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"

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ambitious Automotive Project Part II

My Tundra is back together, but work continues on making the truck reliable for at least the next five years.

After all the welding and fabrication was completed, the underside of the bed was scaled, primered, and undercoated while upside down in the driveway. I set up an old EZ-Up type tent that had side curtains to act as a pseudo paint booth. The clouds of yellow pollen coming off the pine trees was incredible this year, and the tent helped keep bugs and other tree debris off the fresh paint, as well as keeping the stiff breeze from blowing paint where I didn't want it.

The first thing I did was clean and seal all the voids and openings with LEXEL. It takes 48 hours to fully cure and when it does, it is very pliable and paintable. The underside sealant was done on Sunday June 2nd and the next two days I had to work which allowed the LEXEL to cure. On the 5th and 6th I worked on painting and other repairs so the bed could be re-installed on the 9th. I took the wire wheel to the bare steel and rusty areas. Once shiny I vacuumed up all the debris and rust dust, then wiped everything down with dry rags. I applied two thin coats of grey Rustoleum Etching Primer on the bare metal.

The new front support

Same area from a different angle

And again from the other side

There is a small bracket with a bolt in it visible in all three photos near the front edge of the bed. That is for another piece of aluminum exhaust heat shield that was barely hanging on the bed. I repaired it and remounted it using a self-tapping stainless steel screw into the new front bed support like the original. Below is the same section of bed sporting 2 fresh coats of Rustoleum "Pro Grade Undercoating" rubberized paint. Yes, I did this whole job with spray cans. I have used them in the past and was pleased with the results. Preparation is everything! The following photos were after all the paint was dry and the tent removed.

Bed front. Second piece of heat shield not yet mounted

Middle/rear supports

Another view of the rear. Notice new angled rear fender supports

The original fender supports were rusted to almost nothing. Two supports and 4 bolts to make like new. Everything was ready to go for the bed remount on Sunday afternoon June 9th. I had four guys lined up to come over and get it done. In the mean time, I got my new spare tire put together from the local garage. $50!! The tire is an almost new off road light truck tire the proper size to match the others that was taken off another vehicle. Works for me. If it is anything like the original 17 year old spare, it will hopefully never get mounted and used anyway. 

On Sunday the 9th the guys came over and the bed was rolled vertically onto a moving blanket on the front bed box panel, and then rolled the rest of the way upright. The bed was spun 180 degrees, walked a few feet to the rear of the truck, lifted up and over the fuel filler pipes, and set on the frame. One of my concerns was the measurements for the bolt holes, and how much shimming would be needed. There was no way to get the bolt alignment measurement from the bed because so much was rotted away. The measurements were taken from the frame mounts and transferred to the new fabricated parts on the bed. Apparently I chose the right guy for the job because it was spot on! I only needed a couple of fender washers at each mounting point to get the bed sitting where it belonged, with proper spacing and alignment. I could not be happier.


This is the point where I began neglecting to take proper photos. I was so busy just getting the work done I forgot to document what I did as I did it. First, the 6 bed mounting bolts were torqued down to 50 ft/lbs (they were supposed to be 49 ft/lbs, but I didn't have a proper torque wrench for that low a setting) so I could drive it while the rest of the work progressed. The plan was when I painted the top side, to pull the bolts back out of the new panels so I didn't have to paint around them, and I didn't want the T-55 bolt tops glopped up with paint. After painting they were put back in and torqued down.

The topside repairs in the raw. Pretty ugly, but solid.

Sorry for the crappy focus. That is the new spare against the other door

The openings for the tail lights got cleaned and the light assemblies got all new mounting hardware. The original Torx bolts were rusted and one of them completely seized. I cut away the seized one and got new bolts from Toyota as well as new metric speed nuts at the local hardware store. I replaced the bumper end supports and had bought all brand new mounting bolts. The bumper went on exactly as I envisioned and other than the couple of spots where the chrome is bubbled looks great. I had to drive it for work as is before getting to paint which allowed the LEXEL sealant applied to the topside to fully cure. I was going to do all the paint Thursday the 13th and drop in the bedliner on the 14th. That was the plan, anyway.

Late in the afternoon on the 12th, my wife calls me at work to tell me that because of the good weather, she was going to be able to attend our niece's high school graduation. She asked if I could go to her work place and pick up two of our dogs she had with her. I told her I would, but I have to go home first and then make a couple of stops on the way. She said that was fine, so that's what I tried to do. As I was headed to her work place, I got on I-84 like normal. Nothing aggravates me like slowpokes getting in the way while getting on the highway and that night was no different. I romped on the accelerator and launched out into traffic. OH SHIT! I looked in my rear view mirror and saw clouds of.... what? smoke? steam? whatever it was not good. I cut back to the right and luckily found a gravel area off the asphalt beyond the emergency lane to stop in and killed the motor. The 4-ways went on and the hood went up and I immediately saw the problem... the lower radiator hose blew off the radiator. The result of yet another case of rust it turns out. The clamp rusted through and the hose came off with the extra pressure of my sudden acceleration, dumping every drop of coolant on the highway. I had no way to fix it and no proper coolant, so I called AAA to get towed home. At almost $200 per year and never using it, I figured that would be best and I can fix it in my own garage. What an ABYSMAL FAILURE! 15 minutes on the phone with some dumb bitch that insisted on trying to pinpoint my location to the nearest inch. I told her sternly where I was and that there would be no difficulty for a local tow truck operator to find me. It took 2 1/2 hours for the tow truck to arrive, again all because of the failings of AAA, not the tow operator. There are hardly any tow companies that honor AAA, because they are down to only 20% reimbursement on a AAA tow, and all the area garages have told AAA to fuck off. My tow truck driver told me his company is only doing it because no one else will, and that has allowed them to squeeze a much higher reimbursement rate out of AAA. I have discussed dumping AAA with my wife and she has agreed that it is fucking useless, when I can call a local garage and just pay them full freight for a tow which is about the same for a full year of AAA. She is able to renew her drivers license at AAA every eight years, but I can't because I have a CDL. She is fine with going to DMV every 8 years to save money. The other few things we've used them for we will just pay full retail and still be ahead. I will be either composing a nasty letter to AAA, or somehow slamming them online. This post doesn't really count because there is no meat space connection. Anyway, I ordered a new OEM hose, OEM clamps, and 3 gallons of the pink Toyota 50/50 coolant mix on the 13th. I worked on the topside of the bed in the garage all day while the wife was at work and it was empty. After hitting the bare steel with a wire wheel and giving the bed a thorough cleaning, I got everything painted in one day. The parts came in to the dealership on the morning of the 14th, so I ran down on "The Beast" to pick it all up. A couple of hours later the truck was back in working order. I took the bedliner out into the backyard and gave it a good cleaning. Before putting in the bedliner, I removed the bed rail caps and gave them a good scrubbing too. Because the bed had been sitting upside down on them, they were filthy, and there was tons of rust crumbs stuck underneath them from the cutting and welding. When I popped the rail caps off, there was a pile of rust crumbs the length of the bed on both sides which I vacuumed off. If I didn't do that, the first time it rained I would have had ugly rust streaks down the sides of the bed on the outside. The bed liner went right in and sitting in the hot sun settled down into place nice and flat. With everything completed, I packed up my car wash stuff and headed for the firehouse to give it a wash.

Parked at the firehouse the next day. She hasn't looked this good in a long time

The main body of work is nearly complete. I had to fabricate a new mounting plate for the aftermarket trailer electrical connector. It came out fantastic, and will get bolted onto the receiver and the wiring pigtails plugged in tomorrow. Also the new spare tire will get put in its proper place in the carrier under the bed.

The only thing left for now is to replace the rusted and bubbled brake lines that traverse the rear axle, as well as replace both sets of original rubber hoses. I will need a whole day for that and hopefully they don't let go until I am ready to replace them. The 2 year emissions inspection is due by July 8th and that will easily pass. Later this summer, I will be due for new timing belts and a water pump. This is a DIY I don't care to tackle because there is too much room for error, and those errors are costly. I have a reliable garage that specializes in Toyota that can get it done quickly. Afterwards, I can drive the old girl without any worries.

The next and final phase will be to clean, rehab, and re-install my camper cap.

1 comment:

  1. No one is going to do as a good a job as you. Looks great.


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