The week after the Full-Fledged Wrenchfest took place, my friends Pat, Kevin and I took to the road to help out a friend in another state. The plan was to drive from Phoenix to Albuquerque, tear down the engine on night one, build it back up on day two, and head home on the morning of day three. Sounds easy enough, and I’m sure any 4WD club would do the same for one of their own.
We set out early Friday morning, armed with a torque wrench and a freshly rebuilt set of DOHC heads for our friend Lloyd’s 1996 Montero SR. We had his truck in Arizona for a community build for two years, and installed a used motor due to a tight budget, and a few hundred miles of it being on the road, it decided to eat a butterfly valve bushing. The damage was bent valves and damaged valve seats. Of course we had no idea what we were in for on the ride up.
After a seven hour drive, we arrived and immediately began to tear down the engine with the goal of having the top end completely disassembled. This was the easy part. Sure enough, we found the mashed remains of the butterfly valve bushings in two cylinders. Cylinder walls were still in perfect shape and the pistons had minimal damage, but the heads had seen better days. Feeling accomplished, we turned in around 11PM to get an early start on Day Two, which would be cleaning and reassembling the engine and timing.
Things went smoothly, with the three of us from Arizona cleaning and building while Lloyd ran out for parts and supplies. The engine was coming together and we started feeling like we were actually going to be able to finish it by nightfall.
We wrenched all day, only taking breaks for lunch and dinner. By midnight the engine was complete and ready for a test fire. It started right up, backfired and then died immediately. We all went from excited to very disappointed in a matter of minutes.
We double checked our firing order, then our timing marks – with all being correct. Next step was to remove the upper intake and check the direction of flow between the cylinders, sure enough the left bank was pulling from the intake when it should be blowing exhaust and vice versa. Anyone who has a dual overhead cam engine knows what that means – exhaust cam swapped with the intake cam. On these 6G74 engines all the cams look the same, and if you don’t mark them on disassembly, not even the dealer can tell you which is which. The machine shop had missed this step and, on top of that, we had looked them over to double check their work.
At this point, a decision needed to be made – either call it quits and come back a different weekend, or burn the midnight oil and get it done on by morning. Pat and Kevin decided they could wrench through the night and, if I went to bed by 2AM, I could get enough sleep to safely make the drive home in the morning. I worked until about 2AM and turned in because I was getting pretty worthless. They worked on it all night and when I woke up at 7:30AM, they were just buttoning it up.
I helped with the last little bit and then we gave it a successful test fire. We let it idle for a bit and let the computer remap itself before taking it on a test drive out to breakfast. We all had a great breakfast and the guys were literally falling asleep in their food so, once we finished up, we hit the road for Arizona.
BIG thanks to Pat and Kevin for pulling an all-nighter to get the truck done. After all that, I don’t think there are too many 4WD clubs or friends even willing to go that far out of their way to help a fellow 4-wheeler in need – especially for FREE.
Next time you hear of a gearhead in need that’s LOCAL to you, go lend a hand; because one day it could be you in need and there won’t always be a group of guys willing to cross state lines for you.
How about you? How far have you traveled to help a fellow gearhead in need? Leave us a comment!