Or “The Exciting World of Old Landcruiser Ownership”
So friday as I left for work, I suddenly got every warning light in my truck lit and beeping, telling me “she cant take na more!”. I thought it was just an error from having washed pollen off and heavily spraying the area around the cowl, but pretty quick, almost as fast as I turned onto McNeil the temp gauge went up and it became apparent that something was wrong. Since the temperature was involved, and you cant play with overheating on these vehicles, I pulled over and shut her off. As soon as I stepped out I heard the bubbling and knew it really was hot, not just an erroneous error light, so I popped the hood and one of my two alternator/water pump belts was hanging in pieces, and the other was wrapped around the crank pulley. Since the truck has two, I could have reset the remaining good one and limped along, but I was only a couple of blocks from home so I let her cool and then drove home in two stages and parked her.
I ordered the belts from Toyota of Cedar Park, and of course they wouldn’t be in til Saturday (life with a 25 year old truck). Saturday we had Jack’s Drill Meet, Hal Aaron, and it ran late, and I didnt get out there to pick them up (they close at 5) but even so, luck had more in store for me, when we came out of the drill meet, all happy and pleased with ourselves, we found the right rear tire completely flat and the Buick sitting hard on the pavement. Upon pulling it off I found two things, one it has a large screw broken off inside it, and two, the inner sidewall is trashed, and the tire isn’t fit for use. Clearly it had been driven on low pressure for a while, heating up the sidewall, and causing it to fail. Meh.
So my truck was down, and now Sam’s too, combine these two and you get a stressful week. I’ve been driving her car pn the donut spare all week waiting on additional Toyota parts, and she’s grumpy about not having wheels, I’m grumpy about not having MY wheels, and all in all it’s upsetting the normal flow around here. Everyone in this family is very resistant to change of any kind, except maybe for Jack, he doesn’t care, blissfully cruising through life.
We finally got out to Toyota of Cedar Park (Great dealership btw) on Monday morning and picked up the belts so that evening we started buttoning things back up.
Jack and I were making good progress til we test fit the radiator shroud and we very carefully broke the bypass nipple off the radiator. We had to MacGiver a fix since I couldn’t really wait two more weeks for the replacement radiator to arrive, 25 year old Landcruiser parts like that aren’t usually in stock at your local shop…
We ended up drilling out the area where the nipple attached, and tapping it for a 1/2 inch NPT fitting with a barb for the hose. There are few smaller options, and I was worried about not having enough material to make suitable threads with a smaller diameter fitting. It was somewhat stressful punching a big hole were only a tiny port was supposed to go, but since the radiator was broken, I couldn’t really make it worse, and we dove right in. We used a heat gun to soften and stress relieve the plastic around the fitting, and very slowly drilled the hole with a step bit to prevent bind cracking.
That went without a hitch, and we re-warmed the plastic, and slowly turned the fitting in to make threads in the plastic tank. Once it setup I screwed it back out, coated the threads in epoxy and screwed it back in hopefully permanently.
Its been 210 miles now and no leaks, so I think this will get me through a bit til I order the replacement radiator. I would have ordered it straight away but I had the unexpected expense of new tires for the Buick as I said, so wait we will. It has just been a perfect storm of vehicle issues this last week, and the pain is that I knew the belts needed replacing. I put it off last month and just tightened them to reduce noise. We had a lot going on with birthdays and work and inclement weather so I just pushed them a little too far.
I would not have completed this work with my mental faculties intact without my Son Jack’s help. The guy is a trooper, and Mr Positivity on projects like this.
He can just get in there and almost immediately see what needs to be done, and a good way to do it. Among other things, when I couldn’t get the stainless elbow for the thermostat to line up with the housing, and sat above watching me struggle with it til he saw what was happening and just reached down and slipped them together. I would have fought it for another hour at least. He says sometimes that he wants to be a mechanic, and I honestly can’t fault him, it’s a solid profession with the right training.
We put new tires on the Buick yesterday, and despite being about 1500.00 poorer, between the tires and various Toyota parts, my peace of mind is increased immeasurably. Cest ‘La Vie.