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How would you service your truck if you want to keep it 20 years?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Jack Straw, Mar 16, 2009.

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  1. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    I have a 2004 Toyota Tundra that I bought new. I have 36k miles on it. I put 8k miles a year on it currently. I use Mobil One oil and change it twice a year (spring/fall). I am thinking about having the transmision serviced and maybe the radiator flushed. I want to keep the truck at least 20 years (can't afford to buy another one).
    Is it better to have the B&G;type flush of the Trany or a regular service where they change the filter? It is a little soon to flush the radiator but it couldn't hurt. Any other suggestion? Thanks.

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  2. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    My 1994 Ferd Ranger has 191 K miles on it now. I hope to reach at least 300 K. I service it however my mechanic tells me to. I always take it to the same trust mechanic. He has never recommended any of these fancy "fluid flushes" ... he says they are basically a way for dealer service depts. to make money. My recommendation is to find a mechanic / shop that you trust (preferably recommended by someone who has been taking their vehicle to said shop for 10 years or more) and follow his (or her) recommendations.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  3. mnowaczyk

    mnowaczyk Member

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    I've heard that tranny flushes can actually cause more damage than good. Changing the fluid is one thing, but a pressure flush might push a bit if metal into a place it should not be causing mroe damage. Good mechanic important.
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    That is a relatively long time, but not so many miles. I'd probably just follow the recommended flush/change intervals - You might hit the time limit before the mileage limit, but just keep up with them. My main concern would be rust. I haven't seen too many 20+ year old vehicles that don't have some rust. I usually take mine to the car wash when I first get them and hose the undercarriage out real good, then cover everything with rubberized undercoating (available in spray cans from the auto parts store) Then give them a good once-over each winter before the salt goes down and repair any cracks or peels in the undercoat.

    Also, if that mileage is relatively spread out, it shouldn't be too big of a deal. But if it means driving the heck out of the truck for 3 months, then parking it for 9, you might want to take precautions for storing it. Likewise if you make a bunch of 5 minute trips every day, you might want to look into the 'extreme duty' change intervals.

    Changing the radiator fluid early/often doesn't really gain much and 'can' accelerate corrosion. Over time, the antifreeze/corrosion inhibitors react with anything corrosive in the water and neutralize it - and the fresh water/antifreeze itself has dissolved oxygen / CO2 which is removed with time in the radiator. Each time you flush, you get a new batch of corrosives, oxygen and CO2 which must be neutralized before the system returns to its 'very low corrosion' state for several more years.
  5. Chuck-OH

    Chuck-OH New Member

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    I'm currently driving a 1997 Blazer with 135,000 miles and running almost like new. I had it specially rustproofed when it was new at a shop in Cleveland, with a guarantee against corrosion as long as I bring it back every five years, which I've done. There's not a bit of rust on or under it after 11 winters in Cleveland. Keep after the corrosion--that's one area that can't be fixed easily.

    As for the engine, I use 100% synthetic oil, in addition to the manufacturer's regular service recs.

    I do believe in tranny oil changes. I change it myself, and you can see the bits of metallic fragments in the bottom of the pan from normal wear. Every 50K miles. In 27 years not one of my high mileage vehicles has seen the inside of a transmission shop.

    Radiator flushes every 25K. You can do those yourself too. Use the Prestone kit you splice into the heater hose.

    Fuel filter needs to be changed way more often the rec'd by the car makers. You can do those yourself too. I change the ones on both my vehicles every two years.

    Brake fluid--absolutely. Starts to go bad after two years of regular driving, and can corrode the brake lines from the inside. If you're hard on your brakes, you're likely breaking down the fluid even faster than this, in the cylinders where it's hottest. Every 2-3 years. You can do it yourself with a vacuum gun, or just gravity bleed.

    I don't change the fluid in the power steering, differential, or transfer cases, but I do check the levels.

    Air filters, of course.

    Use a UV protectant for all interior surfaces exposed to the sun.

    Yes, a lot of work, but not that much spread over time. Or do what everyone else does, and drop $20K or more on a new car every 4-5 years.
  6. Ossy

    Ossy New Member

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    Assumptions:

    18,000 mile per year
    20 yr design requirement
    Service life based on mileage 360,000
    4x4 Ford or Chevy- don't know about Toyotas
    Exclude routine items like brake service, tires, tie rods, etc.

    Based on what I know from past experience and my buddies experiences:

    a. Buy a vehicle that has a standard transmission...they are sealed and will last longer than an auto. An automatic will last about 200k to 250k depending on brand and quality from factory...standard will get 300,000 to 400,000 but only with a new clutch, say 150-200k miles
    b. Change oil every 5000 miles...
    c. Change/check oil in tranny and differentials at 125-150k
    d. Tuneup at around 100k...spark plugs, cables, and most importantly timing belt and cog (depends on the vehicle for this)
    e. Depending on climate and such...check undercarriage at 150-200k for premature rusting...

    Anyway, just some thoughts...

    Ossy
  7. ikessky

    ikessky Minister of Fire

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    Get it detailed in the spring (I do auto detailing on the side) to get the salt out of your carpets and the salt off the paint. Use a quality wax throughout the nice months and use a sealant before the snow and salt season starts. Don't forget to wash the undercarriage also.

    The previous posts summed up most everything else. Regular fluid and filter changes, quality fluids, lube the fittings/bushings that you can........
  8. NoPaint

    NoPaint Member

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    Honestly the flushes cause problems. I have a high mileage Jeep. The way I keep it alive is to change oil with synthetic about every 4000-5000 miles but I check it every 1,000 and top it off (with whatever oil I have really). For transmission I prefer automatics. Mine is the original with tons of miles on it and it shifts like new. I change fluid every 30,000 miles with both filters replaced. You should do the same thing, every 30,000 miles unless you use it more heavy duty then more often.

    Spark plugs MUST be changed more frequently than specified. The long tune-up schedules are marketing to sell the car. You leave in plugs for 100,000 miles and you risk having a couple strip out your head from seizing (to begin). Second you will slowly foul up the whole engine with a poor spark. I do plugs every 15,000-30,000 miles. That is what you should do regardless of platinum or copper plugs.

    Check brakes and tire pressure regularly. Rotate and balance tires when you can and it needs it.

    This is what I do, your mileage might vary so do as you find necessary.
  9. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    I have a 97 F-150 and it is 13years old this month. I bought it new in april 96 and it has 281,xxx miles on it. I do nothing except change the oil regular old Dino oil every 5k miles. I change the tranny fluid myself (5 speed manual) and all other fluids ie: differentials, transfer case, fuel filet. I have only changed the front tie rod ends, ball joints, tires and added a magaflow dual exhaust. Everything else is OEM even the battery. I drive it smartly and about 25-30k a year. Whom else has a oem clutch at over 280k... Just treat it right and it will return the favor.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    How many trucks from 1989 with 360,000 miles do you see around your area? I suspect it will be rotten from rust long before you get there. Assuming Toyota is somehow superior in that department a 4x4 Toyota from the 80s will be the square body style ones with the fuel injected 22RE. I see those around my area fairly frequently but we don't use much salt here.

    The engine and drivetrain aren't your problem. It'll be the rust. Stick to the manufacturers maintenance schedule and keep it clean and waxed. Nothing else you can do except hope that you don't get into a wreck.

    I believe that that truck has the 4.7 V8. That engine was used in other high end vehicles and is a high reving fuel hog. Are you sure that you want to drive that truck for 360,000 miles? What are you getting, like 12 mpg in this midsize pickup?
  11. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    I am putting 8k miles a year on the truck each year. My commute to work is 18 miles roundtrip so I am not concerned with gas mileage.
  12. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    1996 Chevy C2500 with 167,000 miles. Followed the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance and also closely followed the recommendations of my then trusted Chevy dealer in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where I lived for most of those 167,000 miles. All of my driving involved salt covered roads during the winter months. The under carriage and minor sheet metal rust is now showing. The truck has been garaged since new. It has no fluid or air leaks and burns no oil. All major drive train components are still the originals.

    Chuck Oh also mentioned an area which is frequently overlooked by most vehicle owners: brake fluid. Do as he says and change the fluid every two years, no matter the mileage. Dot 3 and Dot 4 brake fluids are hygroscopic (they absorb moisture from the air). That moisture is absorbed by these fluids through the various seals in the brake's hydraulic system. The moisture is even absorbed through the flexible rubber brake lines connected to almost all disc brake calipers. This absorbed moisture is what causes the internal corrosion in brake hydraulic systems. The moisture also has a lower boiling temperature than the brake fluid and can cause spongy brake feel.

    Do not mix Dot 5 brake fluid with Dot 3 or Dot 4 fluid because Dot 5 fluid is chemically incompatible with Dot 3 and Dot 4. Dot 3 and Dot 4 fluids can be mixed together with no adverse results because they have the same chemical base( one of the glycols). Dot 5 fluid has a different (silicone) chemical base. Mixing Dot 5 fluid with either of the other two will, over time, cause very harmful consequences. The whole topic of brake fluids is too complicated to examine here but do a "brake fluid 101" search on Google and get the full story.

    Best wishes and happy maintenance,

    John_M
  13. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    My daily driver is a 92 Dakota. Just keep up with the maintenance.

    Matt
  14. Gomez

    Gomez Member

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    Speaking of brake fluids, my 88 F150 had several pinholes develop in the brake lines toward the last couple of years I had it (around 15 years old by then).
    I never changed the fluid, only topping it off as needed. Guess I'll be changing that fluid a little more often.

    Other than corrosion in the lines, are there any telltale indicators that there is moisture in the fluid?

    Also, are the Dot 3, 4, and 5 fluids color coded?
  15. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    Gomez, There are no obvious telltale signs that there is moisture(water) in the fluid. Assume there is. All manufacturers require that you add brake fluid from a sealed container. If the brake fluid sits on a shelf for two years with the cap on but with the seal removed, the fluid is absorbing humidity(water) from the atmosphere. When you pour that fluid into your master cylinder you are also pouring in the water. So, it is best to just assume that your brake fluid always contains a certain amount of water.

    In looking at DOT 3 and DOT 4 fluids I see no difference in the color. They are both a light amber color. I have never looked at DOT 5 or DOT 5.1 fluid so I cannot speak about that color. I have read that in Europe, the manufacturers color the DOT 5 and DOT 5.1 brake fluid a blueish/purple color. It might be the same here in the States. By the way, the Europeans do not use the DOT classification system as in the USA.

    There are also other grades of brake fluid made for special applications ie: Formula 1 and stock car racing, special weather conditions (high heat and/or humidity) etc. You would faint at the cost of some of these fluids.

    Also, never, ever spill brake fluid on the paint finish of any vehicle. Brake fluid is the fastest and most effective paint remover you have ever seen.
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I'm a big brake fluid flusher too. It is cheap and I do it alone. My method uses a mity-vac manual vacuum brake bleeder and goes like this.... Suck out the master cylinder's reservoir, wipe it of grime and refill with new dot4. Then go to the right rear (farthest away) brake cylinder and start sucking out brake fluid until clean fluid appears. You will know when the new fluid comes out since old brake fluid is discolored and cloudy. I then move to each other brake cylinder getting closer and closer to the left front (closest) caliper and finish the flush. Be sure to never let the master reservoir run out or you will have a bubble in the line. Don't worry about ABS systems since you are just pulling fluid through the system.

    Sucking the fluid out is superior because you aren't pushing the master and caliper pistons/seals beyond their normal range of motion. If you can see the level of fluid in the master's reservoir without the aid of a light or removing the lid then your fluid needs flushing.

    It will take several pints.


    I also drive 8 miles to work every day so I am not as concerned about fuel mpg. The daily commute isn't where those 8000 miles come from though is it? 260 work days in a year times 20 miles is only 5200. The remaining 2800 miles are where having the utility of a truck pay off. I am not afraid to admit that I drive the vehicle that I like to drive with highest priority given to something other than fuel economy. That mid sized toyota gets the same mpg as a one ton dually! I don't understand it but it must be fast!
  17. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    High beam
    It's true about the gas mileage. I get about 15 mpg in the summer and it goes down to 12 in the winter. I'm sure the short commute to work doesn't help. It doesn't matter how you drive slow/fast it doesn't seem to improve. It does get better on the highway though. I only spend about 25$ a week in gas so it's no big deal. I bought the truck to hall my snowmobile trailer. The truck is a 4 door and is handy when several guys go. I also use it to hall the camper.
    Are those pumps available at most auto parts stores? That sounds like something I could do myself.

    Also how hard is it to service the trany? Do I need a new pan gasket? Are the filter(s) easy to change? There is a drain plug on the pan, can I just change the fluid the first time or should I change the filter?
  18. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Tranny - I think you have a screen and not a true filter in that tranny but I could be wrong. I just drain the 4 quarts out of my tranny every time I do an oil change on my 4runner. That is every 10k miles or so. I use mobil 1 for engine normal tranny fluid and 10k miles is just fine based on oil color so far. The drain and fill is used by many though checking and cleaning the screen is a good thing to do. It is a groan to get that tranny pan off and you will have to pry it off ans scrape all that sealant/gasket good. There are ways you can do a self-flush of sorts. I don't see any harm in having the dealer or another place do a full tranny flush when it is recommended in the service manual. The knock on the tranny flush is generally on high mile vehicles.

    Nothing against any of these folks here, including me, but I would not trust my vehicle's future here...but check out yotatech and ultimateyota...

    My 99 4runner is pushing 170k and still going strong. She drives me to work, pulls my trailer full of wood, takes me camping and more...
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I bought my mity vac at the local NAPA auto parts store and have flushed many vehicles. It works really well for flushing or if you have to replace a part of the hydraulic system. You put the little vacuum hose over the bleeder, apply vacuum, then loosen the bleeder which allows brake fluid (and trapped air)to be sucked into the mity-vac. You keep on sucking until clear fluid comes out or you begin to worry about refilling the master.

    I have never serviced a Toyota auto tranny but I have serviced many GM auto trannies and now the big ford. They all seem to have some sort of coarse filter in the tranny on the suction line that should be replaced once fairly early on and then maybe never again. I worry more about the fluid's newness. The filter is often referred to as a suction strainer and is easy to change but very messy since the atf will be dripping on your head.

    The new trans filter will come with a gasket if it is needed. My Ford's pan gasket is meant to be reused and apparently is very reusable. I always replaced the cork/rubber gaskets on the GM products.
  20. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    When I first got the truck, I got a big can of never sieze and coated all of the bolts/nuts/bleeders/fuel fittings etc.. under the truck so hopefully things will come apart when I need them to.
  21. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    Highbeam

    Is this the right pump?

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  22. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Spray the entire underside of the vehicle with new, not used motor oil, then drive down a dusty road. Repeat ocasionaly. Never let the engine overheat, or run low on oil. If it starts to overheat, shut it down.
  23. Chuck-OH

    Chuck-OH New Member

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    If you have a drain plug, I'd drain the tranny fluid and refill now, following the manufacturer's description of how to make sure you refill it properly. Do not overfill. Later, I'd change both the filter and the fluid at 50,000 miles, more often if you tow, or drive on hilly terrain.

    As for the brake fluid, always open a fresh container, unless you can use it within a day or so. The recommended way to dispose of unwanted brake fluid is to let it evaporate to the air.
  24. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    http://www.amazon.com/Mityvac-7000-..._4?ie=UTF8&s=automotive&qid=1237391218&sr=1-4

    I hope that link works. Mine is actually the mityvac 7000 which is made of white plastic and has no gauge. You can tell by how hard it is to pump when you have a vacuum on the system. I've bled brakes the old way where someone applies pressure to the brake pedal and then you open the bleeder and then the brake pedal drops. The mityvac is way better, the mess is contained in the little reservoir on the mity vac instead of sprayed all over.
  25. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The problem I found with the mightyvac approach is that it is easy to get false readings of air in the system if you pull bubbles around the threads in the bleeders. I've also had times when you start pulling a good vacuum and it doesn't want to stop before you suck the master cylinder dry (especially a problem on bikes, as we have a smaller resevoir).

    What I use instead are the "one man bleeder" units that are essentially a one way valve in a hose. Stick it on the bleeder, crack the bleeder and pump the pedal until you get clear fluid coming out. It pushes the fluid through the system so you get a good flush, but have control since you can pump just the right number of times to almost, but not quite empty the master cylinder...

    A couple of other things I do is to pull the bleeders out completely and put some teflon tape on the bleeder threads (being careful not to block the bleed opening) and when I'm done put a cap on the hole in the bleeder to keep crud out. Crud there won't hurt the brakes, but can cause problems with corrosion. This isn't a huge issue if you have cast iron calipers, but corrosion can be a BIG problem if you have steel bleeders in aluminum calipers, and it really helps to have the teflon tape to separate the metals, and keep the crud out with a cap....

    Gooserider
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