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Crb

Learning on an 84, know nothing about vehicles, please help.

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I just performed the third oil change of my life on this truck, and I want it to last forever, could someone run me through a nice long list of what to check/clean/replace on an old truck like this? 

Here's everything I know about it so far:

It's a 4cyl with 8 spark plugs, 2.4 liter z24 engine (I don't know if anyone needs to know all that, but there it is anyway I guess). 

As far as issues I know about it was pouring blue smoke, so I changed the oil and washed it out with diesel. Seems to be coughing up little bits of white smoke now, but the blue is gone.

Seems to run a little off, not sure how to explain that though, just the sounds when idling are a bit arythmic(?), maybe that's fine?

Tried to start it the other day, and it just wouldn't start, waited a bit and it started, I read a ton about that on here, got some pages bookmarked, and plan to try and work through all that as it happens again.

First tube coming out to the left from under what I believe is the fan (big round cover) is open and has another hose that has what looks maybe a cap that should be connected to that open tube, not going to touch it unless someone tells me to. There also three plug/clip/something electrical under the glovebox that are unplugged, maybe they go together, they are also something I'm afraid to dick with.

 

Today I plan to wash out the entire radiator (there's a thin layer of mud in the reservoir), check my fuses, find the air filter and bang it on the ground, and replace the fuel filter if it's cheap and in stock just because it sounds like a good idea.

Sorry for the long and clueless post, I'm legitimately helpless when it comes to this stuff (for now).

 

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Oil

Today's oils are lower in the anti scuff ingredient ZDDP by about half. Our engines were designed when ZDDP levels were around 1,200 PPM and today's oils are around 600PPM so it makes sense to find an oil that has the original amount. I use a diesel oil made by Shell called Rotella T4 as diesel engines are still flat tappet. Look up the ZDDP controversy and make your decision before your next oil change.

 

Head gasket

The Z24 is notorious for blowing head gaskets every 100K. White could be steam from coolant. If you are constantly topping up the rad this could be why. They also tend to not run well with a bad gasket. Not saying it the gasket, but could be.

 

Fuel filter

Always a good idea. Change every 3 years.

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Going to look up the oil in a second here, 

I stared at the exhaust with a flashlight tonight, smoke seems to have stopped, I have to literally open the top of the engine soon to space the valves(?) so I'll poke around in there and try to see if anything seems... Grubby. 

Don't know if coolant was low, didn't even think to look before draining it, reservoir was dry though, so I'll keep a close watch on it. 

Glad I had a smart moment with the filter.

Thank you, I didn't know any of the things you just told me, and doubt I'd have been able to come up with them on my own. 

 

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I have an instructional playlist on you tube of some things to do as maintenance including the valves and head bolts plus a breakdown of the proper oil.

 

Edit, check the radiator when the engine is cold and make sure it has fluid in it. That's more important than the reservoir.

 

Edit again, when you have the valve cover off its a great time to replace that valve cover gasket and half moons just as a precaution. That's a common cause of leaks, also the minute my valve cover comes off I put a small towel or rag over that front cover hole to keep tools and what not from falling in.

Edited by captain720
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Awesome thank you. 

That valve lash thing is exactly the thing I have to do, and I'll be going through the rest of the videos and will check the coolant that way from now on.

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The reservoir is held on by two Phillips head screws on the fender wall, you can remove it and hose it out then put it back and it's best too keep that half full. But I have had a similar experiance with a reservoir full of mud and kept it empty until I could hose it out. That is the recommended way to check but at the end of the day the radiator is all that counts. Or just switch to a Gatorade bottle like I did, photo of that on my Instagram @captains_garage and my build thread. You can use essentially any bottle or jug that doesn't melt and auto parts sell generical reservoirs too. 

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It's also the coolant recovery. Any coolant expelled after a hot shutdown will siphon back into the rad when it cools down keeping it topped up. Use a 50/50 anti freeze mix and fill to the line on it. Check when cold. If it's going down then there is a possible leak or the head gasket.

 

A properly working cooling system with the coolant recovery reservoir will not require any top ups.

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Check and check. Hopefully I can get those other parts easy, too

 

--got them, easily. 

Edited by Crb
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