Hit the ground running this morning with the brake overhaul on the 4Runner.

Expensive-ass core returns these are! They’re getting the pads with them - I can’t get them out. Too much rust.

Replaced the flex lines, calipers, pads, and rotors on both sides. The pins were hopelessly seized in place on the old calipers, which also had sticky pistons wearing the pads crooked. The flex lines were starting to crack.

The calipers and rotors are coated for rust-prevention. The rest of the chassis is not.

The rotors actually weren’t too bad, but I bought new coated ones so they were going on regardless. I’ll hold onto the old ones just in case.

After lunch it was time for the bleeding. Had a bit of a scare when the passenger’s side caliper refused to pass fluid - I ended up disconnecting the line from the caliper (which had fluid flowing through it) and found out the coating on the caliper had plugged the inlet. A quick poking with a piece of wire fixed that, and that side began to flow normally.


While I let that gravity bleed for a little bit, I did some clean-up. Pictured to the left is the skidplate from under the engine (removed it to access the crossmember to jack up the car). Ever since I changed the oil, there had been an oil spot where I parked, despite no signs of leaking from the plug or filter. Here’s the culprit: as I found when changing the oil the first time, removing the oil filter makes oil run onto the skidplate, which runs down the back and into your drain pan. In the picture you’re looking at the ‘top’ of the skidplate (faces the engine). On the cardboard is a couple pounds of oil-saturated dirt and road debris from 20 years of oil change spillage, which was soaked and seeping oil. I scraped it off (gross) so hopefully it stops dripping black oil. It’s lighter now, if nothing else.


Anyways with the system bled the rest of the way it was time for a test drive. All was well (The brakes actually work correctly! The pedal isn’t a sponge! It doesn’t dart in a random direction under hard braking!), so while out I stopped Autozone and picked up a tie rod end and an upper balljoint for the crown vic (refer to my post yesterday “That’s normal, right?”). When I got home, I played musical parking spots to bring the Crown Vic back into the garage and return the 4Runner to its usual driveway spot (which had the crown vic in it; the RX7 was in the crown vic’s usual spot, with the RX7 usually living inside).

I’m very familiar with (and comfortable working on) this car, so it only took about an hour and a half start-to-finish do the work. Pleasantly, nothing was exceedingly rusted into place.


The tie rod was very sloppy (concerningly so) and the balljoint definitely due for replacement. I got the ValueCrap line of parts since the goal is make it to spring, really.

Eccentric nuts ride in the cutouts on the cast part, the one nearer the balljoint sets caster and the other sets the camber by moving the balljoint on the upper control arm. It’s pretty clever and works very well - there is a lot of adjustment possible.

I eyeballed the alignment back to how it had been; it needed aligned anyways but I was putting it off. I’ll try to schedule something this week or next. The 4Runner needs aligned too, but I can’t really drive two cars there at once. It will get done soon as well, I hope.


With the work done (surprisingly ahead of the intended schedule), it was time for another round of musical parking spots to get the cars back where they belong, including the RX7 back into the garage. It didn’t seem like it was happy about sitting out in the rain all day.

So all in all it was a very busy but also very productive day, and leaves my whole Sunday open. I expected the 4runner to take just about all day and knock out the crown vic stuff tomorrow. Neat.