Changing the Fluids
Springtime is here, unless you live in the Midwest where summer and winter have been alternating every other week...
Whether your Zuki is a trailer queen or daily driver, one thing you should consider doing on the first nice weekend of the year is spend a few hours freshening up your truck.
What I recommend is breaking the deal down into two steps. Cleaning and Maintenance. Thinking from the ground up, I would rather lie down on a dry garage floor, and not have cold water dripping on my face as I try to work. Do the maintenance first.
After puttering around all winter, check on your gearbox lubes. Differentials, transfer case, and transmission. Your whole driveline takes a beating during the colder months since the oil (75w90) is so thick, most daily commutes probably won't let the axles warm up all the way, particularly with cold air and slush slamming up against it. If the oil looks anything less than good, I change it. Same goes for the transmission and transfer case. Constant meshing and un-meshing going between 2-high and 4-high, not to mention the normal five gears and the same cold weather. at least check the levels if not change them.
While you're under there, give the oil and filter a changing too. You're already dirty and on the ground and have a few laundry-detergent containers of oil to take care of anyway, what are a few more quarts? Go ahead and splurge on an air and fuel filter while you're at it. With the winter blend of gas and all the salty dust in the air from the road, your system took quite a beating.
Rookie Hint: In the cooler months especially, save your oil bottles. I line mine up on a shelf in the garage on their sides. When the weather gets a little warmer, or when you're bored, rig up a cardboard box on its side with a hole in what is now the top, and one of the oil bottles on what is now the floor of the box. Stick a small funnel in the oil bottle, and every day take the cap off of one of the oil bottles and stick it upside down through the hole in the top of the box so that the oil drips into the funnel. I bet you get a half quart of oil out of all those bottles! I usually switch my bottles every morning before I leave for work until they're all gone.
Check your coolant too. It might be time for a flush. Go to your local parts-o-rama and buy a tester of sorts if you're into playing Mr. Science. I like to change mine once a year since I feel our little systems take quite a beating year-round. I have one of those Tee-Tap flushing setups on my truck and it's not particularly convenient, however I don't see many options. Our coolant hoses are just in crummo places.
Done under the truck? Good. Wave two.
Drag the hose out of the basement and get the water flowing. Go ahead, use some dish soap and a big ol sponge and give your truck a good going-over. Take off the spare tire too and get all those leaves out from under it or your paint will turn brown.
Now that the truck is all pretty, we need to do some preventative cleaning. Put the harsh nozzle onto your hose and start spraying out the inside of the fenders. Get every little nook and cranny - what you're doing here is blasting the salt out of there which will keep our little trucks from rusting for at least a few more years. Get under the rockers too. Spray upwards wherever your heart desires - the more, the better. Anyplace you think you may have to unbolt, don't give it a chance to rust together.
Get under the hood and give the radiator a good blasting through as well - being careful of the wiring and intake of course.
After this part I like to take the top off and let the thing air out for a while. It gets awfully stuffy in there all winter long. Just make sure to put it back on before nightfall or it will be stiff and not want to cooperate.
Enjoy your un-wintered truck!