Sunday, January 5, 2014

Yay cosmetic things! Aww.... Engine failure :|

So last time we left off where I had just finished getting the bed rail installed.  Shortly after the last post I got that finished up, then my grandad took a turn for the worst and passed away.  Here on out, I'm dedicating the truck to him.  I was hoping to get the bed rail painted and whatnot before he passed on (I knew he wouldn't like it in pink) but that didn't happen.  Anyway, between that happening and then me moving, progress got delayed for a bit.  I digress.  I got the sanding done (I didn't sand it down all the way to the metal for the most part, just knocking the surface paint off and roughing it up to allow my primer/paint to adhere better, also to get rid of any rusty spots where the paint had chipped.  Painting the rail in the truck wasn't real fun, but it wasn't terrible either.

Taping bits of magazine and those big black garbage bags all over the truck helped me keep the black paint off the rest of the truck.  After I got the whole thing painted, I got some lights off Amazon.  These are "Tuff LED Light" brand rated at around 1200 lumens.  I wanted two facing forward and 2 facing rearward (to use as reversing lights).  The bed rail already had holes for installing lights, so I yanked all the old wiring the previous owner of the rail left in it and bought some shiny new wiring, again from Amazon.  Amazon is the best place I've found for wiring, switches, etc. just FYI.  I ran the wiring through the bed rail, then through a hole in the bed, along the frame and up to the cab.  There just happened to be an unused grommet under the seat :)  I cut a hole in this and ran the wires (in loom) up through this and through the same channels the rest of the wiring under there used.  It worked out well.

Here you can see the grommet with the wire loom exiting
Wire loom going out of the bed rail and through the bed
The switch beside the power mirror adjustment knob is for the forward facing lights, and the one below the dash dimmer is for the rear facing lights.  I originally wanted them side by side and still would have preferred that, but there just wasn't enough room.

So I finished this a few days after grandaddy's passing and took the truck out for a spin.  I was pretty excited about the lights being on there and was anxious to try them out.  I drove it around a bit and then when night came I headed out to test the lights out.  Man, were they awesome.  I was super impressed with the dispersion and how far the light was cast.  Then I noticed my temperature gauge.  This was late September, so it was still hot during the day, but at night it was nice and cool.  Well, my truck was sitting at the red line.  I knew one of the head gaskets had been gone for a while (I could smell coolant in the exhaust and had to refill the coolant regularly) but it wasn't too bad, as long as it wasn't real hot and I didn't have to stay stopped a long time it was fine.  Well, now apparently both of them had gone and it didn't take long at all for it to get hot.  I drove it around a bit the next day and it got very hot rapidly.  I shut the truck down and parked it for a fair while.
Sometime I also installed this oil filter relocation kit, but I don't remember when, lol.
Months pass...

My car started acting up one day and a whole bunch of other junk.  It was a stressful time with money being short and Christmas coming up.  I was behind on some credit card debt and some other stuff anyway and it was just a bad time.  I was stressed and didn't know what to do.  Borrowing vehicles, paying for rentals, hemorrhaging money like a stab to the jugular.  I decided I'd just reach into savings and pay a shop to rebuild the Beast's engine for me.  I had gathered all the parts over the last few months, but I'd never done this in depth of work on the engine before and was pretty nervous, plus nobody has time for that.  I called a shop and they were like sure bro bring it over here and we'll fix it.  They kept it for a few days, then were like "LOL J/K too many rust" and gave it back to me.  :|  Frustration to the max, yo.  Feels were raging faster than the Ocoee river and I felt like setting the world on fire.  I decided to get after the car again see if I could figure out what was going on.  Previous attempts had failed.  It was misfiring, barely running, throwing a million codes, etc.  I cranked it up that day, and it was like "lol bro I was just joking" and has been working ever since.  I'm glad it's working, but I really wish I knew what the crap happened.

I digress.

Since the shop are a bunch of punks with minuscule testicles, I got after the truck on my own.  Started yankin stuff off this old guy like it weren't no thang.  My buddy that's helped on some other bits of the truck helped here and there, but for the most part I've done a good job of making progress on my own.

That intake manifold was stupid difficult to remove.

Remove things so I can remove things so I can remove things so I can remove things so I can remove things.
Got that nasty leaky piece of trash of a water pump out of there.  It was the 26 year old original water pump.

Heads off
Heard you like gaskets
 Apparently whoever sortof almost tried to fix some things on this engine before was a complete douchetard.  He didn't bother cleaning the gasket surface before when the pump was leaking, just used silicon and a new gasket over the top of the old one.  What a champ.  I got a surface prep kit and an angle air grinder thing and went to town, finally got all that stuff off.  It took forever.  While doing that I got a bunch of degreaser and whatnot and cleaned the front of the engine as best I could.

So flipping shiny amirite?

 You can see in the picture above that there was still a lot of nasty head gasket residue left over.  This, luckily, wasn't as bad as the water pump gasket, so I was able to remove it using the razor blade method that seemed to be favored around automotive forums.  The gasket residue came off easy enough, but the exhaust manifolds were being stubborn.  I had new ones because the whole exhaust system is one large mass of rust, but these have rusted together so hard none of the bolts will move at all.  I'm going to have to just cut the exhaust free, then take it to a shop and get them to build me a new exhaust.  I've got the new heads sitting in the garage and hopefully will have a couple of little gaskets I was missing in in a few days.  Once those arrive and I get the exhaust out, I can start putting stuff back together.  I found so many problems with this truck along the way.... one of the intake pipes had a shotgun bore cleaner brush stuck in it, for crying out loud.  A ton more hoses were cracked, rotten, leaking, or just missing completely.  It's a wonder this thing ever moved.

After I'm done with it, I really hope it runs like a champ, and runs for another 250k+ miles.

In memory of J.M. Burns January 1937 - September 2013


  1. Dude, you're making my 4runner look pretty weak. Great work man.

    1. Eventually you'll have time to turn yours into an awesome SHTF BOV, I'm sure :)

  2. queria saber os pesos de aperto da cabeça do motor da nissan d21 agradesia que me respondesem obrigado

    1. The head bolts need to be tightened:

      tighten 22 ft lb
      tighten 43 ft lb
      loosen all bolts completely
      tighten to 22 ft lb
      tighten to 47 ft lb

      Hope this helps

  3. Where did u get that guard on your front bumper

    1. I bought it from a guy on, he worked for a Nissan dealer in Atlanta so he hooked me up with it. They are very, very hard to find.