Q: Why do I think there's a commie behind every tree?

Utilize the language with the same manipulation the Commies do, using the phrase "VACCINE FREE" instead of "UNVACCINATED" or "NON-VACCINATED"

Monday, May 27, 2024

Ambitious Automotive Project Part 1

Toyota Tundra Bed Repair

First and foremost, I can not afford a replacement truck at this time. And like I've said about the EV mandates Kommiecticut keeps trying to implement, I will NEVER willingly buy one. Instead I will be like the Cubans that keep 70+ year old American vehicles on the road well into the 21st Century if I have to. 

Before you read all this and think me a fool, let me explain some back story. There was a known problem with the manufacturing process of 2nd Generation Toyota Tundra truck beds that came out of the Union Township, Indiana plant. The mounting point cross members were never rust-proofed where they attached to the underside of the bed floor. Therefore, any trucks that ended up in winter salt spreading geographic areas rusted from the inside out, with the rust cancer spreading to the truck bed pan. There was a Toyota Service Bulletin (#T-SB-0101-12) that is no longer available to view, however this link addresses the issue. I had never heard about it and initially discovered it too late when I pulled out my drop in bedliner for some damage I caused to the exterior of the bed for repair. Toyota refused to address the issue, for which the ONLY solution was complete bed replacement, even for a "customer good will replacement," so my rusting bed was made like new on the outside. This was sometime in 2013 or 2014? I don't remember exactly. I put the bedliner back in and the cap back on and let nature take its course.

Fast forward to the spring and summer of 2018. Toyota was court ordered from a class action lawsuit to completely replace any 2nd Generation Tundra frame that had a perforations 10mm or larger anywhere on the frame. If the holes were less than 10mm, no matter how many there were, they just sprayed the whole frame with Fluid Film and that was deemed "repaired." The process for all repairs was to bring it in for inspection and if it met the criteria, your truck would be immediately "RED TAGGED" and removed from the road. You would be given a rental for the duration. I had holes in places an inch wide and several inches long, as well as the end of a cross member that was completely gone. I received my postcard to bring my truck in any time. I was in the middle of selling my dearly departed Dad's house and needed my truck. I took photos and brought them in to the dealership service manager to look at. He said if that is what my frame looks like, I need to bring it in IMMEDIATELY! I said nope, I'll see you in a few months because I need my truck. The TSB covered trucks 12 years out from the in-service date regardless of mileage. My truck was originally purchased in November 2007, so I actually had another full year and a half to wait if I had to.

Dad's house was sold a couple of months later, but I waited until late November to bring my truck in for inspection. It was immediately taken off the road for frame replacement which was supposed to take 6 weeks. They wanted to put me in a sedan, but I stated that winter is coming and because of where I live, I have a 4x4 pickup truck for a reason and THAT IS WHAT YOU WILL PROVIDE! They did. I ended up in an Enterprise rental brand new Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 luxury edition truck. The dealership had an old body shop out back that they re-purposed just for frame replacements. Tundra trucks are completely modular so frame replacement only actually takes a few days. It takes weeks to order and build the specific frame required for my truck. While not a Dodge fan, that was a nice truck and did well for me to get around in, especially since it snowed a few days later. I was a regional over the road truck driver at the time, and the yard was 28 miles away so I made it back and forth safe and secure.

I visited the dealership when my truck was torn down to once again discuss the rusting bed issue. As you will see in the photos further in the post, the rusted out areas are right where the mounting bolts are. I asked them if they were really going to put that rusted out bed back on my truck and they assured me they would, that Toyota was not going to replace it. My next statement really pissed them off. I told them that when I round a corner going through an intersection and my bed breaks free, rolls off, and kills someone; I will be happy to join the plaintiff's in the wrongful death lawsuit against Toyota. My truck repair was completed and it was returned to me rusted bed and all. I put the bedliner back in and the cap back on.

Over the next 5 years I would see the rust progressing every time I got underneath to do routine maintenance, and knew at some point I would have to do something because it was getting real bad. Either remediate the problem or ditch the truck for a replacement. I have had many trucks in my life, and this one by far is the best I have ever owned, even with the rust issues so I would prefer to keep it. I bought it with 33K miles on it just off lease at the end of July 2010. I toyed with the idea of converting it to a flatbed using a pre-manufactured unit. I went to a local dealer that sells nicely made steel and aluminum units. Unfortunately, even the aluminum units would be too heavy for my 1/2 ton truck. He said the GVW of my truck would only allow me to carry a basket of flowers before I would be overweight. They only put those beds on Ford F-350's, GM 3500's, Ram 3500's. or bigger. I then searched for a used bed. Every single one in the region of NY and New England was rusted out as bad as mine for $1500+ and would still need to be painted to match my truck. There were rust-free beds available down south, starting at $3500, but I would need to go down with a trailer to get it, and then spend a few grand to get it repainted to match so that wasn't happening. The final option would be to remove my bed and repair it which is what I decided to do. I have a friend that lives close by, has a mobile welding service, and is real good at fabrication so I called him over to have a look. Knowing this is what I was going to do, I had already removed the cap and bedliner allowing him to see what it looked like top and bottom. He was confident that with the bed removed and lying upside down in the driveway, he could patch the holes and fabricate new bed mounts. Below are the photos of the bed still on the truck.

Front left mounting bolt area

Front right mounting bolt area

Middle Left mounting bolt area

Notice the aluminum sheet metal patch with pop rivets. When I got my truck back from the frame replacement, this was the only area completely rusted through. I put the patch there to keep the elements out. Even that got eaten up by the corrosive shit Kommiecticut puts on the roads in the winter.

Middle right mounting bolt area

This photo was from April 19th and shows how the rust manifests itself. After disturbing the bolt and surrounding area it all crumbled away. The blackened area is the remains of the P.O.R.15 paint I applied to all the areas after I got it back from the frame replacement.

The two rear mounting bolts. This area is intact

I knew bed removal was pretty simple. and watched a couple of YouTube videos of guys doing it. The bed weighs 400 pounds, so once freed from mounts, fuel filler, and electrical wiring, it takes one guy in each corner to lift it off and carry it to the rear. So the first step was to remove the fuel filler door and disconnect the fuel filler plumbing. It is all braced and attached to the frame underneath and stays in place with the bed removed.


Next you need to remove the rear bumper. Because mine came with the factory tow package, the bumper is actually attached to the trailer hitch assembly. As you will see, my receiver was completely rusted to shit, so every single bumper mounting bolt sheared off. This means if I tried to reuse the receiver hitch, I would have to drill and tap all the holes. FUCK THAT! It looks like it spent a decade at the bottom of the ocean, and there is so much scale inside the 2"x2" opening where the hitch goes its difficult to put one in and take one out. So it was going to be replaced. While the chrome plated bumper itself has some bubbles and flaking, the steel core is solid so it is going back on. I am not interested in making a show truck here.

The rear with the bumper removed

A close up of the receiver hitch. Click on the photo to embiggen and see how bad it is.

I had three days off this past week, so the schedule of lining up help and getting stuff done was originally this:

Saturday May 18th 4 guys over for bed removal, flipping over, and placing upside down on blocks

Monday May 20th all welding and fabrication gets done

Tuesday & Wednesday May 21st and 22nd seal, prime, paint, and undercoat bed for re-installation

Well, that didn't go according to plan, but I am not in the least upset because as you'll see things turned out better than imagined. 

The bed removal went well. Of course, one of the six Torx head mounting bolts refused to budge, and in my efforts to remove it I rounded out the area where the bit goes in. No matter. A quick cut of the remaining piece of the rotted structural member with a Sawzall freed the bed. I could deal with getting the stubborn bolt out later standing next to the frame, and I had planned to replace all six mounting bolts anyway.

Lined up waiting for the guys. The bed is just resting on the truck

All done and resting on blocks ready for fabrication & welding

The frame and rusted receiver hitch

My hillbilly temporary light setup so I can drive to work

I need to be able to drive back and forth to work and around town while these repairs are being made, so a crappy grade 2 x 4 from the local building supply ty-wrapped to the end of the frame and some inexpensive trailer lights from Tractor Supply did the trick. The next photo shows the bed in the driveway ready for cutting, fabrication, and welding. The cones are not because of my wife or father-in-law, but UPS, FEDEX, USPS, or any other moron that could run into it.

I should have taken some closeup photos of the rot on the underside but neglected to. The next few photos are my bud cutting away the sheet metal bed pan. He has already drilled out the spot welds and removed the cross braces. The two cross braces with rubber pads that rest on the frame rails in the middle will stay and just get scaled and painted. The front floor stiffener rib will also get scaled and painted, but the rear one is completely corroded and will be removed and replaced.

Here, he has the two rear holes patched and his temporary grounding lug is on the closest patch. I opted to not use the thin gauge corrugated material, but heavier gauge flat pieces welded to the high spots. The openings on the low spots will be sealed top and bottom with a paintable product called Lexel. I have used it with great success on other projects.

Here are some photos of the finished product. I will hit each section with a wire wheel before sealing, and painting. The project delays came from having the cross pieces fabricated in a shop to spec instead of my buddy making them on site. It added about $150 to the whole job, but they came out fantastic.

There is a short piece of iron pipe welded into the channel where the mounting holes are that duplicate the factory mount for crush strength. In the last photo you can see the new floor stiffener rib he fabricated as well. From here I turned my attention to the frame, specifically the bumper mount and trailer hitch. The next two photos are of the factory unit prior to removal.

The mounting is the same on both sides

The straight edge in the front is a bumper mount, about to break off

I priced out an OEM replacement through Toyota Parts online. Buying parts this way as opposed to at the parts counter offers a huge discount, and I opt for not paying for shipping but picking them up at the dealership parts department. Even with the discount, this piece listed for a whopping $1928. Holy shit, there must be a better way, and I came up with it saving a little over $1000 that blew away the parts guys for my ingenuity.

As I wrote earlier, my truck came with the factory towing package. But what if it didn't? Well there would be a simple bumper bracket assembly to mount the bumper, and a light duty ball hitch available through the bumper in front of the license plate. That piece listed for $260 and required two additional large frame mounting bolts for $12. So I got it and put it on.

The circle shows where the extra bolt goes, not needed on the factory set up









The view from the rear after installation

For trucks that don't have factory towing, Class III and Class IV receivers are available from Toyota for easy bolt on installation. Even with the bed on the truck, these bolt right on to the outside of the frame rails and come with instructions and all the necessary hardware. Because my truck was setup for Class IV, that is what I purchased.... for $631!! My father-in-law and I installed everything and placed the bumper where it will need to go, and everything lined up perfectly.

The new tow receiver in place

The only other adjustment I had to make was to angle my tailpipe downward. While it did just barely clear the mounting arm, on bumpy roads I heard it hitting. There is now 1 3/4" of clearance and my exhaust does not move that much so it no longer hits. Turning the exhaust cost another $30 for two 3" stainless steel exhaust clamps. That area is circled in yellow, as well as the additional bolt that was required for the bumper mount.

So, this is where I am so far. I am hoping to get all the sealer, paint, and undercoating Wednesday. My original spare tire was complete garbage so I bought a Toyota rim and a local shop is putting an inexpensive radial tire on it so that will be new too and ready Wednesday. At this point, I should get this whole job done and my truck back on the road fully functional for about $3500.

Work and life has been getting in the way of forward progress, but I can drive to and from work so there is no urgency right now to get it done. I will pick away at it and put up another progress (hopefully to completion) post when I can. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Jury Duty 5-14-24

I lived in my previous house in another town for 16 years. During that time I was summoned for jury duty at least 4 times. Two of those times I called the courthouse telephone number the night before and heard a recorded message stating my presence in the court was not needed, and that my obligation had been fulfilled. But twice I actually had to appear in court and go through the screening process. Both times I was rejected for reasons that were quite amusing. One was a civil case where a guy was suing everyone under the sun because he was injured at work. When they asked me my opinion about punitive damages I brought up the idiot woman that held a scalding hot cup of coffee between her legs while she drove away from the McDonald's drive-thru and was burned, receiving millions in punitive damages. I asked if the injured party had his medical bills taken care of which the attorneys assured me they were. The guy cut his face but you could not even tell because he was not disfigured in the least. He fell and hit his head on the garage door window which broke and cut his face, so they were suing the company (Jiffy Lube), the corporate and company management, the builder of the building, the architect, the manufacturer of the door, the manufacturer of the window, etc. STUPID! I got bounced for more than just my statements though, since I was friends with the manager of that Jiffy Lube, brought my company van in there regularly, and the plaintiff's law firm was a customer of my company. The other one was a criminal case of assault of one inmate against another in the state prison system. The defendant sat 25 feet away in front of me looking right at me. The attorneys asked if I could be fair and impartial. I told them absolutely not, because he was a convicted criminal and incarcerated, and therefore a liar because everyone in prison is innocent. Plus I was pretty sure they had him on video six ways from Sunday beating the crap out of his fellow inmate. I was thanked for my honesty and sent on my way.

This was the second time in 19 years in my present residence that I have been called. The first time was like previous times, where I called the courthouse and told I would not have to appear. This notice for jury duty arrived in late March, and in Kommiecticut it is now in the form of an actual court summons. Once upon a time, certain potential jurors were automatically excused right off the bat like cops, firemen, EMT's, doctors, lawyers, etc. No more. Only legislators and officers of the court are automatically exempted (how convenient they have exempted themselves from this burden) and anyone 75 or older can choose to be exempt. You can reschedule your date for any reason, but eventually you will have to appear. I filled out the online juror questionnaire promptly and waited for the notice to come in the mail of how to proceed. The notice with the phone number to call the night before came in the mail about a week before I was scheduled to appear.

Now, I don't really give a shit about doing my civic duty in a *GUN FREE DEATH ZONE like a courthouse that is staffed and guarded by unarmed Judicial Marshall's, with one exception... to engage in Jury Nullification. If I am ever called for a case involving non-criminal self defense and the use of deadly force, I will do everything possible to serve on that jury and cause a hung jury and mistrial. No one that uses deadly force to protect their loved ones or their castle should ever even be charged. But this is Kommiecticut and they will try to prosecute you to the fullest if they think they can build a case. And I don't care how they try to make jury service sound like it is such a glorious thing to do. It is a burden to your life, family, and employer, and it's even worse if you end up sequestered.

On Monday evening the 13th I called the courthouse number... and groaned. The recording said to report to the courthouse Tuesday morning and get checked in by 08:30, and also recommended packing a lunch. Lucky for me it was a scheduled day off so I didn't have to deal with my employer. I packed a lunch like I usually do for work anyway and grabbed a breakfast sandwich at the local convenience store for the road. The courthouse is just over 20 minutes away and I got there early not knowing what the parking situation was. It turns out it is a large open lot right across the street from the courthouse with free parking. I stayed in my truck until I saw a Marshall unlock and open the front door. I left my cooler with lunch in my truck figuring that is where I would eat it at lunch time, and also unloaded and secured my firearm so I could easily enter the *GFDZ which uses airport style security measures. I got in and headed up to the 3rd floor Jury Assembly Room. I carried a book, my summons, a banana, and a bottle of water. You are allowed to have your cell phone so I also had that to read my blogs and be on Twitter. But they warn against posting ANYTHING about the case on social media.

I sat in the room for about 40 minutes as other jurors continued to check in. There were a total of 40-50 people and a mixed cross-section of age, sex, and ethnicity. After everyone was checked in and attendance was verified, the Judge came in to address us for about 10 minutes. I could not believe how young he was... maybe 40? After he left we had to watch a pair of videos. A brief one about jury service, and how honored we should be that we were chosen, which to me was nothing but YAY RAH RAH pro jury propaganda. The other one was about bias, and how everyone has them, but need to suppress them concentrating only on the evidence presented. They beat the phrase "Awareness is Fairness" into the viewer with every person in the video repeating the phrase over and over. Another long period of waiting in the assembly room and then we were herded down stairs to the 2nd floor to the courtroom. They held us in the hall for 10 minutes and then we were lead into the courtroom.

We were seated in the gallery for a few minutes and then told to stand and raise our right hand to be sworn in. We were seated again and introduced to the prosecutors, the defendant, and the defense attorney. We were given the simple facts of the case; the defendant's significant other had a restraining order against him, which he proceeded to violate six times over the span of a week by "contacting" her, whatever that meant. There was never any violence, only "contact." He plead "Not Guilty" and desired a trial.

Now I have an opinion about those useless pieces of paper called restraining orders. They are mostly gotten by women against abusive men. So ladies, if you're gonna get one, back it up like this. When he comes to pay you a visit, you be ready to ventilate with extreme malice. Otherwise it is fucking worthless.









Anyway, back to my story. The prosecutors then read a list of names of attorneys, witnesses, researchers, investigators, etc. anyone that may be associated with the case. If you knew any of those people you were to raise your hand to let them know, get questioned, and possibly be excused. Two people raised their hand, and the defense attorney stated there was one more person that did not speak up but should have. The attorneys were then called up to the bench to confer with the judge. The two that raised their hands as well as three other people's names were called and ordered to stay in the courtroom, while the rest of us went back up to the Jury Assembly Room to wait.I don't know whom the third individual was and don't care.

Lunch was supposed to be at 1 PM and I was getting hungry. At 1:10 the clerk and a Marshall came in and she read off several names, but not mine. They were told they could leave for lunch and be back by 2:10 PM. Now my being hungry was turning into becoming "Hangry" as I figured I was going to be called back downstairs at some point and my belly would be growling loudly while answering questions. Nope! As soon as those people left, the clerk said, "If I did not call your name, your jury service is over and you may leave for the day. "WOO HOO! I AM OUTTA HERE!!" I left the building and took off in my truck to eat my lunch under a shady tree in the state park I would pass on the way home... which is exactly what I did. Because I actually appeared in court in person, I am exempt from jury duty for the next three years and will be receiving a certificate of proof in case I get called in error.

I got home, changed my clothes, and headed out on "The Beast" for some much needed wind therapy. I ended up at my baby brother's house some 30 miles away whom I haven't seen in a while. My sister-in-law was there too since she works from home. We had a nice visit for a couple of hours before I filled my gas tank and headed home.

*GFDZ = Gun Free Death Zone