Monday, March 28, 2011


Actually this post is about me FINALLY finishing the lift on my truck that's been going on for about a year and some. The suspension isn't 100% finished, but the ride height will finally be the way I want it. Two inches taller in the back, three inches taller in the front. I already lifted the back up and then had to get a drop hitch (which I leave in the truck all the time in case someone rear ends me again). The only things left to replace are the shocks (not critical) and the torsion bars (less critical). They do have 150k on them but they still have some life in them and I'm not too worried. And the shocks I can change without having to align the front end. Any way...

The hammer on the left is a rubber mallet. Everyone needs one! Especially those in the slapstick comedy industry. The hammer on the right is a three-pound dead-blow hammer. This hammer is great for hitting things really, really hard. The head is full of lead shot so when the head strikes an object all the shot shifts forward and almost all of the force is delivered to the object! It also minimizes recoil. But yes. Very useful and awesome. I used it to dislodge this piece:

...the upper control arm. This (and the lower control arm) are attached to the spindle (wheel) and do so much moving around and such that they actually get mechanically welded together, and the only way to separate the weld is to literally HIT IT AS HARD AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE WITH THE LARGEST AVAILABLE HAMMER. I have written articles about this in the past as it is probably the best solution (sometimes):

Hammers aside, the point of replacing the control arm was 1) the old upper control arm ball joint was starting to wear out and needed to be replaced any way and 2) the new arm is lighter, allows for easier replacement of the ball joint, has greaseable fittings everywhere, is more durable, and allows for the proper ball joint angles to be achieved when the truck is lifted by cranking the torsion bars. (It is also necessary to reindex the torsion bars to get the full 3''. I currently reindexed mine one spline but the passenger side spring is weak so I may go back and set it over two splines.)

And the new arm looks like:

So! After getting the torsion bars back on and the arms in and the wheels on, this is the finished product! Compare to previous blog posts! YAYYY!

Speaking of the paint that's falling off of my truck, if anyone out there is an artist and wants to paint a mural on my truck where the paint's falling off (or anywhere else really), give me a ring. I'll pay for the supplies (including food and beers etc).

Friday, March 4, 2011

This Doesn't Help Me One Bit...

[This post is linked from here.]

I've recently developed some bad habits since my turn signal on my truck stopped working... a year and a half ago. I think I've put 20,000 miles on it since it went out. But I decided my turn signal doesn't help ME at all so it wasn't real high up on my priority list. Then I realized I had just stopped using the right turn signal in every vehicle I drove so I decided against letting it go forever.

I apologize for lack of pictures in advance, but hopefully the ones I have will be helpful to anyone reading... (Click on pictures for larger views)

Any way, the problem was that the front right turn signal stopped working even though the bulb was good AND there was voltage (and a good ground) at the plug going to the turn signal housing, as is demonstrated in this video where I hooked the plug up to an LED:

LED Turn Signal

Quick sanity check: Nissan wants $121 to replace the housing. Any way, on with the free solution:

I was able to remove the housing with MUCH difficulty before I realized that it was only attached at the top by a screw and (here's the key) at the bottom by a plastic "button." Pulling enough on the housing causes it to release. I accidentally found out how to remove it by pushing the plug back on without the top screw in, and the entire housing surprisingly popped out and landed on the garage floor. The wiring harness is easy to remove from it, it just pulls right off.

I removed the wiring harness to test the wires on it.

I found that the ground wire at the light bulb socket had unattached itself from the socket, which is shown in the following picture. There was a copper plate on the end of the wire, and all I did to fix it was solder it to the side of the socket, then put a little super glue over everything to make sure that it was solid. I didn't like the way the solder was sticking to the socket, so that was just a little added insurance.

The wire had a lot of play in it before I soldered it back together. Now the entire thing works fine and is back in service in the truck for the first time since October 2009. You're welcome, other drivers!