Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let's start fixing things!

Ok, what's the first thing you do with a used car you bought?

Change the oil, the fan belts, maybe? Nope! This truck's going to get an engine first.
My thought process goes like this. If I put a new turbo on, the head gasket will leak. Or, worse, a rod will find a new home outside the block. It's a decent running motor (220K), and a head gasket will take most of a Saturday to do and I'll be much of the way into the motor... Let's just do it right!

Ok, that leaves... Wash it?

That's right!! This thing needed a bath in the worst way, inside and out. The outside was very grimy from its environment. It looked like it had been parked in an industrial yard for the past few months and the white was dingy through the accumulated grime.

We spent $10 at the local self-serve car wash hosing away the grime. The underside was pretty clean though. It's not spotless, but it's much cleaner.

The interior, as you saw from previous pics, was in a world of hurt. Cleaning was not going to help that rear carpet.

I started casting about for sources for interior parts. My local yards had little, and the ones that had stuff were pretty proud of what they did have.

So I started casting about on Yotatech, Pirates, and other sites. And Google.

And then I completely, totally lucked out. I turned out to be the 2nd poster for a guy who had a clean 89 (2 years new than mine) with the same paint scheme and interior color. Sadly, it was not power windows.

BUT! He was parting out whatever he could before he took advantage of the US Grubbimint's Cash4clunkers program. (The USG spent $3B of our money for about $380M in benefit. And a lot of new Japanese cars on the road. You decide of that was good for US citizens as a whole...).

Personally, I support people taking advantage of the program. It's a business decision, not a moral value.

This worked out to my incredible benefit as I got new seatbelts (all 5), headrests (my driver's seat looked like it had yellow dandruff), new REAR carpet (woo-hoo!!!), some rear topper trim, his radio, and some other goodies we'll be installing later.

Here's the detritus from the original headrest on the driver's side and why I really, really wanted new headrests. Not shown is that the design in the fabric is sewn in opposite of the direction of the fabric on the seat. I'll likely swap covers later. Much later.

Andrew is quite mechanical and I frequently find him swapping trucks on his skateboards when I'm pulling the motorcycle into the garage after a day at work.

Here he is pulling the driver's door apart so we could see how clean we could get the door panel. It came out pretty clean, but I didn't take a picture as it was dark by the time I put it back on after Andrew had headed off to bed since it was a school night. Dawn is amazing stuff (hey, they use it to clean oil spills).
Can you tell the new rear fender carpet from the old?

One other part I got was the rear trim for the topper. Someone had cracked both of the originals. Look at the dust/grime on it. That's all over the rest of the interior, and is much worse on the dash (the dash is clean in the original sales pics, so I'm guessing it's from the guy I bought it from).

The bed looked really good (eat your heart out, East-coasters! )
The seat-backs had a light dusting of rust, so I cleaned them off and painted them. I had some bronze I have no idea how I got, so I used that color! LOL
Rear carpet before
Rear carpet after. The new carpet was in awesome shape for being in a truck with 190K, but still benefited from a good cleaning (with the help of some Dawn, a scrub brush, and a hose!).

And, finally, here's the tail end of this relatively easy project - the tailgate!

Here's the original tailgate
Here's the new tailgate carpet. FYI, the ugly one above cleaned up pretty well with Dawn, a brush, and a hose, but the vinyl surround was still pretty hacked... and the new one was still prettier.
In the week since doing this, I've decided a carpeted tailgate isn't something I'm in love with. I expect an alternative solution to eventually find its way here. It's too hard to keep remembering not to put dirty stuff on the tailgate.
There's nothing like the satisfaction of doing something so easy, so cheap, that is so effective. I really got lucky on the carpet deal, but I'm quite pleased with the outcome, especially given it was not work I was expecting to have to do when I originally flew out to pick up the truck.
It's great to have another truck, and another insured 4-wheeler in the family. It makes it real easy to for SWMBO and I to be in different places with different #s of kids at the same time!

Next up (probably, none of this is hard and fast)- rip out the seats and front carpet, clean the rear seats (yes, more oil stains), swap seat belts, and keep doing my homework on what to do with the engine.

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