(Build) The Mighty Betty (1 Viewer)

clay763

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My wife named it, I told her it was too cliche (...black betty), but I did not win the argument.

The day I picked her up from the gentleman who liaised the transaction between me, the small town dealer, and the Japanese government.
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She's a 1990, VXL 1HD-T, twin locked, 130k km. Cosmetically not in great shape, but relatively rust-free, starts fast and runs well. The shop that did the acceptance inspection told me the automatic cold start device (ACSD) had a leak, and I would need to pay $800 after labor to fix it, also said I needed to replace the A/C system since it was leaking as well, they couldn't give me a firm number on that. I politely passed, had the A/C charged, and mysteriously both leaks have since stopped. The BIRF's, however, are leaking... to be expected.

BASELINE LIST:
Clean, clean the previous owner out of existence.
Remove P/O's shotty stereo wiring.
Wax/polish.
Get a cover for the off time.

Fix leaking sunroof/windshield.
Replace weatherstripping.
Change oil/filter.
Change diff/transfer oil.

Swap coolant.
Flush ATF.
Front-axle rebuild.
Rear-axle rebuild.
Differential breather relocation.
Brakes rebuilt/bled.
New rotors/pads.
ACSD delete.
Kickdown/Throttle cable adjusted.
Replace sticky throttle cable.
Replace the speedometer cable.
Change the fuel filter.
Valve clearances.
BEB's changed.
Universal joints changed.
Driveline greased.
Turbo oil leak fixed.
Catch can installed.
Shock bushings changed.
Sway bar bushings changed.

Replace antenna.
Replace leaking A/C lines.
Fix broken seat mounts.
Remove carpet, install deadening and vibration damping material.
Replace center console fridge with Dometic.
Seal all holes, firewall plugs.


MODS TO DO:
EGT/Intake temp/boost gauges.
Seat covers.
Head unit.
Wireless charging pad.
Rewrap/deaden console.
Center console removal.
Install a Dometic center fridge.
Prado series shifter.
Prado transfer case shifter.
7 inch round light kit + grill.
Small aux light bar.
Onboard air.
12V in the back.
Drawer system.
Roof Rack/RTT.
Raptor coat (Cement Grey).
Intercooler.
Manual boost controller.
Winch.
Rear bumper with a spare tire swing.
OME BP51's with 3-inch lift springs.
35" tires, steel wheels.
Re-gear (maybe...)
Flare delete/low profile mudguards.
Rock sliders.
Front bumper.
AUX battery in the rear.
Traction board/Hi-Lift/shovel mounted.
Waterproof mat to replace the carpet.
Gullwing/sliding rear windows.
Awning.
3-inch exhaust + dump pipe.

I'm sure I'll think of more.






Here she is several hours later...
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I don't have a lot of space or tools to work with, I am also going to be deployed 5 of 12 months per year, so this build won't get ambitious until I get back to the states with her. At that point, she will be stripped to the bones and built for tough tracks. For now, it's all about baselining, reliability, and restoring the little things. The main thing I am excited about is learning to REALLY maintain a vehicle, all my past 4x4's have been newer Toyota's, which have needed not beyond an oil change. That and having an excuse to buy more tools.

Little dude approves.
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clay763

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Jan 23, 2020
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Playing catch-up a bit with progress, time has been short, but a few things have been addressed.

The steering wheel had a distinct wobble, which luckily was not a worn-out column, and was simply a loose nut. Disassembly of the Nardi wheel was a juggling act of springs and small pieces, as was reassembly, but it was not impossible. A simple retorque of the large nut in the middle solved the wobble for good. I only honked the horn on accident twice. Not bad.

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clay763

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Messages
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Betty had a distinct clunk every time she went over a bump, or turned abruptly, was not hard to find the source of this...
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That is the front left upper shock bush, the others looked fairly similar.

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Thanks to Specter Off-Road, a set of new poly bushings were all the way in Japan in about a week.

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The upper front right was stuck half-installed for about a week, as the nut seized on the Pro-comp shock about halfway between off and tight. Hammer, freeze off, liquid penetrant, WD-40... nothing worked. And with the threat of stripping the flat top of the shock, I had to think hard about my next move. Finally, I was able to source a blow torch, which had the nut off in a matter of seconds... and I can also make creme brulee now.

Anyways, for anyone who has worn bushings, this job's payoff in terms of time and money to improvement in the ride was enormous. Very simple job. I've already ordered a number of other bushings to replace, looking forward to that.
 

clay763

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Messages
90
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Some rust busting, steel brush, sand paper, and some paint make quick work. CRC sells a product here called "chassis coat black", which seems to work great for many different applications, and matches the factory black as far as my color-blind eyes can see. Applies well so long as you clean and prep the surface.

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Won't be the last of the rust removal. The Japanese have a process of coating the entire undercarriage with a black spray each time the vehicle is inspected on a bi-yearly basis ("Shaken" inspection). They just spray, they do not prep. So there is likely some rust hidden under the glossy black underbelly. But, I don't see any signs of serious corrosion (bubbling, flaking), so it should not be extensive.
 

clay763

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Had a productive day in quarantine yesterday, adjusted the throttle and kick-down cables into spec. The kick-down was straight forward, the throttle took some back and forth. In the end, similar to the bushings, it drove like a different truck... astronomically better.

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So the way mine was currently set, the linkage did not contact the "idle screw" or the "full speed" screw. So it did not have the travel from idle to WOT to fit the requirement of the manual. In this case, my idle was within spec, so I adjusted the idle screw to meet the linkage, then adjusted the cable to ensure it met the full speed screw at full depression of the pedal, then backed off the cable slightly to provide some slack. Here is the final product.

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clay763

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Messages
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Now, as you can see in the picture above and below, the kick down cable is at 6mm, with a goal of 0-1 mm.

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Zero is within spec...

I recommend checking this if your truck feels sluggish or hard shifting. Easy fix, improved the drive multitudes.
 

clay763

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Messages
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Goodies came from Specter Off-Road today... more poly bushings and rear stabilizer link kits. Along with an oil filter, drain plug and crush washer. Rotella T6 is on the way as well.

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Finished changing the lower front shock bushings, minimal tools required, simple job if you don't seize a nut on like I did on the top. Helps to clean the threads well with steel wool.

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In with the new, out with the old.

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As with most things, the first side takes the most time (and freeze off, and penetrant, and blowtorch...), anyways I recommend first loosening the bottom mounting bolt (12mm on both sides, I used a ratchet and a spanner), then you can remove the top nut by holding it steady with a 10mm spanner and rotating the link. This is a lot easier than undoing the top nut one ratchet click at a time. The SOR kit's came with a castle nut and pin, no need to Loctite and torque.

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clay763

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How she sits now, with the sidesteps removed. Gives it a much better appearance. Next on the list is to replace the bushings on the front stabilizer links, one of which is completely gone, and I suspect is the source of an annoying rattle at every bump.

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clay763

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Finally had the time to get around to a full wash/polish/wax job. Used a random orbital polisher, then hand waxed. Learned my truck does not have a clear coat... and I'm also fairly sure it was burgundy red at some point also, some chipped spots around the flares and badging gave way under polish.
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Oil, filter, drain plug, and new Rotella T6 finally were all in the same place. About $120 all together for an oil swap... not what I'm used to.

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clay763

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Ever since I got her, there was a distinct metallic rattle over any bump. Nothing aggravates me more than rattles. Figured out it was the bushing for the front stabilizer bar links, rather the passenger side's lack of a bushing. See below, right is the shredded remaining bushing from the passenger side, right is the driver side.
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On a side note, probably the two most invaluable tools I have had while wrenching on this rig are my 8-10 & 12-14 ratcheting spanners. So many nuts have been in such a tight space, that only a few inches of rotation are possible, these save a considerable amount of time.
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New bushings, nuts, and lock washers.

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clay763

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Might be a coincidence, as we all know correlation does not mean causation, but I think the premature wear of the bushings on the passenger side may have come from the oversized bushing around the stabilizer bar, which was so tight it prevented any sort of rotation during flex, likely putting more stress on the bushings. Luckily, I hade a decent condition one from the rear, which I replaced with a SOR bushing a few weeks ago.
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Noticed a good amount of surface rust on the stabilizer bar and front control arms, might be a candidate for powder coating when they are removed for suspension install.
 

clay763

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Finally got a chance this weekend to accomplish a much needed task... draining and filling the diffs and transfer case. I did not go Synthetic this time around, simply because my only source of diff oil is the on-base supplier (we're locked down out here, base only). However, what he could supply was exactly what the FSM called for, and cost under $100 for all 3.

Found some shavings on the rear drain plug, but nothing of substantial size (small enough it was soft to the touch), however, there was not a lot of fluid in the front. As I suspected, the fluid leaking from my BIRF's is diff soup. Knuckle rebuild will have to wait until post-deployment though. At which time I'll switch to full synthetic, especially since I know you can get it IN A BAG.... this would have made my life so much easier had I known such a thing existed. My fuel siphon pump worked a charm though.



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clay763

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Been a while since I was able to update, out of the country for some time. Finally got around to deleting the ACSD, which had been leaking diesel since I got the truck. Kit from @mudandrock was easy and all inclusive, I highly suggest reaching out to him if you need to complete this. I wasn't able to find much in the way of a step by step on this, so I will do what I can to contribute one. It is fairly straight forward, but it can be tricky.

Here's the kit from mudandrock.
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The coolant lines to the ACSD which you will merge with the barb fitting have clamps, but I found it more secure to use the included hose clamps.

Step one: Remove the kickdown cable to give yourself some working room by loosening the adjustment nuts enough to pull the cable free from the holder. Then remove the nut that holds on the cable track, removing that and placing it out of the way. See below.

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Next step is to remove that bracket from the IP and place it out of the way. You can leave the AC idle up device attached, just stow it out of the way further back toward the firewall. You will not put this bracket back on until the end.

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The item with the two hoses out the aft end is your ACSD, the circled hole in the middle is where the "long screw" went. The last two screws holding it on is the top circled one, and the one on the bottom underneath the spring and actuator.

At this point, I chose to deal with looping the coolant while the ACSD was still attached. This lets you deal with it one at a time. Use a touch of WD-40 and needle nose pliers to slide the hose clamps back (arrow above). Get your bucket ready below the chassis, you will spill coolant. I suggest removing the bottom one first, this one will leak minimally if you keep it pointed up, you can then slide on the hose clamps (both) and barb joiner. When ready, pull the top one off and quickly reconnect it to the bottom hose. Slide a hose clamp to each side, tighten it down, coolant loop is done. I'm still working on a good way to secure this and prevent chaffing on other items.

Prior to joining the hoses, you could shorten them if you feel so inclined. It will make it neater but more irreversible.

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Next step is to remove the ACSD via the two remaining screws as previously pictured. IMO, easiest way to do this is to remove the spring loaded part of the ACSD by undoing the nut in the center of the spring. You will need to prevent it from rotating to break the torque on it, I was able to do this by hand, YMMV. This will leave the bolts nice and exposed.

Once the bolts are off, the ACSD should be loose, once you pry it off you will dump a good bit of fuel out of the IP, have your bucket ready.
 

clay763

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Once you pull it off, check to see if the O-ring came out with it or remained in the cavity. If it remained, extract it if you are going to replace it (recommended).
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I found the easiest way to get the blank off and o-ring installed in this tight space is to screw on the plate with just one screw, then rotate it out of the way and insert the o-ring and sliding the plate back over. Insert the second short screw, drip some blue loctite over both, and tighten them both down.
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As much as I hate the phrase, reassembly IS the reverse of removal. The spacers in the kit are designed to replace the ACSD and allow you to torque down the "long bolt" previously mentioned. Easiest way to get it reinstalled is to tape the spacers together into one unit to slide over the long bolt. Makes it much easier to get back together in the tight space.

Once everything is back together and you are ready to start the truck, prime the fuel system by pumping the round black primer on top of the fuel filter until you feel "significant" resistance. Once that is done, turn the ignition, and it likely will not start for a few seconds, if at all. If it does not start, prime the fuel system again, you will notice the primer is easy to depress again. This is simply purging the air you let in when you removed the ACSD.

Mine started the second attempt, runs great now. It used to start as soon as you so much as thought about turning the key, now it starts normally. Runs significantly smoother down low, earlier power delivery. My ACSD luckily had no signs of damage, so I think the only issue was the leaking.
 

clay763

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Finally got around to changing the fuel filter. Cleaned out the primer and surprising amount of gunk on the water sensor. Side note for anyone else whose filter was installed by Hercules... the below placement, with nuts installed, is a great way to gain leverage and positioning to remove and install the filter. Just make sure you don't remove it (or the water sensor) all the way before tipping it back upright...or else you're going to have a bad time.

Fuel Filter part # reference (1990 HDJ81): 23303-64010.

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Beautiful rig... Looks like a good project to keep you busy between deployments.

In case no one has told you already, when you import her into the US, you might want to fill her up with all of the diesel specific consumables - oil& fuel filters, gaskets, hoses, etc... And maybe even some of the other consumables that may be harder to source in the US
 

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