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General information about the various mods available to 4x4 vehicles covering pros and cons to assist in the decision of "Is this the right mod?"

John Stewart

Time to Replace the O2 Sensor on your 3rd Gen Toyota?

If you are not familiar with the OBDII (On Board Diagnostic generation II) systems used on 3rd generation and later Toyotas, you might want to read this reference before proceeding further in this article. As described in the reference article, the oxygen sensor in the exhaust system is the key "feedback" sensor for correcting and maintaining the proper fuel mixture. It measures the post-combustion gases to determine the actual air/fuel mixture of the prior combustion cycle and then, the ECU adjusts the fuel trim percentage on the next combustion cycle, to keep the fuel mixture at the optimum value.

As the oxygen sensor ages, its responsiveness begins to slow down. Since I have a BR-3 OBD-II scanner that can read the voltages generated by the O2 sensor, I thought I would be able to see some indication in the voltage signal that my O2 sensor was not providing optimum performance. However when I examined the O2 Sensor Output with the engine idling, it appeared to be pretty much the same as I had seen when the vehicle was new. Also, the error codes applicable to the O2 Sensor had not shown up and turned on the Check Engine light.

However, if the Check Engine Light were to turn on with one of the following O2 Sensor codes stored, you should follow the diagnostic procedure and replace the O2 sensor if so indicated in the diagnostic procedure.

Read more of Tech: Time to Replace the O2 Sensor on your 3rd Gen Toyota? in the 4x4Wire.com Archives.

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John Stewart

A Crescent Wrench and a Creeper: Tips for Maintenance of an Off Road Rig

When it comes to 4x4’s, (Jeeps, trucks, toys, buggies, etc.), it’s as simple as a crescent wrench and a creeper. It may sound a bit simplistic, but it’s about getting under the rig and touching and checking for lose, broken, about to break or leaking stuff! Find it before it’s a problem. For side by sides, ATV’s, snowmobiles, etc., it’s more about the touching and looking, but the idea is the same.

Use a simple large Crescent wrench to check all important nuts. If they appear to be loose, use the Crescent or get out the right tool; but get it tight! If something is supposed to be torqued to specs, use a torque wrench and do it right. The handle of the Crescent can be used to pry and nudge things like long arm connections and Heim/flex joints. If you have unusual movement, figure out why and fix it.

For smaller “toys” that you can’t get under, something as simple as cleaning and touching the parts and connections can help you find lose or worn parts. Be sure to look for welds about to give up the ghost also. I like to clean my toys to the point of ensuring I touch about everything important, or at least give it a good eye‐balling.

An online parts seller friend of mine, Mike Monahan, known as Parts Mike (http://www.partsmike.com) says that in his experience it is steering components that fail the most often on 4x4’s. “Stock steering linkage and parts are not engineered to withstand the stress of bigger build ups and tires,” says Parts Mike, “and the best solution is to buy the right stuff and improve what the factory gave you.”

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Adam Fertig

Auto Glym Car Care Products

Auto Glym High Definition Wax Kit

Auto Glym is a British company that is very popular in the UK, and only available to professional detailers in the UK.  Starting in 2010, they offered their products to the US and to the general public.  The HD wax kit can be found in select Wal-Mart stores for around $35.

I began with the Auto Glym High Definition wax kit.  It includes a can of paste wax, 2 sponge applicators, and a terry cloth.

First step is to wash and dry the car by hand.  Once dry, and in a cool location out of the sun, instructions say to pre-moisten the applicator with water, and add a small amount of wax to the sponge.  Next step is to lightly apply the wax to the vehicle, working in circular patterns.  Once applied, let the wax dry for about 30 minutes, and then buff off the wax using the supplied terry cloth.  It went on and buffed off very easy, with very little elbow grease.

Results were pretty impressive.  All of the swirl marks and haze were gone! And I now have a very deep shine.  The only thing it did not do was remove some scuff marks where my power antenna broke and scuffed up the paint, but I was not expecting it to fix that.

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John Stewart

"Check Engine" Light

In general, all vehicles equipped with on-board diagnostic systems (OBD-II is the current standard) will store error codes that can be read using a portable code reader.  A "Check Engine" light comes on to indicate that the engine management computer has detected a problem related to emissions or engine operation.  It is your notice that something needs to be fixed in order to comply with federal emissions requirements or to keep your engine running. Many of the trouble codes relate to engine or emission sensor inputs that have failed or are out of tolerance.  The sensors control the "engine management computer" and keep the engine running at optimum efficiency.  Failed or out of tolerance sensors mean your engine is not operating at optimum efficiency.While it is easier to read the fault codes with a code reader/scanner, most vehicle provide an option to display the codes.  To view the codes, start with the engine turned off.  Turn the ignition key to the "ON" (not "IGNITION/START") position, then turn it off for about a second.  Turn it on for a second, then turn it off for a second. The third time you turn it on, you should see a set of trouble codes flashing on the odometer display.  (NOTE: this process works with most newer Jeep vehicles.  It may or may not work with other models.)Once the error codes are recorded, interpretation will indicate the likely source of the fault. Fixing the problem can be simple do-it-yourself (replace the gas cap) or more complex requiring the services of an auto repair shop.

Search the 4x4Wire.com archives for more information about check engine light posts about your 4x4 vehicle model.For a comprehensive listing of ODB-II error codes for all manufactures vehicles, check these websites:http://www.obd-codes.com/http://www.engine-light-help.com/

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Jon Negaard

Building a General Purpose Mobile Comms Suite

I like to get out with a purpose.  Usually, my rig takes me places where I like to do other things.  I have bikes, kayaks and feet that like to get away from the vehicle more than I tend to take the truck down trails these days.  This is not to say that 4 wheeling is not a goal; time to take advantage of extended outings just hasn't been in abundance.  That said, I decided that I wanted a communication system that would function with a general purpose.  I wanted to use both amateur radio frequencies and CB communications.

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