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JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
1/11/21 10:16 a.m.

This past weekend, I took a break from trying to diagnose the transmission and just drove it around a little. I also put it up on ramps and fiddled around under the hood. It's developed an exhaust leak from the driver's manifold (I can see a broken stud). It also has a small power steering leak. I'll need to address those things eventually. 

More pressing was the horrible orange and silver pinstripe that ran exclusively down the driver's side of the truck. The previous owner apparently didn't like them either; he'd removed the passenger side stripe at some point and then gave up on the driver's side. I pulled out the trusty Harbor Freight heat gun and went to work. There was a double orange stripe, with a silver stripe underneath. The orange stripes came off easily, but the silver one was a mess to deal with, so I left most of it. I'm going to invest in a 3M Magic Eraser wheel and finish the job soon. 

Before:

After:

There's still a lot of adhesive residue left. I scrubbed with some 3M adhesive remover, but it wasn't strong enough to get it off. I think the eraser wheel will make short work of it.

I'm hopefully getting a new set of tires in the coming week. The ones on it are old and shot. I'm also going to need a shorter tire to work with the drop kit I'm going to install. I'll be going from a 29" tire to something between 26 and 27 inches. Turns out the tire selection in that size for a 16 inch wheel is pretty lame. Nothing sticky that Discount Tire is willing to mount on a truck, because of the weight ratings. The truck weighs about 3,650, which is less than a lot of sedans these days. But whatever. I'm going to get something decent to hold me over until I get some better wheels on it. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
1/28/21 9:36 a.m.

I got new tires this week. They're 235/60/16 Kumhos. They're just a basic all season tire for the time being. Discount Tire wouldn't let me install anything sticky, because they "weren't designed for trucks." It's a weight thing, I guess. Kind of funny since this thing only weighs about 3600 pounds (scale confirmed) which is less than a lot of sedans these days. 

These tires are 27" tall. The factory tires were 29". They will give me the extra clearance I need when I drop the truck. There shouldn't be any fender rubbing, except over maybe the harshest of bumps. For now I have to deal with the huge wheel gap. As long as I know it's short-lived, I can deal with it.  

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
2/22/21 10:48 a.m.

I got around to installing a new clutch master/slave setup in the truck this weekend. Here's a picture of the new reservoir and if you look closely, you might be able to see the master tucked under the brake master cylinder. It's a snug fit. 

It's really tight against the wheel well in that area. I had to jack up the truck, take the front tire/wheel off, and remove the fender liner. Then I unbolted part of the inner wheel well and had to pull some sheet metal out of the way to snake the master in and out of place. Here, you can get an idea of the forest of brake lines and electrical that I had to weave the slave down through in order to get into position on the trans. Not easy or fun. 

I zip-tied the lines as far away from the exhaust manifold/cat as possible. I might add some extra heat shielding at some point to make sure nothing melts. It gets pretty close to the cat, down by the frame rail. The install was a major pain in the ass. It really should have been a two-person job, but I did it almost completely by myself. The best part is that I finally buttoned everything up, cleaned the driveway, went to start it, and... nothing. Not even a click. After trying to jump it and fooling around with the clutch switch, I remembered that the rod that connects the clutch pedal to the master had a plastic washer-like spacer on it that I didn't transfer over to the new unit. This created its own set of issues because I couldn't remove the old rod from the master; it was really stuck in there. So I took a hacksaw to the rod and removed the spacer that way. Then I had to figure out how to transfer it onto the new rod, which had already been inserted into the new master and wasn't designed to be removable. I took the trusty hacksaw and cut a small, wedge-shaped slit in the side of the plastic spacer, so it would "click" back onto the new rod. It took an extra set of hands, but it worked. The spacer firmly clicked into place around the rod, while maintaining its structural integrity. I hopped up into the driver's seat, turned the key, and... success. It turned right over. 

So far, it seems to have cleared up the shifting issues I've been having since the trans was replaced. I've driven it twice so far and it never left me stuck in neutral. The shifting is nice, too. Fewer clunks and better engagement. I can actually heel-toe downshift now, without grinding. I guess the hydraulics were just plain worn out. There were no leaks that I could see, so it just goes to show that the master/slave setup can be bad without the usual visible signs.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
2/22/21 11:42 a.m.

My second gen neon needs a slave master combo, I don't think it holds as good pressure as it should. 

Azryael
Azryael Reader
2/22/21 2:13 p.m.

I really need to get that NV3500 into the Durango, but work, life, and this weather we had has been beating me up!

Glad to hear things are now more sorted for you.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
2/22/21 2:48 p.m.

The weather has been pretty bad. Luckily, our snow melted off and it was actually dry on a Saturday. Thus my progress. The ground was wet and it was chilly, but I made it work. I'm glad I did. 

Next on the list of fixes is to replace the broken exhaust manifold stud and gasket on the driver's side. That will be another fun adventure. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/1/21 11:40 a.m.

Nothing exciting here, but I did install shorter bump stops over the rear axle. The gap between the axle and frame is going to be shortened by five inches, so a low profile bump stop is necessary. I'm likely going to do a c-notch in the future, but this should help for a little while. 

You can see the old versus new, here:

Progress is progress. 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
3/1/21 5:43 p.m.

Have you gotten into the bump stop to see how it feels?

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/2/21 9:49 a.m.

Not yet. I was poking around the front suspension and those bump stops are already gone. I don't know if they rotted and fell out or what, but they're nonexistent. The new control arms will come with their own bump stops. Once the truck is dropped, I'm sure I'll become acquainted with all the new stops. It shouldn't be too bad, though. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/22/21 10:46 a.m.

I finally ordered my drop kit a couple of weeks ago and I'm still waiting for it to arrive. I also ordered shocks and they showed up pretty quickly. For the shocks, I had a few choices. The nicest ones are made by QA1 and have options like adjustable compression and rebound. Super nice units, but really pricey and completely overkill for a mild cruiser. After looking around at all the non-adjustable options, I went for the nicest ones I could find that weren't QA1s. They're Belltech Street Performance shocks. Belltech is owned by KW and they make some nice stuff. I had a lowered Ram years ago and I really liked the Belltech shocks on that one, so I trust these will work well for my application. 

The fronts (pictured) should fit pretty well as-is, but the rears are designed for a slightly smaller drop than I'm installing, so I'm going to be using some small shock extenders. There's a YouTuber who did the same thing on his similarly dropped Dakota with the same shocks, so I know they'll work out. 

The drop kit should be arriving soon. I'm not exactly stoked about the install process, but I am very excited for the outcome. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/24/21 11:38 a.m.

I finally got my hands on a 3M eraser wheel. I used it to finish the pinstripe removal job that I started a couple of weeks ago. It performed great and the pinstripe is now completely gone, except for a faint ghost of where it used to be. 

Before:

After:

The truck looks so much cleaner without the stripes. 

Apparently the lowering kit is going to take another two weeks to be shipped, on top of the two weeks I've already been waiting. That's a whole other story. DJM is kind of a E36 M3ty company to do business with so far. I hope the kit is worth the wait. 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/24/21 12:05 p.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

I refuse to ever do business wiyh them again after how i was treated on the phone with a balljoint failure in their lca. Belltech for me from here.

Unfortunately djm is the only game in town with some trucks.

If you got their control arms, inspect the balljoints or preemptively replace them with quality moog parts. Dont be me and have to have your truck trailered home from three states away....

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/24/21 12:24 p.m.

Yikes. I'll keep that in mind. I wonder if there's an OEM part number that will cross over with Moog components. 

The Belltech kit takes almost the same amount of work to install, but doesn't go as low, otherwise I would have gone with them. I like their kits. I did go with their shocks, instead of the DJM shocks. 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/24/21 12:30 p.m.

The gmt400 stuff used stock application balljoints. 

Eccentric_Gear_Head
Eccentric_Gear_Head New Reader
3/24/21 8:56 p.m.
JeremyJ said:

Yikes. I'll keep that in mind. I wonder if there's an OEM part number that will cross over with Moog components. 

I have used a lot of DJM stuff and a whole lot of Belltech. Like was said, Belltech is way higher quality if they offer parts that suit your end goal for your truck. All my fullsizes in recent years I use only Belltech but for my mini truck DJM was the only option.  I used Moog ball joints with the DJM arms for added sense of security and durability.

 If you'll go to DJM's website and look at their replacement ball joints that they offer for their arms, the part number is the same as the Moog part number that you can use to replace them. Then it's just a matter of a quick Rockauto order.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/25/21 11:49 a.m.

In reply to Eccentric_Gear_Head :

Good to know. Thanks. 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
3/25/21 12:36 p.m.

Can we aquire a burnout video?

 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/25/21 12:41 p.m.

Eventually, yes. I want to break in the clutch a little more first. I've barely put any miles on it since the trans swap. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/30/21 9:42 a.m.

Minor update. I received an LED third brake light yesterday. This really helps smooth out the rear end a bit. It kind of disappears from about twenty feet back, which is perfect. It doesn't look very bright in the picture, but I can assure you the output is more than adequate in person. It looks great. Very bright at night. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
4/2/21 10:09 a.m.

My windows have been really slow to go up or down and sometimes the button didn't work at all. The passenger window was the worst. I was afraid to roll it down at all because it didn't want to roll up. I started watching videos on how to replace the motor in the door and prepping myself for power window work (which I've never done before). Then I got smart and decided to try the buttons on the passenger door. The window went up and down without issue. That means the worn out switch panel on the driver's door was malfunctioning. It looked pretty haggard anyway. So I ordered a new switch panel and installed it. It was easy.

Remove the panel and unplug the two connections. 

Compare the new one to the disgusting old one. Reverse the above process.

Turn on the power and bask in the glory of new buttons that function properly. 

Both windows are still a little slow, but they function. I'm probably going to remove the door cards and grease the tracks. That should keep them operable for a while longer. 

Still waiting on the drop kit. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
4/2/21 11:27 p.m.

I've always loved roll pans and I've been pretty excited to put one on this truck. I ordered one last week and I got to install it tonight. I chose a steel pan because it looked better to me than any of the plastic/fiberglass ones that are available. Also less flimsy. It weighs 8.5 pounds. The bumper and brackets weighed 42.5 pounds. That's a healthy weight loss. Too bad it's on the wrong end. 

Here's what the rear originally looked like. Mismatched tailgate and bumper from an accident with a trailer. 

Here it is with the bumper removed.

And without the tailgate (plus one of my helpers). 

And finally...

As far as aesthetics are concerned, I'm going to look into having the roll pan and tailgate painted next. So far, I think it looks great. I need to lift the left side up about an eighth of an inch, but other than that, the fit is really good. I'm excited to see it all one color. It came with an LED plate light that I will wire up tomorrow. 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/3/21 8:39 a.m.

The window switches can be opened and serviced quite easily

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
4/5/21 10:21 a.m.

I'm sure they can. This one was really worn out and crusty. the paint on the switch was rubbed off and it looked terrible. I'm happy with the replacement panel. 

I wired up the plate light and all is well with the roll pan. Hopefully I'll be able to get it and the tailgate painted soon. 

bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/5/21 10:37 a.m.

I came across this on the youtubes the other day and it made me think of this build.

 

Enjoying watching the transformation of this truck.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
4/5/21 10:45 a.m.

A friend of mine shared that video with me. I'm pretty jealous of the condition of his truck. It's so clean. I have to admit that I'd be tempted to modify it. I'd at least drive it some instead of sitting on it. 

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