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General information about the various mods available to 4x4 vehicles covering pros and cons to assist in the decision of "Is this the right mod?"


Starter Contact Repair

By: Adam Fertig. February, 2003.

A few months ago I began having starter problems with my 1988 Toyota 4Runner and occasionally I would only hear a "click" coming from the engine bay when the ignition key was turned. Usually it would do this once or twice and then start. The problem began to get worse, sometimes taking 15-20 clicks before it would start, but it always started. One day it would not start at all, and I was fairly confident the problem was with the starter contacts. A "starter repair kit" from the dealer provided the replacement parts needed. So now all that was left to do is pull the starter and replace the worn out starter contacts."

Tools needed for repair:

  • Ratchet
  • 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, and 8mm sockets.
  • Flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers.
  • Long ratchet extension. The one that's about a foot and a half long.
The process:

Before getting started, for safety reasons you should disconnect the positive battery terminal.

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Changing drive belts on a 3vze V6 engine

My belts were in very poor condition, so I decided to replace them. Shockingly, I found out that the previous owner had put the A/C belt on inside out, with the V-groove facing outwards, instead of inwards riding on the pulley. What a moron! But it has worked OK since I bought it over 2 years ago. The other 2 belts were cracked and frayed.

Tools needed for repair:

* 14mm, 12mm, and 10mm wrenches

* Pry bar

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John Stewart

Replace the hook

It always seems to be in the way and no convenient place to snug it out of the way.  Enter the next generation of decorations for the end of winch cable.

Factor 55 has designed a line of strong and light recovery products for the the off road market based on exacting aerospace and defense industry standards.  Their ProLink series, of 6000 series aluminum, eliminates the traditional winch hook in favor of a safer and stronger screw pin shackle D-Ring.

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John Stewart

They will let you down...


A timeless ritual for every 4-wheeler when leaving pavement is a brief stop to lower tire pressure for traction advantage and reduced tire spin. Over the years, many products have come along that promise to make it easier and quicker to achieve the desired tire air pressure.

The removal of valve stems (and frequent loss of said valve stem) gave way to hoses that could be clamped onto the valve and deflate two tires are once while keeping a balanced tire pressure.

Having tried all methods, I was a little skeptical when I tried the Staun Tyre Delators. Made in Australia, the deflators screw onto the valve stem and begin letting air out. And, they do know when to quit letting air out -- provided you adjust them.

The deflators are adjustable (from 6-30 psi).From the package, they are pre-set to 18 psi.Set up is easy and should be done prior to your first use.

Step one is to set one tire to your desired off-road tire pressure.The deflator has a knurled lock ring.Loosen that ring.Screw the deflator onto the valve stem and adjust the cap until the deflator pops open.Remove the deflator and tighten the knurled locking ring.

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Speedometer Gear Adjustment for big tires on a Montero

Speedometer Gear Adjustment for big tires on a GenI Montero/Raider

Many of us who enjoy our GenI Montero/Raider offroad have switched to a larger tire size other than stock. A problem with this that you may or may not have noticed is that the larger diameter tire sizes throw the speedometer off. The disparity between actual traveled speed and displayed speed grows in proportion to the larger diameter of the tire.

I first noticed this a few years ago when an officer issued me a ticket for a speed that was 3mph over what I thought I was doing. Even though I knew I was speeding, the speed written on the ticket bothered me as being inaccurate. Fast forward 2.5yrs later to my next speeding ticket and I was in disbelief at the speed the officer said he had clocked me doing. This caused me to take action and look for a possible solution that has plagued most of us larger tire users for some time.

Actually, I made the discovery quite by accident as I was looking for reasons my speedometer needle was bouncing (different tech story). I pulled off the speedometer drive gear assembly to learn how it works. It’s really pretty simple: a nylon gear is turned by a screw on the output shaft.

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