4Runner Backcountry Bumper Source
In your Dec. '10 issue, you stated that no one builds a rear bumper/tire carrier for the 2010 Toyota 4Runner. I would like to recommend Perkins Performance in Puyallup, Washington (www.perkinsperformance.com). I worked there for a couple months and they do awesome work. They have built exactly what you are looking for, for a customer with a '10 'Runner. All their bumpers are laser-cut, MIG-welded 1/4-inch plate steel, with TIG-welded tire carrier pivots. They do any kind of metalwork, made to order. All of it gets powdercoated with two layers to ensure durability.
We found a shop that's closer to our (Southern California) home to fab up a custom rear bumper for our 4Runner, and you'll see it come together in an upcoming installation piece. But thanks for the tip, and we've included your letter for folks in the Northwest who might need some Toyota fabrication work.
He's Got a Spark of Inspiration
I enjoyed your article on the "Ford Three-Valve Broken Spark Plug Blues" (Dec. '10). I have an '04 Ford Expedition with the 5.4L 3V engine with 100,000-plus miles. I have been wrenching for over 25 years, and have worked on everything for lawnmowers to jet engines. Having heard about this problem with the plugs, I was going to have the dealer do the tune-up due to the fear of breaking one or more of the plugs. I was worried that I would break the plug and then have to remove the head or tow the truck to a shop to have the plug removed. Your article was very informative, and having information on the removal tool from Lisle, I am going to order the tool and do the job myself. Thanks for a great article.
Worthy Advice To Avert Engine Failure
Techline and Willie's Workbench are my favorite parts of Four Wheeler. I look forward to each month's edition and always learn something. The reason I'm writing is that I haven't seen you address anything concerning proper engine break-in. It's too late for me. My engine builder put together a very nice small-block 383. After many frustrating hours of tuning, I finally got everything dialed in . . . I thought. With less than 50 hours on the engine, it became impossible to tune. Engine teardown showed that half the cam lobes were nearly round, and all but two lifters had the crap beat out of them. My builder was able to save the crank, rods and pistons. The valves were okay as well. What could have done this? I happened to pick up a copy of Mechanics Illustrated and in the tech column was a letter describing my symptoms exactly and a solution. It appears that the oil companies are removing an additive that is very necessary for cam-on-hydraulic lifter engines. The chemical is ZDDP and very necessary for engine break-in. It was an expensive lesson for me to learn, though addressing this may save someone else an awful lot of heartache and expense.
Via the Internet
Zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) was a common antiwear agent in engine oil though the end of the 20th century. During the last decade, however, changes in OE catalytic converter designs, along with EPA Tier II emissions mandates in 2004, forced the oil companies to come up with newly formulated engine lubricants with significantly reduced levels of zinc, sulfur and phosphorus. The new formulation, designated "GF-4," has been the industry standard since 2006 when it was licensed for warranty by the American Petroleum Institute. Modern-day engines run fine on the new ZDDP-free oil, but older (flat-tappet cam) engines require a certain amount of zinc to prevent premature wear of cam lobes and lifters-as you discovered a little too late. Fortunately, there are plenty of ZDDP additives available on the market to address this problem. Frankly, we're a little surprised that your engine builder wasn't more aware of this-it's not exactly a brand-new development-but your point is well taken, and your words of warning are wise ones. We've forwarded your letter to Willie as well. Thanks for your praise of his work-he's truly one of a kind.