painting equipment I just bought a small cheap gravity fed sprayer from harbor freight and it worked great!

     Now the painting begins I started on the roof and worked my way down, after each coat I took a bit to sand it down lightly with 800 grit, then blow it off and wipe it down. I did 3 coats then spent another few hours taping it off to spray the truck bed line along the bottom. After a long weekend Friday-Sunday from sanding, bondo, taping and painting I basically had a brand new truck! Everything came out pretty solid I was really happy with my new skills haha. Once the painting was done the list was endless, first up some sound deadner. I went with once again a reasonable alternative off amazon. Cleaned all the inside out vacuuming and simple green and then let dry so the noico sound deadner would adhesive properly. This stuff will help with not only sound but insulation keeping the metal body cooler and less rattling!

     The next big step was going to be making shelves and storage on the inside paneling. I wanted to
Rack installed
make storage on the inside paneling to get as much room as I could out of the inside. It took me about three days to build out the inside paneling and make the new door panels. I bought carpet from a electronic store that is usually made for sub woofer boxes and it's really easy to mold and bend over and glue down to all the wood paneling. During this time I had found a rack on for about a hundred bucks after checking it out I made the guy I deal for $85 and it was mine. I knew it was going to take a little bit to get the rack looking like I wanted it to, I got some proper brackets bent out of thick steel from my welder. I also got some expanded mesh metal for the bottom of the rack once I cut it to size I took it to the welder and got it all done at the same time. When the inside paneling was finished I moved on to rebuilding the control center under my dash. I wanted to redo the dash so that it was clean and easily accessible to redo wiring, see the gauges, and simplify the switches. To do so I basically removed all wiring that had been wired into the cab from my led bar, lights, horn, etc. I installed a fuse block to run one positive and one negative from the battery and into the cab. On to that fuse block everything was attached like the lights, horn, triple socket 12v accessory plug, LED Bar, switches, gauges, fan, inverter, etc.

Skyjacker 4" soft ride rear leaf springs
    Once finishing up all the paneling and wiring I decided to throw in the new seats I got. Well there not new, got them from the junk yard but there in good condition and will work much better with the setup I'm trying to do with my rig. I changed from one rear bench seat all the way across to the 50/50 style seats. This way I can have one up and one down to make room to fit in more surf boards inside the car.

     One of the last big monkey's on my back was putting the new leaf springs on the rear to hold more weight. It was not going to be an easy task but needed to be done, I had already ordered the new Skyjack 4" leafs so all the parts were ready. Took about 4 hours or so with the help of my mate and dad to get the truck lifted and stable, pull off the tires, u bolts, leaf eyebolts, and replace everything. Not an easy job but beats paying $500 bucks to a shop, and now the truck will ride smooth and not sag with the added weight needed for the trip.

     Well guys that is where I am leaving off on Rebuilding my rig Part 2, Part 3 will be out in a few more days and as of now I am 9 days away from departure!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rebuilding my 1985 Toyota 4 Runner PART 1

The day I bought her, May 2014
 Average 3:00 Minute Read


     Hey everyone since this has been a pretty big project to take on for myself with really no car mechanic experience prior, thought I would share a bit about my 4 runner rebuild. First off I bought her (sheila) for $2100 in Chula Vista, California. I had been looking for a solid few weeks for a car since I came home from a few month trip to Australia carless. I always liked the look of these older 4 runners and when I found out how reliable there are it was a no brainer. I also knew what I was getting into buying an older car, and that is exactly what I wanted, a project I could be proud, gain some knowledge, and have a hell of a time in!

     First things first I put some proper floor mats in :) got this idea I had seen in my buddy from Australia's van. I started with little things like the a rack I found on from a newer 4 runner, I just bolted and sealed mine onto the roof. I also bought some bumper ends to finish out the front bumper worked out great. After a few months I took a bit of a hiatus and did some more traveling but always thought about her and the vision I had to turn her into an expedition vehicle.

     When getting back home from a trip to Europe in the Spring of 2015 I was determined to get a lot more work done. So I bought an 11' x 17' carport tent and through it down in the front yard as my workshop, yes my parents are very understanding and supportive haha. The plan was to get the engine all tuned up and make sure it was solid first. I started with replacing all the necessities like spark plugs, spark plug cables, cap, rotor, fuel pump, air intake hose, battery, starter, belts, alternator, and anything in the engine compartment that looked a bit sketchy. During the work I did in the engine compartment I also replaced the fuel filter and moved the location of it which I recommend to any owner since its really located in a bitch of a spot! The fuel filter is just above the starter on the passenger side of the engine, when replacing it I moved it to the top of the wheel well with one bolt much easier to access now!

     After all of that I got finished in a few weeks I started looking at the front axle steering and suspension situation. I had a mate come by that knows a lot about all of this stuff, he promptly made a list of all the parts I would need to get her feeling good. I used amazon for a lot of my parts for this rebuild for a few reasons, they have literally everything on there I've looked for, fast shipping, great reviews which really help for parts like this on an older car. Also there return policy is great in case something doesn't fit which only happened few times to me fortunately. For the front end I replaced my tie end rods ( both sides), all shocks, brake pads, rebuilt my 4wd locking hubs with new grease and gaskets, and got my rotors turned.

     The shocks were next after I repainted the front end with undercoating, after a bit of research I ended up picking a Rancho setup. They aren't to expensive and have a good reputation and reviews. The front's are RS5115 and for the back I used the RS5143, the install is super easy. Took lil over an hour to install all 4 shocks, I also used hose clamps instead of the zip ties that come for the boots of he shock. I'd noticed since I bought the truck a rattling sound that kept getting worse and finally came to the conclusion it was the because the bottom of the muffler was rusting away. Found a shop nearby and it was about $150 for a new muffler, exhaust pipe, and a few new hangers, all good now! That portion of a few months about wrapped up the first part of  the rebuild that I finished in June 2015. The next blog post will pick back up in March 2016 a few months before departure of the epic trip.
Here are a few more photos of the project!

Monday, May 2, 2016

30 Days until departure for Central America

Average 2+ Minute Read 

     Hey everyone first off I have been horrible at keeping up to date in between trips and I'm going to hopefully do much better in the coming months!

     This next adventure had been on the list for awhile now. I have been dreaming of an over-landing trip and what better than Central America, the Mexican border is about two hours south from where I live. The rough plan is to leave June 1 take a week going down the Baja Peninsula to get to Cabo, there I will hang out with my family for a few days. The family will be down In San Jose Del Cabo for my sister who is competing in the Los Cabos Open of Surf June 8-12. We would then head up the east cape for some surfing and camping before catching the ferry in La Paz to mainland Mex. From the Mainland its basically the Pan American highway south towards Panama which is kinda the end goal of the trip.

     This adventure will be quite a bit different than any other trip I have done because of the border crossings. I have yet to deal with driving across borders much but I am pretty excited to learn the process and I think I will get it down quick with some of the experience I have. There will be 7 border crossings from California into Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and finally Panama. I have estimated the trip at being around 5,000 miles and hopefully take about 2-3 months to get there.

     My vehicle I bought about two years ago is an 1985 Toyota 4 Runner,  bought essentially for this exact purpose and the trip is finally happening! Since I bought the truck I had slowly been working on it, but in the last two months I have been wrenching on it every spare minute I have. I got an idea in my head for what I want the truck to look like and function like, pretty exciting seeing it all come together. I will be posting a blog update about the rebuild in the next few days, keep a look out for it.

     So as for now that is the update, come back next week to see the progress on the vehicle and my planning. Here is a quick route I had drawn out so far for the expedition.