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The Lunar Lander

Discussion in '1st Gen. Builds (1995-2004)' started by MacGyvR, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. Oct 23, 2018 at 10:05 PM
    #1
    MacGyvR

    MacGyvR [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Member:
    #40533
    Messages:
    438
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Tom
    Addison, Texas
    Vehicle:
    03 Prerunner (5VZ-FE)
    OME 2.5", 881, Dakar, Nitrochargers
    Hello!

    I've decided it's time to start doing cool(er) things with my truck now. This thread seemed like a fun way of keeping track of my progress! Here it is in the very beginning:

    IMG_6442 - cleaned.jpg

    It's the Lunar Lander because everything is manual except the transmission. Bought it used at a Nissan dealership back in July 2010 with 141,000 miles on it. Now at just shy of 240,000 miles I've decided to throw some money at it in this order:

    1. 2. Buy this rear locker because it looks awesome
    3. ???????
    4. 4x4 Conversion!

    Planning to pick up that OME suspension package around Black Friday to maximize my savings. Next year I'll tackle buying that locker, and after that I'll dive in on the 4x4 conversion. Hoping to be more capable off road and get to some pretty sweet camping spots!

    I'll update this thread as I make progress!

    First road trip (Flagstaff, AZ)
    IMG_4392 - cleaned.jpg

    Random Camping trip
    IMG_6029.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
    jubei likes this.
  2. Mar 6, 2019 at 12:10 PM
    #2
    MacGyvR

    MacGyvR [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Member:
    #40533
    Messages:
    438
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Tom
    Addison, Texas
    Vehicle:
    03 Prerunner (5VZ-FE)
    OME 2.5", 881, Dakar, Nitrochargers
    ED12E6F2-06C0-4A92-89F8-F54F4C48ED11.jpg
    I had high hopes for this past weekend, but the crappy tekton jaw puller kit I bought didn’t work on anything except the outer tie rod ball joints. I just ordered the OTC kit that Timmy the Toolman recommends, so moving forward it shouldn't be so awful popping the ball joints out.

    This past weekend we made it through:
    • Upper ball joints
    • Lower ball joints
    • Outer tie rods

    Inner tie dross were still stiff, so I opted not to replace them. One of my upper control arms has a hole in it. Right now debating on whether or not I should just order some after market UCAs or buy an OEM replacement for the one that is damaged.

    Work remaining:
    • Upper control arm bushings
    • Lower control arm bushings
    • Steering rack and sway bar bushings
    • OME suspension install (Shocks, coils, leaf springs)
    • Intermediate steering shaft
    • Drive line U-Joints
    6DC3F5E9-11E5-4F6F-B335-EAF651DC499C.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  3. Mar 26, 2019 at 9:18 AM
    #3
    MacGyvR

    MacGyvR [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Member:
    #40533
    Messages:
    438
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Tom
    Addison, Texas
    Vehicle:
    03 Prerunner (5VZ-FE)
    OME 2.5", 881, Dakar, Nitrochargers
    Still moving forward! Over the past three days I've replaced the following:
    • Lower control arm bushings
    • Steering rack bushings
    • Intermediate steering shaft
    • Front OME 881 coils and nitro chargers installed

    Ran into a sucky issue yesterday where I burned and hacksawed out the upper control arm bushings only to find the ones I ordered were too small. I went to NAPA to get some bushings from them and they were also too small! Only thing I can think of at this point is the previous owner put on aftermarket arms. Since one of them had a rust hole in it I opted to buy new ones from toyota which I'm picking up today. Interested to learn more about the arms that were on there, they're not stamped at all.

    Anyway, after I get those new arms bolted on, I'll get the front end torqued to spec and then move on to the leaf springs and rear shocks! Pretty excited to have all of this done, I suspect the truck will drive better than when I bought it at 141,000 miles. Pics to follow.
     
  4. Mar 27, 2019 at 12:24 PM
    #4
    MacGyvR

    MacGyvR [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Member:
    #40533
    Messages:
    438
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Tom
    Addison, Texas
    Vehicle:
    03 Prerunner (5VZ-FE)
    OME 2.5", 881, Dakar, Nitrochargers
    Didn't get the leafs installed last night, took way longer to tighten the front end to spec than I would have guessed. As a result the front end is about 5" higher than the back right now. Hoping to get the leafs and rear shocks installed tonight. Pictures coming soon!
     
  5. Mar 30, 2019 at 11:38 AM
    #5
    MacGyvR

    MacGyvR [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Member:
    #40533
    Messages:
    438
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Tom
    Addison, Texas
    Vehicle:
    03 Prerunner (5VZ-FE)
    OME 2.5", 881, Dakar, Nitrochargers
    Finally got it all done! Took significantly longer than I thought it would, but it was my first time doing any of it. Took off Monday 4/25 to get it done over the long weekend, didn't finish up until last night around 2am. All in all I think it took something like 60 hours this week on top of work.

    Only bummer now is I think my double cardan joint is totally boned. Sounds like a coke can rattling and pinging under the truck while I'm driving. It was sticking pretty good when I first pulled it out (phrasing). I pumped some moly grease through it and it got a little better, but it still really doesn't like accelerating or slowing down. Gonna keep pumping a ton of grease through it over the next few weeks and hope it clears up. It isn't a surprise though. There's been some pretty awful squeaking and creaking off the drive line for a while now, I just figured it was the u joints and bought new ones to replace them. :(

    Anyway, front end is nice and tight now, no shimmies or vibrations while braking or driving down the freeway. Greasing the slip yoke took care of some bindings I was having as well. Suspension is a massive upgrade over some monroe quick struts I put in 6 years ago, and the tires stopped rubbing in the wheel wells. All in all, really happy with it. Just hoping the drive shaft doesn't explode when I drive home later.

    I'll post a picture of the bone yard and a before and after of the lift later. Right now I have a lot of cleaning to do
     
  6. Apr 5, 2019 at 1:20 PM
    #6
    MacGyvR

    MacGyvR [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Member:
    #40533
    Messages:
    438
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Tom
    Addison, Texas
    Vehicle:
    03 Prerunner (5VZ-FE)
    OME 2.5", 881, Dakar, Nitrochargers
    Picture time!
    Bone yard (replaced parts)
    upload_2019-4-5_13-19-6.jpg



    Getting those pesky leafs lined up
    upload_2019-4-5_13-19-27.jpg



    The little brake line that could. Really amazed this didn't snap. Not my smartest move.
    upload_2019-4-5_13-19-42.jpg



    New leafs vs old





    Before the axle slipped off the jack. Really should have ponied up for some more jack stands and put a towel between the pumpkin and the jack for a little more grip.


    upload_2019-4-5_12-51-54.jpg



    Makeshift press that worked pretty well. Followed these instructions and added a bunch of washers, used a pair of angle pliers, and a long pipe for more leverage. Also tons of WD40. Uppers went in like butter. Lowers fought me every millimeter.
    upload_2019-4-5_12-53-30.jpg
    upload_2019-4-5_12-56-47.jpg

    Balljoint press kind of worked if I hacksawed through the sleeve and bent it up. Huge PITA though.
    upload_2019-4-5_12-56-9.jpg

    This worked until it broke my bottle jack.
    upload_2019-4-5_12-57-28.jpg



    For the lower arms, I found marking the alignment with whiteout worked pretty well. Getting the washers in after installing the whiteline bushings was a huge PITA. Took at least two hours. Not a lot of space in there.
    upload_2019-4-5_12-59-30.jpg


    Castle nut was seized on one of my upper ball joints. Had to dremel through the bastard to get it off. Also keeping an eye on that UCA hole. It's been there since I've had the truck.
    upload_2019-4-5_13-0-52.jpg


    Before the work:
    upload_2019-4-5_13-1-59.jpg
    upload_2019-4-5_13-2-17.jpg
    upload_2019-4-5_13-2-28.jpg

    With only the front installed (notice the gradient)
    upload_2019-4-5_13-7-59.jpg


    With the new leafs in
    upload_2019-4-5_13-8-27.jpg
    upload_2019-4-5_13-8-54.jpg


    That's it for now. That OME suspension is amazingly comfortable. I still have that steering binding (apparently I replaced the wrong intermediate steering shaft), and getting some brake pull that's being diagnosed right now. I might need to take the drive shaft somewhere since it's making noise after the lift. The engine is leaking a ton of oil, losing coolant through rusted freeze plugs, and has two cylinders that are failing a compression test (cylinders 3 and 4). So I'll likely be replacing the engine in the next month or so, but I'll let a shop do that one. But, I'll be able to enjoy the truck for many years to come, assuming I don't get wiped out by some asshole on the road or do something stupid. I'll also start eyeing the parts needed for the 4x4 conversion, but realistically that'll be on hold for a while since this ended up costing more than I thought, especially with the engine replacement looming.

    :spending::burnrubber:

    upload_2019-4-5_12-54-55.jpg
     

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