Project AE86: The hard part ECU wiring

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I got my Link ECU and custom engine harness for R.N.R Autosport in Malaysia, and for the most part everything was plug in play and labeled. But I had to make a harness connection for the OEM black connector pin. The OEM conector was different then the connector from the custom engine harness.

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As you can see I had to remove the pins from the OEM connection. This was a first and never done anything like this at all.

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What I needed to do is find the wiring diagram for the OEM conection and label the wires. Thankfully R.N.R Autosport sent me the image for the wiring diagram. Here is the link: http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/5020/cplug.jpg

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I triple checked the wiring and labels just to make sure I didn’t mess anything up. Then my friend Donnie came by and showed me how to crimp connections, which wasn’t that bad at all. My first attempt wasn’t too great but I got the hang of it. And if you crimp the wires correctly, there is no need for soldering. In matter of fact, crimping is actually better then soldering since it provides a strong mechanical connection.

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With that part done, all I had to do was pin it to the supplied connector.

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I was also nervous about this, because what happens if I pinning the wrong way? Or switch the pins on the connections? R.N.R Autosport has great customer service and was able to answer my questions quickly and made sure I placed the pins in the correct slot.

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This is the new 6 pin connector diagram R.N.R Autosport sent me.  R.N.R Autosport was able to make sure I got it right.

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After I triple check my wiring again, I started to go one by and pin my new connector. Was pretty easy and just clicks in.

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And just like that the wiring stuff is done!!!! Next is to hook up the ECU to the battery and hopefully it starts…. but more on that for the next blog. That opened a whole new can of worms.

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Start of and Epic Road Trip Part 6: La Selva Beach and Santa Cruz

Man, it’s been a while since our road trip (April 2018 – May 2018), and I am still posting about my trip. I’ve been busy with work, in laws visiting, and of course working on the AE86. This road trip has been one of the best, and lots filled with lots of memories.

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It’s our 3rd day staying at Death Valley, and was time to head to head up to Nor Cal for beaches and cooler weather. Not much off road trails planned for this portion of the trip. My wife and I hasn’t visited Nor Cal, and figured it would be the perfect time to.

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We packed up early and left Death Valley, next time I’ll make sure to spend more time to explore more trials and stop by Alabama Hills too.

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We didn’t take a lot of pictures driving to Nor Cal, just soaking up the scenery and living in the moment. The drive was about 8hrs, and thankfully not much traffic. Pretty chill road trip, with frequent gas stops. We made it to our Airbnb at La Selva Beach and stayed in Nor Cal for 5 days.

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During the stay we drove to Hollister Hills OHV Park and that was really cool. One of my bucket list checked off. What made me come here was seeing the guys from Dirt Everyday go to Hollister Hills on some their episodes. Pretty cool spot for all levels.

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We did the easy to medium trails, because I’m not really confident in my off road skills, and I wanted to make sure I can still drive the Land Cruiser back to Texas without breaking anything.

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The California trails seemed more rocky and steeper then the ones in Texas. I did like the mountain views and cooler weather. We also checked out the local farms near by. I didn’t get pictures of that but everything tastes better from the source.

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One of the cool things about California in general is you dont have to drive far for a change of scenery. The next day we decided to explore the local spots in La Selva Beach. I do like this small beach town, and the people around were chill and friendly. I’m sure they have money because looking at the houses around that area starts at 800k and up.

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Lambo enjoying the beach bum life. He even met another chow chow!!!

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This chow chow has the beach glow going on.

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Lambo loving life. These are the day I’m really thankful for everything. Its about life experience, and not materialistic things.

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The mandatory family picture!!

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Lambo is a pretty clean dog, and didn’t want to get wet.

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After exploring the local beach, we got hungry and hit up a bagel spot near by.

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It was really good!!!! I wish I remember the name….

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Then we found a railway near the trail and wifey had to get a picture.

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Made it to Santa Cruz!!!! I had to get the Santa Cruz sticker while here. Unfortunately, the boardwalk isn’t dog friendly but all good. We just explored around.

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Clear skies, cool weather, and palm trees.

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Wasn’t a lot of people around on a weekday, and Im thankful for that.

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We went to the local ice parlor we to for a snack. Forgot to take a picture because we pretty much inhaled it. The owners where nice enough to give Lambo a bowl of water too. After exploring the beach side of town, we headed up the mountains and visited a train museum.

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There was actually some kind of wedding rehearsal going on, and I’m willing to bet they are train fanatics. Lots of old fashion things around the area and pretty remote. We didn’t have reception.

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The baby bear distracted with all the scenery.

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Then we got hungry and wanted to get some drinks, and headed back into town.

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We found some small stores and bought some things for our house. I like shopping for practical house stuff while traveling because its useful and memories of past trips.

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Beer…. never fails.

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Lambo all pooped out. And with that we called it a day and headed back to La Selva Beach. Next post we will be heading to San Fran!!!!!

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Project AE86: SQ Engineering goodness

As the project is coming along, it was about time to buy a few more parts to complete the list of engine mods. I tried to find some parts stateside, but I didn’t find any. I went overseas to an Australian company, SQ Engineering, and they had the parts I was looking for.

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One of the first things I bought was getting the correct ITB gaskets for the 20v ST. Interestingly I was thinking that part would be easy to find stateside, but I couldn’t find it, even at rock auto.

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While I was at the SQ Engineering website I went ahead got the coil pack adapter for the 16v 4age, and oil pressure kit.

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The oil pressure kit is basically an extra spring you add to the oil pump. This extra springs provides increased oil pressure especially if the car constantly stays at high rpms, and with cars equipped with an oil cooler. This simple mod will prove its worth at the track.

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The install is pretty straight forward and easy. I can tell with the addition of the 2nd spring, it felt much stiffer. Here is the link to the install guide: http://www.sq-engineering.com/index.php/tech-articles/4age-oil-pressure-kit-install-guide.

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I bolted everything back up and 4age is starting to look better! I didn’t install the oil pump yet, because I wanted to make sure the motor will run right. The ecu and harness I had made has been shipped, and should arrive a few says from now. I hope the ecu and harness will be the last big purchase I have to do, in order for the motor to run right. Stay tuned!!!

Project AE86: More weight loss

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The 86 I bought came with a sunroof, but it wasn’t working and the sunroof was stuck in the “almost closed position.” And because its a track car, the only logical thing to do was to remove it. Having the whole sunroof assembly allows me to have a more room for a future roll cage.

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There wasn’t much info on how to remove the sunroof online so I had to learn as I go. Basically remove the headliner and all the bolts, then pull away at that glued seems.

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I removed all bolts that was visible (after removing the headliner), but I couldn’t remove the sunroof. As it turn out, I had to removed the headliner on the sunroof itself! The issue was, the sunroof was stuck on the “almost closed position”, so I couldn’t just pull out the headliner. Since Im going to throw away the sunroof, I took a knife and cut thought the headliner. and this gave me access to the bolts holding the sunroof.

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Here are the exposed bolts after removing the sunroof headliner.

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After removing the bolts, you just push up on the sunroof and pops right out! Next is removing the sunroof assembly and rails.

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You first remove the the screws attaching to the wind breaker. I will portably sell that since its in good condition.

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Then you get a flat head screw driver and wedge it between the glued seems. Using a hammer, you break the glued seams. After separating a good portion of the glued seam, then you can pull up and out on the rail assmebly. It should come you easy and not a lot of force. If you find yourself having a difficult time, make sure you remove all the bolts.

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The sunroof rail guide are glued in the front position of the car, once you separate the glue from the railings you just slide it out forward.

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Next is the removing the sunroof case. After removing all the bolts, it is also held on my glue and you break the seam as you did with the sun roof rail. Use a flathead and hammer.

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Once you break the seam, you just apply some downward pressure to continue to break the glue seam. Some might need more then other portions but you get the idea. Dont for get to disconnect the drain hoses.

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You can pull out the hose afterwards.

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And just like that the whole sunroof assembly is out!!!! Surprisingly its didn’t feel as heavy as I thought it would be. I have big gapping sunroof hole that I will probably seal with a piece of aluminum and JB weld. Another good tip, when doing this, is to have the seats removed for more space. Stay tuned for more updates!!!

Project AE86: Stripped Bolt

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Couple days ago, the engine harness maker messaged me that he is almost done with the engine harness and wanted a picture of the TPS. I was pretty excited since, Im hoping the ECU and harness will make the motor run and idle right. So I proceeded to removed the TPS…

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Removing the top screw was pretty easy but when I got to the bottom that was a different story. I noticed I was having a harder time losening the screw and I found out the screw was stripped. Ugh, what was suppose to be an easy removed now turned out to be more difficult.

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At first, I thought I had to remove the motor to get enough access to use my bolt extractor. But on the 86 group chat I was in, someone mentioned I could just removed the throttle bodies. I didn’t think of it (being a complete noob) but it was a great idea.

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I first removed the trumpets then the throttle bodies. The process was pretty straight forward I didn’t need any special tools, just a Allen key, and 10mm socket.

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The throttle body adapter has some type of gasket that was actually wrong for the fitment haha. You could tell its was some type of liquid gasket maker the previous person used. Not factory spec, but I guess it worked. I went ahead and ordered the correct gasket for the throttle bodies from SQ Engineering. One nice thing to note are the throttle bodies and trumpets are from a 20v silver top, and the adapter plate is from Techno Toy Tuning (T3).

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While the trumpets and throttle bodies are out, I taped up the intake portion just to make sure no debris makes it into the intake.

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Im no stranger to striped screws and bolts, and I my bolt extractor made it easy to remove the screw.

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With the hard part done, I was able to take good pictures of the TPS for the engine harness maker. Then I went to the bolt supply store to replace the TPS screws, and some other missing bolts I needed for the 86.

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The bolt guy was pretty nice, and gave me the bolts for free!!

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I went with hex bolts, because they are less prone to strip compared to screws. While Im waiting for the gaskets to arrive, I did some cleaning of the throttle bodies and trumpets. They sure needed it.

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I cleaned the throttle bodies with brake cleaner, and hand polished the trumpets.

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For the T3 adapter plate, I used a copper brush to remove the remaining gasket, and brake cleaner to remove the carbon build up.

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I wonder how clean this will last because I have no future plans to run a filter for my ITBs. I just know that I will will be making frequent oil changes every 1000 miles or after a track event. Maybe I could make more own filters for cheap. Stay tuned!

Project 86: Holding me down

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As Im writing this, I’ve had some engine management issues and been a disappointment. So to stay motivated, I started to work on other parts of the car and just remind myself the end goal. To rip this thing at the track, and just have fun.

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I went ahead and finally mount my bucket seats for the 86. Only one problem, the seat mounts I bought on eBay didn’t fit right. Just to let everybody know, do NOT get Weapon R seat brackets. Yeah it is super cheap but damn the quality control is terrible. Learn from my lesson, just go ahead and save money to by legit seat mounts.

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The holes never lined up correctly and currently trying to get a refund back from the seller. Mad and disappointed for cheaping out, I went ahead and bought a Buddy Club Racing seat bracket instead. Yes it was more expensive, but there are just some things but I know for sure it was going to fit right.

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And sure enough, the Buddy Club Racing seating seat bracket did manage to fit right and I was able to mount the seat lower then the Weapon R seat bracket. Having installed bucket seats before, it went like a breeze.

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For anyone doing a bucket seat install, its best to mount everything up loosely to allow for adjustment and alignment.

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I put the side mounts on the seat first before putting it on the seat rails. Makes its alot easier this way, because you can slap on a spacer between the seat and the mount to avoid scratches. And once you have everything aligned right, then you can tighten up the bolts!!!

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The Status bucket seat is on the Weapen R mount, but not bolted. Just mocked up to show the different of height at its lowest setting too. Im 5’10” and with the Weapon R seat mount, my helmet hits the roof!!

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The Buddy Club Racing seat bracket mounts much lower and have helmet clearance.

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My helmet fits!!! Next im going to try to remove the sun roof for extra room and less weight. Stay tuned!

 

Project AE86: rollers

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After I installed my coilovers, the next thing on the list was put new wheel bearings, extended studs and rotors. I first tackled the front, since my wheel hub was already out.

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I had to remove the race and wheel bearings, and you dont really need any special tools for this. I used a hammer and 6″ extension socket. Ill like the youtube video on what help guid me during this install. As you can see the old bearing was pretty dirty and looked like is wasn’t changed for a long time. I probably didn’t really need to do it, but since Ill be tracking it, Im sure these bearings wouldn’t last long.

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With the race and bearings removed, its now time to clean out all the grease. I used paper towels to take out most of the grease then brake cleaner.

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Next was installing the new races. This is where you need a spacial tool to make sure the races go in evenly.

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Thankfully Autozone has a race driver set and lets you rent the tool for free!!

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Next was applying high temp wheel grease on the race, to make it easier to slide into the hub. There are two side you have to do.

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Then you set the driver in the race and hammer away. There is a notch where the race will sit on, and you will know once you hear a distinct sound when hammering. If you are not sure just look into the hub see if the race is flush to the notch.

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Then you repeat on the other side.

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The race and bearings are slanted inside so there only one way to mount them into the hub.

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The larger bearing is what you want to seal frist, becuase this is part that will go into the spindle first. Make sure to pack the bearing and hub with lots of grease before putting it into the race. The messier the better.

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With the back side of the hub done, I had to install my extended studs and rotors. Make sure you follow that order, because if you did the rotors first, then you wouldn’t have room for the studs.

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Look at the size difference from OEM and extended. I choose extended studs because its stronger, allows more more surface area for the nut, and you can run spacers safely. You don’t really need it for the street, but at the track its a must. The studs go though a lot of stress especially in the corners. You dont want to be snapping studs on a high speed sweeper.

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Installing the studs is really quick and easy if you have a impact gun. I used a bigger nut that I didn’t need and another nut that treaded onto the studs. Then is was just basically impacting the stud till it sit flush. If you don’t have an impact for this, then you need a press. Because just using a ratchet and trying to to get the stud to seat right is almost impossible, and tiring.

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After installing the studs, you then install the rotors

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I replaced my rusty front rotors for new vented Stop Tech rotors. For vented rotors, make sure you install the rotors on the correct side. Mine came labeled on the packaging. If you are not sure here is a link: https://www.zeckhausen.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=6446_6515

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After the studs and rotors, its now time tome to finish the wheel bearings. First is to grease the spindle liberally.

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Next was to slide the hub into the spindle. Make sure you don’t get grease on the rotor during installation. But you can use brake cleaner to clean the rotor after everything is installed.

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After that, you slide in the smaller wheel bearing and cover. Then you install the nut into the spindle. You torque it to 20lbs, this makes sure the bearings are seated. You then losen the nut to where the hub can spin one full turn. I usually hand tighten the nut then 1/4 turn with ratchet.

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Make sure you install the locking pin!! That is was prevents the hub from flying out the spindle!!! you could use the old pin but its best to use a new locking pin after any bearing install.

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Then you apply the dust cap. Just hit it with rubber hammer and it will go in. Fresh new parts!!!

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The next day I tackled the rear, and everything was just soo rusty! I even broke my cordless my ratchet trying to remove the rear caliper. Looked like the car hasn’t moved for years. There was spiderwebs and dead bugs all over the calipers and rotors. At least its GTS converted, right??

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Eventually I was able to remove the rear caliper rotor with a lot of hammering, a stronger impact gun, and a lot of wd40. The rotor was rusted to the axle. Thats why you use anti seize.

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Now the issue was trying to get the extended studs into the hub. I loosened the rear bolts that the hub to the axle. This allowed more space to work with.

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Once you loosen it, you can move the rear backing to allow more room to slide the stud in.

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To remove the old studs, you hammer it out. That part was easy.

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Once you slide the extended stud in, then you use the impact gun method.

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Impact tools, and cordless tools makes the job soo much easier.

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Than you reassemble everything back together!! I didn’t take pics on this part but you get the point. Oh, don’t forget to apply antiseize! After seeing the amount of rust on the bolts the hub, I didn’t want to go though that ordeal again. Joys of having a project car….. you never know what you run into sometimes.