Well, the better half is out of town, so Suzie has been getting some quality time during the past week (yes....she has a name now). The engine is finally all buttoned up, drop diff brackets made, and a lot more parts are a bit shinier. So here's what's been going on:
First, the oil pressure relief valve was replaced in the oil pump. This was one of those "only a $10 parts" that I purchased at the beginning of this project, before I realized exactly how much work went into replacing it. My reasoning for replacement was that I am trying to get the oiling system working as good as it can, and I know that Isuzu had a campaign for replacing these valves a while back. Replacing the valve was a snap....it was just getting to it that took all the work! I felt that the manuals that I have didn't really give enough detail regarding removing the oil pan, so here's the process I went through if anyone else is going to give it a try:
-remove front ARB
-separate outer tie-rode ends, pitman arm, and drag-link
-remove all three steering linkages as one assembly
-remove front axle (I'll skip over this process, as it is quite long within itself. If you want to know more just give me a shout)
-remove passenger side transmission bracket that bolts to the engine block
-remove flywheel inspection plate
-remove oil pan!
Not saying that this is the best or easiest method, but it's what worked for me. Also, a little tip from Jerry that helped a lot for getting all of the allen bolts that hold on the pan: make yourself a 5mm, 1/4-drive hex-socket that is ground down to about 1/4". This will help big time for getting into all of those tight spots. If you've never seen the valve before, here's a shot of the bottom of the motor. The red arrow in the first pic is pointing to the oil pipe elbow, and the valve is directly behind it:
The OPRV is just a spring and a plunger. So just pop off the cap shown here, and put in the new valve. Watch out when you remove the elbow, though. It will be full of oil, and I ended up giving myself an unexpected shower when I pulled it off (much to my wife's amusement).
Now for the fun stuff.......diff drop! Here's the stock diff brackets as they are installed on the half-shafts:
And just for kicks, here's the same half-shaft after a little elbow grease. Who would have thought that the CV were green?
Okay, now here's what the stock diff brackets looked like once they came out of the truck:
After a little bit of cleaning up, they were ready for cutting. I was going to be using a plasma cutter and MIG welder to lengthen the brackets, so the first thing that I did was to tack-weld some angle iron onto the back of the diff bracket. The idea behind this was to help minimize warpage due to heat, and to help hold everything in its native state once it came time to lengthen them.
Next came the plasma cutter....one of my all-time favorite toys. I made a cutting guide to make sure that I got nice, straight cuts. No need to free hand since I don't have a backup set of bracket. As you can see, the guide also has some washers welded to the bottom of it. This spaces the cutting tip off of the material just the right amount, to ensure that I will get a nice, clean cut.
Here's the left side bracket after it was cut:
And the right side too:
After lots of searching and reading up on diff drops on this forum, I went for the recommended 1.25" drop. Working on a flat table, I slid the center section up and welded it into place. The gap left on the bottom was then filled with some scrap 3/16" steel.
Here's both brackets after they were all welded up, and after many hours of grinding everything smooth. My $15 Harbor Freight 4-1/2" angle grinder is my new best friend:
And finally, after the Krylon Touch:
Now poor ol' Suzie is just begging for her axle back:
The plan is to get the axle back in tomorrow....so hopefully from there it will be smooth sailing! I'll let you know how it goes.....