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EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/23/20 4:08 p.m.

Are you coming to the rallycross this weekend?

rustybuckets Reader
7/24/20 7:57 a.m.

In reply to EvanB (Forum Supporter) :

Shooting for Sunday! Had some family stuff come up so definitely out for Saturday. 
which means a Saturday night push to tie up all my loose ends, but I'm hopeful lol. 

nsogiba New Reader
7/24/20 11:01 a.m.

The car looks great, you're doing all the right things in maintaining it. Remember that the ride height is adjustable and you can easily lower the car to suit your needs. 

I just sold my 2000 C5 FRC with an LS3 in it, love the body style of those cars. 

rustybuckets Reader
7/24/20 5:09 p.m.

In reply to nsogiba :

I've never driven an ls3. That's a good swap for power! 
And I Probably won't lower it at all- I bottom out enough as it is lol. But it does look funny. Pros and cons, I guess. 

rustybuckets Reader
8/6/20 6:56 a.m.

I am selling Bettie.

Short reason: I'm always fixing something, and she's too much car.

Long reason: I was told in the beginning of this thread “..mister, she sure does go some...” but ''the niggly little crap is enough to drive one out of their mind". This held true. She is great though, and I'll always have fond memories, but I want to move on before I become bitter.  She's so fast, harsh, visceral, and I love that, BUT... I am not a good enough driver for her, and she is too capable for a road car. I have to drive at 6/10ths to stay within impound/instant death speeds. If I go above that and make a mistake, say overcooking a long sweeping corner, I'm likely dead. I can gun it from a stop light and be at 100 in no time, which is obviously fun, but I have grown accustomed to that and the adrenaline surge is no longer there. Those reasons, along with the ever growing insanity caused by searching down new squeaks and rattles, and I know it is time to move on. It was a rather tough choice to make.

What's next? I've put a deposit on pimpm3's 1999 Toyota 4runner 4x4 5-Speed and I'm going down to Florida next week to look it over/pick it up. Strange replacement, but I suppose I have a daily (Acura TL), a rallycross car I'm building (Audi A4), and my other "fun" car will be the 4Runner. I've never had a truck, or a 4x4 anything, so this will be fun to try out.  I did the boy-racer thing with the 2008 Civic SI, I am finishing up a muscle/sports car phase, now I can try out the off-roading phase. If I love it, I may make it my daily, sell the Acura TL, and move onto another fun car; most likely a Fiat 500 Abarth. They sound amazing, and I think it's time to retry the "slow car fast" thing. If I don't like the 4Runner that much, I can sell it and move on to the Abarth, keeping the TL. Either way there's some more car-swapping going on. 

It's bittersweet, But I am looking forward to the future too.


rustybuckets Reader
8/12/20 7:49 a.m.

OK, was a sad moment, but sold Bettie.

I am just going to keep this build thread going. I will need a moderator to change the title.


And in classic GRM tradition, I will start the build thread for the new car before I get it lol. This week I pick up the 4Runner! I am pumped. Florida to Ohio drive over the weekend. Hopefully uneventful lol.

As far as build threads, the first thing I want to address is rust prevention. Our last few winters have been mild, and I will probably just drive my *somewhat* beater Acura all winter, but no sense in not protecting the truck, especially with their known rust problems.

Here's my plan:

Undercarriage will get a power wash and assessment. ANY rust spots (even the smallest bit!) will get ground, Loctite rust extend applied, rust reformer paint, and rustoleum enamel paint over that. After paint the undercarriage will get a cosmoline spray and then fluid film spray through a cheap airless paint gun. I chose this because the cosmoline has staying power, but the fluid film seems easier to spray. I see no reason that they would not help each other. Missed spots of cosmoline will get covered with fluid film, in theory.

The inside of the frame rails are going to get power washed with this flexible power washer extension:

After drying, (may have to drill some drain holes), they will be assessed for any surface rust to see if I can treat them, and then I am going to use a paint sprayer and various extensions to spray cosmoline "rust-veto 342" on the inside of the frame rails. I should be able to check coverage with my endoscope pretty well. Probably 2 coats of that. I will probably try to get the fluid film in there too.

I chose against any sort of undercoating since it could trap any problems IN the frame. I chose against POR-15 since It has been peeling off the Acura, even though I followed application directions to a T.

Any advice/caution/problems I could be causing? I am going to coat the Acura undercarriage in Fluid film first too so I can get some practice lol. 

rustybuckets Reader
8/16/20 5:47 p.m.

Successful trip down to Florida to pick up my new (to me) 4runner from Pimpm3. I had a worried moment right when I pulled out with a stuck throttle cable- turned out to be a grommet the stuck in the throttle mechanism. For the 900 miles back, not a single problem! Got it home and did a little climb near my house. I promise it's steeper than it looks lol. 

Overall the car looks great. Some surface rust on the bottom, nothing major. I'll take care of it all before winter (and I may not drive this in winter. We'll see). 


So I fixed a few small things in the hour or so of free time I had. Here's painting the bumper before and after. 

Then I tidied up the engine bay a little- zip tied some loose wires, cut off some plastic connections that didn't attach anymore, etc. 

I have a shake at about 70mph coming from the front. I'll get the tires balanced to rule that out, but hopefully fix it. Next will be all fluids and spark plugs.  Then my surface rust painting and cosmoline routine will be a full go. Other than that I don't have much planned. 

pimpm3 (Forum Supporter)
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/16/20 9:04 p.m.

Looking good! It was awesome getting to meet another GRM'ER.  

I like the painted bumper, it matches the rear bumper now.

I am glad the truck went to a good home, enjoy that thing.

rustybuckets Reader
8/17/20 7:24 a.m.

In reply to pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) :

I definitely will! And yeah, always good to met someone from the forum! I'm following along on your builds when I see them pop up.


Plans for this week, or at least soon: I purchased all my fluids (minus oil as I hit a quick lube on the way back). And spark plugs are in the mail.

I think this thing is going to be fun to work on - it's the first vehicle I have ever had that I don't need to raise/jack up to service. I just get on my creeper and slide under. As far as driving, it's also the first vehicle I've owned that will go over bumps/potholes/curbs/etc without bottoming out or breaking a bumper. I like it. I have actually aimed for curbs lol.

pimpm3 (Forum Supporter)
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/17/20 4:02 p.m.

Add the lower ball joints to you to do list.  They are a common failure point.

Spring for the OEM Toyota ones people have had problems with aftermarket.

rustybuckets Reader
8/17/20 4:25 p.m.

Just looked that up - doesn't look fun! Thanks for the heads up. Any other abnormal failures on these you know of, I'd love to hear - Toyotas, or offroading in general, is completely new to me!


I ordered OEM Toyota. Hopefully I'll get to it soon! Time to start spraying all the bolts I need to get lol.

pimpm3 (Forum Supporter)
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/17/20 5:47 p.m.

The lower ones should be pretty straight forward, they unbolt.  

Nothing else I can think of other than a set of bilstein 5100's.  That thing should be good to go for years to come.

rustybuckets Reader
8/18/20 8:36 a.m.

In reply to pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah those look pretty easy! Weird that the forums don't suggest doing other parts at the same time but I will have a shop check play in everything when I get the tires balanced.

Ordered my ball joints, fluids, spark plugs and wires, PCV, fuel filter, air filter, grease for the driveshaft, etc., etc. So a long list of stuff to do (90% stuff I do with any new to me car), but all pretty easy. Then just time to enjoy it!

I am painting the roof rack right now so it matches the rest of the trim.


And I have been severely lacking working on the soon-to-be rallyx car, so I reinstalled the seats and cleaned some grounds. Not much, but it visually moved the needle on the "to-do" list, and that helped my feeling of "too many things to do"!



russ_mill Reader
8/24/20 6:30 a.m.

I began baselining the 4Runner, and starting the rust rehab well before winter arrives. Here's my supplies (The volvo tires are snow tires that need moved over to the Audi - also my Audi roof panel is being made at the factory I work at, so hopefully a good update there soon!):

The air filter on the 4Runner is actually the easiest one I have ever changed - it pops in and out with two easily reached tabs. I had already gotten an oil change on the way up from Florida, so this weekend I did transmission and rear diff fluids. Both were in need. I didn't get the tranfer case because the fill bolt is on too tight and I'm going to strip it. So it is soaking in PB Blaster. The front diff needs changed, but I haven't used 4wd yet so I will get to it when I take the skid plate off. 

Next I got to the u-joint grease. This is what came out of the u-joints:

The red is what I put in, so next oil change I will do it again and see how dark it got. The old grease was "chunky" and obviously needed the change. 

Overall driving impressions after the drivetrain fluids/grease is that it does drive smoother. Maybe placebo effect, but we shall see. 

Next up was the beginning of the rust rehab. I started on the frame rails

I wire wheeled all the seams and rust spots on the center of the frame rails, washed it with degreaser, then soap and water, then let it dry (or hit it with compressed air). Then I hit it with rustoleum rust reformer. Next step is rust reformer enamel, then cosmoline.  HOWEVER, this will be a long process to say the least. This week I would like to get the spare tire and the skid plates off and treated. That way I can get everything underneath/hidden by them. I refuse to drive it in the winter until all these things are done, because I am already starting to really like the truck, and I can't bear to see it fall apart. Heck, half of the reason I sold the vette was because I had to see it sit in a garage and get attacked by mice for 6 months a year! So basically, I better speed this all up before the snow so I can drive it this winter. 

My favorite thing so far about driving it is that I can just drive over obstacles. Completely different than avoiding even the smallest bumps in the vette.


russ_mill Reader
8/24/20 11:09 p.m.

I took a significant amount of time cleaning the roof rack strips off. There is a rubber strip underneath them that keeps them from marring the roof paint.  Turns out 22 years of funk really dries on. So they're sitting in a soap bath overnight. REAL exciting, so no pictures. 

I then took the spare tire off so I could paint it and clean above it. Here it is off the truck vs painted:

It won't be going back into place soon seeing as I have a lot of work to do to the undercarriage. I did a lot of compressed air blowing and grinding/brushing on plenty of surfaces today. Tomorrow it will be heading back to the self-wash where I can use a high powered soap wash. Then dry, then degrease and etch, and then rustoleum rust reformer and enamel afterwards. 

russ_mill Reader
9/4/20 9:15 p.m.

Lower ball joints on the 4Runner today, or at least one side because I was painting and letting it dry too. 

Start (after grinding):



That's grinding/wire brushing, then wash with soap and water, repeat until clean, 2 coats of rust reformer, then one of rust stop enamel. Looks great, gives me some peace of mind too. 

Since I am still waiting for the paint to dry, I only accomplished one side. But regarding the ball joints- let's just say my guardian angel had my back. 

The boot was tore in a few places and there was plenty of crunchy play in there. 

However with air tools and ball joint presses, the job went by quickly! 

Everything is torqued to spec and ready to go. 
Tomorrow I only have a little free time so I'll button all this up and start paint on the driver side. Should finish this weekend. 

With Ruby...a few steps forward, a few back. I installed a fire extinguisher that was in Betty. 

I got the headlights all in: 


The driver side needed zip ties because some of the mounts broke in the crash. I added them to the passenger side just to make it symmetrical. 

So I took her for a rip down the driveway- it's about an 1/8th to a 1/4 mile long. There's all sorts of electrical gremlins (hopefully mostly due to weak battery), but mechanically it ran great. Springs squeak real bad, clutch is awkward, but it's going to be fun!

I was having so much fun that I didn't stop for a depression in the drive that I always stop for (you know, in cars that weren't free lol). 

And I promptly busted the oil pan. 

But, no matter, I'll replace that, I need to reboot one of the cv joints, and I'll trailer to the next event (and my first!). 

Im going to paint her wheels and give her a roof rack. You know- pretty her up so she treats me well lol. 

brad131a4 (Forum Supporter)
brad131a4 (Forum Supporter) Reader
9/5/20 7:59 p.m.

Wow that was quick. It took me a couple of years driving my lowered A4 before I punched a hole in the pan. Nice thing is it's a very flat pan easy to remove. Just don't break the side part those are a emeffer to remove and install. Might need to make a skid plate to protect the radiator and bottom of the pan. Possibly bolted between the bumper and the shocks then curved down and under the pan to the rear of the front subframe. I have a picture in my mind of what it would look like. I just don't have the computer skills to photo shop or draw it onto a existing photo.

russ_mill Reader
9/5/20 8:37 p.m.

In reply to brad131a4 (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah I have an idea on my head but I need better skills to make it. But the oil pan should be easy to replace, like you said. And the driveway is all gravel and Ruby took it pretty well (well enough i broke her cuz I was having too much fun lol)! It's definitely going to be a blast on course! 

russ_mill Reader
9/7/20 6:21 a.m.

Did the driver side lower ball joint. Not many pictures, went pretty well, and the same story with the paint.

I did have the ball joint separator slip off and shoot pretty far. It wasn't getting far enough into place as you can see here. 

Luckily I was already nervous using this so I was on the outboard side of the brakes, with a wood "shield" between the separator and the parts of my body that I really would like to keep. 

After all this I took it on a drive. Much of the vibration is gone, and it tracks really well. You could have guessed that from the state of the LBJs in the last post though! 

Also, this is the first time I have ever bothered to get out the air impact wrench. The reasoning is the air compressor we have is a dinky little 6 gallon, and it resides on the other side of the shop. So due to always needing to charge back up (which is loud), and needing to carry it to my work place, I never went and got it. What I learned was it is absolutely worth that hassle. It made easy work of every bolt. It's going to become my favorite tool lol. 

pimpm3 (Forum Supporter)
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/7/20 7:04 a.m.

Awesome progress!

russ_mill Reader
9/7/20 9:30 a.m.
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) said:

Awesome progress!

Thank you! I think it's time to go off-roading with one of my buddies! 

brad131a4 (Forum Supporter)
brad131a4 (Forum Supporter) Reader
9/7/20 11:31 p.m.

Good to know she was battle scared in the fun of the event doing what she is intended for. Even if you kill the motor they are a dime a dozen at the pick-n-pulls.

russ_mill Reader
9/9/20 6:07 a.m.

Next up on the list is to keep painting, do a tire balance/rotation/alignment, and do my sway bar links and bushings. You would have thought that the bushings would all be done when I was under there last week, but rockauto shipped the wrong parts - they did quickly amend the mistake though, and they didn't even want me to ship back the other parts, so at least it was all easy.

There were very few maintenance records with this vehicle besides what Pimpm3 had from his ~2 year stint. I found out you can log in to Toyota and get all their service records for a VIN. There weren't that many so most service seems to have been done outside a dealer, but here's what I found (outside of regular consumables/maintenance):

-137k: 02 Sensor, Catalytic Converter, and Power steering pump 

-150k: Replaced both front Brake hoses and cleaned MAF

-188k: New brake Master Cylinder

-195k: Rear axle seals and fluid (shavings in fluid, but no abnormal sounds after test drive -customer complaint was "vehicle holding back upon accel"), New Clutch cylinder (advised customer they need new clutch), valve cover gaskets, timing belt/tensioner/water pump/thermostat/crank+cam seals, rear brake shoes/surface drums.

So nothing too alarming - there is some indication that the owner/s before PimpM3 were either bad shadetree mechanics, and/or they cheaped out on parts. Some of the reports state misadjusted parts (for example - Master cylinder report stated cheap aftermarket MC was being replaced and it was adjusted incorrectly), and in looking at the bolts holding on the sway bar bushings, there's several different types of mismatched hardware, which I will amend when I replace.

Slightly alarming is that they did valve cover gaskets at 195k, and Pimpm3 did it at 228k - this may indicate a warped head but I don't really know. 

Another issue that throws me off is the new clutch advised at 195k. Unless it was done between then and when Pimpm3 took ownership, it hasn't been done. But as he stated, it doesn't slip or anything so obviously I would wait for an issue to occur. It could be that the dealership was fishing - a new Master Cylinder fixed my Acura's shifting problems at ~150k, and I'm at 190k now with no problems (knock on wood)!

russ_mill Reader
9/14/20 5:12 p.m.

So I'm sitting in the tire shop, waiting for my alignment, balance, and tire rotation. 

I did some super small things over the weekend. 

First, I bought some cheap but quality (all aluminum!) tie down straps for small stuff in the rear. I may add a net to it. 

And then I added an AC drain extension. I used 3/8 ID, 1/2 OD clear tubing and extended it past the small nub you see here. For reference, we're looking through the passenger front tire well.

I took it out to the body mount gusset so it stops draining in weird places and making me think I have a leak. 


Ill be busy this weekend, just like last, but I'll try to knock out some more little things like this and keep momentum. 

russ_mill Reader
9/18/20 10:11 p.m.

I'm sure that everyone has had one of those days where everything they try to fix in a car makes it worse. Today was one of those days. 

3 minute PCV and grommet replacement turned into an hour. The valve fought me the whole way out.  The grommet was so hard that it cracked and fell in the head. So I had to take a pick and a vacuum cleaner to remove it, and then piece it together to make sure I got it all. I think I did at least. 


Ok let's clean the MAF: 

Well it's perfectly clean already, so that's a waste of time. 

Lets do sway bar bushings: 

See that top bolt? Sheared on my third turn. 

Time to pack up and go home before I do more damage. 

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