insightbrewery Mechanic Adventures!

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insightbrewery

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Hey guys, was chatting with Kingdom934 and decided to do a chronicle of the various pieces of crap I come across in my time as a mechanic, a la his junkyard thread: https://www.toyotanation.com/threads/kingdom934-junkyard-adventures.1446858/

So I'll post pics, blurbs, and thoughts on whatever I'm working on, whenever I feel like it. Decided to start it now because I'm swamped. Here's the starting lineup, in order of importance (that order's pretty fluid):

1. 2002 Toyota Tacoma 2.7L PreRunner: both original ball joints on passenger side broke off on the highway
2. 2001 GMC Yukon XL Denali: engine has low oil pressure
3. 1995 Toyota Previa supercharged: P0171 (perceived lean condition) and P0125 (insufficient coolant temp for closed loop)
4. 2006 Scion tC: blown head gasket
5. 1993 Toyota T100: clutch pedal gets stuck halfway up, has trouble shifting when moving
6. 2012 Ford Explorer 3.5L: coolant leak in vee of engine
7. 1998 Lexus SC400: stumbling and stalling on cold start, not when warmed up fully
8. 2008 BMW M5 SMG: needs clutch job
9. 2017 Honda Accord 2.4L: rod knock at 43K
10. 2005 BMW 545i: engine needs reseal
11. 1970 VW Beetle: engine rebuild

...also a few of my own cars will drop in from time-to-time, if I don't break those off into their own threads.

This is an interactive thread, feel free to join in, ask questions, make suggestions, LOL, and in general, have fun. See you around!
 
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insightbrewery

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OK, been a while since we've all been alive so a few textual (wahaha) updates. Pics for what I have new.

1. '02 Tacoma: ended up replacing all the front suspension components except control arms...and found that it has a bad wheel bearing. Waiting on this guy to call me back to schedule, also needs trans fluid desperately
2. '01 Yukon XL: dropped oil pan, found pieces of bearings. Picked up a low-mileage motor and am now refreshing it. Pics soon
3. '95 Previa: P0125 was a red herring, P0171 was due to leaking intercooler. $600 for new intercooler from Japan? No thanks, this guy lives out of this car and has already tried to "fix" things on the van to the tune of $5k. Had a radiator shop rebuild it, $80, works great. Now it's back for oil pan (will post pics, massive rock hit damaged oil level sensor and pickup screen), trans fluid and filter, cooling system hoses and tstat (he rolled the tstat gasket and it was leaking, plus he solved the typical 2TZ head gasket issue with Blue Devil. Now he's been micromanaging me - or trying to - saying that he wants conventional Castrol and Lucas because he doesn't know how synthetic will play with the Blue Devil. Derp. His citation? Those ghey gear displays for Lucas at O'reilly's counters).
4. '06 tC: Yup, doing the head gasket...slow as low priority. Northstar Performance studs, block has definitely been overheated and warpage is twice the limit. But will continue, as the Fel-Pro PermaTorqueMLS gasket should make up for that. Also desperately needs master cylinder (very dangerous brakes) and a car wash.
5. '93 T100: replaced clutch master (Aisin) and slave (LuK), bled, and adjusted pedal. Working great. Looked like slave failed because the valve cover was hemorrhaging oil all over it, so now it's back for valve covers, intake gasket, PCV. And am waiting three weeks for two discontinued hoses from Megazip (amayama failed)...
6. '12 Explorer: turned out it WAS the water pump. These are notorious for it. There's an undocumented weep hole (F.O.R.D: Found On Road Derp) above the bypass tube in the vee. I have no time, so pimping it out to a couple mechanic buddies who need the work.
7. '98 SC400: Metromile tattler device causing ECU to drop its management duties. Details in the appropriate thread.
8. '08 M5: haven't started damn it
9. '17 Accord: haven't started damn it x2
10. '05 545i: le sigh, haven't started
11. '70 Beetle: haven't started

More that's arrived:

a) '01 Nissan Pathfinder, did some work but needs master cylinder
b) '12 GMC Acadia, A/C system is toast and basically needs complete replacement. Common issue on these and platform mate vehicles, don't think I can take it on.
c) '00 Toyota Land Cruiser, buddy inherited from his stepfather and wants me to go over with a fine-toothed comb. In excellent shape cosmetically (as I normally see with LCs), but at 260K I'm doing full TB job, powertrain fluids, P/S flush, suspension inspection. Got a short list of worn out and missing bolts and insulators, hoses, etc that I need to order from Toyota
 
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71Corolla

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Wow that's a good workload you must be $$$$$ by now. 🥴 I so want to own a Previa AWD there is one near me the guy won't sell it.
 
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insightbrewery

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Haha, not working through it as fast as I would like. Today only got the Pathfinder out - most critical because he's got to report to his CO in San Diego tomorrow so needed it by morning. Brakes on those feel terrible - and I bled it perfectly. BTW, if any of you buy Speed Bleeder-brand check-valve bleeders, what they say an '01 Pathfinder takes is wrong. It takes the same size as gen3/4 Camrys, which is M7x1.0.

That goddamn Previa is so nasty, looks like a rape van. I hope the one you want to steal is nicer. I fixed everything perfectly:

- replaced damaged oil pan with aftermarket, replaced damaged oil level sensor and pickup tube with PnP parts. Customer was ancy about "dry starts" so requested a bottle of Lucas oil stabilizer that he provide (derp) and Castrol 5W-30 conventional only because he "didn't know how full synthetic would interact with the Blue Devil he put in" to seal the BHG (double derp)
- replaced trans screen filter and sealed pan with aftermarket rubber gasket, plus a kiss of FIPG 1281 (trans orange) on each bolt. Refilled with a gallon of MaxLife (interesting that it took 4qt when the '04 Taco I did recently - also A340E - took 6). Shifting smooth and fast, working way better than whatever mud he had in there before (Lucas products maybe?)
- replaced the filter adapter gasket with a proper new figure-eight gasket. The previous mechanic had put RTV on the old collapsed gasket and it leaked (derp)

...and replaced tstat and seal, new tstat housing nuts, and the lower rad hose (the engine-to-pipe hoses from Gates didn't fit, maybe meant for AWD?). But with all the cooling system leaks fixed, I went for a test drive and came back to find a puddle...the upper rad hose is torn internally and leaking. So tomorrow morn I will swap that for the other Gates hose and refill coolant, then he can come and get his PoS. The guy has a propane heater plumbed in the back on his mattress...dangerous and I'll be glad to get rid of it and him.

I know I keep promising pics and I need to, people been pissing me off lately while I practice my art (ha). Taking pics gives me something to look forward to when the day is done.

Will send out the Yukon's "new" heads tomorrow if the valve stem seals arrive, and later will refresh the original heads. If any of you guys are interested in a nice pair of GM LQ4 317 heads LMK, I'll have them cleaned, checked for cracks, full valve job, and new Viton valve stem seals put on. And got two Escapes in, 2009 and 2010 (ew Ford). The 2009 hybrid needs the hybrid coolant pump, front wheel bearings, and a Timesert in the drain plug (typical Ford problem. Really Ford, three threads to hold the drain plug?). Also needs TPMS sensors (bought them for her, she will have a tire shop install and I'll program) and struts and shocks are pretty worn out at 270K (otherwise been really good for her) but I'll do those when she budgets. The 2010 3.0 is due for oil change, but needs a Timesert as well and has been since the first time I saw it. The owner is a real Ford loyalist because half his family works in Ford engineering or on the assembly line. After the fiasco with his '12 Explorer water pump I finally convinced him to get into a nice gen2 GX.

Wow that's a good workload you must be $$$$$ by now. 🥴 I so want to own a Previa AWD there is one near me the guy won't sell it.
 
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71Corolla

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That Previa is headed to a HG failure only a matter time. The one near me is in very nice shape rust just starting on the quarters. It has very high mileage though over 300,000 the guy is a retired tradesman (or maybe builder not sure) drove it all over the province.
 
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insightbrewery

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Yeah they're honestly pretty great to work on considering how roundabout the powertrain is.

Was there ever any foolproof fix for the TZ head gasket issues? Updated head gasket, MLS gasket, higher bolt torque, head studs, etc?

That Previa is headed to a HG failure only a matter time. The one near me is in very nice shape rust just starting on the quarters. It has very high mileage though over 300,000 the guy is a retired tradesman (or maybe builder not sure) drove it all over the province.
 
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Don't know. But with proper oil and coolant maintenace the factory replacement HGs will outlast the rest the vehicle.
 
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Welp, was sick through the weekend so got back to working on these PoS Fords today. I got two Escapes in, today made some progress on the 2009 hybrid. Pressed new bearings and hubs:













...the front wheel bearings are a common issue on these 2000's Escapes beyond 100K; these were original at 260K! When I pressed the hubs out, the inner races exploded and sent ball bearings flying everywhere. Now I'm just waiting on Ford to get in the LCA bolts and ball joint pinch bolts before I can finish it up. Also did the MECS (Motor Electronics Cooling System) pump because the hybrid electronics were overheating, and Timeserted the drain plug and installed a Fumoto valve.
 
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Feel better hope it's not that certain thing going around. Every marvel at how hard the steel is in a bearing? When I first started working on cars I tried to remove a pilot bearing by breaking it didn't have a puller. Nothing would damage that thing ended up making a custom puller out of long nose pliers.
 
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Thanks, nah I got tested just to be sure (negative).

Yeah most definitely, I wonder what grade it is and how it's tempered. Probably some simple quench. I gotta do a pilot bearing as part of a ridiculous clutch job next month, pics on that after I get set up with a new laptop running BMW's diag software (it's on a Getrag manumatic in a BMW).

Feel better hope it's not that certain thing going around. Every marvel at how hard the steel is in a bearing? When I first started working on cars I tried to remove a pilot bearing by breaking it didn't have a puller. Nothing would damage that thing ended up making a custom puller out of long nose pliers.
 
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Ball bearings are usually 607 Stainless Steel that has been hardened. It's great for making knives and such out of.
 
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I stopped taking on new customers through this crap, just trying to clear out current projects (and hopefully get to my own so I can drive them). Got this '05 Odyssey, family member of a great vendor that doesn't take care of/has no money to take care of her ****. Now that they're footing the bill, I'm catching it up on repairs and maintenance...it needs full timing belt job (belt was replaced 60K ago, but not the water pump or seals, which are all leaking at 240K), valve adjustment (misfiring on all cylinders), VTEC diagnosis and fix (cylinder deactivation and VTEC are not working), transmission service (I bet the filter element is borked, shifts slow and goes into gear slow), oil pan reseal (leaking. Also might as well Time-sert the drain plug), passenger axle (spewing grease, hiding the leaking oil filter adapter), and front brakes (low pads, but also warped rotors). Le sigh. Boring so no pics, but will concentrate on the Scion that's been sitting, post some pics of the head stud job.
 
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Boring stuff in the life of an apocalypse mechanic. Since the "good vendor" whose sister owns the Odyssey is my powdercoater/vapor blaster, I had them blast all the metal parts I took off the J35 clean. Because of the oil burning from improper VTEC operation (maybe other causes too at 240K), they had been running really thick oil and some sort of snake oil additive (Lucas)...that's a no-no on most cylinder-deactivation implementations. You use the oil weight specified so that the system remains predictable. Classic (maybe not so much) example is Hemi engines with MDS (Chrysler's special-lifter cylinder deactivation), you use anything other than specific 5W-20 synthetics and it throws an "incorrect oil weight" OBD code.

Anyway, the PCV was also clogged shut, so there was tons of oil and coking happening in the plenum. I don't have before pics, but here's after:




...cam sprockets, crank sprocket, rear timing covers, oil filter adapter, motor mount bracket, miscellaneous small metal pieces, and plenum cover (incorporating the variable intake flappers). Not shown: valve covers and plenum. The wiper gasket on the variable intake flappers was twisted, and funnily enough Honda lists it in parts diagrams for the J35 but it's not available for any variant. The same gasket is available for our MZ engines (same system, that is)...but this is the first I've seen the gasket be in bad shape on a J35 engine (still pliant). On 1MZ engines I routinely find it hardened, and on later 1MZ and 3MZ, I replace proactively but never find them in bad shape (still pliant). Must be something to do with PCV design.

Also rebuilt the P/S pump...it was just leaking due to the inlet joint o-ring hardening and fracturing, but Honda P/S pumps are so easy to rebuild and I enjoy it for some reason so why not. Hardest part is getting the old bearing off the shaft (easy with a press, rebuild kits don't come with it so you have to source a nice one from Grainger or the like).
 
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Welp, that Scion tC was a bust...turns out it has a cracked block. I finished buttoning it up after the stud repair and it started pissing from a crack that was invisible before the new water pump was in there. Le sigh. So I did what any not-so-sensible mechanic would do and bought the car from the customer for $1000. I'll get a used, low-mileage engine and do the pistons and rings (for oil burning, since every tC 2AZ will have the issue and most will not have been fixed. Toyota rigged the tests), and do a timesert/Normsert head bolt preventative repair since I already played with the studs. Turn the car into a beater, see what it's like to own a 2AZ-powered PoS...then sell it (probably at a significant loss. LOL)

Here's a pic of me drilling with the jig for the Northstar Performance stud repair:



...I neglected to take a pic of the studs sticking out of the block before reassembly. I'll start a project thread when it's time.
 
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So I did what any not-so-sensible mechanic would do and bought the car from the customer for $1000.
Haha. Toyota dropping the ball on these engines is very disappointing to me plus it was 100% avoidable the flaws are obvious! What was Toyota thinking? Are those parts you had blasted also coated on the inside? Looks like to me will that hold up? They look amazing either way.

BTW nice to see you're still getting work I know so many people that lost their jobs.
 
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Nah, not coated...just vapor blasted. They'll hold up fine in the Cali climate. If I worry (underbody shields, etc) I have them powdercoated. I just found another vendor who can do a ceramic chrome coating for exhausts, I'll post pics of the new manifolds I bought for my 1MZ.

Thanks, I actually stopped taking on new customers well before our lockdown...just trying to clear my inventory and get cars running that I should have done ages back.

EDIT: Forgot, yeah, a lot of my customers are out of a job at least for the time being. Trying to help them out as I can, whole situation is rather ******.

Haha. Toyota dropping the ball on these engines is very disappointing to me plus it was 100% avoidable the flaws are obvious! What was Toyota thinking? Are those parts you had blasted also coated on the inside? Looks like to me will that hold up? They look amazing either way.

BTW nice to see you're still getting work I know so many people that lost their jobs.
 
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