My Girl: Gettin' After It!!

My Girl: Gettin' After It!!
My truck on her maiden voyage in Moab 2012

Sunday, November 30, 2014


The long holiday weekend didn't quite go as I had hoped. There was a chance a couple of items I had ordered might have shown up on Friday. They didn't. Not that it would have mattered much, as I lost most of the weekend to domestic duties.

Ever since I saw that Driven To Extremes series of videos ( ), I've been interested in using better motor oil in the truck. I decided I would look into it after the first 100K miles As it turns out, one pays quite the premium to have a shop do a synthetic oil change (although the tasks are the same) above and beyond the price differential between conventional and full synthetic. It seems that the Helix formulation is branded and marketed abroad; the best we can hope to obtain here is Pennzoil Platinum or Pennzoil Platinum Ultra (although I couldn't find Ultra in the weight I needed-- 5W-30-- and none of the limited varieties came in a 5 quart package).

I had just been to AutoZone a few days ago as I was finally getting around to putting together my spare fuels kit. So I was back again in as many days to pick up a bit more oil and a couple other items to facilitate doing my own oil change.

While I was at it, I figured it would be a good time to remove some of the skid plates that would preclude access to the front differential for the locker work that'll be done in a few weeks.

The oil change was uneventful. I am a bit remiss that I've not been doing it myself, at least these past 3 years or so. I had the luxury of space and time. Still got the space, but not as much time.

Next was the skids...

 This shot probably doesn't give sufficient perspective.  I did this out of frustration upon having sheared off two sets of the stock radiator skids in as many trips. I made a pretty stout ice breaker. I couldn't get the angles right on a release mechanism. So I just welded the damned thing to the underside of the winch channel. It was plenty stout, alright. After about 30 minutes with the angle grinder, I was able to cut through the plate in the mid-span.
 Undoing the bolts on the backside was another matter. I don't know what infant fingers I borrowed to get the bolts through there and snugged down, because I was having all manner of difficulty getting them out this evening. Probably didn't help matters that there was about 3 lbs of Pine Barrens and another 5 lbs of GWNF caked up in there along with oil drippings from prior oil and filter changes. That was another 30 minutes gone for two bolts. The Washington Football Team was not playing particularly well; so, at least I didn't miss out on any good football watching wrangling with these plates.

Next was a Pro-4x skid that was pretty banged up. One bolt was inexplicably gone. It has been replaced like three times and it just works its way loose. Two others were partly shielded by the horizontal L leg of the radiator skid. Once the radiator skid was down, It was apparent that both weld nuts for these bolts had knocked themselves loose. Fortunately, in the front of the skid, the openings are notched so that you can slide the front of the plate into place and then snug the bolts down to retain it. So of the 4 bolts that are to retain this plate, only one was found to be serviceable. Either I'm too rough on this truck, or Nissan is not applying enough welding to the weld nuts to enable them to withstand vibrations and impacts associated with the truck's use. I need to do something better at this location also owing to the fact that my engine oil pan/sump pan also took a good lump right at the drain plug. Fortunately, the plug still retains oil and can be serviced without issue for now.

 So I made this transmission skid out of some truck body shelving. One bolt had sheered off completely;  one I snapped off with my sheer strength (unintentionally);  a third bolt was serviceable and simply unbolted, and the last had been bent back from an impact and could only be cut free with an angle grinder.

I am going to have to do some significant rework to the frame to revise new mounting tabs/points for any skids I hope to mount in the future. I am also going to have to look into those recessed head fasteners to help remedy the shearing issues I've encountered.

Although I'd like to be back on the trails in January, it may take me some time to work through my protection concerns before I get back out there. We shall see.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Riding around town

A little less wheeling; a little more tooling around town.

These are a few of the trucks and sights I see when I'm going here and there.

 So this was another visit to a Babies R Us and another chance encounter with presumably a bro who knocked up his lady and now has to make trips to Babies R Us as well. No reason for us to not have trucks.

 This guy is either single, or it swings so low that absolutely no F-s are given. It is like part truck, part bus, part limousine. I admire your moxy, sir. Outside of my office.
 This Disco is outside of the premises of a new client that I'll be representing. Another member has one too. He almost ran me over; so, I didn't bother to take a pic of his truck. But maybe one day, under less swampy conditions, I might get a redo.

I parked outside of a Target because I needed to get a breast pump bra. I have no shame in having had to perform this errand. I pulled to this area of the lot because I prefer the pull-thru spots and this was the only portion of the lot that permitted such. Well, when I came back, this FJ felt the need to follow my lead. I probably should have left a note. I think he needed a friend to show him the way.

 Parked over in Steve S's neighborhood there is a Jeep Cherokee that is pretty built up. Belongs to some college kids. We knocked on their door and chatted them up. I think they probably dismissed us as some old, and slightly drunk men who are still hanging on desperately to their youth. They would not be wrong. But maybe, just maybe they'll come out for a trail ride.

 In another client's lot, I spied this Nismo Juke. When the Frontier is built and paid off, I'll probably find a nice, used, low mileage Juke.
We took the kids to the pumpkin patch. And I saw this gem among the various mommy vans. I wanted to be friends with it.

That's about all of the drooling I've done over the past few weeks. A couple of times, I was just too slow on the draw to get the phone out. That's alright. I keep my eyes peeled for good builds.