Archives for category: – Projects

Engines are said, as a rule of thumb, to lose one horsepower for every year of age. So for all of you guys with older trucks, here are a few tips to increase your horsepower back toward factory specs.

Another tip I learned recently from fellow overlander and experiential marketing expert Matthew Mangus (@mangai_rollin): a mass air flow sensor cleaner like this can improve mileage and horsepower by cleaning the wires of the mass air flow sensor. This provides the car’s ecu more accurate data as it determines engine’s the best fuel/air mixture.

how to repair a cracked dashboard

Here’s a great photo series on how to repair a cracked dashboard.

The basics involve grinding out the cracks and damaged foam with a Dremel, filling the cracks with expanding foam, then sanding (several rounds of this), and few rounds of sanding and spraying with rubberized spray paint.

Links:
Here are the basic steps
Here is a Rennlist forum post with steps in detail

WCXC on Pinterest

Although I haven’t been so great at keeping on the blog lately (though I will be changing that), I have been good at keeping my Pinterest account up. And through a fluke of nature (which was Pinterest recommending one of my boards to new users), I now have over 20,000 followers. Whoa.

If you like your overland, off-road, camp, and adventure information in bite sized chunks, check out my Pinterest page. I have boards on camping, truck mods, Land Cruisers, Land Rovers, Skills, and a bunch of other stuff too.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you’ll probably dig it.

Links:
Here are all of the WCXC boards.

And here are all of the pins.

The CARB-compliant gas cans we get here in California can be difficult to pour and are generally a pain in the butt. Here’s how to mod one to make it easy to pour and still remain leak free.

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I had front and rear ARB Air Lockers installed on our Montero last year. Since we were sailing all of last summer, I haven’t had a chance to try them out on the trail yet, something I’ll rectify soon.

Until I get that post up, you might be interested in checking out how an air locker is actually installed. Jonathan Hanson from Overland Tech & Travel recently had one installed on his Tacoma and filmed the proceedings. Towards the end of the video, there’s some excellent under-the-truck footage showing them in action.

The video comprises “Part 2” of the process. He also wrote about “Part 1,” installing the compressor and air lines to the run the locker.

Links:
Overland Tech & Travel: Installing an ARB Diff Lock, Part 1
Overland Tech & Travel: Installing an ARB Diff Lock, Part 2

I have a Safari Snorkel on my Montero. I like the added measure of fording safety it gives me, but it takes in more dust than I thought it would. After only a day or two on the trail, I’m already blowing dust out of the air filter. To remedy that, I’ve decided to get a pre-cleaner.

A pre-cleaner replaces the air scoop that sits on top of the snorkel inlet. Once installed, it draws incoming air into a vortex, the centrifugal force of which causes the heavier-than-air particulates to fly out towards the sides of the bowl, where they’re trapped. According to my research this will keep 80–85% 75% of the particulate matter from ever reaching the engine air filter.

Pre-cleaners are rated at a maximum cfm (cubic feet per minute) of air flow. Make sure you get one that matches the needs of your engine. Too large a pre-cleaner won’t spin the air fast enough to remove particulates. Too small and it will restrict your engine’s air flow. And, of course, your engine requires more air at higher rpms.

For most trucks, a 7″ pre-cleaner makes sense. To check if that’s too restrictive at the high rpms typical of highway speeds, I’ll add a formula for calculating pre-cleaner size after the jump.

Donaldson looks like the company that manufacturers the quality pre-cleaners that other companies sometimes rebrand. I’ll include a link below that gives the specs on their line of pre-cleaners.

Update 3/3/2014:
The part number for the 7″  Donaldson pre-cleaner that fits a 3″ opening (the size of my Safari Snorkel inlet) is H001249.

Here are some local, Bay-Area sources to check for availability. I ordered mine from Opperman & Sons and they quoted me just over $30, less than half of the listed prices I found online.

Opperman & Sons, 707-433-4421
Healdsburg, CA

TEC Equipment Inc, 510-715-4358
Oakland, CA

Golden Gate Trucks, 510-632-3535
Oakland, CA

Links:
Donaldson Pre-cleaner PDF, see page 12

Donaldson Pre-cleaners from Metro Fuel Injection

ARB Pre-cleaner at 4WD Hardware
Safari Snorkel Pre-Cleaner Thread on Expo

Read the rest of this entry »

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This boring looking roll of tape is 3M’s VHB (Very High Bond) Mounting Tape. It bonds glass, metal, powder-coated parts, sealed wood or concrete, and many types of plastic including PVC, ABS, polycarbonate, and fiberglass. The thing is though, once you bond two surfaces with this tape, it’s permanent. It’s permanent like build-a-bus-with-it permanent, like attach-windows-to-a-building permanent. According to 3M, it lasts for years in any outdoor climate, at any humidity.

If you have a project in which using fasteners would be tricky, or in which you’d like to create a moisture-proof seal, give it a try. It sounds like seriously tough stuff.

(If you do need to get it off though, 3M makes tools to separate the parts and remove the adhesive residue.)

Links:
VHB Tape on Cool Tools

3M Product Page

3M Durability Data Page

3M Design Guide

Amazon

tencom_lead

Scott Brady posted a great article on Expedition Portal the other day detailing his 10 commandments of overland vehicle mods. The summary? Keep it simple. Keep it light. Focus on quality suspension and terrain-appropriate tires. The article is definitely worth a read.

Link:
The 10 Commandments of Modifying an Overland Vehicle

23720

My friend, Greg, over at gadmachine passed a couple of handy sites onto me the other day. The first one is a wheel bolt pattern database, from Roadkill Customs, through which you can cross reference and compare bolt patterns from any car or truck.

Don’t know if those wheels from your Land Cruiser fit your Montero? No problem, you can look up the specs. The site gives you year, make, model, bolt pattern (in standard and metric), OEM wheel size, stud size, hub center bore, and offset (if applicable). It’s a great resource.

Another handy link is a company called Wheels and Caps, which sells NATO-style steel wheels in various sizes. Not sure if they’ll fit your truck? Use the bolt pattern database!

Links:
Wheel Bolt Pattern Database
NATO steel wheels

P1080035

For the last couple years or so my 4-wheel-drive system has been engaging intermittently. Normally I’d shift the transfer case lever into 4 High and the green lights in the instrument cluster, indicating the status of the front wheels, would blink (four-wheel drive engaging), then go solid (in four-wheel-drive). In the last couple of months though, the lights wouldn’t stop blinking, a sign that the system wasn’t able to engage the front axle.

I had ordered the factory shop manuals for the truck a while back, so I decided to see if I could fix it myself. Also, my mechanic explained to me that my Gen 2 Montero engages 4-wheel-drive by connecting the right-front axle shaft to the front differential by means of a vacuum-powered actuator. (That’s different from the Gen 1, which has auto-locking hubs.) Armed with that knowledge I looked up the actuator in the manual and noticed that it recommended greasing the actuator rod.

I got under the truck, removed the skid plates, pushed aside the rubber boot and saw that the grease, where the rod entered free-wheeling clutch housing (red arrow), was old and jelly-like. I cleaned out the old crud, packed it with fresh grease, reattached the boot, and left the whole thing sit while I reinstalled a pair of marker lights in the bumper.

When I took the truck for a test drive an hour later and shifted into 4 High, the indicator lights flashed briefly, then immediately went solid. Whoo-hoo! An easy fix!

I recently had a set of ARB locking differentials installed in the truck and it was irritating that I had this great new gear and yet the basic four-wheel-drive system wasn’t working. That made this quick fix all the more satisfying.

Update 02/04/2015

This situation came up again recently. I think water crossings may be a factor since the boot on the actuator rod isn’t water tight. Again, I cleaned out the old grease, sprayed WD-40 to drive out any water, then re-greased both ends of the rod. It’s working again.

I also found this link helpful:
http://www.pocuk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=87530&highlight=actuator+rod