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Shop Day - A Bit of Everything at Mike's

It wasn't long ago that Dan (@drr), Mike (@Digiratus), Zane (@Speedytech7) and I got together at Dan's shop to do some work on Mike's steering rack and LCA's. That didn't go exactly as planned, but we all had a great time and when we hear Zane was going to be in town again, we knew right away that we should get together again - even if just to hang out.

Of course, we all had a few little things we wanted to do to our trucks (isn't that always the case?) so we decided to meet up at Mike's this time and give each other a hand. Our list included:

  • Dan (me) - remove the bed (to allow rear frame access) and compare fuel trims across trucks to continue troubleshooting of my P0171 code.
  • Dan (@drr) - rip out a bunch of spaghetti under the hood and install a Bussmann RTMR
  • Mike - reinforce the rear mounting tabs for the IFS skid (similarly to how I'd recently welded them to the frame)
  • Zane - re-weld one of the exhaust hangers on the Land Cruiser, which had worked itself loose on his way to Seattle.

We all rolled in as Mike was making coffee and we chatted for a while before getting started - you know, about important truck stuff. Eventually though, it was time to get going and we decided to start by removing the bed from my truck so I'd have better access to the frame. With that access, I planned to reinforce the frame with plates to support the weight of the new CBI Outback bumper hanging off the back.

The first step of course was to remove the bumper itself, and then the tail lights and bolts holding on the bed. These came out easily (I hear this is either easy or you're breaking out the cut-off wheel to remove rusty bolts) and the bed was off in no time, leaving the truck in a Mad Max state - "like a filleted fish," according to @mrs.turbodb.

That meant that within about 20 minutes we were working on Zane's Land Cruiser. Zane was able to pretty quickly evaluate the situation (a previous patch job to the exhaust hanger had failed), and then we set about the hardest part of the repair - finding a piece of scrap steel in Mike's garage. Eventually we found a suitable piece - in that it was totally overkill - of 3/16-inch thick plate that looked like it'd been cut out of one of Mike's skids. Dan hit it with the flap disk as Zane squirmed his way under the Cruiser - there's a lot more under there than our Tacoma's, clearly the reason Cruisers cost more. 🙂

A few minutes and some thin-rusty-metal-to-thick-new-metal-welding later, and Zane had finished his repair. Two trucks down; two to go.

Zane having warmed up the welder, it seemed like a good time to tackle Mike's skid mounts - and, since I'd recently done the same to my truck, it made sense that I'd do the honors. Some quick work with a flap disk to expose bare metal and a few minutes with the welder and the mounts were secured forever - whether Mike wants them on there or not - and ready for Mike to prime and paint. And with that, three trucks were done.

It was around this point that Zane had to take off - turns out he wasn't in town just to see us (what?!?) - and it being Cinco de Mayo, the rest of us decided that we'd go grab some Mexican for lunch. (Actually, Cinco de Mayo had nothing to do with it - we just love Mexican.)

Lunch hit the spot and we headed back to Mike's to work on Dan's electrical. With several accessories previously wired direct to the battery, there were quite a few wires to keep track of and ensure that we got connected up correctly. We each tackled various aspects of the job but wiring never goes fast and it was late afternoon by the time we wrapped up everything (that we could do that day). That didn't leave much though - Dan just needed to drill a new hole in the mount and plug in all the fuses to be done.

Our last order of business was a comparison of fuel trims between Mike and my truck. I'd been using a Kiwi3 OBDII scanner, and he'd been using a ScanGauge, and we wanted to see if they were relatively consistent readings across trucks or if they were "interpreting things differently." As it turned out, they read relatively consistently across trucks which meant (to us) that my P0171 code was resolved - the numbers I'd been reading for bank 1 were solid and well within spec, and the numbers labeled "bank 3" were likely not actually fuel trim numbers.

All-in-all, it was a great success and a fun day all around. And, of course, we're already planning our next get together... likely to involve timing belts, water pumps, and the like!

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