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  • Letters To The Editor - November 2006

Letters To The Editor - November 2006

Bruce Caldwell
Nov 1, 2006
Contributors: Mike Finnegan
Powder Power
I own a '97 Toyota Tacoma standard cab pickup that I'm completely redoing from top to bottom. It was my driver/occasional show truck, but I've decided to swap the usage percentages. Toward that goal, I'm cleaning and repainting every part of the truck. The body and bed were removed from the chassis for painting.
While everything is apart, I plan to powdercoat the frame and all the suspension pieces. I also want to powdercoat the engine block. I'm having the engine rebuilt, so it will hold up to a turbocharger.
My question is whether I should have the engine machine work done before or after the powerdcoating. I know that powdercoating requires baking in a hot oven to "melt" the powder and make it flow and stick. Will this high temperature affect any of the machine work, if the block is powdercoated after the machine work?
Stan Hronas
San Diego, California
It sounds like you're as interested in looking good as in going fast. Therefore, you want to keep the block as chip-free as possible. That means the machine work should be done first.
The powdercoating oven isn't likely to affect the thermal set of a well-seasoned block like the one in your Tacoma. Check out a couple powdercoating companies before you relinquish your block. Look for a company that has experience with engines. The machined surfaces need to be thoroughly and fastidiously protected during the powdercoating process.
Photo 2/7   |   mail Truck pearl Jam
Pearl Jam
I painted my '87 Chevy C10 Stepside pickup House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl. The color is great, but I wanted highlights along the styling ridges, so I shot a small amount of gold pearl in those areas. I topped the paint with clear.
Now that the truck is finished, I'm not as happy as I had hoped to be. By trying to not overdo the pearl, I ended up being too conservative. There are several places especially on the rear fenders, where I think more pearl would be better. How can I boost the pearl in these areas without completely repainting the truck? I hope you can help me. Thanks.
Greg Cooper
via e-mail
Going back over custom paint can be tricky business. You should be absolutely sure that you think additional pearl highlights will make a substantial improvement. Otherwise, you can save a lot of work by leaving the paint the way it is. Even though it's extra work, it would be wise to spray a test panel or an old fender. An old fender with the same or similar styling lines can give you an idea of how much pearl to add. Try to duplicate the current paint on the truck and then gradually lay on the extra pearl. You should treat this project the same as you might treat a mistake or repair. It's like you made a taping mistake when painting graphics and some paint ended up in the wrong place.You want to deal with the smallest possible area in the least intrusive manner.
You need to sand the areas that you want to repaint. Use either 600- or 800-grit sandpaper. The 600-grit provides better adhesion, but don't press too hard. The sandpaper should be soaked in water for 15-20 minutes before using. The wet paper is less likely to leave sanding scratches. You don't want to sand through the existing paint; you just want to provide adhesion for the added pearl.
Since you used House of Kolor products, continue to use them for the repainting. The additional pearl should be mixed with HOK Intercoat clear (SG-100). Be sure the pearl is thoroughly mixed for even suspension in the SG-100. A small touch-up gun will work well for applying the pearl.
The HOK SG-100 is a non-catalyzed clear that is air-dried. That makes it good for spot repairs and adding pearl in small increments. Be sure to follow the HOK technical information as to mixing and reducing directions.
When you're satisfied with the added pearl highlights, you can finish the job with the same catalyzed clear that you used in the first place.
Hidden Treasures
I was trying to look up the article printed in your magazine on the hidden treasures. It said to look up Chris Couto's truck online.
I was unable to find anything on him. Is there anyway to have you send a link so I can try to get some parts for a '66 C10 pickup I'm working on getting ready to be put in your mag, hopefully one day? I am attaching photos of it as well.
via e-mail
Dear Mr. T,
The parts you seek for your fine '66 Chevy can be ordered through many of the companies featured in the classic truck buyer's guide in this very issue. And if you want to see photos online of Chris Couto's Chevy, may we suggest checking out any of the many shows he's attended with it. A good source for online show coverage is and also
How Do I...?
I'm not sure if I am e-mailing the correct department, but I was wondering how I can go about trying to get my truck published in Sport Truck. Sorry, if I have e-mailed the wrong department. If you could forward it to the correct person, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
via e-mail
Don't be sorry, and you've definitely gone about this the correct way. Now that we know you'd like to have your truck published, all we have to do is get a good look at it. This is the part where we tell you to either mail photos of your truck and/or any eligible hot female family members and a complete description of your truck to Sport Truck Magazine, Readers' Rides, 2400 E. Katella Ave, Ste. 1100, Anaheim, CA 92806. You can also use the information super-highway and e-mail everything to (Contacts updated on 12-17-08).
Spitting Sonoma
At the ever-rising prices for gasoline, I hate to waste any of it, but my '03 GMC Sonoma Crew Cab doesn't seem to care about spilled gas. The truck has the nasty habit of spitting gas out of the filler neck. I don't want to slowly nurse the gas in, but I'd like to stop the spitting. Is there something that can be done to fix this problem?
Vaughn Sinclair
Grand Island, Nebraska
You need a new fuel tank filler pipe assembly. GM has a filler pipe with an improved check valve designed to stop fuel spitting in '03 Chevy S-10 and GMC Sonoma Crew Cab pickups. Ask your service department to refer to technical service bulletin 03-06-04-058.
Hot Truck
I have a '92 Chevy S-10 pickup with a V-8 conversion. I bought the engine on eBay and had it shipped to me. The engine came with most of the receipts and paperwork detailing the work that had been done to it.
The engine is a 350 small-block that was bored out 0.060 inches. The main bearings and rods were turned 0.010-inch under. The cam has 0.450-inch lift and 274 degrees of lift.
The engine really moves the little S-10 along, but it tends to overheat (230-plus degrees) at stoplights and when I'm stuck in congested traffic. It isn't bad out on the open highway. Everything about the cooling system is brand-new and heavy-duty. The radiator is for a V-8. I installed a flex-style fan and a 160-degree thermostat. Can you suggest ways to keep the engine from overheating?
Barry Altmaier
via e-mail
You have an inherent heat problem due to the large overbore of your engine. The overbore made the cylinder walls thinner, so there's less cast iron to absorb heat. That extra heat gets transferred to the water jacket. If the temperature stays at or below 230 degrees, you should be OK, but we understand your desire to run cooler.
Photo 5/7   |   mail Truck vase
Photo 6/7   |   mail Truck chevy S10
You didn't give specific details about the engine swap, but many swappers omit the factory-style fan shroud. If this is you, the cooling isn't as efficient as is could be. We would suggest a factory-style thermostatically controlled clutch fan in place of the flex fan. It would also help to be sure fresh air is directed through the radiator core, not around it. To this goal, consider using a front air dam.
You could also have engine problems that are affecting the cooling efficiency. The engine should be properly tuned with initial timing set at 8 to 10 degrees BTDC. A radiator shop can run a carbon-dioxide dye test to check for any exhaust gases that might be escaping into the cooling system. The presence of exhaust gases can indicate a bad head gasket or worse, a cracked cylinder head. A compression test will help locate the problem area.
A Long Block
Our family car is an '04 Chevy Trailblazer with the 4.2L inline six-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. I really like everything about the TrailBlazer. I like it so much that I wouldn't mind having another one if it wasn't for the cost.
Our second vehicle is a '93 S-10 Chevy Blazer LT four-door with the 4.3L V-6, four-speed automatic and four-wheel-drive. The S-10 Blazer has more than 185,000 miles on it, and the engine is getting a little tired. The rest of the truck is in excellent condition.
This got me to thinking: What if I swapped the old engine and transmission for a 4.2L inline-six from a wrecked TrailBlazer? If I included the transmission and possibly a few other niceties from the TrailBlazer, I could have some of the TrailBlazer's best features for a whole lot less money. The 275 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque in the 4.2L six should make a great improvement over the tired V-6. How much trouble would it be to make this swap? Could I use my existing transmission?
Derek Hastings
Louisville, Kentucky
We agree with your praise for the GM 4.2L inline-six. It's a wonderful engine with excellent torque. The idea of a straight-six seems a little retro, but the execution is great. BMW builds some fantastic cars with inline six-cylinder engines, so these engines aren't holdovers from the Fifties.
The 4.2L six is actually lighter by about 40 pounds (407 pounds) than your existing 4.2L V-6. The big negative is the overall size of the inline-six. At almost 33 inches long, it's 3 inches longer than a typical Chevy 350 small-block V-8. A V-8 in an S-10 is a snug fit, so some serious firewall work would be required to accommodate the 4.2L six. The 4200 six is also quite tall. At 32.62 inches tall, you would probably need to raise the hood of your S-10 Blazer.
Part of the height comes from the deep-sump oil pan, which would likely interfere with the front transfer case and related components in your Blazer.A two-wheel-drive Blazer would be less troublesome.
Using your existing transmission would be more trouble than it's worth.The 4200 I-6 is designed for a 360-degree bellhousing, so a custom adapter would be needed to mate your current 700-R4. If you moved the transmission, you'd also have to modify the 4x4 driveshafts. A final snag would be adapting the 4.2L six's electronics that are required for its variable valve timing.
Photo 7/7   |   mail Truck chevy Pickup
Gimme a Lift
I performed a basic rebuild on the 350 small-block V-8 in my '85 Chevy pickup. I installed new rings, bearings, camshaft, lifters, timing chain, and gaskets. I didn't touch the oiling system or have any machine work done. The engine ran fine for a while, but then it developed a bad lifter. The same intake lifter failed a couple times. This doesn't seem normal. Could there be some other problem that I'm missing? Thank you.
Glen Shaeffer
via e-mail
It would be unusual for a lifter to fail repeatedly in the same lifter bore, so the problem is most likely a damaged camshaft. Once the hardened surface of a cam lobe gets damaged, it will continue to deteriorate. The only cure is a new camshaft.
Even though the camshaft was new, you might not have followed the correct break-in procedure. A flat-tappet camshaft and the lifters need to be thoroughly coated with a moly-type break-in lube. This lube is usually included with the cam and lifter kit, but it's also readily available separately at any auto parts store.
Great care needs to be exercised when inserting the camshaft into the block. You don't want to nick any of the lobes.
A typical break-in procedure should last about 20-30 minutes with the engine held steady at 2,000 rpm. It's important to do this all at one time. Don't stop the engine before the specified time. The break-in procedure helps establish a uniform wear pattern between the camshaft lobes and the lifters.
If you carefully followed the break-in procedure, it's possible that you could have a tight lifter bore. When you removed the lifters, they should have come out pretty easily using your fingers. If they were more than finger tight, there could be a tight bore.
The best way to determine bore diameter is with an inside bore micrometer. If you feel confident that the troublesome bore is a little tight, you can relieve it with a lifter bore hone. You just want to lightly hone the bore. Immediately wipe the bore clean, and soon after you start the engine you should change the oil and filter. It's easy to do more harm than good, so you might really want to consult a professional engine shop.



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