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Everything posted by 01Pathmaker

  1. Here's a few teaser pics from when I first brought the Ex home... Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  2. So, a few weeks ago I got in, started the old girl up, put her in drive to pull her into the garage to do some work on the roof basket, stepped on the brake and BAM, pedal went to the floor. Ended up being one of the hard lines above the rear axle had decided to succumb to corrosion. Looking at the rest of the hard lines back there, I decided it would be prudent to replace them all, as well as the rubber line. I then checked to see if I could free the bleeders on the wheel cylinders, nope, one crumbled and the other offered no resistance, as it snapped off with almost no pressure. I pulled her back out and ordered up a coil of line, bag of fittings, frontier rear hose and a pair of wheel cylinders. After all the parts arrived, I got to work and replaced everything aft of the clean section above the muffler (which worked out well, as I already had the new exhaust on-hand to replace the old rotted junk), bled the system thoroughly, hung the new exhaust and went off on a test drive. This is where frustration began. The brake pedal was inconsistent, sometimes high and tight stopping great, sometimes dumping all the way to floor requiring hand brake application, sometimes somewhere in between. Carefully, got her back home, went through the bleeding process again, no air bubbles at all. Took a ride up the road, still consistently inconsistent. Bled again, no air. Called a mechanic friend, bled it with him, no air. Looks like the master cylinder is toast from experiencing "full throw" when the pedal went to the floor, which is not uncommon for an old, high mileage unit. Looking closely at the lines and fittings to the master, it was decided that it's time to let her go. If she didn't have concerning structural rot, I would've been much more inclined to do what needed to be done, but at this point it's not something I want to get into on a vehicle that might not be structurally sound for much longer. It's been a great rig, made 20 years worth of memories, but in the end, it's the right decision. I had been casually looking for a clean, specifically spec'd Armada for a while now, as my kids (annoyingly) keep getting bigger and we could really use more room. I have found and looked at several over the 6-8 months, but they were either too high mileage, not properly maintained or severely overpriced. I opened up my search a bit, to include a very select few suburbans, expeditions and excursions, but found a lot of the same. Then by a stroke of luck, this past Friday I took a "mental health" day from work, began perusing the interwebs a bit and low and behold, a new listing popped up for a 2003 Ford Excursion XLT in my area. I clicked on it, just to realize "hey, I know this truck!", call the number, a guy I haven't seen in years answers, we catch up, I tell him I want to come look at it, stopped at the bank and went. Sitting there in all her monstrous glory, a beautifully clean, rust-free, well maintained, low mileage, tastefully modded ride. The listing did not include an asking price, nor did we discuss it on the phone, I just brought what I was willing to spend. We start talking and reminiscing as I'm looking the truck over, then I ask "what are you looking to get?", he says "I know you know what you're looking at and what it's worth", a very correct statement, "and I know what I could get for it, BUT I know if you're the next owner, you'll treat it as I have. How about ...". Without hesitation, I said "I brought cash, let's call this deal done!". I am now the very happy and proud owner of this true gem, for about half of its true market value! Although I'm sad to part ways with the Pathmaker, I'm excited about all the room and adventure the Ex has to offer. I'll still stop by this awesome community from time to time. I'll probably post a few obligatory pics of the new-to-me beast and if I find any R50 parts kicking around, I'll be sure to post 'em up.
  3. This really makes me wish my Pathmaker wasn't rapidly rotting away at this point. I've been looking for a clean, low mileage R51 or Armada since I have 2 growing kids and a 65lb lap dog, but this makes me want to look for a clean R50! Ohhh, decisions, decisions...[emoji848] Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  4. That's a good thought. Ultra black is the only silicone I've used on any engine applications for many years. It's very stable, stays pliable and is "sensor safe". Used sparingly and appropriately, it'll save a potential headache down the road. Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  5. Welcome! Looks like a good find and ol' Hoss found itself a great new lease on life! Best regards from the 'states! Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  6. Only time I've drained the block on these is when doing a full coolant flush. I will add that when the block gets drained, it can sometimes be a real chore to purge all the air out when refilling. Take your time, take a break if you start getting frustrated, because that's when stuff gets broken and knuckles get busted! [emoji23] Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  7. PB is good stuff and works better than anything else, in my opinion. I typically will give ugly stuff a good soak a few days before (when possible), but if/when that doesn't work I always grab the heat wrench. Typically, with steel fasteners into aluminium, you get corrosion from the 2 metals not really liking each other, so patience and appropriate heat work great. Go slow, if it doesn't feel right, it's probably not. In these situations I pinpoint the heat to the area directly around the bolt. With aluminium you usually don't need much, just enough to "wake things up", which breaks down the corrosion. After I get it to free up, I'll back the bolt out little by little, until it feels like it's starting to bind, stop, give it a squirt of PB, change direction and thread it back in, then repeat until it's out. Most of my broken bolts or stripped/mangled threads are the result of forcing things. Granted there have been some that happened just because it was fate [emoji6], but I can't stress enough how important patience is. Once things are apart, clean out the hole as best you can (compressed air or even the keyboard duster "air in a can" works), determine the correct thread size/pitch and chase the threads with a tap. When you have to reuse an ugly old bolt, I also chase the threads on that as well. Makes things much easier to put back together. Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  8. I did the relocation on my 96 probably 5+ years ago. Although I don't have it anymore, I sold it to a guy just down the road from me. It's still going strong and he hasn't had any mechanical issues, aside from popping a code for a bad o2 sensor. As for the true functionality of the relocated sensor, I'm sure it's not as effective as it's original location, other than an easy fix to an otherwise involved (and sometimes very difficult) repair. All that aside, if your doing all that other work, it shouldn't add too much time and effort to the job. In my (almost 30 years of) wrenching experience, I've found that a majority of stubborn fasteners, mangled threads and such are far more common on the more "external" engine components. Not saying I've never snapped a manifold or head bolt, but it is more easily prevented with patience, finesse and appropriate application of heat. Even an inexpensive handheld map gas plumbers torch can do the job in many cases. In fact, I rarely break out the oxy-acetelene torch anymore, unless I'm doing some "heavy" work or crude cutting. My little $40 map gas job is much less hassle. Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  9. Just to be clear, which color did you actually order? I don't really care about matching, but would like it to not look like a gaudy, mismatched add-on. I'm torn between the K & W. For some reason the W is less money than the K... Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  10. That is awesome use of an otherwise useless space, I love it! Mimics the placement of the outfitter switches on the newer Ford Super Duty. I'd also imagine that if the color difference really bothered anyone that much, it'd be easy enough to match it with interior plastic paints that are available, but for my utilitarian use it's fine. Just might have to pull the trigger on one of these (and yes, I just looked them up on ebay [emoji6]). Nice find fellas! Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  11. If you download the Tapatalk app it makes uploading pics really easy. It took me years to get on board with doing it that way (because I'm stubborn and old-school), but I should've done it long ago! Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  12. Welcome! We like pics here too!! [emoji1] Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  13. The old girl performed flawlessly, fully loaded, out on the beach today. It's amazing how much better this thing handles now, I really didn't realize how worn out everything was! Unfortunately, the fish didn't cooperate today, but had a great day with my girls regardless. Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  14. Haha haha! I actually thought about washing it too! [emoji38] Maybe if there's enough time tomorrow, but it won't matter much since Friday she'll be back on the beach, getting all salty & sandy and hopefully covered in fish blood & scales!! Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  15. Alright folks, my (almost) 200k mile suspension rehab is finished (except alignment)! So to sum up, thanks to a snapped coil, I replaced my apparently tired Old Man Emu MD suspension after roughly 140k miles of use. New parts are as follows: (FRONT)new OME HD front springs, KYB struts, OME trim packers (7/16" spacer), stabilizer links, repacked wheel bearings (replaced them at ~150k), a little wire brushing, applied rust converter, then rattle can bedliner. (REAR) near new OME MD springs (bought from@CDN_S4 years ago), near new OME Nitrocharger shocks (bought from@hawairish years ago too!), new SFC 1" spacers, sway bar links & bushings, a lot of scraping, wire brushing, rust converter & rattle can bedliner. She rides much more firm now, didn't realize how worn out everything really was! [emoji38] She Now sits between 35" & 35.25" to the center of the fender flare at all 4 corners (on fresh 255/70/16 Wildpeak AT3W's). Now I'll start on the rest of the 200k service (change all fluids & filters from bumper to bumper) I guess! Heck, I even restored my headlights! She'll never be as clean as those Quey's, but maybe all my cleanup work will make@Mrelcocko happy! (Didn't go crazy with pics because I was way too involved, but here's what I got!) Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  16. It is crazy how life sometimes gets us away from our hobbies for long periods, in what seems like a blink of an eye. Good luck and best regards!
  17. Welcome back to the dark side! I hate how clean and rust-free stuff stays in the southern/central states! A while back I picked up a seemingly clean 99 Burb that I was planning to replace the R50 with, but that didn't end well. Long story short, it wasn't as clean as it looked, in fact it probably took the previous owner about 4 gallons of bondo to make it look as good as it presented, plus it was plagued with electrical gremlins and the engine coolant would frequently disappear (most likely needed head gaskets). Basically, I was the sucker for that one! That was my last straw for GM, unless it's pre-1988 or I come across a clean squarebody Burb. I'm currently revamping my R50's suspension again (close to 200k, snapped an OME front coil) and trying to put the brakes on some structural rust that's been popping up. Wish you well on your search, I'm sure you'll find plenty of the same info on here, as well as some pretty cool (fairly recent) rear spring availability (namely using Land Rover springs!). Enjoy the hunt and welcome back!
  18. The lower strut bolts, which you will have just replaced 2 with cam bolts and the other 2 you will have just R&R'd. Other than that, they may need to adjust the toe-in/out which is done by loosening the lock nuts on the tie rods and rotating the "threaded rod" looking piece that threads into the tie rod end. In most cases, those are fairly easy to free up, sometimes they just require a little heat to break them free. As far as I recall, there is no adjustment available in the rear.
  19. Finally, after around 16 hours of fighting with almost every single nut & bolt, the front is done (except alignment of course)!! I didn't take any pics along the way because of the frustration of having to heat almost every fastener up with the torch, breaker bar w/4ft cheater pipe, high torque impact gun, you get the idea, but I only snapped 1 little bolt off (one that holds the bracket of nonsense on top of the drivers side strut tower and a bunch on the hubs). Had to ditch my Mile Marker hubs, as they were locked in the lock position and when I was attempting to take them apart, damn near every one of the little bolts that hold the "cap" on snapped. Once I got them off I inspected and repacked the wheel bearings, then put it back together with the stock drive flanges (thank God I saved them!). She drives good, now has about an inch & a half "Cali-lean" going on, but that'll be addressed midweek when I tackle the rear. Time for a hot shower and a cold beer... Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  20. Wow, must be nice having that kind of workspace available and a clean undercarriage to work on!! I'm currently doing my front suspension overhaul (due to a snapped coil) and so far I have about 12-14 hours into it. Almost every fastener has needed to be heated with the torch, backed off with a HD impact gun, most bolts have needed to be heated and beaten out. Luckily I have a decent size garage with a decent arsenal of tools, but the rust and corrosion is beating the hell out of me!
  21. So my package from 4x4parts arrived with what's hopefully supposed to be my OME HD's, but there are absolutely no markings on them whatsoever. Way back, at least 12+ years ago, when I ordered my first set of OME MD springs (also from 4x4parts because I didn't know any better at the time), they arrived as these did, in a plain brown box, BUT they at least had factory OME tags on the springs themselves, these have nothing, just plain black springs. So, fingers crossed that these are what I expect them to be. Let the wrenchfest begin... Sent from my Mobile Communications Device
  22. Nissan Part No.:21230-8P300 - VALVE ASSY WATER CONTROL is the rear "thermostat" Nissan Part No.:21200-4W010 - THERMOSTAT ASSY is the thermostat on the front of the engine Sorry I didn't see this sooner. Hope that helps!
  23. Nice work, it always saves money, gives you a better sense of satisfaction and of how things work, when you do your own wrenching, As far as your rear ride quality, if you used factory replacement KYB rear shocks, those will be just about at maximum extension when the truck is sitting level. This lack of available down travel will make your ride more harsh than it needs to be. If you swap those out for a shock that is appropriately valved and 2-3" longer (to match the added height of your springs), like the Bilstien 33-185352 (or there is a less expensive option from ProComp, but the part number escapes me), you'll find the ride quality improved. Just food for thought.
  24. Can you clean mine?! Pics above! [emoji38] Sent from my Mobile Communications Device

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