Thursday, December 24, 2015

SC430 Alternator swap and Big 4 upgrade.

Cranking up the car one morning, well it didn't, jumped the car with my handy jump starter battery pack and got on my merry way. Didn't really think twice on why, jut figured it was cause I hadn't driven it in weeks and and didn't have my trickle charger hooked up to it. Anyway, drove around and stopped for coffee and noticed when I was cranking the car there was a hesitation and when my compressor for my air ride came on there was a huge drop in voltage almost stalled the car. So I have an optima yellow top and is a deep cycle battery, from past experience I know that once a cell goes bad on it (jump starting an optima does that I feel) you just warranty it out. I had the alternator checked too, just to be on the safe side, no sense putting a new battery and then finding out the alternator is gone which can pretty much ruin the battery as well. The alternator failed the testing process and I wasn't really shocked, the SC is an 02 and it was the original alternator on it. It had a good run but time for a new one. I chose to go back with a Denso alternator before I replaced the battery and while I was doing that I wanted to do the Big 4 upgrade. 

The Big 4 upgrade I wanted to do in preparation for my sound system. For those that don't know the Big 4 is adding wires to  allowing more current to flow easier to all components. The Big 4 consists of 4 wires:
1 - Battery positive to Alternator Positive
2 - Ground alternator to chassis
3 - Ground negative battery to chassis
4 - Ground engine to negative battery or chassis

The alternator is fairly easy, I'm not doing a DIY on this because it is well documented, I didn't remove the bottom splash guard just the 4  bolts in front that hold it up and managed to get the alternator out that way. 

The alternator off the mount and chilling on the splash guard.

Move the alternator more towards the right of the engine bay and it'll plop out from the bottom like the pic above. I did not have to put the car on jack stands etc, as I said this alternator was fairly easy. 

My big 4 wires, I chose to do 4GA the longest one was from the alternator positive to battery positive. The shortest one was from alternator ground to chassis. The other two, one was the battery negative to chassis ground, and the other was from engine to chassis.

Changed the battery out the next day and it is as good as new, no voltage drops, no dimming, no hesitations starting. Awesome!

-AJ Abraham

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

SC430 with LS400 brake upgrade

Over the week I was experiencing a vibration between 40 and 50mph and I could hear my brakes squealing occasionally. So on Sunday finally had time to deal with it. I already had LS400 brakes and rotors ready to be put on, this just forced me to do it. 

I'm not going to go in depth on the installation since it's been well documented but I'll post a few pics during the process and a pic with where I cut the heat shield for reference.

These are the calipers that are going on. I did rebuild them and made a blog post on it earlier.Also had them painted, shout out to Jeremy from the body shop for this.

This is the RCA spacer I used, one piece aluminium. CNC Speedshop in Zebulon, NC made these for me, comes with class 12.9 bolts and washers. Fit was perfect. 

Used a m12x1.25 tapping tool and wd40 to clean out the bolt holes on the knuckle where the ball joint bolt goes through. Cleaning it is crucial because any debris or dirt can falsify torque specs.

Pic of the threads all cleaned up.

This pic is for reference, might help somebody else wanting to do this upgrade. The pink line denotes where I cut the heat shield, I was trying to take as little of it off to keep as much of the functionality of the heat shield. 

This is the heat shield cut and the hub after the surface rust was removed and coated with high temp paint. 

I was getting late at this point so didn't stop to take pics. Torque spec on the bolts with the RCA is 85ft-lbs, stock torque spec is 83 ft-lbs but the class 12.9 bolt will have no problems at that spec. Everything else is like stock, install rotors and screw on the loaded calipers. I did replace my lines with some stoptech stainless steel brake lines, front and back. Also did a full brake fluid flush with Amsoil Dot 3 brake fluid. 

I'll post pics of the completed job later on.

-AJ Abraham

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

SC430 Tint redone!

With summer right around the corner I wanted to get the tints on my car redone, they were faded to an ugly purple. Steamed the tints off and got rid of all the excess glue. I don't understand people who drive around in expensive cars and cheap out on tint! Why would you not spend the little extra to and put good tint on and not use the dye based tint!! You can see that the tint started off black and has faded to a bluish purple!! Please use a ceramic, hybrid or metal based films. 

Anh-tuan did the rear window's, don't know why we decide to do random stuff at night. Well it was dark and chilly but we got the tint off with minimal glue residue. Stopped with that and I let my tint guy do the rest.

Went up to my tint shop and put some samples up. Gonna drive around and see which one I like.

I think I'm ready for the summer. Picked out a tint which has a slight reflectiveness to it to flow with the color of the car. Black tint IMO would've stood out a little. I'm happy with it, have to give it a couple of days and go back to get the rears windshield a once over to get some air pockets out around the defroster lines. 

-AJ Abraham

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

SC430 Air ride install

Over the week I got some time to finally install my air ride suspensions. I wanted to try a couple of different things so did the install at D2. Was trying to do it after work so took two days just because I wanted to try some new different bags that we were testing along with different length collars etc. Happy to say that everything is on and works AWESOME!! When the car is raised to stock ride height it drives beautifully, even lowered it drives amazing. Just waiting on a couple of pieces from ridetech to complete everything. But been driving it for the past two days and I'm very happy.

All the wiring, lines, valve body, ecu etc in the trunk..

Rear bag setup with ride height sensors...

Front bag setup with ride height sensors..

How the car sits aired out..

Now just need to put my wheels on, alignment, get the fenders rolled and go from there.

-AJ Abraham

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

SC430 Air ride install plan and prep II

I want to thank WIL44 for his thread on his install it helped me plan things out a lot. His pics were worth a thousand words, so want to thank you for taking the time to document your install. His thread if anyone else wants to check it out.

I haven't had as much time to work on this as much as I would want to. My suspension components have been sitting here for about a month now. Had some time to install the ride height sensors. The ride height sensors for the ridetech system is a little bigger than the one for the accuair system but same concept, just had to make sure there were no issues with the wheel or suspension arms etc getting in the way. I haven't test fitted my wheels on but I did take measurements etc of it and based off of it I'm fairly certain everything will clear, or hopefully will <fingers crossedd> . 

Everything is mounted and the lining was trimmed so it doesn't get in the way. 

Was in a rush and didn't get a chance to take any pics of the front sensors installed but hopefully sometime next week I'll be able to install my suspensions and I'll take it then. 

My front bags, took it apart to add a little anti seize to the threads just to be on the safe side.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

SC430 Air ride plan and prep

My air ride came in last week but haven't had a chance to work on it any. Had the day off today so wanted to figure out where I can place everything. Wow, there is NO room in the trunk and I ordered these mammoth air zenith compressors which I wish I hadn't. The smaller viair 444c could fit well in the cubby on the left and right of the trunk. Well spilt milk, so after removing all the panels etc figured out the only place I could put the compressors etc would be showing in the trunk, my initial plan was to try to hide the compressors and maybe just have the tank showing. I am able to mount the valve body ecu and wiring etc in the 'wheel well'. Got some mdf traced out the carpet with a little excess sanded it down to fit perfectly and made stands on the edges so the board sits flat and can handle the weight of the compressors and anything else I throw in the trunk. 

Here are some pics of how it sits.

I ended up breaking the edge of the plastic trim where the door latch is so need to find one of those now.. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be able to get more done but I'm hoping soon. Plan is to mount the level sensors next and then on another day run air lines etc and install suspensions.

-AJ Abraham

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Monday, February 23, 2015

SC430 Engine mount replacement and transmission flush

I've been hearing a kind of clunking noise when I crank up the car in the morning. The more I paid attention to it I could kind of see the front of the car kind of lifting on one side followed by a clunk. I was also feeling vibrations at a stop light and slight intermittent vibrations at highway speeds. With all the other suspension components addressed, I had a strong feeling it was a mount related issue.

All new mounts were ordered, two engine and one transmission.

A buddy of mine Mark helped me with this one. With the car on the lift, a transmission jack was used at the edge of the oil pan to support the engine. 

Undo the two bolts holding the motor mount onto the sub-frame and the four bolts that hold the complete mount to the engine block. It was easier to remove the complete mount as opposed to trying to loosen the one bolt up top for the engine mount itself. Once loose you will have to use the transmission jack to lift the motor about an inch and a half so that the mounts can slide out.

The driver side mount was completely shot, as you can tell by the picture.

The passenger side mount was on it's way out, might not be visible in the picture but the top had a rip in it and was starting to separate.

Replaced the engine mounts and did the same for the transmission mount. Used the transmission jack to support the transmission. Undid the 4 bolts and removed the transmission bracket and the 4 bolts for that hod the mount to the transmission. 

The transmission mount didn't look bad on a visual inspection. There was some sort of coating that was flaking as you can see in the pic but didn't look torn, or see any stress cracks etc.

Replaced the transmission mount and then onto the transmission flush.

Drained the oil from the pan first, collected the oil in a measuring jar so that I could make a note of how much fluid was coming out. About 2 qts came out from the drain plug and then proceeded to take the pan off. 

Put the drain plug back in because there is still oil in the drain pan. I learnt from the last time a flush was done on my other car. With the pan off poured the oil in the pan into the measuring jar as well, there was about 1.5 quarts of oil in the pan. 

The oil was a dark brown and not the red it is supposed to be. Also two days prior to this I had put in 0.5 pints of Seafoam trans tune to help break down any build up etc in the transmission. 

The transmission pan is held in place by Toyota Fipg so it'll take a little yanking to get the pan off. Cleaned up all the fipg off including the 3 magnets in the pan along with the pan itself. I didn't use fipg to put the pan back, instead Felpro makes a transmission pan gasket for it and that's what I used. I've used this method before and have had no issues. Just make sure you don't go ham on the bolts, snug it up there to about 15-18ft/lb where you see the gasket just starting to squeeze away from the pan a little. 

Installed a new transmission filter as well.

Also adjusted the pressure regulator on the tranny so it shifts faster. The pic shows the factory setting but pressing it in and turning it clockwise to the third setting increases the pressure resulting in faster shifts. Firmer faster shifts result in longer tranny life and has been well documented on Club Lexus.

With the pan back in place filled fresh ATF through the dip stick. Just the 3.5 quarts that came out of the pan.

Once filled, hooked up the transmission flush machine to the transmission cooler lines, feed and return.

Switched the car on and the machine beeps to verify the right connections. If it doesn't beep then the lines are on backwards. With everything hooked up right initiating the flush on the machine drains the old oil out and replaces it with fresh ATF. I used Amsoil ATF for this. Went through 12.5 quarts on the machine till the old fluid coming out was cherry red as well. So a total of 16 quarts, 12.5 using the machine and 3.5 that was filled in the pan after it was drained and emptied. 

While we were there went ahead and changed the differential fluid out as well with the Amsoil 75W-90 Long Life Synthetic Gear Lube. 

Buttoned everything back up and took it for a spin.  The fresh tranny fluid always seem to smoothen out the shifts from previous experience, and it did so this time too even after increasing the pressure sensitivity. The tranny does shift faster but I don't feel it, I can tell more so by looking at the RPM dip as it changes gear.

I don't have the engine lift on start up nor the vibrations at stop lights etc. Even the intermittent vibrations at highway speeds are gone. 

I'll check on the transmission pan gasket in a couple of days to make sure everything is good and there are no leaks just to be on the safe side. 

Overall HAPPY HAPPY!! 

-AJ Abraham

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

SC430 Engine Maintenance

This weekend I tackled the engine maintenance started on Saturday and finished up on Sunday, you'll see why. Unfortunately the battery on my shop cam was low so didn't get a lot of pictures.

Here is my parts list for the engine maintenance: 

Toyota (90916-02586) Multi Rib Belt 

Toyota (13540-50030) Timing Belt Tensioner 
Toyota (13505-0F010) Timing Belt Idler 
Toyota (13503-0F010) Timing Belt Idler 
Toyota (13568-09070) Timing Belt 
Toyota (16100-59275-83) Water Pump 
Toyota thermostat (90916-03100) 
Toyota thermostat gasket (16346-50010) 
Toyota Oring thermostat housing 
Toyota Front Main Seal (90311-A0001) 
Toyota Cam Seal (90311-A0004) (x2) 
Toyota Long Life Antifreeze Coolant (002721LLAC01) x 2 
Toyota Valve Cover gaskets (11213-50031 & 11214-50011) 
Toyota Spark Plug Gasket (11193-70010) x 8 
Toyota Throttle Body Gasket (22271-500042) 
NGK Plugs IFR6T11 
K&N Air Filter (33-2220)

Everybody here should check their valve cover bolts, there are many instances that I've read on where the bolts were loose. Well that was definitely my case! Cleaning the engine bay helped verify that my oil leak was from the valve cover gasket.

This motor is really well laid out and taking everything apart is pretty systematic and went fairly quickly. It took me about two hours to get everything apart including getting the valve cover and cam covers off. Wow were the plastics brittle! I cracked two connectors near the throttle body, everything still plugs in but I'll probably swap those out soon. Also I bagged all the bolts in zip lock bags and labeled them, makes assembly easier.

There wasn't as much gunk build up as I had expected, pretty sure the seafoam helped. The little traces of gunk on the head and cams I took a nylon brush and some seafoam spray to and that cleared it out easily. The valve covers on the other hand was pretty bad.

Took some purple power to it and some steel brushes and a pressure washed it. Did this a couple of times to break down more and more of the gunk till I got most of it off.

The spark plug grommets were really brittle. There were two spark plugs with a little bit of oil on it so definitely needed to be changed. Wish they came out with a better design, this was not very easy to get off. I used a flat nosed plier to bend the tabs back.

Used a flat head screw driver to wedge between the grommet and the metal seat. Hammered it in to wedge the screw driver to bend the grommet and pop it out.

The grommets came apart in multiple pieces, very brittle with age. Cleaned up all the debris, I used a little bit of oil to lubricate the seals and the seat and used a socket to hammer in the grommet.

Also used a socket to press the tabs back in.

All done!

While the valve covers and the cam covers were out I prepped them, taped them up and had them ready for paint. Had a couple of parts ready for paint so the plan was to get everything painted on Saturday and give it time to cure and install everything back on Sunday. Shout out to my boy Jeremy for painting all my parts.

While the parts were in the booth, I went ahead with the rest of the maintenance items. Cleaning these parts take the longest time. Pulled the throttle body out and there was a lot of carbon build up but got it pretty clean. Slapped a new throttle body gasket on there and installed it back.

Changed water pump next and cleaned up the block some. All the bolts that came off were de-greased and every bolt got a little blue loctite before going back in. With everything cleaned and ready to be installed, called it a night.

On Sunday I had asked a friend of mine who is one of the best techs I know with help with the cam seals. I was not comfortable doing it myself. Well he showed up and replaced them including the front main seal.Thanks a lot Danny!

I continued with installing the timing belt verified all the timing marks were right, buttoned everything back up. Notice all the pulleys? They were all cleaned and a fresh coat of black paint was used to freshen them up.

Also painted some of the bolts.

The radiator was pretty dirty on the outside, aired out all the dust through the fins etc and rinsed it out. Installed the radiator, filled it with distilled water and also poured in a radiator flush. My plan is to drive it around for a couple of days and then rinse it out and install a new thermostat with Toyota coolant. Also filled the engine with Mobile 1 synthetic blend, going to drive with it for a couple of days as well just to get all the sea foam out and replace it with Amsoil. Also installed the K&N air filter as well along with new plugs, had already cleaned out the MAF with some MAF cleaner.

Everything went pretty smooth, going to keep an eye out for any leaks etc over the next couple of days just to be on the safe side. So far so good, I'm quite happy this is all taken care of.

-AJ Abraham

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