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Old 05-14-2017, 12:30 PM   #1
long_road
 
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Default LR's '86.5 Nissan D21 SE 4x4 3.0 Manual

I recently inherited my father in law's 1986.5 SE 4x4 with the 3.0 V6 and a manual trans - single cab, short bed. It's pretty low mileage for its age (119k) and was overall in pretty good condition (apart from some electrical gremlins).

Here's how it looked the day I got it home:
















Last edited by long_road; 06-10-2017 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:30 PM   #2
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Initial Repairs -

Other can cosmetic stuff, the truck had two major issues when I got it:
1. The headlights and dash lights didn't work.
2. Everything rubber was dry rotted and cracking apart.

So I spent my first few weeks with it tracing the wiring and fixing all the electrical problems. It was a giant pain, but in doing so I basically had to comb my way through the entire cab and engine bay, which helped me find/learn everything else that was worn out or broken. I put in all LEDs while I was in there for the dash lights.

Crummy pics, but here are the fully functional lights:










Next up was belts & hoses... and pumps and seals and rings and gaskets and... Ha, pretty much everything rubber was shot. So this is where I spent most of the original money I've put into the truck. I went ahead and replaced the radiator, alternator, water pump, etc while I was in there. I did the timing belt, all drive belts, all hoses, and I bought a spool of vacuum line and went ahead and replaced all of those two. I did the cam and crank seals, most of the gaskets, and a few other odds and ends. I also swapped out the clutch cylinders, fan clutch and basically anything else I could get my hands on while I had it all torn apart. It was an involved process, but in the end the truck drives and works. Mission accomplished.






Last edited by long_road; 05-14-2017 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:31 PM   #3
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Rustproofing & Undercoating -

The truck has spent its whole life in North Carolina, which isn't so bad for salt and snow. So, the rust really wasn't too bad on the truck. It had quite a bit of surface rust on the body panels, but the frame for the most part was ok. The only real problem areas were a few rust-through spots under the bed and a bad rust-out area in the engine bay where the AIV(?) system used to be. Dunno, it was long gone by the time I got the truck.

Anyways, I plan to keep the truck for as long as I can, so I basically decided to just tear it all apart and rust proof / paint / undercoat everything. I used that rust-converter-and-primer stuff and por15 chassis paint. It actually worked really well. For the holes in the bed, I simply ground them down with a grinder and patched them with metal-reinforced bondo. May not last forever, but it was easier than welding.



















While I had the bed off, I went ahead and replaced the fuel pump since it was easy to get to.




Last edited by long_road; 06-10-2017 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:32 PM   #4
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Body Work & Paint -

This is where the fun stuff started. The body was in rough shape... it had a puncture on one side where it had been backed into with a boat trailer, and there was a big dent in the other side where, as the story goes, it "got run into at the gun show". Ha. So, there was much sanding, bondo-ing and primering to be done. I did it in stages. Took me a couple weeks to get the whole thing done.


















The paint came out "okay". I used a relatively cheap harbor freight compressor and a gallon of $80 single stage paint I got off ebay - so my expectations weren't super high. However, after a couple days of wet sanding and compounding it actually ended up looking pretty decent.








Last edited by long_road; 06-10-2017 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:33 PM   #5
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Light Bar & Accessories -

I decided to keep the LED theme going and replace the head and tail lights with LEDs. My father in law had the old original plastic factory light bar sitting in the woods behind his barn, so I cleaned it up, re-wired it, put new offroad lights on, and mounted it back in the truck. Somewhat magically, the original switch/relay still worked - the offroad lights fired up on the first try!











It's not the best real-world test of the light they throw, but here they are lighting up my garage at dusk:




The rear bumper had a couple small rust-out spots along the lower seam edge. I had planned to cut out the rust and weld in some sheet metal patches, but once I looked at the size/placement of the rust holes I realized they were almost perfectly positioned to be replaced by some sweet LED reverse lights. And so, LED reverse lights were had:






One of my latest random additions is a cargo bar in the bed with a storage trunk and a small cooler. The storage trunk is there to hold random tie downs and ratchet straps, and be extra storage to hold bags of stuff when I go shopping. The cooler is mainly there to give me a place to stash cold groceries on the occasions that I snag a gallon of milk while buying car stuff at walmart...




My latest updated was to add Fog Lights. I bought a set of LED Fogs off Amazon along with a nice pack of lighted LED rocker switches for the dash. I had enough relays and wiring laying around to wire them up. They're quite bright and fit well enough behind the bumper cutouts. I had to fab up a couple metal bracket to get them to mount at the correct height/position behind the bumper.




Here's what my rocker switches now look like. I got a yellow one for the fogs and a blue one for the offroad lights. It doesn't show up well in the photo, but they glow nicely at night.


Last edited by long_road; 10-13-2017 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:35 PM   #6
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Wheels & Trim -

Next up was the wheels. They were just as sun-baked as the rest of the truck so I had always planned on painting them. At first I figured I'd just keep them the same silver/aluminum color they were originally, but after thinking it over I decided to go gunmetal gray. I think it looks pretty good.














Last edited by long_road; 05-14-2017 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:36 PM   #7
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Interior -

The dash was pretty well cooked - very cracked up and brittle. I had considered pulling the dash and trying to repair it with those plastic-welding rods and dash filler foam, but it just seemed like way more effort than the results would likely warrant. So instead I ordered one of the molded Coverlay dash caps. I was skeptical about how it'd look, but once I got it and did a test fit it really didn't look too bad.

Here's the "before" of the dash:





And here's the cap and the "installation process":





The finished product:






The other major issue with the interior was the condition of the arm rests. The driver's side was pretty much wasted away and the passenger's side was heavily cracked and brittle.





I searched for months to try to find a pair of these SE style door pulls in good condition to no avail. So, eventually I got creative and decided to try to re-shape the missing foam on each side using spray-can-expanding-foam. I hosed them down good with the spray-foam, let it expand and harden, then carved and sanded it back to the previous shape. Shockingly, it almost sort of worked.



And then, naturally, right as I was in the middle of this shoddy re-foaming project, I managed to score a pair of near mint-condition armrests right here in the forum classifieds section! So I never had to figure out how to top-coat and paint my ghetto spray-foam armrests. Hooray!




I put in some Lloyd custom-fit floor mats. I would have preferred Weathertechs or Husky liners, but apparently they don't make them for these trucks. Jerks.




I also paracord-wrapped the steering wheel. It looks and feels pretty cool, but man... what a pain it was to do this. Ha.




And just in case I ever burst into flames, I mounted a little fire extinguisher under the center dash.


Last edited by long_road; 06-17-2017 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:18 PM   #8
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Miscellaneous Repairs, Upgrades & Odds n Ends -

The most frustrating thing that's happened so far was breaking off a rusted bleeder valve while trying to bleed the rear brakes... I tried fruitlessly to drill it out with a reverse bit. I needed to check the brake shoes anyways, so I just went ahead and bought a new wheel cylinder with a new bleeder. This, of course, resulted in me pulling the entire drum and axle. It was easier that way.









My next project is to tighten up the front-end. I'll be replacing all the typical steering and suspension components - tie rod ends, center link, ball joints, control arms, idler link, sway bar ends, shocks, etc. Should be fun.


Last edited by long_road; 06-12-2017 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:52 PM   #9
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looks damn good. you can order a plastic dash overlay and have it color matched for about 150 bucks. there is a ton of trimming required to make it fit though.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:55 PM   #10
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Nice work
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