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99 Rodeo-Changed Serp belt,Plugs,Oil,ATF Drain and Fill-Long

2117 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  MBode1
I picked up a used 99 Rodeo last weekend. Yesterday was the first free day I had with it to do some maintenance. (83K miles on the clock)

I also had this weird thunk whenever stopping or starting. (Was hoping an ATF d/f would help it.)

Here's the quick and dirty:

Serpentine belt: 5 minutes, nothing fancy, a great design!!
- I did however, opt to use a new type of belt, it's called a gator belt made by Goodyear. Instead of being straight ribbed it's ribbed and then cross hatched. (Picture straight ribs with / / / through them.) Supposedly lasts longer and does not squeal.

Oil change: Pretty straight forward. Again, a great engineering job on the front skid plate (remove to get to the oil filter) and filter location. you just undo the rear 2 bolts, and loosen the front two and it slides forward and out. On my old Montero, it was a PITA trying to hold up this heavy old skid plate while trying to unfasten all the bolts.
(I put in Mobil 5W-30 as the weather is getting colder, any other recommendations out there?)

Spark Plug R&R: I much prefer coils over old plug wires. (no chance of ripping the wires out of their boots...) Everything is very straight forward until you hit the cylinder closest to the drivers seat. What a major PITA to get to. You have very little room to maneuver anything. I used a small gear wrench for the Coil bolts. Then I had to rig up some short 3" (whatever the standard size is) with a universal joint to get the plug socket in there with a 3/8 ratchet. Then to take out the socket, I had to rig up a locking 6" extension with a piece of dental floss (to actuate the lock release) to get down in the plug hole and free the socket from the plug. Then I used a grabbing snake tool (long flexible tube that has a small retractable claw at the bottom) to fish out the socket.
--I put in NGK plugs, their standard V-powered ones (about 3 bucks each at a local auto parts store in NJ). No funky idle, no stumbling, just nice and smooth power.

ATF Drain and Fill: I tried and followed the Haynes repair manual. I think the only key here is to top off while the engine is running and the tranny fluid is warmed up.

Tranny has a drain bolt and a fill bolt that is in the same plane as the drain just raised about 2 inches higher. (when you see it you'll know what I mean.)

Drained about 4 quarts or so.

Refilled 4.5 - 5 quarts with Mobil ATF. (you have to pump it back in there) I used a cheapie hand pump (like a large liquid hand soap dispenser with a long tube) with a cleaned windshield washer fluid jug.

I over filled with the car off and the extra just pissed out of the fill plug. Started it up and ran through the gears. Then added an additional 0.5-1 quart. Let it drain the extra and closed the fill plug.

Thunking is almost all gone now. (Attribute to low fluid as I added at least .5 more fluid then removed.) It's very slightly noticeable still. Shifting is much smoother.

It's so nice when you don't have to jack up the vehicle to work on it. I'm a pretty big guy and that's saying a lot for this nice little suv. I'm looking forward to some winter excursions.

BTW I will be doing at least one more ATF drain and flush in the next few weeks. I'm about at 50/50 New and Old fluid (total cap 9.1Quarts) another change will get me at about 75% new. I might try a full pan drop to replace the filter next spring. I'm not clear if I can just drop that cross member without haveing to suppor the tranny/engine at some other point.

If anyone has any tips for that one pesky spark plug or a better ATF replacement method, please let me/us know.

Edit: I also added a locking gas cap. I don't like the fact that the gas flap does not lock. Call me paranoid but for 10 bucks, worth the peace of mind.

I hope this was useful for people.

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I loosen the plug with the extension/universal set up. However take out the rubber insert in the socket so the plug will fall out after it is loosened. After it is completely out and in the bottom of the plug tube I use a magnet on a stick to lift the plug out. Place a length of 3/8" fuel line over the top of the gapped new plug, anti-seize the threads and use the tubing to get it hand started in the plug hole. This ensures no cross threading and that it is "gently" inserted in the plug hole. After it is started well pull off the tubing and tighten to torque (approx) with the socket, extension and universal rig. A little oil or dielectric grease inside the fuel line will make it slide off easier. I also find a long extension between the universal and the ratchet allows me to thread it between the A/C lines and the Brake Booster to almost go "almost straight" into the plug tube. Of course, your mileage may vary. Good luck.

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