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Thread: 18 month update ... and some ideas have formed.

  1. #1
    Member Since
    Jan 2015
    1999 Ebony VX, 0209
    Thanked: 19

    18 month update ... and some ideas have formed.

    Before I get too far, I first have to say that I love my VX and even though it has been a constant source of frustration, and really a bit of a financial pit. So far I am all in right around $10k to save it from a salvage yard. It is running well, for now, until it breaks again. It will break again. The major issues I having at the moment is that it seems to pop MAF's and TPS's on a semi regular basis. I am now thinking this may be a wiring harness issue. There is also the issue of getting close to 180,000 miles, so a new timing belt and water pump will be in order soon, and the EGR code has decided to rear its head again, so I will new exhaust soon as well. If it make it that long that is. Oh, and the transmission still doesn't shift correctly until it has warmed up fro 5 minutes or so, though it no longer leaks. Once warmed up, it is smooth as glass. It will probably need rebuilt as well, even after all of the work I have already done to it. I also think the throttle body needs to be replaced, but that is a whole other issue.

    I have come to accept that this VX will never be as "clean" as it once was. It was a hard pill to swallow. It may get there one day, but with the mechanicals taking the entirety of my budget just to keep it running, it isn't likely to happen anytime soon. Today I was driving home, and I realized I still love driving the little hoopty. The project has not gone nearly as smoothly as expected, the VX was much farther gone that I had realized, but I am not giving up on her. Changing directions maybe? Yeah, I like that much better. Basically, this VX will never be the VX I originally intended it to be. I really think that it wants to die, and I am fighting a losing battle to save it as all original.

    With everything I will need to do, rebuilding the engine and transmission, not to mention everything else, I started thinking about what I wanted out of the VX. I even started looking at replacing it for a Jeep TJ. You can get a one in great shape for around $10k. But I really love my little VX. I had to take out a small loan to get some of the major work done to VX, and that will be paid off around July, so I will be able to secure another one then. I am thinking rather than replace the VX for $10k, drop that money into the VX. Probably won't make the wife happy as I have already spent 3x the value of the VX, but there it is.

    Basically my requirements are to a have a reliable vehicle that gets better than the 15MPG (at best, more often than not it is closer to 13) I am getting now, and to do that for less than $10k. A tall order I know.

    • Get the motor and transmission rebuilt for around $5k. May or may not solve the reliability issues.
    • Swap the motor and rebuild the transmission for around $5k
    • Swap the entire rive train for around 7-10k. Engine, transmission, transfer case, the works. (SAS? Maybe later.)

    I am leaning towards the third option, and if I can keep the TOD so much the better. I realize that this will most likely also require new drivelines, and there is a place local that can do it for around $1k for both. At this point, I am not really worried about that TOD as I was planning a manual hub swap anyway. I looked into the cummins R2 engine, but it won't fit and is way too heavy for the front end. I just need to keep it going to until mid summer when I can take a full month off of work and really drop serious work into it all at once.

    A diesel swap would be interesting, even a VX TDI, but that would be a lot more work that I think I am wanting to do. Still, I will keep it on the table.

    Maybe pull the 4.3L V6 and transmission from a 4x4 S10? Would be nice to get a 4L60E with it? The 1996-1999 motors seem to be reliable, though the fuel milage isn't much better, 16/21, but still an improvement. Reliability seems to be much better than many other GM engines. I could get both of these from a local pull-a-part yard for around a grand, maybe $2k depending on what I kept attached to the motor.

    Mostly at this point I am just kicking around ideas. But so far, I am liking this one.
    VX Status: Running Great! Build is coming along nicely...

  2. #2
    Member Since
    Jun 2016
    99' black, 01' baby poop yellow, 01 Toad green
    Thanked: 12
    Get AAA 200 mile towing, Drive it the way it is.. Beat it silly. Threaten it by telling it if it ever breaks its going to the junk yard. Every time you add a QT of oil tell it, can you feed yourself ? Chris... Honestly it has you wrapped around its finger ! You now have to show it who's the boss with the wallet, oil and cell phone !!! If it breaks, every time you walk by it kick it ! Get another Tacoma, part it out so it's MoJo can carry on !! Mine lasted ( Blackie 265,000 miles) 20,000 miles useing that method !!!

  3. #3
    Member Since
    Jan 2015
    1999 Ebony VX, 0209
    Thanked: 19
    Don’t get me wrong, I liked my Tacoma, but I really don’t see myself getting another one. As far as kicking it goes, that’s an ongoing thing

    The thing is that sometimes it is amazingly good to drive. Sometimes for weeks ata time. I have only had one month in the last 18 that I didn’t need to buy parts for it. If I could get it to the point of just driving it for even six months without anything serious going wrong it would be an amazing achievement.

    But you are correct in that it has become an obsession.

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