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Thread: DIY Vehicle Restoration - Tips/Tricks/Tools

  1. #1
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    Default DIY Vehicle Restoration - Tips/Tricks/Tools

    Purpose of this thread is to provide information to newbies looking at learning how to do some more complex automotive work. I will be learning as I go.

    So... after forking out a good $15k on my HDJ81, the motor died:

    click for larger version
    » Click image for larger version


    After the mechanic who worked on my car offered me $2500 for the shell or $10k to rebuild the motor, I realized I was going to have to fix this one myself.

    I figure I may as well go all out, and restore the entire vehicle. I think I'll be able to handle all the paint prep, and I'll have a pro paint it. It doesn't have any body damage, but does have rust and I would like to sand it down to the metal.

    Here's the guide I'm following for prepping the body for paint:

    http://www.hotrod.com/how-to/paint-b...-paint-body-1/

    For pulling the engine, I already have most of the tools I need, but will be sourcing an engine hoist and engine stand. Any other specialty tools needed to break the block from the transmission?

    Thoughts and comments are encouraged!
    Last edited by zipdoa; 10-29-2015 at 09:35 AM.
    Originally posted by InRich
    tell her I'll pick her up in the vette
    Originally posted by InRich
    The X5 i bought earlier this year really is FULLY LOADED though not a single option missing including infrared night driving

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    I think I maybe able to offer some advice here:

    1- I own the exact same vehicle (1990 HDJ81) sine 2008 (now has 250,000 Km). I have been doing all the maintenance work myself ever since I owned it. Even though is an older model, but still it is quite a complex truck. and you need to know what you are going to do before you start.

    2- In the same time, I am restoring an old British sports car as a hobby, very SMALL and very BASIC in comparison, but even with its small size, it is still a mammoth task to restore a whole vehicle. I am just telling you this to give you a sense of comparison.

    3- I am not sure what else you need done in your truck besides overhauling the engine. If it is only the engine, then I would recommend a different approach. For one, you will not find anyone or any shop in Calgary who are either familiar or reasonably priced to do work on these engines. So, I would recommend instead (which will also be more sensible financially) is to get a good, used 1HD-T engine from one of the many JDM suppliers in BC. have it delivered here and then take the lot to a shop and ask them to swap the engine for you (or you can do it yourself if you are so inclined). Swapping the engine in and out require a bit of muscling, but doable with a few buddies.

    That's what I would personally do. But, simply walking into a mechanic shop (SPECIALLY in Calgary) and ask them to find the problem or fix your engine, is like a sheep walking into a wolfs' lair.. all they see is a dollar sign above your head.


    Hope this helps..

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    Good luck zip. Im trying to do somting similar to my S2000 over winter for various things and it's time consuming and expensive still.

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    Alternatively, if you find out what's exactly wrong with your engine (seems to me like the bearings maybe shot from your video), which will also require a crank grind. Then you can simply order the parts (new OEM Toyota cranks and bearings are still available) and do it yourself.

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    Love that these are becoming more popular in Canada now, had my first offroad experience in one and just wished I could have justified owning one in the UK!

    Will keep my eyes on your build and hopefully give some pointers where I can, I do a lot of my own maintenance and have done a few engine swaps on JDM vehicles over the years

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    I would find a shop that is willing to paint your vehicle after you have preped it..... The paint job is only as good as the prep work. Painters will not usually paint other peoples prep work, due to the fact that you will most likely put the blame on them if the job doesnt turn out well.

    Ive had many issues in the past because owners think they did a good job preping.... it might look good untill you see it in bodyshop lighting, then you see all the flaws

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    What is reasonable to expect to be able to do DIY for prep work? I know there's a few different approaches, mainly:

    Sanding
    Media blasting
    Chemical Dipping

    I'm most interested in dipping, but it seems to be the most expensive. It's sounds like it would be the fastest, most thorough way to strip the vehicle.
    Originally posted by InRich
    tell her I'll pick her up in the vette
    Originally posted by InRich
    The X5 i bought earlier this year really is FULLY LOADED though not a single option missing including infrared night driving

  8. #8
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    What final result are you looking at?

    If you want a show winning car, then dip it. And spend thousands of hours making sure every bit is fixed and straight, then blocked before painting.

    If you are looking at an OEM style finish, then do OEM style repairs. Sandblast rust, cut out perforated or thin portions and weld in replacement panels, use epoxy primers and minimal fillers, paint with base/clear.

    Too many people get hung up on the 'perfect' way to do things, when there are many more reasonable options that will be acceptable to all but the pickiest people. If you define your expectations, then you can figure out the best course of action.

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    I'm looking for an OEM style finish. HDJ81 is never gonna be a show car, and will see lots of offroading. Really, i'd like to repaint it the factory color, and then immediately wrap it for protection.

    Looking to achieve a balance between cost and quality, with an emphasis on doing as much work myself as possible.
    Originally posted by InRich
    tell her I'll pick her up in the vette
    Originally posted by InRich
    The X5 i bought earlier this year really is FULLY LOADED though not a single option missing including infrared night driving

  10. #10
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    I've learned a bit from reading from the following forums:

    https://www.autobody101.com/forums/
    http://autobodystore.com/forum/index.php

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