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Progress On Stella


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Well, Hello!

I thought I would document what I'm doing to keep my old girl Stella in tip top shape. 

 

My father in-law sold me my '87 for cheap, and I have dubbed her Stella. I had found the vehicle for him when he was looking for something cheap after his jeep blew up, and he said when he had purchased a newer vehicle I could have it.  So, I flew to Portland and drove it back to Colorado on Labor Day weekend, along with a 1971 Kawasaki Trail Boss 100. I packed a good amount of automotive tools and camping equipment and just barely got both of my checked bags under 50 lbs. LOL! It was an interesting trip. I had to stop on the side of the highway in eastern WA because dust and smoke from wildfires made visibility almost zero sometimes. But, I did make it to Missoula, MT the first night and stayed with a high school buddy and his family. His parents were in town too, so we had a great time catching up! The second day I made my way through Montana and into Wyoming. I had originally planned on camping in the rig the second night. But as I got closer to Buffalo, WY, where I had planned to camp, snow started to get deeper off of the highway. I drove a ways towards my camping destination before I decided it was not worth getting stuck in the snow in backwoods WY. Especially in tires I had not tested in the snow! So I stayed in a KOA cabin and had a pleasant evening. The third day was the final stretch. I made good time south towards Denver and then west towards home in Silver Plume, CO. As I climbed out of Denver I realized just how gutless this old girl is. Pretty much any hill on the highway I am pulling in 3rd gear at about 56 mph. I have never driven so much with my foot glued to the floor! Well, she made it home where we live above 9500 ft. I have learned to accept her slowness and lover her for the slow girl she is. How ever I am trying to make some improvements 

 

So far I've replaced the hatch glass supports, belts, plugs and wires, distributor cap(Autozone gave me the wrong rotor so that will also be replaced soon), oil and filter, air filter. I have added new Hakkepelliita Nordman 7 snow tires and a rooftop carrier. 

 

I have a Weber 38 conversion kit and high altitude jet kit. I decided to swap because it sound like fellas have had success with this setup and my throttle body had a gasket leak. So, I decided to go with the weber instead of tearing into the throttle body. I'll probly  be swapping that this coming Sunday and Monday, hopefully it is not too cold and snowy. I plan on relocating the spare tire from inside the vehicle to proby a hitch mount tire carrier on the front of the rig. I would like to have the exhaust replaced, so any recommendations would  be appreciated. I plan on also having the timing belt and water pump done. I do get some valve train noise out of her especially on startup, so I may look into a top end rebuild as well if it is not too cost prohibitive. These will have to wait until the threat of snow is over as my 99 Frontier really likes to slip around in the snow, so this is my winter rig. 

 

I have also set her up to tailgate and make some dope hot lunches while skiing. I have a portable table, grill, stove, chairs, kitchen in a tub and cooler. 

 

I would welcome any advice on exhaust systems and/or how to squeeze a few more hp's out of her at high altitude. I live above 9,500' and travel over 11,000' everyday for work, if i could get into 4th gear uphill I'd be a happy boy!

 

She is a great old girl and I lover her very much!

 

Link for pics!

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ieuPjNwbaAJ8bU3kzb29eYZsAOk5_iwn?usp=sharing

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Oh also, I am thinking of changing the transmission fluid. It is like molasses moving the stick on cold mornings. So, I think I should change to a viscosity better suited to about a -10 to 80 degrees, which i think could also help with power. Recommendations, please!

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Anyone who wants factory ski racks are welcome to them. As long as you pay for shipping you can have them. I can fit a lot more skis and equipment in my rooftop carrier. I don't need them and am not looking to make money off of them. First one to call "dibs" get them. 

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Sounds like an adventure!

 

On the trans fluid, make sure whatever you go with is GL-4 rated, not GL-5. The bronze synchros don't like GL-5. I've heard good things about Redline MT-90, but it's not cheap from what I remember. There's a TSB (and a thread here) about overfilling them to keep the countershaft bearings happy.

 

There's a factory rear tire carrier on some of these, might find one at the wreckers, and a few threads on here about installing one on a truck that didn't come with it. Sounds like getting the nut plates in behind the sheet metal is the hard part.

And yeah, these aren't exactly quick, even when the EFI is happy. Good luck with the Weber kit. We've got a Weber on our snowplow ('63 IH Scout) and it's been great.

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I'm running a 32/36 weber on a Z24, it's been reliable, easy to tune, easy to start and good for power and remarkable economy.

You can't go wrong, just make sure you buy a genuine Italian weber, not a Spanish or Chinese FAJS replica. 


One tip I will give you is if you are using an adaptor plate to mount the carb, put plenty of loctite thread locker on the bolts holding your plate to the manifold.

They have a habit of vibrating loose and causing vacuum leaks. Next time around I'm getting mine fully welded to the intake... haha. 

Edited by FirstGenFreak
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I was looking at the Amsoil GL4 100% synthetic. They say it is good for severe climates, but that may just be marketing.

I had a 32/36 on my 78 civic and I loved it! Everything about them is designed to be easy to work on and I like that.

I'll probably stick with the front hitch mount idea for the spare tire. Simple enough to weld on a hitch tube, and I don't have to swing a tire out every time I open the hatch. Easy to slide out of the hitch when I need to as well.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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Clean rig! And yeah, I hear you on the carrier, they do get in the way sometimes. I've hitched up a trailer and gotten it all hooked up and then realized the carrier's open and won't shut because the trailer's in the way.

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13 minutes ago, Slartibartfast said:

Clean rig! And yeah, I hear you on the carrier, they do get in the way sometimes. I've hitched up a trailer and gotten it all hooked up and then realized the carrier's open and won't shut because the trailer's in the way.



Haha, yeah or you need to remove the spare to unhitch the trailer.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got a good start on the carburetor today. Went to church in the morning and then ate lunch. Then I took a nap, because that's what Sunday afternoons are for!

So in two hours I got the throttle body off and the mounting plates on.

I'm also hoping the NAPA website is correct and they have my fan clutch in stock. Fan is just on all the time now and it hasn't been above 40 degrees since like October.

Decided to head in when the sun dropped behind the mountains. 10 degrees fahrenheit when I went inside. My drink had started turning slushy, guess I didn't add enough whiskey, lol! I hope to finish up tomorrow and then go down to the local shop(one of like five businesses in our town) and check the timing. But, I may just pick up a timing light tomorrow. I'm still expanding my tool collection after moving away from my parents heated shop with every tool imaginable and an enormous air compressor.

I have updated the google file if anyone feels like looking at where I'm at now.

Also, highly recommend a portable table. I use mine mostly for tailgating, but it was really nice to have all my tools laid out on it today. I have a LED light bar that hooks onto the underside of the hood by a company called Eastwood. Looks like no they don't make the light bar I have anymore, it's more of a modular system now with spotlights that can be attached. Instead of a folding light bar. But if you can find something similar, I would highly recommend it

Cheers, homies!

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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Well I got the carb installed anyways. I still got some tinkering to do. I think I will need to buy individual jets. I got a high altitude jet kit, put the smallest fuel and largest air jets I had in, but it still smells really rich, and is chugging a little. I did also make the mistake of putting 4 and 6 spark plugs wires in the wrong place on the cap, so had a misfire for a bit. Will probably pull the plugs and make sure they look ok before I do more tinkering.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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Make sure your jets are ordered form the same place you buy you carb- genuine Italian Webers and the Spanish, or the Chinese FAJS webers all use different jetting sizes, can be hard to match up. 

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RE the hood light, I stuck LED strips under the hood of mine a while back and wired them through the anti-theft hood switch. Hood up, lights on. Honestly one of my favorite mods I've done to the truck.

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