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BluePine

Transitioning the "work truck" into My Daily Driver... Upgrades? Areas of Concern?

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My Husband and I purchased our truck in early 2007 as his work vehicle (he was a custom home builder) and needed to be able to haul trailers/ materials etc.At the time I drove a new Subaru Outback, which we ended up selling fairly quickly bc of major electrical problems, and replaced with an 02 GMC Yukon that one of my insurance clients had purchased brand new and basically hadn't used bc he drove his work truck and really only bought the Yukon so he could write off his truck? I am not sure... anyhow he sold it to us with only 20K mile on it in 09 now the yukon has 140k on it and the tranny blew... I could rebuild it as I did our truck last winter however I am just not that motivated bc it's already high in mileage and I never really loved it compared to our truck.My husband is tired of all of our "fixer" vehicles and went out this week and purchased a Passat... no commentMy goal was to use the Yukon as a trade in or replace the tranny and craigslist it...But what I need is a reliable vehicle, the truck honestly hasn't been horrible... We purchased it with 160K in 07 it now has just over 200K but it didn't get used as much as it would have if my husband had not broken his back in 09.I have been working on addressing some of the basic upgrades that are recommended to keep her in good running order and prevent costly repairs down the road.Here is my list so farAlready Purchased...Issopro Gauges: Mechanical Fuel Pressure, Trans Temp, EGTDeeper Tranny Pan with Drain Valve and Tester PortTransmission: Flushed, replaced all seals, adjusted bands, replaced broken 3-4 springAirDog 150: with Drawstraw, Low Fuel Pressure Light, Big Line Kit- Kept original fuel filter in system and cleaned/ replacedHerculiner Bed liner & Cargo Tie Down Rails (love these) New front hubs/ BearingsNew Ball Joints?New BatteriesPurchased but not installed yet:Replacing the vacuum lines for 4x4 - bought new harnesses from dodge HO Alternator (mean green 200a)- Still need to purchase upgraded cables for new alternator and battery leadsTIMBO appsaddressing crankcase breather issue with mopar man fixMaintenance that I plan on completing in the next month:Flush Radiator & replace thermostatRebuilding the Front End (or at least making an over all plan)I know I am forgetting some stuff but this is the start of it, I lived in a very COLD area where we are starting to get into the season of it being quite reasonable to expect it to be 0 degrees on a warm afternoon and down to -20 - -30 even during the day... so I need to make sure that if I commit to this being my daily driver that I can get it to start on those cold weather days.... something that it has not been able to do the past few years, although I do think that it has to do with the batteries being drained by something when it is parked... a short that I am trying to track down and fix. I am also hoping that upgrading the alternator will help recharge the batteries once it's going. I do keep it plugged in when it's really cold, actually I just wired a new outlet on the side of our house specifically for the truck so that I can keep it on a switch / timer so that I can have the block heater on for only a little while before I know I need to leave. I also installed a trickle charger for the batteries that I will be using this winter for the first time.

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Flush the brake fluid and power steering fluids.

This is a big one that is often overlooked. Brake fluid absorbs water over time which in turn drastically lowers the boiling point of the fluid and eats the seals in your calipers, wheel cylinders, etc. The power steering fluid also used on the vac pump and is important to keep fresh fluid running through it to prevent any unnecessary failures. JR
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I am also hoping that upgrading the alternator will help recharge the batteries once it's going.

The stock 140 Amp alternator is fine its just the time required to properly charge batteries is extended as the batteries get colder. So like I try to do is get to a full cycle of engine temp so the batteries can warm up and then they will accept charge better and charge quickly then.

I also installed a trickle charger for the batteries that I will be using this winter for the first time.

Typically not required. But if you do install it make sure to check the battery electrolyte more often because on board trickle chargers will deplete the electrolyte sooner killing the battery for dry plates. So at least check once a month.

I lived in a very COLD area where we are starting to get into the season of it being quite reasonable to expect it to be 0 degrees on a warm afternoon and down to -20 - -30 even during the day...

I do as well I see -20*F to -30*F here in New Meadows, ID.

I just wired a new outlet on the side of our house specifically for the truck so that I can keep it on a switch / timer so that I can have the block heater on for only a little while before I know I need to leave.

I use to keep mine plugged in all the time in the shop. But no longer do this. Since my schedule is very random and never know from day to day if I will leave or not. As for being out in the back country over night and cold starting without block heater never had a single issue with it yet. The biggest thing is to make sure the batteries have had plenty of charge time before shut down. Make sure you fuel is up to the task before shutting down in a cold environment. Then other sub systems like grid heaters and battery cables must be in the peak shape.

Just another day in paradise...

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I knew I had forgotten to include somethings that I have already done... The brake fluid being one of them. My front driver side brake hose cracked and so I ended up replacing both the passenger and driver side hoses bc actually getting the correct replacement hose became a ridiculous issue... The first hose I purchased from my local parts store was actually for the front passenger side instead of drivers side, then the second hose that was for the drivers side was not the correct one either as it was meant for the 4 wheel ABS truck, which mine is 2 wheel ABS (go figure) and so finally the 3rd hose was the correct one. I thought about upgrading to the stainless steel hoses since I drive on unmaintained dirt roads frequently, which was actually where my hose finally gave way was when I had ended up high centering after a very rainy few days and I ended up taking a wrong turn on a very dark road and when I turned around I backed up a lil too far and the shoulder ended up being very soft and pulled the rear end of the truck right in... UGH, our 4wheel drive has been having issues and my husband had sworn that sometimes it would actually engage and sometimes it wouldn't... I put the truck in neutral and tired to put it into 4 low, and there was a horrible grinding noise even though I had waited for the engine to go back to idle before shifting to neutral... I stopped attempting to shift into 4 low and decided to try for 4 high... same grinding noise but not nearly as bad... but after shifting into 4 wheel drive (or at least moving the gear shifter) my parking brake light and my ABS light came on... I ended up having to get towed out of the ditch but on my way home I quickly realized that my brakes were having serious issues. It seemed as if they were engaging even when I didn't have my foot on the pedal and when I did press the pedal my tires locked up... luckily I wasn't too far from a friends house so I parked there until I could look at the system in the daylight. The leaking hose was not as apparent as I would've thought, mainly bc the brake fluid reservoir was completely drained even though it didn't appear to be at first glance as the old fluid had left a stained reservoir... but once I added more fluid and pumped the brake pedal it was quite obvious where the leak was coming from. Once the new hoses were installed, and new fluid added, I was able to convince my husband to help me bleed the system, unfortunately both of the bleeder screws in the rear cylinders were very rusted and he sheered both of them off... a few inappropriate exchanges later and two trips to the local parts store for new bleeder screws and another easy out, I finally gave up and decided it would be simpler to just replace the rear cylinders than spend anymore time on the bleeder screw debacle. So another trip to the parts store and about 30 mins of time to take apart the rear brake/ wheel assemblies... and we finally had working brakes...and a completely flushed system since each time we refilled the reservoir we ran into another problem which lead to leaking fluid all over the garage floor. On my list of things to do is to flush both the coolant & replace the thermostat and fix the crankcase breather; and flush the power steering fluid. I will say that once the brake lines were done and the system was flushed, the brakes worked extraordinarily well.... honestly I can't remember a time when they worked better since we owned the truck... so I definitely think that or those of you that haven't flushed your systems it is definitely a worthwhile thing to do. I did decide to go with the new synthetic brake fluid which I found on sale at Autozone (which we do not have near us) and I didn't appreciate the sale price until I priced regular brake fluid at our local auto part store (Carquest & Napa)...

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Grinding in 4low is going to happen every time if your sitting still with the truck running. Either need to be rolling along at 2-4 mph, transmission to neutral, shift transfer case directly from high side to 4low, or if your sitting still, shut the truck off, shift t case to 4low, then start the truck back up. Going to 4 high is also best to be rolling gently but can usually be done at a stop also, just don't put the transfer case in neutral. Go right from 2 high to 4 high. If you are experiencing gear clash, it's best to briefly shut the truck off and switch to whatever you neeed. Now as far as intermittent problems with the 4wheel drive, there is a fork on the front axle that slides back and forth to engage the front axles. It is vacuum controlled so make certain the 2 lines going to it are in good condition. They are a combination of rubber and steel lines and run from the fork on the front axle up to the frame, 90 down and along the top of the skid pan and then connect to the top side of the transfer case. You should have vacuum to one of those lines at all times, then when you switch to 4wheel drive the other line should have vacuum. If everything checks out there you may have a fork related issue. It is very simple to remove from the axle and then you can shift back and forth between 4 wheel and 2 wheel drive (truck running) to see if it's actuating properly. JR

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