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russ_mill Reader
3/6/21 12:03 p.m.

SLOW SLOW progress on everything. But, progress is progress!

Previously I had drilled holes in the hitch to get rust/dirt/sand out, so I took it to a pressure washer and got 95% of the gunk out. Not much rust, and nothing worrisome still, but I want to stop anything now. Then painted the inside with eastwood rust prevention stuff:


So now I have this ugly green to deal with later lol

I also replaced the family van's air filter.... this is what I found when opening it up:

Better late than never I assume. I also think it's time for me to commandeer all maintenance for the van lol.

And big news for the Acura!


russ_mill Reader
3/10/21 10:23 a.m.

Well, some less-than-stellar news.  I will most likely have a l1-s5 spinal fusion in the not-to-distant future. I have grade 1 sponylolisthesis and pretty frequent, and sometimes unbearable back pain since age 16. I'm 32 now, and besides that I am in the best shape of my life - per the neurosurgeon, all my discs are in good shape, my core is plenty strong, I am not carrying excess weight, etc, etc. I'm very active, but sometimes this puts me down for days, so it's really going to come down to a quality of life question. I have not decided for sure, but talking with my PT buddy - I am already avoiding things I would like to do out of fear of pain (hiking too long, lifting certain things, some workouts in general), so maybe fixing it while I am in great shape will be easier than waiting until the future. 

There's really no "right" or "wrong" decision, which is a real pain lol.

What this brings me to is since I will be out of any extreme sports (Skiing, boxing, anything too jarring) for about 9 months after the surgery (luckily he said I will be able to road cycle within 2 months of surgery!!!), I am not going to be able to rallycross this year. And since the Audi was a very nice gift from GRM, I will probably offer that up for free in the for-sale section shortly. This is all assuming I decide on the surgery. I'm like 70/30 for it right now.

pimpm3 (Forum Supporter)
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
3/13/21 5:31 a.m.

Sorry to hear about the back problems, hopefully the fusion will make it better in the long run.

On a positive note 4runner manual prices are crazy right now. You need to find a supercharger if you ever decide to sell the 4runner.


russ_mill Reader
3/13/21 5:44 a.m.

In reply to pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) :

Oh my! Well, I love the 4runner so it's staying lol. But sheesh. 

and thanks! That's the hope. I'm pretty healthy other than a messed up back (knock on wood)!

Don49 (Forum Supporter)
Don49 (Forum Supporter) Dork
3/13/21 6:10 a.m.

I am fused at C4-5-6 due to 2 separate incidents. Fortunately in decent shape at time of the surgeries and had great results with no restrictions. In both cases I was back 100% in 2-3 months. YMMV. Good luck!!

docwyte PowerDork
3/13/21 9:22 a.m.

I had L5/S1 surgery 15 years ago now.  Best thing I ever did.

russ_mill Reader
3/14/21 7:21 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

That's good to hear! Looking like l5/s1 PLIF and PLF, with an extremely well respected neurosurgeon. 
Im reading all the stats I can, and some aren't great, so hearing good anecdotes is nice. 
Thank you. 

russ_mill Reader
3/14/21 7:22 a.m.

In reply to Don49 (Forum Supporter) :

That's intense! And awesome it worked!! 

russ_mill Reader
4/12/21 7:14 a.m.

For my records (because I took very few pictures) - I did my inner and outer tie rods. 

Long story: Before last winter I took the 4runner in for an alignment. The very honest tech said I had a loose inner tie rod, so we agreed that I would take it home, do that work, and come back for an alignment. He also pointed out that something was amiss because one tie rod was at the outer extreme (fully threaded out), and the other was at the opposite extreme (fully threaded in). I was also getting tire rub on the driver side when turning left (this was the side fully threaded in).

So I took it home and eventually did all the tie rods (with new 555 parts). I also checked for squareness in the frame since the tech was right about the tie rods being at the extreme, and it is square and straight. I was tired of messing with it and took it in - the shop found that the last time the steering was adjusted, someone messed with the steering box and the gears were out of alignment (it all makes sense now!). So they fixed all that and now my truck tracks nicely and the tie rods are both centered.

Up next is new tires this week.

Oh and of course now I have a leak after changing my front diff fluid. I will explore that this week too.

Edit: Manager at the store commented on my work and said I could have a job if I wanted, or if I wanted to make extra $$, so that's cool!

russ_mill Reader
4/14/21 5:41 a.m.

Little by little replacing old plastics on the truck. Did my fender liners, which were 90% non-existent (the 10% left was the only reason I knew they were missing)!



And replacing brittle vacuum lines too. Old vs new (I put red zip ties on new lines to remember what I changed when it gets dirty):

This week is new tires if they come in, then plugs and wires, and I'm going to try to clean the throttle body to fix a high idle when warm. And R+R brake fluid!

Hoping the tires give some better ride characteristics - they are SL vs C load, plus they're 6 years newer and weren't in the southern sun! I know I really need to do my shocks, but I don't have the time or $$ to get that done before surgery, although I could cheap out on some rear shocks, which are worse than the front. 

The novelty of having a truck is starting to wear off on me, BUT, it does help me out of tight spots - I have a bike in the back right now which would not be possible in a car, and last night there was a wreck holding up three lanes, with curbs on each side. I simply jumped the curb to turn around!

russ_mill Reader
4/17/21 5:20 a.m.

Yesterday got a little done in the 4R! 
I cleaned up the inside a little, jammed some sound deadening in between places that were rattling, and took off some old brittle plastics that don't serve a purpose (if you've followed this, you know that interior plastics that make a sound usually end up in the trash). It's a pretty rattle free truck, but there's a few loose ends, so to speak.  
I then found out I couldn't pop the hood- I already had a hood latch cable, I just hadn't replaced it. Now since the cable wouldn't pull the release, I had to get at it through the front bumper!

I degreased the whole assembly, hit it with lots of silicone spray, and got the new cable in. Finally a smooth operating hood latch! 
next was spark plugs and wires- they looked not bad, but it runs a little smoother now. 
And then I installed a new vent plug for the front diff. Not sure it was needed, but getting a small front diff leak and this was a cheap first attempt. 

The new tires never arrived, so hopefully that gets done next week. And a few more fluids to switch, plus a wacky idle when warm, and I'll probably be out for the count for surgery after that. I'll be happy with my progress at that point if I make it that far. 

russ_mill Reader
4/24/21 7:35 a.m.

Busy trying to get my life in order knowing I can't move much for the next few months, bust stealing as much time as I can to work on cars. 

I didn't like the crappy Intake silencer remover I made out of scrap metal, so I ordered a cheap one off of eBay. Size wasn't right at all- to be fair it was a whole intake system up to the cheap filter, but I only wanted the 3 inch tubing. I ASSumed the location would be the same but it wasn't.  So I had to improvise with cutting and reusing the tube to orient everything so it matched. That ended up with me buying 3 silicone couplers at auto zone. And they only had 3 in stock, all of different color lol. 
so it looks funny, but it sounds much better and I got rid of some more failing elbows/etc that were getting quite brittle. 


The remainder that I would like to finish before surgery is clean the throttle body, replace the Idle air control valve, powerwash the inside of the frame rails then spray fluid film into them, and new friggin tires which discount tire never ordered (places my order 2 weeks ago). Hoping  the tires fix my vibration since I have a lot of new parts and a recent alignment. 

russ_mill Reader
4/26/21 5:37 a.m.

Cleaned the throttle body and replaced the Idle Air Control. Neither were as dirty as I had seen in forums, so I wasn't sure it was going to work, but now when the truck is at temp, or I press in the clutch or take it out of gear, the rpm drops and stays at 1100 if I'm moving, or 700 if I'm stationary. Still seems weird to me, but much better than before, where it would idle anywhere from 1100 to 2500. 




Id never looked at the linkage too much before but I noticed that one of the cables was cruise control, which I don't have since there is a replacement steering wheel. Thinking I should remove that (in red) and get some extra room.

In blue, you can see my deck plate for the deck plate mod to the intake, which is coming soon! 


russ_mill Reader
4/26/21 7:33 p.m.

Got out the power washer and my flexible hose, and thoroughly cleaned out the frame rails. Dirt and crud came out, camera went in to verify, and the rails and cross braces are all clean as a whistle, and quite rust free. 

next stop: fluid film the inside! 

russ_mill Reader
4/29/21 11:14 p.m.

Completely doused all the interior frame rails with fluid film finally. Don't mind the outside- it's covered with cosmoline and this attracts dirt (which is a good payoff for stopping rust, IMHO). 

Next I finished my Deckplate mod. 

How's it sound? I absolutely hate it lol. I'll be keeping the plate on for sure. No biggie, it was only a little work and not expensive. 

next I got my repainted skid plates on

Just the front one is red, the others are black. I don't hate it. 
I also got rid of the unuseable cruise control console and cleaned up the wiring.
All in all a good night of work!

This week I'll get the fuel filter. 

russ_mill Reader
5/3/21 9:15 p.m.

Calling it quits on a few weeks of lots of progress on many things. But what you all care about is the car progress: 

My new tires finally came in and were installed - Toyo open country AT3s in 265/70/16 (I think- it's been a long week). 

These are a little smaller than the previous tire, but I only lose about a quarter inch of ground clearance. I won't compare them to the last tire because at 6 years old, that's not fair, but these balance much better, and are not so hard. I think it's going to be a good mix of my highway and planned off-road use. 

When I bought the tires, the service tech said "this thing is RIDICULOUSLY clean- are you getting it restored?" Why yes I am!

And I finally finished my rust proofing. Fluid film on the internal frames, and cosmoline EVERYWHERE else. No pictures, but it's ready to roll. 

russ_mill Reader
5/17/21 11:34 a.m.

BIG NEWS: The 4runner got new wiper blades. 

Ok so real news is the surgery seems to have gone very well as I am in significantly less pain, or ~95% less pain. My back finally feels stable. Not calling it over yet as I am still healing, but I'm pumped so far! 

In car news- I am very close to done with all my projects for both my cars, which in my life means it's time to sell one and buy another fun car. However, it's time to pay off my surgery (max out of pocket- ouch!) and start building my house purchase funds, which will be in the next 3 years I would guess, so I'm going to do my damnedest to keep both cars and just have fun with them. This means I will probably fully rice out the Acura, cuz why not, plus I can do it much cheaper than a new car. Hopefully I can stick to this plan. 

RabidBullFrog New Reader
5/22/21 2:12 a.m.

Glad to hear the surgery went really well! Best of luck with the healing. Sounds like you'll be back at it in no time. I got the oil pan on Ruby. (Hope its OK I stole her nick name). Filled with oil and filter change. Ready to get it out and test drive it in a day or two and my wife got a load of gravel 3.5 tons delivered in the drive way blocking 2 of my cars in the garage. I guess that's one way of getting me to work on her project first! So the Skyline needs an alternater installed and Ruby needs a good shake down and work on getting a title, once I move all this gravel to the back yard. I have a track day at MidOhio next weekend so Godzilla will be first.

russ_mill Reader
5/23/21 5:06 p.m.

In reply to RabidBullFrog :

Steal away! Hope she drives well! Also-  you need a build thread for all your cars- you've got done great stuff! 

russ_mill Reader
6/17/21 7:44 a.m.

Feeling pretty good so did some quick stuff over the past few weeks! 
First, the roof rack finally went back on, with stainless hardware.

Second, got a fire extinguisher Mount for the passenger seat.

And third, I was stranded with a dead battery with zero indication that it was dying (old battery was 5 years old almost), and so I replaced that. I am anal-retentive so I ground, washed, etched, and painted the rust and bare spots here. I also removed the cut wire on the right. 

Really all I have left is a few small things. Then it's on to most likely selling the Acura and buying a summer fun car. I know I said I'm not doing that but... you guys know how it goes lol. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/17/21 1:33 p.m.
rustybuckets said:

OK, was a sad moment, but sold Bettie.

I am just going to keep this build thread going. I will need a moderator to change the title.

I totally feel you on that one.  At this point, I'd make a donation for a title change myself.  I definitely should've picked a more generic title.  I am enjoying the progress on the 4 Runner though. 

russ_mill Reader
6/18/21 2:05 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

Well thanks for following along! I'm following yours too, and you're going through cars quick! I like the changes though! 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/19/21 12:27 a.m.
russ_mill said:

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

Well thanks for following along! I'm following yours too, and you're going through cars quick! I like the changes though! 

Funny thing.  This fleet of 3 is going to have some staying power.  The new job won't offer big bonuses allowing me to be silly making cars come and go.  And honestly, I like this mix quite well.  I've also discovered I really enjoy thrashing cheaper less expensive to repair cars more.  I can drive them with abandon and not have worries.  If I add anything else it is going to be an old truck or old car.  I want something from around when I was born.  My son has a soft spot for 4 runners.  I will have to show him this. 

russ_mill Reader
6/20/21 2:44 p.m.

Same thing I've found with cars- beaters are better in a lot of ways (not that yours are necessarily beaters!). Just need to remind myself of that sometimes! 

russ_mill Reader
6/27/21 3:28 p.m.

In keeping with my anal-retentiveness over rust, after my full grind, paint, cosmoline, and fluid film, I covered all the holes into the frame with large neoprene washers covered with metal fender washers as shown here. Of course I left the drain holes open. 

Also did the second oil change of my ownership. I usually do all my own work but I'll farm out oil changes since it's so much easier. Anywho, I added seafoam to the crankcase about 15-20 miles before the change. I'll probably do that the next few. Also, I will use some seafoam top end cleaner when I get a chance. At 230k and not much history prior to pimpm3, I figure "why not".  

Lastly- I've taken this in for tires, an alignment, and also oil twice, and each time someone has commented on how nice/clean it is, and someone usually tries to buy it from me too lol. 

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