Category: On-Road

Thoughts on rubberized undercoating…

Oh boy, are we in for a good post today folks. Tonight’s post is about the laborious task of removing the rubberized undercoating that the previous owner of my truck applied to the frame and lower portions of the body and bed. I am not a fan of rubberized undercoating as it can make a lot of electrical plugs or bolts difficult to remove, lowers the ability to easily inspect some parts, and cracks over time which allows water to get under it but not easily evaporate. I long ago began the project of removing all of this gunk from my truck and it has been slow going and I still have much left to do. Attempting to use any type of wire wheel, grinding disc, flap disc is ineffective at removing these types of coating as the removal media is rapidly clogged. The use of a chemical means of dissolving the rubberized coating (I just recently noticed that the methylene chloride formula is no longer available in California) is necessitated by this problem and is very miserable and time-consuming.

Here’s a quick video for anyone who is thinking about using rubberized undercoating on their on vehicle:

Here are some of the photos of the work I’ve been doing on the truck most recently:

I had a little mishap as I was removing some rust from the rear axle…

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While I really do need to finish this project I probably should have thought a little harder about the variable-gauge wire wheel I was using next to the wheel speed sensor cabling. It would have been so easy to unplug but I decided to test fate instead. I am fairly certain that no harm was done to the sensor but I bought that as well; hopefully I can just return it.

price_of_failure

This photo is unrelated to the post, but do you like my custom exhaust mod?

Coronado Bridge drive and Tidelands Park

Good evening everybody, tonight’s post is just about the most recent photos and videos I took from the Coronado Bridge and Coronado Tidelands Park on the eastern side of the island. The ride up and down the Coronado Bridge is awe inspiring and quite beautiful at all times of the day and is well worth your time if you ever pass through San Diego. Bridge traffic to and from Naval Base Coronado can be terrible from about 0500-0800 and 1500-1800 on a weekday so be sure to avoid the bridge at those times. The Coronado Tidelands Park is a quite and calming place to spend the afternoon and I’ll have to take my bicycle and explore island and Silver Strand in a more personal way. I’ll leave a few photos below and you can enjoy the rest of them on the dedicated page here!

Toyota Tundra 5.7L engine oil analysis results

A few weeks ago I typed up a post about drawing an engine oil sample from the 3UR-FE in my Tundra and just got the results back a few days ago. It would seem that all is well with my ten year old engine that has 111,000 miles on it even with all of the off-road and idle use I put the truck through. I also had the Total Base Number determined for an additional $10 with a total price of $38 for this oil analysis. The oil analysis seems to be a good way of finding problems prior to a catastrophic failure and I may have these tests performed on my transmission and differential oil as well. I would highly recommend the services of Blackstone Laboratories to everyone.

08 TUNDRA-190427

Toyota Tundra filter and lube oil changes

Good evening everybody, today I recently replaced the engine air filter, cab air filter, engine oil and filter, and gear oil from both differentials. I will be sending the engine oil sample to Blackstone Laboratories for analysis and early detection of any possible problems prior to a catastrophic (and more expensive) failure. Blackstone is even nice enough to send you the kits for free, they just won’t actually give you your results until you pay the $28 fee. I’ll be sure to show off my engine analysis results when I get a response in one to four weeks. I’ll also be posting some photos of the used filters and differential drain plug magnets below along with mileage change intervals.

First of we’ll start with the rear differential gear oil (last changed about 10,000 miles ago):

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I took images with and without a flash of the drain plug and what I wiped off of it with the shop towel. No water came out and there weren’t too many wear products on the magnet. Gear oil never really smells great though…

Next up, let’s look at the front differential (last changed 10,000 miles ago):

The truck is normally in rear-wheel drive so the front differential put very little on the magnet and the oil looked almost new.

Let’s move onto the engine air filter (once again, 10,000 miles):

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All of those desert trail miles made themselves very well known with all of the dust I beat out of the filter. The cabin air filter told a similar story:

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Last but not least let’s talk about my engine oil sample and draining the filter. When you buy a new filter from Toyota for the 5.7L you receive a drain plug to push into a valve in the filter housing. It always takes a little time for me to get it in their right but it’s much better than just yanking off the filter housing and having oil go everywhere.

I pulled a big-brained move and almost let all of the oil drain out of the pan before remembering to grab my sample bottle. Here’s what the kit looks like after you remove the packaging and take the sample:

I opted to type and print my oil slip rather than writing on the supplied paper to avoid any penmanship issues. The recommended oil sampling procedure may be found on Blackstone’s website but they’re fairly simple. As I said before I’ll be sure to report back on my engine oil results. That’s all for now folks!

 

San Diego drivers

I’ve compiled a short video of some of the more interesting (and scary) driving techniques that I’ve observed in San Diego over the last few months. Bad things happen when you: tailgate, drive too fast for slick roads, never yield, and in general drive like a jagoff. Unlike the majority of bad driving compilations that you’ll find online this is actually original content from my own dashcam (SpyTec A119). Maybe there’s something that you or someone you know can learn and take away from this short video. Or perhaps you’ll simply get a few laughs out of it. Either way, enjoy!

Winter in San Diego County

During February a large cold front passed through California and brought an unusual amount of snow to the mountains east of San Diego with snow level down to about 2000 feet. I decided to head east on I-8 and up towards Sunrise Highway/Mount Laguna to see what kind of chaos the roads would be in due to a few inches of snow. The freeway was full of people: stuck on the side of the road, in the middle of the road, motorist driving with their hazard lights on continuously, heavy trucks that hit each other, and seemingly confirmed all of the bad driving tropes about Southern California. Sunrise Highway (S-1) offered a far different experience and was almost empty. I passed very few other motorists and only a single stuck vehicle. The snow was coming down harder, the temperature was lower, and I had an amazing time up on Mount Laguna.

I stopped around the peak at Mount Laguna to throw some snowballs and take a few photos. All was quite, all was calm, and all was cold that night on Mount Laguna. There were CHP Officers at the southern end of Sunrise Highway who stopped anyone who either: drove a car without chains installed or had a 4×4 truck without chains with them. Usually when there’s a few inches of snow it’s too crowded to head up to the Laguna Range but the heavy storm kept most away. It was a wonderful time and I hope that you enjoy the videos!

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Fox 5 San Diego-Storm brings Mount Laguna heaviest snowfall in years

Rolling Coal on Cops

I browse through a lot of automotive videos on YouTube and one of the more idiotic ones I’ve stumbled upon recently are videos of diesel truck owners who have voided their warranty with stupid powertrain “upgrades” and roll coal on various groups, including police officers. In a large portion of the clips the cop is talking to a motorist that’s been pulled over simply happens to be behind one of these idiots who feel like holding their camera phone out while driving or recording their face and then proceeding to act like complete morons. I suppose that when you have brain damage it seems like a good idea to roll coal on the motorcycle cops that just pulled you over…

Derp, “Fuck the police.” “‘Murica!!!” Oh my, what a smart individual.

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Be gentle with me, I have brain damage. And trucks nuts, because I have no taste.

It is simply amazing how some of these dumb-shit truck owners feel like they alone own the road and can do whatever they want. These imbecilic drivers want attention and well after rolling enough coal, voiding a lot of warranties, and acting like a bunch of jackasses they have plenty of attention. For one example, a New Jersey State Assemblyman by the name of Tim Eustace had coal rolled on him by some idiot as he was driving his Nissan Leaf down the freeway. Shortly thereafter New Jersey passed a bill specifically banning the practice of rolling coal. It’s already a violation of the Clean Air Act to remove or otherwise disable emission equipment installed from the factory (a few of these trucks were probably build before emissions equipment became standard on diesel trucks in the mid-2000s) but all these idiots are doing is bringing more of what should be unwanted attention to themselves. It’s not enough to roll coal at a show, they have to do it to a random cop standing on the side of the street. Similar laws have passed more recently in Maryland and Colorado as well.

diesel+truck+rolling+coal
Herp, derp, your parked car is just pissing me off too much.

Aside from the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal numerous other companies have received fines for either selling, installing, or operating street trucks with inoperative/removed emissions equipment. Here are a few articles with multiple examples to illustrate my point:

Hard Working Trucks-Special Report: DPF Delete

Ontario Trucking-CTA-Feds Must Crack Down on Truck Emission Control Tampering

Commercial Carrier Journal-EPA enforces Calif. emissions regs, carrier hit with $400k in fines over DPF violations

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Clean Air Act Vehicle and Engine Enforcement Case Resolutions

I want to highlight just one EPA case from 2018 regarding the Freerksen Trucking Company:

“20. In response to the Request for Information, Respondent provided invoices and other information indicating that between August 5, 2015, and December 30, 2016, Respondent modified emission controls, including DPFs, EGRs, and/or the SCRs on 22 HDD trucks, and Respondent installed defeat devices on each vehicle to modify the Engine Control Module. Itt the response, Respondent also included additional invoices demonstrating that Respondent was beginning to make repairs and reinstallations of the modified vehicles. Respondent also included invoices and other documentation demonstrating breakdowns and other issues associated with the Engine Control Module that trucks within Respondent’s fleet had experienced in the years preceding Respondent’s installation of the defeat devices.”

“24. On May 8, 2017, Respondent reported to EPA that emission controls have been reinstalled on 21 affected trucks and all defeat devices have been correspondingly removed. Respondent reported that the one remaining vehicle had been sold prior to EPA’s enforcement action and therefore is unable to reinstall the controls.

27. Based on analysis of the factors specified in Section 205(c) of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. ยง 7524(c), consideration of the EPA’s Clean Air Act Mobile Source Civil Penalty Policy, dated January 2009, the facts of this case, Respondent’s cooperation and prompt return to compliance, Complainant has determined that an appropriate civil penalty to settle this action is $50,000. Respondent agrees to pay this civil penalty.
28. Within 30 calendar days after the effective date of this CAFO, Respondent must pay $12,500 of the civil penalty by sending a cashier’s or certified check, payable to “Treasurer, United States of America,” to:
U.S. EPA Fines and Penalties Cincinnati Finance Center
P.O. Box 979077 St. Louis, Missouri 63197-9000
Respondent shall pay the remaining $37,500 of the civil penalty within 180 days of the effective date of this CAFO using the same method.

So not only did this company have to pay a fine, they were also awarded the joy of re-installing all of the emissions equipment that they had removed (I’m willing to bet that they didn’t keep any of the parts they removed either). That must have been an insightful and fun-filled experience for the Freerksen Trucking Company. Perhaps some of these joyous deezul pickup drivers could tone it down and save their antics for private property, a track, or a show? Or perhaps they’ll just keep bringing the spotlight down on themselves and anyone else who drives a truck (gas or diesel).

Southern Island Drive

Good evening everybody, all I have for today are some videos showcasing the southern half of the isle of Guam as the Sun was setting. It really is a wonderful drive and I might have to try it on my bicycle at some point before I leave. Editing and uploading all of these videos in 1080p resolution reminded me why I switched to dealing with 720p videos though; the files just get so large. Anyway, I hope that you enjoy this virtual tour!

Bonus video: