Minitrucks… They Always Have Problems!

Well, for the most part it seems like every vehicle has it’s problems. But when people, minitruckers in this case, go modifying and customizing a vehicle, it seems to create more problems. Case in point, last Friday. If you read my last blog, you are probably waiting for the Dropt-N-Destroyed show coverage and story. Sorry, but I have no coverage or amazing stories to share as I did not go. My truck was not cooperating with us Friday night as we attempted to fix a transmission leak. The plan was to fix the leak, pack my stuff, be in bed by midnight, wake up by 6am, meet everyone around 6:45-7:00, then head to the show. Basically none of this happened.

Bodydrop 4L60E Transmission Cooler Line Leak

Inspecting the transmission, it appeared that the leak was coming from the transmission pan. I tried to snug the bolts down some more and that didn’t help. I tried to straighten the edges of the pan and that too did not work. So we gave up and took the pan off which made a nice size mess everywhere, cleaned the pan, installed a new gasket, and started adding more fluid. Of course I have an aftermarket dipstick tube and the inside diameter is so small I haven’t been able to find a small enough funnel to fit in it. So we invented something that kind of works. Unfortunately this time, it broke. Which caused tranny fluid to explode out of it all over the engine. Great. I was looking forward to the next day or two of burning transmission fluid. With our custom tool fixed, I kept adding more fluid while Anthony (Lesh) moved the license plate light. I want the truck to be somewhat legal! So it was all done and we were happy to finally start the motor and see no leaks. What a pain! The motor is running, everything seems good… then… drip… drip… drip.. drip drip.. drip drip drip drip drip puddles…

No we began to hardcore inspect the area, and of course we found the leak. It just had to be in the most impossible to reach area ever. I have a 4L60E tranny and it has 2 cooler lines mounted on the upper passenger side of the tranny. The fluid was coming out of the top one. There was no way any tools were going to fit up there. And we eventually seen that it wasn’t just leaking, the cab floor was resting on the line causing the leak. There were only 3 options: a) take the bed off, jack up the cab, and probably extend wiring to do all of this, b) guess where the lines are from inside the cab and cut a hole in the floor for way easier access, or c) push the truck out to the middle of the street, install a tee into the fuel line and route one end of it to dump over the exhaust manifolds creating a fire when started. We chose option B, but C was still always in the back of our minds. So after a beer or two and staring at the truck as a whole for a while, I knew this truck was not heading to the show in the morning. It was past 12am and I was ready to go to bed regardless.

The next day I cut a section of the carpet, the heat barrier material, and Lesh cut into the floor. We made a pretty close cutout of what we were actually trying for. But since the floor was hitting the line, he actually cut through it. So we went to the parts store to order a new line which would show up first thing Sunday morning. It was enough progress for one day and I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Soon, I would be back on the streets an inch off the ground.

Sunday afternoon rolled around and we cut the new line to fit. Some bending was needed but we eventually got it to fit right in with enough clearance so it wasn’t hitting anything. Added some more fluid to top it off from all of the recent tranny leaks. Then we wiped the underside down and just let it run for 10-15 minutes, going in and out of all the gears. No leaks! We even took it out on the road for a quick 5 minute drive through the neighborhood behind my house, with a hole in the floor. No leaks, just old tranny fluid burning off the motor and exhaust pipe. Great smell! We got it back in the garage and he did work on welding the plate back in and a new small piece to fill a gap which was needed to space the floor from the line. He called it a day and I was stoked. I took the truck out for an hour long cruise into the sunset. And even a late night trip to Taco Bell. I sat in line forever, but no overheating or leaks. I will say, I think my truck might be too loud for a fast food drive-thru! It’s also kind of not in my diet, but I felt I needed to treat myself.

Now the plan is to try and patch the carpet area so it doesn’t really stand out that a big chunk was cut out of it. If it doesn’t look good at all afterwards, I’ll try to replace the whole front passenger half. That might not look good either, and it might need a full heat barrier/carpet job again. But I think I can make it unnoticeable and throw some floor mats in there to help. He got me some out of a 2011 Focus. They aren’t the greatest, but they will work for now. So in one weekend, I went from 110% frustrated to filled with excitement. Now I just hope the cold weather holds off for a while so I can enjoy the truck on the road some more. Next up, getting the new hood all mounted and aligned just right.