Builds KDJ95W-GKPSY Journal

Joined
Dec 31, 2019
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10
Location
Vancouver
I purchased a 2000 kdj95 with 149000kms from a japanese auction house through PacificCoastAuto and I imported it in Vancouver. It was a fun process. It was ready to pick up from the docks on Dec 25. One of the best days ever. Car started no problem. Drove it home in the thickest of Vancouver traffics, first time driving a RHD. Mixed up the wipers and turnsignals only once and merged the highway traffic at full speed ready to die.
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Big unexpected expense was passing out of country inspection so I can insure the car. Very few mechanic places are certified to give that inspection (mafia). I did mine in Canadiantire. They charged me ~300$ for installation of a little daytime-running-lights module and another lump $um for the in$pection itself. They failed me on a leaking rear shock, worn out break pads, non-rated tires and a misalignment. Fair enough. Luckily, I had purchased a lift kit( shocks, springs etc) and rotors and brake pads ahead of time. I adjusted my handbrake in the process. The rear shock top nuts are a pain in the ass to get to. You can tourniquet a strap with a screwdriver to rotate the shock while keeping a wrench around the nut. Be patient and dont strip the nuts.
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So I showed up for reinspection, and purchased a set of 4 new BF Goodrich k02 265/75R16 on condition I pass. Thats all that was needed - I passed inspection faster than I could blink. I immediately drove to the only insurance place that was still open and unloaded the paperwork of the century on some friendly unsuspecting insurance lady, 15 min before she can get off work and to her New Years Party. Hour and a half in, she was ready to snap my neck... I managed to come out of there alive with an ICBC(bigger mafia) -registered Toyota 8-seat wagon. Yey me.
 
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Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
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Location
Vancouver
I feel I should include an honorable mention here. Now that I had a registered Prado, I scrapped my rs25. We had good times buddy. 2 transmission and differential changes that I sourced on the fly out of a scrapyard in Prince George. Multiple times re-attaching the muffler cause it fell due to scrapping bottom on logging roads, on crossing creeks or due to a spinout on the highway hitting a snowbank and dragging for 300kms. Rallying in the mud and rain on abandonned logging roads in Tumbler Ridge. Thousands of k's on logging roads around Mackenzie. Being stollen and found with interior "tagged" and destroyed - was now starting with a screwdriver. Burning 1L of oil a week. Interior molded when water got past corroded top of widshield and car sat under a tree for a month. Last straw was when brake lines failed as I was going down a mountain in Osoyoos. Sorry to have to scrap you bud, but you tried to kill me.
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Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
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Location
Vancouver
Anyhow, 3 days later, I "test-drove" the Prado 1200kms to Drayton Valley AB through a snowstorm (picture from a later date not representative at all). Car and tires handled pretty good. Little bit of a knock. Very concerning.
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So here I am in Drayton AB just in time for the deep-freeze of the century with japanese coolant in the car. Good thing my friend made an offhand remark about it or I would've had to shoot myself in the head to save humanity the embarassment when my engine cracked. I hustle to Cadtire and get myself a gravity-meter-coolant-temp-rating-thingy. Coolant was rated to -10 Celsius and we are sitting at -9 currently and -15 tomorrow. So I get a couple of 50/50 and concentrate Prestone jugs and go about changing the coolant. Fun fact: to drain the coolant completely, you need to drain the radiator (easy) and the engine (impossible hard - the plugs location was unknown at the time, I'll show you later where it sits). Therefore my solution was to change the coolant in the rad, then drive for an hour on the highway untill engine heats up and rad coolant mixes with engine/airheater/transmission coolant, only to get a -5 Celsius decrease in my coolant rating for the procedure. Coincidentally temps were dropping by -5 C each day. So I had to do this coolant flushing and driving every night after work in the freezing cold after a 12day shift of running around in the woods. I did this for a week to get my coolant rated to -45 Celsius just in time for the "deep-freeze" of -42 C. Meanwhile car did not want to start because its diesel and oil was too thick. So I changed the oil and spliced-in a lower rad hose heater that I kept plugged-in through the coldest days. Thanks JDM Journeys to showing me the way.
 
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Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Vancouver
Fast forward. Its spring time and finally I have some time to work on the car. The knocking is still there and getting stronger at times but people keep telling me I am paranoid and its all in my head. I decide to postpone all suspension mods (lift kit is still not installed). I wanna make sure my engine is primo before doing anything else. The only way to find true peace is to take a look yourself and that means start taking s*** apart.
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So a little foreword to the s***show thats about to begin... From brainlessly scouring aussie 1kd engine facebook groups and youtube mechanic chanels, late at night, trying to fall asleep, I have deduced the knock is not in my head. 1KDs, as first introduced in later gen hiluxes and aussie 120 prados, suffer from leaking injector seats and from a egr system that reintroduces exhaust gasses back into the intake.

Leaking injector seats
Injectors sit right on top of the cylinder. Known problem is that, with time, injector seats(washers) leak, causing hot pressured air to leak past them, up the side of the injectors, melting the first rubber o-ring it encounters and carbonizes oil in the oil channel therafter. Making black chunky carbonized oil recirculate in the engine. Eventually oil gets carbonized so thick it blocks the oil pump filter in the sump and runs the engine dry. ALSO, when the engine sits cold, the now unbound oil leaks on to the injector nozzle causing it to malfunction and to squirt uneven amount of diesel. Uneven amounts combust unevenly, not on time, causing engine knock. With time, this knock can cause a cracked piston and serious endine damage.

EGR system
For some environmental purposes (I think), or to achieve lower combustion temperatures, or maybe just to f*** with people, exhaust gases are being cooled and put back into the intake. Dry abrasive particles being put back into the intake ... hmmm. Problem occurs when positive pressure oily-air from underneath the headcover gets shoved into the turbo intake and therefore mixes with those exhaust gas particles creating the nastiest black soot you've seen.

This is my intake manifold.
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That stuff is super sticky and clogs up the intake manifold and the underside of the intake valves. Goes into the cylinder on intake, slowly and abbrasively destroys your pistons and tarnishes your precious injector nozzles. Problem can be fixed by EGR blocking plate OR EGR restriction plate(recommended) OR ECU EGR delete AND/OR catch-can (various opinions here since you need a bit of lubrication in turbo and air intake).
 
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Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Vancouver
Anyhow. Plan is to change injectors, clean out whatever black soot I can find, adjust valve shims clearances while I am under the headcover, change the fuel filter and flush my coolant properly this time (find where the damn engine plugs is).

Under the hood.
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Intake side stuff removed.
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Stuck injectors trebuchet.
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Injector came out, engine almost came out with it..
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I was correct. All four injectors were compromised. With number one in the pic above being the worst probably causing my knock. The smell of carbonized oil after it came out reminded me of how old people smell. Injector fuel lines were corroded aswell, so new ones will be arriving from amayama shipped from Japan. Boy does it feel good that I undertook this job.

Regarding cleaning black soot. Best thing to use is gasoline. Any oven cleaners usually destroy aluminum. I learned that the hard way while desintegrating my aluminum toaster tray. If you do end up using oven cleaner due to frustration, dont leave it soaked for too long and clean out any residue.
 
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Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
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Location
Vancouver
So here I am having cleaned my injector ports, intake manifold, most of the underside of the intake valves, the egr unit. I have all new fuel lines, washers, misc rubber grommets for head cover, etc. All good to go. But its a slippery slope. I decide to try and adjust the valve clearance at the same time. As valves recede into their seats with wear, the clearance with the cam becomes smaller and needs to be adjusted to fit a certain range. For this car, this is done through the use of shims.

All valves on intake side were good and tight on exhaust side. So I started taking them off to measure their thickness with a micrometer to figure out what's the thickness of the new shim supposed to be. Do NOT have more than one shim out at a time, because when you rotate the crankshaft, the camlobes will destroy the edge of your shimless valve buckets. Trust me. Also this job is a pain in the ass to do without proper tools. I thought I would be able to wing it and just use a couple of screwdrivers, but after 4 hours of pure stubborness, I went online and bought Schley Products 88250 tool. The 88250 tool is tool small for this engine and therefotre useless.

Anyhow, as I was putting a shim back into its place, I dropped it inside the engine. Yes. Inside. Out of view.
It went pretty far in from the sound that I remember. It took me a full day to recover emotionally. You cant really see anything with the head still on the engine but I believe I dropped my shim in this hole:
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I stuck a camera in there and did not see anything. Then I stuck the same camera with a plastic magnetic attachment and the attachment broke inside that hole. So now I have 2 things down there somewhere. I went and bought another more solid magnet and stuck it far enough to where the crankcase sits and still did not fish anything out. So next step was removing the oil drain pan to take a look from the other side. Oil drain pan removal is close to impossible on 1kd and 1kz. There are 22 bolts and 2 nuts that need clairvoyant abilities to be able to access and locate. But before you can even get to these, you need to chisel out in chunks the oil-pan-insulation-guard-thingy because it wont come out on its own after having removed its 4 bolts. Then finally, when you have all bolts and nuts off, the oil pan wont drop more than 2 cm before hitting your front diff. Now front diff has to come out. Which means front tires off and tie rods off and lower balljoints off just to get the CVs off. But it cant be that easy. Since when you unbolt everything off of your frontdiff, it still needs to go up and over the supporting crossmember. Except when it goes up, it immediately hits the engine casing. So now you need to jack the transmission enough so it lifts the engine out of the way so you get an extra centimeter trying to wiggle out this 50kgs front diff on your own without it grabbin brake lines, fuel lines, vacuum hoses, coolant hoses.

So far I am stuck somewhere in the middle of those steps. Im thinking, now that the front diff has to come out, it will be a perfect opportunity for a front locker install. Probably should do all the suspension upgrades that I've been postponing. Why not just take every single component apart just because? Right? Work has started so that means I wont have access to the car untill fall. Hopefully everything works out. But so far I feel I am losing it.
 
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Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Vancouver
Had a week off work and flew home. CV axles came out. Splines were stuck in the hub and after 30 min of hammering I decided to take the whole hub off. Lower ball joints are very loose even tho they look good. I ordered new ones from Rockauto and will be replacing those Friday.
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With CV axles out of the way it was time for the front diff to come out. Had to remove passenger side bracket, breather hose bracket and pull the breather in order to twist the front diff. Twist so the drivers side goes down, then push whole thing up and over the crossmember and drop onto self. Very painful.
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With the front diff removed, I was clear to attack the oil drain pan.
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Here is the bottom of the engine with the oil drain pan removed. Found a little ruber gasket clog up on mesh of oil pump filter as you can see in the photo. Nothing important.
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Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Vancouver
Now the good news. Here is what I was after.
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Shim was sitting in the oil drain pan. Plastic magnet attachment from my cheap camera was stuck on the edge of the hole next to the cylinder - circled in red.
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