Things you should do to your new to you truck.
First we would like to give you a little in-site into your truck and the board.
Next with the utmost respect to you please under stand every problem you have, or are going to have, has been addressed on the board at one time or another so "we" the donators, mods, and admins will try to help as best as we can but please understand that the board is now 100% donation driven with the backing of one company to keep us on the net and it can take time for people to find your question and help point you in the correct direction. "We" would like to be able to work on your truck with you but due to the size and geographical locations of people it's just not possible so accurate information is the key to getting you the help and guidance you are seeking. Now on to the list. Please don't laugh or shrug your shoulders at the list. As you read through the board you will see we keep going back to the same old problems listed here.
This list will be updated as often as we can get to it.
#1: Replace Timing Belt.
If you have a timing belt and you have never replaced it, or do not know when it was replaced. Do that first and do it yesterday. We have seen so many new owners get a truck and with in 3 weeks the belt breaks and then your in for a large repair bill. If you have a plastic cover on the front of the engine you have a belt and need to change it.
#2: Replace the Fuel Filter.
It can be found on the drivers side of the truck near the tank. Some are on the frame, some are in front of the tank, use a flashlight you will find it.
#3: Tune Up.
Replace cap, rotor, plugs, and plug wires.
#4: Check all the vacuum lines.
Many problems come from the old vacuum lines being cracked and leaking.
#5: Replace the thermostat and clean out the cooling system.
Overheating this engine will kill the head and your truck. Replace the thermostat, check the fan clutch, and check the water pump. It should move but have resistance when turned. Check the water pump. Grab the fan at the top then rock it toward the engine if it moves the pump shaft it needs to be replaced soon.
#6: Go get a fan shroud.
Many of these truck did not come with a fan shroud. Any fan that is more then 1 inch from the radiator must have a shroud. You can find them at the junk yard. The best is from a Montero there metal and will bolt right on and there are lots of them out there.
#7: Check and clean the ground on the ECU.
You will find the ECU on the passenger side of the truck under the dash. A bad ground can cause many problems. Find it and remove the ground wire from the body, use sand paper to clean it. The reinstall it if you like you can use some clear paint to protect it after you are done. Then do the rest of them under the hood.
#8: The PCV Valve.
Clean the PCV Valve. It is on the valve cover and has a large vacuum line going to the manifold. If it's plugged it will cause the engine to build up crank case pressure and it will leek oil out of the front crank seal.
#9: The EGR Valve.
The EGR Valve can cause the engine to run rough at idle and not pass SMOG if you live in a state where you have SMOG. Many times they will plug up and stop working. If they do then it can stick open or closed causing problems.
#10: MCA Jet Valve.
Replace the MCA Jet Valve with an elimination kit from RockAuto.com. The Jet valve can burn off the tip or stick open and cause the engine to blow off vacuum lines, back fire, another strange things.
#11: The coil.
After 30 years of service the coil gets week and can't build up a spark fast enough at high RPM to deliver a good spark. This will cause lack of performance and engine miss fire at higher speeds.
#12: The Oils. Engine, Transmission, Rear End, Brake, and Power Steering.
By now you have probably changed the engine oil like any new owner would do. But don't stop there. Grease the front end and propeller shaft "U" Joints. Then move on to the rest of them. Rear End that no one has ever changed since the truck came from the factory, same with the transmission. Don't worry about a gasket for the pan and covers. Use silicone. It's just fine and will not leek. Many times you here people say brake fluid, Well the truth is there is no such thing as "brake fluid" It's really an oil, it's just a reference. And like any oil it gets old. Brake oil is designed to take the high temperature and forces in the brake system. But the oil is also made to absorb moisture. Yep, you herd it right, Moisture. Brake fluid / oil is made to absorb water. Water in a brake system will expand under heat and cause the brake to apply. So it's made to absorb the moisture. But it can only absorb just so much then it need to be changed. To change it you need two people. First use somthing to suck out what is in the reservoir and clean it with a towel. Then refill with new DOT 3 or DOT 4. Then starting at the furthest wheel you will need to bleed the brakes until fresh oil comes out. But do not let the reservoir run out or you will let air into the system. See the manual section for proper bleeding instructions.
#13: Your Belts.
If you have not done it yet check your alternator belt and replace them if there old and checked up. Look inside between the cogs for cracks.
#14: Front end parts.
Many times the first thing people say is the tires are wearing funny. Well it's an old truck and will need front end repair. Take a jack and place it under the lower "A" arm. Then jack up the front to where it just comes off the ground. Use a pry bar under the tire and lift. Look for movement in the ball joints. There should be no movement. Now rock the tire by grabbing it on the top and bottom. check the wheel bearings for movement. There should be just a tiny bit. Spin the tire and listen to the bearings, they should be quiet no noise herd just the sound of the rotor touching the pads at times. Now with the truck sitting on the ground have someone rock the steering wheel back and forth. While there rocking it fairly hard look at the tie rod ends. All parts and linkage should move at the same time. If the tie-rod end moves before the part it's connected to then it's bad. The idler arm should move back and forth not up and down. Now look for flattened and missing rubber parts on the control links that connect from the lower arm to the frame. The rubber will fall out letting the rod move around causing the alignment to go out.
#15: Fuel lines.
Replace the fuel lines before they start to leek and your truck becomes a rolling fireball.
#16: The battery clamps and wires.
Clean and replace the battery clamps and wires if necessary. Many times the battery is looked over and never touched. Get new clamps and Noco NCP-2 protector. Use the medicated pads and the thick red paste. Don't skimp on this. But when you get new clamps many times the new clamps are red and black. Well the fact is while they look pretty you need to make them useful first. The coating on them is a powder coat. BEFORE INSTALLING THEM REMOVE THE COATING FROM INSIDE THE CLAMPS. This is where the clamp touches the post and where the clamps touch the wires. If not your going to have problems. Powder coating does not pass electric current. It's an insulator. If the wire has corrosion trim it back tell there is none seen and then re-attach the wire. The best wire to make cables from is welding wire for a welder ground clamp. It's easy to get at any welding supply store. It's high strand count helps make it nice and flexible. It's only about $0.80 per foot.
#17: The ???
That's it for now we will update this as people add in comments. Comments MIGHT be removed after they are added to the list.
To everyone that adds there ideas please try to fallow the format above.
Thanks for your help.