Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bright on the inside dark on the out.

Since the last post there's been a fair bit of work to the old Beast.  Seems like I've spent a lot of time fixing things, so it was nice to get to spend some time making improvements instead of dealing with broken garbage.  The Beast turned 30 in May of this year, so I went out and bought a cookie cake to celebrate.  Me, the Beast, and the Yaris had a little party (I did give some of the cookie cake to my girlfriend but she wasn't in town at the time).  I'll go ahead and warn you, this post is going to be fairly picture-heavy.  I don't think anyone still has dial-up nowadays, but if you're on a limited data plan... just be warned.

30 years, 259k miles, and still going strong!

So to celebrate 30 years of being alive, I decided to give the old truck a few presents.  To start with, I decided it was time to finally get my map lights installed and to do something about that awful, horrible, smoke-stained, stanky-anus headliner.  I used the template David29 gave me with the map lights I bought to cut the headliner.  Then I had to yank the whole headliner out to actually install the mounting bracket, run the wiring, etc.

This was surprisingly difficult, the headliner is really thick

This piece of trim was not going to come off without breaking it :( You can see how nasty that headliner was here too.

After a lot of struggling with it, I ended up having to cut the headliner out.  You can see how absolutely horrifically dirty it was compared to the edges, which were under the trim pieces.

Roof was in really good shape. I decided to put some dynamat-like stuff up here to cut down on rain noise while I had the headliner out.
I bought some LED panels to upgrade the map lights and the dome light to LED festoons instead of the old "normal" bulbs.  They original bulbs worked but they were kinda dim and use a lot more energy than LEDs.  With the limited output on this truck's alternator, I'll save every miliamp I can for fun accessories. 

I had to do a fair bit of cutting/modifying to the dome light

Here it is with the LED panel installed.  I put it at an angle so it would kick more light forward into the front of the cab.

It is real bright

Like, real bright. Daytime bright.

Progress with the dynama-like stuff install. 
Converting the dome light was real easy.  Took just a few minutes.  Converting the map lights was a bit more involved.  I don't have pictures of the work in progress unfortunately, as it took a while to find something that worked.  Ultimately I took the map light apart, cut all the original bulb stuff away (including the bulb holder), glued a bottle cap to what used to be the bulb holder area (to raise the LEDs closer to the lenses) and then glued the LEDs to the bottle cap.  I could have sworn I took pictures of it... but I have no idea what happened to them.

So... yeah... they turned out a bit too bright
After retrofitting the dome light, it was time to do something about that nasty headliner.  I was trying to figure out a good way to re-upholster it or something.  I'd tried cleaning it every way the Internet said but that didn't work.  Buying a new one was out of the question, as shipping would be impossibly high and no junkyards around here keep D21s anymore.  Then my girlfriend said "what would happen if you spray painted it?"  I didn't see any harm in trying it, so I did.

The right hand side here is painted, the left hand side is the original dirty nastyness
Holy crap, she is a genius.  It worked beautifully!  I couldn't believe how closely it matched the original color too. 

Here it is all done
Since the headliner was all sorted out, it was time to get this project finished up!  I had to cut holes in the roof around the rear view mirror mounting location, as the 86 trucks were never equipped with map lights and didn't have the recesses for them.  This was so painful...

I had to expand the cuts a couple times to get them big enough.  This was the first go.

Wiring for the map lights and dash cam (future project) installed.
 This was a good time to go ahead and install those lighted Pathfinder visors I've had for a few years.  My passenger visor had broken anyway and just flopped around.  So I went ahead and installed the wiring for the visors while I had this stuff all out.

Headliner back in
 I left the back portion of the headliner out, as I'm going to install a roof-mounted gun rack back there.  I've got the gun rack already, but the install will come later.  I've got other things I want to do first.

Glorious Pathfinder visors.

Crappy cell phone picture, but you can kinda see how closely the spray paint matched the grey of the visors.
 My plastic rear-view mirror mount had been broken before and glued together by a previous owner.  It broke again.  Rather than try to fix that one, I made a new one.  Out of steel.

Let's see you break this, gravity.

Map lights and rear view mirror installed
 I tested everything and it all works :D  It's all running off the dome light circuit, which probably would have been overloaded if I hadn't converted to LEDs.  I did most of the work here from June to September.  In early October, I decided to go ahead and get the truck's windows tinted.  I've been wanting this done for years but just hadn't done it.  The time felt right, so I took it to the shop and got some mad tint.  32% up front (per AL law) and 5% on the rear windows and back glass.

Mmmmm.... limo tint.... delicious!

So, that's how we stand now.  My passenger side door lock has stopped working again, so I'll have to revisit some of my old 2012 posts to find how I fixed that the first time.  This time I'm going to use new parts instead of used ones...  Also, I've got some rock sliders sitting in my parent's garage.  Going to be installing those soon.  Not sure what I'll do after that... but I'm sure something will come to me :)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Few minor issues

It's been almost a year since the last posting to the build log.  Not much has changed since then.  Mostly I've just been enjoying my truck. I had a few more parts to be replaced, so this entry serves more to document time/mileage of replaced parts than anything else.  Truck currently has 258k on it.  I've removed the oil filter relocation kit, as it began leaking in late 2015.  It wasn't a big leak, but with the truck being lifted there's really no need for the relocation kit anymore anyway, so off it went.  In February of this year I had some overheating problems.  I had noticed the truck getting warm but it didn't seem to be a big deal.  Then one day on the way home the temp gauge got just right on the brink of the red during my very short commute from work to home.  I parked up and felt of the upper radiator hose.  It had no pressure on it and there didn't seem to be any coolant in there.  Did some more testing and determined it was the thermostat.  I just replaced the thermostat when I did the big engine rebuild but apparently the cheap aftermarket one just didn't hold up.  I bought a Nissan OEM thermostat from a dealership in New York (via eBay) and installed that.  Wasn't a huge deal to install, but while I was working on it I noticed that my radiator's upper "snout" had broken off.

The radiator that's in the truck is an aftermarket one anyway and it's been in there since I first bought the truck in 2012.  Who knows when it was actually installed, but it was very dirty and probably needed to be replaced anyway.  I got a new one from Amazon for $40 or so.

Old on the left, new on the right
For anyone else running across this, the new radiator had 2 nipples on the bottom of it that the old one did not have.  After discussing it with the guys on Infamous Nissan, they said these were only used on the automatic trucks as some sort of transmission cooler.

The unnecessary nipples
So I'd been noticing this "clunk" noise when shifting gears that sounded like it was coming from underneath the truck for a long time, but didn't think much about it.  I'd asked a few different people and they said that it could be a u-joint or transmission mount being loose or something like that.  I poked around under there a few times but never could find anything wrong.  In March of this year, I noticed that the truck would make a squeaking noise when I first started driving it.  Then it got to where the squeak was every time I accelerated.  I consulted Infamous again and was told that it could be a number of things but to check the u-joints.  Sure enough, the u-joint at the rear differential was bad.

It was a pain to get the driveshaft out.  Those bolts on the flange there (visible in the video thumbnail) were stuck tight.  Even my air powered impact wrench wouldn't remove them.  I ended up getting them off with a 10 amp electric impact wrench.  Ordered a couple Moog 269 super strength non-greasable u-joints from Amazon for $20/ea.  Once the shaft was out I pressed the old u-joints out with my Harbor Freight 12 ton.

As you can see in the picture above, the old u-joint was pretty trashed.  Both sides of that axis of the u-joint looked like that.  I pressed the new ones in and noticed that they were pretty hard to move.  Did some googling and found people saying that you could whack the ears of the driveshaft with a hammer to relieve some tension.  I did that and the u-joints flopped around with ease.  Put the shaft back in the truck and took er for a spin.  She's running smooth as silk now!

I've also got some more parts for my big electrical system upgrade...

More to come on that later this year hopefully!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Do you even LIFT?

For the last several months work has been pretty intense and there's just not been much that needed to be done. I just drove the Beast around and enjoyed that it worked for a good while.  I did have a couple more bulbs on the cluster go out, so I decided I'd remedy that permanently.  I bought LEDs to replace all the regular bulbs on the cluster, then swapped them out.  Shortly after doing this I found a good deal on a dimmer switch for the cluster on Infamous Nissan (mine only worked on dimmest or brightest) so I swapped that out as well.  Now I have a fully lit, fully dimmable cluster.  Here it is on the brightest.

Also, during the winter months I enjoyed spending some time with the truck in the snow.  I know we don't get near as much in the south as the folks in the north do, but it was still enough for me to do some 4x4 drifting :)

I've got some electrical upgrades in mind, so I bought some new battery cables from GenuineDealz.com.  I haven't installed these yet, though.  I hope to get to it soon. In the meantime though.... I finally took it to a shop and had the suspension fixed. Also got a 3" lift, a 2" body lift, new 17x10 wheels, and new 33" tires :)

Serious flipping business 2/0 cables

17.5" of clearance from frame to ground

Makes the Yaris look so tiny...
So this is how she sits at the moment :)  I just got it back from the shop today.  Still have some more to do, but the list is definitely shrinking.  Most of the remaining things are just cosmetic or electrical, shouldn't be anything that keeps the truck off the road anyway.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Got it running! (sorry for the lack of updates)

Allow me again to apologize for lack of updates.  The last few months have been pretty crazy.  Work's been busy, personal life's been busy, family things have happened, blah blah blah you don't care.

Anyway, when I left off in March I was in the just finishing up rebuilding the motor.  I'll pick up from there.

I cut the rest of the radiator core support out to make finishing up the engine work easier. Plus it needed to be removed anyway.  Tearing things up is fun. I finished up the engine rebuild and hooked all the necessary stuff up so I could test it before putting the core support back in.  The first crank was one of the most exciting things I've ever experienced :)

It was so thrilling seeing the truck fire up again!  I drove it around the yard a little bit just because holy crap it actually works!  My dog wasn't a huge fan of it running open headers, but she lived.

While I had the core support out I took some time to clean up a lot of rust and other garbage where the core support used to be.  I'm sure you can tell, but the clean shiny silver parts are what I cleaned up and painted.  On the driver's side you can see where the huge rust hole was.  I used the good ol' aluminum sheet, liquid nails, and rivets method to patch those holes up to (hopefully) keep it from rusting further.

Since I had the intake off anyway I figured it would be a good time to clean that up and paint it.  It was rusty and just looked like crap.  I used some 000 steel wool to clean up the "Electro-injection" sticker then sanded and painted the intake back to fairly close to what it was originally.  I removed the little vacuum system thing that was supposed to redirect hot air into the motor to warm it faster when it's cold since none of the tubing was there anyway.  One less potential vacuum leak.

I also installed a new A/C compressor, condensor, expansion valve, etc. and had all the rubber hoses rebuilt.

I forgot to put the flipping insulation on this the first time and had to redo it. Fun.
Once I got all that junk back together I painted the core support and installed that.  I read a bunch of conflicting posts online regarding bolting vs welding the core support on.  I have a huge brush guard and all that jazz so I bolted it.  Cry about it.

Since I had all that junk out anyway I went ahead and installed new headlight mounting housing things and an H4 conversion kit I got on ebay for 20 bucks.  It has glass lenses and all and seems to be decent quality.

I also got a new horn for the driver's side.  The truck was supposed to have 2 horns but one of them fell out somewhere before I ever got it due to rust.  I may be missing a few minor things here and there but I'm getting the main bits.  It's been a while...

I got the rest of the AC stuff installed and put the bumper/grille/etc. back on.  I don't know why I didn't take any pictures of that, but whatever.  Actually putting the front together took months just because I was lazy and busy.  I drove it around without a grille and with only 2 bolts holding the front bumper on from March to around August.  Anyway I'm getting ahead of myself, since it was running and in road-worthy condition, I drove it around the yard and around the block and various other places with open headers.  I think I mentioned before that I had to cut the old exhaust out.  I took it to an exhaust shop and had them build me a nice single in-dual out exhaust system.  Looks great when it's cold seeing the exhaust pour out of both pipes nice and even.

I like it :)  Sounds good too.  The truck's got a knock of some sort but it's been going on for like 4,000 miles so apparently it's nothing too important.  One of the lifters ticks too but whatevs.  I drove it for quite a while without issues, then the driver's side brake caliper went out on me.  This is the one that I rebuild rather than replacing back in March of 2012.  This time I didn't mess around.  I went to OReilley and bought the same caliper I have on the other side and replaced the whole thing in the parking lot at my apartment complex, lol.

Got my girlfriend to help me bleed the brakes, put the wheel back on, and the ol' truck's been stopping like a champ ever since.

Here's some pictures of the truck how it sits today.  I also got a new camera, as I'm sure you can tell. Those aren't HDR images, that's just how this Canon S100 rolls.

I've got some electrical issues to work out and some interior work I want to do.  Suspension will be the next big thing...

Thanks for reading!