Category: On-Road

Today’s Truck Tires

I’m not even certain how this video popped up in my recommendations, but I sat through the whole thing and just had to share it. It really is astounding what is asked of modern technology and equipment. We expect so much life, load capacity, durability, and zero defects (an impossibility) from something like a modern tire (that spins from ~470750 RPM at highway speeds depending upon the tire size) and don’t even really give it a second thought. Even if we are just talking about auto and pickup tires it is amazing that there aren’t more tire failures. How many men run bald tires? How many drivers never check their inflation pressure? Just to clarify, when I say “truck” tires I mean medium and heavy duty commercial trucks (Class 6-8 vehicles, with GVWR of ≥ 26,000 lbs) and not some dude-bro with a dumb smokestack his pickup bed.

Here’s another video on how to retread a truck tire. If you ever wonder why it seems like lots of trucks have blowouts, it is because truck tires are frequently regroovable and/or retreadable. The tires that are re-used in such a manner would be properly inspected if serviced by a reputable company, but it is still more likely to fail in the second life.

The more I watch some of these informational/infomercial videos the deeper the rabbit hole gets. One place I worked at for only a month had several trucks on the road that really should have been out of service. The worst one I drove actually had a different set of tires on one side of the rear axle; one side was new and the other was old and the sets had very different tread patterns. The tires were clearly not the same size and did not have the same traction. Even just differences caused by tread wear make a big difference over time.

More Tundra maintenance updates

I haven’t made a post like this since last year so I figured that I was due for another one of these. I have had two oil changes with different brands just to see how the engine oil analysis results would come out, had some of the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) changed out, swapped out the u-joints on the front driveshaft, and had to have corrective maintenance performed for the first time ever when the passenger side rear wheel bearing started to go out. My heart just sank when I saw gear oil smeared on the brake backing plate. I can’t complain too much since nothing else has actually required repair or replacement on a 2008 model year truck. Anyway, here are the reports from men smarter than myself and associated photos.

Valvoline 0W/20 Oil Analysis:

Castrol Edge 0/W20 Oil Analysis:

Toyota World Standard ATF oil analysis:

The bearing seal just sort of disappeared off of one of the bearing caps on the front driveshaft forward u-joint so I had both replaced.

I was curious about how fat the truck had gotten over time so I went to a weigh station:

Lastly, here’s the part that makes me sad. $1200 later I had the wheel bearing replaced at Toyota of El Cajon.

Another San Diego driving compilation video

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted up about my travels, travails, and struggles along the highways and city streets (dedicated page here) of San Diego county so it’s time for another video post. It really is amazing what my little dashcam allows me to capture and share with the world. Stay safe on the roads out there and enjoy!

Miscellaneous Truck updates

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some progress updates on the truck build so here it goes. The following is a short list of components I’ve changed out and a few maintenance items performed:

I had approximately four quarts of automatic transmission fluid changed out and did an oil change with fine lab results.

I replaced one Blue Sea Systems fuse block with the higher capacity Safety Hub 150. The Safety Hub 150 is rated for up to 280A and allows the use of higher current/interrupt rated MIDI®/AMI® fuses in addition to smaller ATO/ATC fuses. I also finally got around to covering up the exposed “hot” points on the isolation breaker, upgraded a few ground wires and replaced the Odyssey Group 34R battery with a NorthStar 27F battery.

After giving the exhaust a few love taps on a trail recently I had a new pipe welded onto the end of the muffler. There’s so much more clearance this way…

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I replaced the Rigid LED flood lights with a Vision X Light Cannon. This light is simply amazing!

After putting enough dents into the rear bumper is was time to get a new-to-me bumper off of craigslist for $80 and replace the disgusting chrome with some satin black spray paint.

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Those are all of the updates for now, what’s your favorite truck mod?

San Diego Driving, Part Two

Good evening everybody, this post is simply to showcase another video about driving on the fine roads in San Diego and the drivers contained therein. From wrong way motorists, to Interstate crashes, and illegal U-turns my dash camera has recorded all sorts of highway hijinks for you to be amazed by. Enjoy!

Rubberized undercoating removal, part two

A few weeks ago I typed up a post about cleaning up the frame of my truck and am posting a quick update. I took off the front skid plate and proceeded to alternate between working on the front and rear ends of the frame. I spent some more time chemically dissolving the rubberized goop previously applied to the frame, used a lot of wire wheels and flap discs, and spent so much time cleaning all to spend just a small fraction of the total time actually laying down any paint. In an endeavor such as the one I’m am working on the preparation work is what is the most important. Here are the photos of the forward end (before):

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During:

After:

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I only took a few photos of the rear:

I’ll post up some more progress photos, a few opinion pieces, and another soldering video soon!

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.

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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!