Sunday, August 2, 2020

Hot-Headed But Still Got A Rear Wheel Well Makeover And A True Cold Air Intake

On Friday, July 10th, KARR overheated on my way home from work.   My first thought was that the thermostat did not open up, but I was puzzled as to why the coolant overflow reservoir was empty.  We started searching for leaks but could not find any.  I placed a fan blowing air across the engine to help cool it down.  I know this was completely unnecessary but it was disconcerting how hot to the touch it was.  I called Troy and he suggested I check the thermostat, but I had to wait for the engine to cool down as it was far too hot to open up.

When it had cooled I checked the thermostat.  Everything looked good there, or at least I could not see anything obviously wrong.  

I spoke to Troy again and we planned to look at it first thing Saturday morning at the shop.  I ordered new rear strut steel top plates from Rodney Dickman.  These reinforce the strut towers and I think will provide a cleaner look.  I decided to do this after treating the driver side rear strut tower with POR-15.  I really do not like the look of those oval washers.  The new plates are zinc plated gold and I plan on leaving them unpainted.  I think it is going to look neat.

It is Saturday morning and we are about to head to Troy's shop.  We needed our Kick Starts and so did KARR.  After adding some coolant we made the trip to Troy's shop.

KARR got warmer than normal but did not overheat on the way to Troy's shop.  We were initially thinking that the fan itself was not working, however it would turn on with the A/C.  This led us to investigate the fan switch.  With the diagnostic reader hooked to KARR's ECM, we watched for the call to signal the fan to turn on.  We saw it call but the fan did not turn on. 

We determined we had a bad fan switch and decided to replace it.

We had to wait a while for it to be delivered, but here is the new fan switch.

Getting to the fan switch is a bit tricky, but with the right tools it is totally possible.

New fan switch installed.

When I was going back through the pictures I took, I noticed the pleasurizers sign and realized the real reason KARR keeps wanting to go back to Troy's shop.  Guess he's seeking a little pleasure. 😜

With the new fan switch installed, we let KARR idle for about twenty minutes and monitored the temperature.  It got up to normal operating temperature but never overheated.  I guess KARR got what he wanted.

Back home and time to salvage the weekend.  We are about eight hours behind schedule to tackle the engine bay and the wheel wells, and realized we would not be able to do both, so we decided to focus on the wheel wells.

My goal with the wheel wells was to inspect the plastic liners for damage, repair if necessary and then coat them with the rubberized undercoating.  Here you can see the passenger side rear wheel well plastic liner.  It is unbroken and aside from being dirty, in good shape.

I was a little disappointed to see how much rust was hiding behind the rear wheel well liner. 

The perfectionists in us cannot just leave this rust alone.  We decided to clean this area, knock off the loose rust and treat it with POR-15 as we have started doing in the engine bay.

Onto removing the driver side rear wheel well liner.

Driver side rear wheel well liner is out and besides being dirty, it is in good shape and is unbroken.

Not surprisingly, the driver side was just as rusted behind the liner.

In order to tackle the rust, we had to clean the frame and see what we were dealing with.  We put KARR's tires back on him and lowered him to the ground so we could back him outside.

We got the pressure washer out and Sara worked on cleaning up the liners while I removed the tires and jacked up the rear end.

I used the pressure washer and sprayed out the wheel wells and frame.

Sara and I scrubbed the areas with Marine Clean.

While we were cleaning, I realized how much of the driver side wheel well area and frame were blocked by the cold air intake.  You will be able to see this a few pictures down.  I decided since I am upgrading this to a true cold air intake, I should remove the water collector portion of the stock air intake now so I can access the frame behind it.

This is the stock air intake with the water collector/muffler.

You can see here how much more of the frame we will be able to get to.

Sara and I wire brushed all the metal to get the loose rust off and to rough up the painted surfaces.

Our next step is Metal Prep.  I decided to use a sponge to control the application and avoid getting it on anything I did not want treated.

Originally we wanted to tackle painting the calipers, but this turned out to be more time consuming than we had planned and we had to postpone the caliper painting.  I covered the rotors, calipers and wheels with plastic bags to protect them against the Metal Prep.

With the rear wheel wells and frame prepped for POR-15, we let KARR sit in the sun to dry the metal and give me a chance to spray the rubberized undercoating on the wheel well liners in the garage.

Once I was finished with the wheel well liners, I put KARR's tires back on and lowered him to the ground.

Look at the contrast behind the back and the front of the liners.  The undercoating drastically improves the look of these liners. 

We rolled KARR back in the garage so he could finish drying overnight.

While waiting for the frame to dry, we decided to finish prepping the cold air intake.  Here is a comparison of the old cold air intake and the new intake setup from Rodney Dickman.  The new intake removes the water collector/muffler and provides a true direct cold air intake.  This allows more air to be forced into the engine.

This rubber elbow which connects the intake tube to the air cleaner assembly will need to be reused.  I wanted to clean and recondition this piece.

Sara applied Gummi Pflege Stift to the elbow.

Sunday morning, July 12th, we started on the POR-15 treatment.

I removed the clips and hardware from both sides and taped off anything I did not want POR-15 on.

In the process of removing the wire harness, I noticed that the rear side marker light socket was broken off the lens as you can see below.  It is a good thing I already have replacements for these.

Applying the first coat of POR-15.

When cleaning and reconditioning the elbow, I decided to replace the clamps.  The originals were quite rusted and it was very difficult to get the end that attaches to the air cleaner assembly properly seated because the clamp was so misshapen.  Sara installed the clamps while I was applying the first coat of POR-15.

First coat is finished on the passenger side.

First coat of POR-15 on the driver side.

With the first coat applied and curing, I wire wheeled the hardware for the clips I removed.

Second coat of POR-15 and removing the tape.

With the POR-15 almost cured we started to work on the new cold air intake. I reinstalled the elbow on the air cleaner assembly and with the new clamp it fit snugly in place. I inserted the metal sleeve into the opposite end of the elbow and secured the clamp.

I attached the flexible hose to the outer assembly and clamped it in place.

With the intake in place I secured the opposite end to the metal sleeve with the last clamp.

There are two small clips that secure the front of the intake to the opening in the body panel.

I added a small piece of rubber material in between the fuel filler neck and the intake hose to prevent rubbing.

With the new cold air intake installed we started putting the clips and hardware back on both sides.

Next we installed the new rear wheel well splash shields. There were no instructions with these so it was trial and error. It went a lot smoother once Sara figured out that there were diecut holes that had not been punched out. With these removed we were able to get it lined up with the corresponding holes in the frame.

I am amazed at the extra level of protection this will provide for the engine bay.

Rear wheel well splash shields and plastic liners installed! What a difference!

Totally love the upgraded look!

Back on the ground.

What an amazing transformation! This was definitely worth the work.

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