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1997 Nissan Hardbody - Dads old truck!

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by LowwlifeHB, Jun 14, 2022.

  1. Jun 14, 2022 at 8:22 PM
    #1
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    First Name:
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    Vehicle:
    1997 Nissan HB
    So while searching Google for some hard to find wheels, I found a thread here for Vintage JDM wheels. After lurking around I found some other really cool threads like the Hot wheels thread, Woodworking thread just to name a couple. Figured I would post a thread here on rebuilding my dads old pickup even though its not a Tacoma. I do plan to buy one eventually just waiting for the boy to start school full time so I can loose the ridiculous day care bill. Anyways, for now I'm just getting the truck back to roadworthy status. Its in pretty rough shape so initial work is all oem replacement stuff, some eventual rust repair.

    Name - James
    Location - Bay Area
    Truck - 1997 2WD XE 5 Spd
    Mileage - 196,XXX

    Dad is the original owner, is 74 now and drove it maybe twice a month. My brother bought a new cement 4Runner and gave him his 2wd 2008 Tacoma single cab so I get this. I'm pretty excited, when I was a teenager looking for my first truck I had my eye on this but couldn't afford a new car. I bought my 2nd favorite truck at the time which was a 1985 S10 Blazer Tahoe.

    Anyways... Truck is 99% oem and needs a ton of work. Its been neglected of its mandatory regular maintenance and its starting to show. Its almost scary to drive, and I cant believe my father was driving it.

    The shocks are gone
    ball joints are there, but useless
    steering has a clunking sound
    tires are 9 years old and cracking. all 4 slowly leak about 3-5 psi per day
    front brakes squeak and pull a lot. Pedal goes to the floor
    has a high idle (1100 rpms)
    has a loud rattle at cold start, and when it revs over 3500 rpm
    leaking oil from pretty much every place possible
    truck is incredibly dirty. I've been with my wife now for 18 years and Ive never seen him wash it.
    Its starting to rust

    That's what I know SO FAR.. But here she is.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Immediate plans besides repairs listed above:
    3 inch drop
    new wheels/tires
    add a bluetooth head unit and replace 25 year old speakers in the cab
     
  2. Jun 15, 2022 at 8:13 AM
    #2
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    The truck had YEARS of dirt just baked onto the truck. and as you can see from the hood it sits outside. It also sat outside SFO for like 18 years since he worked there. I pulled it out of the garage to wash and wax it to see if the paint was worth saving. I think it looks way better. I purchased some factory paint in a spray can to repair the rust spots. May attempt to do the hood. Either way, it will be good for a few years while we save for a new paint job.

    [​IMG]

    Today was replace front brake pads day until I found a fun little surprise. Makes sense, because I remember changing the pads for him not too long ago and with how little he drives I was surprised to hear squeaking coming from them. Passenger pads looked new, but driver side pad was down to like 30% then I saw this...

    [​IMG]

    There is A LOT of oil under the truck.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I know the valve cover has a leak facing the firewall but man, thats a lot of oil.
     
  3. Jun 15, 2022 at 7:53 PM
    #3
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I drove the truck home from my dads place at night and OMG. You can hardly see! These sealed beam headlights are probably the same pair from the factory. Fuckin crazy man was driving half blind. I found an affordable recommendation of bulbs and and lights so I went with that.

    [​IMG]

    Thankfully I was prepared for the rusted on bolts and had WD40 and a torch, they came right off.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also replaced the xtra cab window locks as both of them were busted. Thankfully he was smart enough to leave the hardware in there.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2022
  4. Jun 15, 2022 at 8:08 PM
    #4
    Bishop84

    Bishop84 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome stuff. They are great little trucks and a lot of fun to drive.

    Once you're done all the safety stuff, a BIG upgrade is the shifter bushing.

    ANNNNNNNNNNNND they are unavailable. Damnit. This is why Toyota has such a bigger following. They have more parts available for older models.

    Keep it up and share as you go!
     
    LowwlifeHB [OP] and RustyGreen like this.
  5. Jun 15, 2022 at 8:12 PM
    #5
    Speedytech7

    Speedytech7 Toyota Cult Ombudsman

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    Spokane, WA
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    I've done a mod or two
    That truck has a FS5W71C 5 speed manual trans though, that same trans came in models that are popular with aftermarket companies... Like the 240sx. Should be able to get a whole new shifter unit for the same price as the repair parts, at least you could when I had my 300zx.
     
  6. Jun 16, 2022 at 8:06 AM
    #6
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! As @Speedytech7 mentioned below, the bushings are available, and I have a replacement. The real issue is you have to cut part of the interior carpet to get the shifter out. If the truck was old and damaged I wouldn't care, but its pretty clean so well see. And yes, I agree truck wise I do favor the Toyota. Eventually I will have a Tacoma. This paved road camping is fine, but not what I really enjoy.

    Correct. For now, until we figure out where this will go the bushing will be good haha.
     
    Bishop84 and RustyGreen like this.
  7. Jun 17, 2022 at 8:10 AM
    #7
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Found the clunk in the steering...
    I did a google search and found a thread about some balancer inside the steering wheel and sure enough when I pulled the air bag out dropped a giant piece of metal and rubber.

    [​IMG]

    Supposed to be here
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jun 17, 2022 at 7:32 PM
    #8
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Found two of the leaks

    This area is prone to leaks from what I have read.. clearly its true. At least it looks good inside.
    [​IMG]

    Power steering hose
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Also based off the noise I was hearing I dropped the oil pan to check for plastic pieces of the timing chain guides.. fcuk
    [​IMG]

    Guess we are pulling the front of this thing apart and replacing the timing chain.
     
    Steves104x4 and davidstacoma like this.
  9. Jun 20, 2022 at 8:06 AM
    #9
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    New Front Calipers, sway bar bushings, endlinks and shocks. All just stock replacements to get the truck back to normal condition.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Belltech 3 in drop leafs, and front drop spindles came in the mail. Along with other OEM replacement parts

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Jun 21, 2022 at 11:23 AM
    #10
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Parts starting to come in now... Might have went a bit overboard on the front suspension but well see.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jun 22, 2022 at 1:41 PM
    #11
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Timing cover was a pain in the ass to remove. Hidden bolts, an oil pan that probably hasnt been removed since it was built... but progress is progress.

    [​IMG]

    Dad let these oil leaks really make a mess of things. The timing cover was so dirty and oil covered I actually thought it was black lol. I wasted so much timing trying to clean it up haha.

    [​IMG]

    This was as best I could do while also watching the kid outside. Ill scrape off the old gasket material and give it one last scrubbing.

    [​IMG]

    Once I got the cover off I could get a good look at the guides. Ive never seen a set before so I have nothing to base this off of but to me it looks pretty bad haha.
    [​IMG]

    Cleaned up the bottom end where it meets the oil pan. After looking around I do think it was the valve cover leak and the oil pan leak that caused all the mess. So once this is all fixed that should no longer be a problem.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Jun 22, 2022 at 1:49 PM
    #12
    ToyoTaco25

    ToyoTaco25 Well-Known Member

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    PROCOMP 4" LIFT, AMP RESEARCH POWERSTEPS, 285/70-R17’s, MAGNAFLOW, AFE COLD AIR INTAKE, DIPPED BADGES/GRILL
    Nice project & work! I'm looking to find a similar truck for commuting to work.
     
    RustyGreen and LowwlifeHB [OP] like this.
  13. Jun 22, 2022 at 1:52 PM
    #13
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Great little trucks. Not a huge upgrade on mileage. I think before all this work I was getting around 18 mpg? Will have to see if there is any improvement after all the work.
     
  14. Jun 23, 2022 at 5:26 AM
    #14
    ToyoTaco25

    ToyoTaco25 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not so concerned about the mileage, but more so the wear and tear & just keeping miles off my Taco.
     
    LowwlifeHB [OP] likes this.
  15. Jun 23, 2022 at 5:34 AM
    #15
    Squatting Pigeon

    Squatting Pigeon Remember, bird watching goes both ways. Moderator

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    Hell yes, glad to see this build here!

    I had a ‘92 5 speed for a while, and three different 240SXs. Those KAs have their quirks (as you’ve already discovered) but make some decent power and last forever.

    Good luck with the resto!
     
    LowwlifeHB [OP] likes this.
  16. Jun 23, 2022 at 8:04 AM
    #16
    LowwlifeHB

    LowwlifeHB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I did own one 240sx but never got into that scene too deep. Was more involved in the Datsun groups.
    Man do I regret selling my old Datsun. She's Ice Racing in Finland assuming she's still in one piece.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Jun 23, 2022 at 12:42 PM
    #17
    RustyGreen

    RustyGreen A breaker point guy in a Bluetooth world

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    My opinion: The early 510 line were some of the best looking cars ever produced. Looked far more expensive then they were -- great style.
     
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  18. Jun 23, 2022 at 12:49 PM
    #18
    SH10151

    SH10151 Well-Known Member

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    I’m guessing some crazy Finn flicked her into the tree line by now. Ice racing is like demolition derby meets drifting.
     
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  19. Jun 23, 2022 at 5:08 PM
    #19
    Squatting Pigeon

    Squatting Pigeon Remember, bird watching goes both ways. Moderator

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    That’s an all time favorite car right there :drool:
     
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  20. Jun 23, 2022 at 5:37 PM
    #20
    6mtTRD

    6mtTRD Well-Known Member

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    Just came across this thread. And not being a stalker.. but I recognize the neighborhood. Howdy from a fellow east bay local. I’ve moved to Manteca but the parents still own in the neighborhood!
     
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