This Thing is a Death Trap -- Please Help

Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 8.57.44 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 8.58.16 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 8.58.29 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 8.58.44 AM.png
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
So I've posted the above images already in another thread and gotten help already and searched various threads, but I wanted to seek some fresh advice on where to proceed with this thing.

So far, it has a new VCG, NGK plugs and wires, PCV hoses, valve and grommet, and also new curved heater hose and little hose kits from witsend.

Even so, I'm just feeling overwhelmed by this project as this thing is just so ragged out I don't even know where to start. I was going to start with replacing the tires and brake pads F/R. I had a few other questions though, based on the images above:

1. It feels like a 1950s land yacht on the highway, swaying back and forth, vibrating and wobbling at 70+ mph, and it also pulls to the left hard. What is the best bang for buck fix for this? I'm thinking new sway bar bushings, shocks, and maybe panhard bushings?

2. Is a complete bushing overhaul doable as DIY? What about springs, shocks, and tie rods? I've never worked on suspensions before and don't have any specialized tools. Any part of that which would be best left to professionals?

3. Anyone know how to fix the transfer case to AT seal? Is it worth doing?

4. Is it easy to overhaul PS pump and other steering components DIY? I think most of the fluid under the truck is steering fluid.

5. Is it worth taking off the upper intake again and putting money in to EGR or just wait to delete it when/if the truck needs a top end rebuild?

6. Is it worth flushing the coolant and replacing with Green? Looks to be orange universal stuff, but I don't want to risk mixing colors. My temps range from 190.4-194f on the highway, and creep towards 200f idling in traffic. The most I saw was 205f going up a steep country road.

7. The front crank seal, dizzy o-ring, and oil pump cover gasket were all replaced in 2014/205k miles. Is it common for them to leak again so soon? Maybe I need to switch to a heavier oil?

Sorry to make another thread, I'm just looking for some hope with this project and wondering if I should just cut my losses when the title comes in. I feel like this thing is about to fall apart, especially if I take it down a trail. I read they were designed for 25 years, so maybe this thing is on its last legs and needs a full restoration. I suppose I was too foolish to see through my rose-colored glasses, against the advice of experts. Thanks for reading.
 

cvenom96

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 14, 2015
Messages
494
Location
Frederick, MD
How many miles on the truck? I'm going to assume it hasn't had new bushings etc for recommendations.
  • New control arm bushings are completely doable on your own. Either get a 20 ton press from Harbor Freight or take the bushings and arms somewhere to have the new ones installed. Tie rods are not hard. Get a simple screw-type tie rod removal tool or a pickle fork. I like the screw-type because it doesn't tear up the seal if you need to take it apart later. If you can purchase the tie rod links (the tube between them) I'd do that.
  • Shocks/springs: More than likely the springs are starting to sag. Mine sat lower than stock by the time I put the lift on. Not sure what your plans are for the truck but even going with stock height and load spring from OME/Dobinson/Ironman/etc you're going to see a nice improvement in ride and handling.
  • Seriously consider sending the steering gear off to RedHead or West Texas offroad (I think that's the name) to be rebuilt. More than likely you've got a worn sector shaft so it drifts all over highway right? You can rebuild the power steering pump or get a new one from Toyota. I like to keep my old stuff as a spare. Again it can all be done by you so long as you invest in a decent set of tools.
  • The EGR is there for a reason so replace it if it's needs it. There's certainly threads on how to but I'd vote to retain it. Just my opinion.
  • It's always worth it to do a complete flush and switch it over the the Toyota red. Change the heater control valve while you're at it. It might look fine but it's probably about as solid as a piece of mud and will likely come apart as your removing it. Consider replacing or upgrading the cooling fan. You can pick up a blue hub Aisin pretty cheap. It certainly won't hurt it.
  • I suppose it's possible if the truck sat for awhile the replaced orings on the distributor and oil pump could have dried out again but seems unlikely. Get a kit from Wits-End. Time it to replacing the fan and doing your cooling system flush since you'll probably want to remove the radiator anyway for more room.
  • U-joints just pull the shafts and take them somewhere to press in new ones. Maybe the same place that presses in the new control arm bushings.
  • Pretty easy to flush/change the fluids yourself. Plenty of how-to's on here for that.
  • Brakes should include knuckle rebuild on the front since it's probably never been done or not recently. Not hard but messy AF.
  • Replace everything rubber. Coolant lines, transmission lines, vacuum lines. It's all going to need it.
The main thing would be to think of how soon you want to take it offroad or whatever. If you look at it all at once, it's going to overwhelm you. Start with the easy stuff and work your way to the difficult projects. I bought mine about this time around 2015 and this summer was the first time I seriously took it wheeling because of all the little things I wanted to make sure where solid so there would be no issues out on the trail. Beat on it hard twice now and it's been completely solid so it's worth it.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
How many miles on the truck? I'm going to assume it hasn't had new bushings etc for recommendations.
  • New control arm bushings are completely doable on your own. Either get a 20 ton press from Harbor Freight or take the bushings and arms somewhere to have the new ones installed. Tie rods are not hard. Get a simple screw-type tie rod removal tool or a pickle fork. I like the screw-type because it doesn't tear up the seal if you need to take it apart later. If you can purchase the tie rod links (the tube between them) I'd do that.
  • Shocks/springs: More than likely the springs are starting to sag. Mine sat lower than stock by the time I put the lift on. Not sure what your plans are for the truck but even going with stock height and load spring from OME/Dobinson/Ironman/etc you're going to see a nice improvement in ride and handling.
  • Seriously consider sending the steering gear off to RedHead or West Texas offroad (I think that's the name) to be rebuilt. More than likely you've got a worn sector shaft so it drifts all over highway right? You can rebuild the power steering pump or get a new one from Toyota. I like to keep my old stuff as a spare. Again it can all be done by you so long as you invest in a decent set of tools.
  • The EGR is there for a reason so replace it if it's needs it. There's certainly threads on how to but I'd vote to retain it. Just my opinion.
  • It's always worth it to do a complete flush and switch it over the the Toyota red. Change the heater control valve while you're at it. It might look fine but it's probably about as solid as a piece of mud and will likely come apart as your removing it. Consider replacing or upgrading the cooling fan. You can pick up a blue hub Aisin pretty cheap. It certainly won't hurt it.
  • I suppose it's possible if the truck sat for awhile the replaced orings on the distributor and oil pump could have dried out again but seems unlikely. Get a kit from Wits-End. Time it to replacing the fan and doing your cooling system flush since you'll probably want to remove the radiator anyway for more room.
  • U-joints just pull the shafts and take them somewhere to press in new ones. Maybe the same place that presses in the new control arm bushings.
  • Pretty easy to flush/change the fluids yourself. Plenty of how-to's on here for that.
  • Brakes should include knuckle rebuild on the front since it's probably never been done or not recently. Not hard but messy AF.
  • Replace everything rubber. Coolant lines, transmission lines, vacuum lines. It's all going to need it.
The main thing would be to think of how soon you want to take it offroad or whatever. If you look at it all at once, it's going to overwhelm you. Start with the easy stuff and work your way to the difficult projects. I bought mine about this time around 2015 and this summer was the first time I seriously took it wheeling because of all the little things I wanted to make sure where solid so there would be no issues out on the trail. Beat on it hard twice now and it's been completely solid so it's worth it.
I replaced the HCV valve with an OEM unit. If I flush I'm gonna put in prestone green or maybe Xerex asian red as I can't justify the cost of the OEM stuff right now. I know some people swear by it though.

As for the front end, I was just gonna re-grease it for now as there are no clicks or weird noises even at full lock.

I'm kinda wondering which of these jobs would be more cost-effective being done at a shop since I'd have to tool up and buy jack stand etc. Stuff like the knuckle rebuild is a definite DIY thing since it takes so many hours, but maybe with stuff like tie rods and bushings I'd just be pissing in the wind and not saving much in the process? idk..
 

Devils Paw 80

SILVER Star
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
4,261
Location
Dzantik'i Heeni
4. Is it easy to overhaul PS pump and other steering components DIY? I think most of the fluid under the truck is steering fluid.



6. Is it worth flushing the coolant and replacing with Green? Looks to be orange universal stuff, but I don't want to risk mixing colors. My temps range from 190.4-194f on the highway, and creep towards 200f idling in traffic. The most I saw was 205f going up a steep country road.

7. The front crank seal, dizzy o-ring, and oil pump cover gasket were all replaced in 2014/205k miles. Is it common for them to leak again so soon? Maybe I need to switch to a heavier oil?
4. It's not easy but can be done. What color is the fluid? With new/rebuilt it should be red ATF fluid. Even though new pump from Toyota is way more expensive, it's recommended as aftermarket units have a bad rep for failing prematurely. It's also recommended to replace high pressure line when doing this job. This one is cheaper than Toyota, with good reviews. 80 Series, New High Pressure Power Steering Hose, 93-97 - https://www.cruiseryard.com/80-series-new-high-pressure-power-steering-hose-93-97/
6. I wouldn't bother.
7. Shouldn't be leaking too much so soon. You may be right, most of the leak is PS fluid. How often do you have to top it off?

Not sure you can do any of the suspension work without jack stands. Search this forum or online for Otramm videos to learn how to do some of these.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
4. It's not easy but can be done. What color is the fluid? With new/rebuilt it should be red ATF fluid. Even though new pump from Toyota is way more expensive, it's recommended as aftermarket units have a bad rep for failing prematurely. It's also recommended to replace high pressure line when doing this job. This one is cheaper than Toyota, with good reviews. 80 Series, New High Pressure Power Steering Hose, 93-97 - https://www.cruiseryard.com/80-series-new-high-pressure-power-steering-hose-93-97/
6. I wouldn't bother.
7. Shouldn't be leaking too much so soon. You may be right, most of the leak is PS fluid. How often do you have to top it off?

Not sure you can do any of the suspension work without jack stands. Search this forum or online for Otramm videos to learn how to do some of these.
The fluid looks like sewer water: really nasty and brownish. To be honest I had no idea it was supposed to look pink, and I haven't topped it off yet, though I think the shop might have when I had it in for am inspection. the level looks about full when I check it.

What's so difficult about replacing the PS pump? I'm not sure about a full steering rebuild at this point honestly; maybe down the road but I'm thinking for now just the pump, tie rods, and also the hose like you suggested.

There are also some leaks from the oil pan gasket and possibly the rear main.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Do that. The shaking at speed is almost certainly related to tires. The pull to the left could be a sticking brake caliper.
Yeah the PO was a nice lady but she was so cheap with this thing, she couldn't even get a full new set of matching tires. Hopefully that didn't hurt any of the running gear.

You reckon I'd be good just replacing the pads?
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Messages
1,244
Location
Oregon
Also, every task can be overwhelming the first time you try it. I rebuilt my power steering pump and the steering gear using Gates kits from RockAuto, the FSM, and the excellent write-ups on this site. It takes a pretty minimal set of tools, but quite a bit of persistence (*especially* those recirculating ball bearings in the steering gear!).

IMO, bushings can be a pain because it can be difficult to find the right size press tool. I get a lot of use out of my press, using it to bend steel, but for most people it would probably just collect dust once they're done with the bushing job. So, I would recommend calling around to see how much local shops would charge to change them for you. Bring the parts in off the vehicle to reduce cost.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Also, every task can be overwhelming the first time you try it. I rebuilt my power steering pump and the steering gear using Gates kits from RockAuto, the FSM, and the excellent write-ups on this site. It takes a pretty minimal set of tools, but quite a bit of persistence (*especially* those recirculating ball bearings in the steering gear!).

IMO, bushings can be a pain because it can be difficult to find the right size press tool. I get a lot of use out of my press, using it to bend steel, but for most people it would probably just collect dust once they're done with the bushing job. So, I would recommend calling around to see how much local shops would charge to change them for you. Bring the parts in off the vehicle to reduce cost.
Ok thanks. so you'd also recommend rebuilding the whole steering gear now instead of just doing the pump?
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Messages
1,244
Location
Oregon
Ok thanks. so you'd also recommend rebuilding the whole steering gear now instead of just doing the pump?
If it's leaking, yes. I don't think you can really tell what's leaking with so much accumulated grime. I spent a *lot* of time under my rig with a plastic putty knife and a steam cleaner trying to get it clean enough to see what was going on.
 

Devils Paw 80

SILVER Star
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
4,261
Location
Dzantik'i Heeni
The fluid looks like sewer water: really nasty and brownish. To be honest I had no idea it was supposed to look pink, and I haven't topped it off yet, though I think the shop might have when I had it in for am inspection. the level looks about full when I check it.

What's so difficult about replacing the PS pump? I'm not sure about a full steering rebuild at this point honestly; maybe down the road but I'm thinking for now just the pump, tie rods, and also the hose like you suggested.

There are also some leaks from the oil pan gasket and possibly the rear main.
Check this out, and the accompanying thread he links here at Mud. You may need to rent, borrow or buy a couple tools. We found crow's foot wrench the way to go rather than flare nut for removing the box line.
 

sxp

Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
282
Location
Portland, ME
The fluid looks like sewer water: really nasty and brownish. To be honest I had no idea it was supposed to look pink, and I haven't topped it off yet, though I think the shop might have when I had it in for am inspection. the level looks about full when I check it.

The color is probably due to a mix of fluids in the system. Somebody probably put power steering fluid into the reservoir instead of ATF. Flush it out and replace with ATF. You can even use a vacuum pump to suck it out of the reservoir if you don't want to try to drain it.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
The color is probably due to a mix of fluids in the system. Somebody probably put power steering fluid into the reservoir instead of ATF. Flush it out and replace with ATF. You can even use a vacuum pump to suck it out of the reservoir if you don't want to try to drain it.
That seems like an easy mistake to make: putting power steering fluid in the reservoir. In fact I had no idea you were supposed to put AT fluid in there.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
If it's leaking, yes. I don't think you can really tell what's leaking with so much accumulated grime. I spent a *lot* of time under my rig with a plastic putty knife and a steam cleaner trying to get it clean enough to see what was going on.
I was gonna order the PS pump rebuild kit from witsend and a new pump from partsouq and follow the threads on that, but I guess I may not get off that easy if you're saying the gearbox itself can leak.
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Messages
1,244
Location
Oregon
I was gonna order the PS pump rebuild kit from witsend and a new pump from partsouq and follow the threads on that, but I guess I may not get off that easy if you're saying the gearbox itself can leak.
The steering pump is pretty easy. You just need a vise and it's critical that you have some kind of soft jaws so that you don't damage the teeth on the gear when you pull it. I would advise ordering a new woodruff key (p/n 90280-05008, I think). Mine got a bit mangled removing it, but it sounds like others didn't have a problem with it.

The steering gear is a whole other level. It's a PITA getting the ball bearings back in, and at least one of the Teflon seals was really finicky about going back in. Plus, there's the issue of setting the preload correctly. It's probably worth sending that to a reputable rebuilder unless you're a weirdo like me.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
221
Location
Northwest Arkansas
The steering pump is pretty easy. You just need a vise and it's critical that you have some kind of soft jaws so that you don't damage the teeth on the gear when you pull it. I would advise ordering a new woodruff key (p/n 90280-05008, I think). Mine got a bit mangled removing it, but it sounds like others didn't have a problem with it.

The steering gear is a whole other level. It's a PITA getting the ball bearings back in, and at least one of the Teflon seals was really finicky about going back in. Plus, there's the issue of setting the preload correctly. It's probably worth sending that to a reputable rebuilder unless you're a weirdo like me.
So once you have the pump out you have to do the steering gear also? Could I possibly reuse the old pump and just put in new seals from the Witsend kit?
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
5,243
Location
Across the pond, and upside down
So, most of this stuff sounds fairly typical of a 25+ year old vehicle that's been a little unloved. You ain't the first to feel overwhelmed with a long laundry list.
I will say, your mechanic has given you a thorough list. He's done his due diligence, and flagged everything he's seen that needs work.
That list doesn't give a ranking, or priority to the things that 'should' be fixed.

Most of it is stuff you can deal with a little at a time.
Take what you read on mud with a healthy grain of salt. OCD runs rampant in here. There's a hell of a lot of good info too.

A lot of this stuff is important, but maybe not urgent. Focus on safety related items first. Treat these as IMPORTANT and URGENT.
don't get all chicken little and make unimportant stuff urgent.

The floating steering should be a priority. At the very least, do some investigation and research to understand the cause, and assess what is URGENT, deal with that first.

Same with brakes. If it's stopping OK at speed, grooved rotors, and low pads are important, but maybe not the most urgent. Same with dirty brake fluid, and dirty coolant.
1. It feels like a 1950s land yacht on the highway, swaying back and forth, vibrating and wobbling at 70+ mph, and it also pulls to the left hard. What is the best bang for buck fix for this? I'm thinking new sway bar bushings, shocks, and maybe panhard bushings?
Best bang for buck, check front wheel bearings and knuckle stud nuts ASAP.

Lay under the truck, and have someone rock the steering wheel back and forth, look for excessive movement at tie rod ends in particular. Then panhard rod bushes, wheel bearings, knuckles etc
2. Is a complete bushing overhaul doable as DIY? What about springs, shocks, and tie rods? I've never worked on suspensions before and don't have any specialized tools. Any part of that which would be best left to professionals?
Yes, it's doable at home, but you typically need a shop press and some pucks to press old bushings out, and new ones in.
Alternative, remove arms, rods etc and take to a shop to have them swap out bushings.
Get under the truck with a pry bar, and wiggle control arms at the bushing. If cracks visible open up when prying at the links, it's definitely time to replace them. If they aren't visible crumbling, deal with the ride and focus on immediate problems.

Springs and shocks are doable at home. About the only thing a highlight jack is useful for.
Springs are likely low on the priority here, shocks higher priority.
3. Anyone know how to fix the transfer case to AT seal? Is it worth doing?

4. Is it easy to overhaul PS pump and other steering components DIY? I think most of the fluid under the truck is steering fluid.
PS pump is not to bad if you can find a good guide or how to to follow

5. Is it worth taking off the upper intake again and putting money in to EGR or just wait to delete it when/if the truck needs a top end rebuild?
Low priority IMHO

6. Is it worth flushing the coolant and replacing with Green? Looks to be orange universal stuff, but I don't want to risk mixing colors. My temps range from 190.4-194f on the highway, and creep towards 200f idling in traffic. The most I saw was 205f going up a steep country road.
make sure you flush thoroughly before adding any coolant. Particularly if it's not ovious what's in there.
This is what was found in an engine of mine after mixing coolants

20211021_182910.jpg


7. The front crank seal, dizzy o-ring, and oil pump cover gasket were all replaced in 2014/205k miles. Is it common for them to leak again so soon? Maybe I need to switch to a heavier oil?
Don't change to a heavy oil, its a band aid, or a mask, and you'll potentially cause other problems.
Sorry to make another thread, I'm just looking for some hope with this project and wondering if I should just cut my losses when the title comes in. I feel like this thing is about to fall apart, especially if I take it down a trail. I read they were designed for 25 years, so maybe this thing is on its last legs and needs a full restoration. I suppose I was too foolish to see through my rose-colored glasses, against the advice of experts. Thanks for reading.
So, now the rose coloured glasses are off, decide what you really want, and what you can realistically manage.

If you're happy with a project car that needs a lot of neglected maintenance done, settle in and enjoy the ride.
Prioritise what you do first, and tackle a few small things at a time.
Be prepared to spend a few $K over the next couple of years IF you do stuff yourself, and so for best value on parts.

If you don't have the skills, tools, shop space, or inclination to take on an ongoing project car that's gonna nickle and dime you for the duration, maybe cut your losses and get out now.
If you have to pay for all work, it's gonna bleed
you dry unless you have deep pockets
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom