Simple (Cheap) Improvements to our great vehicles

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Dec 1, 2018
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RATTLES: I drive alot on Mexican washboard roads and cobblestone streets and these conditions have shaken apart the three 100 series I have owned down here. So I am constantly tightening and replacing missing parts. My most recent rattle repair cost a cartridge of high quality caulk, and two hours of easy work - no special skills or tools needed. After tolerating an engine hood rattle for long time I started by adjusting the two posts at front corner by manually screwing them in or out as needed to remove play, and remain aligned with fenders - no improvement to the rattle. Gently striking the outside surface of the hood sheet metal, discovered the source. The Araco built 2004 model, as we all know, are bulletproof - but after 17 years baking in the sun, the adhesive caulk Toyota uses to attach this sheet metal to the hood frame underneath has changed from flexible cushion to solid, rigid carbon. These pieces of hard carbon fall into the hood frame channels and rattle and sound like a snare drum. On this hood frame are over 40 locations where Toyota placed the original adhesive caulk to secure the hood skin. The following steps resulted in a major noise/rattle elimination:
1. Remove the insulation pad under the hood. When removing the 12 plastic holding pins, they are near useless, so buy some aftermarket pins with large retaining rings to use upon completion. Note: avoid the 400% mark up at Autozone and find them at your local hardware store.
2. With a bright colored crayon or colored electrical tape, mark the +40 wide sections of the hood frame where Toyota placed the original adhesive caulk. This will help you find thes spots when your caulking gun wants to keep flowing from one spot to the next.
3. Try to remove as much of the carbonized caulk as possible, but some will remain. Not a big concern as the new caulk will tighten this potential rattle up.
4. You want to pump in a healthy amount of caulk at each of the 40 spots. To make these easier use a strong putty knife, broad flat screw driver or specialed pry tool for pulling your interior panels. Do not apply too much force to avoid damage to your outside hood surface. When you remove the pry tool, your new caulk will be pressed into new location, and hood skin will be bonded to your hood frame.
5. After caulikng all +40 locations, leave the insulation pad off, and hood remain open for 24 hours for the new caulk to cure and bond properly.
6. Re-install the insulation pad, close the hood, and try the gently pounding of the hood again. MAJOR IMPROVEMENT, and +40 rattle points gone! Repeat every 10 years or 100,000 miles - whichever comes first!

Caulk used: FLEXTEC Polymer by Henkel/Resistol, but any quality silicone gasket maker will work. Do not be concerened with caulk overruns and crayon markings on this job because all work will be covered over by the insulation pad.
 
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Nov 16, 2019
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New tires:

Look for used Toyota Tundra wheels with good tires on them. Nearly all tundra wheels will fit, just make sure you get the 5 bolt pattern (5x150).

Craigslist is a great place to find somebody's take off tundra wheels with good tires. The wheels should come with good tires mounted and balanced, all you have to do is install them on you're cruiser.

If your new tundra tires don't hold air pressure as well as you might like, put half a can of fix flat and a new valve core in. An added cost of about $5 per tire will ensure no slow leaks to frustrate you.

You can easily replace your tires for around $350 if you buy some used tundra take offs with good rubber on them.

Caution: your current spare may not be useful if you go this route. The size difference between a original cruiser tire and the tundra take offay be enough to cause transmission, differential, or transfer case problems. Be sure your spare is the same size and within 2/32 of wear on the same make and model of tire if you need to have a spare.

I've thought about buying two sets of tundra wheels with the same size and model of tire so I have 4 spares if need be!
 
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RUBBER MOLDINGS - EXTEND USEFUL LIFE
A great product I have used on my three Land Cruisers - Honda Genuine 08798-9013 Silicone Grease.
This lubricating / moisturiing grease will improve your dried out rubber molding and trim. I apply in liberally (one full tube) for every piece of window, door, engine bay - literally anything rubber. In addition to reviving the rubber, it seems to expand the volume/size of the soft rubber around windows and doors. I have noticed improved wind noise and filtration after every treatment.
APPLICATION: With a folded paper towel or small sponge, wipe down every piece on the TLC, and let it sit for 24 hours. After fully absorbing the lube, wipe off all excess ( use this on an adjacent lesser vehicle). Use Q-tips in crevices.
It isn¡t cheap, but much less than the cost and installation of new rubber moldings. In my history of 20 years owning Land Cruisers, I have never had a cracked or damaged rubber molding - they remain like new with this treatment.
I used to buy on AMAZON but today noticed it was no longer available. But check out the reviews. As a last resort, you should be able to find it over the counter at your local Honda dealership - the usually keep this stuff in stock.
 
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Using this Honda Genuine 08798-9013 Silicone Grease grease is the key to keeping your sunroof and windows sealed well. A well sealed window or sunroof means three things.

1 - Better seal between the window and the rubber seal/channel. This translates to less road/wind noise inside the cabin.

2 - Smoother window operation. This is due to a decrease in drag between the window and the rubber. Also results in longer window motor life.

3 - Decreased likelihood of leaks from sunroof. By keeping the rubber from cracking and becoming brittle.

Other great uses for this: rubber engine mounts - O-rings - CV drive boots, etc.
 
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Using this Honda Genuine 08798-9013 Silicone Grease grease is the key to keeping your sunroof and windows sealed well. A well sealed window or sunroof means three things.

1 - Better seal between the window and the rubber seal/channel. This translates to less road/wind noise inside the cabin.

2 - Smoother window operation. This is due to a decrease in drag between the window and the rubber. Also results in longer window motor life.

3 - Decreased likelihood of leaks from sunroof. By keeping the rubber from cracking and becoming brittle.

Other great uses for this: rubber engine mounts - O-rings - CV drive boots, etc.
One tube will go pretty far, right?
 
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The most I have ever used on a complete Land Cruiser is 3/4 of a tube. If you use a small sponge to remove whatever grease is not absorbed (after 24 hours) - you can use this same sponge to wipe down all rubber on your second favorite vehicle. I do mine twice a year and am always impressed with the imrpovement on road and wind noise on the interiror. The cost of a tube should run between $15 - $20 USD. Worth every penny!
 

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