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Vehicle Maintenance and Repairs Tips for maintaining your car, boat, and all things mechanical.

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Old 05-27-2014, 09:53 AM   #1
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Default Nissan Titan Buildup

I have always wanted to do a vehicle buildup. When I was 20, I started on my Rabbit. That was ended when I totaled the car. A couple of years ago, I wanted to restore my work vehicle which was a 98 Honda Accord 4 door automatic. It was not a sporty car in any way. But it had over 300,000 miles and I considered the car an extension of my body. That car had been though a world of hurt including an interstate crash several years before I got it. I thought if I restored it, that I could give it to my Daughter. It also looked bad when I showed up to a customers farm to do work. The farmers understood that it was a work vehicle and gave me a good bit of latitude. Hondas are friggen indestructible! GREAT cars. That car went to serve as a garage placeholder at the Bosses house to make passer-by's think someone was home.

So, now I have a Nissan Titan. The truck was used to haul horse trailers and has damage to that affect. It has 100,000 miles and runs on gas. it is a "no frills" truck. No power anything. it is as basic a truck as could be made and sold.

(I will add to this post in a few hours)
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Old 05-27-2014, 12:13 PM   #2
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I used to roam the rarified world of extreme high-end car audio. At the level I was at, the sport/hobby was actually "tethered" robotics, and explosive acoustics. When I left, my specialty was in high energy transfer systems. Engines and batteries were too slow in transferring energy to supply the 15,000 to 20,000 watts accurately to the "motors" (80+ speakers). In that industry, the "Pro" class had infinite leeway to do anything technologically and financially possible. There were no known limits.

A friend of mine would take on one project a year. He was simply typical of the "Pro" class. He would ORDER a new project car and have it flat-bedded to his facility. From his shop, he would disassemble the car down to the bolts. He would then rebuild the car to be remotely operated and contain extreme amounts of electrical power. When the car was completed, it would be featured on the cover of Car Audio and would be the center piece of his company's image for the next season before being "retired". It is interesting to note that the car was still fully functional and drivable. Taken to the extreme, some of these cars would never drive more than 50 feet a year for the rest of their mechanical lives. I missed those days.

During that time, I wanted to privately participate in what was called Concourse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concours_d'Elegance

"...competitiveness of a Concours d'Elegance forces restoration of a vehicle to surpass 'mint' condition. " A brand new car or truck would typically get a score of 50 points in competition. A winning car or truck would take a huge amount of work to surpass all of the thousands of "FLAWS" a new car has! (Definitely OCD shit!)

I have always wanted to do this.

Finally, and more to the point, I want a "Bitch'n Bad Ass" truck.

I would like to document my buildup here on this thread. It will be very, very slow going... possibly taking a couple of years. And, there will be lots of photographs to show the transition from a horse hauler to a bad ass ride.

The truck is a 5.6 liter Nissan, Titan. It is a 2006 model. It has just over 100,000 miles. The transmission and radiator have already been replaced due to hauling horses. The bed of the truck has a gaping whole where the right side spring popped through.

I do not want to bring this truck up to or surpass the appearance and quality of a new truck. I just want to clean it up and transition it to a kick ass truck. It is strictly a labor of love.

At shows, the competitors have binders showing pictures of the process. Nowadays, competitors have threads. This is my thread.
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Old 05-30-2014, 01:06 AM   #3
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I plan to spend most of the weekend detailing the truck. After I get all of the grime and dirt off, I will be able to see all of the dents and scratches. I will definitely have pictures.

My strategy has major problems. What I had planned to do was have an image: a kick ass truck. I would detail the truck and replace worn parts as needed with cool aftermarket parts. During this time, I would weigh the truck, document the gas mileage, form a thread to document the transition, and create a binder in the truck to also be a document. I have major problems before I have even started....

The tires are not safe to drive on. They are bald. According to the rules of the upgrade, I have to get new tires and new rims - that would be.... $2000.00 (more or less). I do not have that kind of money. Actually, it would be more if I also upgrade the tire and rim of the spare?! If I kept the rim size the same, I could use my old stock rims till I got the money for the rims and the fifth tire. The problem there is the appearance my not be as cool?! I think I will sleep on that. Actually, safety first! I may just have to cut corners here on the dream.
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:58 AM   #4
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Jason bought a Porsche 911 and poured thousands into getting it working well. It was a money pit. If he put $1500 into brakes in April, in May the AC would stop working and it would need a $600 tuneup, then in June it would be something else, ad nauseum until he sold it.

Then he bought a new RX8 and put tens of thousands of dollars into mods for the car, doing the work himself and hiring people to do what he could not. It never worked the way he wanted. He got stung on repairs more than once (local "expert" stripped parts out of his car and sold them on ebay while it was in his shop for work). He ended up selling the car.

If you are fixing a truck as a hobby and have the time and money to indulge that hobby, fine. If your business is restoring cars, fine again.

But for the average person, working on something in their garage, it is a big sucking endlessly deep money pit.
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:26 AM   #5
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Depends on what you're doing. Porsche was extremely unreliable till this last decade.

The RX-8 was a fine car, but it is never cheap to take a NA car turbo. The turbo kit, the ECU changes, tuning and dyno time. Fuel pump, injectors, etc, etc.

What I learned is to buy what you want and just be happy with what the vehicle is. Trying to change it into something it isn't, is costly. And in the end you have a modified vehicle that is worth less than an unmolested copy.

It's totally different if I were into building a tube frame race car for track use. That would be a fun hobby project and pay off once it was built.
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:50 AM   #6
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Andy, You seem to have so much discretionary time. I'm kinda worried
you might not be employed right now?
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:07 PM   #7
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Sonny,

I wish that were the case. I am just free to do what I want. Unfortunately - or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) I have a lot of activities. I now am doing so much I lose track of where I work at. I know it sounds dysfunctional, but it seems to work for me.

This should be a picture of me today working my agricultural job in North Carolina near the Virginia border.

It shows the truck - and the work environment.
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:10 PM   #8
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This is the truck at the "Man-Cave"!
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:11 PM   #9
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Another view.....
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:14 PM   #10
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The back end is too high in relation to the front. This is because it was used to carry horses. The truck is not broken. It just needs to be taken back to original, repaired and cleaned up, and then modified to be "Kick-Ass" cool.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:52 AM   #11
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I have been working waaaaaaaayyyy to much to have time for the truck. I did change out the tires - $1000.00. I had to hold off on the rims till I get another thousand.

I bought a bottle of Mcguires aluminum rim cleaner and it leaked all over the back seat. I don't think it hurt anything though. I got another bottle of it and Damn if it was a total failure. That was a friggen waste. Now, I am thinking about taking a Dremel with a polishing wheel to the rims. That will take an awfully long time.....
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason View Post
What I learned is to buy what you want and just be happy with what the vehicle is. Trying to change it into something it isn't, is costly. And in the end you have a modified vehicle that is worth less than an unmolested copy.

It's totally different if I were into building a tube frame race car for track use. That would be a fun hobby project and pay off once it was built.
This.
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:16 PM   #13
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All this time has gone by and I have not done as much as I had hoped.

The Macguire's rim cleaner did not clean. Another guy told me that the pad dust has settled in to the aluminum. I will try to get a picture of the rim before I start working on it.

Either it is too hot, or too cold, or too wet, or I am too damn busy. I just got to make time! If I don't - the love bugs will eat the truck up.
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:59 PM   #14
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Plan #A: "Stock Look" - This is more of a Concourse strategy. Imagine a "new" truck. Put in several hundred hours of time cleaning it and you would have a Concourse Competitor. The extra touches would include the sticker, invoice, etc.

Plan #B: "Economy Ride" - The strategy here is simply to keep the truck on the road with emphasis on safety, economy, mileage, warranties, and life-span extension. Believe it or not, trust me - this is a big deal with lots of people. This is where you get your "Million Mile Cars" or the Ford mustang that gets passed from generation to generation (think the movie Grand Torino (Clint Eastwood)).

Plan #C: Low Rider (Mech/robot) - Low Riders are more of a Southern California thing, popular with the Mexican/Latin American Contingent. Low Riders are art on wheels. Low Riders are very stylistic with paint and highly custom layout. A major function of Southern California Low Riders is the use of hydrolics. I consider Low Rider Techies as borderline robotics (high power). I never really played with Low Rider hydraulics because I was more in to the Super Power (Factory Class) which is dangerously heavy to be throwing around.

Plan D: Audio - My truck is waaaayyyyyyy to old to compete in Pro Classes (if they even exist any more). The Super Power Factory Class is virtually unlimited. Generally, these cars are less than $200-$300,000. I was going to do a VW Bug. Had the cars. I wrote the article for Car Audio Magazine (the Editor did have a problem with it). Had it all lined up. Ran out of time. I would have had about $100,000 in it. I was only going to have 8000 watts. At the time, that was a lot of power to fit into a bug. Anyway, went there, did that, lost my hearing.

Plan #E: Bad Ass Conservative - Take the used truck back to original. Clean the truck to "new" condition, replacing parts as needed with premium and/or "Life-Time" parts or higher performance or lighter parts. Conservatively stylize the truck (lifters, rims, paint, lights, bumpers, etc.). Document.
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:00 PM   #15
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Ironically I see this today while I have carpet spread out on the floor in front of me to reform into it's shape for my ancient dodge power wagon hunting truck. New aluminum cell insulation as well as it's mind numbingly loud on pavement.

I have to agree with most everyone who has commented---cars are a money pit. I just riveted a bunch of sheet metal onto the floor to cover rust holes, filled more holes with patch material. The a/c is far from working, most of the weatherstripping still needs replaced, the glass is turning white, and the suspension needs a total redo. Body work and paint job would cost a kidney with all the chain damage. Now consider I have put well more than 10 grand into it already. Ugliest pile of money I've seen in a while.

Positive side--SHTF and I have the best ride around--bulletproof B&B motor with over 350 hp, custom built denso starter, custom built 1 wire 150 amp alt, dual elect systems (complete rewire with breakers and all new relay system--emp ready) dual batteries, built 727, moveable cop spotlight, traildigger m/t tires (5), hi lift, front receiver, etc and 300 lbs of front bull bar goodness that disintegrates medium size creatures.


Have fun if your doing it for fun, just know that the chances of ever gettign your money back are slim to none.
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Last edited by rryan; 12-12-2014 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 12-13-2014, 10:03 AM   #16
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, built 727...
Have fun if your doing it for fun, just know that the chances of ever getting your money back are slim to none.
OK, I give up. What, pray tell, is a built 727? All that I can picture is a '60's PanAm 727 jet, with new fancy paint job and a brace of engines off of a 767 hanging low under the old wings, with the silencer covers off the engines, ready to roar.
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Old 12-13-2014, 12:52 PM   #17
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OK, I give up. What, pray tell, is a built 727? All that I can picture is a '60's PanAm 727 jet, with new fancy paint job and a brace of engines off of a 767 hanging low under the old wings, with the silencer covers off the engines, ready to roar.
Sorry--its the transmission. Probably the simplest and best for many decades

http://www.allpar.com/mopar/torqueflite.html
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:24 PM   #18
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I have been trying to figure out how to get the brake pad dust off of the aluminum rims. I tried the Maguire at $8 a treatment. Did not do a thing. Finally, I took out the Dremel. I put on the fabric disc and used some cleaner as a lube. The dust came up in little flakes like a plaque. Very, very time consuming. It would take 4-8 hours to clean the rim to the point where I can clean the rim. And then there are four more rims.
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